I'm not about to get into the Tucson-Phoenix squabble, which seems to exist only because people in both places need to feel superior to someone, anywhere. It's boring. Suffice it to say that people in Phoenix believe they're superior to their counterparts in Tucson because we've got several semiprofessional sports teams and we've managed to eliminate almost all of those pesky native desert trees and plants and replace them with Minit-Lubes. Tucsonans can act superior to Phoenix because one of their semiprofessional sports teams (for the irony-impaired among you, I refer to the University of Arizona basketball team) actually wins games and because they send the kookiest liberal politicians in the world to the Arizona State Legislature every year.
In truth, Tucson is the only city to which Phoenix could possibly feel superior. The likewise is true for the Tucson-Phoenix dynamic. Now that I've settled that squabble, let's play ball.
I've always found that infrequent short blasts of exposure to Tucson can be quite refreshing, much in the same way that watching the Weather Channel is a cheap form of biofeedback relaxation therapy. For baseball purposes, Tucson, the spring headquarters for the woeful Cleveland Indians, does pretty well. Speaking of the Tribe, I was wondering: How come they suck so bad? There's just no excuse for it anymore. The other sports teams from Cleveland are doing great. Why not the Indians? As editorial writers say when they run out of things to say, Why not indeed?
MDRV The Stadium: My Tucson sources say Hi Corbett is just a peach of a ballpark and essentially the aesthetic equivalent of Phoenix Municipal Stadium. If true, then it's probably a pretty cool place. (Not "cool" in the sense of "chilly." My Tucson spies say Hi Corbett has zero shade, especially along the first-base side. So bring your sombrero.)
MDRV Parking: Is free and abundant. Yay!
MDRV Navigation: I always get lost in Tucson and end up parked in front of a topless bar of some kind. Strangely, this happens to me in Phoenix, too. So maybe I shouldn't be the one you lean on for directions to this field. Buy a good map, find Reid Park and go there.
MDRV Pre-game: It just so happens I've got extra-good sources when it comes to eating in Tucson. I myself have had some super meals there, so for starters we know it's possible. Here's a brief list of spots in which to grab a bite before heading to the ballpark. I've added some off-the-cuff commentary from people who act like they know what they're talking about. Austin's Ice Cream: "Good sandwiches. A Tucson landmark."
The Big A: "A place over near the UofA, a hamburger joint, they serve beer in Mason jars."
"Try the Mexican food on Fourth Avenue."
MDRV Post-game: There's always a danger in Tucson, when you're out on the town for the evening, of running into someone who wants you to invest in their macrame business. Plus, you could make a mistake and wander into one of the large expensive resorts around town, where, if you have to buy a round of drinks, you'll run your Visa to the limit. Like I say, the night is fraught with peril. So watch it.
Here's a run-down, from the same every-now-and-then-reliable source who dominated the last section: Dirtbags. "College hangout. Inevitably, there's a line spilling out the door." Rosie's Cantina. "Mexican food. Excellent atmosphere."
Presidio Grill. "Dinners. Bar. Good crowd."