the Phillies win the division!

1 10 2007

The incomparable Harry Kalas with the call:

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impressions of Safeco Field

14 09 2007

Safeco Field, Seattle WA

The last MLB game I went to was in 1989 at the old Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. I was with my father and our Boy Scout group.

Expos-Phillies.

I remember the traffic and parking near the stadium being terrible, and the seats were so high and so far back that we had to use binoculars to make out the players names on their jerseys. Von Hayes hit two home runs (“Von-tastic!” on the Jumbotron), and the Phils won 6-5.

Mike Schmidt would retire at the end of the season. The Vet, of course, is no more. The Expos would move from Montreal to Washington, D.C. and become the Nationals.

So I’d been away from attending a game for a while. On Wednesday night I decided to wander down Occidental Avenue and check out Safeco Field before the A’s-Mariners game, and maybe get a bite to eat and watch the game at one of the brewpubs in the stadium district.

The first thing I noticed was the amount of foot traffic towards the stadium, and the lack of obvious congestion and parking issues (although this might have something to do with the team being 5.5 games out of the playoffs with only a few weeks left in the regular season).

The seond thing I noticed was how cheap the left field bleacher seats were. Only $14! You can get a movie ticket for a little less, and not be nearly entertained. Although I hadn’t planned on actually going to the game, I whipped out my credit card and found myself in second level in left field, about three rows back from the rail.

Safeco is every bit as nice as it looks on TV.

The sight-lines from the seats are so much better than the Vet; I could see all the action from my seat clearly, follow the ball well as it moved around the field, and read individual player names on the jerseys without straining my eyes. When I left my spot in the sixth inning to grab a Pepsi and some garlic fries, I didn’t miss any of the action on the field because of the open concession concourse.

The trains pulling into King Street Station made to sure really blast their horns, the noise is amplified as it bounces off the retractable roof in right field and rattles around the stadium.

The game itself was fantastic.

Dan Haren started for the A’s and pitched well, but Oakland’s offense couldn’t get enough run support to open up more than a one-run lead early. Ichiro and Raul Ibanez misplayed a fly ball in deep left-center, giving the A’s another lead after the Mariners had tied the score up again.

Alan Embree came in during the eighth inning and gave up a pinch-hit home run to Adam Jones to tie the game at 5-5. J.J. Putz pitched a brilliant ninth inning to hold the tie, and Yuni Betancourt hit a walk-off single to score a runner from second base to win the game for the Mariners, 6-5.

It was fun to be back at the ballpark again.





the Hotel Max is nice

14 09 2007

Hotel Max Exterior

Usually when I go on vacation, the accommodations are an afterthought.

I think I’ve stayed at only two hotels that could be considered close to four-star (the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim and the Bellevue Hyatt in Bellevue, WA). In both cases, I wasn’t the one paying for the room.

For my Seattle trip this week, I had to get a little creative.

I found out that they closed the Youth Hostel of Seattle (only $29 a night, dormitory-style near Pike Place Market) and the other downtown hostel (the Green Tortoise) was completely booked, so I’d have to pay a bit more to make my trip happen. I ended up splurging and picking the Hotel Max, which was about seven times more expensive but completely worth the price.

Someone definitely took their time coming up with the concept for the Max.

The lobby assaults you with a devilishly red-and-plexiglass front desk at the end of the small mood-lit atrium, next to a giant portrait of a topless woman. Each room keycard has a black-and-white photograph of a naked couple on it, photographed from the rear. This should be a good sign to leave the kiddies at home.

The individual floors all showcase a different local photographer; the photographic works are applied to the individual room doors – my floor apparently had a photographer that was interested in shooting street performers and buskers using black-and-white film.

Room interiors are small in size, but large in amenities.

There’s a pillow menu (hard? soft? u-shaped? body pillow? just a phone call away…), a huge “honor bar” stocked with goodies (I ended grabbing the bar and stashing it under the nightstand so I wouldn’t tempt myself with the King Size Snickers), and no Gideon Bible – but you can the have the “spiritual book of choice” delivered (Bhagavad Gita? Koran? Kama Sutra? you choose…).

I appreciated the free copies of Seattle Monthly, Seattle Magazine, the daily delivery of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and the wall paintings (also by local Seattle artists).

Things start to take a turn for the sexy when you open the little hidden drawer next to the mini-fridge, you are greeted by a nicely arranged set of wine glasses, a corkscrew, a small bottle of merlot, and … a mini-vibrator (with extra batteries) and a tin of condoms, all with the “M” hotel logo on ’em. No, I didn’t use any of this stuff, but it’s just another one of those things that fills out the attitude that the designers were clearly going for. If anything, the Max tries a little too hard.

The important things are all there – the beds are soft and comfortable, the showers are hot, the coffee service is good, and the iron/ironing board is clean and in working order.

Four-star hotel? Not quite. But close.

more Seattle updates to come…





shockingly disturbing thing heard while walking around Seattle

14 09 2007

“You know what the best thing about tits is? You can hang a chick from the ceiling by ’em!”

“Seriously! You could even hang a 250-pound woman by her tits from the ceiling if you wanted to!”

Thanks, random street kid. That totally RUINED the rest of my morning. EEECH.





fantasy draft recap: The Wizard’s Sleeve

9 09 2007

The Wizard’s Sleeve

Team Fight Song: “Brady” – BradyFan83

1. (2) Steven Jackson
2. (19) Willis McGahee
3. (22) Tom Brady
4. (39) Antonio Gates
5. (42) Javon Walker
6. (59) Braylon Edwards
7. (62) DeAngelo Williams
8. (79) Mark Clayton
9. (82) London Fletcher
10. (99) Miami
11. (102) Devery Henderson
12. (119) J.P. Losman
13. (122) Chris Hope
14. (139) Nate Kaeding
15. (142) Dallas Clark
16. (159) Jacksonville
17. (162) Antonio Pierce
18. (179) Chris Carr
19. (182) Drew Bennett
20. (199) Michael Vick

Top three picks are about as good as it gets – Brady/Jackson/McGahee should be enough to make a difference and win some games. I would’ve liked to see the fourth round pick go to a receiver instead of Gates. Because he waited until the fifth round to take a wideout, this team ended up with a pretty soft trio of pass catchers compared to some of the other teams in the league. J.P. Losman and Dallas Clark are two picks with some decent upside, and Drew Bennett could see some decent weeks too. Took a kicker a little too early. How long Vick stays on the roster is anyone’s guess. This team is playing me in week one, and I’m voting for them to beat me…the matchups are just not in my favor on Sunday.





fantasy draft recap: Stumblin’Bumblin’

9 09 2007

Stumblin’Bumblin’

Team Fight Song: “Born to Run” – Bruce Springsteen

(“It’s a death trap, it’s a suicide rap…”)

1. (8) Reggie Bush
2. (13) Rudi Johnson
3. (28) Marc Bulger
4. (33) Anquan Boldin
5. (48) Tony Gonzalez
6. (53) Santana Moss
7. (68) Vincent Jackson
8. (73) Ahman Green
9. (88) San Diego
10. (93) DeMeco Ryans
11. (108) Matt Schaub
12. (113) Kevin Curtis
13. (128) Champ Bailey
14. (133) Robbie Gould
15. (148) Heath Miller
16. (153) Jason Taylor
17. (168) Chris Henry
18. (173) Richard Marshall
19. (188) Marty Booker
20. (193) Chad Pennington

Lots of strange picks here. Reggie Bush went slightly earlier than I expected (Addai/Westbrook were still available), even with the PPR scoring system. Made two excellent second and third round choices to get Bulger and Rudi Johnson. Receiver core of Moss/Boldin/Jackson/Curtis will be productive, but not difference-makers. The wheels on this draft start to fall apart beginning in round 10, instead of building more offensive depth the pick here went to the Texans linebacker DeMeco Ryans. Four rounds later, kicker Robbie Gould gets taken. Ryans ended up being the first of four individual defensive players taken, a questionable move that I don’t see working out in this team’s favor. San Diego’s defense is a nice pickup, Ahman Green will surprise his doubters (I was hoping he’d drop to me at the end of round 8), and Chad Pennington will be benched for Kellen Clemens by the end of the year.





fantasy draft recap: Turktron3000

6 09 2007

Turktron3000

Team Fight Song: “Randy” – BradyFan83

1. (4) Frank Gore
2. (17) Chad Johnson
3. (24) Maurice Jones-Drew
4. (37) Jon Kitna
5. (44) Randy Moss
6. (57) Adrian Peterson
7. (64) Darrell Jackson
8. (77) Baltimore
9. (84) Jay Cutler
10. (97) Jason Witten
11. (104) LenDale White
12. (117) Jerry Porter
13. (124) Keith Bulluck
14. (137) Ronde Barber
15. (144) Warrick Dunn
16. (157) Daunte Culpepper
17. (164) Brian Urlacher
18. (177) Charles Woodson
19. (184) Eric Johnson
20. (197) Anthony Gonzalez

Kitna turned the ball over a ton last year – sure he’s got a deep set of receivers to throw to, but no running back to open up his passing game. Moss will get better numbers this year, but probably not enough to make him a legit number two fantasy receiver – he’s just another cog in the system up in New England, not a primary option in the passing game. Gore will be great, but I’m projecting slightly lower numbers for MJD this year – I think it’s unlikely he’ll put up the same kind of touchdown numbers that had fantasy owners drooling over him in 2006. Peterson looks fantastic so far in preseason and is a great sleeper – although you can’t really be called a sleeper anymore once everyone knows who you are. Darrell Jackson, Cutler, and Witten are all good value picks. Very strong selections on defense, both the team and player player picks were stellar. It’s hard to say anything nice about the rest of the bench roster, but at least one of those guys will get dropped for a kicker. I love the not-drafting-a-kicker-at-all strategy, I will have to try that out next year.