🍹 It's Thursday! And it's National Margarita Day, so make sure to enjoy the many great margaritas Phoenix has to offer.

ğŸŽ§ Sounds like: "Talkin' Baseball"

☀️ Today's weather: Sunny with a high of 74. It's a great day for a ballgame.

Situational awareness: It's officially spring in the Valley, with the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres kicking off the Cactus League season this afternoon.

Today's newsletter is 918 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Apology not accepted

Meghan McCain and Kari Lake. Photos: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images and Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kari Lake is trying to make amends with the family of late Sen. John McCain after telling his supporters to "get the hell out" at one of her events just over two years ago.

  • It's not going well.

What they're saying: "NO PEACE, B---H!" McCain's daughter Meghan McCain told Lake on X yesterday after Lake attempted to clear the air.

Why it matters: Lake, a MAGA warrior, knows she needs the moderate Republicans she isolated during her failed 2022 gubernatorial campaign if she wants to win in 2024.

Flashback: At an event in late 2021, Lake asked if there were any "McCain Republicans" in the crowd. "All right, get the hell out," she then told them.

  • And after winning the 2022 GOP primary, Lake said, "We drove a stake through the heart of the McCain machine."

The latest: KTAR News asked Lake about her 2021 comments Tuesday and she brushed them off as a joke.

  • "It was said in jest. And I think that if John McCain, who had a great sense of humor, would have heard it, he would have laughed," Lake said.

The other side: Meghan McCain didn't buy it, posting on X, "Kari Lake is trying to walk back her continued attacks on my Dad (& family) and all of his loyal supporters after telling them to 'get the hell out.' Guess she realized she can't become a Senator without us."

The intrigue: Lake, in a 225-word response, told McCain that as mothers they should "agree that our children's future is too important to let it slip away over past grudges or hurt feelings."

  • Lake asked if she could take McCain for a beer to pick her brain on how to work together, and that is when McCain shared her three-word, all-caps response.

What we're watching

2. 🐍 D-Backs are back

Corbin Carroll bats during Game 5 of the 2023 World Series. Photo: Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

For the first time in a long time, baseball pundits and fans have high expectations as the Diamondbacks start the season.

Why it matters: The Snakes (and their fans) are salivating for another pennant after last year's shocking playoff run that took them to the World Series for the first time since 2001.

State of play: We'll get our first look at the 2024 D-Backs at their opening spring training game tomorrow against the Colorado Rockies.

  • Most of last year's roster is returning, and the team picked up some exciting players in the offseason, including left-handed pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez and third baseman Eugenio Suarez.
  • Expectations are high for outfielder Corbin Carroll, who's coming off a memorable Rookie of the Year season.

What we're watching: The D-Backs' run to the National League pennant was improbable and unexpected — they barely made the playoffs — and it's hard to say whether they'll be able to capture the same magic this year.

Plus, Ohtani's impact

3. MLB wants a minimum wage exemption

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Major League Baseball wants Arizona lawmakers to exempt minor league players from the state's minimum wage during spring training.

  • But the proposal will strike out unless they can persuade reluctant Democrats to get on board.

State of play: Owners and minor league players reached a collective bargaining agreement last year that includes spring training pay below the minimum wage approved by Arizona voters in 2016.

  • Bills in the House and Senate would exempt the players covered by the 2023 agreement from the minimum wage, as well as from hours-worked and record-keeping requirements.

Between the lines: Laws passed at the ballot, like the minimum wage, require a three-fourths vote in each legislative chamber to amend.

  • Only a change that "furthers the purpose" of the voter-approved law is permitted.

The intrigue: Hugo Polanco, a lobbyist for Living United for Change in Arizona, which led the campaign for Proposition 206, tells Axios the bills are "not even close" to having the Democratic support they need.

Yes, but: Senate Minority Leader Mitzi Epstein tells Axios she still opposes the bill and is urging other Democrats to do the same, but "it's possible we can get there."

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4. Chips & salsa: D-Backs still want public money

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

⚾ The Diamondbacks "may run out of time in Phoenix" if the team can't secure public funding for Chase Field renovations, managing general partner Ken Kendrick said Monday. (KJZZ)

🏗 Amkor plans to build its $2 billion semiconductor packaging and testing facility at Peoria's Vistancia community. (Phoenix Business Journal)

🏥 Arizona will expand Medicaid to allow up to 10,000 additional low-income children to qualify. (AZcentral)

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell refused to extradite a stabbing suspect accused of murder in New York because she distrusts Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. (NBC News)

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Hiring? Use code FIRST50 for $50 off your first job post.

5. 😋 Culinary bases loaded

Clockwise (from top left): Espiritu, Fratelli La Bufala, Craft 64, Saddle Mountain Brewing Company. Photos: Jessica Boehm/Axios

Spring training ballparks are spread across the Valley, giving local fans and visitors a chance to explore neighborhoods they might not otherwise.

Here are some of the most-loved local restaurants within a short drive of each stadium to make the most of your adventure:

⚾ Salt River Fields at Talking Stick

  • Fratelli La Bufala: This Naples-based eatery expanded to Arizona two years ago and has won hearts with its craft pizzas and to-die-for mozzarella ever since.
  • Culinary Gangster: A fast-casual joint for street food with a fine dining twist.

⚾ Sloan Park

  • H-Mart Food Court: More than a half-dozen Korean and Japanese food stalls offer a flavorful tour through Mesa's Asian District.
  • Jin BBQ: You control the cooking at this Korean barbecue restaurant with grills at each table.

⚾ Peoria Sports Complex

  • Chickii: A fast-casual joint serving up Thai-inspired chicken wings.
  • Charcoal Grill: A Mediterranean restaurant with tender shawarma and flavorful hummus.

Explore our full guide

⚾ Jeremy knows Terry Cashman's "Talkin' Baseball" is the original, but he'll always prefer this version from "The Simpsons."

🍺 Jessica hopes to make it to a few spring training games this year!

This newsletter was edited by Emma Hurt and copy edited by Jay Bennett.

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