March 15, 2017 by Shannon Michael Smith & Tom Fostex
Ah, Spring Training is here! Welcome to another installment of Cactus League Chaos! Shall we begin? Let’s start with the entertainment at our raucous rascalsoftheravine HQ!
Tequila Towers does have a TV, but it only shows one movie, 1949’s “Lust for Gold” starring Glenn Ford, Gig Young, and Ida Lupino. The film was shot locally in the Superstition Mountains (the plot revolves around the Lost Dutchman gold mine.) Basically Glenn Ford murders his way into the mine, takes chunks of gold into Phoenix, and people try to separate him from his money. It was a familiar tale to many of us visiting from Los Angeles.
HEY! This reminds us of when Tom Fostex raided the Homewood Suites breakfast buffet in Avondale and burst through Tequila Towers’ front door hurling sausage patties to and fro, like a tipsy Santa Claus passing out chocolate liquor at an office party.
Fostex also crashed their little social hour (free beers and little bottles of wine from 5-7 DAILY!) before they got wise to his act and tossed him out on his ear.
HEY, WE’RE STEAMED! Not really, but The Reds radio announcer (he sounds like a drunker version of Scott Shannon, the American Top 40 Radio host) called Camelback Ranch “Melanoma Field” (in reference to the lack of shade in the ballpark) when he wasn’t making fun of the Rich Hill contract (hey, only we’re allowed to make fun of the Dodgers’ idiotic moves!)
Way to stay classy, Cincy, at least we don’t have radio commercials like “HEY, REDS FANS, SCRAP METAL PRICES ARE ON THE RISE!”
TWEETS OF PAMPERED SCRIBES!
“Dave Roberts scratched head with left hand instead of right, could this spell trouble?”
“Puig didn’t eat his green beans on the team plane, prompting a beef with squad chef, Wolfgang Puck.”
“Brandon McCarthy set to sit out season on giant pile of money…again!”
Ahhh, we can’t even make fun of tweets without making them seem more interesting than they are! Trust us, we WISH they’d Tweet idiocy like that…
Thankfully, rascalsoftheravine can shake off the cynicism and focus on the great game of baseball and its rich environs. Our very own Tom Fostex was set loose at various parks throughout the Cactus League. Not only did he stalk the concourses of Camelback, but he “made it rain” at Hohokam, shook off the scum at Scottsdale, and made merry at Maryvale!
Without further ado, Tom Fostex!
At around 2:45 on weekdays, Highway 10 through Phoenix jams up worse than a Saturday Night Special, so I decided to take the sun baked streets back to the hotel from Salt River Fields. I could see the top floor of the Towers from the road, a glimmering fortress of gold and green that flashed promises of women and liquor to all that dared enter her doorway .
I had just watched a shaky Scott Kazmir get knocked off the mound at Talking Stick. A ball hit his hip and the Dodgers took no chances with the rickety Kaz and out came the hook. The Rockies feasted on newbie Cash and put up several runs. Once again, the Dodger rotation looks shaky after King Kershaw. Rich Hill can’t seem to control his fast ball in the slightest. Maeda looks okay now, but what about in August when his arm turns into rubber cement? Ryu? It’ll be tough to count on him. The guy can’t eat spicy baby octopus without getting hurt. At least Utley was alive and Pederson appeared to be hitting.
As I turned the Le Mans onto East Indian Bend, the reflection from the towers blinded me for a moment and the car veered off the road and into Dodger reporter, Dave Vassegh. The poor fellow was tossed 25 feet into the air (with broken ribs, I presume) before he landed on the 7th green at the Encanto Village Golf Course (an inebriated golfer immediately planted a flag into his mouth and raised his arm in triumph.)
I wondered what the hell Vassegh was doing on a blazing street corner in Scottsdale, when I passed a broken down teal Saturn from 1993. Black smoke rose in plumes from the under the hood. An empty cherry Svedka bottle and a Taco Bell bag were the only things visible in the car. The Dodgers were seriously gypping old Dave V. in the cash department. What do they pay him in, Dave and Buster gift certificates?
I headed north on 15th Ave back toward Tequila Towers when John Law pulled me over, lights blazing and all. Vassegh or the golfers must have squealed. I swore revenge on them both as Scottsdale’s finest shoved me into the back of their squad car and killed the siren.
When I woke up (the cops didn’t knock me out or beat me up or anything, I had just passed out from too many Mike’s Hard Lemonades) I found myself in the Scottsdale City Jail with a cellmate named Hondo.
Hondo was a Native American (not sure which tribe) that stood at about six foot seven. He wasn’t happy about being locked up and let me know within the first ten seconds of our conversation that he was planning an escape. He wanted to know if he could count on my help. I told him he could. He said he had been locked up for public intoxication and that he needed to get back to “Sally” at the trailer park.
I pointed at a swollen boodle bag in the corner.
“Is that yours?” I said.
“They didn’t even take it away from me,” replied Hondo, shaking his head.
We both took a shot of his corn liquor and waited for the guard to come around again. In the distance I heard the crack of a bat and the roar of a crowd.
“Is this jail near a ballpark?” I asked Hondo. I explained that I was out cold when I arrived.
“The Giants play right next door, that’s how we’re going to escape, Jack,” said Hondo. “We’ll just hop the fence back there and slip into the crowd.”
“Leave it to the G-Men to have their spring shack right next to a prison,” I said.
“Yeah, lucky for us, Jack.” said Hondo. His head whirled around nervously. “Where’s that stupid guard?”
Fifteen minutes and one unconscious security officer later, Hondo and I were sipping cheladas on the left field lawn. Scottsdale Stadium appeared to be more “bro-centric” than other parks, lotsa roaming drunken dudes as opposed to drunken old folks or hammered kids. Hondo broke down the NL West and predicted the Giants as the division champs if they stayed healthy.
I laughed and reminded him of their bullpen woes.
“They’ll fix that bullpen,” he said as he looked around the crumbling stadium. “They gotta get outta this heap, though. You’d think that three world series wins in a decade would buy better digs than this.”
I invited him back to Tequila Towers to meet the staff and he declined in favor of Sally.
“Got to go. See you later, Jack. Don’t run over any more people.” I watched him go and wondered if he called everyone Jack, or just me.
I hit the Avondale happy hour and downed some little bottles of chardonnay before I dared darken the doors of Tequila Towers that night.
Smith called me as I was leaving Avondale to let me know Scottsdale PD were waiting for me. He spoke in code, so he was sure, i’d understand. “Pick up the ranch dressing and two corn row curlers…”
In times of emergency, Concession Room Two at Camelback Ranch is left open for me by an unknown contact of Smith’s. I parked a mile from the Ranch and snuck in under the lights. Room two’s door was slightly ajar and I passed out on a case of cheeseburger poppers.
I love Spring Training.
That’s all, folks! Gather round the old fire pit for another installment of “Tales From Tequila Towers” in the next ish!
Until next time, mirth-seekers!