First a shout-out to Mr. Matthew Hegarty, who I met in AZ at Spring Training last week. He came over and asked if I was Lee Lee the Musical Bee, and said he reads the column regularly. I appreciate that, Mr. Hegarty, and it's nice to know that there are people I don't know out there tuning in each week. Makes it all worthwhile.
So on said Spring Training trip to AZ last weekend, we had a nearly unsurmountable task ahead of us: Driving the 400 miles or whatever from LA to Scottsdale to get there in time to see a baseball game. 400 miles. With kids. The online maps said it should take about 6.5 hours. I figured in the kids + my accelerated driving pace = 7.5.
We were making stellar time. We even stopped in the Palm Springs area for a bit of breakfast and to let the kids run around a bit. Driving about an hour out of Phoenix, it appeared that we'd prolly reach the stadium around 12:50. Just in time for the first pitch.
But no, that would be too perfect, now wouldn't it? I heard from the back seat "I have to go potty." Being in the western part of Arizona doesn't leave many restroom options, so I pulled off at the nearest exit to let the boy whiz on the side of the road. But no, that would be too quick and easy, now wouldn't it? He had to go #2. And that wasn't going to be possible on the side of the road.
We found some economy chain motel to stop at, and as I carried the boy in, the guy at the counter said "bathroom? to your left." I guess dad hurriedly carrying child is universal language for bathroom emergency. He took care of his business, and we also changed the baby girl's diaper. An efficient pitstop, but at that point I knew we were cutting it close.
I did what any man on a mission would do: I picked up the pace. Funny thing about AZ that they don't tell you in the visitor guide: There are "photo enforcement" stations all over the friggin' place. At least they have the courtesy to post warning signs before the cameras start snapping unwanted photos. Which is ridiculous, but I wish they'd do that for all speed traps. Like signs on the road saying "cops up ahead" would be great.
However if you miss the "photo enforcement" signs, then you're kinda busted the old fashioned way, without a courtesy notice to slow down. So I'm following this truck who's doing 75 in a 65, and I figure I'd do the same. I must have been distracted by some kid activities/nonsense in the back of the car, because I didn't see any sign but I did notice a couple of flashes go off next to some radar guns mounted on the side of the freeway. Great. I just hope it was for the truck and not me. Or if it was for me, I hope that my mug was obscured by the speeding truck.
At approximately 1:10 we drove up next to the stadium to find zero parking nearby. After driving around for what felt like an eternity, Lily was so kind as to take the wheel and use her parking karma to get us a spot nearby. In typical Angelino fashion, we walked through the ballpark turnstiles just in time for Inning 3. And there I met Mr. Hegarty, and was handed a cold beer by Mr. Alan Chimenti. Best Coors Light I've ever tasted.