Saturday, March 27, 2010
BANG! BANG! BANG!
“Scottsdale PD, OPEN THE DOOR!”
I dragged myself out of bed and made my way to the door.
SLY: “Not B.S.”
How did it come to this?
French fries were involved
Apparently, there are rules in Arizona.
This seems fitting for Arizona.
The annual pilgrimage to Spring Training started with a 4:00am wake-up call on Thursday, the 25th. We (RT and I) had the first flight out of San Jose to Phoenix at 6:30A.M. We were past security by 5:20 A.M.
We tried to order beers with breakfast.
I hate stupid California laws (alcohol cannot be purchased until 6:00 A.M.).
After the beer-less breakfast we bought a couple Red Bulls for the flight.
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
Thanks for that Moto Skipper. I live by it.
Our flight was airborne on time, we were ready to get the vacation started.
SLY: “Four vodkas please.”
Male Flight Attendant: “Are you two with that group?”
“That group” was a few rowdy Gigantes fans sitting three rows in front of us who were also in the vacation spirit.
RT and I pulled out our Red Bulls.
Our airline neighbor: “You two are prepared.”
SLY: “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.”
KJ picked us up from the airport. We went back to KJ’s hotel as it was far too early for us to check into ours.
We had three hours to kill before heading to the first game of the day (M’s and Indians in Goodyear, AZ).
We did what we always do for pre-gaming before a day game. We drank beermosas (Blue moon and OJ). We drink beermossas because they are delicious and are healthier than drinking a plain beer.
I love beermosas they’re sooo delicious, soooo delicious!
Our Group (SLY, RT, KJ, Kate, KTbug) made our way to Goodyear, AZ. We observed many people performing actions that are illegal in California but aparently are acceptable in Arizona. We decided to list them.
1.) Talking on a cell phone without a hands free device while driving!
2.) Motorcycle riders without helmets.
3.) People riding in the bed of pick-up trucks.
4.) No seatbelts.
This was a fun game. I was sure we would add a few more as this trip went on.
We agreed the laws in Arizona are more like guidelines. I figured all these laws are enforced like chewing tobacco (disgusting) in college baseball; it is illegal, but tolerated.
Once we got to the parking lot we met up with KJ’s uncle, Jim Jones (Not the leader of The People’s Temple!!) and Friend (Tim).
Uncle Jim and I share the same favorite hour of the day, happy hour.
Uncle Jim and Tim were awesome. Both are baseball lunatics and Uncle Jim is also an author. I recommend checking out Jim’s website (www.ballparksacrossamerica.com). I decided it would be my duty to ensure Uncle Jim (Tim declined the beer service) was never beer-less.
While pre-gaming (drinking) in the parking lot we were able to add a couple more laws in California which were not enforced in Arizona to our list.
There were no Port-O-Lets in the parking lot. I had to relieve myself between a couple cars.
5. Public urination. A U.I.P. (urinating in public) cost RT $167.50 in California.
I swear I did not go on a car. I respect other’s property.
A police officer came up to us in the parking lot. Kate is only 18, and she was pre-gaming.
Uncle Jim: “Oh S#*t.”
We were about to be carded. I don’t know what the penalty is for underage drinking in Arizona. More importantly, I do not know what the penalty is for supplying an underage person with alcohol. I was about to have my veil of ignorance removed.
The Officer looked at RT and said “Can you place that bottle of beer into a plastic cup. We don’t want to have glass in the parking lot. Cans are fine.”
RT: “No problem.”
Police Officer: “Thanks guys, have a good day.”
The police officer left. We all let out a collective sigh.
Uncle Jim: “We dodged a bullet there.”
There are no laws in Arizona!
Add underage drinking to the list!
6.) Underage drinking.
We had great seats (about 10 rows behind home plate) and King Felix was on the bump. I kept my duty to Uncle Jim through the bottom of the 7th inning. We talked baseball and fantasy baseball for the entire game. The conversation was the main attraction and the game was pleasant secondary entertainment.
I cannot remember who won the game. I just remember it was a blast.
KJ drove us over to our hotel in Scottsdale to check in and for all of us to get a much needed nap before the second game (Gigantes vs. Athletics). Our hotel (Papago Inn) was straight out of the late 70s. I love shag carpet. Whatever, it was close to Scottsdale Stadium. It would serve our purpose.
I was able to catch a few ZZZs, even if I wasn’t on the bed.
As I remember, this was more comfortable than it looked.
We (RT, KJ, and I) knew we were going to dress up for this game. KJ, RT, and I were all rocking our Gigantes jerseys. It was a repeat of Halloween (minus the baseball pants). I was Lincecum (complete with wig), RT was Zito, and KJ was Cain.
We should have parked in the player’s parking lot.
We were popular at the yard.
The big three ended up taking a lot of pictures with other Gigantes fans. KJ and I were told repeatedly that we look like our counterparts. KJ does look like Cain. I do not look like Lincecum. I am much better looking.
One Gigantes fan asked how we picked which Gigante we would be. RT gave him an answer. I cut him off when it came to me.
RT: “I am Zito because I make the most money. KJ is Cain because he is the biggest. SLY is Lincecum because…”
SLY: “I have the most talent (BTW, not true).”
The game was sold out. We had to hang out on the burm (in the grassy area beyond the outfield wall). The burm was packed, it was impossible to get a good seat. It was hard to follow the game as we were so far away. I ended up making lots of new friends out in the burm, mainly due to my Timmy wig.
KJ, KTbug, and Kate left early as the day drinking and sun wiped them out. RT and I were still going strong, even though we were showing some wear and tear. My eyes were completely bloodshot and RT’s eyes were half closed.
Too much sun and booze will do this to you.
The “Idiot Tax” should have been applied to RT and I.
Los Gigantes won the game. I have to be completely honest. This was the least amount of baseball I have watched at a baseball game. I had to look the score up the next day. Yeah, it was that bad.
RT and I went to Dos Gringos (Bar, surprised?) after the game. The name was fitting (KJ was gone, it was down to RT and I), in San Jose there is a bar named Tres Gringos (we are usually the only gringos there) which we used to patronize often in college.
Dos Gringos was selling $.50 Coronas, which led to one more unenforced law to add to our list.
7.) Public intoxication
We stayed until 1:00 A.M.
Long day… We did not have trouble falling asleep.
Friday, March 26th 2010
RT and I (KJ and crew had other plans) made our way to the ballpark around noon for Gigantes/Angels. We didn’t have tickets, the game was sold out, and Lincecum was going to pitch. Tickets were going to be expensive. We had to find a scalper.
I have rules for purchasing tickets from scalpers.
1.) The scalper must appear over the age of 35.
2.) He (I have never seen a woman scalper) must look ragged or worn.
3.) Preferably not Caucasian. I’ve had negative experiences with Caucasian scalpers.
4.) Buy the tickets one or two blocks from the stadium.
5.) Don’t let KJ negotiate, in this case, RT.
I found a scalper who met most of the criteria. There was not much negotiating. We paid $100 for our two seats (12 rows back, just left of home plate). RT and I graduated college (Get up, show up, and keep up) and understand supply and demand.
We were competing with many fans for seats. We don’t like to lose.
RT and I went through the gates and we got breakfast, a hot dog and beer.
I took one sip of beer and immediately realized my body did not recover during my slumber.
SLY: “Dude, I feel re-drunk after one sip.”
RT: “I was thinking the exact same thing.”
That ended up being our only beer of the game. We needed a break, and wanted to follow the game.
We read that Kevin Frandsen got shipped off to Beantown for a player-to-be-named and/or cash considerations. My SJSU connection to Los Gigantes is now gone. We alerted a few fans who were talking about Frandsen. I guess not everyone checks www.mlbtraderumors.com for updates every 15 minutes.
Lincecum looked like himself minus his exceptional control. He had 5ks in 4 innings. His change piece was in mid-season form. Tim made Godzilla (Matsui) look like a little challenger (Mentaly Challenged) player, twice. He was also stealing strikes with his hook (Lincecum stealing strikes is a scary thought).
Andres Torres was the best player in the starting lineup for Los Gigantes. I hope this guy gets at-bats against lefties this year. He was a monster right handed (He’s a swtich hitter) in limited at bats last year with a line of .338/.397/.718. Nobody expects Torres to match that slugging percentage, but his speed makes positive plays happen. I also love his all-out hustle, he is fun to watch.
We got to see Buster Posey get a big at-bat in the bottom of the 8th. Buster hit a ground rule double to right center, it was impressive. If the kid doesn’t go north with the big club, he will be there shortly.
Steve Holm had the game winning hit. Los Gigantes beat the halos 5-3.
This win made up for 2002.
RT and I headed back to our hotel for some NCAA tourney viewing and rest. We got plenty of both. We woke up around 10:00 P.M. and headed to a bar.
RT and I had a great time in Old Scottsdale. We made many new friends.
People from the mid-west are quite possibly the nicest people in the world.
We drank $3 Red Bull Vodkas, yes we drank too much. We got a cab after the bars closed and headed towards our hotel.
Then it happened.
We saw the golden arches. They looked marvelous in our drunken minds. RT and I were on the same drunken wave length. We made the cabbie go through the drive-through.
Drunk food at 2:45 A.M. always sounds like a great idea. This was anything but.
We devoured our food when we got back to the room. All I had left was the fries. I was just about done when I decided it was good idea to finish them on the balcony outside our room. I had about three fries left when I decided I no longer wanted to put anymore of the fried slices of potatoes in my body. I was done with them. I threw the remaining fries over the balcony and walked back inside to get ready for bed.
Two minutes later, as I was brushing my teeth there was loud pounding on our door. This was not a friendly knock. I glanced through the peep hole.
SLY: “There’s a guy out there, he looks pissed.”
RT: “What did you do?”
SLY: “I threw a few fries over the balcony.”
I immediately turned off all the lights (So the man would think we weren’t there. It made sense to my drunken brain.). We jumped in our beds hiding from the angry man just outside the door. He pounded on the door for another 20 minutes before giving up.
Our hotel phone rang. It continued to ring. We were not going to answer the phone.
RT’s cell phone, he answered.
Drunks are not smart.
It was the Hotel Manager (the man who pounded on our door). He asked if we were in our room. RT did what we learned in college.
Deny, deny, deny, and deny some more.
RT told the Angry Hotel Manager t that we were in Tempe trying to make our way back from a bar. We thought he bought it. We passed out. It was 3:30 A.M.
BANG! BANG! BANG!
“Scottsdale PD, OPEN THE DOOR!”
I dragged myself out of bed and made my way to the door.
SLY: “Not B.S.”
I opened the door and was greeted by three officers. Two male and one fe-MALE (she wanted to be a dude).
Bad Boy, Bad boys, Watcha gonna do when they come for you?
Scottsdale’s finest told RT and I to both come out and take a seat. We were both wearing our boxers. It was like an episode of cops, except we weren’t 50 pounds over or under weight and we weren’t on meth. We were still rather intoxicated.
I have seen the “Locked up” show on TV. I would never last or enjoy being in jail. I am not like Oscar from “The Office”.
You know, because of gay?
The Angry Hotel Manager started to yell mean things at us. Some of his statements were true, others were not. He told the officers there were three culprits (It was only RT and I). The officers then took over and began to question us. We both stated that we were in Tempe until 4 A.M.
I knew we were not in real “trouble” with the law. I mean, there are no laws in Arizona! The officers alerted us that the Hotel Manager was hit in the head by French Fries. He was evicting us from the hotel. He does have the right to refuse service. We had to get our belongings and leave the property.
My only question (besides why did I throw the fries?); what was the Hotel Manager doing walking around the courtyard at 3:30 A.M.?
The Officers were cool about the whole situation. They were joking with us as they escorted us out and gave us tips on what hotels to check out. I turned to RT and said:
SLY: “Apparently, there are rules in Arizona.”
Finding a new hotel wasn’t a problem. RT was on his blackberry and booked us a hotel on the same street before we were out of the lobby. We got in the cab and gave the address to the driver.
The driver drove and continued to drive down Scottsdale Ave. The street never ended. The new hotel was 8 miles down the road. It was a $20 cab ride.
RT: “Maybe I should have google mapped it.”
I was in no place to be upset. It was my fault we were in this stupid situation.
We arrived at the new hotel at 8:15 A.M. and checked it. The woman at the front desk was awesome. She got us into a room by 9:00 A.M. RT wrote a Yelp review on the Papago Inn. Here is RT’s review from www.yelp.com :
I’m sure this was probably a really nice hotel… In 1970. Very disappointing for a three star resort? Resort? Really? The first morning we woke up to a hooker down the hall arguing with the hotel manager. I guess if you’re in Scottsdale on a low budget it will do the job but I can’t recommend it.
I would have thrown in… The Hotel Manager is scared of red-haired clowns and is a fan of Burger King.
We both fell back asleep. We woke up at 11:30 A.M. We were dead tired but we were not going to miss the Gigantes/Angels game in Tempe at 1:00 A.M.
The fry incident was going to cost us an extra $20 every time we got into a cab since we were 8 miles further from our previous centralized location.
It cost us $60 to get to Tempe Diablo Stadium.
This game was also sold out. We had to find a scalper.
We found a scalper who met most of my scalper requirements. He was older, haggard, and we were referred to him by a brotha. He had to have some cream (scalper slang for great seats).
Cash is king in the scalper world. An AMEX Card won’t get you nosebleeds.
Scalper: “$30 a piece for the burm or $60 a piece for 5 rows up down the first base line.”
SLY: “$100 for two down the first base line.”
The scalper walked away.
RT: “We just paid $60 to get here. Let’s pay the $60 each to watch the game.”
SLY: “We will take them for $120.”
We paid premium regular season prices for a Cactus League game.
I do not respect the U.S. Dollar.
We both agreed alcohol would not be in our future. This was a shame, as Barry Zito was on the hill. We were letting out first opportunity for the Barry Zito Drinking Game go down the toilet. No worries, we will have 30+ opportunities during the regular season.
Zito actually looked sharp in his start. Zito kept most of the Halo hitters off balance for the first 5 innings. He fell apart quickly in the 6th before coming out of the game. He ended up giving 4ER in 5 1/3 innings.
There was amazing moment in the top of the 5th inning. Big Money hit a bases loaded clearing double to give los Gigantes the lead.
There was a loud Gigantes fan that started chanting “Scoreboard…Scoreboard…Scoreboard”.
A few smart Halo fans responded back “2002…2002…2002.”
I relived game Six for a moment. I threw up in my mouth.
Here was the amazing part. I knew…errr (RT) recognized the idiot chanting “scoreboard”. RT and I recognized this idiot from a spring training game in 2009. He was heckling J.J. Hardy and Casey McGehee. This was the highlight of the day.
Here is picture of the guy from 2009. He was wearing the same style Hawaiian shirt this year.
McGGHHHEEEEEHHHHEEEEEEEE and JJ HARRRDDDDLYYYY!!!!! (His heckles from 2009 Cactus League)
After watching three games I am rooting for John Bowker to get most of the starting at-bats in final outfield spot. Bowker has out-played Nate Schierholtz this spring. Schierholtz has looked lost in his at-bats. He was late on hard stuff and ahead of the off-speed pitches. Schierholtz is the superior defensive player and can still take over late inning situations. Los Gigantes needs all the offense they can get. Give Bowker the majority of the at-bats and see what he can do.
Los Gigantes lost by a run and we left before we had to hear more about the 2002 World Series. I somehow negotiated a cab ride back to our hotel for a flat rate of $40. Score for SLY. The ride should have been around $75 with the traffic we experienced.
We then headed straight to our room and slept for the next 12-14 hours. I was even too tired to say anything derogatory to a few Dodger fans in the lobby.
Put a fork in us.
We were done.
What did I learn on this trip?
There are many laws you can ignore Arizona, throwing fries, though not a law, should be avoided.
Being a drunken idiot and throwing three fries cost an extra $200 (hotel + extra cab fare). That was my first $200 meal of my life. The next time I want to spend $200 on a meal I will order some Dom Perignon with my fries.
I never want to hear Banging on a door again.
Please use the doorbell.
Todd Wellemeyer has shoved in the desert. He has logged 15 innings yielding only 2 earned runs. His control has also been in midseason form with only two free passes. His only blemish this spring has been his low strikeout total of four. He deserves to start the season as the fifth starter. I want Gigantes fans to understand why he is performing so well after a disastrous 2009 campaign in which Wellemeyer went 7-10 with a 5.89 ERA.
Todd Wellemeyer is pitching for his professional baseball life.
One year after notching 13 wins and respectable 3.71 ERA for the Cardinals, Wellemeyer found himself signing a minor league deal with Los Gigantes.
Wellemeyer knew he needed a bounce back year if he was going to extend his MLB career. He did what many pitchers do when they need to impress an organization in Spring Training. He began his throwing program early. He is simply ahead of the hitters at this time. The red flag that he has been throwing for a while is his control this spring. Control is the last thing to come back for pitchers when they are getting back into game shape. Look at Tim Lincecum and his 8 base on balls in 7 2/3 innings thus far in Spring Training for evidence.
Kevin Pucetas looks like he followed the same game plan as Wellemeyer. He has been outstanding this spring (9IN, 0ER, 3K, and 0BB). Pucetas has gone 42-13 in his minor league career with a 3.20 ERA. He did struggle in AAA but appeared to figure it out later in the season. He is now 25 years of age. I am certain we (Gigantes fans) will see him sometime this season.
I would give the edge to Wellemeyer over Pucetas to start the season based on experience. I am emphasizing start the season for a valid reason.
Wellemeyer will most likely fall on his face in late July or early August. His fantastic spring will be his downfall. He has been fantastic because his early throwing program has gotten him into game shape a month before he will pitch in a meaningful game.
Good for Todd Wellemeyer. He did what he had to do to make the team. I hope Los Gigantes ride him out as long as they can. Los Gigantes will pull the plug on Wellemeyer once there are signs of fatigue in the second half and most likely insert Pucetas (I hope he doesn’t fall on his face because his early throwing program as well) or Madison Bumgarner (who did not throw during the off-season. His rust is evident).
Okay, that’s enough Todd Wellemeyer talk. I bet KJ I could write at least two pages on him. I wrote one and put myself to sleep.
St. Patty’s Day Fun
How great are fake holidays that are all about drinking to excess? St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo are two of my favorite days of the year. Guinness and Jameson, there are not many things that are better. I had my first Irish Car Bomb at 5:00AM on St. Patrick’s Day.
In my defense, I got off work at 4:00AM. I had to celebrate before I went to sleep.
RT (who works for the best rental car company in the world), had four seats in the corporate luxury box at the Warriors game. Instead of taking clients (like most employees do when they get tickets in the box), RT did what any real man would do. He took his boys. Good effing deal.
We (RT, KJ, JRAM, and I) got to Oracle around 6:00PM. We had time to pre-game and we were prepared.
We got to park in the players parking lot.
KJ looked the part. He was dressed business casual.
The Tux-Shirt is the mullet of the T-Shirt world. It says I am all business, but ready to party.
We looked around.
SLY: “I am glad we took RT’s car. At least it’s a Mercedes from the past 5 years.”
KJ: “Yeah, our rides would look weird in here.”
RT: “I am glad we drove my car.”
RT didn’t hear me but we were all thinking the same thing.
RT: “Are we allowed to drink in this parking lot?”
SLY: “We’re in a luxury box. They don’t know we didn’t pay for the thing. I’ll tell them we paid 5k for the box to watch their horrible team. We’re drinking here.”
Crack. Crack. Crack. Three Silver Bullets ready to rock.
A security guard came over about 10 minutes later. He told us we can’t drink in this parking lot.
Warrior players and coaches are on http://www.drunkathlete.com. Maybe the security officer was afraid we would offer Monta a cold one.
This is when the Dubs were competitive.
Nellie would have joined us for a cold one in the player’s parking lot
I wussied out on telling off the security guard.
We finished our brews and KJ and I even got in some Gentleman Jack, you know, because we are gentleman. We wouldn’t be allowed to drink Gentleman Jack if we were not. Words don’t lie.
We made our way into Oracle. We headed for the bar to pay $9 for a 3.2 alc% Bud Light.
KJ did learn an important lesson. Do not ever attempt a shuffle step with two full beers in hand. Always go with the cross over step. The shuffle step is a 2 ounce mistake with a chance of complete embarrassment.
The Luxury box was awesome. The game started. Warriors’ basketball is not awesome. I did give myself a financial rooting interest. Anthony Tolliver had 16 points in the first six minutes.
SLY: “If Tolliver goes over 30 I am purchasing his jersey for myself and anyone else who wants one.”
I immediately regretted my drunken offer. There were a couple takers. JRAM was now a huge Tolliver fan as he wanted to see me shell out good coin for a player who I will most likely have no recollection of in twelve hours.
The Warriors were down by double digits at halftime. Tolliver didn’t do anything after the first 6 minutes. I was safe for the moment.
The Halftime entertainment was great, wheelchair basketball.
These guys were gamers. I was amazed how they would run plays without hitting the other chairs. It was fun to watch.
We did notice that there wasn’t much dribbling.
KJ: “What constitutes traveling?”
SLY: “Two full rolls of the wheel. I mean, if it is two steps in leg basketball.”
KJ: “Sure, I’ll accept that.”
Then it happened, a break away. There was a free path to the basket.
Only one thought came to mind.
This is what I thought was going to happen. I was let down.
SLY: “THROW IT DOWN!!!”
Silence overcame the box. RT’s boss looked at me in a way that made me feel uneasy. There wasn’t much laughter. JRAM just shook his head.
I will have a lot to explain at the pearly gates.
I flagged down our server. I ordered a six pack. It was $35 bucks. At this point, I felt like I deserved to pay $6 a beer to continue to drink.
I am calling it the Idiot Tax.
I have an idea for drinking at professional games. After your 4th beer, an idiot tax is applied. For each beer after the fourth the concession will add $1 to the original price. Example, if a beer cost $7, the fifth beer would be $8, the sixth $9, and so on. A black permanent marker could be used on the right wrist of the consumer.
Idiots like me and my friends will still pay for the beer. Make me and all idiots pay a steeper price for our drunkenness. If this led to Los Gigantes signing Carl Crawford next year, I would drink and gladly pay the Idiot Tax until I passed out.
Batting 3rd for your 2011 Los Gigantes de San Francisco… Carl Crawford.
These are the thoughts that roam freely in my head while I am intoxicated.
Oh yeah, the second half!
I was only concerned with Anthony Tolliver’s point total.
He was heating up in the fourth quarter.
His point total climbed to 27 points. He was hitting threes. He hit another one. 30 EFFFing points for Anthony Tolliver, are you kidding me? I was praying to God that he would not score another point. There was a minute and a half left.
God listened. Tolliver ended the game with 30 points.
The Warriors came back from down 20. Good Stuff.
Thank you RT.
SPRING TRAINGING TRIP
My annual Spring Training trip will kick off next Thursday morning. I am looking forward to the excess booze and baseball. My first game will be Thursday night with Los Gigantes vs. The A’s. I will be rocking my Lincecum wig and jersey.
I hope I will get to see Barry Zito pitch so I can play the “Barry Zito Drinking Game” for the first time this year.
I have a goal to get a large group to participate in the BZDG at Pac Bell/SBC/AT&T Park this season.
Let me know if you want to join in the fun.
I have to give big props to KJ. After weeks of scouring Damon Bruce Podcasts, KJ has finally pirated one of our favorite sound bites of all time. Annie’s “Pound it”.
I am proud of you and I have already used it in inappropriate situations.
Click and Save this sound bite. It is the ultimate text message alert.