Desert Sun Stadium

?By whatever weird twist of logic, the San Diego Padres do their spring training in Yuma. This is a city of military people and retired people, two groups I don't fit in with too well. Otherwise, Yuma is a good place to get gasoline on your way back from San Diego. I'm sure the story about how the Padres got to train there is an interesting one, but damned if I care enough about it to found out.

?Then again, maybe it's cosmic justice. Maybe the Padres management figured that since the players get to spend all season chasing babes up and down Mission Beach, they should pay some dues during basic, um, I mean spring training. A month in Yuma must surely be no picnic. I wouldn't know. What I do know about the place is what I've read and what I've heard from friends, so, compared to most normal people in the world, that makes me an expert. ?I did make the effort of calling someone with the chamber of commerce for a few minutes the other day, and all she could tell me was to not bother coming if I don't already have a hotel room reserved. Thanks for the tip, I told her.

MDRV?The Stadium:MDNM MDNMLocated in the middle of what supposedly is a gorgeous park complex, the Desert Sun Stadium holds almost 7,000 fans. The whole thingstadium and practice fieldsis named after Ray Kroc, deceased Shah of McDonaldland and Padres owner. Someone sent me a seating chart, and it looks like they've got lots of nice seats down there.

?Navigation: Take a left at Buckeye, then a right at Gila Bend. As far as scenery goes, the only thing to look at is an endless parade of grimy-looking families driving pickup trucks with camper shells and towing trailers carrying several off-road-type death cycles. Pre-game: The only time I've ever eaten anything in Yuma was two summers ago. We stopped there on the way back from the coast and ate at a Bob's Big Boy. As I recall, the soup of the day was cheese soup. With that, I had a Big Boy burger. I called down there two weeks ago to see if the Bob's was still in existence, and it wasn't. It's a JB's now, and it still occasionally serves cheese soup. But you can bet the Big Boy is available no more. Maybe your trip to Yuma would be a good time to start an Oprah-style fast. ?Post-game: Everything I've ever heard or read about having a steak dinner and some drinks in Yuma has centered on a place called the Hungry Hunter. It's apparently the only spot to go in Yuma for a "good time," a condition that I'm sure is relative to the setting.

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Cap'n Dave