On Tuesday, March 24, I got in my rental car and headed toward something I had never done before: spring training. I was going to see my first MLB Cactus League game!
I did not quite understand that 15 baseball teams have spring training in the greater Phoenix area. The White Sox share a facility at Camelback Ranch - Glendale with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Getting to the field was actually quite a haul from the northeast edge of the metro area to the southwest side. The drive took close to an hour. Luckily, I finally entered this century and learned how to use Google Maps.
The crowd for the game against the Colorado Rockies was quite sparse. There is a White Sox at Cubs game tomorrow that is sold out and will probably be a madhouse. This game, however, offered many options for tickets. I decided to go retro and get a lawn ticket, which was a good choice. I spent the game walking around the stadium and didn't fry in the hot sun.
The game itself: meh. I was surprised at how uninterested I was in the actual game. It was just a spring training game, of course. I was more interested in soaking up the experience. There was only one negative to the trip: I missed getting a foul ball. One came into the area and only one other guy was anywhere close. Unfortunately, it bounced right to him and he didn't muff the chance. Rob
and Pete Peters
texted me and suggested that I should have pushed the kids out of the way. Unfortunately, the guy was an adult male and about twice my size. Justifiable homicide if I kill him for it?
After the game, I found out that dinner plans for that evening had been screwed up and I was probably on my own for dinner. Fortunately, I had spotted just the place to go. Where else but ... In'N'Out Burger! The picture below should look familiar.
The ol' double double animal style
On Wednesday I had great plans that got waylaid to some extent. I looked to start the day by getting in a poker session at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler -- close to an hour away. Before the sun went down, I planned to check out the Arizona State University campus in Tempe. Then, I would end the trip with another poker session at Talking Stick. However, I never made it out of Wild Horse Pass until after 10:00 p.m.
The poker room at Wild Horse Pass only had a few games going when I got there late in the morning. Only one was what I was looking for: the $2-100 spread game. I had to wait 20-30 minutes before a seat opened up for me. There were some initial fireworks when an older local took offense to a guy who talked non-stop, saying that the guy had already chased away three guys from the table. That might not have been too far off base. The guy was to my immediate left and talked loud and non-stop about football. He is a sports radio talk host in Philadelphia (I checked him out online that night) and was jabbering with a guy who claimed to be a former Oregon quarterback. I didn't get his name but am guessing he was legit.
Overall, play at the table was not that great. I was able to chip up fairly easily and had a nice session. The poker room is glassed in and therefore keeps out the noise and smoke from the casino, which was nice. Food on the poker room menu is half price -- another bonus. There were several promotions including Aces cracked, splash pots during selected basketball games and drawings for money every odd numbered hour. Entries are earned by showing a full house or higher.
I cashed out with a nice profit and decided to burn some of my new slot player club bonus money. I found my good friend Willy Wonka and hit several bonuses (that was just for you, cokeboy99
). I then played a machine called "Corgi Cash" and hit some very nice bonuses. Winning at poker and
slots? Hmmm ...
By the time I was done, it was already evening and a trip to ASU was not out of the picture. But ... I had already been out of the poker room for more than an hour and decided to go back in and see how I would do at a new table. Talking Stick would just have to wait.
This second session was again profitable. I did have one nasty suckout that swelled my stack, but most pots were won by decent play. The suckout: I raised with A-K spades and saw a flop of A-K-6 -- all clubs. One player was a shorty in early position, stack of about $100. A new player to the table was in late position with a stack of $200+. I was sitting on about $450. Shorty checked the flop. I bet $30 into the $45 pot. Both players called. I was relatively sure that I was ahead of Shorty but not sure about late position guy. The turn was a red 10, now opening up straight possibilities. I had a feeling that I was behind one way or another. Shorty checked. I threw out a $30 donk bet to see what the others would do. Late position called and Shorty shoved all-in for an additional $53. I called, as did the guy in late position. Gulp. I got ready to grab my ankles. And then the turn ... an Ace! I bet $100 and the late position guy said "I'm only calling." He had pocket 6's for a flopped set and boated on the river. Nasty! I never did see what the Shorty had. I scooped a nice pot, donkey that I am ...
Unfortunately, the table next to me hit the bad beat jackpot. If only ...
I finished just after 10:00 p.m and made the journey back to where I am staying. It was one heck of a day for poker and slot fun.
Today (Thursday, March 26) I am going to play at Talking Stick in the afternoon, then have dinner with my wife, my brother, his wife, and maybe a few other relatives. I have been on a nice roll at the poker tables and hope it continues for at least one more session.