Day 3: Monday March 10, 2003

Phoenix, AZ - We left Tucson in the late AM and headed northwest up I-10
to the Phoenix area for the one o'clock game featuring the Rangers and
Giants in Scottsdale. We had been anxious to see our "home team," as
several up-and-comers will likely
be featured this season.

Both Hank Blalock and Kevin
Mench broke in last season
following monster springs in Port
Charlotte, though Mench fared
much better. (Did you know
Mench wears a size eight hat? He
has the biggest head in the league
and has earned the nickname
"Shrek.") Both should play the
majority of the Rangers games
this season and are expected to
quickly develop into star-quality

News from this year's camp,
however, centers on young
switch-hitting 3B/1B Mark Teixeira. Scouting reports say the slugger has an identical swing from both sides of the plate, and he is considered the number one hitting prospect in baseball. The Rangers want him to spend a year at AAA, but Teixeira is working to make that decision as hard as possible.

All the spring facilities in Arizona seem to be outdrawing their Florida counterparts, probably due to the fact that there is nothing else to do in the middle of the desert. The Giants are near the top of that list, averaging over 14,000, an amusing figure considering their spring attendance is higher than the Marlins, Expos, and Devil Ray's regular season averages.

We have also noticed that most of the Cactus League ballparks look the
same, featuring sand-colored facades and open-air concourses; they simply
do not have the character and the history of those in the Grapefruit
League. These parks are very intimate, however, featuring seating quite
close to the playing fields and very little foul territory.

This will probably come as a big shock to Rangers fans, but the game was
a high-scoring affair, as pitchers struggled to record outs. Texas
eventually pulled out a 10-9 win in a game that featured many lead

One funny moment
occurred as "Perkins"
Pecot and I went to the
souvenir shop to secure
the customary program
and key chain. Both Pecot
and I are tall, big guys that
look far more like linemen
than baseball players. As
I was sporting a
Hawaiian-style shirt, the
lady behind the counter
excitedly pointed out that I
really needed a "Giants
Hawaiian shirt."

"That is a giant Hawaiian
shirt," Clayton
deadpanned. (You'd think
this being my newsletter
and all I could keep the self-deprecating humor to a minimum, but all agreed this should make the update and the newspaper back home, as it was hilarious.)

After that entertaining contest, we crossed Phoenix to take
in a night game between the Angels and Padres. Our first
order of business was to have our picture made with the San
Diego Padre. We ended up with an shot of all of us with what
is perhaps the goofiest looking mascot in pro sports.

Arrival at our excellent seats at the end of third base dugout
found us among an even mix of Padres and Angels fans.
Since both cities are fairly close to Phoenix, this was not a

Benji Gil, former error-prone Rangers shortstop, started for the Angels and we really let him have it. The merciless booing continued until he left the game, proving entirely false the old adage "they don't boo nobodies."

Our amusement was short-lived, however, as we all realized Benji Gil has a World Series ring, something Rangers players are going to do without for a long, long time.

See pictures from the Padres-Angels game - Click here.

Go to the "Out of Bounds" Home Page
Scottsdale Stadium in Scottsdale, Arizona, spring home of Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants.
The Rangers we wanted to see in Scottsdale: 3B-1B Mark Texeira (top left), 3B Hank Blalock (bottom left) and OF Kevin Mench (right). Later in the regular season, we were surprised when the most experienced (Mench) saw limited action due to injury, while Blalock emerged as a bonafide superstar and Big Tex contended for Rookie of the Year.
Clayton "Perkins" Pecot on the concourse in Scottsdale sporting a giant shirt of his own.
These plaques pay tribute to players who have been a part of winter league baseball in the Arizona league. They include: Cubs Manager Dusty Baker, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and first baseman Jason Giambi, Mets catcher Mike Piazza, Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, and former White Sox manager Jerry Manuel.

Rangers reliever Francisco Cordero (left) delivers a pitch. When the Rangers ultimately shipped Uggie Urbina to Florida, Coco became the full time closer.

Three-time Ranger Ruben Sierra (right) looks on from right field.  The once-redeemed "His Royal Baldness" reverted to his old ways when the Rangers sent him to the Yankees in the middle of the season.