Posted By Jeff Fletcher on March 7, 2009 6:00 am
A once-a-week look at stuff other than baseball…
As you read this, I am most likely somewhere on a freeway between the Bay Area and Arizona. (I’m driving to save $1,500 on a rental car. Would you sit in your car for two extra days for $1,500?) Anyway, this will be my 11th year going to Arizona for spring training as a writer, after a few other visits as a fan. I’ve already told you about how I feel about the games down there. Since this is supposed to be non-baseball related, here are a few good and bad things about life in Arizona during spring training.
- Going out to eat. Strangely, this is my favorite part. When I’m on my death bed and remembering all that time I spent in Arizona, I will remember the dinners out with other writers. My favorite place is Z-Tejas (yes, it’s a chain, but there are none in the Bay Area, so it’s OK). It is usually one of my first stops. I also really like Roaring Fork. Don and Charlie’s is a staple, but I’ve always felt it was a little overrated. Richardson’s is also great, but it’s not near Scottsdale, so usually we go on the way back from Peoria or Surprise. If you want great food with celebrities, you should go to Frasher’s. (Well, as long as you consider mlb.com’s Mychael Urban a celebrity.)
- The casino. There are a few Indian casinos in the area, but the place I usually supplement my income is Casino Arizona. There are two locations. The one with the poker room is at 101 and Indian Bend. Right now it’s in a huge temporary tent-like facility, but they are supposed to have their new building open soon.
- The weather. Duh. It’s not as perfect as you’d think. Still chilly in the morning and at night, but the days are mostly pretty sweet. Watch out when it rains though. There is no drainage and the city turns into a giant puddle.
- The old folks. Hey, I like old folks. I hope to be one someday. However, I don’t care for driving behind them or standing in line at the drug store behind them. I’ve noticed in Scottsdale there are a much higher percentage of handicapped parking spaces than here.
- The freeway system. It’s better now than when I first started going out there, but there just aren’t many freeways. Often you’ll have to drive miles and miles on a surface street, or pile on to the same freeway as everyone else. And they have those nasty cameras that nab you for speeding. I have, uh, a friend, who got two of those.
- Working. Yeah, yeah, I know. No sympathy from any of you. Do it for long enough, though, and you get a feeling of deja vu. The same stories. The same questions. The same answers. And those games! Ugh. It’s also a long time to be away from home. Almost all writers, except those energetic unmarried 27-year-olds, take a break and come home somewhere in the middle.
On to other things…
- Has anyone actually ever been to a wedding in which they said ”If anyone has any objections, speak now or forever hold your peace…”? I haven’t. Yet, in every movie or TV show, not only do they say it, but someone always has an objection!
- I think this is a cause worth plugging.
- My son is starting tee-ball this week. He’s on the Dodgers. I’m suprised in a Bay Area league they even have the Dodgers. There are about 12 teams in the league and 30 big league nicknames to choose from.
- Since last week’s Sideshow about Girl Scouts, I have eaten approximately 42 more cookies. Mmmmmm.
- Poker tip of the week: Don’t overestimate your draw. A lot of people think if they have a flush draw that they have a 25 percent chance of hitting. There are only four suits in the deck, right? Problem is, they forget that four of them are already accounted for, so there are at most nine cards of your suit left. That’s a big difference. If you have two hearts and there are two on the board, your chances of the next card being a heart are actually about 19 percent. Also, if you have a straight draw and there is a flush draw on the board, you really need to be careful. Sometimes it’s not even worth drawing at all, because a lot of bad things can happen. Say you hit your straight with a third card of a suit on the board, giving someone else a flush. You are going to lose a lot. Also, even if you do have the best hand, you might not win much because the opponent will see the possible flush and the possible straight, so he might not pay you off. Never mind the chance that you’ll whiff totally.