Monday, July 19, 2010

Next up: Birmingham

I spent last week in Los Angeles and San Diego with my wife. We had a terrific time, and while I won't bore you with a full recap of the journey I did want to share a few thoughts...

The statues outside the Staples Center are hilarious. The one of Magic Johnson is so astoundingly bad as to defy belief. It not only looks nothing like him facially, it makes him appear to have been eighty years old. The ones of Oscar de la Hoya and Wayne Gretzky are better, but not terribly lifelike either. Only the one of legendary play by play man Chick Hearn really resembles the guy it's supposed to be.

Dodger Stadium is a great place to watch a baseball game. It was one of the final baseball stadiums on my "need to get to" list, and it was worth it. Didn't get a chance to see a Padres game at Petco Park, but was able to walk through the stadium. It's a nice venue, and I really like the way it fits in with the Gaslamp District around it. Very bummed they didn't have this Padres shirt in my size at the team store the day I was there.

Saw Pete Carroll speak in San Diego Thursday night. It hadn't hit me before, but watching him talk I realized that Carroll is what Jeremy Foley convinced himself he was hiring when he chose Ron Zook as Steve Spurrier's successor. Carroll described himself as being "a little ADD", and his high energy routine reminded me a lot of Zook had Zook been able to articulate a philosophy beyond "we're getting better". Still not sure how well Carroll's going to work out in Seattle, but he did better than people gave him credit for in his two previous NFL head coaching gigs.

Pepperdine University's Malibu campus is the most beautiful one in the country. The best anyone can hope to do is play for a tie, and I don't think anyone has the goods to even make that claim.

Delta Airlines approaches customer service the same way Rachel Phelps approached team building in Major League as head of the Cleveland Indians - the goal is to make things as unpleasant as possible. I took four flights on Delta week. Three of them were delayed by over an hour because of "paperwork" and a supposed problem with "the engine starting thing". Delta also managed to lose my bag going to L.A. despite charging me 23 dollars for the privilege of bringing it on the plane. I can't think of a single reason to fly Delta again if the price to do so is even close to competitive with another airline's.

Nothing like a potential NCAA agent scandal with a program you cover to welcome a guy back to work after vacation time. It was acknowledged late last week that the NCAA was looking at possible agent involvement with players at North Carolina, and now South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders is in the spotlight too. What remains to be seen is how many other schools will have players also turn up on the NCAA's radar, because the buzz in the college football world is that there will be more. While no school wants to deal with this, any of them should be grateful if misbehavior comes to light before an ineligible player sees time in a game. Since one of the UNC players under scrutiny indicated on his Twitter account that the trip in question happened earlier in the summer, it may only be the players who deal with significant consequences here. Saunders is a talented kid who's been sporadic at best in his level of intensity and desire to play - I still remember reading a litany of complaints from him about having to play in cold as well as practice on thanksgiving last season. Losing him wouldn't be insignificant for the Gamecocks, but would not be a season wrecker by a long shot.

1 comment:

Walt said...

Also went West last week and saw the Giants play a home game for the first time ever. AT&T park is spectacular. Having been a Giants fan since the 60's it was a thrill to get a photo in front of the Willie Mays statue. (It's actually a good likeness of him)
Added bonus to come back with a Tim Lincecum bobblehead.
Northern California area is beautiful.