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Road Trip: Watching the El Paso Chihuahuas in Tucson, AZ

This is a post that I started a while ago and then didn't finish. It's not gonna make much sense. I don't feel much like doing much more with it, but jbox IM'd me and told me to get my sh_t together for once. So...

The El Paso Chihuahuas are the AAA affiliate of the San Diego Padres. The team is named after the oldest breed of dog native to North America. Chihuahuas, being dogs, are descended from wolves, albeit very tiny wolves with a tendency to yap a lot and be carried in purses. Also, there's strong evidence that chihuahuas were mainly raised and selected to be silent and fat and tiny so as to be readily eaten in tasty dishes cooked up by Mayan chefs.

Street tacos maybe.

The Chihuahuas baseball team will play home games at Southwest University Park. The ballpark itself is in downtown El Paso and is part of a revitalization of the area. Unfortunately, the park wasn't quite ready for the start of the 2014 season and a different home field was needed. The previous two years had seen the AAA club at Tucson (as the Tucson Padres) so the decision was made to play the first few home games at Tucson as a sort of AAA Baseball Extravaganza thing. The team would then hit the road for a bit and find themselves in El Paso by the end of April.

So with that in mind, we packed up the family and took a road trip out to the Sunshine Factory itself, Tucson, AZ. Our main goal was to catch some baseball, spend some time with the family (Did you know Brooks Conrad is my brother-in-law?) and hang out by a pool in the desert heat, pretending to be lizards.

We got Kino Field in Tucson on Saturday and caught the second game of the Chihuahua's weekend series with the Reno Aces (Phil Nevin, Manager). Short game recap, the Chihuahuas lost by like a billion. Kyle Blanks and Cam Maybin did nothing of note at the plate. Notable instead was the fact that Cam Maybin had a hard running chance at a high fly ball and didn't dive for it. He didn't look hurt or sore or anything, but it was the kind of thing that leads me to want to call bullsh_t on anybody who says that pro athletes aren't able to not go all out on every play.

Watching baseball at Kino was kind of a weird thing. The games were being billed as a sort of AAA Extravaganza type of thing, as if it might have been compared to the Dodgers and the Diamondbacks in Australia, or some NFL in London game. While there was definitely the vibe that people were glad to see AAA baseball being played there for just a little bit, there was also the distinct vibe that this was an opportunity to sell the rest of the old Tucson Padres merchandise (which was heavily discounted) and just generally make a little bit more money on concessions (which were limited to about 6 items). A nice bonus in terms of food was the taco truck that had been brought int where one could buy $2.50 cabeza street tacos. I like to imagine that cabeza tacos might be similar in consistency and taste to a chihuahua taco prepared by a Mayan chef. Other than that, there was also an Eegee's frozen lemonade truck. Eegee's specializes in frozen slush lemonades and has 26 locations in the greater Tucson area, and one more location outside of Tucson. This seems to me to be an oversaturation of the market, but I've never been in Tucson when the desert summer really hits, so maybe it's more of a public service.

Besides the food, we were treated to a pick-your-own giveaway. Diamondbacks growth chart, Diamondbacks luchador mask, a Tucson Padres kids tee and a Jedd Gyorko shopping bag that may have previously been made out of plastic bottles.

And that's about where I ended the first time... Other stuff that you might be interested in before I abruptly end this post...

  1. A home run ball got hit towards us and rolled up the grassy outfield. My father-in-law was chasing after it and I was coming at it from the other side yelling, "KICK IT TO ME! KICK IT TO ME!" He eventually made a tackling stop at it.
  2. We attended a barbecue dinner with the Chihuahuas as guests of Brooks'. At the dinner, Cam Maybin mistook my father-in-law for the guy who cooked the barbecue. I told my father-in-law he should've taken it as a compliment seeing as Maybin's from Asheville, NC and they know a thing or three about BBQ.
  3. I scored myself a $10 Tuscon Padres hat.