Our friend, Chris, joined Frank and I for our annual visit to see Shane and the White Sox in spring training. We hit the road about 3:30 on Friday. Our time change came early. We turned back the clocks as soon as we crossed over to Arizona. There is less construction since the last visit to Phoenix. We made the drive in 4.5 hours, but stopped for dinner at In-N-out in Kingman. It was our first double double of the year. Believe me when I say it hit the spot. Chris had just had it two days before so he wasn't nearly as thrilled as Frank and I. We pressed on, and arrived at Shane's. We settled in, and shared our fascination over Charlie Sheen's antics by showing them the "Winning Recipes" video.
His quotes set the tone for our whole weekend. That, and Five Guys innuendo, which we never tire of since we're all apparently 15, still. We went to Scoreboards, darts and our regular table was taken. We opted to play Buzztime Trivia to occupy our time while we slung back adonis juice, also known as Kronenbourg. The four of us had fun choosing names, all but Shane's were courtesy of Charlie's Sheens more popular lines... Warlock, Winduh, FSTBALL. Shane was taint. It took 20 tries before a name he suggested was actually accepted. He was seated between Frank and me, so I had to ask, "which one of us is the asshole and the dick?" He never did give me an answer, imagine that. After a few beers, the guys got snacky. It was early enough that the kitchen was still open, we ordered fried cheese curds, sweet potato fries and jalapeno caps. All of which we're surprisingly good. The caps gave me hiccups, I didn't realize they were truly spicy. Probably should've tried one before popping a handful in my mouth. Fortunately, the torture only lasted 10 minutes or so, although it felt like eternity. Hiccups are killer. We played more trivia and had a couple more beers. The music transitioned from country to rock, and then, non-stop rap, which turned us off. We left before last call, a rarity for us. I was too sober for Jack in the Box so I passed, but they all got food. Back at Shane's they ate, and we watched ridiculous videos on the internet. Afterwards, we got our beauty sleep so we'd be ready for our White Sox.
Saturday, once we were up and out we went to a Mexican restaurant for an early lunch. I cannot recall the name of the place. It was Americanized, edible, but nothing special. I had a cheese enchilada and corn tamale, Frank had a chimichanga. We did enjoy dining outdoors, it was 85 and gorgeous.
After lunch we drove out to Camelback Ranch, the new home of the Chicago White Sox spring training camp. Great park, with roomy seating. They even sell Vienna beef Chicago dogs.
The White Sox tend to lose all the spring training games we catch. Saturday's game was no different. Win or lose it's an enjoyable outing. I love the intimate feel of the smaller parks. Plus, it's good fun. From now on we'll catch all spring training games at Camelback park, we liked it that much.
After the game, we went to Coasters and Castles for mini-golf. We played two courses. Frank, Chris and Shane bet on each hole. Good times. We worked up a hunger and decided on Dillion's BBQ for dinner. Shane had never been, but it's top rated. We had to wait for a table, we asked if there was a bar and we were directed around the corner. We finished our beers, and I began to wonder if they had been calling us. Frank went to check. Sure enough, our table was ready, they completely ignored the fact we said we'd be at the bar. We ordered, everyone but me got ribs, I ordered burnt ends since I never had it, it's basically leftover pieces of smoked brisket. We also ordered onion rings and toasted ravioli stuffed with jalapeno cheese. The starters were tasty! Then, confusion ensued. We were told they only had enough ribs for 2 orders, but after much back-n-forth then said they had enough. During this, we were told it was our fault for seating at 8:00, if we want ribs we should come earlier. Wow, great customer service. Everyone got what they ordered said and done. I did not like my burnt ends, they had great Mac-n-cheese, though. The ribs were nicely smoked. Not bad, but I'm so spoiled by the great value of Ellis Island's ribs.
After dinner, we stopped at Albertson's for a beer run. The guys played video games. I had a stomach ache and the games made me doze, so I went to bed shortly after. The guys stayed up and played a bit longer.
Sunday, we kept tradition and had an early lunch at Mr. Goodcents. They have footlong subs for $3.99. You can't beat it. A bit later, we went to Surprise Stadium for the Giants vs. Rangers game. We caught games there last year so we were familiar with the park, but we knew it'd be crowded but we didn't expect a sellout. It was like an ant farm with the crowd moving all around. I enjoy it better when it's relaxed. Anyway, I told Frank I was rooting for the Giants, so he chose to root for the Rangers. We had a good rivalry going between us.
Giants won! During the game, Frank went on a hunt for nachos. They didn't have any. How does a ballpark not have nachos? He came back with Italian sausage instead. The highlight was the peppers and onions. The sausage itself was so bad it made me question if it was Italian sausage. It could've passed for a bratwurst. Finding cinnamon roasted nuts was winning, however. I loved the nuts at the Cardinals football stadium these tasted just as good.
Back at Shane's we packed up and said so long until next time. We stopped near the Joshua tree forest for photos, it was the start of golden hour and Frank thought I should take advantage of the light. The bummer was much of the forest was fenced off.
After a few hours drive and another stop in Kingman for In-N-out we were home. I love spring training, it's a preview of what's to come. Not just with baseball, but the nice weather, too.