Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Spring Ball

We just got back from a weekend in the greater Phoenix area where my bride and I attended three Major League baseball Spring Training sites.
We actually started our first day with a nice drive up to Sedona and lunch at Oak Creek Brewing. Their brews were solid but not spectacular....and at $6 a pint I thought them a bit too proud of their pedestrian offerings.
Our first tickets were to a night game at Peoria Sports Complex home of the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners. We had tickets right behind home plate to see the Padres hosting the San Francisco Giants. We got to the park early and so naturally took a stroll around the entire field chatting up vendors and watching starting Giants pitcher Barry Zito go through his bizarre pre-game stretching exercises. They didn't help as he struggled with the home plate umpires bizarre strike zone gave up five runs in three innings. We ended up sampling a couple of the local breweries Pale Ale...including a nice one from SanTan brewing in Chandler. The Giants came back with a 7 run sixth inning that included a Pablo Sandoval mammoth home run to the left center field grass seats. The Padres ended up winning by scoring 3 runs in the 8th.
On Saturday we had tickets to the Angels vs Cubs at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa. The mid day temperature reached 90 degrees so we continually cooled ourselves with Old Style beer from Chicago. Albert Pujols put his new Angel team up 2-0 with a huge first pitch home run in the first inning. Later (in the third inning I believe) he made a total bone head play and started to trot off the field after making a putout. Trouble was it was only the 2nd out of the inning. Yeah we thought....over a 100 million dollar contract and can't remember how many outs there are. My uber friendly and professionally obnoxious brother-in-law let the Angel fans have it over that gaff...even though he was rooting for the Angels in the game. He's an equal opportunity jokester and no one is safe from his barbs.
The worst part of the event was the final score of 3-3 after 10 innings. Seems that some spring training game rule that we had no clue to....and were not happy about. So naturally we stopped at the local beer market... gathered some supplies and then headed back to the casa for a dip in the chilly pool. Beer and ribs for dinner. Not a bad day.
It sounds like it ended innocently enough...which really wasn't the case at all. Jimbo and I stayed up till after midnight drinking bullshitting and taking refreshing dips in the pool. The loud music was apparently tolerated by all the neighbors who ignored us aside from shutting the garage door for us. We forgot to close it because I think we were carrying too much beer...yeah...that's it.
The next day started a little foggier but by the time we had breakfast and a few beers at SanTan Brewing we were ready for some more baseball.
We drove out to Glendale...West of Phoenix to the White Sox/Dodger facility. I don't think I've ever seen so many full sized ball fields in all my life. I counted 9 but wasn't sure I even seen them all. The game was won by the hometown Arizona Diamondbacks who were actually the visiting team in that Dodger compound. There was a few wind aided home runs including one that bounced off the Dodger left fielders mitt and over the fence. We never did catch his name and assumed he'd be on his way to AA ball after that hilarious play anyway. The beer of the day there was 24oz bottles of Sierra Nevada Torpedo....a rare and wondrous find. On the trip home we made a quick stop at Four Peaks Brewing for growlers of their nice Hop Knot IPA.
The evening was spent with more BBQing and the draining of all the beer in the fridge. Only an Amstel light remained...and no one was interested in that after the last bottle of Fire Stone Walker Double Jack.
Monday was for flying home and ended with a stop at Rubicon Brewing in Sacramento.
May have to make this Spring Training Baseball a yearly plan...they have another half dozen stadiums to see plus more breweries to visit. Hard to go wrong with that double play combo.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Peyton Place

I've made that little dumb joke several time since the Colts released Manning and I realize that unless the person I'm talking to is pretty old they just don't get it. I guess that show was on TV a really long time ago. Not that I ever watched the stupid lame thing.
Speaking of stupid lame things....I busted out laughing today when I heard that three Broncos players were suspended for the first 4 or 6 games this coming season for positive drug tests. The very day that Manning is flown into town by the teams private jet for a tour of the facilities and whatever else Elway can do to convince Pay-a Ton to come play for his crappy squad. Maybe Tebow will be the running back.
I swear no one could make this shit up.
BUT....that is not even the stupidest thing I read..... that would be the report that the Washington Redskins are going to trade their first (6th pick overall) and second round picks this year with St Louis to move up to the second spot to pick Baylor QB Robert Griffin III. They also have to give St Louis their first round picks in 2013 and 2014. Are you fucking kidding me? Really?
Wow....If it's true ... then that St Louis GM should already be awarded GM of the year.
Hard to believe Washington would do that..... must be a typo or something. No one's that stupid are they? Not even shadyham.
But it will be interesting to see where Manning chooses to play...and hopefully it won't be some where that he has to worry about the Saints putting a bounty on his neck.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


It's a rare and humbling phenomenon ... this Auburn Ale House Triple IPA that somehow ended up with my mug on it along with the hilarious catch phrase "Drink to be Sober".
It is an interesting tale, an idea born at the end of one epic that may have created another. As the dying embers of an enchanted hop evening was about to ride off into the sunset of drunkin oblivion Brian Ford and I found ourselves surrounded by the remains of 50+ growlers from around the Western lands wondering "Now what do we do?"
Naturally we did what we often do....sitting with yet another pint creating stupid, and sometimes useful, beer names and slogans.
As best I can recall from that haze of washout memories it was a chance observation of my beard almost falling into the hoppy concoction in front of me or Brian thinking that somehow my scruffy facial hair might make a good cartoon character....In any event after a few free word associations later we both blurted out what came to be the obvious destination of our foolery ....."ZZ Hop!"
For me it was all just good fun and an idea that would have died....but Brian....being the clever, industrious and forward thinking lad that he is had the foresight to scribble it down on the brew board to be found later by a more rational clear thinking version of himself.
Unbeknownst to myself Brian started formulating his Triple IPA recipe during the ensuing months and hatching his diabolical plan to introduce his latest Frankenstein brew creation to the public at the next running of The Bistro's Double/Triple IPA fest that occurs every February as part of San Francisco Beer Week.
For me it is a great tribute that I have trouble wrapping my head around most of the time. Oh how is the beer you say? Good question ... I was fortunate to sample it several times in the brewing process and it put a smile on my face right from the start with it's yellow/Gold pale appearance and smooth reeking Hops flavors.
Today I will actually be sampling the ZZ again at the Sam Horne's Tavern "Folsom Hop Rodeo" along with a dozen or so other extreme IPA's. After that it's off to Sacramento Beer Week's big brew fest at Cal Expo....I'm thinking by the time I ride my bike to Folsom....check out the hoppy brews that Dylan has gathered and then make it out to the fest with The Beer Geek there will be few beers that will still be standing up to my wrecked palate.... Can't wait. As my good buddy Rick likes to say....'Life is good'

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Stupid Bowl

Of course I can say that because my team is once again not playing in 'the big game'. Naturally if my team was participating it would be the greatest game in the past decade....especially if the Chiefs prevailed. Such is the nature of today's sports appreciation I suppose.
I would have preferred the match-up of Conference Championship game losers Baltimore and San Francisco... a result that could easily have happened except for a couple of botched plays at the end of the game by special teams players. Individual players failing in a game predicated on the notion of it's own doctrine of unselfish unity and teamwork. Ironic... and for the fans of the 49ers and Ravens...heartbreaking.
The one unfortunate downside to the 9ers being in the playoffs would be the time I'd have to spend picking unsightly mothballs off all the SF jerseys and team memorabilia that inevitably comes out once the team qualified for the playoffs. I suppose that's typical of many fans of all different teams all over the country but since I live in an area in proximity of the Niners ..... I notice that other 70% of fans that show up only in good times. The fair weather fans.
So good luck to those real Patriot and New Jersey Giants fans out there that have been forced to suffer through three or so years of no Superbowl.... for the rest of you bandwagon jumpers...just eat your guacamole and shut up.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Anyone that knows me for very long eventually get the clue that I'm a huge Frank Zappa fan...well....I guess you could take that a couple different ways...but suffice to say I really dig the cat.
Not that I liked everything he ever did...which is sort of the beauty of Frank....he had something for everybody and pissed off almost everyone at some other time.
I suppose the typical response and stereotype of FZ is that he just does this weird sorta comedy music that can be annoying and tedious.
Sure...he did that...and a lot of it was fucking clever and funny as hell. At one time or another he makes fun of everyone, including himself, and is loath to leave anyone out. He pissed off the Catholics with his classic Catholic Girls and when the complaints came pouring in he offset it by
recording a a song called Jewish Princess. Although it was never a s simple as all that.
Frank was actual a very precise, calculating and disciplined composer and musician. All of his work was scored and if you couldn't read music you couldn't be in his band.
He recorded in the neighborhood of 100 albums to date and still has music in his vaults that will be released for years to come through the Zappa Family trust.
His music runs the gauntlet of Europe there are statues of him because his classical and jazz compositions as so revered and appreciated. He arguably may well be the greatest and most prolific composer of the 20th century.
I started listening to The Mothers of Invention somewhere back in the late 60's and absolutely fell in love with his Hot Rats/Chunga's Revenge/200 Motels period at the end of the decade. I can listen to those albums fact I have the Gumbo Variations playing as I type this. Gotta love Ian Underwood.
I have only about half of the music he's ever released in my archives....which is still far more than
I own of any other group or musician.... I mean...who the hell puts out 100 fricken albums?
Got no idea what I'm talking about?...Well join the club...most of the time I don't just go out and get a copy of Hot Rats....put it in your music creating devise and get ready to go "What the Fuck is this?" And then listen to it again...because I said so Pilgrim. Your life will change.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tris Speaker

I've been reading a book about Tris Speaker lately. Almost done with it. I love the history of baseball and especially that period of time after the turn of the century when the World Series was just getting started, Cy Young was at the end of his career, Babe Ruth was still a pitcher and the dead ball era was coming to a close.
There was still a lot of gambling on the games back then...much more than the so called Black Sox scandal of 1919 would ever reveal.
Some of the greatest players that ever walked on a ball field played in those early years including Honus Wagner, Walter Johnson, Ty Cobb and of course the Grey Eagle...Tris Speaker. Cobb gets more press than 'Spoke' gets in this day and age but in those times Speaker was every bit as famous as Cobb and ever more popular. Oddly enough both hitters finished their careers with 117 lifetime homeruns. A seemingly small amount but they played half of their careers in the dead-ball era and were more interested in producing wins by hitting for a high average, getting on base, steeling bases and scoring runs. It was a far different game than the slugfests played today.
In addition Speaker is still the all time leader in lifetime doubles (793), outfield assists and double plays by an outfielder. There may have never been a better defensive outfielder in the history of the game. He is also 5th in lifetime batting average and fifth in hits. Cobb, of course is first in lifetime average at .367 and second in hits.
Both Cobb and Speaker spent the last few years as player/managers on their repective teams...the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians...although Speaker began his career playing for Boston. Can you imagine a player/manager in this day and age?
Tris became a pilot during training for WWI and continued flying for years afterwards, although he never flew in the war. He was also a personal friend of Will Rogers and would perform rope and riding tricks for wild west shows during baseballs off season. There was seemingly nothing he didn't do well.
Despite his racist upbringing in Texas he broke free of that attitude later in life and eventually became the personal outfield tutor for Larry Doby...the first black player to play in the American League. Jackie Robinson broke in with the National League Dodgers one year earlier.
There are plenty of great center fielders that have played over the years and just as many opinions about who was the best...or best of their era or whatever...but overall for my money there is perhaps only one center fielder that I would put in front of Tris Speaker and that would be The Say Hey Kid.

Monday, January 30, 2012


Where the fuck have I been? Have I been in jail...or the hospital or shipwrecked on some remote Specific Ocean atoll?
Well....yeah...sorta...maybe.....or perhaps I've just been stuck in New York in the 1950's. During my visit there I learned one really important piece of would-be fact that I had previously been only partially aware of ... but mostly in denial of... which is of course just write some shit... don't worry about what it says, what it's about, who it impresses or outrages.... just do the work...put in the time and otherwise shut the fuck up. And then say it again some other way. Take the other side of the argument... or screw spelling, grammar, sentence structure (Yep...I got that one wired) and merely let er rip... so that's what I'm going to do. Will I do it here on this blog or will I do it elsewhere?
Well sure, yeah...whatever...we'll see. Or not.
It doesn't mean shit to a tree.