Go West, Young(ish) Blogger

The title of today’s post is more than just a belabored play on an already mangled and misattributed quotation. It is also my way of telling you that I’m on the cusp of 2011’s first road trip!

Motivated by wanderlust and an unbeatable rental car deal, I’ll be checking out the new-for-2011 Tucson Padres before moving on to a quartet of California League teams. The itinerary:

May 11-12: Tucson Padres

May 13: Writing/Travel Day (although who knows? Maybe I’ll be able to get to a ballpark by nightfall).

May 14: Lancaster JetHawks

May 15: High Desert Mavericks

May 16: Inland Empire 66ers

May 17: Lake Elsinore Storm

I’m psyched to be making my first California sojourn as a so-called professional, and to once again get behind the wheel of a car after yet another prolonged stint of NYC public transit emasculation. Now comes the part of the post where I earnestly implore YOU to please get in touch with suggestions as to who to talk to, where to visit, what foods to try, etc. I of course have some ideas of what to write about, but as usual much is to be determined. Your feedback is much appreciated.

In particular, let me know if you have any interesting California League stories/memories. It seems like surreal things happen out there on a regular basis.

And driving a car again will no doubt lead to profound sticker shock at the pumps, something I mercifully don’t have to deal with on a daily basis here in NYC. But two teams are doing their part to ease the burden: the State College Spikes and Charlotte Stone Crabs. From the former:

From May 9th through May 20th, the Spikes will provide fans a chance to save at the pump when they take advantage of any one of seven ticket offerings. Highlighting the “Spikes Fuel Perks” ticket promotion, any fan that purchases new season tickets will earn a $100 gas card per seat bought!  

And the latter: 

Throughout the Stone Crabs season, fans will have the opportunity to purchase two reserved seats to any Stone Crabs game, along with two hot dogs, and two sodas for only $26. In addition to the ticket package, fans will receive a complimentary $5 gas card from RaceTrac convenience stores, while supplies last.

In completely unrelated news, I received the following email yesterday from Lowell Spinners groundskeeper Jeff Paolino:

I am reaching out to you to see if there is any way to find out if there are any other Military members who are currently Active or Reserve other than myself working in Minor League Baseball? Reason being, I would like to get a group initiative together throughout  MILB as representatives of both baseball and the Military.

This seems like a worthwhile endeavor, but I was unable to assist. So if you fit the above criteria (or know someone who does) then contact Jeff at jpaolino@lowellspinners.com And spread the word!

And, finally, congratulations to Pawtucket Red Sox announcer Dan Hoard — the new radio voice of the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals.

Enjoy your weekend! For the next two days, it’ll be all we’ve got!




  1. Sam Rice

    I am the orthopaedic consultant to the High Desert Mavericks and have been doing this for 21 seasons. There may be couple of things I have seen over the years that might be interesting for you.
    Las Brisas in Apple Valley has the best mexican food. Johnny Rebs for ribs in downtown Victorville.
    Good luck in your travels.

  2. Tyler

    Mi Nidito in Tucson is a must for authentic Mexican food. Also, El Guero Canelo for a Sonoran hot dog is what the local love. Check them out and you won’t be disappointed.

  3. Ryan Bethell

    When you come to Lake Elsinore we will show you a great time
    if your a Breakfast guy there is only one place to eat it in Lake Elsinore ANNIE’S. Just ask Cody Decker of the San Antonio Missions that played with the storm last season. Calhouns BBQ in Murrieta is good also. The person with the best stories of the Cal League is Sean McCall. He is the Director of Broadcasting for the Storm and has been there for at least 15 years he will be the guy to talk to! When you do come to Storm Stadium on the 17th ask for the Bethell Family,They are some big minor league fans worth talking to on your journey!

    • BensBiz

      Thanks, Ryan — I’m now dealing with two competing Lake Elsinore-area breakfast recommendations (Penfold’s being the other). Looking forward to meeting the Bethell family on Tuesday!

      • Ryan Bethell

        Cody knows,You wont want to miss out on Annie’s best place around! Make sure you tell them its your first time there! Also the Diamond club at the stadium is a great place to eat, and with some many new things to choose from the only thing I can think of at the moment would be the pretzel bun sliders, but Tuesdays are FAT tuesadays all you can eat dogs, burgers,nachos,pizza its heartburn heaven! To bad the storm aren’t better this year! I was in one of your blogs last year from “obscure sports night” the picture of the guy about to catch the fish was me! I have been a fan ever since! thank the Grounds Crew Gorilla for making me a Ben’s Blog follower! look forward to meeting you Ben hope you enjoyed the Tucson Padres Game if you talk to Cedric Hunter tell him Hunter Bethell says Hi!

  4. Ryan Bethell

    Also Ben If you would like company when you do go to Annies Just let me know. My Dad and I would love to join you for Breakfast!

  5. Ryan Bethell

    I was thinking there are other people in the Cal league at storm stadium & other stadiums worth an earful,booster club members that have been around over the years people that have open there homes time and agian.Fans that keep coming back no matter how bad there teams are just for the love of baseball. At Mavericks Stadium there are 2 guys that sit right behind visitors dugout one of them is named Kieth. You will notice them becuase anytime the pitcher gets a strikeout they put homemade “K’s” on top of the dugout.The 2 of them are the only true fans of the Mavericks.Inland Empire use to be the Dodgers affiliate there is a couple named the Kendall’s.They have the first 4 seats with there Names on them they sit behind the visitors dugout. Mrs. Kendall is the bigger baseball fan. Hugh Dodgers Fans her team got switched to Rancho so it hurt them both becuase now they are the Angels(Arghh!) Great people to talk to, both very knowledgable about the game.They are all around great Cal League people worth your blog about the Cal league. I cant forget Storm Fans Miss Phyllis,Melody Kieser,Darryl & Bobbi Sutton, Ken & Connie & Booster club president Niel Ross & Former Charlie Winstrup & Bob Eggerling. All of these people are Cal League Families That Bleed there teams colors, Most of them house players & Hate to LOSE! Maybe it can be a future blog about Fanatical Minor League Baseball Families! Well hope this gives you some Ideas cya soon!

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