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.