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Everything you want to know about the Cactus League experience

Mar 8, 2013, 11:03 AM EDT


It’s still raining in the desert and most teams here have cancelled morning workouts. I figure it’s just a matter of time before they bang the games too, so I’m sort of in a holding pattern, trying to figure out how to spend my day. I may go to the Italy-Canada WBC game, which is under the roof at Chase Field. I don’t know. The only set plan is USA-Mexico this evening.

In the meantime I’m eating tasty stuff in one of the best joints in all of Phoenix and reading basebally things. Here’s a basebally thing: an interview with me about all of the Cactus League parks over at Stuff like:

Question about Phoenix Municipal Stadium – Phoenix Muni is the oldest of the Cactus League Stadiums, and you’ve described as “how the Soviets would build their stadiums if they had the good sense to like baseball.” My question to you: how would the Soviets have built their rosters if they had they good sense to like baseball?

 Craig: Probably a lot of corner guys. First basemen with pop but not good glove work. Power first. A lot of Ivan Drago types. I say that under the assumption that it’s still OK to make fun of Soviets. If not, I apologize if I have offended any Soviets.


  1. proudlycanadian - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    So who will you be rooting for Mr. Calcaterra? Canada or Italy?

    • historiophiliac - Mar 8, 2013 at 12:12 PM

      If he roots for Italy, he can just wear green all day.

  2. APBA Guy - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    Looking at the Hillside menu was torture. It reminded me of the breakfast tortillas in San Antonio, still unsurpassed. If it rains a little more you should stay for lunch.

  3. cur68 - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    I don’t think there are any more Soviets…are there? If there are, pardon me Comrade. I didn’t see you there what with my free market being so crowded and all.

    Anyhow, the assumption that The Bolshevik Baseball League would be все bat никакая перчатка is, I think, pretty safe. After all цыпленоки выкапывают длинний шарик.

    I think that it is possible to over-think this one, though. And, as they say in Mother Russia “Вы думаете и нажмите”.

    • chacochicken - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:43 AM

      HardballTalk harbors a nest of Communists and Communist sympathizers who are helping to shape our baseball commenting policy. I have in my possession the names of 57 Communists who are commenting on HardballTalk at present. We must work to weed out these fellow travelers, these enemies from within. I must ask you, sir, are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party of Canada?

      • historiophiliac - Mar 8, 2013 at 12:14 PM

        Have you no decency, Sir? At long last,have you left no sense of decency?

      • cur68 - Mar 8, 2013 at 12:39 PM

        Hey, hey, hey, just, for wanna say, for the record, I am not a communist and neither is the revolutionary movement, but we do not have to say that we are anticommunists just to fawn on foreign powers.

      • heyblueyoustink - Mar 8, 2013 at 1:13 PM

        “HardballTalk harbors a nest of Communists and Communist sympathizers who are helping to shape our baseball commenting policy. ”

        Ummm…… Gleeman? I didn’t look below yet, did anyone accuse Craig?

        I figure the Soviet union team to resemple the gas house gorillas team, only wearing ushankas3

      • 4d3fect - Mar 8, 2013 at 7:09 PM


        I think you’re confusing catsup and communists.

  4. chacochicken - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    In Soviet Russia, baseball hit you.

    • zzalapski - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:43 AM

      Vicente Padilla’s a commie? Who knew?

      • chacochicken - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:44 AM

        Comunista sympatico

    • paperlions - Mar 8, 2013 at 12:27 PM

      There is no way in hell that should be funny, but for some reason I can’t stop laughing at it.

  5. jay3044 - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    The Boca Breeze? Pinko, commie rag….

  6. digbysellers - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    You not say Ukraine weak, I come from Ukraine! How about I take your little baseball game and SMASH it to pieces!

    • historiophiliac - Mar 8, 2013 at 12:16 PM

      Rocky XX: This Time It’s BASEBALL!

      Featuring Rocky as a nobody baseball coach forced to defend the honor of our country with only the aid of his street smarts and the ghost of Burgess Meredith…

  7. jwbiii - Mar 8, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    Leon Trotsky was a hard hitting, defensively challenged 1B. Naturally, he was a leftie.

    • cur68 - Mar 8, 2013 at 12:41 PM

      So Trotsky was все bat никакая перчатка? Figures.

      • jwbiii - Mar 8, 2013 at 1:23 PM

        Да. Если Меньшевики выиграли, Мир Бейсбол Классик может быть различный.

        Are you switching to a Cyrillic code page or pasting from a translator? Google translate used a wrong word, had subject/verb/adjective mismatches, and capitalization problems.

      • cur68 - Mar 8, 2013 at 1:28 PM

        Using the Mac translate widget. Seems to work real well and its better than google translate (I know! Finally something that works better than a google-thing! zowie).

        I have nothing against Mensheviks…in moderation.

      • jwbiii - Mar 8, 2013 at 1:42 PM

        Made me feel like John Cleese. “How many Mensheviks? And what is the past plural imperfective of ‘win’?”

      • jwbiii - Mar 8, 2013 at 1:51 PM

        Думаю что, я русский грамматический Большевиков.

      • cur68 - Mar 8, 2013 at 4:31 PM

        Русские полисмены грамматики самые плохие

      • jwbiii - Mar 8, 2013 at 4:58 PM

        Десять лет в ГУЛАГе для тебя!

  8. paperlions - Mar 8, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    Considering the high quality of skating, puck handling skills, and goal tending of Russian players that have come over from the KHL….I think they’d have some damn fine defenders and a lot of guys with a good hit tool.

    • historiophiliac - Mar 8, 2013 at 12:47 PM


      • chacochicken - Mar 8, 2013 at 1:21 PM


        (throws head of cabbage)

      • historiophiliac - Mar 8, 2013 at 1:22 PM

        Can I have some beets for my borscht?

      • heyblueyoustink - Mar 8, 2013 at 1:33 PM

        ( drinks from bottle of vodka in a corner….. sneers as he wipes corner of mouth with sleeve.)

    • heyblueyoustink - Mar 8, 2013 at 1:16 PM

      And then there’s this guy:

      Who would be picking daisies, literally, in the outfield.

      • paperlions - Mar 8, 2013 at 1:20 PM

        Bryz is fantastic.

      • heyblueyoustink - Mar 8, 2013 at 1:31 PM

        He’s almost as quotable as Tyson.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Mar 8, 2013 at 1:33 PM

        Bryz is awesome

  9. buggieowens - Mar 8, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    When I read something about banging games, I’m not thinking baseball. (sorry Craig, couldn’t resist)

  10. benparkgrades - Mar 8, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Craig! We appreciate it.

  11. janessa31888 - Mar 8, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    Hardball talk commenters are the best. As a newcomer on here, I can only dream of reaching the levels of wit and insight displayed by the likes of ‘philiac, cur, paperlions and indaburg. So many people from all over discoursing on our common love of baseball. Other sites Ive visited, all they do is angrily insult each other.

    • jwbiii - Mar 8, 2013 at 5:43 PM

      Don’t worry. There are plenty here who will call you yм говнa (Hey, it’s Russian day today) if they deem it appropriate. But in general, the level of discourse here is better than other places to discuss baseball.

      • janessa31888 - Mar 8, 2013 at 5:57 PM

        And better than the official website of my team, the Indians. The skeptics and cynics are in firm control there and those of us who dare to express optimism are exiled to Siberia.

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