Spring Training isn't always a relaxing trip to sunny paradise.

Just ask the Arizona Diamondbacks, Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox. The three clubs share the Camelback Ranch facility in Glendale, and recently they've been forced to accommodate some unwelcome guests.

A host of scorpions have been spotted at Camelback Ranch, and one even stung John Chapper, who is the Dodgers' director of media relations.

Thankfully, Chapper wasn't seriously injured.

A few more scorpions were captured on the White Sox side of the facility.

Newly acquired Chicago pitcher Jeff Samardzija, who recently purchased a home in the Phoenix area, isn't worried about the arachnids. But he did offer an unnerving word of advice to his teammates and anyone else in scorpion territory.

“They’re not big deal really,” Samardzija told ESPNChicago. “As long as they’re dead and on your floor, you can pick them up. But you always have to check your shoes is what it is. Every morning when you go to put on your shoes, shake them out to make sure there are no albino scorpions in there.”

If a member of one of these teams were to get bit by a scorpion it would certainly make for a bizarre story, but it may not even make the list of weirdest maladies suffered by a baseball player.

Even dogs in Canada love hockey.

Check out Elsa, the Labrador Retriever owned by Greg Cox in Guelph, Ontario. She is so eager for the family to play hockey on the backyard rink that she helps shovel the snow:

Hey, who needs a Zamboni when you've got a faithful, puck-loving dog like Elsa?

Dogs, Hockey

One of the best parts about playing in the snow is inventing new games with your friends, and talking about how they ought to be in the Olympics or Winter X-Games. Fun stuff, but this hungry cat may have all of us beat when it comes to creativity:


Everyone loves playing in the snow, as long as you don't have to do any shoveling, and these red pandas at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden are no exception. Check out their enthusiasm:


The NHL mounted a video camera at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara to show how the home of the 49ers was transformed into a hockey rink for Saturday's Sharks-Kings game. The league got an unexpected guest star:

Nick Young and Iggy Azalea have a lot to celebrate on Valentine's Day.

The Los Angeles Lakers forward and the rapper, who had their first date at Target, have been through a lot together. There was the social media spat with Snoop Dogg and the Christmas gift for which Young forgot to thank Azalea.

But the couple's closest call with demise came at the hands, er, fins of a dolphin.

Seemingly out of the blue this week Azalea tweeted this about her boo:

Reporters questioned Young about the story, and he provided all the details:

"He's trying to drown me," Young recalled of the not-so-friendly dolphin. "But I seen it happening so I jumped out the water and took off the little life vest and threw my hat and my little water shows and stayed outside."

In true Swaggy P form, Young was informed during this interview that he would be fined $1,500 for arriving tardy to the Lakers' matchup with the Denver Nuggets.

Even the Professional Bull Riders circuit wants a piece of the Super Bowl action.

Check out recently retired Bushwacker, a 1,750-pound bull, who picks the winner between the Seahawks and Patriots by choosing between two feed buckets.

Wrigley Field's $575 million renovation project is turning out to be something of a headache. It's already fallen behind schedule and won't be finished before the start of the 2015 season.

That's in addition to the noise, traffic congestion and dust of any construction project. Of course, all of this seems trivial in light of the new problems facing the area around Wrigley Field:

The neighborhood has been hit with a plague of rats.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the rat population around Wrigley Field has shot up significantly since construction began. While no one's saying the construction is definitely causing rat uptick, it does seem very likely that the two are related.

“The rats have been running rampant,” said one neighborhood resident to the Tribune. "I'm not kidding you. There are people in the alley and there are still rats running around and it’s daylight."

Residents are throwing heaping supplies of rat poison toward the problem, and the rats are gobbling it up -- but that hasn't put the population into decline. Private exterminators have also been called in, but the problem seems so widespread that treating one home doesn't figure to do much damage.

No word on whether the thriving rat community in Chicago was involved in the deplorable 2011 food safety violations that led to three Wrigley Field concessions stands getting shut down. Once again: No clear connection, but it does make for a convenient narrative.

Apparently, a Cubs spokesman said the team hasn't yet received any rat-related complaints.

That's about to change.

New England's Alan Branch has a strong association with Arizona, where Super Bowl XLIX is being played. In the offseason, the tackle -- who has bounced around several teams during his NFL career -- calls Arizona home. He started his NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals.

But not all of the associations are positive. For Branch, Arizona is also home to a tragedy involving four of his dogs.

Last summer, four of Branch's five dogs died from suffocation at a kennel outside of Phoenix. Branch had placed the dogs in the kennel while he went to minicamp with the Buffalo Bills. While away, he received a phone call informing him that one of the dogs had chewed through the fencing and died from heat exhaustion in the intense Phoenix heat.

But that was far from the truth. A police investigation determined that the kennel had stuffed 28 dogs into a 9-by-12-foot room at the kennel. While in there, the air conditioner servicing the room malfunctioned. The seals on the doors into the room were so tight that 23 dogs died.

“It was definitely rough,” Branch said, according to a story from The Boston Globe. “I’m bouncing back slowly but surely from the loss. I just tried to be a rock for my family. Fortunately we’re getting through it. The kids aren’t crying or waking up crying missing their dogs right now. I think we’re doing better.”

When management discovered the scene, several of the dogs had died, and many were under distress. Instead of seeking out medical help, they tried to cool the dogs off with hoses and ice. Many more died, possibly when proper care could have saved them.

Then, instead of owning up to the mistake, the managers tried to fabricate a scene of their death in a shed out back. When officials finally showed up, the dogs were covered with flies and maggots.

There is currently dispute over what charges the owners should face, since it's unclear if the air conditioner is to blame or if neglect caused the death of the dogs, now referred to as the "Gilbert 23" in reference to the Phoenix suburb where the kennel is located. Many advocates are calling for animal neglect charges to be brought, but currently the kennel only faces one charge of fraud.

Branch said his family is looking into getting new dogs soon, but they haven't reached that point. Right now, his hope is that something good comes from the loss of his dogs.

"I just want justice," Branch said. "And if anything, for Arizona to have stricter laws on what can be considered a boarding facility."

GoDaddy does like a good commercial that stirs up attention and controversy. The company consistently spend on ridiculous commercials that bear no relation to its actual website creation and management services, and instead try to wedge themselves in consumer minds simply by being extreme and memorable.

For what it's worth, GoDaddy accomplished that again with this year's commercial. But it was so audacious -- and, many would say, reprehensible -- that the company has been forced to pull the ad.

The original commercial, teased online ahead of the Super Bowl, also serves as a not-so-subtle jab at Budweiser, which experienced huge success with its puppy-centric ads the past two Super Bowls. GoDaddy's ad tells the story of a puppy named Buddy who falls off a moving farm truck and is separated from his family. Despite adverse weather and long distances, Buddy manages to make it back home.

When Buddy makes it back, his owner greets him with terrible news:

"I’m so glad you made it home… because I just sold you on this website I built with GoDaddy.com."

The commercial drew widespread outrage for promoting puppy milling and other irresponsible breeding practices. Eventually, GoDaddy was attacked by prominent voices including Leigh Anne Tuohy, portrayed by Sandra Bullock in "The Blind Side," as well as Kelsey Patterson, wife of TCU football coach Gary Patterson.

Eventually, the criticisms became so loud that GoDaddy pulled the commercial from YouTube and announced that the commercial would not air during the Super Bowl.

"The responses [to the ad] were emotional and direct," said CEO Blake Irving. "Many people urged us not to run the ad…. The net result? We are pulling the ad from the Super Bowl. You’ll still see us in the Big Game this year, and we hope it makes you laugh.

"Finally, rest assured, Buddy came to us from a reputable and loving breeder in California. He’s now part of the GoDaddy family as our Chief Companion Officer and he's been adopted permanently by one of our longtime employees."

Good news, indeed, for Buddy, but Irving's apology sounds vaguely self-lauding where it should be contrite. GoDaddy appears all too eager to point out that it listened to the calls of the people, while glossing over its poor judgement.

Whether it was a PR stunt or a genuine lapse in thinking, it's hard to tell.

As for making us laugh, we've got news, GoDaddy: You're not as funny as you think.

Last year's Budweiser commercial, for context:

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