Monday, March 30, 2009 

Big Al checks out Spring Training

After many years of being a faithful Giant's fan, I finally was able to take in some Spring Training madness in the greater Phoenix area. I took in parts of two games (Giants at Padres in Peoria & Brewers at Giants in Scottsdale). I was very impressed with the whole experience. Both were small ballparks that gave you the feel of being almost on the field. Sometimes the games were so quiet you could hear the umpires calling balls and strikes and you could hear the base coaches yelling out to their runners.

(Santa Clara Alum Randy Winn getting ready to take Right Field.)

The crowd of about 8000 (in both parks) were quiet most of the time, but weren't afraid to yell out here and there. I yelled out a few times, but it was hard to hide yourself since the players actually heard and saw you in the small crowd.

(I had a few words with Roberto Kelly. I asked him to come back for one more year like Lance Armstrong. It got him laughing.)

The best part of watching games in Arizona was Beer Man. Unlike the non-existence of Beer Man in California, the viewing experience was greatly enhanced by the frequent visit of Beer Man as he handed you a cold Miller or Bud all the way until the first pitch of the 8th inning. Additionally, after the game there were several shuttles that were ready to pick you up and drop you off at their bar.

(No I ain't ninja. You can actually stick your camera into the dugout in Spring Training.)

I highly endorse Spring Training. I hope to make it out there for 2010.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009 

Big Al gets stranded in Scottsdale

Big Al and Frenchy hit up downtown Scottsdale last night. I was very impressed with the AZ talent pool. However, their methods of transportation were lacking.

(Homie is checking out the damage on the streets of Scottsdale. Homie had a bad potty mouth.)

After hanging out at the first place, we decided to hit up more of the sports bar scene. In doing so we decided to a take a rickshaw (not the name of a dude, but the cart attached to a bike). We enjoyed a nice bromantic tour of downtown Scottsdale and a puny kid pedaled almost 400 pounds of our weight. We probably shouldn't have gotten on in the first place given that the bike's rear tire was wobbling uncontrollably throughout the ride. After 15 minutes of riding around I heard a loud pop, a hissing noise and then a stale smell of air. The first reaction was to think that either the sprinkler system went off or a snake jumped on board. Unfortunately neither happened. We ended up running over someething that slashed our rear tire.

(Frenchy & Big Al are taking charge after the bike incident.)

We were sidelined for about 30 minutes as a replacement rickshaw was summoned but never arrived. We decided the hassle wasn't worth it and we eventually hoofed it back to the downtown scene.

(Despite the fears of being stranded in the streets of Scottsdale, the end results of getting back to civilization were well worth it.)

One last day left in the PHX. Check out a little more of Scottsdale with a Giant's game and then off to the airport for the ride home.

Friday, March 27, 2009 

Big Al is in the PHX

Just checking in from the PHX. I'm actually in the PHX for the first time ever - not just the airport. Anyways, just want to say wassup to Priscilla from El Paso. She's a world traveller that throws foam parties all over the place - next one is at USC in a few weeks. Give me a shout next time you're in the Bay Area.

(Drunk Big Al talking about world travels with Priscilla.)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 

Big Al goes on Spring Break

Yeah I suck with the blog updates. Sue me!
(What else would you expect?)

Anyways, I'm off to the PHX tomorrow for Spring Bring with Frenchy. We're going to see some Spring Training baseball, Chile con Carne Festival and hopefully some Sweet Sixteen madness. Give me a call if you're out that way.
(Evidence in the background - Build Me Up Buttercup)

(Big Al snuck up behind Nathasha & Christie ninja style to get in a pic.)

Big ups to my gym friends last weekend. We did some karoeking and drinking. Yeah team!


Monday, March 02, 2009 

Big Al gets stuck on a boat

So one tale that I forgot to mention was my 5 hour situation off the coast of Palawan, Philippines. Jo and Big Al were scheduled to really go on a 3 hour scuba diving tour.

(The Philippine's version of the Titanic.)

Given that I have a few dives under my belt, the schedule was to go out to a deep portion of the bay where another diver (the Russian) and I would dive for about 40 minutes. We would then come back closer to the shore for a shallow dive where Jo could join us. We made it out to the dive spot which was about 4-5 miles from shore. The waves were pretty choppy given that it was monsoon season. Jo didn't feel too well, so I decided to stay with her while the Russian and the dive master would dive. During this time on the boat, I also got pretty sick and decided to "feed the fish" a few times with that morning's breakfast. After their allotted, they boarded the boat and we proceeded to head to the shallow area.

(This is the primitive method of starting the engine.)

On our way there, the boat suddenly stopped. In their primitive attempts to start the boat (when I say primitive it was striking a rusty screwdriver against the ignition) the engine failed to turn and we basically were stranded at sea. We were approximately halfway through out 3 hour tour and both Jo and I have fed the fish many times. Luckily we were within cell phone distance, so they called their friends. Unfortunately, this was New Years Day and their friends were either still sleeping or hungover. What should have been a 30 minute wait for the rescue boat took an additional 3.5 hours. Normally this wouldn't have been too bad, but remember this was monsoon season so the water got worse and we went through 2 different storms. We were drenched, sick and scared. I even made the attempt to grab the life jackets from the hidden compartment within the boat.

(This is our rescue boat after 3.5 hours. Too many San Mig beers the night before.)

We luckily survived the whole ordeal. We were dropped off at the hotel, checked out and didn't pay for the scuba trip. I bring this story up because of the latest incident where 4 boaters (including 2 NFL players) went missing off the coast of Clearwater, Florida. Luckily one person was found hanging on to the capsized boat. My prayers are with those that are still missing and with their families.