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On the road to Arizona

Feb 23, 2011, 9:00 AM EDT


As much as I love the ice and cold of the great Midwest, it’s time to leave that nonsense behind for a spell.  As you read this, I am en route to Phoenix.  Spring training, my friends. Cactus-style.  I’ll be there until a week from Friday.

While I’m in Arizona I’ll be taking in baseball in some form or another at all times. Today is a travel day, but I’m going to loiter around a camp tomorrow — haven’t decided which one yet — and I’ll take in games every day between Friday when the Giants and Diamondbacks kick things off in Scottsdale through next Thursday.  In the mornings before games there will be more loitering about the practice fields and clubhouses. It’ll be a pip!

For those of you who followed my exploits in Florida last spring, it will be a lot like that.  I’m going to try to be a little more multi-media about it this year, however, so by all means, follow me on Twitter, where I’ll be throwing up real time observations, photos and stuff before I censor myself and edit them into a more respectable, reflective and comprehensive writeup for the blog the next morning.

Oh, and if you happen to be cactusing too, by all means, leave a comment or drop me a line with any tips, insights, happenings or observations of your own. Perhaps then we can find a way to leverage the power of HBT Nation into something greater than the rambling first person recollections of a recovering lawyer with an expense account, a flask, a laptop and a pocket camera. Synergy, don’t you know.

Talk to you again when I get to AZ.

  1. Jeremiah Graves - Feb 23, 2011 at 9:43 AM

    “It’ll be a pip!”

    …I think it’s lines like that (and all the pro wrestling references) that have made you my favorite bloggerizer on the interwebs.

    Have a blast in Arizona.

  2. largebill - Feb 23, 2011 at 10:28 AM

    If you swing by Goodyear complex, tell Matt LaPorta that I’m looking for a breakout season from him. Since they share a training facility he may want to chat with Joey Votto for advice on taking next step from prospect to good major leaguer. Also, take a few minutes to talk to Tribe pitchers about throwing more first pitch strikes. This game is more difficult if always pitching from behind in the count.

    Thanks and have a safe trip,

    • trevorb06 - Feb 23, 2011 at 10:44 AM

      LaPorta is no longer a prospect though. We call guys like him ‘busts’ around these parts mate.

  3. Old Gator - Feb 23, 2011 at 10:33 AM

    Just be careful not to look like a Mexican. The Hag’s Gestapo may pounce on you forthwith.

    Also, a quick recommendation, for your soul as well as your palate: make a special point of having the green corn tamales at Lerua’s, 2005 E Broadway Blvd, Tucson. And then order one of everything else on the menu. I don’t remember what they call it but they have some kind of Mexican pizza there that’ll roll your eyeballs up in your head.

    Then make a point of visiting the Tanque Verde cactus nursery. Bring home a little Euphorbia in a clay pot and watch it mimic whatever else it wants to be. Euphorbias come in all shapes and sizes, all of which mimic some other kind of cactus or deciduous plant. James Arness played a Euphorbia in the first movie version of The Thing. I have strong circumstantial evidence at my disposal that Bud Selig is a Euphorbia. And wouldn’t it be fun to have a little one of those at home?

    • Jonny 5 - Feb 23, 2011 at 11:07 AM

      Craig could try to tan himself for a month and still wouldn’t look Mexican. Now if they were checking ID for non citizens from where the Morlocks (bloggers) dwell, he’d be in real trouble.

      • Utley's Hair - Feb 23, 2011 at 12:19 PM

        “Craig could try to tan himself for a month and still wouldn’t look Mexican.”

        With his complexion, I’m guessing Craig would scorch like a tomato within 10 or 15 minutes. I am much the same way.

      • marshmallowsnake - Feb 23, 2011 at 12:50 PM

        It is actually colder here right now…relatively speaking…I think he will be OK.

      • Old Gator - Feb 23, 2011 at 12:51 PM

        Not to mention that I read in Science News Weekly not all that long ago that the horned toads are disappearing, so I would also recommend that Craig not walk around barefoot.

    • bloodysock - Feb 23, 2011 at 11:33 AM

      Now why would Craig need to drive all the way to Tucson? All the Cactus League teams are in the Phoenix area now since the Rockies and D-Bags open their new stadium in Scottsdale this season.

      • Old Gator - Feb 23, 2011 at 12:49 PM

        Lerua’s is enough of a reason to drive to Tucson by itself, believe me. In fack, I plan to be in the Fourth Reich meself in June to help a friend pack up his worldly belongings and help him escape Governor Leatherface’s xenophobic little smog-shrouded dystopia for the safety of the enlightened northeast. I fully intend to leave time for a side trip to score me some green corn tamales, and I might even buy a little Euphorbia Bud Selig mimic to put on my windowsill when I get home.

      • marshmallowsnake - Feb 23, 2011 at 12:51 PM

        To the safety of the enlighted Northeast? LOL! I have never heard a better comment in my life. I hope you do not mean Massachusetts.

      • Old Gator - Feb 23, 2011 at 1:05 PM

        Massachusetts is pretty safe, unless you’re a clam, a lobster or or Beanbag fan celebrating outside the stadium, and we have no plans to drive to Chappaquiddick.

      • marshmallowsnake - Feb 23, 2011 at 1:27 PM

        Yes, true…I grew up there, and spent 30 years there. I have found that, politically, people do not think for themselves up there, but rather, just go with the flow. Way too long of a story for me to get involved in on here.

  4. spudchukar - Feb 23, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    If I got as far south as Tucson, I would make a short side trip to Bisbee. Hop in a taxi, hearses down there, and saunter into the nearest saloon for a sarsaparillo or two.

    • Old Gator - Feb 23, 2011 at 1:09 PM

      I’d definitely pull over in Tombstone, too, and score an ice cream cone from that hellaciously good ice cream parlor near Boot Hill. It’s one of the true sporting experiences of a lifetime to buy one of those, step outside into God’s own rotisserie, and try and eat it all before it has pooled between your boots.

      • spudchukar - Feb 23, 2011 at 3:33 PM

        My favorite great uncle, Garrett, moved to Tombstone and is buried there presumably with his boots on. He was gassed in WWI, then went to work in the coal mines of S Illinois, while smoking Camels, unfiltered of course, before his Doc instructed him to head to away from the stifling humidity of Stanton, Mo.,the home of Jesse James’ hideout cave, for the arid climes of Arizona. When we were kids we used to insist on watching the Cardinal games, but Gunsmoke always had veto power over baseball. I visited Boot Hill once, got run out of the cemetery, somehow missing the no trespassing sign, and asked about Ol’ Uncle Garrett. Part town drunk, part iconic character from what I gather. Don’t make ’em like that anymore.

  5. cur68 - Feb 23, 2011 at 11:19 AM

    ‘I censor myself and edit them into a more respectable, reflective and comprehensive writeup for the blog the next morning’
    You do? Wow. I’d never have guessed. Well, safe trip then. Use sun screen. Make monetary bets; don’t threaten to eat anything if you don’t like what you see, and try an aloe margarita (get extra salt; kills the taste).

  6. apbaguy - Feb 23, 2011 at 12:04 PM

    Craig, Keith Law lives in the Scottsdale area now, if you see him at the games, say hello and pls pass along any insights.

  7. marshmallowsnake - Feb 23, 2011 at 12:47 PM

    Since I live in Gilbert, AZ – I will give you some food recs. If you like BBQ, downtown Gilbert has Joe’s Real BBQ (…best I have had here. They also own a little place across the street from that named Liberty Market ( Both are great. Also, for good Mexican, try Rancho De Tia Rosa (

    If you are in the mood for a great beer selection, head to Papago Brewing. ( Great selection of bottles and drafts, some that they make…and there are 30 taps! Also, Four Peaks in Tempe is solid too…and they make all their beer ( Both places have above average food for pubs.

    Have fun while you are here in the Valley of the Sun!

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