Thursday, August 30, 2007

Cool Toy

I want one of THESE too!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Michael Vick

There have been many comments. Big Dogs, a clothing company that specializes in T-Shirts with images that often have a dog theme (obviously from the name) have two new ones for Vick. I have posted them here. I doubt they will mind.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Baseball Trip Day Seven

After six days of minor league baseball, we decided to finish the trip in the majors. We took off for Atlanta and a 1:00 meeting with the Colorado Rockies. Chuck James started though it seemed that he really liked tie scores because every time the Braves scored a run he would give up one to the Rockies. The game was 5-5 at the end of the ninth and after Winston-Salem's collapse the night before I hoping for a different outcome for the home team. Luckily Escobar drove in the winning run in the 10th. A great finish to a great week.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Baseball Trip Day Six

Day six was an easy day. The drive from Durham to Winston-Salem was only a couple of hours and the stadium was fairly easy to find. We actually had enough time to kill in W-S that we went and saw the Bourne Ultimatum that afternoon. When we got to the stadium though our good karma from the cheap tickets early in the week came back to bite us. It was Christian Concert night and all tickets were $12 which was by far the most expensive seats we had seen all week.

The game between the Winston-Salem Warthogs and the Potomac Nationals was actually a good game. It was not necessarily well played as there were a number of errors, mistakes, wild pitches, etc. Both catchers were about to kill members of their pitching staffs by the end of the game. The score was close all the way through and we got extra innings with a 5-5 tie. This lasted till the top of the twelfth when the Warthogs imploded and gave up 9 runs. The game ended with a 14-5 National win.

The stadium was attractive but had less leg room than any stadium we had seen all week. It was rather uncomfortable. See the knee photo below. We are jammed in there.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Baseball Trip Day Five

Day five had leaving Columbia and heading north for Durham, NC to see the Bulls (made famous in the movie Bull Durham) play. First can our bout of excitement followed by a quest.

Just north of Kannapolis, NC on I-85 while traveling in heavy traffic at a fairly high rate of speed the left rear tire on my car exploded. I suspect that I hit some debris of some kind that damaged the tire but have no idea what it could have been. There was a very short period of high adrenaline until I successfully pulled the car off the roadway onto the median (being in the left lane this was easier than the shoulder). The tire was shredded and the tread was off the tire completely and wrapped around the axle. We did not take any photos but kind of wish we had now. Changing the tire was straight forward and we were able to continue to travel but since the spare is a dough nut, I knew that I needed a new tire right away. The next town north along I-85 was China Grove. There were two local tire shops in the town. The first did not have a functioning air compressor, seemingly a necessity for a tire shop, and the other did not have a tire to fit my car. Now I drive a Mercury Sable which is functionally identical to the Ford Taurus which was the move commonly sold vehicle during the 90's. There are thousands upon thousands of these cars on the road, but now tires. Feeling somewhat frustrated at the lack of success at our first two attempts, we stopped at an Auto Zone (which do not sell tires) for directions to some where that we could get a tire. Directions were given, though they were ultimately unsuccessful as I never saw the shop they directed me to. We did drive down a highway towards Kannapolis and Concord in our search for a tire. We did see a Meineke tire shop and stopped there thinking that for sure a national chain store like that would have what we needed, only to be disappointed once again. We were able to get directions to another shop called Tire King that in the end did have a wide variety of tires in the correct size and it was able to replace my destroyed tire and get us back on the Interstate in less than an hour. All in all though, the quest for the tire took about 2 and one half hours and a fair amount of frustration before success was achieved.

Then it was on to Durham for more baseball. We once again were ready for AAA baseball. I did order seats ahead of time for this game worrying that a Friday night game might sell out. We had seats three rows off the field down the left field line. It was a little different view than what we had had in all the other games. The game itself was not very exciting as the Bulls destroyed the Clippers 11 to 2. There was one very exciting moment though. With men on first and second one of the Clippers players was seemingly hit by a pitch and went down hard. He laid on the ground for several minutes while the trainers came out to check him over. The two runners on base moved up to second and third. All seemed clear until the batter stoop up, at which point the home plate umpire announced that the ball had hit the bat before it struck the batter and thus is was a foul ball. The batter went ape shit and tried to physically attack the umpire. Several of his coaches and team mates had to carry him from the field. Needless to say the Clippers Manager was also ejected as he spent several minutes discussing a number of topics with the umpire that I am sure included his eyesight, mental acuity and parentage in addition to the merits of the call. In the end the umpire won the argument, as they always do, but it was interesting for a few moments there.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Baseball Trip Day Four

Day Four was the Charlotte Knights and the Toledo Mud Hens, but first it was barbecue to die for. We had lunch at Little Pigs Barbecue. This was buffet with several types of pulled pork, wet and dry ribs, baked and barbecued chicken and a vast array of vegetables and salads. Not to mention the banana pudding for dessert. A lovely way to spend an hour or two. Check their times before going, they are open odd hours.

The Knights and Mud Hens are both AAA teams which is significantly better than any of the teams we had seen up till now. Interestingly, while the quality of the play went up with the talent and experience of the players, the quality of the games did not necessarily go up as well. The lower level teams still produced good games because the talent was equally divided. For you baseball fans, go see your local minor league team, even if they are part of a hated major league system, after all most of the players on an A team will never make it to the majors and if they do it will probably be for some other team anyway.

The Knights have a dragon as their mascot for some reason and it was a pretty good mascot. One of the promotions we saw at every stadium was a race around the bases between the mascot and some young person. In Columbia, the players were clearly uncomfortable with this intrusion into their space. In Charlotte, each of the infielders impeded the mascot in some with the first baseman actually tripping him helping the child with his or her inevitable win. (The mascot always loses)

The Knights had a better mascot than team. The Mud Hens won 5-4 and the game was really not close till the very end when the Knights scored 3 in the ninth to make it interesting. They were 11 games out in their division at the time.

Baseball Trip Day Three

Day Three brought us to Columbia South Carolina to see the Blowfish face the New Bern River Rats. These teams are only kind of professional. The players are actually college players in a summer league designed to give them more experience. These teams are members of the Coastal Plain League. The league has teams in South and North Carolina and southern Virginia. The other change was that our sister who lives in Columbia joined us for this game the one on Day Four in Charlotte. It was only fair to take her to the games with us since we slept at her house for these two nights.

The game itself was not very good as Columbia blew New Bern out 14-4 with a 10 run second inning that included a grand slam home run.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I want one.

Back to the baseball trip soon, but first, I want one of THESE!!!!

I do not know what I would do with it. But I want it.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Baseball Trip Day Two

Day was scheduled to be in Charleston. We were hoping for better weather after Monday's rain out. Fortunately for the whole trip, Charleston had been rained out on Monday as well so there would be a double header on Tuesday. The Charleston Riverdogs were going to play two with the Hickory Crawdads.

As we drove into Charleston we passed in front of the building where the nine firefighters were killed. There was a large memorial out front of what was left of the building. It was a rather somber sight.

We had plenty of time before the game and so went into the historic district and went through a large flea market. One of the remarkable things were the large number of booths with identical Saw grass baskets. Clearly someone has developed some designs and taught some low-income people to make baskets as a way to make a living. There were some really nice examples but they were hideously expensive so I passed. We also saw a couple of nice galleries including one that was a co-op for craft artists that had some very nice pottery and stained glass pieces. We also went to the waterfront and looked across the river at the USS Yorktown. We passed on going through the aquarium but it did look nice from the outside.

At the stadium, we were pleased with another promotion with Two for Tuesday which once again gave us $2 tickets. Karma would pay us back for this at the end of the week but it was nice while it lasted.

There was a short rain shower just before the game was scheduled to start but in the end there was very little delay. Hickory defeated Charleston handily in both games. One of the interesting things here was that the stadium announcer was mobile and we could see him moving around and making announcements from where ever in the stadium he happened to be. Charley the Riverdog was just the first of many interesting mascots that we enjoyed during the week.

Baseball Trip Day One

We started our baseball trip in Savannah with a game between the Sand Gnats and the Greensboro Grasshoppers. We went down early and wandered through City Market spending a fair amount of time in the art galleries. This is an area that has finally become what the developers said it would be, namely a center for local artists and the arts. There was a very lovely painting of the Tybee Lighthouse from the beach rather than the more typical view from the river that was very appealing. While I thought about acquiring it, the $500 pricetag was enough to dissuade me.

We then went out to Grayson Stadium arriving about an hour before game time and were pleasantly surprised to find a $2 promotion which meant that GA tickets, hotdogs and sodas (as well as beer) were $2 each. We went in got something to eat and got settled in some really nice seats behind home plate, as there are advantages to getting there early, and then it started to rain. It looked like a traditional afternoon shower and the stadium personnel seemed confidant that it would stop and there would be a game. They even got so far as having the tarp about half-way off when the rain intensified and that was the end of that. Not an auspicious start but a start all the same.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Baseball trip

With more (far more) detail to follow, I have almost completed my week-long vacation of baseball. All I need to do now is go home. Which I shall do soon. In the past seven days, my brother and I have seen seven games with one rainout and one double header, keeping the numbers even. One one potential catastrophe which led to one of the most abs0urd quests ever. (Don't try to purchase an automobile tire in the greater Concord/Kannapolis/China Grove section of North Carolina.)

when I get home I will assemble my photos and ephemera and provide a more detailed account of the adventure.

More in the next couple of days.