Tuesday, July 31, 2007

US Cellular Field review

US Cellular Field is one of those places that gets forgotten about on ballpark tours. The reasons being are 1)Wrigley Field is also in Chicago 2)US Cellular was built before Camden Yards changed how ballparks were built, and 3)For the most part the White Sox (besides 2005) have been a forgettable team. Also, there isn't anything very distinctive about the ballpark. However, before I get into my review as always below is Jim Caple's review:


Scalping/Ticket Prices: C: Caple wrote "The only saving grace is the availability of scalpers. I got a $29 seat for $10 within 10 steps of the El station." in his article that was last updated on June 23rd, 2006. Well, I can say that a little over a year after that article was written things have definitely changed. My friend and I walked from the El to US Cellular and even into the next streets over looking for scalpers. We found 1 scalper off the El and one possible scalper who we chased down only to find out that he had 2 tickets when we needed 3. While, you couldn't turn around outside Wrigley without seeing a scalper at US Cellular you couldn't turn around outside without seeing a cop. My friend and I finally gave up and went to the ticket counter to try and figure out the below pricing:


There are 45 different options (9 types of seats times 5 types of games) of ticket prices to try and confuse the average fan. While my law school friend and I are trying to figure out what ticket we want to buy, we get approached by a scalper. Thankfully he came up to us and sold us $44 tickets for $21 each. We only needed three, but he gave us the forth one for free. Anyway, the guy saved us from really expensive tickets. If someone could guarantee that a guy would come up and give you tickets for half off when you got to the ticket counter, I would give this ticket buying experiance an A. However, I feel like this was an exception as we were about 2 minutes away from purchasing really overpriced seats. Seriously where were the scalpers?

Aesthetic Appeal: C: Like most things in the park this is average. There really isn't much to say about the outside or the inside. It looks like a normal park with very few things that stand out. There are the pinwheels on top of the scoreboard as well as a special Pontiac Fundamentals section in left field. One thing that helps with the aesthetics is that when a White Sox player hits a home run no matter what time of the day or night, they shoot off fireworks behind the bleachers.

Thing(s) I wish I would have done: I walked around the stadium and even went to the upper deck. I didn't do the Pontiac Fundamentals activities (baseball clinics, batting cages, baserunning and practice pitching areas), but that was for kids. I guess if had to pick something I wish I would have done, would be I wish I would have seen the sculpture's of famous White Sox players/owners (Carlton Fisk, Minnie Minoso, Charles Comisky, Luis Aparicio, and Nellis Fox) in center field.

Fans: C+: Being a Twins fan, I don't like White Sox fans and the only thing worse than them are Tigers fans. The game was between the Tigers and the White Sox, so everyone at the park was rooting for either of those teams except for me. Overall though I have to say White Sox fans are better than Tigers fans. Tigers fans seem to be a little too excited for anything good that happens to their team. Calm down Le Tigres. You don't want your team to choke like they did last year by getting swept by the Royals at home to lose the Division. Anyway, on a serious note the White Sox fans seemed knowledgeable. There was one guy who started screaming a reliever. I looked up the reliever and it is Dewon Day, who has given up 15 earned runs in 12 innings for a 11.25 ERA. Based on that I can understand why that guy was heckling him, even if he was on the home team. However, I am subtracting points due to the fact that Dewon Day was born in Jackson, MS.

Buzz: B: For a Monday night game for a team (the White Sox) that is out of the division race, there was more buzz than expected. Maybe that was because 15% of the fans were Tigers fans and the Tigers are having a very good year. Overall, I preferred the atmosphere at Wrigley and Miller Park much better than US Cellular.

Food: A-: While offering the standard concession fare, there were a few exceptions and tweaks to favorites. I got a bratwurst filled with cheese (I think it is called a cheddarwurst) and chili. While, this was messy, it was way above average. Also, I got a cheese quesadilla (vegetarian friendly) with guacamole for a little over $3 and was very impressed with that. My friends also remarked thier food was pretty good. Also, something that is mentioned in Caple's article is the fact that concessions are named after former White Sox. This is definitely something I found interesting and I wish the Metrodome would duplicate.

Fun things to do beside the game: C+: As I mentioned before if you are a kid you could go the Pontiac Fundamentals. For adults there isn't much besides the game. You can always view the scoreboard which has various things like the kiss-cam as well as the longest running scoreboard messages. (I looked this up and you can get a message on the scoreboard for $46: http://chicago.whitesox.mlb.com/cws/fan_forum/scoreboard.jsp). Laurie really liked the scoreboard (she was used to Wrigley) and because of that I will bump up the grade.

Overall Impression: C-: This is by all means an average to below-average park. The seats in the lower club aren't bad except for the fact that the one that I was in didn't face home plate. This was really annoying as I found myself having to twist my body to try and face home plate. The seats in the upper club might be the worst seats in all of baseball. You can't move down (because of two fans who attacked a first base coach), so if you get those seats then you are in tough luck. Also, the face value of the tickets were expensive and scalpers were tough to find. The food was good and the experience itself wasn't bad. It is worth going once (preferably with good friends), but overall I think that a team like the White Sox deserves such an average park at US Cellular.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Wrigley Field Review

Baseball = Wrigley Field. For such a simplistic park it doesn't need to be much more complicated than that. If you like baseball then you will like Wrigley Field and if you don't like baseball then let me recommend other options of things to do in the Cholesterol City. However, anyone who likes the game, the history, the fans, the ambiance, etc. will be amazed by Wrigley. No other park I have seen has done a better job of presenting the game. For better or worse Wrigley is almost 100% baseball. Other ballparks have more of an entertainment value and even if you aren't a baseball fan you can go there and have a good time. In that sense new ballparks like Miller Park are the Captain Morgan of alcohol while Wrigley is the Everclear.

Please check out Jim Caple's great article about his trip to Wrigley:


Scalping/Ticker Prices: C-: I went to go see two important weekend games against the Dbacks as the Cubs were trying to catch the Brewers in the Division lead. Therefore I understood beforehand that these were important games and that tickets might be difficult to procure. For the first game I bought tickets from a friend, who had a relative who no longer could go to the game. These tickets were supposed to go for $19 based on the ticket price chart, but the relative ended up buying them for $80 each! I paid $50 each thinking I would be getting really good tickets. For my hometown park (the Metrodome) you can get really good lower club tickets for around $40. The tickets ($19 face value, but originally paid $80 each) were in the upper club and overall were very disappointing for the price. Below is a view from my ticket from the Saturday game:

For the Sunday game, I did not have a ticket so I had to go the more traditional scalping route. One of the great things about Wrigley is that everybody (bartenders, retail clerks, parking attendants, etc) is willing to buy or sell tickets. I stopped into one place that was asking $100 a ticket for a bleacher seat. I passed on that and went to this bar that offered me one lower club ticket at face value of $46 for $80. I was able to get buy it for $60, but the only reason I was able to get even that good of a deal was because I was only buying one ticket as opposed to most people who are buying sets of two, three, or four. This ticket (which was actually less than the upper club ticket) was much nicer than the upper club seat. Below is a view from my ticket for Sunday's game.

Overall I was really impressed with the number of scalpers and the ease of scalping tickets, but the prices were very high and would make it tough for someone to go to games on a regular basis.

Aesthetic Appeal: A: The park kind of jumps out of nowhere when you are walking on Addison, but once you see it and the famous red sign then you can't help but smile. Inside the stadium is as bare bones as possible with not much going on to distract you from the game. There is the famous ivy as well as the manually operated scoreboard and both of them are the epitome of aesthetic appeal for any true sports fan. The real appeal in the ivy, scoreboard, and the park in general is that there isn't much going on. It is nice that in such an ADD world to have a place where less really is more.

Thing(s) I wish I would have done: Since I was there for two games it provided me the chance to cross off many things off my checklist. I was able to try and catch batting practice home runs on Waveland with the die-hard fans. (I wasn't successful in catching a ball). I was able to sit in both lower and upper deck. I was able to try most of the food and take in most of the atmosphere. I guess the only thing that I wish I would have done would have been to sit in the bleachers. It is strange at Wrigley because you need a separate ticket to get into the bleachers and the bleachers are filled way before the rest of the stadium is filled. Maybe next time I will pay the big bucks (another strange thing is that the bleachers are expensive) and go see a game from the bleachers.

Fans: A-: The people next to me at both games were quiet and respectful of the game, but didn't really bring much to the table. I was glad not to have anybody who was very annoying next to me, but I still wished I would have had people next to me that were a little more into the game. That being said it is hard to fault the fans when they 1)Sell out the place (it was 101.3% and 101.4% full according to espn.com for both games) 2)Stay till the end of the game and 3)Stand and cheer during appropriate times.

Buzz: A-: Wrigley has a buzz about it regardless of if the Cubs are in a division race or if they 30 games out. You have a feeling that if there was a big game here that this would be the best place in baseball to watch a game. However, the two games that I saw were lacking in action and unfortunately the home team lost both games. Still, Wrigley gives you the feeling that something exciting is going to happen at any moment. Extra points for the buzz around the 1st pitch and the 7th inning stretch. I was able to see Dennis Miller and Fergie Jenkins do the honors during the most famous 7th inning stretch in all of baseball. Still it made me wish for the days of Harry Caray.

Food: C-: Wrigley does not offer much in regards to quantity or quality. The "jumbo" hot dog was adequate (better than the Metrodome but worse than Miller Park), but definitely not something you would want to have more than once. The beer was cold and good, but it hard to mess that up. The nachos and pizza were your average concession stand quality food. In hopes of find a hidden gem, I decided to try to the Philly Cheesesteak. What followed was The Worse Food I Have Ever Had At Any Ballpark. It was a hoagie bun with cold "steak" and nacho cheese sauce for something like $6.50. For such a great food city, the food in Wrigley is in serious need of some upgrades.

Fun things to do beside the game: D: You go to Wrigley to watch baseball. The only fun things to do besides that are 1)talk to friends and 2) drink. Notice how I didn't put eating as one of the fun things to do.

Overall Impression: B+: Honestly, I thought I would like Wrigley more than I did. I had read about Miller Park and that had greatly exceeded my expectations and I was expecting Wrigley to greatly exceed my expectations as well. This might be slightly unfair to Wrigley since my expectations were through the roof. My main thoughts on Wrigley would be that:

  • There would be no better place to watch a big game.
  • The lack of bells and whistles make the game stand out even more. This is a good and a bad thing depending on what you are like and who you are with.
  • This is park that everyone needs to try to make it to at least once.
  • I think that because of the high ticket prices this would be a very difficult place for a hardcore fan with an average income to go to many games.
Give me Wrigley for the history, memories, experience, ivy, scoreboard, welcome sign and for most importantly baseball. However, give me another park for my day to day baseball life.

Sunday's game

Saturday's game

Friday, July 27, 2007

Miller Park review

As mentioned in the previously blog I made a road trip to Milwaukee and Chicago to visit some friends and also see Miller Park, Wrigley Field, and US Cellular Field. I will be providing my review below, but first here are some links to find out more information about Miller Park

Sportsguy goes to Wisconsin: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/060825

Jim Caple:

Anyway here are my observations on Miller Park:

Scalping/Ticket Prices: Incomplete: Unfortunately due to a traffic jam, I was almost 2 hours late for the game. When I showed up there was only one scalper left and I was able to get a really good seat for only $11. I definitely need to go back to see how easy it is to scalp tickets at Miller Park. One interesting note though is that Miller Park has an official area for scalpers.

Aesthetic Appeal: A-: Honestly, I loved the view of Miller Park (which was surprising based on what I have read) from both the outside and the inside. It is a ballpark like no other park I have ever seen. While, I have really enjoyed the retro comeback that starting with Camden Yards in Baltimore, I think it is nice that Miller Park is unique in the fact that it doesn't look anything like a retro park. Below is a picture of me taken by a nice fan sitting behind me:

Thing(s) I wish I would have done: Since I was only at the game for a little over an hour there are plenty of things that I wish I would have done or seen. 1)I would have liked to seen the first pitch. 2) I would have liked to seen a Brewer hit a home run, so that I could see **Bernie Brewer (Thanks for the comment from the Brewer Fan. My mistake) slide down his slide. (Why did they get rid of the beer mug that he used to slide down into? Seriously this is Milwaukee and the park is named after a beer company). 3) I wish I could have seen the view from the upper club. 4) The most important thing I missed out was the tailgating. The parking lot is expansive and Wisconsin is known for its tailgating. I think that a group of 8 people, a grill, and a cooler full of cold ones would make the Miller Park experience that much more enjoyable. 5) I would like to have seen the Brewers win.

Fans: B+: The fans around me were likable, knowledgeable fans. They discussed where Tony Gwynn went to school (San Diego St.) when his son came up to the plate. Also, they discussed the poor use of the bullpen by the Brewers manager. Extra points to the fans for holding up asterisks when Barry Bonds came up to the plate.

Buzz: A+: Like most of the things on this list this is very hard to measure, but regardless there was a certain buzz at Miller Park on that Friday night. Part of this had to do with Barry Bonds and his quest to break the all-time home run record. Also, the Brewers stand a decent shot (65% according to baseball prospectus's postseason odds) of making the playoffs for the first time since 1982. I need to go back to see a random Tuesday night game against the Nationals to see a contrasting atmosphere.

Food: A+:

Every time I have been in Milwaukee (only two times now), I have been impressed with the food. The hot dog and bratwurst were reasonably priced and very, very good. I put ketchup, mustard, and the stadium's secret sauce on the hot dog and was pleased with the triple crown of condiments. I liked the secret sauce so much that I considered buying a jar of it at the concessions. Next time I will have to try out some of the other things at the concession stands, but is tough to not get a type of sausage in Milwaukee. (Note to vegetarians like my sister: I would plan a trip to another part of the country before considering Milwaukee)

Fun things to do besides the game
: A-: You are in Milwaukee, so eating and drinking are two of the top activities. Other than that I was impressed with the gift shop and also the displays the Brewers had on famous Brewers teams (1957 and 1982) of the past. Also, there was a stand that was selling baseball bats that you could have engraved. This reminded me that my Brother-in-Law once received an engraved baseball bat as a groomsman gift and both of us agreed that was an excellent gift idea. However the top thing to see besides the game is the famous Sausage race in the 6th inning. For those of you who haven't been to a game or heard about the tradition here is a quick overview: 5 sausage (bratwurst, polish sausage, Italian sausage, hot dog, and chorizo) mascots race from left field to behind home plate and then into right field. Milwaukeens (is that what people from Milwaukee are called?) get beyond excited for this race and who can blame then? It sounds really corny, strange, and quirky and while it might be all of those it is also probably the most exciting 22 seconds at any game in any park. Bravo to Milwaukee from coming up with such a strange, great tradition.

After that it is hard to believe there will be any more fun, but in the 7th inning after "Take me home from the Ballgame" is played, the Brewers sings "Roll out the Barrel."

Overall Impression: I loved this park. Some of the stuff I have read about Miller Park has been lukewarm. For instance Jim Caple rated it 19th out of the 30 parks. Now I have been to two of the the parks (Turner Field and Great American Ballpark) rated in front of Miller Park and I would have to disagree with Caple. Miller Park was a highly enjoyable experiance and is a place that I definitely would want to go back to. Hopefully next time I can show up early to the game (as opposed to two hours late) and tailgate to get the true Miller Park experiance. Overall I had an amazing expeiance there and I am optimistic that it could be even better with a little additional planning. I think that M and I are going to have to go to Milwaukee for a 3 day weekend.

Grade A-


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Trip to Chicago

Back in Jackson, there is definitely a lot of things to remark on, such as my recent trip to Chicago. Here is the abridged version of what happened this past week: ad

Friday: Left Minneapolis after lunch and headed to Chicago to stay with a friend from the Pacific Rim 2K4 trip. However, I decided to make a detour when I figured out that I should be able to make it to Milwaukee in time for the Brewers-Giants game. From my estimate I should have been able to make it to Miller Park by 6:30, which would give me plenty of time to find a parking space and scalp a ticket. However, about 50 miles outside of Milwaukee traffic all but stopped on the interstate. I didn't know if it was rush hour traffic or traffic to the game, but I couldn't believe this was happening so far outside of Milwaukee. 2 hours later I was finally able to see that the delay was caused by an accident. Anyway, I made it to the ballpark a little past 8:30. See the review of the park for more information. After the game I drove to Chicago and was able to make it Allison's place by midnight.

Saturday: Woke up and went to Wrigley with Allison. See the review of the park. After the game AD and I went on a walking tour of downtown Chicago. It was great seeing the Bean, Millinium Park, Lake Michigan, etc. After all of that we went to a burger place and promptly traded stories of the Pac Rim adventure of 2004.

Sunday: AD had to leave to go see her boyfriend, so I went to get a breakfast sandwich and read the Chicago Tribune. After that I went back to Wrigley for the final game between the Cubs and Dbacks. After the game I then met up with Laurie, Ben, and Wan. It was great seeing all of my college friends and enjoying a few cold ones. We went to a fancy Mexican restruant for dinner. While it was good, we all agreed that Mexican is usually better when it is cheap. It definitely made me miss the Nachos al carbon at Fiesta Charra in Oxford.

Monday: Woke up late and after moving my car, I met Ben downtown for lunch. We went to a famouse place called the Berghoff for lunch after I rejected Ben's idea of Chipotle or Quiznos. Despite my love for both of those places, I felt that it was important to get something uniquily Chicago. Anyway, I got the corned hash with toast and two eggs. It was nothing short of amazing. After that I went on a tour of the city on the Chicago river. I highly recommend the tour for anybody visiting Chicago. See below for links that include pictuers and information:



Anyway, after the tour Ben and I went to the only bar in Downtown where we could find reasonably priced drinks. We think it was called Beef and Beer and it would definitely would be worth another visit. After that we made our way to the Cell and watched the White Sox/Tigers. A rewiew will be coming up.

Some notes (disregarding all things baseball):

  1. Calculus, Learning Chinise, Climbing Mt. Everest, and teaching my Mom how to use Snapfish. Yep, I think that is a fair order in degree of difficulty.
  2. In a bar in Chicago the drinks didn't have prices, which led Ben, Laurie and I to remark on the infamous Mark Bernheim observation that "if you have to ask, you can't afford it." Only a few select people (Paige Firestone, Julie Johnson) will understand that, but still.
  3. I went on a trip to China, Korea, Japan, and Hawaii in 2004 through Miami University. All 28 of us on the trip became extremly close based on our shared experiances. I find it fasinating that 6 weeks could produce friendships that are going strong 3 years later. It wil be interesting to see who is able to make to the Pac Rim 2K14 trip to Beijing.
  4. It was great seeing Allison, Ben, Laurie, and Wan. You can tell who is a good friend by how natural the conversations are and I was extremly happy to see all 4 of them.
  5. I finished the book Tip Off about the 1984 draft. The good news is that it is an extremly easy book to read. I finished it in less than a week and there was never a time I really wanted to put it down. It was also good finding out more information about Hakeem, Bowie, Jordan, Perkins, Barkley, and Stockton. Especially for me, the Stockton chapters were classic. The bad news is that it is short (281 pages) and doesn't really bring much new to the table. Also, if you don't have a rooting interest on the 6 players above then it will leave much to be desired. Overall I thought that Bondy provided a really good retelling of a story, but it defintiely wasn't a groundbreaking or really memorable book. I probably won't remember that much from the book or care to read it again. I would recommend buying the paperback or checking out at the library if you are a basketball fan, but other than that it is probably best to pass on the book.
  6. I am about to start Loose Balls (a book on the Aba) and I am somewhat nervous about starting it. I am afraid we are going to have another Fab Five incident where I don't want to talk to anybody until I finish the book. I basically am afraid I am going to lock myself in the room until I finish the book. With those type of expectatins, I hope the book won't disappoint.
  7. Chicago is a great food city. There is the perfect mix between chain restruanants and independent restruants. I do feel like my life expectancy would drop about 10-15 years living in the city because of the great (mostly unhealthy) food, but it would probably be worth it.
  8. The Saints are practicing at Millsaps College in downtown Jackson. I think my Dad and are going to make the short trip to go see Drew Brees, Reggie Bush, and hopefully the future 2007 Nfc champion. For me it is just shocking to think of the Saints as actually being a decent football team.
  9. I would defintely recommend a trip to Chicago. As long as you don't plan to use your car much (the traffic and parking are awful) then it is definitely worth a trip to see. As for living there, everyone I talked to really likes it even though it makes Minneapolis look like a cheap place to live.

When I get some time I will review the individual parks.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The numbers game

7: Games into the season for the Twins. 4 up...3 down. It is good to know the Twins are consistantly inconsistant.
6: Games out of the Wild Card race the Twins will be if the Indians lose tonight.
5: Number of stadiums I was oringally planning on seeing over 5 days. The orignal 5 were: Wrigley Field, Miller Park, US Cellular (Comisky), Busch Stadium, and Kauffman Stadium. However, I have shortened the trip so that I now go see the Cubs/Dbacks, Brewers/Giants ( hopefully I can scalp tickets despite the Bonds thing), and White Sox/Tigers.
4: I have 4 new books to read. Here are the books:

Tip Off: How the 1984 Nba Draft Changed Basketball Forever. - Filip Bondy

I am only on page 4, but I have seen an error that limits the credibility of the book. The author (Filip Bondy) incorectly states the following: "A riddle would become extremly popular in the years to come. : Who was the only man who could hold (Michael) Jordan to less than 20 points per game? The answer was Dean Smith, because even in his senior season Jordan managed only 19.9 points per game." Now I am not going to argue about the 19.9 points per game even though one would hope that Michael Jordan's World (you would hope that would be an expert website on all things Jordan) would have the right scoring average. (For anybody who cares MJ's World lists it at 19.6: http://www.michaeljordansworld.com/college_stats.htm). The thing that frustrates me is that the novice baskeball fan knows that Michael Jordan was at UNC for only 3 years. He left college early, which is funny since Bondy already had pointed that out on page 3. I don't know how that passed the editing process. Maybe I am just overly sensitve since Michael Jordan comes from the most hated basketball school and is responsible for the worst no call in Nba Finals history.

Loose Balls: Terry Pluto

This book is like a fine wine in the fact that I am waiting for the right occasion to crack it open. Needless to says I have high expectations for it. For those of you don't know the book it is the "short, wild life of the American Basketball Assocation as told by the players, coaches, and movers and shakers who made it happen."

Can I Keep My Jersey: Paul Shirley

I am a fan of Shirley's blog and from all accounts this has the making of a very good book. It seems like a book along the same lines of 7 seconds or less by Jack McCallum. Basically that means it will be a really fun easy read, somehere between those ego-driven fluff books like Big Papi and the classics like Moneyball and hopefully Loose Balls. I am excited to read more from Shirley especially since he is associated with Chuck Klosterman (wrote the introduction) and the Sportsguy.

Runnin' Rebel: Jerry Tarkanian with Dan Wetzel

I had never heard about this book until a few days ago when I saw it reviewed on a blog. I am excited about the possibilities, but consider this book to the wildcard of the four.

3: Number of games that the Twins have lost in a row. It isn't a good idea to get swept by the Division Leader when you started off 6 games back. (3 also would have represented the number of games back the Twins would have been if they would have swept Le Tigres).
2: I am four hours into season 2 of 24. I feel very late getting into 24, but I have made the commitment to watch all of the seasons after seeing season 5 on tv and watching season 1 on dvd. I have already bought season 2, 3, and 4 and now I just need time to get through them. Thankfully I am unemployed right now, so I will have the time to right a wrong.
1: The Twins have lost their past 4 games to the Tigers by 1 run. They lost 1-0 in Detroit before the All-star game. Now they have lost 1-0 (on an unearned run), 3-2 (where they left 14 people on base), and now today 4-3 in 10 innings. I think the 2006 really messed up my perception of how the Twins should play. I think that it is normal for a team to be as far as 9-10 games out of the division and I still expect them to win the division. It is kind of like a rookie (think Sam Cassell in 1994) winning the Nba title. The rookie expects to win every year. The 2006 season was the first season I cared about a baseball team since before the 1994 stike. Basically I haven't cared about baseball since I was single digits in age. Now I am stuck watching an average baseball team that is 9 games out and for some reason I think they are going to be making a run any day now.

I leave tomorrow to go on my baseball trip. Hopefully the next post will I can write about successfuly getting my picture next to the Illinois state sign as well as a successful start to the baseball trip.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Random Updates

Currently I am in between jobs. This might normally have a bad connotation, because it implies that I don't have a job and am currently looking for a job. However, in my case I do have a job that thankfully doesn't start until the middle of August. This gives me time to do things that I want to do. Those things include but aren't limited to :
  1. Start a blog: Follow-up: We will see how this goes.
  2. Read more newspapers, magazines and books: Follow-up: I finished the Sunday Times, ordered 4 books off Amazon.com, and have skimmed through two Time magazines.
  3. Play more Nhl 95: Follow-up: Luckily for me M has a working Sega Genesis system. Seeing that there hasn't been a better hockey game created since Nhl 95, I have decided to spend a few hours every day improving my old school Sega skills. Needless to say my 21-1 victory today with the LA Kings and Wayne Gretzky was very satisfying this morning.
  4. Go back home to Jackson: Follow-up: Booked my flight and I am ready to go home and see the wedding of a good friend.
  5. Go to Wrigley Field, Miller Park, and US Cellular: Follow-up: I am planning on going to all 3 parks in 3 days this upcoming weekend. Stay tuned for reviews on the parks.
  6. Finish Season 1 of the Wire: Follow-up: I have finished 4 out of the 5 discs. Overall, it is good but not as excellent as I thought it would be.
  7. Organize my pictures: Follow-up: I am still over a year behind, but hopefully after this afternoon I will be able to catch up to at least 2007.
  8. Family vacation: Follow-up: For a change the Malphurs family has decided to rent a cabin in Minnesota as opposed to the normal Florida beach vacation.
  9. Organize my fantasy football draft strategy: Follow-up: Yes, this is kind of strange. Yes, M makes fun of me. Yes, it probably doesn't really make that much difference to come up with a strategy. However, in order to be successful in my fantasy football league I like to think it helps to be prepared. Last year my research indicated that I should take Peyton Manning with the 4th pick, when most people are under the (false) assumption that you have to take a running back in the 1st round. I have finished 2nd the past two years after winning the 2003 championship, I want to get back to winning a championship.
  10. Watch the Twins get back in the race: Follow-up: I know this isn't anything I can do on this point, but I am hopeful that after last year anything is possible. The team just finished off a 4 game sweep of the As and now they have Le Tigres coming in town for a 3 game set. Wednesday night Santana is pitching against former Tar Heel Andrew Miller. Go Twins.

Last Thought: I haven't read or heard anything about this, but did anybody see Barry Bonds in All-Star Game. He came up in the bottom of the 3rd and hit a long shot to the warning track. Now wouldn't it have been great to see one of the game's all-time greatest players in his home park at an All-Star game hit a home run? Especially since he is about to break an all-time record? Too bad he couldn't have had some help. I mean the ball just had to go an extra 5-10 feet and it would been out of the park. Too bad Barry couldn't somehow enhance his performance in some way. I just wish there would have been some way for such a classy athlete to have his moment in the sun.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Favorite Team/Marriage Theory

Based on my limited understanding of the marriage system in India there are two kinds of marriages. First, there is the most common kind: the arranged marriage. This is where the marriage is "arranged" by the parents and the bride/groom have little to no say in who they are going to marry. Second, there is the less common kind: the love marriage. This is where the bridge and groom pick out each other. Most Americans should be familiar with the idea of a love marriage since that is by far the most common kind of marriage in America. In fact I am sure that most Americans are horrified by the idea of an arranged marriage. For more on the difference between love marriage and arranged marriage see below:


How does this relate to sports one might ask?

The reason I bring this up is because I feel like true sports fans treat their favorite teams with the same if not more loyalty than most Americans treat their spouse. It is not too much of a stretch to say that a sports fan "marries" their favorite team. Once a certain team is your favorite team then it is your favorite team for better and worse. It isn't a far reach to say that a fan's relationship with a team is a Sports Marriage.

Now there are the same two kinds (arranged and love) of Sports Marriages as there are in real marriages. Here is an example of both:
  • Arranged Marriage: A son grows up in Cleveland, Ohio with a father who is a huge Browns fan. The son receives Browns pacifiers, shirts, and posters since the day he is born. The son not surprisingly enough is a Browns fan.
  • Love Marriage: A son grows up in Bismark, North Dakota with a father who doesn't particularly care for sports. The son starts to become a basketball fan when (like most North Dakotans) he grows to 6ft 9 and becomes a good basketball player. He follows the Nba because of his new interest in basketball and falls in "love" with the way the Golden State Warriors play. He starts watching Warriors games and he even buys a Baron Davis jersey and has it shipped to North Dakota.
Now most fans don't even really care if there Sports Marriage is either an Arranged Marriage or a Love Marriage. All most fans care about is whether or not there team wins and the Sports Marriage is successful.

Now lets break down the Marriage Theory (3 of the 4 were provided by M) into 4 points that are commonly associated with a successful marriage:
  • Loyalty: A fan's loyalty with a team is probably the most important thing in judging the worth of a fan. A Fairweather Fan (someone who isn't a fan when the team is bad) and a Polygamist Fan (someone who likes multiple teams) are looked down upon on by the sports community. The thought is that once you choose a team (a spouse) you need to stick with that team for better and worse. Maybe it would be easier to be a fan of a younger, more fun team like the Phoenix Suns, but if that fan is already a fan of the New York Knicks then that person is a Knicks fan forever. A fan can admire another team, but there is a fine line where a fan knows not to cross or otherwise it is considered cheating.
  • Trust: A fan must trust his team to make the right move and do the right thing. This is imperative for the relationship to work out. For example my relationship with the Dolphins is not as good anymore after they drafted Ted Ginn Jr (a kick returner?!?) instead of Brady Quinn. However, if you trust your team then it makes it that much easier to be a fan.
  • Love: It seems obvious, but it is necessary for a fan to love their team. However, who hasn't been around fans who do nothing but sit around and complain about the inadequacies of their team? The thing is there really is no difference between complaining that your team is soft in the secondary and complaining that your wife is soft in her abs. It is necessary for a fan to feel a certain affection towards his or her team in order to make it easier being their fan.
  • Respect: A fan must respect their team in a manner that you give the team the benefit of the doubt. A good example would be when the Patriots selected Logan Mankins in the first round of the 2005 draft. No analyst had him going in the first round and even in his wikipedia page he was said to be considered a "reach." However, fresh off a Super Bowl victory over the Eagles, Patriots fans respected the decision and stuck by it. On the flipside, one could definitely argue that Atlanta Hawks fans no longer respect the opinion of their management team after the team passed over Chris Paul and Deron Williams to take Marvin Williams.
If you look at the above 4 points it makes sense that one's favorite team in a sport is comparable to a marriage. Now whether or not the marriage is successful or not then that is another question for another time. The fact of the matter is that is is clear that the average fan has a relationship with their favorite team(s) that is like a marriage. A Sports Marriage.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Beginning

There are two things (actually there are a lot more than two, but this is a start) that I want to do in my life:

  • Get my picture next to every state sign
  • Go to every Mlb baseball stadium

In the honor of the 2nd point I named my blog "Thoughts on Mlb stadiums and..." I hope to post various reviews of Mlb stadiums that I go to in the next weeks, months, and years. This is not a novel concept as most sports-minded males talk about ballparks in the way that some guys talk about girls. A few years ago espn's Jim Caple did an excellent series where he went to all 30 ballparks. For his list please go to the below website:


I understand the poor ranking of the Metrodome (26th out of 30), but in the end I am a Twins fan and surprisingly enough I like the Metrodome. Still it is a good list for any sports fan. Anyway, I will get into reason why I am Twins fan and my thoughts on fan loyality at a later date. Here are other things I would like to bring up:

  • Reviews of parks that I go visit. Next on the list is Miller Park (Brewers), Wrigley Field (Cubs), and US Cellular (White Sox).
  • Twins updates. Here is hoping for a 2nd half comeback like last year.
  • Any updates on my favorite teams: Miami University sports, Duke basketball, Twins, Dolphins, and Jazz.
  • Reasons why those are my favorite teams.
  • Random thoughts on various people and events in my life.

There will be more to go over in the future, but right now I am going to try and convince M to go see Santana pitch tonight against the A's.