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Scottsdale Stadium

Home base for the San Francisco Giants, this charming park is a big favorite with fans of the truly hep persuasion. Many absolutists hold that Scottsdale is the absolute best place to catch a game, because of primo sightlines throughout and the cozy feel of the grandstands in relationship to the playing field. Indeed, the players seem so close, some fans actually get the feeling that they're watching the action on a big-screen TV in a dingy bar somewhere on the west side of town. It's that cozy.

Needless to say, I love this park, too. Three different teams (da Cubs, A's, and Giants) have trained there in the decade-plus I've been in town, and it doesn't really matter who's playing, a game on this field is usually pretty lovely. The recent success of the Giants is nothing more than a marginally consequential bonus, unless you're a Giants fan, and then it's more like the last remaining reason to drag your sorry self out of the sack in the morning and continue living.

So naturally it makes perfect sense for the City of Scottsdale to want to tear the stadium down and put up a baseball disco of some kind for the Giants. Which is exactly what is going to happen someday soon, you can bet the rent. The politics of spring training are going to ruin this park, I predict, and for that reason alone I suggest every local baseball fan should register to vote--particularly you slugs in Scottsdale--and start finding out where your elected officials stand on all baseball-related issues. We've got to save the Scottsdale Stadium for spring training purposes, get a full-scale open-air stadium built somewhere in this county sometime in the next three years for a full-time big-league team, it's got to be built fairly close to my house, it's got to have a botany-related playing field instead of something made by Dow Chemical, and it's got to have sixteen-ounce beers for no more than $1.

I'm willing to bend some on that last point, but that's only because I otherwise deal from a position of considerable power, and that's only because I'm registered to vote and totally prepared to electorially clobber any pinhead politigeek who isn't interested in furthering the Baseball Agenda. George Will--political pundit, Sam Donaldson video love toy and, for our purposes, baseball fan--comes out to spring training a lot (I spotted him in the crowd at Phoenix Muni on Saint Patrick's Day last year), and if I run into him this year, I'm going to somehow force him into helping Phoenix get a big-league team. The time for action is now, my friend, even if that means having to suck up to a person like him. (In fact, if any of you should spot George before I do this spring, pour a beer on him and tell him I sent you. I figure we need to get his attention, and quick.)

But since I don't live in Scottsdale, my vote on the (as George Bush might say) "stadium thing" isn't going to count for much. Get out there and enjoy that existing jewel of a ballpark as long as you can, people, starting day after tomorrow. And remember, when Scottsdale Stadium dies, a little bit of you dies, too.

MDRV The Stadium: Lots of red-stained wood sets the tone, and the daffy pennant-style signage around the top level of the park's exterior says: "Har!" Inside, there is much comfortable seating but little shade. To me, the foul-line bleacher seats seem far, far away from the rest of the grandstand, which accounts for much painful eye strain during between-inning babe-scamming. This isn't really much of a gripe, because, babe scammers and scammees excepted, none of the people who sit out there want to see anybody who sits in there, and likewise.

Otherwise, there always seems to be lots of people standing around at Scottsdale Stadium. I don't know if that's because the people are so hung over they can't climb six or seven steps to a real seat, or because they think that since they're leaning on a chain-link fence next to the field and looking wise that maybe Roger Craig might mosey over and ask for a second opinion on who to pinch-hit for Big Daddy next inning. Like I say, I don't know. This is part of the stadium's charm to me.

Another big part of the stadium's charm is the aforementioned cozy feeling I get when sitting in the main part of the grandstand. Everyone else in the park seems so close, it's almost as if I could reach out and flick that little slab of relish off the chin of that guy who's sitting over behind the third-base dugout. Hey, isn't that George Will?

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Cap'n Dave