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Mariners superfan moves to the Valley for spring training

This Midwest native relocated to the Valley so he could watch the Seattle Mariners every spring at the Peoria Sports Complex.

PEORIA, Ariz. — Each year, thousands of baseball fans flock to Arizona to watch games in the Cactus League. But one Midwest native took it a step further by moving to the Valley so he could watch his favorite team every Spring Training.

The Peoria Sports Complex is home to the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners.

"This is our home away from home," Jon Hueber, said.

A lot of us grow attached to our favorite sports teams as kids. That's the case for Hueber. He grew up in Indianapolis, and when he was 9 years old, he joined the east side little league Mariners.

"I fell in love with the team," Hueber said.            

His passion for the team continued into adulthood.

"When I graduated college, underneath my gown, I wore a Jay Buhner away jersey," Hueber said. "When we got married I wore my Mariners tie."

Hueber's love for the team converting the love of his life into a fan too.

"We went to our honeymoon in Seattle, saw some games there," Aimee Hueber said.

When the couple got married, they lived in Indiana. They would come down for Spring Training every year because Aimee is from Prescott, Arizona.

After years of making trips, in 2011, they relocated to the Valley.

"She obviously has family here, I moved here so I could come to these Spring Training games and be around the team. We made a pros and cons list and literally my first pro was Spring Training," Hueber said.

Now living in north Phoenix, this year's Spring Training is special for Hueber and the stadium. The Peoria Sports Complex is celebrating its 30th season.

"I came out here for Spring Training back in '93 and '94, in this park, the first year it opened," Hueber said.

"There's a lot of excitement and momentum going into this year," Mike Hyland, the Superintendent of the Peoria Sports Complex, said.

Not only is the stadium marking its 30th season, the "San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners both made the playoffs last year," Hyland said.

The Mariners ended a 20-year playoff drought last season. It was the longest playoff drought on record, for all of the major North American men's professional sports leagues. Something Hueber worried he wouldn't see.

"Last year I had some medical issues, you start thinking it might not happen in your lifetime," he said.

For Hueber, coming back to his home away from home, to watch the team he loves with the one he loves, makes him grateful for the lifetime of memories and all the memories to come.

"The Mariners have been a part of every major part of my life," Hueber said. " Now we're coming back. It gives you hope. The sky is the limit for this team and it is so exciting."

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