Friday, April 05, 2013
For years I have always laughed at those people who sit behind home plate at a baseball game and flinch when a ball is fouled back into the screen in front of them. Every time, they do it, and every time I laugh. I don't have that right anymore. I was given incredible seats to Wednesday's Penguins-Rangers game at Madison Square Garden. But before I get to the game, let me first explain the food. Along with our tickets we were allowed to eat at the exclusive 1879 Club. A recent addition as part of the Garden's renovations, the 1879 Club only has 100 members. It was a very nice room with a few table and a buffet in the corner. Here's what I ate: some kind of penne with chicken, a cashew chicken spring roll, a Jean Georges crab cake, broccoli and fries. On my second trip I got a burger. The food was good, but not great. The pasta was excellent, the burger was just delicious, but the crab cake was disappointing. Lots of crab meat, but maybe too much seasoning, not sure, but it was just ok. Dessert was great however. Brownies and cookies. So we sat down there for a while, there were only a handful of other people in there with us, but decided to go check out the other club, the less exclusive club, the Delta Sky360 Club. This place was awesome. It was a little bit like a Bar Mitzvah cocktail hour, stations with great food along the wall, but no place to sit. There was a sushi station, and a fried chicken station (which I didn't try even though it was buttermilk-battered). A carving station with filet mignon. And shrimp cocktail with jumbo shrimp, which in this case was not an oxymoron. These fuckers were huge. Unfortunately I had already eaten a full meal before we even got up there so I only had a 2 shrimp. But don't worry, because it was so close, we went back in the first intermission and I had 4 more, plus some steak. That was the best part of this club, the location. You're on the same level as the ice, and there were parts of the club where you could see out to ice to watch the players warming up. So everyone came back during the first intermission (for more steak and shrimp) and then it was dessert during the second intermission (cream puffs, cupcakes and Ben & Jerry's ice cream bars). The food in the Delta club was better, the location was much better, but it was much nicer in the 1879 club and we didn't have to deal with the rest of the riff-raff. On the way out of the Delta Club to the ice, there was a huge table of popcorn, over 200 boxes. Believe it or not, I only had 2. I feel like I let everyone down, but there was so much other better food to eat. Now on to the game, our seats were ridiculous. They weren't in a section, no one was behind us. We were in 3 of 8 or 10 chairs set up right alongside the ice. My nose was less than 6 inches from the glass, closer than if I were watching on TV. And that's where the flinching came. The first time someone was checked into the boards right in front of us, it seemed like they were going to land in our laps. The guy next to us had his phone on the ledge and at one point it got knocked off onto the floor. This picture was taken without zoom. After a while we got used to the players crashing into our boards, and the puck being fired our way, and we mostly stopped flinching, but the seats were so close we really were part of the action. We were in the corner, to Henrik Lundquist's left (in the 1st and 3rd periods that night). The Rangers put on an offensive explosion, winning 6-1 against the Penguins who had just had their 15-game winning streak snapped. Most of their goals came at the other end of the ice, which was a little hard to see because we were at ice level, and looking through a maze of bodies. But all in all these were the best seats one could possibly have to a sporting event. Courtside at a Knicks game, or right behind home plate in the first row for the Mets would be equal, but not better. JLeary and I even made it into a couple of action shots from Getty Images that were posted on espn.com. In both those shots Papa Poop is blocked, but I swear he was there too. And if that's not enough proof, who else would have taken a picture like this. Here's a couple more game shots I took. Now the problem is, how do I possibly go to another sporting event ever in my life and enjoy it. No free food, no front row seats, no luxury accommodations. The Final Four is going to be a big letdown.
Halle Berry is pregnant again. The father is not me (we use protection), it's her French boyfriend Olivier Martinez. He's the guy who beat up her previous French boyfriend in a Thanksgiving brawl. This time Halle is having a boy. Her daughter, Nahla (Swahilil for "my mom is hot") is 5. Halle is 46.
Thursday, April 04, 2013
I bought Chase his first baseball glove. I went to Dick's because this is the best commercial ever. We bought a glove breaking in kit, somewhat more sophisticated than how we used to do it. We had a sponge and poured the oil on it, wiped down the glove inside and out. But a round plastic ball inside it. Then wrapped it up tight and put it in a paper bag. He's not great yet, but he's very enthusiastic and wants to go out and practice throwing all the time.
Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Tuesday, April 02, 2013
By now you've seen it (so you don't need to comment "I saw that") but I thought I would write something here, for the record, especially since I have posted several gruesome sports injuries (they have their own tag) and I would be remiss if I didn't include this one. Kevin Ware's injury was so nasty (his leg snapped and the bone poked through the skin) that Louisville players were reportedly vomiting, or at least wretching, on the sidelines. I thought Duke's Tyler Thornton had been poked in the eye. He was wiping away tears. CBS showed a woman in the stands crying. Mrs. Poop thought it was Ware's mom, then they showed three other women doing the same thing. Ware is already out of the hospital, and on crutches. Doctors (though not those who treated him) say injuries like this can be repaired and they expect Ware to be ready for next season. I think that a broken bone like this, though gruesome, is easier to repair than a torn ligament like an ACL. And usually has a very good chance of returning to normal form. I hope that will be the case. Many people are calling this the worst sports injury ever, and it certainly is up there. But I have two I think were a little bit worse. Houston Cougars wide receiver Patrick Edwards broke his leg in a similar fashion, but what made it worse to me, is that he did it by running into a cart, that never should have been parked there. But the worst one in my opinion is Corey Hill, a former UFC fighter, who snapped his leg in a similar fashion while delivering a leg kick. What makes his worse is that he's hopping around as another guy is trying to punch him, and his broken bone is wiggling around inside his skin. Joe Rogan is shrieking "stop the fight! stop the fight!"
I am going to Atlanta to watch Syracuse in the Final Four! It was another suffocating performance by Syracuse's 2-3 zone. I know people always talk about how the Big East teams are familiar with the zone and know how to beat it, and it does better in the tournament when teams are unfamiliar with it. There's some element of truth in that, but the bigger issue was on display in this game: it's not what you do, it's how you do it. Everyone has seen the 2-3 zone on tape. Everyone knows how to attack it, ESPN does that feature during every Syracuse game. The problem is, when you have guys as long and athletic as guys like Michael Carter-Williams and CJ Fair you can be good at the zone no matter what. And if guys don't get out on shooters, and box out on rebounds then you will get killed. It's that simple. Syracuse got a good match-up against Marquette because they are a bad 3-pont shooting team. They missed and they kept firing. Despite having some success early in the first half by getting the ball to Davonte Gardner, they continued to rely on the outside shot to their own detriment. Syracuse won't have that luxury against Michigan because Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr and Nik Stauskas all shoot better than 38% from downtown. But since Syracuse is going to be there, and I don't know when I am going to get this chance again, I decided to go. Billy and I got our tickets on vividseats.com, which has slightly cheaper tickets prices on average, and both sites have ridiculous fees. Because of the set-up of the Georgia Dome for basketball we opted to pay a little extra money to be in the lower level (200s) instead of the upper level (300). With $85 of ridiculous fees tacked on, we paid $390 each. But that actually seems cheap compared to what tickets are selling for right now. As of this writing the cheapest 200 level ticket on Vivid is $537. Flight was a bit of a hassle, because I had to fly out Saturday and come back Sunday (couldn't take two extra days off work), and I have to change planes in Charlotte both times. I thought the cost $550 round-trip was a bit too high, but about what I was expecting. So we're looking at two crazy days, $1000 down the tubes and hopefully a chance to see the Orange win their 4th straight national semifinal.
We spent Passover with a couple of relatives from London. They could not get over the resemblance between Chase and the child of one of England's gossip couples, singer Peter Andre and model Katie Price. They didn't just remark on it once, they were taking aback by it. And searching through dozens of pictures of each to try to find the best match I certainly can see it. So what do you give me for Chase Brennan and Junior Andre?
Monday, April 01, 2013
NL East: Atlanta Braves NL Central: Cincinnati Reds NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers NL Wild Cards: Washington Nationals over St. Louis Cardinals NLCS: Cincinnati Reds over Washington Nationals AL East: Tampa Bay Rays AL Central: Detroit Tigers AL West: Los Angeles Angels AL Wild Cards: Texas Rangers over Kansas City Royals ALCS: Los Angeles Angels over Tampa Bay Rays World Series: Los Angeles Angels over Cincinnati Reds NL MVP: Joey Votto AL MVP: Mike Trout NL Cy Young: Steven Strausburg AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander NL Rookie of the Year: Zach Wheeler AL Rookie of the Year: Jurickson Profar NL Comeback Player of the Year: Troy Tulowitzki AL Comeback Player of the Year: Mariano Rivera NL Manager of the Year: Fredi Gonzalez AL Manager of the Year: Ned Yost Last year we all did horribly in the playoff teams and I got Bryce Harper and JLeary got Buster Posey. We'll call it a wash and hopefully more entrants this year.
When the Toronto Blue Jays were putting together a package to get Cy Young Award Winner for the Mets, they were willing to include the best catching prospect in baseball, Travis D'Arnaud. Why were they willing to part with such a young stud? They already have a catcher, JP Arencibia. Arencibia's .222/.275/.433, while not terrible for a catcher, certainly isn't very good. But it's Arencibia's appeal with female fans that makes him so valuable (at least according to Red Sox supposed plan to boost TV ratings). JP Arencibia to check out his Google image collection and use the comments section to let me know if you see what they see in JP.