Tuesday, April 16, 2013

My Thoughts

Today, once again, we were reminded about the type of world we live in. In a few short moments, we lost the feeling of safety on our city streets. We have also now lost of the last remaining escapes from reality, sporting events.

Over the past year we have lost a number of these escapes- movie theatres, malls, elementary schools, places of worship, and colleges. For so long, I knew that no matter how troubling this world became, I always knew that in this- at times- cold, cruel world I could always look forward to those Saturday's and Sunday's in the Fall, to the first week in April, to those 2 weeks in July and August every 4 years, to take my mind off of the "serious" affairs of the world. I always viewed it as my sanctuary. No matter how bad the outside world got, there was still a communal bond of taking in a game with complete strangers, some you became friends with during the game, others you didn't, but at the end of the day you felt safe. I still remember the Super Bowl immediately after 9/11. While the Patriots ended up winning that game, at the end of the day what really won out was the unbreakable will of the American people. We were able to escape from such tragic events only 5 months earlier, to come as a nation and escape from the problems of the world. Even if only for 4 hours, we always had that.

Before I get even further in to it, for those who have never been in Boston for Marathon Monday, I truly feel sorry for you. It is one of the best days that Boston has. The Red Sox, as they have for so many years, play an 11 AM game that is timed to empty out on Landsdowne to cheer on all the runners as they wind their way through the streets of Boston en route to Copley Square and the completion of one of the better races in America, if not the world. Combine that with a route that takes you through a few college neighborhoods, bars, and Boston's Irish heritage and well you've got cause for a party. The streets are festive, cheering on random runners/friends/family/strangers, and it takes on an unofficial Holiday like atmosphere.  It truly is an awesome event and a must go for many- runners and spectators alike.

Now, I will let you know where I was exactly today when I got the news. I was in a lunch meeting discussing the finer points of accounting. I left my phone in my pocket, which is something I usually never do, and felt a constant vibrating in my pants. On reflection, I am happy that that's where it was, because I almost certainly would have darted out of that room to check on my dad who works in Boston. The feeling I got when you hear "explosions rock ENTER HOME CITY HERE] is on par with the feelings I got after I grasped the magnitude of 9/11. To remind you all, it sucks. You instantly forget about work, social commitments, or anything else you were supposed to do that day. You are transported home. I went to lunch with a co-worker and while I made it look like I was listening, my eyes and thoughts were laser focused on the giant TV screen behind him. I could not focus in any of the meetings I had the rest of the day. I was in a funk. My phone was (for lack of a better word) blowing up with the news. In no particular order, I reached out to Mike (yes, that same guy who so many moons ago joined me on our trips through the Ballparks), to Lanny who I had a feeling might run today (he didn't and was safe), to Dan and Gabby who had qualified to for the race, to my Dad who I had no idea where he was, to my mom, PJ and Katherine, and anyone else that I thought would be out near that race course. It's scary when you have no idea what is going on and are trying to contact those you know and love.

I'm guilty of not going home nearly as much as I should. Some of you may say I've lost touch with Boston after I moved out to California for school. That doesn't change the fact that those sidewalks stained now stained with blood, are the same sidewalks I walked up and down before Senior Prom. The same sidewalks I strolled down when researching for my history day project senior year. These events immediately transport you home and remind you that nothing will ever be the same. But, really what made it tough for me, was being so far away from home. From being far away from all those that I needed to be close to. The thought of the unknown in Boston scared the daylights out of me. We had no idea what was next. The similarities to 9/11 were uncanny. The size and the magnitude of what happened is obviously smaller, but the message is unequivocally the same. We lost our innocence. Again. Today.

The streets of Boston ran red with innocent blood today. Guilty only of being in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Guilty of doing nothing more than cheering on their family or friends or strangers to cross that finish line in the sign of ultimate athletic achievement. Those same streets that I have walked down so many times before, now became the epicenter of a war-zone. Military guard on the streets of Boston, SWAT Teams out in neighboring towns, the fear of the unknown. Those are the things that strike me about today. Today, the battle, what ever battle it is, hit us where it hurts. Sporting events and city streets. These 2 locations will never, ever be the same again. We seek out sporting competitions to take our minds off atrocities like these happening around the country and the world. We walk the streets as part of our every day lives. Now the safety, the serenity, the wonder of these locations have been removed from our collective conscious forever.

I'd be remiss not to mention the heroism and the concern I saw from everyone. From watching the first responders run to the aid of those caught in the blast zone, to the runners who continued on to Mass General to give blood, to the friends who reached out to me out of concern for my family and friends, I will never forget it. You learn a lot your friends and humanity when tragedy like this strikes. I wish that more positive events brought us closer together, but at the end of the day we play the cards we are dealt. To all those that reached out today, thank you. I love each and everyone of you.

I had always hoped a day like 9/11 would never again occur in my lifetime. I had always hoped that an event that has become all too routine in other parts of the world would never materialize on our soil. I knew that was too idealistic. What we have learned today is that no matter how great our country is, no matter how advanced our security is, no matter how safe we think we are, the next attack is out there waiting to happen. I won't ramble on politically about what this means. Because frankly, I don't care. What I do know is this: Justice will be served. We will grow stronger. We will persevere.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


It seems like everyone and their mom these days tends to have a fail-proof method on how to pick a bracket winner. As such, I feel like I should find some way to better occupy myself than tying out spreadsheets, understanding an entity's control environment, or setting up meetings to recap about meetings in which we discussed meetings that already happened, I felt I should fire up the blogging machine again and proffer my fail-proof, scientific-method (a males brain produced it, fact) and allow you to profit off of my methodology's. Like, Wikipedia.
First, you have to understand what really makes the tournament interesting is that no one really knows who's going to win. Diaper Dandies? Isn't that a new E-Trade commercial? Bracket Busters? That just sounds dirty. Jay Bilas, Seth Davis, and Barack Obama proclaim to follow basketball. But clearly, they do not follow the sound methodology of basing their predictions off completely useless information, you know kind of like Rush Limbaugh. So with that in mind you have to determine what type of picker you are, are you a fashionista, scandalous, a survival of the fittest kind of guy, a revenge of the nerds fan, a church vs state advocate, or a lover of the fans. Below, I will explain how such irrelevant information such as uniforms, mascots, GPA's/earnings potential, a Joseph Smith/Mitt Romney supporter, or a Florida, FSU, Alabama, Texas, Virginia, UNC et all fan means everything for the next 4 weeks.
The colors:
It's no surprise that Nike and Adidas Duke and Badger it out each year to produce the best uniforms for their teams. In a very simple statement, you are what you wear. Not surprisingly the Conference tournaments produced the best and  worst of outfits. If you're a University of Oregon fan, you should probably turn away now cause all the following winners will give you nightmares. The top Final Four of the colors bracket should really be on the runway next year at New York Fashion Week:  North Carolina, Florida, (wonder who survived a confusing orange matchup with Virginia), Syracuse Orange sans Men, and the always understated Duke. After being a bit overwhelemed by the vibrant Orange that Syracuse came out of the tunnel with, the North Carolina Tar Argyles come out and stop the Orange with or without Fab Melo on the othersid,  Duke puts on a schooling (literally, GPA wise and figuratively playing wise), hands out business cards and then recruits Florida to work for them later in life, in a lopsided showing on this day out in Milan. And of course, the championship game has to be between two southern (ish) schools, separated by merely 15 miles down Tobacco Road. As fans come out in their Topsiders and Vineyard Vines  UNC returns home with the victory and of course the pride that they have beaten Duke before LAX season! WOHHOOO
Final Most Likely for the NCAA to claim never happened 4 years from now:
Kentucky- John Calipari has the dubious moniker of playing in 2 Final Fours that ultimately never happened anymore vs Syracuse. Jim Boheim is in a world of hurt right now, first the Bernie Fine sex scandal, then the Yahoo Sports investigation that athletes could continue playing even after failing multiple drug tests, and finally, maybe, the NCAA found a way to stop them today by refusing to let Fab Melo play in the tournament due to academic ineligibility. I have to be honest here for a minute. Being academically ineligible as a big time college athlete is god-awful. What do you have to do be ruled academically ineligible, I want to know, cause there is no way a lot of these players actually are eligible (even God's gift to this great earth, Tebow, who his one class senior year occurred during practice at Florida). Like, who didn't do this guy's homework? Has he mysteriously disappeared from the Syracuse campus? College athletes, and I speak from Big Time experience at Santa Clara, are coddled into every aspect of college life. Priority registration, tutors who must pull their hair out teaching them, and even paid baby-sitters who one job it is to make sure they go to class. Honestly, if you are ruled academically ineligible at this point of the game, you shouldn't even be allowed to go on to the Pro's. You my friend have failed at life and will not be successful anywhere. NBA teams take note. And Kentucky? Well, do i really need to introduce you to my good friend John? Ask Memphis and UMass about their tournaments 2008 and 1996 respectively... those didn't happen right? Anywho, this game will be played as scheduled on April 2nd, but any mention of it will quickly and swiftly be taken down by the powers that be in roughly 4 years. Maybe then Calipari will be coaching Santa Clara as his last ditch effort to make himself beloved.
By far the easiest bracket to call, it doesn’t take an idiot to figure this one out. Very simple, who wins in battle to the death of the fittest, deadliest animals/humans/mutants. While everyone likes Brutus the Buckeye, its very difficult for him to actually ever win anything, save for the hearts of Ohio. This year we have the aforementioned  Buckeye, the Wildcats (at least 2), Bearcats, Spartans, Seminoles, Tigers on Tigers on Tigers, Jayhawks, Jackrabbits, , Longhorns and Badgers and Wolverines, and of course the always dangerous Fighting Irish, spurred on by a chance to play on St. Paddy's day in front of 300 Million Irish American's. In this always tough and dangerous bracket, I like the Kentucky Wildcats (which are none as a fiercer strain of the wildcat variety than Kansas State) to beat the Spartans on one side while the Wolverines (aided by M) bear down on the unassuming Longhorns and play their brand of basketball (sorry I crack myself up sometimes). Ultimately in the final game, the Wolverines are no match for evil Magneto Calipari as he unleashes the mutant Tigers (professional animals playing in an animal Barnum and Bailey circus) for a bloody 76-75 battle, that even PETA had to watch.
Revenge of the Nerds:
This section is going to be as short as I forsee the run of these teams, and sadly the NCAA couldn't play along in letting in Northwestern. Anywho, in a new contest specifically designed for these two teams, Harvard and Vandy will enter into a new basketball era as they attempt to play one half of basketball, one game of Risk, one round of Jepoardy, and one round of quick guess our next president (my money is on  Tom Hamel who with a name like that, a pedigree of Philips Andover, and the resume he has in his bio, is a sure lock for the Big House in 2028). In a shocker, the Harvard runs away with the game, the knowledge, and your girlfriends in a first round win over Vandy and steamrolls Duke the following night in the first ever 2 round NCAA tournament (as all teams were required to forfeit after not one group of 5 could name all 50 states).
The War on Religion
In an ever surprising twist, religiously affiliated university's actually do well at sports (isn't that weird Santa Clara?). This year I count at least 14 schools (including 7 Jesuit Universities) in the big dance- EVEN SANTA CLARA! (oh wait) Also, for those that can guess all of those schools, I will personally take you out to Applebees and treat you to some good ole neighbourhood food. Anywho, this truly is a God's on our side, sort of debate. Rule of thumb, whenever in doubt, choose a savior and their God given school. In what is truly a great year for Mormon's everywhere, BYU goes far in this pool until Joseph Smith and Mitt Romney run out of steam and succumb to the evil, ice cold goodness all the way from Georgetown, HOYA SAXA.
Off-the Court Action:
While the college football games are always the most fun to watch for the crowd shots (here's to lookin at ya Songgirls, TCU fans, Longhorn Fans, the ENTIRE SEC) basketball brings out not only the beautiful but the CRAZIES. I really wish that every championship game was played at Cameron Indoor. After walking on this bit of nostalgia back in 2006 with my dad, I instantly knew why this place was so great for basketball. It is in every sense of the word a bandbox, and the fans there are so passionate, and so crazy it is a jungle in there. Alas, the NCAA doesn't care about the students, or the athletes for that matter, only the money. OCCUPY NCAA anyone? But for this bracket I say you can't go wrong with an SEC school (Alabama, Florida) an ACC School (Virginia, FSU, UNC) or a Big 12 School (Texas). Basically anything south will win this for you.
In closing, I'd like to quote the late, great Brian Fantana- "60% of the time it works all the time"

Coming Tomorrow:
Stay tuned to see which of my methods I actually chose, who I think will win, and who I am almost definitely wrong about.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Ultimate Sports Bucket List

As I said at the beginning of this blog, this trip was only the tip of the iceberg in achieving my ultimate sports bucket list. Throughout this trip I've been doing some thinking and planning and have decided to reveal to the world my ULTIMATE SPORTS BUCKET LIST (simply known from this point forward as THE LIST). Below is my list with maybe a little bit of reasoning behind the choices. Of course, they are in no particular order- just thoughts on paper of what sporting events I want to get to before all is said and done. ENJOY!

1. Complete the Ballpark tour- I have 14 done- only 16 to go and by far the easiest I will be able to do will be the West Coast + AZ and CO. I should be close to 20 by this point next year. 

2. World Series- Had a chance to grab tickets for the Giants last year, didn't pull the trigger. I still regret it. But of course, it would only be sweet if I saw the Red Sox in the World Series.

3. Super Bowl- I was in Dallas for the past one, but of course tickets were too expensive. I will get there tho.

4. Kentucky Derby- I am a huge fan of the sport of Kings and the Derby always gets me excited for the end of Spring/beginning of Summer. Drinking Mint Juleps would be sweet at Churchill downs.

5. Olympics (Winter and Summer)- I'm gonna start saving for Rio 2016. What could be better? Olympics and Brazil? I think nothing. I'll start investigating the Winter Olympics, but that could be harder as an accountant as it is in the heart of Busy season.

6. Indy 500- In the Infield, Mark "The Shark" Titus always raves about it. I'll be there soon enough

7. Daytona 500- I don't think you're American till you go to a NASCAR race- especially Daytona (aka Mecca for Rednecks).

8. Wimbledon/Roland Garros/Australian Open- Already done the U.S. Open so check it off the list. The tennis fan in me needs to see all of these great tournaments at least once in my life.

9. World Cup- Can anyone give me a good reason not to go? Just wave that flag.

10. America's Cup- You may be wondering what this is, simple its a prestigious sail-boat race pitting the defending champion (next year the U.S.) vs a challenger that has to go through many qualifying races. While I never took to sailing like my dad did, this would still be a great event to go to and its out in San Francisco next year, always a good time on the Bay.

11. Henley Royal Regatta- Simple, while the Head of the Charles is the biggest/most venerable race in the U.S., Henley is that out in England. No I won't race, but I'd love to attend (especially in the Stewards Enclosure).

12. Row in the Head of the Charles- I think its every rower's dream to do this.

13. The Masters- I love watching golf- I can't play it too well, but I need to get to the Masters at least once in my life time.

14. Golf's US Open- Specifically it'd be great to see it at Pebble Beach in a few years, definitely starting to save.

15. The British Open- Especially at St. Andrews. Historic grounds of golf, gotta be there.

16. Golf at the "Major Venues"- To elaborate, Pebble, TPC Sawgrass, Torrey Pines, St. Andrews, if there is any way to play Augusta please let me know?

17. The Ryder Cup- Gotta love when the U.S. plays Europe in everything. Everyone raves about it, the golf politeness disappears over this weekend. Need. To. See. It.

18. NBA Finals/Stanley Cup- Again, its always important to see a championship series and while I'm not a huge Basketball fan, anyone is a fan during the finals.

19. Attend a Game 7- This is the pinnacle of sports. 1 game everything riding on it. If its for the Championship, even better, but I'll take an ALCS/NLCS combination too.

20. Attend the Final Four- Love that time of year

21. Attend the Rose Bowl- The Granddaddy of em all.

22. Attend the BCS National Championship Game- I can't wait to see the best amateur football players play each other with no money being paid to either teams players. Wait, they get paid on the reg? Oh well, still going.

23. UEFA Championship- Going soccery here, but who doesn't love watching the world's game?

24. Camp Nou/Old Trafford- As a sports fan, you have to love every other sport's important stadiums. These are 2 important ones for Barcelona and Man U fans. I'd love to see a Barca-Real Madrid matchup too.

25. Attend a game at Lambeau Field- Most storied stadium in the NFL? Yes, I'll go watch the Packers play. Just as long as Brett Favre isn't there.

26. Red Sox- Yankees- This will never get old. Gotta go if I can.

27. Auburn-Alabama/Cal-Stanford/UGA-U Florida/UT-Oklahoma/ Harvard-Yale/ Game at Notre Dame Stadium- College Footballs biggest rivalry games, you need to get there if you can. And if you're Irish-Catholic, basically Notre Dame is the best thing since sliced bread. So you have to go to South Bend. Guess I'm going?

28. College Baseball World Series- I love watching this on T.V. While I wish I could have gotten to Rosenblatt, it would still be awesome to go watch this game.

29. Duke-North Carolina Basketball- At Cameron Indoor of course. In the Cameron Crazies section if possible.

30. Little League World Series- Obviously my kids will play in this one day, and it will be easy to go, or else they'll bring dishonor to the family.

I'm pretty sure that is my entire list. Feel free to debate me if you have any doubts on these mentions, and feel free to add anything to this as well.

- Wills

New Photos

So, I've finished putting the final touches on the photos for the Picasa album from my camera. I've got a few more photos on my Blackberry that I'll probably upload later today. These photos are from our trips to Miller Park, US Cellular, The Jake, PNC Park, Citizens Bank, and Nationals Park. There is also an assortment of photos from our touristy-ness around Philadelphia and Washington D.C as well. Here's the Link to the Picasa Album: https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/myphotos Also a preview down below:



Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Legend of Zimmerman

This trip has had it all. Offensive outbursts, extra innings magic, a fantastic pitching performance, and of course rain delays (5 in all), yet it had been missing one thing. A walk off win. Truly one of the more exciting situations in sports, we had yet to see. Its a situation every child dreams of- "Wills Fallon (or kid x) up to the plate, 2 outs, bases loaded (usually the case in every situation, but all you need is you representing the winning run, or a base runner as the winning run- but its cooler if its you), 3-2 count. Here's the pitch..." We all know how it happens next. Unfortunately, many of us never get to drive in the winning run- but we can always watch. And that's what we did. We watched/hoped/prayed.

To set the scene, the rain followed us again to Nationals Park. We arrived to the stadium early to take advantage of the $5 beer pregame special they had out in the Miller Light Scoreboard Walk section. We also had a coupon for 1 free beer (You can clearly see our priorities this night). We saw ominous clouds, and knew immediately what that meant. Our chances of playing this whole thing starting at 7 were not great. Incredibly, the game started at 7pm (conspiracy theroists believe its because the pregame $5 beer special ended at first pitch- count me in this camp). But, sure enough, with Ryan Howard up and 2 outs, the skies opened. This was worse than any downpour we had on this trip- as the stadium said "Please take cover from the SEVERE Thunderstorm we are experiencing." Oh, yes Nationals fan's it was "SEVERE".

While the wind and rain provided some cool natural effects (for example in the beginning it was only really raining on the left field section of Nationals Park, leaving the entire Right Field side- us included, dry.) We immediately took cover under stairs leading to the upper deck, which were surprisingly dry. Luckily we still had our $5 pregame beer and our coupon for a free beer. Being with Sam and Mike, we were incredibly smart throughout the night. To keep ourselves occupied, we watched the radar on Mike's smart phone (it didn't look good), talked with some Phillies fans for a bit, and then I (Wills) won a bet on to what that string of lights that looked like a triangle was attached too. Sam said a bridge. Mike said a dock. I said a Naval Boat. Of course, being the genius that I am- I won. I know crazy knowledge to all the Bowdoin students reading this right now. 

Finally, right as we were finishing our Half-Smokes (sausages guys) from Ben's Chili Bowl, the game began. Livan Hernandez resumed pitching and just started getting rocked left and right. While he only gave up 4 runs, every hit seemed as if it was fired out of a cannon. The Phillies were seeing the ball great and it looked to be a long night. But then the bleeding kind of stopped, and while Kyle Kendrick pitched a pretty solid 6 innings, what do you know? The Nationals kind of hung around and cut the deficit to 2.  But, with Ryan Madson coming in it didn't look good for the Nationals.

Now, some background- we had the privilege of watching the Phillies take on the far more fearsome Diamondbacks on Tuesday night. If you remember, Roy Halladay had 15K's but blew it in the 9th inning, and on the drive home all of Greater Philadelphia (even in to Amish Country-bewildering I know) railed on Charlie Manuel for leaving Doc in too long, and not bringing in the fearsome Ryan Madson. Well, maybe Charlie knew something that the rest of Philadelphia didn't.... AND NOW THE FLASHFORWARD TO FRIDAY NIGHT.

Ryan Madson can't even buy an out in the 9th inning last night. While it looked bleak when he came in (I recall telling Sam and Mike that it'd be cool to have a walk off on the last night), all of a sudden there is a bit of buzz going around Nationals Park from both Phillies (the many) and Nationals fans (the few). People are shocked that the Nationals have scored to cut it to 4-3 and are still threatening with a runner on 2nd after Jonny Gomes singles in Jayson Werth (less) and no outs. Add in a sacrifice bunt and for those scoring at home we have runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out. Your Move Phillies. They elect for the standard intentional walk and now the stage is set 1 out, bases loaded bottom of the 9th. Ian Desmond singles in Danny Espinosa and now its 1 out, tie game, bottom of the 9th and the outfielder formerly known as the pitcher Rick Ankiel strides to the plate. Nothing doing. Strikes out. 2 outs, and up walks Ryan Zimmerman.

Now up until last night, Zimm had 7 walk off homers. I don't know if he knew as he was walking to the plate that he would have a record setting night. But, in my imagination of Ryan Zimmerman, he probably knew what was up. To save you some more reading he works to a full count. At this point, I have my camera recording every moment of this at bat. MLB WHERE AMAZING HAPPENS. Here's probably what's going through Zimmerman's mind "Here we are folks, the plucky Nationals have hung around all night with the Phillies, and Ryan Zimmerman is up to the plate. He's worked it to a full count with the bases juiced. All the ducks on the pond here for Zimm. Madson comes to set, the delivery. SWING AND A DRIVE! WAY BACK! GRAND SLAM FOR ZIMMERMAN. THE NATIONALS WIN!" In fact, that was exactly what went through his head.

Anyways, grand slam walk off home run to win the game for the Nationals. And for Ryan Zimmerman, he becomes the 1st player to hit 8 walk off HRs in his first 7 seasons. Pretty cool stat. As for my take after the game? The Phillies are definitely a force to be recokned with, but two blown games in a span of a few days does nothing but boost my confidence for the potential World Series match up against the Red Sox. While the Phillies have the superior pitching, I think the Sox have the superior hitting, and their pitchers could potentially find some gems. Further, I think I like the Red Sox bullpen right now. When we get to October, I see the game plan as: Beckett/Lester/some 3d guy not named Lackey, Aceves (for however many innings you need him, dude pitched 3 and 2/3ds last night after Miller left), Bard, Paplebon. Go ahead, look that up, if you don't have a lead by the time you get to Aceves, it will be a loss for your team. We are obviously at the disadvantage of not having home field advantage, but once it comes back to Boston I like our chances increasingly more. Am I a homer? Yes, but this is a very realistic situation we are facing ourselves with now. I hope Mike can back me up on this?

Anyways, we did some touristy stuff in D.C. on Thursday before the game. Mike and I explored the National Mall before meeting up with Sam to see the Air and Space Museum. I particularly enjoyed the different War Memorials. Obviously, the Vietnam Memorial is the historic draw (and it is quite sobering when you realize how many people died), but an equally impressive one is the newest one the World War II memorial. Just a huge memorial to all the soldiers that died. Intensely retrospective and somber, it helps you reflect on how great the loss of life was during that war. Kind of like Wrigley, its tough to put into words what these Memorials meant to me, but I think the overwhelming sense I felt was patriotism and gratitude. While I do not know anyone in my family who died in any of the wars memorialized, the service that many paid for their country is clearly felt when you visit the memorials. And its not just for the dead either, its for the livign veterans as well. I think we do forget what they have gone to fighting for the U.S over the years. So, while I don't want to get too political on this blog, I will say: Thank you Armed Service Men and Women around the world and please come home soon.

After touring around the Air and Space Museum I was able to meet up with my good friend Tricia Bryant for dinner at Legal Sea Foods. It was good seeing her/catching up with her as she begins her Law studies. Of course she's a Yankees fan, so its difficult to understand her perspective of baseball, but she is a great friend nonetheless. After that, I met up with Mike Sam and their 3rd Roommate Andrew, for another fun night out in Dupont Circle capped off by pizza at 2 AM. 2 really good slices of pizza that were HUGE! I mean had to be a quarter the size of the full pizza. Unbelievable. The Hawaiian was hard to beat and I devoured it.

Okay, that was long, but I feel like it was a pretty awesome game and I had to detail it in full. I'm going to upload more photos later tonight or tomorrow so check those out. Also, tomorrow I will detail the ultimate sports bucket list that I would like to do by the time I RIP, so check that out too. Other than that, I really don't know what we're going to do with the blog. But, here are the regulars to savor until the next time.

Coming Attractions: We finally got home after quite the drive due to traffic- mysterious traffic caused by a large motorcycle tribute ride and horrible NYC traffic by the George Washington Bridge. While the trip was great, it will be nice to be at home for the next week before I leave for San Jose to start work again. The next major road trip I'll be taking is up to The Gorge to see DMB and others for an incredible weekend. 

What I Like: This entire trip was awesome. While I think Mike and I were both maybe a little unsure this trip would happen (even after talking about the past few years) it was great to do it. It was just fun to travel around and as we both discussed, not worry about anything. We lost track of the days of the week, didn't pay much attention to the crumbling economy around us, we were just 2 kids traveling around watching as much baseball as we could. I don't remember one bad part of the trip- even the driving from NYC to Cincinnati. It was just awesome to travel around for 2 weeks in pursuit of baseball and meeting up with everyone everywhere we went.

What I DIS-Like: Obviously the traffic was a bit painful on this trip. Also, the fact that we thought we had unlimited free drinks and ultimately did not at the game last night was a bit disappointing. Also, the DC Metro System: While incredibly convenient was not well thought out- by this I mean their escalators. Not only are they very steep (very difficult for a clumsy fool like me) but they also always seem to be broken. Please DC Politicos figure this out.

The Food Debate: If you're at Nationals Park, do yourself a favor and head over to Ben's Chili Bowl, the in stadium replica of the iconic D.C. eatery. Once there, get the Half Smoke Sausage "All the Way" (for novices Chili, Cheese Sauce, Onions, and Mustard) and a side of Chili Cheese Fries. You won't go wrong. Trust me.

Bleacher Bums: If I were blind, I would have thought we were at Citizens Bank Ballpark last night. The stadium had to be about 90% Phillies Fans who made the quick drive down to D.C. for the game. The result was an anything but homefield advantage for the Nationals, but was quite enjoyable to see the Phillies fans go home disappointed for the 2nd night in as many days. Also, pretty sure we saw an Amish dude in the stands cheering for the Phillies. While we cannot confirm or deny this, the 3 intelligent ones (Mike, Wills, and Sam) are pretty sure this was the fact. I have a feeling this goes against some sort of Amish tradition. Any experts, please let me know.

DJ MMM: Right now I have the song O.N.E by Yeasayer stuck in my head (go download it if you haven't already), but for the ride home today we listened to a lot of The Weeknd- a very talented Toronto Area rapper (thank you Drizzy Drake). Go listen to his newest mixtape if you can.

And that's all for you guys. I'll do the ultimate sports bucket list tomorrow as well as a final photo album. Then who knows what happens to this blog. As always thanks for reading, we hope you enjoyed living vicariously through Mike and I!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Keystone State

No silly, not 30 stones, I'm talking about Penns woods, or as many of you know it by- Pennsylvania.

We have spent 3 days in the lovely state of Pennsylvania, and we have enjoyed it quite nicely. While we saw a game at PNC(where the Pirates FINALLY won a game over the Cards), the real highlight of the trip was Citizens Bank Ballpark and the witnessing of Roy Halladay's greatness. Well, the only thing really of note to happen at PNC is the streak stayed alive and we got kicked out of a sparsely populated section in the 8th inning for not having tickets for that area- seriously?

So, any time you get to see the Phillies play, you should go. Why you may ask? You have an 40% chance(confirmed by stat guy mike) of seeing Halladay or Lee pitch. That is a ridiculous high percentage for 2 Cy Young winners. Luckily, we had both options available to us because of a rain out on Sunday. How you may ask? Simple, Halladay was originally scheduled to pitch Sunday and Lee on Tuesday. Due to the rainout, Halladay was pushed back to Tuesday and Lee to Wednesday. Since we didn't buy tickets until about 1130pm on Monday night, it was a perfect case of pick your poison. Do you want a stud Righty who could pitch a no-hitter at any moment? Or do you want a stud Lefty who could also rake at the plate?

We went with Halladay, and we were rewarded with a phenomenal performance. Halladay went the distance, racking up a mezmorizing 15k's and just completely befuddling the Dbacks lineup. He made professional players look like little leaguers with his combination of fastball, changeup, and curve. Just pure dominance. The night could have been even more special had he not allowed the first 3 batters to get on (2 of which scored) and squandering his 1 run lead and thus losing the ballgame. But he was phnnomenal nonetheless and the same way people talk about seeing Nolan Ryan pitch, Bob Feller pitch, Sandy Koufax pitch, or Bob Kibson pitch- we can now say the same about good ole' Doc Halladay.

In other notes around the game my burgeoning baseball career took a 5 mph step backward as I was only able to hit 71 on the gun out in right field. Its fine though, on Sunday I've got some long toss scheduled and a running+weights session to build up my stamina to get back to 80 mph's for the scouts.

The streak was also kept alive that night by Shane Victorino (the Flyin Hawaiian) going deep for a 2 run jack. Thank you Shane for paying attention to this blog. Supporting the cause is a big deal for all of us, and by going boneyard you ensured we can head into the final game with the streak in tact.

We'll move the food debate out of the usual section just so we can talk about the cheesesteak elephant in the room: Geno's or Pat's. Well in a shocking upset, Tony Luke's takes the cake in Mike and I's book. We were able to get our tourist on with Mrs. Fishman and Alie as they were there moving in- pretty sweet place I will say.

Because we hadn't had any eaten bfast yet- once we picked up Alie and Mama fish from the U-haul in West Philly (yes that West Philly for those singing along to the Fresh Prince theme song at home- from Mike "if I were Will Smith I wouldn't be upset going to Bel Aire") it was safe to say we were starving. Our first stop was scheduled to be John's, on recommendation from Big Don Fisher, unfortunately that was short lived as the grill was shut down since it was 245 and it closed at 3. So, on to Tony Luke's. Maybe it was the hunger in our eyes(I mean stomachs) or the endless amounts of grease coming off our food, but everything at Tony Luke's was delicious. The cheesesteak was simple, just a ton of meat+wiz and it was on a perfect bun. The cheesey fries+onion rings+mozzarella sticks were delicious as well. Maybe it was the wait we had, but it was mouthwateringly delicious, and not overly filling (I mean let's be serious, I actually contemplated doing the Tony Luke's ultimate challenge).

Anywhoo, after doing the touristy things: I.e Boathouse Row and running the Rocky Steps(I'm out of shape)it was time to retire to Alie's new bachelorette pad. After hanging there for a bit, and creepily observing the party going down by the pool, it was time to bid adieu. But not after sampling Geno's and Pat's- who in a weird act of cosmic fate are seperated by no more than 50 feet.

We decided to do what any normal person would do- get 2 cheesesteaks and split them. While we were not disappointed by either culinary creation, we were disappointed by the overwhelming flavor of pepper's and onions from Geno's. If your sandwhich is the cheesesteak, a complimentary additive such as peppers and onions should never overwhelm the sandwhich. Pat's on the other hand, was delicious- subtle taste of onion's but not overpowering. However, it could not top Tony Luke's. Thus, Tony Luke and his cheesesteak is the winner.

And, for those counting at home: Yes, that's 2 cheesesteak's in less than a 5 hour period. Or, exactly what your doctor does not advise. I swear people are jealous of my metabolism. I'm a fat kid at heart.

On to the stars of the shows:

Coming Attractions: We're enroute to D.C now. We just smelled Jersey and thankfully left it behind us. Touristy day tomorrow before Friday's game between the Phillies and Nationals- really looking forward to seeing that stadium.

What I Liked: Mike and I enjoyed the menu selection of SPRTR where we enjoyed the pre-game happy hour with Bobby Fisher and his dad Big Don. Unbelievable deal, half priced beers+ half priced appetizers allowed us to be very full before entering Citizen's Bank.

What I DIS-Like: Garmin has no idea how to navigate Pittsburgh. Very difficult to get lost there. Also, we don't appreciate the usher in the section half-way between 3rd base and the foul pole at PNC. Sir, when its not a sellout, you really shouldn't come in the 8TH INNING to check tickets. Relax bro, your team is falling faster than the stock market.

The Food Debate: The Mexican style chicken wings and wild boar taco's were delicious at SPRTR. But, I'll tell you what my fall season beer will be: Weyerbacher Pumpkin lager. It was unbelievably smooth and delicious but talk about about flavor. You could smell the Pumpkin from the moment you went to take a sip and the smell of pumpkin pie still resonates in my memory. Definitely want it in the fridge in a few weeks.

Bleacher Bums: Gotta love the love for Harry Kalas last night. Most teams will pay for a statue and commission it and take all the credit. Not so in Philly- the fans actually paid for the statue and completely designed it for the Broadcast legend they so dearly loved. Obviosuly, being in Boston we love Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy and Joe Castiglione, but Philly loved Harry Kalas and he loved them back. Also, another sellout at the Bank last night. Great environment out there last night, but a bit of a downgrade that they had to put a noise meter up for fans that are supposed to be passionate- just a bit amateur if you ask me.

I think that's it for today. No baby howitzer controversy here, just good ole family tales and stories from all the places we've been. Debate cheesesteak in the comments.


Monday, August 15, 2011

The Rookie

During the postseason chase, there is a premium on bullpen pitchers. One day's stud, is the next day's demotion. As the Red Sox are learning with Franklin Morales, many teams are just happy to get rid of their relievers for next to nothing. Sometimes you just need that diamond in the rough.

To all Major League Baseball teams, I would like to submit my resume of work to anyone interested. Brief background, I played catcher and 3B up until sophomore year of high school, but I had to give it up to pursue my budding tennis career. Throughout college I played softball, intramurals, corporate and slosh, and was a force to be recokned with. Further, on weekends I was a member of the fearsome A-Team Baseball team striking fear in the hearts of everyone around Santa Clara.

Why does this matter? Well, during yesterday's rain delay in Cleveland, we found a speed gun challenge secballpark. 3 throws for $1, it was a wise investment. With scouts/fans all over the place, and with no warm up whatsoever, the 6 foot 3 inch, 195lb incredibly good looking threat- Wills Fallon took 3 pitches- topping hitting 76 mph on the gun, without even breaking a sweat. I felt loose/limber and my arm doesn't even hurt this morning. I went back later and again got in the 70+ mph range so I am encouraged by this. I'm pretty sure that on a steady workout and throwing schedule I should be able to start getting to the mid to high 80s by the end of August, and low 90s by the middle of September and the high 90s by game one of the LDS' games. Perfect timing.

Major league teams should also know that I will be working with the world famous pitching coaches Thain Simon and Joe Supple to perfect my delivery and my swag on the mound. Further, my strength and conditioning coach is Kenny Powers as I am exclusively on the K-Swiss label. While it has been close to 7 years since I last competitively played baseball, I have learned the intricacies of strategy and developed my confidence to not be afraid of any man. Take the DNA of Brian Wilson and mix it with the DNA of Jonathon Paplebon and what you get is Wills Fallon. FACT!

Also, as any of my fellow A-Teamers can attest I am an offensive threat and can hit for the cycle at any point.

For those interested in signing me for a tryout, please leave a comment in the comments section, or email at willsfallon@gmail.com. My agent will be Mike Mitchell and I will be commanding a hefty signing bonus with a contract in the high Six figures- I also will not play for the Yankees. I will be the face of the franchise during the post-season chase.

As you can see, the past 2 games were pretty boring, so we had some fun with this blog post.

Coming Attractions: We're en route to Pittsburgh to see the Cards vs Pirates tonight. While this game would have been 100x better had the Pirates still had a chance, the Cards are now playing with a sense of urgency as they try to catch the Brewers. After a disappointing showing in STL we're hoping Pujols goes deep tonight.

What I Like: My chances of signing a major league contract at the end of this trip.

What I DIS-like: The rain. Seriously, can you give us a break mother nature? Long rain delay in Chicago, rain-out in Cleveland, and it looks like we're headed to another rain storm in Pittsburgh. Stop doing this to us.

Bleacher Bums: I was thoroughly disappointed in the Chicago White Sox fans we saw on Saturday. They seemed more interested in drinking and talking to other rando people than in actually watching the game. US Cellular (and Progessive) was also not particularly modern as they were both built just before the shift in stadium construction were sightlines would be improved and you could see the field from wherever you were. The rain delay in Cleveland was fun as we made friends with other fans, found more "Bottoms Up" beer, and furthered Wills' major league chances.

Food Debate: we enjoyed the Harry Buffalo in Cleveland once we left the game. Pretty delicious burgers (read huge) and great wings for a very cheap price.

DJ MMM: Still loving Watch the Throne and starting to fall in love with Frank Ocean and the Weeknd. Go check all 3 of those things out.

That's all folks, we'll keep you posted with contract news. Gotta go though, Buster Olney's on hold.

- W+M