Saturday, December 26, 2009
10. Twolves - Bulls - United Center - I was in Chicago visiting a few of my friends from college and we decided to go to see a Bulls game on the day after New Year's. There were no scalpers and we ended up buying standing room only tickets. For the first half we were content sitting in the upper level, but for the 2nd half we went down to the 1st level. By the end of the game we had made ourselves all the way down to the floor seats about 10 yards away from the Bulls bench. Anyway, spending time with good friends, seeing a new arena and seeing a 102-92 Twolves victory is reason enough for this to be the 10th best sports game I went to see this year.
9. Mississippi Braves - Mobile BayBears - Trustmark Park - The game itself was pretty boring, but I enjoyed going to see a new stadium and spending time with my family. While I might be partial to Smith Wills Stadium, it is good to see minor league baseball is back in Jackson.
8. Royals - Orioles - Kauffman Stadium -A 3-2 Orioles win. - This is another one where the game itself wasn't much to write home about, but the experience of going to Kauffman Stadium more than made up for it. There isn't much better than getting some good Kansas City BBQ (Arthur Bryant's in this example) and then going to see a game (even the O's -Royals) at the K.
7. Miami - Denver - Mariucci Arena - When the college hockey tournament was announced I was pleased to find out that my alma matter was going to be heading to Minneapolis. Sure they were the 4 seed and were probably going to lose to the 1 seeded Pioneers of Denver, but I was just happy to be able to go support Miami. Anyway, my expectations were low so it was even better seeing a 4-2 victory for the Redhawks. This game led to an incredible run through the college hockey tournament that fell just a minute short of producing a national championship.
6. North Dakota St. - Kansas - Metrodome - M and my sister's side of the family got together to get me a ticket to the opening round games in Minneapolis this past year. The games were fun to see live with the best game being the first game between North Dakota St. and Kansas. NDSU isn't a very far drive away from Minneapolis and since it was their first time the tournament the Metrodome was filled with energy from all the Bison fans in the arena. Everyone was treated to a great game and a great shootout between Ben Woodside of NDSU and Sherron Collins of Kansas.
5. Orioles - Twins - Metrodome - Delmon walkoff single for a 7-6 Twins win. The Twins were at the beginning of a eventual playoff push that led to them winning the division. This game against the Orioles was a back and forth game that eventually ended up with Delmon Young singling in the game winning run in the 10th inning. I was happy to see Young's single for 2 reasons: 1) The Twins won and 2) Since this was a Tuesday game M had already informed me that we weren't staying past 10 innings. Thankfully Delmon came through in the cluth. (I can't believe I just wrote that.)
4. USM - Texas - Rosenblatt Stadium - The future best man of my wedding attended the University of Southern Mississippi and we both have an agreement in place to cheer for each others schools as long as they aren't playing each other. Well this past year USM made a very unlikely run to the College World Series and Johnny (and a lot of other USM fans) decided to drive from Mississippi to Omaha to see the Golden Eagles. Since Omaha is only a 5.5 hour drive from Minneapolis I agreed to meet him and his friends there to go see the game. The game was close, but unfortunately Texas ended up winning 7-6 on a walk-off walk in an inning where no Texas player got a hit. It was one of the worst ways you could lose. Still looking back on it it was a great game and a great time. USM did well on the field and in the stands and Rosenblatt Stadium is a great place to see a game.
3. 49ers - Vikings - Metrodome - I was able to get some upper level tickets for around $20 and I decided to with two of my friends to see Favre and the Vikings play the 2-0 49ers. I was expecting a close game, but an eventual Vikings victory. My expectations turned out to be true, but the way it ended up was something that I never could have predicted. I would never have predicted a blocked field goal returned for a TD at the end of the half by the 49ers. I would never have thought about seeing a Percy Harvin return td, where Harvin looked like he was running at a different speed. Finally, I would have never have imagined seeing Brett Favre run around like he didn't know what he was doing and then heave a 32 yard touchdown to the back of the end zone to the new Viking Greg Lewis to give the Vikings a 27-24 victory. It was a great game with an incredible ending. I don't have any pictures from the game, but you should check out the video: Brett Favre Throws Miracle TD to beat 49ers
2. Ohio St. - Iowa - Ohio Stadium - Despite living in Ohio for 4 years and dating an OSU grad I had never seen a regular season game at the Horseshoe. I decided that with the vacation time I had this year I would drive down and see the OSU - Iowa game. This was a pretty great decision in hindsight since the game turned out essentially to be the Big Ten championship game with the winner going to the Rose Bowl. My favorite parts of gameday included; tailgating with friends before hand, walking into the Shoe, talking with people who had been going to games for 40 years, the hospitality of the Buckeye fans, Brutus, seeing the winning kick and rushing the field with my friend Nicole. It was a great 27-24 Buckeye overtime victory.
1. Tigers vs. Twins - Metrodome - Game 163 - A 6-5 extra inning win for the Twins to complete an unprecedented comeback to win the division. I have written about this before, but I still can't really believe all that I saw that night. What a great game and a great moment in Twins history.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
- M had to agree to consider the possibility of raising the kids Catholic. This seems to differ based on who you talk to since there are some people who think that in order to be married in Catholic Church you have to sign your children up for a life of a being a Catholic.
- Pre-Cana: This is a 1.5 day pre-wedding prep session where you go over what it will be like to be married. There are a lot of gender stereotypes and lectures on the differences between men and women. If you go to class in Minnesota you will find out that the main problems that the wife has with their husband revolve around hockey and hunting. We went through this in the summer.
- FOCUS - This is a standardized test that is designed to raise up compatibility flags. We took this on Sunday and got the results back yesterday. Randomly the person who administered the test and gave back the results just happened to one of my softball umpires.
- Agree to have children. This isn't a specific class or something you have to sign, but it is definitely heavily implied. All that I would like to comment on right now is that I am very happy that H is in the family.
I am happy to report that M and I pass all of the requirements. We have received the certification from Pre-Cana and our standardized test came back with an acceptable compatibility score. It is really good that there were no big issues that came up, because the whole wedding thing is already well under way as you can probably tell from the wedding updates.
Not much else to report today, but I will try to get out a new post tomorrow.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
With that being written I am proud to announce that on June 4th, 2010 M and I's rehearsal dinner will be at a place featured on Man vs. Food Columbus - Schmidt's. Schmidt's is a German restaurant in the aptly named German Village part of Columbus. It has been around since the 19th century and I can vouch for the food being excellent.
The only sad note on this is that my original idea of a having a BBQ challenge for the rehearsal dinner didn't work out. I tried working with City BBQ and Hoaggy (the two most well known BBQ places in the area), but I couldn't find a private room available. That made it more complicated as I was tasked to find an open place that could fit 40-50 people. I looked around, but after a few deadends I gave up and decided to go with the easier option. If I lived in Columbus I am pretty sure I could have worked out the details, but from 700 miles away it wasn't easy enough. My goal now is to have a BBQ challenge for M and I's 5 year or 10 year anniversary party.
Overall though I am very excited about Schmidt's. For those of you who read the blog let me know what kind of menu would like. There is no guarantee I will pick what you like, but still I am curious about your opinions. Below are the options:
Schmidt's Traditional German Buffet
- Schmidt's own fresh Pork Bratwurst
- Famous Smoked Bahama Mama
- Garlic Knockwurst (Baked Chicken may be substituted)
- German Potato Salad
- Hot Sauerkraut with Pork
- Green Beans with bacon or glazed baby carrots
- Chunky Applesauce
- Fresh Garden Salad
- Rolls & Butter
- Coffee, Tea and Iced Tea
Choice of three following Entrees:
- Roast Beef
- Pan Roasted Turkey
- Baked Ham
- Meat & Cheese Lasagna
- Vegetable Lasagna
Served with the following Sides:
- Apple Walnut Stuffing
- Redskin Mashed Potatoes
- Home-style Green beans
- Tossed Green Salad
- Rolls & Butter
Includes the following Choices:
- Choice of Three Entrees
- Choice of Two Side Dishes
- One pre-plated salad
- Rolls & Butter
- Coffee, Tea and Iced Tea
- Pork Bratwurst
- Bahama Mamas
- Garlic Knockwurst
- Cabbage Rolls
- Basil Garlic Chicken
- Applesauce Meatloaf
- Marinated Chicken Breast
- Chicken and Egg Noodles
- Baked Atlantic Whitefish
- Roast Beef
- Honey Baked Ham
- Roast Turkey
- Roasted Pork Tenderloin
- Meat and Cheese Lasagna
- Vegetable Lasagna
- Vegetable Garden Spatzel
- Spatzel Alpine
- Chicken Fruelin
- Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
- Chunky Applesauce
- Hot Sauerkraut and Pork
- Baked Red Skin Potatoes
- Apple Walnut Stuffing
- Redskin Mashed Potatoes
- Green Beans With Bacon
- Hot German Potato Salad
- Schmidt's Style Baked Beans
- Sweet Slaw
- Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage
- Cottage Cheese
- California Blend Vegetables
- Glazed Baby Carrots
- Tossed Garden Salad
- Pasta Salad
- American Potato Salad
Monday, December 14, 2009
First update - Save the Dates. We aren't doing them. There was talk about sending them out with either the Malphurs family Christmas letter or maybe even the first annual joint Christmas card, but that talk was just that. I have tried to be good about spreading the word that next June Nancy will be celebrating her quarter century birthday and M and I will be tying the knot, but just in case I missed you here is the proper forum. June 5th, 2010 is the big date. Consider this a save the date. I will even include a picture:
Stay tuned for the next update.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
In Mississippi there were sweatshirt winters and in Ohio it could get pretty cold, but in Minnesota it gets really, really cold. Here are some of the things I learned about it being Minnesota cold:
- Your nostrils can freeze together. This is frightening, disgusting and if you are outside long enough unavoidable.
- Your no longer care about any semblance of fashion.
- The air is much thinner and running is nearly impossible. I just learned that last night as I was racing to get back to my car after the Twolves game. This "thing I learned" about the cold might just mean I am out of shape, but I choose to believe my first point.
- Don't underestimate the dangers of driving on the road and don't overreact. You won't be able to break or turn as easily, but the worst thing you do is start panicking.
- Commute = X. Commute driving in freezing, snowing weather = 2X...at minimum. For those of you who forgot basic algebra that means that if your commute is 15 minutes then you should set your expectations of a commute in bad weather at 30 minutes.
- You would think people would be more cautious about their driving in the snow. Most are. However, some getting annoyed about how long their commute is still take the time in the car to put on their makeup (saw that today) or text. These people get in car accidents and contribute to the point above.
- Your two most important articles of clothing are what you put on your feet (boots preferably) and head. This is under the assumption that you have a coat to put your hands in, because otherwise you can add gloves to that list. One of the best purchases I (well my Mom) ever made were some expensive Gortex boots that I can walk through snow, ice, water and not feel a thing.
- If you don't wear appropriate shoes or gloves then the best thing you can do is put them in lukewarm water to thaw them out. It is kind of like thawing out frozen chicken.
- Minnesotans do enjoy the summer more because of the winters.
- Walking on a frozen lake has a feeling of dread. I can only imagine what it is like to drive a car on a frozen lake.
- Extremely cold days are mentally and physically exhausting. Simple things like driving to work or going to get dinner can feel like tremendous undertakings. That combined with the fact that is dark for 17 hours of the day can mean that you get a lot of sleep.
- A sunny day with no clouds in sight might look like a nice day from your window, but all it really means is that it is -10 degrees. In Ohio I would go months without seeing the sun in the winter, so I automatically associated sun with heat. That and the fact that the sun is supposed to provide warmth. Well in Minnesota a sunny day doesn't necessarily mean any heat and I think it can actually mean that the day is colder than expected.
Now it is off to watch the mighty Redhawks compete against Cincy in basketball on ESPN 2.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
When I was a kid I collected basketball cards. There wasn't much of a greater thrill than opening up a new pack of cards and seeing what treasures awaited me. I would sort out the "commons" and pull out the rookies, superstars or inserts. From those cards I would then look them up in the monthly card magazine Beckett and see what was the quoted price for the month. A 92/93 Shaq rookie card - $10. Nice. I would relay the good news to my Dad and he would always answer my enthusiasm with the question "how much could you sell the card for?" I would then say that if I went to the card shop that I could probably get half of Beckett's quoted price or in this example $5. He would calmly reply that the card was then worth $5. This was confusing to me as a kid because I could see in print that the card was listed as $10. My Dad (being the Louis Rokeyser of North Jackson) would try to explain to me about the stock market, but all of this was above my head. His overall point was that the monetary value of a good was equal to what somebody would pay for it. Simple. Right?
I bring up that flashback into my childhood because I feel like it provides good context on how I view the world of scalping. I think scalping is free market capitalism at its best and worst. How much is a game worth? It is worth what you are willing to spend. The fact that a ticket has a face value of $125 only provides a starting point of what the ticket might actually be worth. Is it a $125 ticket to Duke-UNC at Cameron or is a $125 ticket to Twolves-Raptors? I think too many people think of a sporting ticket as if it is an Ipod you would buy at Target. You are wasting money if you go to www.nba.com/timberwolves/tickets and you buy a ticket for what they are charging you. This isn't Target. You can negotiate.
This is probably the #1 stumbling block for most people who might want to buy tickets through a scalper, but instead purchase the tickets from ticketmaster or the team. Where do you go to buy tickets? There have 3 different ways that I have purchased tickets through a 3rd party:
1. Street scalpers -
Approaching the Metrodome, Target Center, Exel Center, etc I am always greeted with the familiar calls of "tickets, who needs tickets." These are almost always men (I have never once dealt with a female ticket scalper) and should be situated as close as possible to the stadium. You should see and hear them and not have to go looking for scalpers, but some markets either have very few scalpers (US Cellular Field in Chicago) or have a designated scalping zone (Miller Park in Milwaukee). My experience is that I have probably bought 80% of my scalped tickets through the street scalpers.
2. Online -
I use stubhub.com and would recommend that site to anyone who wants to ease into the world of scalping tickets. The website has tickets to sporting events, concerts and theater. The website is very user friendly and it guarantees your tickets. I have probably bought tickets to a dozen games using stubhub and I have not once had any type of problem. All you have to do is go to the website, click on the team you want to see and stubhub lists out all of the upcoming games. You then click on the game you want to see and out comes a list of all the tickets you can buy at different prices. This is right next to the map of the stadium, so that you can see exactly where your tickets are.
One note - the price listed is less than you will pay for the tickets since there is a 10% stubhub service fee as well as a delivery fee.
Stubhub is very easy to use, understand and buy tickets. Everything is as straight forward as it is buying tickets through ticketmaster or a team. No surprises.
3. Craig's List -
This is a new avenue that I have started using, but the site itself isn't much of a secret. You go in search for the game you want to see and then email back in forth with the seller. Yesterday I bought my first two sets of tickets from two different sellers and while it might be obvious I have to point out that this is the most risky of any of the 3 choices. For example I went to pick up my first set of tickets yesterday and I had no problem as I got my 8th row face value $125 tickets for $25 each from a nice 40 year old lady at a grocery store only 3 miles from my house. I then went to St. Paul to pick up my 1st row tickets. When I got there I met up with another nice 40 year old lady at a popular Italian restaurant and when we were making the exchange I saw the tickets were Row L and not Row 1. It turns out that the poster had listed them with a lower case l, which on Craig's List looks exactly like a 1. The price I had agreed to pay for them was $30 each because I was offering 20% of face value for what I thought were $150 tickets. Instead what ended up happening was I paid $30 each for tickets with a face value of $60 each. So to recap in the midst of an hour I paid $25 for a $125 ticket and $30 for a $60 ticket.
You can see why I think this is risky. However, the story doesn't end poorly because the lady who sold me the tickets called me back after noticing the error and is going to be sending be back $20 or $10 a ticket. I didn't want to point out that I will still be paying $20 each for tickets with a face value of $60, which means I am not getting as good of deal (33% of face) as I could probably get somewhere else. Still the lady was so nice and I applaud her for agreeing to return my $20 in the first place. She could have easily just taken the money and not looked back. I would use caution with Craig's List. There is more risk involved and as Dr. Nixon taught me in Finance with more risk you should expect more reward. The extra reward you can expect is normally cheaper prices and no additional shipping or administrative fees.
After where the next main question is How much? This is an inexact science, but really it comes down to how much you are willing to pay. You don't get bonus points in heaven (not that I know of anyway) for getting $250 tickets for $27. Also, it isn't worth ruining a good time at a game by being upset that you paid $40 when you could have got the same tickets for $30. The key to determining the price is by figuring out the interest level in the game. These are the main things I consider:
- Home team's history - Are we talking about Alabama football or Alabama basketball? A good, quick way of checking this out is by looking at the attendance of the past few games. Something like the Packers at Lambeau is always a sell out, while the Milwaukee Bucks might normally have 60% of capacity filled.
- Visiting team - Is LeBron in town? Is it a rivalry game? These things will increase the price of the ticket. If it is a no name team then you stand the best chance of getting an even more discounted ticket.
- Record - When in doubt see what the record is of the home team since people normally come out to see a winner.
- National press - Is there something that is causing the came you are going to see to lead Sportscenter?
- Day of the year - all things equal the weekend games draw more than weekday games.
- Time of the year - Games at the beginning of the year have a more stable pricing structure while games at the end of the year can fluctuate a lot in price depending on playoff implications.
- Miscellaneous - Is the stadium (example - Metrodome) closing? Is a certain local hero returning?
Once you have determined how much you want to pay and where you want to buy them the next step is negotiating. The key here that I have found is that you always have to be willing to walk away from the deal unless you get what you want. For example I wanted to go see the Cavs play this year, but all lower level tickets were going for $100+ on the street, so I walked away and didn't buy any tickets. If you aren't willing to walk away and go watch the game at home or at a bar then you start the negotiation at a disadvantage. You should know what price you want to spend after figuring out the value to you and also seeing what others are paying on stubhub and you should stick to that price or hopefully go lower. If you don't get that price then walk away.
I enjoy scalping. It has allowed me to go see more games for less money and really what more can be better than that. I know the Minneapolis market and thankfully what they value (Vikings and hockey) is not the sports (basketball and baseball) that I like to go see in person. It is a perfect match and one that is served me well. That is it for now, but as I learn more about scalping I might have to go back and revise or rewrite this post.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
- Relay shortage at work has increased my time spent at the Well significantly.
- My 4 year old Apple laptop is currently not working, which means I have to go into the guest room to use the Internet. This is not convenient to someone who likes to read blogs, emails, etc while watching TV.
- Lots of trips/visits. New Orleans with friends, my just completed "tour of the midwest" roadtrip and also JK coming to visit hasn't given me that much time to post any of my thoughts. Not to say that the trips/visits weren't worth it, but it is the reason.
Anyway, I apologize for the lack of posts. I have thoughts on sports (Jazz, Dolphins, Duke basketball preview), wedding plans (rehearsal dinner spot, hotel, etc) and even a new debate on the purpose of college education that I need to get to, but just haven't had much time. If there is anything specific you want me to write about let me know. In the meantime I need to get ready for my trip to Iowa tomorrow for a friend's wedding.
Monday, November 2, 2009
So why am I upset? Why is the subject line "Minnesota Twins ticket scam?"
The reason being is that the Twins have $204 of my money and have no plans of returning it to me. Let me explain. When you buy playoff tickets you have to buy an entire strip to see any possible home game during that round of the playoffs. In 2006 I bought tickets to 3 games since there was a chance that there would be a game 5 in Minnesota. In 2008 I bought tickets to 2 games since there was a chance that the Twins would win their division and play the Tampa Bay Rays in the playoffs. This year I bought tickets to both possible games of the Yankees-Twins series. Everything up to this point is completely normal and doesn't anger me one bit. The fact that I had to put 6 tickets for 2 games on my credit card didn't bother me either since I was buying them for some friends and I knew they would pay me back.
What upsets me is what happened after the Yankees swept the Twins in 3 games. I held on to my ticket stubs for a little while, but after a couple of weeks I remember tossing them in the trash can. There was no point in my mind on why I should be reminded that the Twins got swept every time I came across those tickets. In plus what is the point in holding tickets to an event that never happened. This was a huge mistake. After calling the Twins ticket office I was informed that I had to mail back the game 4 tickets to get a refund. This was NOT what happened in 2006 and 2008. Both of those years my credit card was automatically credited with the equivalent amount of the unplayed game(s). I am looking at my etrade account right now and I can see the MN Twins postseason credit of $190 back on 10/8/2008. Apparently in the fine print of the tickets that I paid for this year there was the note that I had to return the tickets to get my refund.
I don't know what the Twins are trying to do (steal money to use to sign Joe Mauer) but it seems unethical to me. They change their policy on ticket refunds yet they didn't really make a big mention of that when everyone was busy buying their tickets. Wouldn't a casual mention of that make sense? Now I am busy I asking my friends to try and go through their stuff and locate these unused ticket stubs. I already know I threw mine out, so I am out at least $68, but if my friends can't find their tickets then I am out $204. I hope that the Twins are happy with that money since they basically paid that to really upset and annoy one of the true diehard Twins fans out there.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
It was a rare good day in Oxford, OH yesterday (first victory of the year thanks to Toledo) and an all too common bad day (losing at Auburn) for those fans back in Oxford, MS.
I keep rooting for Oregon because I want to see Boise St. in the national title game. I would love to see a Boise St. - Alabama national title game. I might even have to buy a Boise St. shirt to root against the Crimson Tide and specifically Nick Sab(t?)an. Overall it is looking like this year would be the perfect year for a playoff. Wouldn't it be great to see Florida, Alabama, TCU, Cincy, Boise St., Iowa, Oregon and Texas in an 8 team playoff? Doesn't that work out for everyone? Would there be any teams that felt like they deserved a shot over those teams? Instead we are left hoping that there are only 2 undefeated teams left to make a clear national championship game. My guess is that there is no chance that will happen and will have at least 3 undefeated teams at the end of the year.
I watched the entire 2nd half between Iowa and Indiana. I was rooting for Iowa since I want to see an undefeated Iowa come into the Horseshoe two weeks from now when I go to my first OSU football game. Indiana had started to get my sympathy when a few key questionable calls went against them in the 3rd quarter. Then IU's coach had to punt the ball on 4th and 6 down by 11 with only 5 minutes to go. All the sympathy I had for them vanished at that time because I couldn't believe that the coach was throwing in the towel so blatantly. Down 2 scores with 5 minutes to go is tough to overcome, but it is is possible....as long as you don't give the ball up to the opposing team. I wonder if the coach was trying to cover the 17.5 spread because karma paid him back as Iowa came down and scored a touchdown and secured a cover with an 18 point win.
There are 3 teams I care about this year; the Utah Jazz, Minnesota Timberwolves and New York Knicks. Why three? The Jazz are my favorite team and I like their chances with their young, but experienced team. I think that continuity in basketball is very important and one thing I like about their team is that the roster doesn't change too much. They will bring in one or two players to help the team out, but for the most part the lineup is set. Let's take a quick look at their lineup:
- Point guard- Deron Williams - drafted by the Jazz - 4 years with the team.
- Shooting guard - Ronnie Brewer - drafted by the Jazz - 3 years with the team.
- Small Forward - Andrei Kirilenko - drafted by the Jazz - 8 years with the team.
- Power Forward - Carlos Boozer - signed as a free agent - 5 years with the team.
- Center - Memhet Okur - signed as a free agent - 5 years with the team.
- Paul Millsap - drafted by the Jazz - 3 years with the team
- CJ Miles - drafted by the Jazz - 4 years with the team
- Kyle Korver - aquired in a trade - 2 years with the team.
- Eric Maynor - drafted by the Jazz - 1st year with the team.
The Timberwolves on the other hand lack any sort of continuity and seem more focused on managing their brand (young, exciting, and hardworking) than winning in the current season. That isn't to say I don't disagree with what they are doing since it was important for them to blow things up and start over. I like their financial flexibility and how they have some young, talented players at key positions. Kevin Love and Al Jefferson should handle the post responsibilities for a the next 10 years and between Jonny Flynn and Ramon Sessions the point guard spot should also be taken care of for awhile. Everybody else though are fillers who stand about a 50/50 shot of even being with the team next year. This team is in a state of change as evidenced by the fact that only 5 players came back from last year. There are a lot of college teams that don't see as much player turnover as the Twolves.
The good news about that above paragraph is that tickets should be cheap and plentiful. However, when I tried to go to the Cavs game on Friday there were only 3 scalpers and nobody had lower level tickets for less than $100. I know the Cavs are one of the few bigs games up here because of LeBron, but still that made me worry about the state of scalping for the Twolves. Maybe scalpers realize that they can't make much (any?) money on Twolves games and just decided to get out of the business? There will still be sites like stubhub, but for the best deals (without the fees) it is almost always better to talk to the street scalpers. I will continue to monitor the situation, but my first thought is that there won't be as many great deals as what I got last year. Let's hope I am wrong.
Finally, why do I care about the Knicks? It isn't because my brother-in-law has an affinity for the team. It is because the Jazz get the Knicks 2010 1st round pick. Thank you Isiah Thomas for letting go of that pick for Stephon Marbury. In what has to be one of the most lopsided trades in Nba history the Jazz got two conditional first round picks (one of them being the 2010 Knicks pick), Tom Gugiotta and cash for giving up Keon Clark and Ben Handlogten. Neither Clark or Handlogten ever scored a single point for another team besides the Jazz after the trade. In fact Clark never played again and Handlogten only played 297 minutes for the Jazz in the 04-05 season after the Jazz resigned him again. How do you get a player, cash, two first round picks for nothing? Only in the NBA with their strange salary cap rules with trades could the Jazz could pull that off.
Right now the Knicks are 0-3 and with every loss the Jazz get closer to a top lottery pick.
I'm about to go to a bar to watch the Dolphins take on the Jets. I would be feeling much better about this game if the Dolphins could have won against either the Colts or the Saints. I can't shake the feeling that last year's team was blessed and this year's team is cursed. Last year's team had the easy schedule and won almost every close game. This year's team has been on the losing end of games they should have won and it just feels like that is going to be the norm for the year. I predicted 6-10 before the season and that prediction might not be too off. Still this team is fun to watch and I think they are headed in the right direction.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
- The lineups being introduced and seeing 54,000 Twins fans waving their homer hankies. I had been to big games (including 2 playoff games) before at the Metrodome, but I had never seen what looked like an entire stadium full of the familiar white hankies that had been first introduced in 1987 when the Twins won their first World Series.
- On Miguel Cabrera's 2nd at-bat the Twins fans chanted "al-coh-lic" (in reference to his previous Friday night activities, which I have written about) and all he did was take an 0-2 pitch and crush it high and long to dead center to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead. As loud as the Metrodome was during the introductions it was just as quiet after that home run.
- Matt Tolbert starting the comeback with an infield single and eventually scoring on a missed pickoff play. I don't know if the new crew is like the 2006 team, but that definitely was a piranha like run.
- Jason Kubel's home run that cut the lead to 3-2 Tigers in the 6th inning and almost started a fight in section 224. Somebody had walked in front of a group of fans right as Kubel hit his moon shot and the fans that missed the play took exception. I agree with the aggrieved fans that the proper baseball etiquette is to wait till the end of an at-bat or inning before walking across your row.
- Nick Punto's 9 pitch at bat that resulted in a single and led to the below.
- Orlando Cabrera's home run in the bottom of the 7th to give the Twins a 4-3 lead. This caused a crazy celebration that led me to high five and hug both my friends to the left and the random people to the right. This is the first time I thought the Twins might actually win the game.
- Magglio Ordonez's home run in the next half inning to tie the game 4-4. As long and as tough as it was for the Twins to come back and get the lead it took the Tigers two pitches to tie the game back.
- Joe Nathan strikes out Placido Polanco with runners on 1st and 3rd and nobody out in the 9th inning. Polanco only struck out 7% of the time this year, so to say that was a surprise is an understatement. All Polanco had to do was get bat on ball and he would off almost guaranteed scored a run.
- Orlando Cabrera's double play on the very next batter. I don't know what Granderson was thinking, but it was a great play by Cabrera to take advantage of that mistake.
- Brandon Inge's double with 2 outs in the 10th inning that scores a run and gives the Tigers a 5-4 lead. The most frustrating thing about this run was that the runner was only on base because Jesse Crain hit Aubrey Huff on an 0-2 pitch.
- Michael Cuddyer's lead off single turned triple thanks to the alligator arms of Ryan Rayburn in the 10th inning.
- Matt Tolbert's bleeder of a single through the middle that was thisclose to a double play, but instead resulted in a tie game and and runners on 1st and 3rd with only one out.
- Nick Punto was the next batter and needing only a sac fly to win the game he lined a ball that turned into a double play when Alexi Casilla was thrown out at home. The two frustrating things about this play was that Punto hit the ball very well (not a common occurance) and that Casilla hesitated before tagging up at 3rd. He was thrown out by 6 inches and might have been safe if he would have made shown some basic baserunning logic.
- Nick Punto's defensive play at the plate. In the 12th inning with bases loaded and only 1 out Brandon Inge hit a ground ball in the middle of the infield and Punto made the decision that he was not going to get a double play and instead made a tough throw home to get the runner on force out. This was a huge play because Punto had to be thinking about getting a double play and he changed his mind in mid play because he knew (correctly) that the ball was hit too slow for him to try and get both the runner at 2nd and Inge. This one play justified Gardy's decision to keep playing Punto and Bill Smith's decision to pay a below average batter $4M this year.
- Bobby Keppel strikes out Gerald Laird on a 3-2 pitch that would probably have been a ball if Laird wouldn't have swung and missed. One of the truly overlooked heroes of the game for the Twins was Laird. He went 0-6 with 2 strikeouts and one double play and included in those numbers was his 0-4 with runners in scoring position. If Laird would have had even a below average game the Tigers would have won the game.
- Carlos Gomez starts off the 12th with a single between the 3rd baseman and shortstop. Huge hit considering it was the leadoff batter for the inning and the fact that Gomez is Usain Bolt fast.
- Michael Cuddyer moves Gomez over in an unconventional way by hitting a high chopper of a ground ball to Inge at 3rd base.
- Delmon Young gets intentionally walked. This was no a top moment because I never thought I would see the day that Delmon Young of all players would be intenionally walked. I guess that shows you how much Jim Leyland thought of Alexi Casilla.
- The top moment from the game had to be the last one where Casilla hits a ground ball through hole in the right side of the infield and Carlos Gomez easily scores from 2nd.
- There wasn't much better than the celebration after the game. Everyone from the fans to the players absolutely lost it in a moment of pure glee. We stayed and cheered and sang along to "New York, New York" and "Ain't No Stopping Us Now." We watched the Twins players give victory laps around the field. It was a special moment for the Twins and one that will be forever stamped in my memory.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Punto's big at bat with runners on 1st and 3rd and one out. What looked like a game winning hit ended up being a double play when Casilla was tagged out at home.
Twins win. Casilla and Gomez (who would have thought) were the heros at the end.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
- After the game on Friday Cabrera went out partying with members of the White Sox.
- He came home at night and got into some type of altercation with his wife.
- His wife had to call the police at 6am and the police picked up and gave him a blood alcohol test.
- Cabrera blew a .26 BAC. A .26 BAC! This Tigers blogger wrote it best when he wrote - wrote "A .26 BAC? That's not just buzzed. Thats not just drunk. That's pretty smashed."
- I looked up a BAC chart to see how many drinks a 240 pound guy would have to drink to get a .26 BAC. Not counting the alcohol that you "burn up" over the course of time you have been drinking Cabrerra would have had 17 drinks. 17 drinks! At absolute minimum. That is amazing.
Friday, October 2, 2009
- White Sox - Twins - 2008 - Twins sweep and take the AL Central lead with 3 games left on a dramatic comeback. I can still vividly remember Span chasing Gomez around the bases for his game tying triple.
- Orioles - Twins - 2009 - A what at the time seemed like a pretty meaningless game ends on a Delmon Young single.
- A's - Twins - Game 1 - 2006 - Frank Thomas. And then Frank Thomas again. Zito should give Frank Thomas part of his $126M contract that he got in part for beating Johan Santana in this game.
- A's - Twins - Game 2 - 2006 - Tori Hunter might have won a lot of Gold Gloves, but I always remember him diving and missing what ended up being a game losing inside the park home run.
- Yankees - Twins - 2008 - ***Long Twins/Stats tangent...feel free to skip***I am not into hyperbole, so take that into account when I write that I saw what might be the most statistically improbable event that I will ever see in my baseball watching life. Here is the situation: Twins down 3 runs with runners on 1st and 2nd and a 0 balls 2 strikes count to Delmon Young in the bottom of the 8th inning. The pitcher for the Yankees is none other than Mariano Rivera. The same Mariano Rivera who has a career 2.26 era and has given up only 60 home runs (11 in his first year) in 1089 innings pitched. In fact in 2006, 2007 and 2008 he gave up only 3, 4, 4 home runs respectively all year. That means there is about a 50 times more likely chance of Rivera getting an out than giving up a home run. Delmon Young through his career has hit 35 home runs in 1723 at bats, which means there is about a 2% chance of him hitting a home run in any one his at bats. However, remember that it is an 0-2 count, which takes all of those odds down a little bit. Anyway, Young hit an opposite field home run to tie a game that the Twins would eventually lose on an Alex Rodriguez extra inning home run.
- Kansas - Dayton - 2009 - Cole Aldrich dominates the Fliers by recording triple double.
- Tigers - Twins - 2009 - As previously mentioned Cabrera hits a Metrodome double that leads to a victory over Verlander that makes the AL Central race a little bit closer.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Jordan Cole Wow. Some anti-capitalist idiot on the news just asked: "why would anyone need to make more than 500k a year?" Lady, it's called hard work... And clearly you have no idea what that means. I guess we still can't fix stupid.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
- This team is starting to grow on me. Of course it only took the entire summer, but I am really starting to enjoy watching this completely average team. They keep getting setbacks like Slowly's injury, Perkins/Liriano's disappearance, Morneau's injury and now Span's mild concussion. They have responding with lineups that include players like Matt Tolbert, Nick Punto, Brendan Harris and starting pitchers like Brian Duensing.
- By the Twins as I write this are 3 games behind the Tigers with an 8-5 lead against the White Sox.
- This past Saturday they finally had their signature win of the season. Thanks to a Cabrerra Metrodome double (are opposing teams more excited about Target Field than the Twins?) followed by a Kubel hit and another clutch Cuddyer home run the Twins treated my parents to a 6-2 victory over the Tigers ace Justin Verlander.
- The Twins will continue to be must see TV as long as their games behind is greater than the number of games they have left against the Tigers. Right now it is 3 compared to 4.
- The pro team (the Dolphins) had a unique loss yesterday on the anniversary of the Wildcat. I could write chapters about the conservative play calling, the defense, the terrible missed holding calls and of course the missed Ted Ginn Jr. touchdown. What frustrated me most was the final 3 minutes and the Dolphins final possession. A team could probably never run a worse 2 minute drill while still advancing the ball down the field.
- I partially blame the loss yesterday on poor preparation by my fellow Dolphins fan and me. We had the plan in place to get ribs and chopped pork from Ted Cook's (the reigning BBQ champ in our minds) only to find out that Ted Cook's is closed on Monday. Of course it has been so long since we had a Monday Night Football game to get excited about, so we didn't even consider the possibility that Ted Cook's would be closed.
- The college team (The Redhawks) might be the worst team in college football. They were ranked as such last week and after a loss to one of the directional Michigans I don't see why their spot will change.
- The current question that I am asking myself is how best to figure out how many people will actually show up at the wedding? As a professional forecaster I am probably doing way too much analysis on the probabilities on my Wedding List excel grid. Yes, I am that much of a dork.
- I don't know if I mentioned this, but M and I have picked a date, church, reception place, bridal party, dress (for her), dresses (for her bridesmaids) and are currently working on DJ and photographer. And by working I mean I watch the Twins game and she emails people.
- Any ideas on entrance theme/music for the bridal party? I want to continue with the basketball theme especially since there are 5 groomsmen and 5 bridesmaids.
- The BBQ idea for the rehearsal dinner is still a possibility. I think I might have to do some convincing of key parties, but at least it is still in the running.
- Why do people say things like "I'm not even lying, but..." or "Quite honestly?" Really? I am supposed to trust these people ever again after saying that?
- Is it just that Democrats think that there is a lot of luck in the world and that Republicans think that there is little to no luck? Does that explain each side's position on welfare, affirmative action and now this healthcare debate? As a generalization do Republicans just believe that you get were you are because of what you do and not because of society. The world is a just place and left to their free will people are treated fairly by the market. If you are without healthcare or a job it is because you are either dumb or you didn't work hard and not because of any other thing. Does that sum things up?
- Shouldn't somebody come up with a healthy alternative to the cigarette break? I sure would like to take a break every hour or two to talk with some fellow coworkers or friends outside.