It plays second fiddle to Las Vegas and ugly duckling to Lake Tahoe, but it's my kind of town. The biggest little city in the world is Reno, Nev., and if you've never been there, you've never been anywhere.
And now -- and I'll get back to this momentarily -- Reno is home to my favorite franchise in all of sports.
This is a town that embraces gambling
(I'd move there tomorrow, except my current family just voted, 2-1, to allow me to stay).
The air is crisp and fresh -- well, other than secondhand smoke in most of the casinos -- and the backdrop is breathtakingly American, full of hopes and promise and, on occasion, shattered dreams.
Reno is large enough to change your life forever and small enough to pick up your dry cleaning easily.
When you call 911 in Reno, they give you winning keno numbers.
If I had to do it over again, I'd want to be born and raised in Reno.
At Reno Elementary School, you learn math by playing craps. At Reno Middle School, you pick up the basics of blackjack at recess. At Reno High, there is a weekly no-limit hold 'em tournament in the cafeteria. By the time you go to Reno Community College, you have all the tools to drop out of school and pursue a gaming career, if you desire.
And there's no traffic!
If Toni -- a.k.a. She Is The One (And Then Some) -- ever wants to renew our vows, we'll do it in Reno. Heck, even if she wants to disavow our vows -- and I'm just speaking hypothetically here -- we'll do it in Reno.
At the moment, I am working on a new song -- "I Left My King-High Heart Flush In Reno" -- to celebrate the city's intoxicating hold on my spirit.
Anyway, Reno just became even more of an urban haven for Couch Slouch. The Arizona Diamondbacks' longtime Class AAA Pacific Coast League affiliate, the Tucson Sidewinders, moved at the start of the 2009 season and are now the Reno Aces -- how great of a name is that? -- playing in the city's new stadium, Aces Ballpark.
The downtown park cost $50 million -- this is my only complaint; me and Ralph Cifaretto could've done it for $15 mil and still given Paulie Walnuts two no-shows -- and what a stadium it is: A cozy 9,100 seats, a family friendly lawn area from which to watch in right field, plus its own mini-Green Monster (minus Red Sox fans).
Tickets run from $7 to $29, with most seats in the $12-to-$15 range, which makes it semi-reasonable.
(Frankly, a minor league ticket should not cost $29, unless it includes
The Aces are
Sure, they're hanging around last place right now in the PCL Pacific South, but the team has a .350 hitter,
(Boy, I loved writing that sentence, and I'm only on my second PBR!)
If you come to one of the Aces' home games, be advised that the ballpark has no parking structure but there are 21 downtown-area lots within walking distance. Besides, it's good to stretch your legs; most everybody walked every day when America was first started, which precluded talk radio and Internet chat rooms from thriving.
Just remember: It's easy to get into town and into the ball yard.
Speaking of which,