Thursday, August 28, 2008

More thoughts from the East Coast

I know it's been a month since I was on the East Coast, but I've been meaning to write some more thoughts on my travel to New England and some of the oddities I've found.

- Tollroads (excuse me, "turnpikes") suck. In California, we use the word "Freeway" so much, it doesn't really occur to us how profound that word truly is. Granted, we are starting to have more tollroads, particularly in Southern California. However, when there is a tollroad in California, it is usually of the optional variety. For instance, if you want to drive from San Juan Capistrano to Costa Mesa, you have the option of going the "normal" way (the 5 to the 405), taking about a half hour to an hour depending on time of day, or you could take the tollroad, pay $4 or $5, and get there in 15 minutes. On the east coast, your only option besides the tollroad is to take surface streets, which go through towns and add substantial miles and time. The really annoying thing is that you have to pay multiple times. I understand that different states charge separately, but I had to pay to get on in Portland, then to get out of Maine, then once in New Hampshire and, if I hadn't gotten off the road, again in Massachusetts. And each time it's 60 cents, 45 cents, a dollar ten. Why not just make me give you pennies? That would be about as annoying.

-How can you be a sports fan on the east coast? When I was visiting, the Red Sox were in Seattle and the Indians were in Anaheim. It was nice for me because when I was making a long drive in the middle of the night, I was able to pick up a sports station from Cleveland (not quite sure how the geography worked out on the one) and listen to the game. But if I were an actual Indians fan, that would truly suck. Sure, we miss the first hour of a game when it starts at 4:00, but that's usually not as vital as missing the last two hours would be. I'm assuming Sunday Night Baseball, Monday Night Football, and playoff game in any sport have got to absolutely suck. If I were on the east coast, I think I'd petition to have the workday start at 10:00. On the flip side, I think I now know why the west coast is generally less religious than the east coast - football. Y'all can still go to church Sunday morning's and then go home and watch the pre-game show. We can't. Our pregame shows start at 9:00 AM (8:30 on ESPN). We barely have enough time to go buy a six-pack. We're usually still drinking coffee during the first quarter.

- Directions are weird. Somehow I kept messing up on east and west. I never thought it was so internalized, but in my subconscious, west means "toward the ocean." Odd since I haven't lived near the ocean in 16 years. And often times on the east coast I was nowhere near the ocean, but for some reason every time I wanted to go east, I found myself looking for the exit for west. Normally I caught myself, but one time I completely missed the turnoff when travelling from Hartford to Manchester. Again, no ocean is visible from either of those cities, yet for some reason I drove right past the "I 84 East) turnoff.

-Manchester, NH is a beautiful city. Too bad the economy sucks.

-I stopped by Daddy Bush's house in Kennebunkport, ME. At first I thought "I wonder if I can find it. It seems like a small town. Then I got a map that clearly showed where it was. As I approached it, there were signs that said "no stopping, pullout ahead." And sure enough, right across from the house, there's a little turnout and signs that say 15 minute parking and no RVs or busses. At first I was thinking "God, what a horrible, celebrity obsessed society we live in where people (like myself) pull over just to take a picture of somebody's house." Then I realized, it's not like this guy made a movie or anything. He was the leader of the free world, a job only 43 people have had in history and a job that only 4 living people have had. So it's really not that bad of a thing that people stop to see his house. I highly doubt his son's house will be so accessible to the public when his term is over.

-Northeast weather sucks. There's no reason three baseball games in late July should be delayed or cancelled due to torrential downpours. Absolutely no reason.

-Delta Airlines also sucks. I think it's their official policy to treat customers like crap. The sad thing is when a few of them try to be helpful. I bet they get beaten afterward. So to the one lady that helped me when the rest shrugged their shoulders and told me I'd be spending the night in JFK, thank you. Please go work for United or something.

Wombat's Necessary Replay Response

As most of you know, replay is starting in baseball today. But only on a few plays. Really, I don't see more than two or three plays a year being changed - out of, what, 2,500 games? To piggy back on Sancho's disgust, here's some of the issues I have with it.

First, I agree with Michael Wilbon (I think), who said that there should be three cameras - one focused on the left foul pole, one focused on the right foul pole, and one on that bastard son of a motherless goat AJ Pierzynski. Either that or steal the pictures he obviously has of Doug Eddings naked.

Seriously, though, if they're only going to review certain things but not others, is it any surprise that they are only gointo review some games but not others? The thing I find atrocious about the whole thing is that plays at the plate or issues of the ball beating the player or vice versa are not reviewable. I know chicks dig the long ball, but are we honestly saying those are the only plays that determine a game? And yes, I know that there is a slippery slope and we don't want the camera for judgement calls, but tags are not judgement calls.

So Matt Holliday will still remain safe and Jorge Orta is still safe. Aren't those the calls that matter more? And "Amoral Jackass" Pierzynski will still be able to cheat whenever he feels like it (or, more acurately, whenever Doug Eddings is umpire). And Dave Henderson will still tie the game against Donnie Moore. And no, I don't think that was a bad call, but if I could go back and change the result of plays in baseball history, that's where I'd start. Not for Angels fans, but to save poor Bill Buckner's reputation.

The real shame of all of this is that they really only care becaue it affected a New York team. Which is ironic, because I seem to remember a certain blown call that affected a New York team back in 1996. Does Jeffrey Maier ring a bell? Why weren't people crying out for replay back then? Oh, I forgot, the HELPED a New York team, so there's really no need to review it.

Hell, they could make the replay rule a lot simpler by implementing a new policy - if there is a questionable call, rule in favor of the team with the larger fan base. I mean, it's worked for the entire history of the NBA, hasn't it?