The Arizona Diamondbacks have had an exciting first week of play in this young season. The D-backs won their home opener by a score of 6 to 3 to start the season on a good foot. Opening day at Chase Field was packed, as fans played hooky to catch the first day of baseball.
In the following game of the series, the D-backs were at the mercy of Padres’ Adrian Gonzalez’s hitting. Gonzalez hit home runs in back-to-back games for the Padres as he challenged Arizona’s pitching.
In the final game of the San Diego series, pitcher Ian Kennedy pitched eight strikeouts on the night for the team, but gave up three runs as the D-backs held on to win the game and the series against the Padres. Throughout the series, the D-backs showed signs of power as they hit a total of six homers in the first three games of the season, two of which came from newcomer Kelly Johnson.
The Diamondbacks gear up to face the Pittsburgh Pirates through the weekend before they travel to Southern California to face the Dodgers and the Padres. Tuesday’s game looks to be a great one, as Arizona hopes to spoil the Dodgers’ home opener. The Pirates come to Phoenix this weekend after winning the series against the Dodgers two to one.
Overall, this week was a great week for Phoenix sports, as the D-backs won their opening series, the Coyotes won home ice advantage in the playoffs and the Suns defeated their arch nemesis, the San Antonio Spurs.
Just a reminder that Friday night is fireworks night at Chase Field, where there will be fireworks after the end of the game. The Diamondbacks will return to Phoenix on April 19, facing the St. Louis Cardinals.
Previous week’s games
4/02/10 SUNS 109, Pistons 94
4/03/10 Bucks 107, SUNS 98
4/07/10 SUNS 112, Spurs 101
Upcoming week’s games (final week of the regular season)
4/09/10 SUNS @ Thunder, 5 p.m., My45
4/11/10 SUNS vs Rockets, 6 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
4/13/10 SUNS vs Nuggets, 7:30 p.m., TNT
4/14/10 SUNS @ Jazz, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
If you are a Phoenix Suns fan, you know who Lou Amundson is. If you’re a fan of any other NBA team, you are quickly learning who Lou Amundson is. The former UNLV Running Rebel does all the little things off the bench and is a big reason as to why the Suns are fighting for the second seed in a very tight Western Conference playoff race. With the way the game changes in the playoffs, Lou knows it is important for the Suns to continue playing as they have the last few weeks and secure home court advantage for at least the first round of postseason action.
“I think we’re playing great right now,” Amundson says. “We just need to continue to toughen up and get ready. Once the playoffs start, it’s a different game, the intensity level picks up. The refs are going to call the games differently.”
Before the start of last season, when the Suns signed Amundson, like most others, most probably figured he was just picked up as a cheap roster filler. As quickly as Lou won fans over with his defense and hustle on the court, he became a fan favorite for living in Downtown Phoenix and riding his bike to practice.
“I like it a lot. It’s still developing. It needs a few things,” the backup power forward says of Downtown. “It needs a grocery store, and kind of everyday-type things, but there’s really great, unique little spots Downtown. You get that kind of homegrown feel. You don’t really get that in Scottsdale or anywhere else.”
Amundson enjoys lots of different places to eat in the Downtown area, including his favorite joint. “My favorite restaurant in Phoenix is Pizzeria Bianco,” Amundson says. “Matt’s Big Breakfast is another good spot. They have really good lunch, actually. They have a BLT that is phenomenal.”
For Suns fans that want Amundson on Twitter, that day should be coming soon. A few weeks back, daughter of head coach Alvin Gentry, Alexis, informed fans that Lou had advised her that he would be getting a Twitter account real soon. “I’m going to do it,” he reveals. “I’m going to have to do it now. I gave her my word, so I’m going to have to set one up.”
That didn’t stop Twitter users from sending in questions for DPJ to ask Lou. He was gracious enough to answer a few below.
@LateNightCat: Boxer or briefs?
Lou: “Boxer briefs. A little bit of both.”
@GmarieO: What type of hair ties do you use to hold back that glorious hair of yours?
Lou: “Well, this is a very important piece of equipment for me. They’re called Goody, I believe. They have elastic on them, so they’re like sports hair ties. I just recently got these purple ones. They’re the playoff hair ties.”
@LateNightCat: What type of music do you listen to?
Lou: “I listen to everything. Hip-hop, to R&B, to indie rock. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of R&B and soul-type stuff. A lot of the old school guys — Bill Withers, Sly and the Family Stone. Those guys are great. New people, Mayor Hawthorne has a new CD that’s out — real good. I’ve been rocking that.”
From the Arizona Room is a weekly column examining the historic, reuse and infill structures in Downtown Phoenix. The inspiration for this column stems from the ever-expanding resources in Burton Barr Central Library’s Arizona Room (located on the fourth floor). For further information on this and other historic structures in the area, visit the Arizona Room during normal library hours.
905 N. 4th St. in Evans Churchill
Unfortunate as it is that Nine|05 recently closed without notice at 905 N. 4th St., it may be a fitting time to glimpse at the history of the property on the corner of 4th and Garfield streets. Blighted for so many years, and surrounded to the west, south and southeast by vacant lots, this property has long faced an uphill battle.
The building at 905 was built c. 1919, and was known by neighbors as the E.F. Drake House. Drake, a prominent lawyer in Phoenix in the 1910s and ’20s, lived in the modest single-family home on the (then) north end of town, but it probably looked much different back then.
Renovations for Fate, nextDOOR, Nine|05 and the never-completed Canteen changed the property quite a bit, yet much of the history remains. The original poured concrete foundation is still there, but much of the stucco laid on the walls was blasted away to expose the original brick. The home’s original wooden rafters are still a beauty to behold, and remain unaltered save for some simple wood treatments.
The home once had a backyard shed and a rear porch, the latter of which was removed at an unknown date, according to the state historic property inventory.
When the home was rezoned commercially, it was only in fair condition. Today, even though it currently sits vacant, it features unique modern touches coupled with the historic charm of a simple family home from the 1910s.
Sources: Arizona State Historic Property Inventory; Phoenix Public Records, 1922
Is there a historic property in Downtown Phoenix you’d like to see in From the Arizona Room? Email me at email@example.com with the address and a brief description.
Mike Mattingly, owner of Perfect Timing Entertainment, is not looking to get rich off of someone else’s talent.
The 40-year-old rents out a Garfield rehearsal space and recording studio to local bands and artists for a fraction of the cost that competing recording studios charge. Mattingly says he charges only what is necessary in order to “keep the lights on.” Rehearsal time is rented at $10 an hour, and recording time is $20 an hour.
“My goal was to make [recording an album] affordable to anybody,” he says.
The studio is located in a historic home on the corner of 7th and Pierce streets, offering a unique, warm recording sound all its own to enhance music of every type.
“I don’t care what genre it is, as long as it’s real,” Mattingly says about the types of artists and acts he sees coming through the studio.
But, the beautiful, old home was not originally meant to be a recording studio, accordingly to Mattingly, who grew up a self-proclaimed “army brat,” spending his youth on a base in Germany and picking up drumming at the age of 12. His father, Tom, and his mother, Alice, opened an antique store in the States because of Alice’s love for old treasures.
Mattingly’s love for music, combined with his mother’s passion for restoring antiquities, led the family to purchase the condemned buildings at the intersection. His plan was to restore the buildings for commercial purposes with the help of the City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office, which agreed to provide the family with grants to help them on the project.
The building currently housing Perfect Timing Entertainment was originally meant to be a pub and restaurant, with a patio dining area and an outdoor performing space. The recording studio was intended for the carriage house behind the home; one of only 20 original carriage houses left in Downtown Phoenix.
“We wanted to create a space like Heritage Square, for the arts,” says Mattingly, who envisioned art show openings and charity concert events in the space.
But, after 10 years of struggling to meet city codes and repeated denials for funding at every turn, Mattingly now sees his dream as nearly impossible to achieve.
Mattingly’s restaurant was open for only a month before the city told him to shut down due to violations of several city codes, including the lack of a paved parking lot. There are several other businesses without problems within walking distance of Mattingly’s properties that lack paved parking lots.
Mattingly says it’s frustrating because, while he has been struggling with the city for 10 years, he has watched multiple businesses open their doors and be given the time to grow, without meeting every single code he has been told he must meet before he can open. He wants to keep Perfect Timing open as long as he can, but at this point, he says that moving to a new location is almost inevitable.
He says that he’s still in love with Downtown Phoenix, but the whole situation has made him bitter.
When Mattingly’s father died, his mother was forced to refinance the property, and though he has finally agreed to grants that would pay for the completion of the projects, Mattingly has encountered several more obstacles that prohibited him from moving forward. The Historic Preservation Office agreed to a grant of $151,000 for the remodel of the building, but Mattingly says he has received bids from construction companies in excess of $400,000.
The lenders that refinanced the property are also disinclined to grant remodeling permissions, so the project is on hold indefinitely. Mattingly would have to find a second lender willing to refinance the property and allow him to continue with the restoration, and he would need a construction team willing to work within his budget.
Mattingly says the entire process has been a nightmare. He has poured his life savings into the project and has slowly watched his dream disappear.
“It would take a miracle to finish this project now,” he confesses.
It is more likely that he will have to sell the property and move Perfect Timing Entertainment to a new location in Downtown Phoenix, but he worries about what will become of the condemned buildings if they are not restored.
“My hope is that, if I can’t finish this project, then someone else will,” he says. “I’d hate to see this area turn into a metal strip mall.”
Mike wants to remain working in the Downtown Phoenix area, despite his problems with the city, because he loves the culture and the people.
“All this hasn’t changed the fact that I love Downtown,” he says, adding that, while embittered with the city’s bureaucratic process, the city itself is still home to him. For Mike, the most important thing is maintaining the ability to help others through the arts.
“It’s never been about me,” he says. “It’s bigger than me.”
Perfect Timing Entertainment is located at 617 N. 7th St. in Garfield. Call 623.206.5097 or reserve studio time online.
Odd couples are a staple in today’s world. This came to mind when considering my recent venture up 3rd Street to China Chili. Contrary to the name, the place does not specialize in chili, much to my chagrin, but it does serve up some raucously good Chinese food. So, in my mind, it’s only halfway false advertising.
Interestingly enough, you are greeted by a giant, waving, golden cat as you walk in. Basically, the décor is like most other Chinese restaurants you have ever been to. In other words, old people dining in the corner, a golden Buddha statue awaiting a belly rub and oddly bright light fixtures adorning every few feet of the ceiling.
This particular trek was made with DPJ managing editor Si Robins in tow. In keeping with the odd couple theme, he schooled me on how the Jewish folk have their own Christmas traditions. Apparently, it is common to find most of the chosen community dining at the local Chinese restaurant on Christmas Day. Sounds like an interesting dining experience to say the least.
However, on this night, I was on a mission to tackle a mountain of cuisine named in homage of our fair city, the Chicken in Phoenix Nest. It consists of a mound of chicken, peppers, onions and carrots in a black bean sauce, but with a kicker — it’s served in a crispy potato “nest.” Yes, it looks exactly like it sounds. When it was brought out to my table, the interwoven strands of potato perfectly resembled a finely constructed nest. What makes it impressive is that it was scrumptious. The crispiness of the encasing “nest” countered the soft, succulent chicken bites harmoniously. And, even though bean sauce doesn’t jump off the page as a description of taste bud bliss, the soy sauce-esque mixture holds the entire dish together. It felt like a Jewish Christmas dinner in my mouth, complete with the celebratory shouts of joy. Mazel tov, China Chili, you have concocted a fine dish.
Even though I raised my voice in joyous praise to the dinner, I could not finish it. The generous portion makes this a meal worth a stop next time you’re in Midtown Phoenix. There is good reason that China Chili boasts the praise of several locals as “the best Chinese restaurant around.” This humble, Southern gentleman will have to absolutely agree.
China Chili is located at 302 E. Flower St. in Midtown (light rail station at Central/Osborn) — 602.266.4463