More trip preparations

1. I used the L.A. Times web site to stop my subscription for the two weeks I’m going to be out of town. As Levi might have expected, I’m fully intending to buy a local paper every day of the trip, except perhaps when we’re at my aunt and uncle’s house (because I think they get the Philadelphia Inquirer) and when we’re at his parents’ house (because they get the Carmi Times).

2. I finally remembered to call the Hilton Pittsburgh to request a rollaway bed, so that Levi doesn’t have to sleep in the bathtub, or curled up in a dresser drawer. Up to this point, I had been a little worried about the ability of the AAA web site hotel booking interface to actually communicate successfully with the various hotels’ computer reservation systems, but the Hilton did have my reservation in their system, so I guess we’re all set. “See you August 28th,” said the woman on the phone. Maybe I should have requested a room facing PNC Park, too, but I’m not sure they even have such a thing. (I think this is the only hotel on the trip within possible sight distance of a ballpark…I think the Holiday Inn Express in Detroit is a little too far from Comerica Park, with too many tall buildings in between.)

Original comments…

Toby: That’s the first time in the history of the U.S. that The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Carmi Times have been mentioned in the same paragraph.

thatbob: Actually, Jim, there is an ordinance that allows you to burn down tall buildings in Detroit if they obstruct a view and haven’t been used for anything in 50 years, so, you know, bring some matches.

Levi: Knowing Jim, I expect him any time we travel together, to have exact change for any tolls.

I’ll be more impressed if he also has exact change for any newspaper honor boxes he needs to use along the way.

And Toby, if you can schedule the pull-out section of the Times about Baseball Related Program Activities for the Monday, August 23rd edition, that would be great.

Toby: OK, but I’m going to need you to proofread it. In my last section (on the local summer baseball and softball teams), I forgot to mention the names of two of the businesses that sponsor the 40-some-odd teams in their respective cutlines and got a call from one of the omitted businesses, during which I was reminded (in a threatening manner) how much advertising that business buys with our paper.

I’m sure the same thing’s happened a million times at The Philadelphia Inquirer, don’t you think?

Jim: What the Philadelphia Inquirer has is the CEO of Citizens Bank calling the CEO of Knight-Ridder every time they don’t use the full name of the Phillies’ ballpark, I’m sure. But then it takes a while to trickle down to the people who actually work at the newspaper.

Weddings, etc.

My brother got married last weekend in Indianapolis. Stacey and I and all the family had a great time dancing and making fun of Matt and generally enjoying welcoming a great new sister-in-law.

I had the honor of being the best man. While the groomsmen were locked away in a room in the bowels of the church away from the ladies, we got to watch the Cubs/Giants game. Despite the interest in the game displayed by most of the groomsmen, the wedding was not delayed, and I had to sneak back during picture-taking afterwards to see whether Greg Maddux had moved up a notch on this list.

The weekend was a good reminder of how useful a knowledge of sports can be in social situations. Say what you will about alcohol as a social lubricant; give me a little bit of knowledge of recent developments in sports over an Old Fashioned any day when I’m going to be hanging around a group of people I don’t know very well.

P.S. Derek Zumsteg at USS Mariner has a good post about the bizarre obstruction call on Jose Lopez that handed the Devil Rays the game. (The archive link doesn’t work, so scroll down to Saturday’s posts.) There’s also a good, if lengthy and inconclusive, discussion at Baseball Primer. My understanding of the rules on obstruction is that obstruction of a baserunner is necessarily a physical act, and that, as no one (Including the umpires!) has a right to a clear view of the field, obstructing a base runner’s view can’t be obstruction. Maura, is there an official D-Rays company position you’d like to share?

Original comments…

Jim: Thanks for the link to the Baseball Think Factory comments. Seems like a fun group there, if they can come up with both a reference to the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players and the phrase “Vince Naimoli’s daughter is crying like a baby.”

Levi: Do you agree with me that, though some evidence is introduced to bolster both sides of the argument, the “That call [stunk]!” side is stronger?

Levi: Oh, and Toby, something you’ll appreciate: Sunday morning I went for a run with Thys Bax. Thys humored me by allowing me to set the pace for our 12-mile run, but I still ended up really pushing myself because, well, I didn’t want Thys to get completely bored. Then when we were mostly done, Brandon showed up on the trail and ran part of the way with us. I was, of course, way outclassed.

Toby: Thys, by the way, folks, is 59 years old. Brandon is his son (graduated a year after Matt if memory serves me correct).

thatbob: A little bit of knowledge of recent developments in sports in unfamiliar social situations is just not as likely to lead to spontaneous making out with cute girls as a few Old Fashioneds are. But I guess if it’s also less likely to lead to throwing up all over everyone, then it has its place.

Willie and Bob (not Mays and Gibson)

I didn’t realize Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan were doing shows at minor-league ballparks this summer until I read an article about it in the L.A. Times this morning. (I can’t link to that article because it’s for subscribers only.) Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like we can fit one of their concerts into our itinerary.

Original comments…

Levi: I’ll take this chance to repeat my two favorite Willie Nelson stories.

1) This one you may all know. In the mid-90s, Willie was asleep in his car on a Texas roadside. A cop decided to roust him out and search his car for pot. Pot was discovered, Willie was booked. Later, a judge threw out the possession conviction based on lack of probable cause for the search. According to the judge, the mere fact of being Willie Nelson does not give law enforcement probable cause to search you for pot.

2) The coworker of a friend of mine is from Arkansas. On a recent visit there, he went to his usual pot dealer to get some Arkansas pot, which he claims to be the best in the world. His dealer apologetically explained that he had no pot to offer. “Willie came through last week, and he bought all the pot.” All the pot.