Thursday, April 20, 2006

Back from vacation

One week. Zero poker. First time in over two years I can say that.

Just haven’t felt the itch recently to poke around in the FTP Horse rooms or the PokerStars Turbo rooms. I’ve spent (wasted) a lot of time fiddling around in WhatIfSports baseball leagues. I have ten active teams right now and a couple that I’ve committed to that are awaiting a few more entries before they fly.

I was in Phoenix for a few days with the family, escaping from the Seattle-like rain that has drenched the Bay Area for the last couple of months. Played tourist around the area, going to a tourist trap ghost town (that the kids loved), hung around the hotel pools [note: the Pointe Tapatio Cliffs has a waterslide, eight swimming pools, five Jacuzzis, and way too many underage girls], played some tennis, went to see some greyhound racing, and saw the Giants play the Diamondbacks at the renamed BOB. It was a full four day trip. And tons of fun.

Chase Field (nee BOB) is a gorgeous field set in downtown Phoenix, if only half full. The fans there were one blip away from being catatonic and I’m pretty sure I was the loudest person in the park (my wife agrees). The Giants jumped out to a 7-0 lead while the DBacks were looking like Tanner and Lupus and Ahmed before Kelly Leak showed up. When the DBacks got to the Giants pen, carnage ensued and they quickly leapfrogged into a 9-7 lead going into the eighth. After a walk to Vizquel, the DBacks went to their closer.

Now it got funny. They blasted loud salsa music through the speakers, put virtual flames on every square inch of scoreboard, and pulsed “Papa Grande” on the Jumbotron in twenty foot letters to announce their closer, Jose Valverde. You’d have thought that he was some bullfighter coming in for the kill or something. Well, his third pitch got hammered about 450 feet by platoon player Mark Sweeney to tie the score. I was laughing and screaming so hard, I’m sure the fans in their cars on the way home could hear my cackling. The game-winning RBI in the ninth was almost anti-climactic after such a resounding crash from “Papa Grande”.

Anyway, the park gets a 9+ from me for looks and comfort, and about a 2 for ambiance. A gorgeous facility to see, but an absolutely DEAD crowd and the organist/scoreboard combination is constantly trying to defibrillate the audience. Fenway gets a 6 for looks and comfort and a 9 for ambiance. Walking next to the Monster is amazing and the sausages outside of center field are the best I’ve ever had. Dogger Stadium gets 4 for looks and comfort and 4 for ambiance. It’s looks old in person and the fans are more concerned with beach balls than the game. PacBell/SBC/ATT park gets an 8 for looks and comfort and 7 for ambiance. The views and sight lines are great and the fans are there for the game, not the pyrotechnics. The Oakland Coliseum gets 3 for looks and comfort and 3 for ambiance. It’s basically a shithole.

My entire family gives a big thumbs up to greyhound racing. Believe it or not, it’s completely free to watch. You can walk right into the facility and see some exciting racing. Of course, you’ll want to bet, so you’ll buy a program for $1.50. Betting is standard with WPS, quiniella, exactas, trifectas, superfectas, and a lot of other fectas to waste your money. So you’ll notice that I said that I hadn’t played any poker, and I didn’t say “no gambling”. Well, I suck rocks at picking dogs and dropped about $30 over the eight or nine races we watched. Predictably, my ten-year old daughter picked the first two winners (but wouldn’t let me bet on them). For the third race, I overruled her and placed a bet on her favorite who promptly came in last. Sigh. I didn’t have a single winning bet. Not one. But everyone had a great time, so my $30 was well spent.

I totally recommend Phoenix as a destination for a long weekend. I probably could’ve snuck out for some casino poker, but was pretty wiped out from staying out all day in the bright sunlight and 85 degree temps. We flew in Saturday afternoon and stayed until Tuesday night, and managed to do a ton of fun stuff and still left some on the table. Greyhound racing is a fun and cheap diversion, especially since they run about every 15 minutes and isn’t like horse racing and their interminable 30-minute breaks. Chase Field is a must for a baseball fan, especially during the mild spring days. I don’t think it would’ve been as fun in the summer in the 100+ degree heat.

I’ll probably be back online tonight, getting back into the HORSE saddle. I wish the $20 or $30 HORSE tables would fill, I could use the work. My last $10 Horse tourney, I busted out early when I got burned in Razz with a made 76 on fifth street against a runner-runner 75. Eh. Que sera sera.


Post a Comment

<< Home