Day 4: Tuesday March 11, 2003
Surprise, AZ - Our last game for this year's trip was scheduled at the
Rangers brand new facility out it the community of Surprise, which is
just northwest of Phoenix. But before we could head to the ballpark,
there was one little matter to be taken care of. We had been here in
Arizona for four days and had yet to visit a Perkins restaurant, so that
We found the local version by utilizing Clayton's keen sense of smell and
had the usual assortment of breakfast items, including eggs, pancakes,
bacon, toast, coffee, OJ, and the requisite "Freedom Toast," the Lizard's
favorite. One suggestion to the general public: massive amounts of
breakfast foods do not mix well with 90-degree heat! Big Jake was
pained, but his breakfast was kindly paid for by Clayton, so he was
On the way out to Surprise, civilization slowly disappeared. To give an
idea of the kind of place this was, we crossed a few bridges alleging
there to be a river below. Obviously, no water had flowed through these
ditches in years. One of these was actually called, get this, Agua Fria
We arrived at the complex around game time. Since Texas was hosting the
Arizona Diamondbacks, there were people everywhere, and a near-capacity
crowd of over ten thousand fans awaited us.
Apparently when they built this place they located the most remote spot
they could find in the middle of the barren desert wasteland. When
standing in the middle of the parking lot, nothing but distant mountains
was in view, save for large numbers of ball fields.
The facility was brand new and very nice, though the fan-friendly Rangers
camps are clearly a thing of the past. The only player access at Billy
Parker Field is located along each baseline, where the batting cages are
located about 100 feet from the seating bowl. Otherwise, you won't be
seeing any players except on the field.
Randy Johnson started for Arizona and pitched four innings, to which the
Rangers batters responded by barely touching the ball the first time
through the lineup. They managed one run and added three more against
the bullpen, but it was not enough to win.
Doug Davis started for Texas. Davis is probably in his last chance with
the club and he was rocked for four runs in the first two innings. He
has good stuff, but the young southpaw just can't seem to get it
together. We project the Opening Day Rotation to include Chan Ho Park,
Ismael Valdes, John Thomson, Colby Lewis, and Joaquin Benoit, but
probably no Doug Davis.
Texas lost 5-4, which was just fine with the vast majority of those
After the game, we strolled the grounds and took in the sites. We had
the opportunity to see Alex Rodriguez taking a little BP in the cages. A
small crowed gathered as he took his cuts. I can respect a superstar
working out after a game, though it is probably his fault that the key
chains cost $8.00.
By the time we arrived at the Yukon, the lot was cleared out, so we got
our gloves and played catch on the grass. This is something that should
be done on all spring trips to Florida or Arizona, and we spent about
half an hour.
Another thing you should do is either spend a couple of weeks warming up
or bring some Sportscream.