Phoenix is many things to many people. Actually, Phoenix is one thing to everyone and that is hot. Somehow mid-July is no exception. How strange. Lauren and I had consciously made the decision that there was nothing we needed to see so much that we needed to leave the comfort of our hotel room during the heat of mid-day, and so, our second day in the desert was spent relaxing, recouperating and generally trying to do as little as possible. I edited some photos from Denver and Lauren played games on her phone as we basked in the glorious air-conditioning.
Thankfully, the hotel offered a free continental breakfast, which we treated with relatively light fingers and were able to stretch into a brunch-type situation, which saved us from having to go out for lunch. We planned to eat lightly at Chase Field and then grab some food after the game at the British pub that we had noticed the night prior.
Feeling refreshed and relaxed we made our way to the ballpark a while before the gates opened to stand in the entry line and bake ourselves.
There is nothing quite so welcome as the entry to an indoor venue that is just eminating air-conditioning. A literal oasis in the desert.
I dashed down toward the Cub pitchers on the warning track and got Michael Bowden to throw up a baseball to me, which I gracefully bobbled, but was able to pull in at the last minute. I quickly documented it for the internet to gaze upon and then tucked it away in my pocket as I headed toward the end of the dugout.
Once again, the Cubs were somewhat stingy in the autograph department and my new ball remained free of signatures for one more game.
Our seats were right next to the DBacks bullpen, which are traditionally my favorite seats in any ballpark, and we had a great spot to watch Patrick Corbin warm-up. I asked coach Glen Sherlock for the warm-up ball, and I thought I had a good chance, until he noticed the little kids sitting behind me wearing DBacks gear.
Against that kind of adversity I was dead before I started.
We wound up sitting next to an awkward “first date/old friend reunion” couple, who were perfectly pleasant enough and engaged us a number of times throughout the game. The girl got drunk pretty quickly and kept “whispering” to me that even though he companion insisted she root for the DBacks, she was secretly rooting for my Cubs because she was from Iowa, where the Cubs AAA team was located.
As previously stated, perfectly nice enough, but by the tie the later innings rolled around, I was just hoping for a little bit of peace and quiet.
During one of our wandering adventures, we discovered the DBacks offered a “Value Menu” where hot dogs were less than 2 dollars and there was a fairly wide selection of cheap eats. This helps cement the DBacks in their self-proclaimed role as “The Friendliest Team in Sports.”
As for the game itself, the battle of the NL All-Stars went fairly handily to Mr. Corbin as Cubs starter, Travis Wood had one of his worst starts of the season, allowing 4 runs and giving way to a catastrophe of a bullpen that gave up a combined 6 runs in 2 innings. I think the less said about that, the better.
After leaving the park, we slowly made our way to the British pub, where we expected to enjoy all kinds of British pub food, but we learned that the kitchen had closed 15 minutes prior to our arrival. While a good value, the value hot dogs weren’t enough to fill our bellies and after a drink each, we headed back to the hotel, by way of Circle K, where we both grabbed some sort of frozen creation to be our dinner.
Upon reaching the hotel, we decided to do a bit of exploring, since we were told there were laundry facilities available, and we could have done with having a bit done. The hotel was in the midst of a big remodel and when we reached the floor that allegedly had the laundry we were met with flickering light bulbs, bits of construction equipment littering the floor and a feeling that the twins from “The Shining” would be standing right behind us.
We were troopers and explored each room, in hopes that maybe, just maybe we would find the mythical laundry room. We did not. However, on the other hand, we weren’t brutally murdered by ghosts, so, really, it was a wash.
We headed to our actual room and enjoyed our Circle K feast before going to bed in anticipation of our big adventuring day in Phoenix set for the following day.