PHOENIX -- I'm sitting at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, an hour before hopping my flight home to Milwaukee.
It was another good Spring Training trip, and even though I did my best to take you along on the ride, I realized a missed a few things. Here's what didn't make the cut in the last few blogs.
Checklist: Before I left, I posted a blog about what I wanted to see from the Brewers. Unfortunatlely, they didn't look good during the four games we saw. However, I was pleased to see solid performances from Aramis Ramirez and Mat Gamel. I'm personally convinced the Crew can be as good this year as they were last year.
Maryvale: I hope I didn't visit Maryvale Baseball Park for the last time. Yes, today's Cactus League stadiums are are fan fancier than the Brewers' spring training home, but the ballpark is comfy, convenient and spacious. Compared to, say, Tempe Diablo, it's much less hassle through the concourses, and there's more outfield seating. I'd like to see Phoenix renovate Maryvale rather than force the Brewers to move. And, if they go to Florida (which they won't), my spring training streak will end at 15.
Parking: Phoenix has a lot of things right with it, but a $75 parking ticket for an expired meter ($50 if you pay promptly) is not one of them. I like the idea of spending more time downtown, but with a brunch that went just over an hour, and thus expired our meter, I'm not sure I'm inclined to park on the street again.
Free wi-fi: I'm on a crusade to see free wi-fi everywhere. The airport here has it, and it reminds me the General Mitchell International Airport needs it. Our hotel, the Sheraton Crescent, doesn't, and at $10 a day, that's my only knock on an otherwise stellar property.
Disadvantage Rent-a-Car: I guess there's a reason that Advantage Rent-a-Car looked cheaper than the others. Everything about this experience was a disaster, from the booking process to the hidden fees to the pushy salespeople to dirty, dented car that actually stalled out on us. I have a major beef with this company and will be in contact with their people soon. Meantime, stay away from this company.
Rickshaw: Old Town Scottsdale has it figured out. This dining and nightlife hubÂ offers free rickshaw service; you only pay for tip. It's a fun, green way to get around the neighborhood. I love Scottsdale.
Burgers: Bobby Tanzilo will elaborate on our dinner last night at the Phoenician, but as good as gourmet burgers were Relish, they don't touch Milwaukee's offerings. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Milwaukee might have the best burgers in the world.
Hail: Spring Training rainouts are rare, but I've experienced at least three. Of course, during the Brewers' most crisp performance during my time here, it was also 45 degrees, windy, rainy, and ultimately, hailing. Meanwhile, it was about 30 degrees warmer back in Milwaukee, I'm told. Just my luck.
HOV lanes: The traffic in the Phoenix area is notorious horrible, but the HOV lanes speed things up dramatically. Milwaukee could use one; it's a great way to encourage carpooling and it makes rush hour a non-issue if you have a passenger or two.
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