Without a day/night AFL doubleheader and it not being Monday, it was time to get the best pizza in the world at Pizzeria Bianco in downtown Phoenix. If you haven’t noticed from past postings, I love food! Joe & I arrived at Pizzeria Bianco, forty minutes before they opened 4:20 PM, and there were 43 people waiting to be seated. How do I know there were exactly 43 people waiting? Because we were the last two people seated in the initial seating, otherwise there would have been a two hour wait, which would’ve been bad as the night game started 1/2 hour away in Mesa at 7:05. The crust is light & airy, the ingredients are so fresh, and the pizza is even better than I had remembered. I had a pistachios pizza and Joe had a pizza with cheese, red sauce, & fresh basil leaves. We shared both and there wasn’t a crumb left after we were finished eating. I had to tell the owner, Chris (who makes all the pizzas), that no matter how good I remember his pizza being, it always exceeds my wildest expectations. Also we had Dave, my favorite server in the world, he always remembers us, and thanks us for coming in. Everyone is so excited with anticipation from first timers to repeaters, talked with the people sitting next (Jeanne & Rick) to us at the ballpark, they agree, it’s the BEST! My favorite place to eat, period. If you’re in Phoenix, this place is located in the Heritage Center off of 7th & Washington, and is a must!
After the game we zoomed over to Mesa, with some on-the-fly directions from DonS’ little brother Kevin (cellphones are wonderful), we walked into the ballpark as the National Anthem was being played. Tommy Hanson of the Braves was on the mound for the Solar Sox, while Chaz Roe of the Colorado Rockies was on the hill for the Desert Dogs. This was the meeting between the two guys charting the game one day earlier. But before settling in behind home plate, I needed to stop by to say hi to my friend Marteese Robinson. I’ve met the nicest people!
Tommy Hanson lived up to advance billing, striking out 11 guys in five innings, walking one, allowing two hits, and one run (on a Sean Doolittle OAK home run). This 6’6″ righty out of Riverside CC & Tulsa, OK has really impressed, despite being a 22nd round draft choice by the Atlanta Braves. Hanson has worked 18 2/3 innings, striking out 30, while allowing only one run, with an unreal 0.48 ERA, and a 3-0 record. Chaz Roe matched Hanson, by tossing four shutout innings, before being lifted. This was Roe’s best performance of his AFL, it lowered his ERA to a lofty 9.33. Chaz struckout seven and allowed only one hit.
Eric Young, Jr. got a pair of singles, but it was a rough night for him as he was picked off by the catcher & nailed when he rounded first base a little too far. Sean Doolittle touched Hanson for his first run allowed of the AFL and then sparkled when he shifted to first base. Twins (Phoenix) SS Steve Tolleson got a big two run triple after striking out his first three times up and then scored, accounting for three Desert Dog runs in the 8th.
Tigers slugger Jeff Larish, a local kid, slammed a big fly for Mesa and Matt Young of the Braves was 2 for 2 with two walks, & a stolen base. Logan Morrison was two for three with a walk, raising his batting average to .457.
Went back to the Quality Inn on Scottsdale Road in Tempe, AZ. I didn’t realize I’d stayed at this place for spring training, I don’t think I’ll be back. But I will be back to watch more AFL action next year, the best secret in town, but before that comes spring training, whether it’s in Florida or Arizona, it’s always a treat!
AFL 08, Arizona Fall League