SCOTTSDALE, AZ. -- As I wrote yesterday, I've never spent three hours lounging poolside. This morning, the results are obvious. Even with sunscreen, I'm looking pretty pink.
But it beats pasty and pale, and I'm ready for more. First, though, a recap from where I left off:
We watched yesterday's Brewers game from behind home plate and in the press box, but when I say "watched," it's more like "soaked in." I have an incredibly hard time focusing on the actual game out here. I think that after six months without baseball, I spend the first few contests watching the sites and listening to the sounds. I notice the speed of an up-and-coming shortstop more than the score of the game, itself. I watch a pitcher's delivery and forget what inning it is. The Brewers lost, but I got my first look at new Brewers pitchers Solomon Torres, Guillermo Mota and Eric Gagne.
Inside the spacious media workroom, we talked with Brewers coach and video guy, Joe Crawford, who was taping Ryan Braun in left field. A former pitcher with the Mets, he has a ton of insight and he answered all the questions I asked in last week's pre-Phoenix blog. We also chatted the Padres AP photographer, though I forgot to ask him why he was covering a Brewers-Rockies game.
Spring Training games at Maryvale so far feel a bit different this year, and I think it's because they're drawing very well. More than 6,000 fans came out Monday. I'm used to crowds half that size. I guess I'm not the only one who is extremely excited about the 2008 season.
After the game, we moved our base of operations to the Westin Kierland Resort, on the northern side of Scottsdale, at 6902 E. Greenway Pkwy.
A top-notch hotel, it's quite different from our experience at the Hotel Valley Ho. Differently upscale, the property is vast and sprawling, overlooking a magnificent golf course (that Bill and Paul played last week). This isn't an "Entourage"-style place, but it's where the Patriots stayed during the Super Bowl.
It's more elegant in a contemporary desert sort of way, palm trees lining the entrance and little touches of quality throughout. We see more families here, but fewer models at the pool. The pool and hot tub are open 24 hours. We might take advantage of that tonight.
As sun set, the hotel's resident bagpiper performed a set, with the golf course as a backdrop. It was cool at first, but went on a little long. Still, this place has it figured it out, from the Segway-driving security guard to the gigantic Aerobed they brought us so Oscar didn't have to sleep on the floor (and yes, he's still asleep and still snoring -- thank God for ear plugs).
We ate dinner at the hotel's superb Deseo, a "Nuevo Latino" fusion restaurant. I'll write a separate story on that when the hotel sends me a copy of the menu, but the meal was fantastic, easily the best dinner I've had in Arizona in years.
The next wave of our group had showed up now, and after dropping off Paul at the airport, we reassembled in downtown Scottsdale for a little light carousing. Most interesting was a cowboy-themed bar called Saddle Ranch, which featured a nightly bull-riding competition. I wanted nothing to do with that, but I took ample photos of Oscar and Chris doing face plants on the horns of a fake bull.
We wrapped up the night with a drink at Mickey's Hangover and one more at the Dirty Dogg Saloon. Monday nights, like everywhere else, are slow here. But the Dirty Dogg is the kind of bar that can't easily be described, even when empty. Think "Coyote Ugly," but with an edge, and you begin to get the picture.
Today, the "Groundhog Day" machine revs up again. Every day out here starts to feel the same, which is both why I love it and some veteran reporters start to hate it. Baseball, pool, burrito, nightlife - repeat as necessary.
The final contingent of our group gets in today, which sets the stage for a hilarious reunion of Spring Training "non-roster invitees." We're assembling at the Four Peaks Brewery in Tempe around 6 p.m. I expect a late night. You can expect a rambling, nonsensical blog tomorrow. Then I leave town at 6:40 p.m., getting into O'Hare at a little after midnight.
The "you can sleep when you're dead" mentality is in full effect.
re: AP guy from San Diego - maybe he was there to check out Tony Gwynn?
3 comments about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Andy Tarnoff
Published July 29, 2015
If you've never heard of floating and sensory deprivation tanks, let us answer this question for you: it's not a form of torture. Rather, some consider it the ultimate form of relaxation, injury recovery and meditation, and it's coming to Milwaukee very soon.
Published July 28, 2015
When you've visited the same place well over 20 times, sometimes you have to look at it a different way. Whether that means taking a bird's eye view from the treetops, or a fisheye perspective from just a atop the water, Wisconsin's crowing jewel that is Door County still looks spectacular from any angle. Even if it's one you have bend a little to see just right.
Published July 15, 2015
Though Liz Lincoln, who writes under the nom de plume of Eliza Madison, just published her first erotic novella, the Milwaukee writer isn't new to penning books about romance. "I've been writing romance forever, really," says Lincoln, who debuted "Fast, Fresh & Hot" this summer on Amazon. " I wrote romance stories when I was in middle school."
Published July 12, 2015
A decade ago, I took a spin around the Milwaukee Mile in a special two-seat IndyCar. I did it again this morning, and it was even better.
Published July 8, 2015
While I only passively care about what happens on the court, I nonetheless passionately, urgently and desperately request Milwaukee and Wisconsin to get its act together and build the Bucks a new arena before it's too late. Just like I preached in the mid '90s when the Brewers were semi-genuinely eying Charlotte as their new home, I'll say it again: Build it now.
Published July 3, 2015
It's a long-standing tradition at Summerfest - and at plenty of other festivals - to use radio station DJs to introduce a headlining band. It may seem like a five-minute formality, but as usual, there's a back story to most of what the public sees while standing on the Summerfest bleachers.
Published June 29, 2015
It hasn't been a good month for the Stars and Bars. Only 150 years after it should've disappeared for good, national online and brick and mortar retailers have yanked the Confederate battle flag from their shelves and their sites. In other words, you will no longer find Confederate beach towels, belt buckles or even the General Lee (I'm bummed about that, actually) at Wal-Mart, Amazon, Etsy, eBay or many other stores around America. Fortunately, you won't find them at Summerfest, either, in the state that lost 12,216 men to the Civil War.
Published June 25, 2015
To me, the Kings Of Leon were supposed to save rock music. When I saw them for a second time at Summerfest in 2006, this time at the Miller Lite Oasis, something felt wrong. KOL seemed slow. Plaintive. Quiet? Turns out that was the direction this band would head in, and it's what made them extremely popular. But I came into tonight's show with an open mind and was rewarded with old Kings, and even lulled a little with new Leon.
Published June 22, 2015
"Summertime" is a great song - so great that it's been covered 25,000 times since George Gershwin wrote it in 1934. One of the more enchanting - and special - versions of the jazz standard has just dropped from Nineteen Thirteen, an enigma of a Milwaukee band. Featuring Victor DeLorenzo on percussion and Janet Schiff on cello as its two permanent members, you almost have to see this group to believe it.
Published June 18, 2015
Even though Summerfest gets passed over by lots of national media - at some point, let's put the onus on getting the word out better, OK? - there's no doubt that this gigantic musical festival is Milwaukee's crowning annual achievement. Here are the annual picks from OnMilwaukee.com Publisher Andy Tarnoff.