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Darryl P. Skeeby's spring primer

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Load up the ol' chuck wagon we're going to see the Gran Canyin.

Here I go again on my own.
Here I go again on my own.
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Face it, there's nothin' to watch on the tube anymore. The flickering reds and greens of football have finally succumbed to their ultimate slumber as has the chipmunk of the tree or the bat of the cave. The sloth slumbers except to eat. So too have I lived these past unlucky months without the baseballin' to warm my tender vocal chords.

Now that football season is good and dead and nothin' but green grass and high tides lay betwixt our collective moonshinin' under the Red Rocks of Peoria, America, I have decided to stretch out my extra long middle toes and take a walk down to the Sunshine State to see Seattle Mariners' Spring Ball. Yet going "downtown" or "downlow" or "downunder" depending on what region of the Eastern Block you are from can be scary for some. I remember my first time flying on the giant metal goose down to The Zona to see the young boys play ball and boy was I like a peacock in a mirror. Scared and colorful and just showin' all my feathers, was I. I had no plan. No means of knowin' where to go or who to be or what person I had to chat up to get some fine and delicious gyros.

Because I was once like you, headed to Spring Trainin' without any sense of what to do or how to drive on the wrong side of the road, I made this handy dandy SPRING PRIMER full of helpful TIPZ and TRICKZ for having a real gale of a gust down in the ol' dust cavern of Sunshine City, USA.

TIPZ AND TRICKZ

  1. Roadrunners: Not as quick as them cartoons would have you believe but do make for a delicious stew.
  2. Eat a gyro: If you want to shake hands or swap spitticles with the rich and famous, you must find yourself in line for a sweet and savory Gyro.  There you can meet all the movers and shakers of the Spring.  You'll meet illustrious news folk such as Shannon Drayer, heavy-pocketed folk like Howard Lincoln, flexible nannygoats like the guy who dresses up as a moose for your pleasure, and finally, Gerald, the infield ground's keepah. His work can be seen here.
  3. Toe socks: There's no better way to keep your digits safe from both fungus and overheatin' than giving them their own, separate cotton coffins.  Pair some colorful, preferably single-color dyed toe socks with a pair of sandals and you're sure to find someone to keep you warm through the desert nights.
  4. Red Rocks: Be wary of what people are offerin'.
  5. Shaggin' pop flies: It ain't just for pitchers and catchers. Let go of your inhibitions and start shaggin' batting practice yourself.
  6. Ed Sheeran: What can I say. I love his music.
  7. Roadwork: Something about the nether-regions of this country always spells ASS-FAULT and CON-STRUCT-ZEN. Be wary that any road traveled will, of course, have its purple mountain majesties and amber fields of grain, but also seventy road signs and a lane closure.
  8. Viva Las Vegas: "Las Vegas" is from the Greek meaning "a fools errand done in earnest hope" and I'll be damned if it isn't worth the drive from Pee-Or-E-Ah. In this small and unknown town lies a treasure good as gold and better than my grandmammy's peach cobbler. Imagine livin' a life of pure risk at a $5 blackjack table and yellin' "ALL IN!" whenever the nice man walks by with a platter of gin and tonics.
  9. Avoid the Sun: There is a lot of new-fangled research callin' the Big Orb out for making a mess of people's discretionary layin' about. Go to Spring Training but prepare yourself to keep out of the sun. Wear four visors at once, cover your body in towels or washed denim, whatever it takes, folks.
  10. Get a Tan: Nobody wants you coming home pasty.
  11. Dynamite: Back to the cartoons here; don't use dynamite to catch the roadrunner that stuff can makes one dadgum mess.
  12. Sunglasses: Bring a pair of specs or else your eyes just may burn out by day's end. Being that close to the Equator can be dangerous.
  13. Don't cheer too loud: Some of us are listenin' to our stories.
  14. Scottsdale: Essentially the center of culture for the American Southwest.  You're gonna wanna plan three or four days to explore the malls alone.  Only second to Flagstaff in ambiance with Paris, France a distant third.
  15. A Good Mix CD: The desert is a beautiful and lonely place, sort of like Vermont or most zoo animals. For me, the key to not losin' your lover fifty different ways is a proper mix CD or casette with only hot jams. That means Whitesnake, Teddy Pendergrass, Puddle of Mudd, Lauryn Hill, the Biebs, and Kenny Chesney on one CD, just the hits.
  16. Netflix and Chill: Now I don't understand much about modern teknology or how to use a scanner but this new hashtag (Sanskrit word for "number sign") sounds like a relaxing means of wrapping up a starry, desert night. Sometimes a fella just wants to curl up with his favorite shows and a wrinkled copy of Ulysses.
  17. Benches-clearing brawls: Now, I'm no expert, but I am essentially one, and I can tell ya, nothing beats the excitement of a spring time wrastlin' match where thirty or so fellas just stand around and watch. Yell things from the stands and eventually these oiled up machines-made-men will do a little dance.
  18. Foul balls: Always bring a spare in case you need to fake out the little seven year old sittin' next to you, who thinks the ball you stole from them is rightfully theirs.
  19. Autographs: Nobody wants anything less than to be shown various artifacts that another person touched a pen to. Instead, start a collection of taxidermy squirrels. Always sure to impress.
  20. Chili's: This rare delicacy is a favorite stop of mine between split-squad games.  Order the chicken fingers (the part of the bird under the wing feathers) with queso (some sort of cheese) sauce and wash it down with a sparkling lemonade (sparkling because of the strawberry seeds).
When all is said and done, Spring Training is the perfect means of getting one's body prepared and goosed up for a long season of home runs and intentional walks. I hope, if anything, these helpful pointers leave you ready as a teddy to take full advantage of the beams of sunshine and various beverages waiting for you in the Suniest Place on Earth. The winter is long, but the owl sees at night.