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11.16.2003

A.J. Polish Last Name

¡Dios mio! El Lefty goes to parts of Mexico where the only daily report is what the fishermen have brought in for the filet of the day, and all hell breaks loose! Well, OK, a little bit of heck swirls around.

Once again, blogfan prognostications prove worth a hill of frijoles. We all had Yorvit tabbed as Giants catcher of the future, given his rising star, his solid work in 2003, and his low, low paycheck in coming years.

But Mr. Executive of the Year gets an All-Star caliber catcher who'll probably make several million through arbitration in the next few years in exchange for a potential closer and two warm-to-hot prospects.

I'll write more this week about what this might mean for future moves, but first, some notes on Mexico. The G-F and I were in Southern Baja, first La Paz, then Todos Santos, then, avoiding Los Cabos like Montezuma's Revenge, we hit the dirt roads for three days in a little place called Cabo Pulmo where the only electricity came from portable generators and the only phone was the sat hookup at Tito's Restaurant...but only if Tito had enough juice in his generator to power it.

Unfortunately, storms farther north were kicking wind down the Sea of Cortez, which made snorkeling impossible at Cabo Pulmo's coral reef. But no big deal. Thanks to our generator-powered fridge, the Pacifico remained cold, and even with the brisk wind, the air was warm all night.

The best snorkel of the trip instead was a couple hours by boat from La Paz, at a sea lion rookery where the pups roam and play in bunches, showing no fear of all the gringos in the water. They swim and swoop and get right in your face and even take little puppy-like nibbles at your arms and legs. Amazing, although I have a feeling sea lion conservationists wouldn't approve.

A baseball note: I visited two "stadiums," one in La Paz, one in Todos Santos, both with all-dirt fields and cement stands. Unfortunately (or, as the G-F saw it, fortunately) our travel schedule didn't coincide with game times, so the most action I saw was a night practice in Todos Santos with a gaggle of local kids whacking the ball into the outfield as giant bugs attacked the light standards by the tens of thousands.

Other trip highlights: fish tacos, tidepools, sunsets like they got down in L.A. but without the smog, beef tacos, elote (corn kernels served warm with a creamy mayo, melted cheese and hot pepper flakes), big juicy grilled steaks served with three kinds of hot peppers...

I should break and say that I eat ulcer-inducing amounts of hot peppers, which amuses the Mexicans to no end. Until I say, "¿Chistoso? Pero no. Soy Lefty Malo." When the waiter at the outdoor wood-fired grill in La Paz listened to me rave about the chiles toreadores -- serranos marinated in onion and soy sauce, then grilled until a purplish black -- he ran inside and brought out an unlabeled jar of what looked like capers. He encouraged me to try some, and the chef and another waiter watched over his shoulder. (The G-F rolled her eyes and said there was "a lot of machismo in the air.")

They were "chiltepin," peppers that grow naturally in the mountains outside La Paz, and they were home-cured and hot. They were also hot coming out the other end, if you know what I mean. But they weren't that hot, and I bought the whole damn jar.


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