Leading Off: Fun times during spring training in Arizona

03/06/2013 12:00 AM

03/06/2013 4:37 PM

Some highlights from a few days in Scottsdale, Ariz., enjoying the sun-drenched circus that is spring training:

Giants infielder Kensuke Tanaka, No. 88 – that's "yaso kara hachi" (88) in Japanese – put on a show Saturday, going the other way for two hits, stealing a base, and starting the game at second with a sweet throw from deep up the middle to rob a Chicago Cubs player of a hit.

Giant emeritus Will Clark and ex-Giants postseason hero Cody Ross (now with the Arizona Diamondbacks) remain fan favorites for a reason. Clark smiled and emphatically pointed to a fan hollering his name. Ross, walking past appreciative Giants' fans, turned when his name was called, busted out his big grin, pointed and tipped his cap.

Giants left-hander Barry Zito is looking sharp. In three innings Sunday against the Diamondbacks, his breaking pitches snapped like firecrackers, reminding that his 15-8 record in 2012 was no fluke.

John "Blue Moon" Odom, part of a great A's rotation in the late 1960s and early '70s, signed autographs, with proceeds going to charity, at Scottsdale Stadium. Odom, affable and smiling, has a strong handshake.

Dinner at Don and Charlie's was worth the wait: Willie Mays signing autographs in the lobby; tons of baseball people milling around; Bud Selig in a back room holding court. Amazing steaks, too.

The cost for a three-person round of "bomber"-size beers (24 ounces, lime included) of more than $40 is painful, regardless of the friendly and fun atmosphere.

What to watch

NBA, Kings at Warriors, 7:30 p.m., CSNCA: Remember when these teams used to play for the "Mayor's Cup?"

Today's poll

What is your favorite part of spring training?

The games

The restaurants

The atmosphere

I've never been.

Vote above or leave your comments in the comments field; or go to www.sacbee.com/sports

Tuesday's results

Whom should the Raiders select with the third pick of the NFL draft?

Sharrif Floyd: 40%

Bjoern Werner: 16%

Star Lotuleiei: 25%

Damontre Moore: 19%

Total votes: 370


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