Baseball in Tucson

Son Pete and I decided to do a long road trip and take in a little spring baseball in Arizona. We had thought we were getting together with brother and uncle Russ after he had retired from the education racket. Lawyers and the music schedule in Billings effectively torpedoed the getting together as we had to leave from Billings after the St Patrick’s Day Symphony Concert by Maestra Harrigan, and to be back in time for the matinee performance of Cosi fan Tutti on the following Sunday afternoon; while Russ had to do a deposition on the Tuesday after St Patrick’s Day, and thus couldn’t be in Tucson in time to get together for a baseball game at Tucson Electric Park, where the White Sox and the Diamondbacks do their spring training and home games. The White Sox came into the picture because Tim Mueller, son of Russ, is vice-president for the Kannapolis Intimidators in the South Atlantic League, a White Sox long season advanced A affiliate, who would (Tim, that is) be able to get us tickets for the games.

We departed Billings very early on Sunday, 18 March, headed east and then south down the 90 until we ran into the 25 in northern Wyoming (see above picture), kept the nose steadily going south til we reached Albuquerque 14 hours later (left), a little stiff as we only stopped for maybe 10 minutes to fill the gas tank and empty our bladders twice: averging a little over 70mph. We had packed sandwiches and pop for when we got hungry or thirsty. Billings to Albuquerque is about 1000 miles. We live in a big country with some awesome roads and wide open spaces. Somebody once told me that one could put the whole world’s population in Texas and everybody would have enough room to live comfortably. I think we could do that in most western states.

Fine weather all the way, breezed through Denver at just after mid-day, and arrived in ABQ at around 8pm. Chowed down with Sharon and Diego (see left); the latter is noticeably more advanced than he was two months ago. He holds on with only one hand, maybe one finger now, and I know will let go very soon.

Flying Star was our restaurant of choice on Sunday evening and the Hotel Blue with their Tempurpedic beds got the nod for sleeping.

Monday morning we started at a more reasonable time, around 10am, down the 25 through some fairly rough country until we neared Las Cruces, then cut over to the 10 at Deming, and arrived in Tucson at around 5pm, which was actually 4pm because the good citizens of Arizona have deemed Daylight Saving Time a work of the Devil and will have nothing to do with it.

We were up early on Tuesday and off to the Sonora Desert Museum, a place Carol and I had visited some 15 years ago while attending a medical meeting in Tucson. It is an outdoor combination of museum, zoo and paleonteology demonstration. A really top-notch place.

Got to the Diamondbacks v. Mariners game in time to see a little Mariner BP. They must have had a split squad as Ichiro was not around. Didn’t see Randy Johnson either but he is supposed to be back in AZ now. The M’s did not look very effective but their fans were, of course, very nice as they are required to be.

Looked in the sports pages and found out that the University of Arizona Wildcats were playing some team from Morehead Minnesota in the evening. Our Econolodge was very close so we zipped on over to watch most of that game. The first inning looked like a typical college game but then a pitcher’s duel broke out. Arizona was leading 5-4 when we tired and went to our motel. Blue Wahsabi for dinner: excellent.

Wednesday morning we drove to Phoenix, about two+ hours north of Tucson, to see the Padres v. the Brewers. Ran into dust storm on the way. I guess they need some rain. We traded in our lower deck seats for the shaded upper deck. This is the place to watch these games. We tried the Melting Pot for dinner: excellent fondue.

Thursday afternoon we saw the White Sox play the Mariners (Ichiro still missing) from very good seats right behind the WS dugout thanks to Tim Mueller. That evening we saw Love, Janis at the Arizona State Theatre in downtown Tucson. It was more of a concert than a play about Janis Joplin, one of a long line of contemporary entertainers who flare up brightly and apparently quickly and then off themselves with a variety of drugs. I liked her blues and country rock numbers but my middle ears started getting weary with the high volume of sound.

We left for Albuquerque on Friday morning, 23 March. Had dinner with Leo and Sharon and Diego at our favorite, the Flying Star, in the evening. Diego is growing fast. Stayed at the usual, Hotel Blue, once again. We left ABQ at 0800. Denver by 1400. Snow storm around Santa Fe slowed us down a little. Lots of rain the rest of the way, except for more snow in southern Wyoming. Arrived Casper at 1930 to hit the Outback Restaurant for dinner. The four hour trip from Casper to Billings on Sunday morning was uneventful. Arrived at 1130 to shower up for the opera in the afternoon.

On the way down and back we listened to Ivan Doig’s House of Sky; Graham Greene’s Our Man in Havana; Solzhenitsvn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich; Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451; and started listening to The Iliad. If I had to do it over again, I would request, maybe require someone to read all my books to me. I’m fairly sure there was another book that we had read to us but I forgot the name.

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