Cactus League Chaos-Tales From Tequila Towers II


March 19, 2016 by Shannon Michael Smith

Rascalsoftheravine has returned to Los Angeles! Yes, after a head-spinning four-day baseball drunk we’re back in business (see attached photo of our digs on Indian School Road in AZ). Demon roadblocks stood in our way (like when our crop duster was forced to make an emergency landing at Blythe Airport and one of our staffers was almost stabbed at a local Burger King) but we emerged from the wasteland in fairly fine form. There are some grease burns (see last post) that remain and flare up from time to time, but no matter.


We’ve received a lot of questions about the food at Camelback Ranch. We had really hoped that within the last seven years of going that they would have improved their grub, but sadly, they haven’t. It’s bad ballpark fare (boiled hot dogs, stale nachos, concrete peanuts, rancid cotton candy, fried armadillos…we just wanted to see if you were paying attention) which is inexcusable due to the fact that most Cactus League parks either have a variety of incredible food trucks or a decent grill. Camelback does have a sausage grill, but it’s just not good enough (the Ditka? C’mon this ain’t Chi-town). What about the burgs, wings, tri-tip, corn-on-the-cob, crab, carne asada, etc? It seems like they’ve lazily locked-in with crappy bulk vendors. Our advice? Skip it and beeline to Chopper Johns on Indian School Road (and don’t forget your flail…google it millennials).


Quit blathering, you say, how about the baseball? Let’s sum it up real fast; Los Dodgers look like they have about two and a half pitchers so far (Kershaw, Maeda, and a patchwork of unreliables). They’ve been killing the ball at the plate like Engelberg, although there have been some injuries. We know that you know it’s just spring training…but we like to say it anyway. Let’s break it down.


Kershaw’s been his usual stud self. In three appearances this spring he’s tossed ten strikeouts in ten innings with a 0.90 ERA (1.10 WHIP).  Kenta Maeda’s put in 8.2 innings worth of work with eight strikeouts (1.27 WHIP).


They plunked down a whopping 48 million dollars (3 years with a 1 year opt-out) on Scott Kazmir for Christmas and the results so far have been uggggly. Of the two games he’s tossed so far, his ERA is 17.18 (3.2 innings pitched, 3.818 WHIP). He claims he’s building up arm strength, but it’s clear his velocity and control are no ahi. Brandon Beachy was blasted for six runs yesterday in Los Dodgers 11-8 loss to the Snakes (2 IP 4 BB 6 ER), his ERA waddles out at 7.71 (2.41 WHIP).


Joe Blanton’s been a bright spot though, in his 6.2 innings worth of work so far he’s posted a 1.35 ERA (0.900 WHIP). We’ll see if Blanton, AKA The Baron of Bowling Green, can keep it up. Also in the “not so bad” department is Mike Bolsinger. After three appearances, he has a 2.00 ERA (0.89 WHIP).


Then, there are the injuries. Brett Anderson is basically out for the rest of the season. The report says 3-5 months, but we all know that’s bunk. The way they underestimate injuries and nurse players back these days it would be a miracle if he tossed before the playoffs (do you honestly think he can just pop into the postseason).  Brandon McCarthy won’t be back until the Fourth of Freaking July, and Ryu is only just starting to throw again (20 pitches at-a-time…see what I mean by nursing).


It is good to see the highly touted depth (we’ve been trumpeting the success of young ‘uns Clay Bellinger, Charlie Culberson, Rob Segedin, and Trayce Thompson on this very blog) as Justin Turner’s knee is slowly coming along and one never knows when Puig or Pederson will slam into a wall. Carl Crawford can go on the DL if a breeze kicks up too much (Hernandez or Ethier can take his spot). Adrian Gonzalez is getting up there in years, he trains like an Olympian in the off season, and is usually in great shape, but it’s good to know Van Smash, (and possibly Bellinger) are around in case Gonzalez goes down.


We’ll get into the hitting in part three of our Cactus League Chaos trilogy. We’ll also get into the fact that The Diamondbacks think that they’re Los Dodgers’ rival…like The Giants…their bush-league broadcasters call the blue crew “the hated ones”. They’re just lucky The Dogs didn’t leave a Babe Ruth in their precious pool. Until, tomorrow, turmoil seekers!

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