Today was the first baseball game of the trip, with the A’s hosting the Dodgers split squad. After allowing the Dodgers to put up four runs in the second, they came back and scored nine in the third. They wanted to coast home, but the Dodgers put up four runs in the ninth to bring it to 10-8 before the game ended. I ate a footlong hot dog with kraut, onions and peppers. As my mustache grows, I have to relearn how to eat certain things, and dogs are one of those things.
Phoenix Municipal is a pretty nice park. Attendance was 5,303 people. They say it can hold 8775 people, but it seemed like there was more people than 60% capacity, so maybe they count the standing room only limits. It’s not too hard to get around in and the food lines don’t get too long since there are so many counters open. About the only thing that it lacks is the variety of food. Standard baseball fare here for the most part. It also doesn’t have any outfield seating or picnic area like many other minor league and spring training facilities have. I hope the city of Phoenix takes Lew Wolfe up on his offer to renovate and adds some outfield stuff and perhaps a new scoreboard.
I didn’t get any autographs today. We didn’t get there early enough and really were just trying to get our bearings on the place by the time the players came off the field. There’s a practice field right over the right field wall, and I got to see Giambi take some easy pitches from one of the coaches, and Ellis hit off a tee. The catchers, Landon Powell and Kurt Suzuki were also practicing their catching and throw-em-out motions. Tomorrow we’ll try to get there earlier and get some autographs.
Everyone, and I mean everyone, mentioned how cute Hunter was in his A’s onesie and hat. We even had a couple of Japanese girls take turns snapping their pictures with him. We were in the front row of the covered spots about a section or two over from home plate. It was a pretty good view of the field and of Papago Park behind it. Since we were in the front row, everyone had a good view of Hunter. He talked a lot and was ‘yelling’ at people as they went by, especially the young kids. A few people stopped with their young ones to say ‘Hi.’
While walking around we saw sportswriter Mychael Urban eating lunch in the VIP area. He’s pretty tall. Lew also came out to sign some autographs and shake hands. The Left Field Bleachers people were there and kept telling him to keep the team in Oakland. He ignored it.
After the game, we drove up to Scottsdale and ate at The Saddle Ranch Chop House for dinner. It was nice to actually eat dinner before eight o’clock for the first time in three days. I had a steak with garlic mashed potatoes and Heather ate an orange chicken dish. They were great, as were the cornbread muffins and buffalo wings. The manager of the place actually called my mustache a ‘Rollie Fingers thing’ so that was good. It looks like it would be a great place to go to watch a game, as they have TVs all over and the place is really spacious.
Tomorrow is game two, vs the Arizona Diamondbacks, so I expect it to have higher attendance than today. Also, sunscreen.