Cactus League Chaos-Tales From Tequila Towers

IMG_1898March 17, 2016 by Shannon Michael Smith

Well, we knew AZ would be wild, dear readers. Two games in, and already our HQ here in Glendale, Tequila Towers, has already burned to the ground in a nasty onion ring fire (besides a few grease burns, no injuries to report). The rascalsoftheravine staff is now holed up in a 1-star flophouse on Indian School Road. This part of town isn’t so different than sections of our beloved San Fernando Valley; an endless sprawl of mid-century plazas gone the way of decay. Sure, you say, but how is Camelback Ranch?

If you’ve never been to Camelback (this is rascalsoftheravine’s seventh run) here’s the official version: “Architectually it features natural stone veneers, tri-color faux staining, rusty metal panels…rock retaining walls…the construction utilizes sweeps and angles instead of a big box look.”

Yes, the rusty metal panels and rock walls give it that chic modern desert feel, and it IS gloriously open and un-boxy. It’s also hot as HADES. The few shady spots and seats are crammed with overheated gringos (the Camelback crowd isn’t the most diverse) sucking down blue drinks faster than a hallucinating man at a watering-hole mirage.

Did we see lots of beer guts and black socks? You betcha! Ill-advised facial hair and Oakley shades? Check! Tommy Bahama and Big Dogg t-shirts tucked into denim shorts? Oh, you get the point, what we did NOT see was the screaming banshee (as mentioned in the previous post). We’ll certainly keep our eyeballs peeled for her.

Yes, but what about the games? We here at rascalsoftheravine don’t salivate over spring training numbers, which are more akin to fool’s gold than anything else. There are a lot of “experts” in the media trying to break down and analyze S/T numbers, which is a bit absurd. Sure, it’s a love fest with Roberts and the team now, but who knows how it will get when things DO go south (and they will at some point). Half the time, you’re seeing players that will never make the squad. No, we don’t get too worked up about S/T numbers, but we will report on the games …and away we go.

In the first game we saw on Tuesday (White Sox 8 Dodgers 6) Maeda got the start and went 3.2 innings before things unravelled a bit. He gave up two runs on four hits and two walks. That being said, he’s probably had the best spring behind King Kersh. We’ll see if he’s still number three in the rotation when the season starts. DeLeon was a disaster, he coughed up 3ER on 3 hits (2 HR). Jamey Wright continues to be awful as he surrendered the game winning HR to the White Sox in the ninth. Ethier, Hernandez, Barnes, and Segedin all hit HRs in the contest as well.

In the win against The Rockies yesterday, Zach Lee was humming along until the fourth (a fan in the stands kept shreiking “Zach Lee can only pitch three innings, I told ya!” over and over). Normally we ignore pearls of wisdom screamed from the stands but this guy may have something, Lee is indeed horrible after the third (this is the part where we’d normally plug in numbers to convince you, but our resources are limited as we’re typing this from a 1999 HP in the flea-ridden lobby of our 1-star hotel). Puig smoked his first HR of the spring (he needs to get some kind of rhythm going before the season starts) and made an incredible catch (so did Joc Pederson) by the right field wall (both outfielders dove like Louganis to make plays).

But, what about the music at Camelback, you say? Well, they LOVE Camper Van Beethoven (hey, we’re not complaining) and The Fine Young Cannibals. Of course, they pump out the insipid “everybody clap your hands”-type crap for the kiddies, but overall the tune selection is better than Dodger Stadium. A few years ago, they used to crank Elvis’ “A Little Less Conversation” during pitcher-manager meeting on the mound, but alas, no more. Why Nancy Bea-Hefley isn’t spending her retirement up in a Camelback box playing a jaunty tune from “Carousel” is beyond us.

We’ll add some pictures on Saturday when we return and the dust settles. Check back tomorrow afternoon for another ugly update. Until then, its adieu from AZ!




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