A Baseball Fan’s Guide: Going to Marlins Park

Apr 09

A Baseball Fan’s Guide: Going to Marlins Park

Thinking about going to Marlins Park to see a ballgame this year? You’ll be glad you did, but I can make your baseball outing a little bit better with some tips. Think of this as your step-by-step plan for awesome-ness. Nineteen years ago, my step-father took me to the first game in Marlins history (Charlie Hough vs. L.A. Dodgers). My step-dad’s name was Ralph Kent, and he’s the creator of Billy the Marlin, who I think is now my step-brother, or something like that.) Some friends of mine (Emack, Dwyne, George and Dee) joined me for Opening Day at Marlins Park last Wednesday night when the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals came into town. We learned several things that night, including – don’t bring a writer (Emack) that has a deadline that night because you’ll be waiting for him an hour after the game. It’s like going to Disney and bringing a janitor that has to clean up after it closes, and you have to wait by the closed down monorail.   Where You Should Park … at Marlins Park There’s a lot of talk about how few parking spots there are at this stadium, but it’s not too different from many ballparks, like Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium and Wrigley Field. But since there was miles and miles and miles of available parking spots at Sun Life Stadium, since hardly anyone ever went, people got spoiled. If you’ve ever been to the Orange Bowl for a Hurricanes game, then you’ve dealt with their parking. It’s not great, but it’s not the end of the world. And you get to buy grilled Italian sausages and arepas (Latin American cheese/corncakes) on your way back to your car! They’ve added a bunch of spaces and the one we parked at was just $10, and just a couple blocks northeast of the stadium (No. 7 lot on the map). (While searching for this map, I came across this Marlins blog you might enjoy: I Want To Go to the Strip Club With Giancarlo Stanton. In that blog, it lists other things that manager Ozzie Guillen likes, besides Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, including Boyz II Men, Puppies, Thundercats and That sugary powder at...

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Our Crazy Tout Wars 2012 Draft Weekend in New York

Mar 31

Our Crazy Tout Wars 2012 Draft Weekend in New York

Tout Wars never fails to deliver when it comes to good story-telling. And the Tout Wars 2012 Draft weekend was no different. You might remember my last Tout Wars tale from a few year ago, which happened to be the year I ended up winning the whole shebang! So before I discuss my Tout Wars Fantasy Baseball team, let me tell you about the whole Tout Wars weekend!   New York, New York I always love traveling to New York each spring, and even though I’ve been about a dozen times now, it’s still relatively foreign. I still end up getting switched around on which side of Times Square I’m on. And the avenues seem to be just enough far apart so that you can’t see which number avenue is that way and which one is that way, so you walk to it – and it’s always the one you didn’t want it to be. I went up with my old CBSSports.com co-baseball writer Emack, my wife, Sara, and our friend Shannon. We all stayed in one room at The Sanctuary Hotel, in a room smaller than my living room – but outfitted with two queen beds. It really was a nice room, but a little tiny. I’ve had bigger buckets of chicken wings. On the plane ride up, another former co-worker at CBS, Jamey Eisenberg, happened to be on our plane. He sat in first class with the aristocrats, while Sara and I sat in Thunderdome. (I had to win a knife fight just to get pretzels!) Jamey was going up to see family, including his aunt who just turned 100 years old, and his cousin, Jesse Eisenberg – the Oscar-nominated actor from “The Social Network.” Jesse was filming a movie in the city, with Morgan Freeman, Woody Harrelson and Michael Caine. Needless to say, Sara and I were hoping to become extras in “Beerfest II” or whatever they called their movie. Spoiler alert: It didn’t happen. We met up with Emack and Shannon and had lunch in Chinatown – worst nachos I’ve ever eaten.   Foley’s: Where Every Stat-Guy Knows Your Name Every Tout Wars weekend, the entire gang gets together at Foley’s Bar, near the Empire...

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Scrambled Brains: Concussions, Golf and Beer

Feb 24

Scrambled Brains: Concussions, Golf and Beer

“May I mow my dog in the banana patch?” Around 11am Saturday, April 10, 2007, that sentence would have made perfect sense to me. But let me back up a little bit and explain. That day marked the 13th Annual CBS SportsLine Golf Scramble. There’s really only about six to eight real golfers in that company, so imagine that it was like Caddy Day like in Caddyshack — only it was Dobish playing Bill Murray’s role. A pond was good for him. Since we aren’t great golfers, this was pretty much just an excuse for a get-together for free food, drinks and fun — with heavy emphasis on the last two. I was all set to start the tourney with what I hoped to be one fun foursome. But I went with Jamey Eisenberg, Corey Guerrera and Ashley Frisch instead. We were Team Gator (three alums and me, a USF guy). Frisch is all sorts of fun. She’s getting married in a few months to Corey. I hear they’ve registered at ABC Liquors, if you wanna buy ’em something. I’ve got dibs on the his/hers keggerators. Corey’s a good man as well. He reminds me a little of Fred Savage — if Fred Savage were stung by a thousand bees. I think Corey starred in “The Wonder Bread Years.” And Eisenberg? He’s kinda like that guy at your work that’s always smiling — but you’re pretty sure he has a couple of dead bodies in a freezer at home. We showed up at the course at 7am, which is usually around the time Dobish just gets the party started. He’s a nighttime guy at SportsLine, which means the sun is really just a rumor to him. So he came prepared with two pitchers of punch — one with what tasted like tequila, grapefruit juice and Pine Sol, and the other I believe was vodka mixed with the runoff of a downtown sewer … Yet I kept coming back for more, strangely enough. I had a couple good shots of it before the first tee. Along with lots of beer. That should give you an idea of how the day started. I am the Kyle Petty of golf. I am...

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Things I Hate About Running a 5K

Feb 16

Things I Hate About Running a 5K

I inexplicably signed up to run a 5K this past Saturday morning in downtown Fort Lauderdale. No, they didn’t have All-You-Can-Eat Wings at the finish line, nor did they make me chase a cheeseburger wagon the entire course. I’m trying to get back into shape is all – back off! (Dieting makes me grumpy.) I‘ve run three 5Ks before (not on the same day), but they were all the same route and I knew that route well. This one was up, down and around, which made the run even more challenging. Besides actually having to run it, here are a few things I hate about running a 5K: Parents that run with their 6-year-old kids Look, I’m not destroying little Ethan’s self-confidence with my devastating 12-1 curveball in little league. So don’t bring little Zachary out to the 5K just to run by me, which in turn shames me into adjusting my route to run through Dunkin Donuts. Free t-shirt not in my size Americans are the fattest people in the world. Can we start adjusting our t-shirt ratios a little better? Thanks for the t-shirt, though. My 12-year-old niece will enjoy wearing it before she outgrows it. Getting in line late After I got my runner’s number, electronic tag and baby t-shirt, I realized I needed to put stuff back in my truck if I wanted to keep it. By the time I got back to the starting line, the national anthem was being sung and runners were taking their marks. So my fat ass starts speed-stretching, which is always a good idea. The gun goes off – and I have one hamstring all bendy and warm, meanwhile, the other hammy is tighter than a virgin’s daughter. I ended up running in a 30-yard circle for 20 minutes like a car with a flat. Fat bastards that run faster than me That’s just not cool. I like to say stuff to them when they pass me like, “Wouldn’t stapling your stomach be easier?” or “I hear the third triple-bypass is a charm!” They usually don’t respond ,though, because the words come out of my gasping-for-air mouth like this, “Kkkcchhhaaa hhaffffff, bllaaaaaahhhhh, phlaaaaaghhhh.” But they can read my facial...

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CBS Fantasy Staff’s Hooters Wings Lunch (circa 2005)

Feb 12

CBS Fantasy Staff’s Hooters Wings Lunch (circa 2005)

If there ever was a lunch that begged for a blog, today’s was it. Over the past few months, it seems the blog lunch has certainly outgrown itself, with people always requesting reports on them weekly. Let me set this one up first with some background info. Dave Richard made a connection with one of our users (at CBSSports.com), Jay, who happened to be one of the regional managers for Hooters. After some personalized Fantasy Football advice, the wonderful gentleman offered to throw us a free Hooters wings party at our local store. You have to understand that for this group of guys, that was like the greatest gift of all. You know how they say, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend”? Well, it’s not a great stretch to say that, “Hooters is a guy’s best friend.” Hooters is to Fantasy guys, what Dobish is to gay, pirate-themed karaoke bars. (When picturing Dobish, imagine Gallagher — but not so normal looking. He’s got a Category-5 hurricane going for a bald spot, so he’s rarely seen without a hat. Back to Hooters: When I was about 15 years old, my father took me to Lakeland, Fla.,  on a business trip and he was going on and on about the wings at this new place called Hooters. Central Florida is the birthplace of this fine establishment. The original was actually in Brandon (near Tampa), and rarely has a month gone by in my life that I haven’t frequented this place. Needless to say, I’m old school Hooters. Even my wife loves Hooters! (I proposed to her minutes after the first time she said to me, “Hey, let’s go to Hooters!”) Hooters wings get a bad rap. You often hear people complain about them and say, “Awww man, those wings aren’t buffalo wings!” And they’re right. They’re Hooters wings. They are absolutely awesome and they have a category all their own. It’s like saying the Final Four isn’t basketball because it’s not the NBA. Dave Richard invited all the Fantasy writers, as well as a number of co-workers that have helped the content group throughout the football season. Unfortunately, and understandably, he was only allowed to take a few guys, so there’s...

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Tout Wars: Drunk in New York

Jan 03

Tout Wars: Drunk in New York

As some of you might know, I’m a Fantasy sports writer. You can tell because I capitalize Fantasy — who else does that? Well, this past weekend, I took a trip to New York City for the Tout Wars, which happens to be a famous Fantasy Baseball league. To say it’s famous though, is like saying that Sonny Shroyer is famous (only Dukes of Hazzard-ites would know that he played Enos). The Tout Wars was relatively famous within the Fantasy community since its inception in 1998. But when the top-selling book FantasyLand came out a couple years ago, chronicling a Fantasy rookie’s season in one of the toughest leagues in the land, the Tout Wars tripled in fame. Now, tens upon tens of people have heard of it.  For those that are unclear on what Fantasy Baseball is, imagine a group of sportsfans/dorks/used-to-be-athletes/never-were-athletes-because-they-were-allergic-to-dirt that get together to draft baseball players to build a team that statistically is measured up against other teams. It’s like Dungeons and Dragons, with baseball players instead of half-elves. It’s just one more way for men to not grow up … It’s AWESOME! Nando, one of the main characters in the FantasyLand book, has become a pretty good friend of mine throughout the past few seasons, so my trip to NYC is based around the drafts and going out on the town with him and his friends. His real name is Ferdinando Difino, but it’s hard to say that without wanting to tell him he looks Mahhhhvelous, or asking where Tattoo is.   So I call him Nando. And if you are like me, you call him, NANdo, which is the incorrect pronunciation (or as Emack ironically says, “ProNOUNciation.” It should be NONdo. But since he calls me GOnos (like Stop and GO-nose) and my name is closer to GON(-or-off)-iss, we’ll call it a draw. Either way, you don’t care.   I left for Manhattan early Friday morning from Fort Lauderdale, just one night after doing an auction draft for Tresky with a bunch of guys from SportsLine. (Yeah, I said it. SportsLine. From what the execs tell me, every time someone says “SportsLine” instead of “CBSSports,” a puppy dies. Sorry, Mr. Floppington.)  I didn’t get to...

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