Skip to content

Greetings from the Cactus League

Feb 24, 2011, 5:50 AM EST

Buttes

I write to you from a strange place, my friends.

  • For one thing, my hotel is carved into the side of a mountain. Really. Picture a fortress built by a 1960s Bond villain, add some down comforters and complimentary toiletries and you’ve got the idea.  Once I’m acclimated to my new environment I intend to search the premises for the room with the giant map where Dr. X will reveal to me his secret plans prior to strapping me into some complicated killing device and then leaving me unattended.
  • Even stranger is the Mountain time zone. The East sets the tone and the Central hangs back ever so slightly, almost apace. Those Californians are so far behind that they may as well be their own country and we all ignore them anyway as they complain of our biases. But the Mountain time zone: too close to what we’re used to to ignore but not quite close enough to communicate seamlessly. And likely not to be trusted because of it.
  • For example, I have no idea what time this post is going live for you people back east. The clock in my mountain bunker reads “$G:4#” and it’s blinking, blinking, blinking.  I may be in the future. I can’t be sure. My posts for the next nine days may appear at the most random and ludicrous of hours.
  • Finally, it’s beautiful here — mid-60s and sunny — yet commercials on the radio ask listeners if they’d like “a cure for the winter blahs.” I’ll study these Arizonans all week and I may make contact with some of them, but I don’t know if I’ll truly understand them.

Environment aside I’m happy to be here. My trip yesterday went relatively smoothly, with the most unusual thing about it being that, sometime en route, Jonny Gomes became the most hated man in America.  I processed that news over a fine meal, and I believe I understand it all now.

But enough of that: it’s all about baseball going forward.  The games start tomorrow and I’ll be at Scottsdale Stadium that afternoon as the Diamondbacks take on the Giants. Today, however, has been set aside for loitering. As I hit “post” at whatever ungodly Mountain time zone hour this is, I still don’t know which complex I’m headed to.

I may go to Surprise and see what the AL Champion Rangers and the Royals and their best-farm-system-in-the-game are up to. I may go up to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick and see baseball’s newest, most grandiose and most ridiculously-named spring training complex, home to the Rockies and Diamondbacks.  I’ll let the car make it up to the freeway interchange and see what it wants to do.

No matter where I go, I think my primary mission for the day will be to grok the differences between spring training in Florida — where I loitered last year — and spring training in Arizona. I’ll tell you what I learn in subsequent posts, but to get real-time observations follow me on Twitter.

And now, onward into spring training.

  1. proudlycanadian - Feb 24, 2011 at 6:17 AM

    I envy you. Many Canadians, including several of my relatives, prefer Arizona over Florida in the winter. For me, Arizona brings back memories of the pocket westerns that I used to read when I was younger.

    Let the games begin. Play ball!

  2. bloodysock - Feb 24, 2011 at 8:48 AM

    Craig, are you at the Marriott Buttes near Tempe Diablo?

  3. cur68 - Feb 24, 2011 at 10:46 AM

    That’s what you ate? Next time have the General’s Poster. Probably less damaging to your constitution. It’s -30 Celsius here (round about -20 Fahrenheit) so I envy you. Use sun screen.

  4. Old Gator - Feb 24, 2011 at 4:09 PM

    Look for horned toads and let me know if it’s really true that you can’t see them anymore.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Maddon has high hopes for Cubs
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. P. Sandoval (5929)
  2. Y. Tomas (4189)
  3. H. Ramirez (4016)
  4. J. Lester (3511)
  5. A. LaRoche (2377)
  1. J. Upton (2290)
  2. J. Bruce (2289)
  3. I. Davis (2070)
  4. T. Hunter (2066)
  5. M. Scherzer (2052)