PHOENIX â€“ Last I blogged, we were racing down a mountain, halfway between Vegas and Phoenix, struggling to make it to Maryvale Baseball Park by first pitch.
After hitting every red light in Maricopa County, we arrived in time for the third batter. But we didnâ€™t see much baseball, anyway.
The first game on these trips is much more of an acclimating experience for us. Picking up press passes, seeing the baseball writers in the press box for the first time since September, scanning the gift shop, eating some Island Noodles, lying down and taking our shoes off on the right field berm ... what happens on the field that first day is a little secondary.
Technically, we saw Aramis Ramirez get back into action, as well as Jean Segura banging out two runs. Nori Aoki got thrown out stretching a double into a triple, and the Brewers beat the Indians 4-3. But we also spent the game with our old friend from Phoenix, his wife and his two little kids. It was a pretty family-friendly day.
After the game, we checked into the Hotel Palomar in downtown Phoenix, a Kimpton place. Â If this foreshadows the new hotel coming to the Third Ward, Milwaukee is in for a treat. The boutique property is gorgeous, with modern styling and a stunning third-floor pool. Itâ€™s definitely in the top five coolest hotels Iâ€™ve visited in Arizona, and the bar is set pretty high.
A little inflated from the energy of this place, Eron and I took our weary bodies outside for a slow two-mile run around downtown. We circled both Chase Field and the USAirways Arena. Even though I was still operating on three or four hours of sleep from the night before, itâ€™s hard to not run when the temperatures are in the mid 80s. (It was a dry heat.)
There was little time to cool down, though, since we had dinner reservations at Copper Blues, inside the CityScape complex, almost a more laid back version of City Center in Vegas with a collection of restaurants, bars and shops connected by open air courtyards and escalators. Â Neighborhoods like this have really changed the landscape of downtown Phoenix over the last decade.
Copper Blues was a lot of fun, too. A brew "rock" Â pub with an emphasis on nearly wall-to-wall live music perched behind and atop the beer taps, we sampled some Phoenix beers and a whole bunch of appetizers. I probably didnâ€™t need my turkey burger entree (which was quite good), but I wisely refrained from even tasting the half pound of bacon with maple syrup for dipping, endearingly called "Pig" on the menu, that the group ordered for some unknown reason.
After dinner, our Phoenix friend took us a on an impromptu light rail pub crawl. Weâ€™d talked about this idea for several years, but having never stayed downtown, it never happened. Phoenix has a new and efficient light rail system that is popular with locals as well as tourists. Impeccably clean and quick, it was also very inexpensive, a day pass costing only $4. Â After we railed from bar to bar to bar, Â we jumped the track and walked to some vibrant places that Iâ€™m sure didnâ€™t exist last time I spent time in Downtown Phoenix. It made me sad that Milwaukee will probably never have a rail system like this.
Iâ€™d even say that this neighborhood, called Roosevelt Row, straddles hipster and art scene, but not exactly in a way like Milwaukee does. For all the times that weâ€™ve spend in Scottsdale and Tempe, it was fun to see the heart of Phoenix.
And of course, the night finally wrapped up around 2:30, which means Iâ€™m again writing on five hours of sleep. Luckily, I have co-conspirators to help me fine tune. Â This isnâ€™t a very sustainable long-term plan.
Today, itâ€™s more baseball at Maryvale, then dinner in Scottsdale, followed by the Old Town St. Patrickâ€™s Day block party. Itâ€™s a hectic desert pace, but I love it.
1 comment about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Andy Tarnoff
Published May 7, 2016
I won't lie to you: I know nothing about the current state of professional wrestling. But from 1983 to 1989, from about age 9 to 15, I was a huge fan. So big, in fact, that I wrote a fan letter to WWF announcer "Mean" Gene Okerlund.
Published April 28, 2016
Angry readers, self-righteous writers and surly social media speculators are in a tizzy about an uptick in "clickbait," and in many respects, they have every right to be. In lots of cases, it's a bogus attempt to lure gullible readers, and ultimately, it won't and doesn't work.
Published April 25, 2016
I've known about Mel Brooks' upcoming June 11 visit to Milwaukee for a little while now. Make no mistake, this is a "bucket list" show for me: Brooks is one of my all-time favorites in Hollywood, and "Blazing Saddles" has sat atop my favorite movie list forever.
Published April 15, 2016
For the many dozens of times I've visited the historic Pfister Hotel - for meetings, meals, weddings and drinks - until prepping for OnMilwaukee Hotel Week, I never spent an overnight at this Victorian masterpiece. Cross that off my bucket list - and I didn't even have to meet a ghost to do it.
Published April 14, 2016
As today's the wonderfully-made up "414 Day," or "Milwaukee Day," depending on who you talk to - it's a sexy day to look back at this excellent video from 2014 by the Five Card Studs.
Published April 11, 2016
I've been binge-watching HBO's "Vinyl." During a scene at an L.A. beach party, the camera panned to a sideburned record executive, smoking a joint and talking about Elvis. Even 25 years since I saw him last, I knew immediately that was my friend from high school, Dave Shalansky. I'd recognize that guy anywhere.
Published April 4, 2016
I'm sitting here on Opening Day, in the first row of the press box at Miller Park, and it's quiet. Too quiet. I mean, I can hear the fans in the ventilation over the sound of stands in this not-sold-out stadium. Apparently, other people here are either rolling their eyes in the fifth inning (or they're passed out).
Published April 2, 2016
It's been a long while since we interviewed FOX6 meteorologist Vince Condella for a personal profile, but with the long-time weather man's upcoming retirement, it was time to catch up.
Published March 15, 2016
I'm a big fan of Atlas Obscura, a website that calls itself "the definitive guide to the world's wondrous and curious places." And it does a good job. Yesterday, it took a look at Milwaukee and its 12 quirky treasures.
Published March 3, 2016
Sometimes, the `90s in Milwaukee feel like a distant memory; other times I can't believe they're so long gone. But then I looked at some of the photos I took while building the shell of what would eventually become OnMilwaukee, and these scenes seem ancient, indeed.