Karin and I went over to Phoenix this past weekend for Spring Training. For those of you who haven't made this trip in the past, it is one worth taking for every baseball fan. You get to see plenty of games, small ballparks (12,000 people or so), and if you like to collect signatures this is the place to be.
Karin flew out from San Diego and I of course came in from Houston. I had planned to meet her at the gate, but that plan was quickly dashed after I landed in a different terminal and the Phoenix airport doesn't have a way to go inter-terminal without going to the other side of security. Them's the breaks I guess. We wound up staying at the Crowne Plaza, which I got a very good deal for at Hotwire. Our goals for the weekend were to simply relax and watch some baseball. I can safely say - mission accomplished.
Saturday morning we found the Black Bear Diner for breakfast, which was good homey diner food. game out at Surprise Stadium for the Rockies vs Rangers. Our seats were good, which is one of the great things about spring training - cheap tickets. Dinner was Famous Dave's (of course).
Sunday was proof that Karin married an idiot. I bought all the tickets, and I thought I had bought tickets to the split squad Padres game (with the bulk of the players being out in Beijing). When we arrived, we discovered that I had actually purchased tickets to Saturday's game. Since we were already at the park, the Peoria Sports Complex, we decided to just get tickets for the game that was actually being played - Mariners vs Brewers. We wound up with bleacher seats, but there's no such thing as a bad seat at a spring training park. The Brewers played terrible defense, but the Mariners couldn't capitalize (Ichiro was 0-3) and lost.
We did find a great little place for dinner called Papago Brewing, which boasts "No crap on tap". Actually, they had no yellow-fizzy beer, about 15 taps, and about a hundred beers by the bottle. We sat at the bar, ordered a pizza, and enjoyed their house IPA. Very tasty. We got to talking with a couple of regulars next to us, and one of them took it upon himself to get Karin to try a beer. He bought her a raspberry Lambic, which she really enjoyed.
Monday brought us down to Tucson Electric Park for the Padres against the Diamondbacks. We wound up with great tickets (two off of the dugout on the Padres side). During the middle of the game, Jeff DaVanon cracked his bat. When he was walking back to the dugout, the crowd started chanting for him to toss us the bat. Sure enough, he tossed it up on the dugout and it rolled into the arms of an old guy sitting right at the dugout. With a little prodding, he gave the bat to a kid.
We got back late on Monday, but fortunately it was in time for me to get together with Abram and get Reubens at The Linkery, which is a local restaurant that prides itself in getting food from small farms and doing almost everything in house. So the Reubens they do are with a house cured corned beef, a house made sauerkraut and Russian dressing, topped with local gouda and served open faced on house-baked bread. A great way to cap a very fun weekend.
If you want to see all the pictures, they can be found here.