Monday, March 19, 2012
A local article offered restaurant recommendations for tourists doing their baseball pilgrimage. They had choices in Scottsdale, Mesa, downtown Phoenix, Chandler, Tempe, and when it came to West Phoenix – nothing. Chains. Franchises. Personally, I think that’s overstated but okay.
Scottsdale has the largest median age of all big cities. So take that Ft. Lauderdale! You know you’re in a retirement community when the Arizona Republic’s big headline is: British doctors warn against metal hip joints.
Had a game in Maryvale, where the Milwaukee Brewers train. Take the I-10 to the IHOP turnoff then go north. Maryvale is in such a bad part of town Popeye’s Chicken doesn’t even have an outlet there. The stadium itself is very nice though, except for the wrought-iron bars on the dugout.
But got to visit with Mr. Baseball, Bob Uecker – a comic if not national treasure. Shared some laughs and got caught up on all his latest off-season operations. I don't think he has one original organ left.
Here’s all you need to know about Arizona: a House bill that would let guns in all public buildings is quietly moving toward passage. This comes AFTER a shootout outside the Clubhouse Music Venue that left 16 people injured.
Other stupid Arizona laws (and these are real, folks): It’s illegal for more than six girls to live in a house. It’s illegal to play cards with Native Americans on the street. It’s illegal to have more than two dildos in the house (okay, well that one makes sense). It’s illegal for women to wear pants in Tucson. It’s illegal to sell fake cocaine. And it’s illegal to hunt camels. This is one Looney-Tunes state.
Spring training games are hard to call because there are so many substitutions. Among the players whose exploits I described: Jabari Blash, Irving Falu, Roger Kieschnick, Munenori Kawasaki, and that rightfielder for Kansas City – I still have no idea who he was. Thank God no one hit a ball to him.
Stopped off for a postgame cocktail at Tilted Kilts Pub & Gawkery. It’s Hooters but with that distinctive European touch that frat boys and redneck assholes so appreciate.
There is a Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. A real one, not a supersized Sam Ash Music Store. Well worth seeing. And soon you’ll be able to bring in your weapons!
Camelback Ranch is where the White Sox and Dodgers train. (Take Camelback Road past the Circle K, Denny’s, and CVS pharmacy.) There was an auto mishap earlier in the month in their spacious parking lot when a noted sportswriter crashed his rental car into a cement mixer. His explanation: “I just didn’t see it.” Didn’t see a cement mixer? What, you lost it in the sun? From now on when he describes a pitcher’s release point as being just an inch off I’ll be saying, “Yeah, right!”
How bad is local traffic? A woman gave birth on the Seventh Avenue off ramp of Loop 101 on Thursday. These people will do anything to get into the carpool lane.
Among the notables that hail from the Grand Canyon State: Wayne Newton, Cochise, Ofelia Zepeda, Billy Graham (the wrestler), Alice Cooper (the golfer), Danica Patrick, Jordin Sparks (American Idol), Andy Devine, and the Meat Puppets.
The Phoenix bus strike finally ended. Relived commuters grabbed their 31-day passes and citizenship papers and once again boarded city buses.
Went to dinner at Dillons’ with Ed Farmer of the White Sox and several cronies. Yes, it’s a chain, but there are only three Dillons’ locations in Phoenix…although one is literally in the middle of the zoo. The idea of looking out the window and seeing the animal you’re eating does not appeal to me. On the other hand, Arizonians will soon be able to bring their guns and select their own entrees!
Friday’s temperature: 90 degrees. Sunday’s: 56. When it’s not the Valley of the Sun, it’s the Valley of the thunder and dust storms. No outside seating at the Cheesecake Factory.
Combine Spring Break, St. Patrick’s Day, Saturday night, Tilted Kilts, and gale force winds and no one in Peoria could walk a straight line including the cops. And yet, for all the tosspots staggering into traffic and walking into trees, not one hit a cement mixer. Luck of the Irish I guess.
The ride home couldn’t be more perfect. I was on the same flight as Vin Scully. Of course he was in 4B and I was in 37F next to some guy who was moulting. But still!!
All in all, it was a great week. My thanks to the Mariners. Don’t miss the chance to go to Spring Training at least once. Of course you can simulate half the experience by having breakfast at the Waffle House.
By Ken Levine at 5:57 AM