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Road Trip 2007: Days 1-3, St. Louis, KC and Route 70

Days 1-3 on my road trip across this great country of our’s is in the books. The trip began in Chicago and ended on day 1 in the Lou. As expected, I hit HORRIBLE traffic as I got closer and closer to the Lou. Construction in Illinois is one of the worse things on the planet. However, this problem was made 10 times worse by idiot drivers. In particular, drivers with Missouri plates. Terrible. Terrible. Terrible. They have no concept of how to properly drive on a highway. I don’t think Missouri drivers learned that the left lane is for passing. I mean no offense to anyone out there from Missouri, but it was a problem I observed throughout IL. It was even worse on Rte 70 in Missouri. I don’t think I’ve ever had road rage like that. The entire state needs to take driver’s ed again.

 Once we reached the Lou, we visited Busch Stadium for the Cards-Cubs. Cubs played terrible and the Cards gave them a beatdown. I have no loyalties to either team, so I was more interested in Busch Stadium. I was not impressed. I went to a game two years ago at old Busch Satdium, which was a hole but typical of the stadiums built during that era. I guess I was expecting more from the new park. I thought the layout was bad. There was no main entry to the stadium announcing its grandness. They should have learned from Comerica and Jacob’s. Also, once I went into the park, you could not walk all the way around your level to see the park. We had tickets on the 200 level, but you had to go up a specific set of stairs to get there. We entered on the firstbase side and went up to our seats only to be told we had to go back down to go back up on the thridbase side. Terrible. Petco made this same mistake.

The seats were fine though. I don’t think there was a bad seat in the place. Also, I did have the best hotdog I’ve ever had in my life at the park. It was unbelievable. Best ever. Beers were good, too. The stadium was nice, but not great. It should be great, so that is why I’m giving it a bad grade.

After the game, we went to our hotel (that will remain nameless). We attempted to get something to eat, but we were told BY THE HOTEL’S WAITRESS that we would be better off going across the street because it would take too long. Terrible. The Lou is 0-2 so far. So, we went across the street to Carmine’s. Great place. They make their own stuffed raviloi. They were phenomenal.

On Day 2, we woke up and toured the city. Visited the Arch. Also, we were heard great things about an area called Laclede’s Landing. Turned out our hotel was only blocks from there. This was also terrible. HIGHLY overrated. If you are going to the Lou and someone tells you about this place, punch them in the face. It is a joke. There is nothing worthwhile at all about it. We at lunch at a bar (that will also remain nameless) with terrible service. Took forever to get our food, and once we got it, our waitress went into the witness relocation program. Nothing else to this area. Save your time and go to the Budweiser Brewery tour. That is a very cool thing to do.

 Overall, I give the Lou a 5 out of 10. The great hotdogs and stuffed raviloi are the only things keeping the score above a 3.

On day 2, we left for KC. As noted above, the drive on Rte 70 was terrible. No more to be said. Once we arrived in KC, we were extremely happy. KC blew the Lou out of the water in all aspects. The only negative was that you have to drive everywhere. Stayed at the Westin (across from Union Station). Great hotel. Highly recommend it. That night, we had steaks at Benton’s. It is in the Westin. One of the best steaks I have ever had. Live jazz. Had a great view of the city. They made a good dirty martini and an excellent Maker’s n’ ginger. The service was top shelf, too.

On day 3, we visited the Negro League Museum and the American Jazz Museum. Both were great. I highly recommend seeing those spots, too. Later that day, I had one of the best experiences I have ever had in my life. We stopped for ribs at Arthur Bryant’s. Seriously, it was like heaven. Best ribs I have ever had. There is a funny cartoon hanging on the walls of the Arthur Bryant being greeted at the pearly gates with St. Peter patting him on the back asking him “Did you bring any sauce?” Very justified. You must go there if you are ever in KC. For anyone who lives in KC, you have my envy. You are lucky folks.

 Later that night, we hit Kauffman Stadium for the Royals-Rangers. Old park, but I liked it better than Busch Stadium. Maybe it had to do with my overall preference for KC over the Lou, but I just liked Kauffman a alot. Just very simple. Seats for good. People were friendly. Easy to get to (although you have to drive). No complaints.

I give KC an 8 out of 10. Very cool place.

Still on the road now. Making my way through Kansas to Colorado. Then up to Wyoming and Montana. Commentaries on all locations will be forthcoming.

 Runny 

August 1, 2007 Posted by | Cardinals, Carmine's in St. Louis, Kansas City, Laclede's Landing, Royals, St. Louis, The Lou | Leave a comment

Great American Road Trip 2007

Greetings. The Summer is upon us and the weather couldn’t be better. That said, I’m on the verge of fulfilling a dream of mine I’ve had for as long as I can remember. I’m going to take the Summer off and drive across the great United States. Still in the planning phase, but my goal is to see as many MLB stadiums, National parks, large balls of rubberbands, blocks of cheese and sketchy people as I can see in a little over 30 days.  That said, I worked out my itinerary and wanted to pass it along for any feedback or suggestions anyone can give.

Here is the breakdown so far:

  • Thursday, 7/26/07: St. Louis for the Cubs-Cards. I live in Chicago,
  • Friday, 7/27/07: Budweiser Brewery Tour, The Arch, STL sites, drive to KC.
  • Saturday, 7/28/07: Negro League Hall of Fame, Get ribs at Arthur’s, Royals-Rangers game.
  • Sunday, 7/29/07: Drive to Denver/Boulder;
  • Monday, 7/30/07: Drive to Jackson, WY. Visit Rocky Mountain National Park and Tetan National Park on the way.
  • Tueaday, 7/31/07: Drive to Missoula, MT. Do whatever it is they do in Montana. Is Sam Hoffman still up there?!?!
  • Wednesday, 8/1/07: Drive to Seattle. Mariners-Angels game.
  • Thursday, 8/2/07: Begin drive to San Fran. Stop somewhere in OR or WA.
  • Friday, 8/3/07: Arrive in San Fran./Oaktown. See the sites. Track down Al Davis and MC Hammer. A’s-Angels game (I’m going to try and get Vlad Guerrero to ride with me from Seattle to Oakland between games).
  • Saturday, 8/4/07: Tour SF.
  • Sunday, 8/5/07: Napa.
  • Monday, 8/6/07: Monterray, Big Sur and Giants-Nationals game.
  • Tuesday, 8/7/07: Drive to LA. Angels-Red Sox game.
  • Wednesday, 8/8/07: Drive to Phoenix. D’Backs-Bucks game.
  • Thursday, 8/9/07: Drive to Santa Fe.
  • Friday, 8/10/07: Drive to Denver. Rockies-Cubs game.
  • Saturday, 8/11/07: Drive to Arlington/Dallas. Stop in OK City. See the Bombing Monument. Hangout with Nate Newton, Michael Irvin and TO. Hopefully avoid any stabbings. Rangers-Royals game.
  • Sunday, 8/12/07: Drive to Houston. Astros-Brewers game.
  • Monday, 8/13/07: Drive to San Antonio. See the sites.
  • Tuesday, 8/14/07: Drive to Jackson, MI. Take the Civil Rights tour. Listen to some Blues.
  • Wednesday, 8/15/07: Drive to Hotlanta. Enter Peanut in Michael Vick’s next dog fighting match. He will represent. Braves-Giants game.
  • Thursday, 8/16/07: Drive to Orlando. Possibly hit Disney. Or, head to Ft. Lauderdale to hit the beach.
  • Friday, 8/17/07: Drive to Miami. Hit South Beach.
  • Saturday, 8/18/07: South Beach. Marlins-Giants game.
  • Sunday, 8/19/07: Drive to Tampa Bay. D’Ray-Indians game.
  • Monday, 8/20/07: Hangout in FLA.
  • Tuesday, 8/21/07: Drive to NC. Hit Outter Banks.
  • Wednesday, 8/22/07: Outter Banks.
  • Thursday, 8/23/07: Outter Banks.
  • Friday, 8/24/07: Drive to Baltimore. Orioles-Twins game.
  • Saturday, 8/25/07: Drive to Philly/S. Jersey. Phillies-Padres game.
  • Sunday, 8/26/07: Drive to NYC. Mets-Dodgers game.
  • Monday, 8/27/07: Drive to Philly. See the sites.
  • Tuesday, 8/28/07: Drive to NYC. Yanks-Red Sox game!!!!
  • Wednesday, 8/29/07: Head to Upstate. Do a massive amount of laundry.
  • Thursday, 8/30/07: Upstate.
  • Friday, 8/31/07: Drive to Toronto. Blue Jays-Mariners game.
  • Saturday, 9/1/07: Drive back to Chitown.
  • Sunday, 9/2/07: Cubs-Astros game.

 That’s the plan for now. Feel free to give feedback and suggestions.

Runny

July 9, 2007 Posted by | Cardinals, Cubs, Giants, Michael Vick Dog Fighting, National Parks, NC, Philly, Royals, S. Jersey, Seal Beach, Seattle | Leave a comment

MLB, NBA & UFC Picks

The Yankees are soooo very bad. They should have beat the Red Sox tonight 8-2 easy. Cudos to the Red Sox for hanging in there. They got to Rivera and they deserved to win. That game showed me how much better of a manager Francona is than Torre. Night and day. Francona is ten times the manager Torre is. Not even close in comparison. My first plea to Cashman was to cut/trade Carla Pavano. My seconnd plea is to fire Torre immediately. Put Donnie Baseall in charge and hire Paulie O as bench coach. I think Torre was asleep until the 7th inning when he decided to start making moves. Why pull Pettitte with a 3 run lead? Why not leave Proctor in longer? Why bring in the guy (Vizcaino) who blew his laod and tank the day before, and then bring in Rivera for a two inning save?!? Especially given that you know they are going to have to use the pen a lot the next two games. With the go ahead run on 3rd in the 8th with one out, why not intentionally walk the batter to set-up the double play? And why, for goodness sake, do you bring the infield in?!?! he still hasn’t learned from 01. Sox will sweep.

Sorry for the rant. I hate losing picks. I went 2-2 (White Sox and Braves covered, Yanks and Jays did not). Brings my overall record to:

  • MLB: 16-14
  • NBA: 12-2-2
  • UFC: 2-1

Now, on to the NBA playoffs!!! One of my favorite things to do is pick NBA games. Especially this time of year. Genrally, I don’t like to make picks out of every game. I usually try to spot faulty lines and pick accordingly. But, with the limited docket of games, and because it is so much fun, I figure I’ll give it a shot. Here it goes:

  • Nets @ Raptors. This is probably my choice for the best 1st round series. I’m really psyched to watch this one. Both teams have been really great against the spread this year. Vinsanity has been taking SOOOOOOO much smack about this series. He even hoped that they got Toronto in the first round. Be careful what you get for though. Chris Bosh is a manchild. One of my favorite players and is HUGELY underrated. He came out of the same draft with mello, Bron and Wade, but never mentioned in their category. The time has come for the NBA to take notice. My heart is telling me to take the Raptors in this one. They are good favorites (-4.5) at home. However, they have been inconsistent as of late. The Nets have been ROLLIN’. I think the Raptors will win, but I think it will be a very close game. I just liek J Kidd and the veterans on the Nets. They will keep it close. I’m taking the Nets +4.5
  • Heat @ Bulls. This is another great match-up. These two teams hate each other. Both have stumbled as of late, with the Bulls losing their last game against the Nets. A game that if they won, they would not even be playing the heat in the 1st round. The Heat have been banged-up and have been sporadic, at best. But, they are the defending champs. Until they are kncoked out, they are still the champs. The Bulls are hungry though and are looking to avenge the beatdown they got last year. They are young, athletic and play hard. But again, the Heat are the champs. And they have Shaq in the middle and Flash in their back court. Very, very tough game to call. I think the game will be close, so I’m taking the underdog. I’m taking the Heat +4.
  • Magic @ Pistons. Magic just are not ready for the Pistons. Pistons are good and are built for the playoffs. Magic are 0-4 against them this year. Pistons are at home and will win this game big. I’m taking the Pistons -9.
  • Jazz @ Rockets. Nearly everyone is talking about this finally being TMac’s year to get out of the 1st round. Possible, but the Jazz are damn good. Plus they are healthy now. They just beat the Rockets by 10, but the Rockets did not play TMac or Yao. That would have made a HUGE diference. I think the Rockets will win this game, but the depth of the Jazz will help them out. They will keep them in this game. It will be a close one. I like this line. I’m taking the Jazz +6.

Those are the NBA games for tomorrow. I’ll give Sunday’s picks tomorrow.

MLB

  • Pirates @ Dodgers. Snell against Penny. Both have been great this year. I just love Ian Snell this year. Especially when he is the underdog. Will be a low scoring game. I like two picks in this game. I’m taking the Pirates +130. Also taking the under at 7.5.
  • Twins @ Royals. Boof Bonser is not good. Grienke is really good, and the underdog. I like him at home. I’m taking the Royals +105.

UFC

  • Gonzaga vs. Cro Cop. I have not changed my view on this all week. Cro Cop. Cro Cop. Cro Cop. Gonzaga will make this a good fight, but Cro Cop has too many weapons. I’m taking Cro Cop -500. 
  • Bisbing vs. Sinosic. Bisbing is fighting in front of his home crowd. This will not be a close fight. Bisbing will win easy and fast. I’m taking Bisbing -500.
  • Arlovski vs. Werdum. Arlovski is a nut and so much fun to watch. I think he wins this one. Will be a good fight, but Arlovski will pull it off. I’m taking Arlovski -115.

Those are my picks.

 Good luck.

Runny

April 21, 2007 Posted by | Heat, Joe Torre, Mariano Rivera, Mets, MLB, mma, nba, NBA Playoffs Picks, Pistons, Red Sox, Royals, Shaq, Terry Francona, ufc, Winning Picks, Yankees | Leave a comment

Dice-K’s Nightmare – Did you get any sleep last night?

After sleeping and reflecting on last night’s game I think it was a nigthmare scenario for Dice-K, the Red Sox and Boston fans. This is the first home start of Dice-K’s career, we have been hearing about it for weeks, we have been blasted with clips of Dice-K striking out Ichiro three times 8 years ago, ESPN was hyping the game for days and the national press descended on Fenway. And what happened…..Dice-K was completely overshadowed by King Felix and he took the loss. Not only was he overshadowed, it left people speechless. The King strutted into Fenway and threw down a one hitter throwing 99-100 mph sinking fastballs, 93 mph sliders that had multiple feet of break on them and a change that was hitting 87 and then even slower as the game wore on. Felix was plain filthy and unhittable. He hit corners, he made batters flinch at his breaking pitches and he made guys swing and miss. He did not throw down 12 Ks but it did not matter…he simply dominated. So now the Red Sox and Boston media are left thinking what did we get for $100 million. Dice-K can beat the Royals easily but can he face established MLB hitters every start and succeed? I for one do not know and will look forward to finding out. What I did learn is the King Felix is an incredible talent and for a kid who just turned 21, I can not wait to watch him more. Dice-K has a lot left to prove…

1) Can he live up to expectiations?
2) Can he face the Boston media pressure?
3) Can he face the Japanese media pressure?
4) Can he learn to control his adrenaline? Dice-K’s pitches dropped in velocity and he became more wild as the game wore on.

And for King Felix? I can not wait to watch you pitch again and I think you need a new nickname…maybe King Nasty will fit for awhile.

Red Sox fans…I would be very nervous if I were you because Dice-K was a bust last night and has a lot to prove to the rest of us.

So what are people saying around the country:

ESPN – http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/preview?gameId=270412102

MLB – http://mlb.mlb.com/news/gameday_recap.jsp?ymd=20070411&content_id=1893414&vkey=recap&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

Boston Globe – http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/articles/2007/04/12/on_this_night_not_good_enough/

These articles are great. No more hype, no more excuses, no more promotion. Dice-K was outpitched and was the lesser of the two starters. The King reigned supreme and will continue to do so. Now we can move away from the who does Dice-K compare to…a Pedro in his prime, Clemens, etc…and we can wait to see who Dice-K really is in a Red Sox uniform pitching in front of large crowds and a media circus. So lets stop rpoclaiming this guy the next coming and lets enjoy the season and see if Dice-K can pitch successfully start in and start out and see if he can beat lineups that are not the Royals. I look at facts and so far the facts showed a mediocre pitcher.

Flash Flash

April 12, 2007 Posted by | Dice-K, ESPN, gyroball, Ichiro, Japan, Mariners, Matsuzaka, MLB, Red Sox, Royals, Sports | 3 Comments

More Free MLB & NBA Picks

With Mo Rivera’s quick work in the 9th, my picks for 4/11 are now finalized. Yanks, Royals and Red Sox all won, so i was 3-0 on MLB. The Nets beat the Wizards by 4, so that was a push. To date, my results are as follows:

  • MLB: 5-7
  • NBA: 6-1-1
  • UFC: 2-1

Most of the lines for Wednesday’s games aren’t out yet, but I do spot a few games now that I like. Here it goes:

MLB

  • Mariners @ Red Sox.Mariners played every bit like a team that has not played in 4 days in the Fenway opener. Their recent inaction, coupled with running into the Beckett buzz-saw, pretty much guaranteed a beatdown this afternoon. Wednesday’s game is probably the most hyped game in the past few years, with King Felix squaring off against the media proclaimed 2nd coming known as Dice-K. Dice-K certainly was very impressive against the Royals in his debut, but so was King Felix in his debut against the A’s. If you listen to the media hype on this one (as well as Red Sox Nation and deranged bloggers), with the exception of the game’s 1st AB, there really is no reason to watch this game because it will be a huge mismatch. But, they don’t play the games in the media. Or on blogs and Dice-K hasn’t proved anything besides that he can decimate a glorified AAA team from KC. Don’t get me wrong, I think Dice-K will prove to be a good pithcer. Just give him some time to prove himself. For this one, I think King Felix can match him on the mound. Also, for all the hype about Dice-K gunning to face Ichiro again so he can repeat a previous performance, believe me, Ichiro is listening. This game has the classic OSU Syndrone written all over it. I think it will be low scoring, but I think King Felix out pitches Dice-K tomorrow. I like the line, too. I’m taking the Mariners +145.
  • Nats @ Braves. Two youngsters square-off in this one. The Nats have looked absolutely lifeless through their first 7 games, going 1-7. The Braves on the otherhand have been the exact opposite in starting their season on a 6-1 run (including a 8-0 win over the Nats on Tuesday). The Braves are young a good. The Nats are young and bad. However, I don’t see the Nats starting their season 1-8. James is very hittable. I love this line. I’m taking the Nats +240.
  • Yanks @ Twins. Yanks are rollin’. The Moose will be loose on Wednesday where his lifetime stats in the Metrdome are insane (against the Twins he owns a lifetime 20-5 record with 4 shutouts). He will not pitch as well on Wednesday as he has done in his career against the Twins, but the Yanks will outscore the Twins. Line is not bad. I’m taking the Yanks -150.

NBA

  • Kings @ Spurs. The Spurs are looking damn good lately. The Kings are not good and crushed with injuries. I like the Spurs in this one. I’m taking the Spurs -13.

Those are my picks for Wednesday’s games. At the time of this posting, very few lines were available. However, check back tomorrow-there may be more picks.

 Good luck with your picks.

Runny

April 11, 2007 Posted by | Betting, Dice-K, Gambling, Japan, Mariners, Matsuzaka, MLB, mma, nba, Red Sox, Royals, Sports, ufc, Yankees | Leave a comment

Dice-K – How good will he be in start #2?

Tomorrow is going to be a fun day for baseball fans. For what seems like weeks and months now, all I have been hearing about is how great Dice-K is and how he is the best pitcher in baseball and better than Pedro Martinez when he was in his prime. ESPN has been hawking tomorrow’s game more than the vendors selling sausages outside Fenway on game day. Numerous bloggers plan on tracking every single pitch of Dice-K’s performance and I have even heard that this is one of the top sporting events in Japanese history because the first pitch of the game will be Dice-K to Ichiro. Red Sox and Dice-K fans keep showing a Youtube clip of Ichiro striking out three straight times against Dice-K back when Dice-K was 18. Well guess what, U.S. baseball fans and non-Red Sox fans DO NOT CARE!!!! This guy has not proved anything yet. He beat the Royals….Big whoopteee do. What a joke. Lets see if Dice-K can get through a season pitching in a 5 man rotation, not a 6 man rotation like they use in Japan. Lets see if U.S. scouts can figure Dice-K out after a couple of starts and hitters start studying this guy a little more. I am curious to see how this guy is pitching in June and July and then at the end of the year and in the playoffs. Boston media and fans might put more pressure on their athletes than any fan/media base in the U.S. Will he hold up with all of the U.S. and his homeland watching? There are too many assumptions about Dice-K coming to the U.S. and I am not buying them. This guy needs to show me that he can pitch and I do not even count the Royals and I will not count the Mariners game tomorrow either because the Mariners have barely played this year, which means they have not seen live pitching. Just look at their at bats today.. the Sox rocked them.

I hope tomorrow is a great game and I hope the Mariners and Felix the cat show up to play. Dice-K will be facing a lot of pressure and I bet they can jump on him early. I might just have to live blog this game tomorrow to give an honest and non-biased opinion of the situation. I do not like either team or any of the players involved so I will call it like I see it. If Dice-K mows and is the man, I will say so and continue to track his progress and development here and if he is terrible I will tell it like it is.

Feel free to leave comments or predictions on how you think Dice-K, Felix the cat, Sox, Mariners, lines, etc…. anything goes and let us know how you feel.

Flash Flash

April 10, 2007 Posted by | Dice-K, ESPN, Japan, Mariners, Matsuzaka, MLB, Red Sox, Royals, Uncategorized | Leave a comment