Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Diary: On The Way To Tampa

Thursday, May 24

“Hey there lonely girl.”

Hey everyone. Sorry I haven’t been able to update you guys sooner, but it’s simply been a whirlwind adventure filled with low batteries, constant traveling, and 3 AM wake-up calls. Anyway, I’m on my way to Tampa to see the Rays and Mariners from the Trop. Here’s an update on where I’ve been since now:

We went to Camden Yards on Tuesday. If you haven’t been, put that close to the top of your list if you’re a sports enthusiast. This is the closest thing, at least from what I’ve seen in my life, that combines the spirit of how baseball once was with a modern twist. Camden is so amazing. Standing out on the right field wall over the scoreboard…you’re not going to get a much better view than that (of course, I’m speaking as if you were able to buy a bleacher seat in every park). The O’s fell apart, with most of it coming at the behest of Daniel Cabrera, who could be the most inconsistent pitcher to ever live. The only thing consistent about him is that he is going to throw really hard, then after that, it’s anybody’s guess. Anyway, just to get back to Camden was awesome. Also, it was the first chance for me to see the Ravens’ new stadium (well, relatively new). I had a blast as always, and again, definitely check that out.

So then, it was straight from Baltimore to Myrtle Beach. If you ever get a chance to sleep on a bus, take a pass on that. It’s not as hot as you may imagine. I know I was envisioning living in the lap of luxury, but oh well…sacrifices (boo-hoo, I’m traveling on a bus and watching baseball games…someone hit me please). Myrtle Beach was pretty tight, mostly because we got the game over with rather quickly (how about those 10:30 AM starts? have to dig the minors; nothing like it). The stadium was definite good times. Also, promotions out the you know what. I got free wings at Hooters, free quesadillas at Chili’s, and a gallon of windshield wiper fluid (which I was definitely the most excited about…you have to know me to appreciate that). So, everyone there was nice, and after that, had a quick tour, and then, it was off to the “Redneck Riviera” to do some exploring (which I’m convinced was what I was doing in a past life…I don’t think I was Magellan or anything, but maybe someone on a smaller scale…like the guy who discovered Wisconsin or something). As you may or may not know, Myrtle always has a “bike week” sometime in May. Unfortunately, this took place last week, but as luck would have it, the “black bike week” was in full swing, so I enjoyed that thoroughly. I love how some of the people on the trip were like “I’m not racist, but I’m really scared right now.” Ummm…actually, that kind of makes you racist, especially when you bring up the fact that you “might get shot.” I mean come on now, there’s no need to lie. If you are frightened by black people, then ok, but don’t say that you’re cool with them, because you’re obviously not. I, however, was completely comfortable, and hung out with a couple of them while walking back from watching the Sox game (more on that later…ugh…). So, I just thought I would throw that out there, because I’m really tired of hearing the PC comments, and then, once people are actually put in the situation to act with someone of a different race, they act completely different. That is such a huge pet peeve for me. Say what you mean! I’m sick of people having to say the right thing. Sure, some of the stuff may get you in trouble, but at least you’re being completely honest with yourself. Not to tangent too much here, but Imus makes me mad because I know that’s how he feels about the Rutgers team. Yeah, he should have been punished, but the fact that he comes out and apologizes doesn’t mean that he will never call a young black woman a “nappy head ho.” Be real, that’s all I’m saying.

And now, an alternative spelling describing the mood in Boston sports land right now:


My Dad called me as the lottery was going on, and after I found out where the C’s were going (5th if you’ve living under a rock for the last two days), I literally felt empty in my heart, like someone just came in and ripped out my conscience. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t breathe. All I could do was hold my head and wonder this:

“Why am I to be the subject of all this misery?”

So the Celtics will again be relegated to the endless stream of mediocrity that seems to follow us from year to year. Please, someone, help us…help us now, because there’s only so much a Boston guy can take, and just because the burden was lifted off of my biggest heartache three years ago, don’t keep us wallowing in the same nightmare over and over again. All of this began with the ’86 Draft, but why are we being punished for that? It’s not the Celtics’ fault Len Bias did what he did, and yet, it feels like the franchise will forever be damned for that one moment in history. This was a chance we get literally once a decade, and once again, we were screwed by the ping pong balls. Now, Oden and Durant will end up in the greater northwest (Portland and Seattle), and we may never get to see how they could have been in a big market like Boston, New York, or even Chicago. Instead, they most likely will waste away in a sea of 10:30 games and no public interest.

The sad story of Josh Hancock’s untimely death keeps getting worse and worse. After weeks of speculation about how much Hancock had to drink, what he may or may not have smoked, how fast he was going, all of it. Now, Hancock’s Dad is suing the local St. Louis bar that Hancock was seen leaving on that fateful night for serving him too many drinks. Ok, here’s the thing, and mind you, I am not taking sides in any of this, because I maintain my stance that this was an absolute tragedy, and that drunk driving is wrong no matter what the circumstances are. Anyway, Hancock was said to have been twice the legal limit in his autopsy. If the bartenders were the ones that continued to hand him free drinks, then yes, you have to put some of the responsibility on the bar. Still, it’s his decision on driving home. Look, I’ve been there. I understand that when you’re in that state, you still believe that you can drive because you’ve done it so many times before, and that it will be a piece of cake even though you are impaired. This couldn’t be anything further from the truth. For some, they develop a lead foot, and that really doesn’t help considering the split-second decisions you need to make when you are driving fast occur even quicker than normal. As a guy, I’m fully aware of if it is a good or bad idea to drive. Not saying I’m an angel with this, but there’s definitely a point where you realize that “hey, I’m feeling it, and this isn’t how I normally am.” I know also that there’s a great temptation to continue drinking when people are offering you freebies. However, the guy is still a major league player, and needs to realize that he is going to be the subject of many temptations, and that he needs to show some self-control when it comes to these kind of things. He was 29 that night, entering his fifth year of professional baseball, so it’s not as though he has not seen the kind of pitfalls that go along with being a major leaguer. All I’m saying is that he probably should have exuded some control, because even if he didn’t end up getting into an accident, but he was pulled over, he would have suffered some major consequences, and as a professional, he needs to know that’s something you just don’t do. With that being said, the bar also needs to know that when you give a guy drinks for a reported three-and-a-half hours, you have to know he’s going to be a touch impaired after all of that. I know that for normal civilians, like me, if I had been drinking mixers in a bar for two hours, they would probably take my keys and make me find a ride home. So, for these guys to let Hancock leave on his own, and not make him find a ride, even if he tells them that he’s ok…that’s inexcusable. They knew how much alcohol they were giving him, and yet, he left the bar and drove home. There are no good sides to this story…everything is negative. The only hope I have is that this story gets some sort of closure, and that Josh Hancock’s name and story can rest in peace.

More from the road to come. We have reached the home stretch. I’ll have a recap of the Trop tomorrow, and probably, I’ll be recapping what went down at the Minor League Baseball offices, as well as tomorrow’s game between St. Lucie (Mets) and Dunedin (Blue Jays). After that, it’s onto Turner Field, and then, well, that’s all she wrote. I’ll be back in Charlotte on Sunday, and hopefully, I’ll be closer to getting a job. So for now, have a great Memorial Day weekend everyone. Peace.


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