From... where am I again? Oh, right, beautiful, sunny Minneapolis, chilling in my air-conditioned hotel room and killing a couple of hours before bed. So much has happened already, I can't believe a whole week's flown by. I've traveled through eight states, back-and-forth through the Eastern and Central time zones (did not plan for that on the crazy ambitious itinerary I shared last time), seen the lion's share of six baseball games involving mostly wretched American League pitching staffs and eaten all manner of mostly awesome yet wholly unhealthy local cuisine. I've explored some local sites, though not nearly as many as I planned on --my companion on the journey is being a total pill-- but all in all it's been a positive experience, almost enough to make me forget that I left a job where I was surrounded by friendly, gorgeous young women.
Obviously I'm lying. I'm not about to forget that anytime soon. Most of them are Facebook friends for crying out loud.
Monday, the 25th:
My former colleagues had a gathering at a San Antonio bar to see me off and I got pretty hammered, so I wound up going to bed at 4:30. Not the best circumstances to drive to Dallas at six in the morning, yet here we are. A triple espresso from Starbucks and a 5-hour Energy were no match for the tedium of a J.J. Redick podcast with Stan Van Gundy, so I had to switch to the jams on the playlist.
When the stylings of Trent Reznor weren't enough to keep me awake, I had to crank it up with another coffee and 5-hour Energy. After that, I was no longer exhausted, just in a fog for a few hours. I vaguely recall weaving a bit on the fast lane and a cop behind me riding my bumper for only driving 75 in an 80 mph speed limit because Texas. I remember stopping at a convenience store and perusing the gum aisle for five minutes and I don't even like gum. I have no idea how I made it there in one piece.
My reward was nourishing ramen at Wabi House.
Yes, I swear this is what it looked like from the outside. Still good!
After that, it was on to NRH20 water park. Were we too old to be doing such a thing? Absolutely! Did it diminish my desire at all, considering there were so many tweens in there? Not even a little. We only went to like five or six rides, the majority of which were lame, but they had one cool one called "Green Extreme" which featured a 15-foot trapdoor fall to start with, which made it thrilling.
It reminded me of my favorite all-time movie scene, from Spies Like Us.
Naturally, we did the thumbs up pose. Right before we were set to go on, there was this crying little girl who chickened out and refused to go on. I wanted to tell her that it wasn't too scary, that nine out of ten people make it out of the ride alive, but Manoli advised against it. I'd be the best dad.
Anyway, I crashed pretty hard after the adrenaline of the ride wore off, taking an afternoon siesta. When I came to, I discovered my car's seats were all wet and sticky from this:
Did you know extreme heat causes carbonated beverages to explode inside of cans? Me neither! We're awful at science.
Next was Rangers vs. A's, a ballgame where the only thing I remember was the guy behind us losing his mind when Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus committed a two-out error and the next Oakland batter hit a home run. "God dang it, Elvis!" the guy yelled, which I thought was odd. Shouldn't you be a bit peeved with the pitcher for giving up a 430-foot blast? We left the game in the seventh inning stretch to drive to Oklahoma City, and missed Adrian Beltre hitting two dingers, including the walk-off for the home side to prevail 7-6.
Nothing too memorable about Globe Life Park, but I did take a pic of the Cowboys' stadium next door, which I think Jerry Jones told the contractors he wanted to look like the alien ships from Independence Day. Overall AT&T Stadium is similar to the AT&T Center in that you're not going to see anybody win a Super Bowl in either one anytime soon.
"The Spurs sign David Lee"
Oh, knock it off you two. It'd be insulting to Pau Gasol to even describe Lee as the homeless man's version of him. He's more like the homeless man's version of David West, whom the Spurs were also paying the minimum to. He offers zero rim protection, he remains lost in the pick-and-roll, and Rick Carlisle, who wasn't exactly overwhelmed with better options, nonetheless had no use for him in his playoff rotation last year.
Lee had a -4.0 net rating for a Celtics squad that finished 3.0 in the black (3.9 in minutes Lee wasn't on the floor for them) and the story was more of the same in Dallas, where he had a -1.8 net rating and they were 2.9 to the good when he sat, the best (worst?) figure on the club.
Lee's claim to fame is he was basically Wally Pipp to Draymond Green's Lou Gehrig. When Steve Kerr got the Warriors' job, he told his superiors during the interview process that he envisioned Lee starting and Green being used as a 12-minutes-a-night reserve. However, Lee promptly suffered an injury in camp, Green thrived as the starting four/small-ball five and the team never looked back. Just like Gehrig with the Yankees (except I don't think he was ever suspended for attacking opponents' private areas or caught taking pictures of his privates).
To sum up: No, I am not a fan of the David Lee signing.
Tuesday, the 26th:
We started the first real day of the journey at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in OKC, birthplace of Skip Bayless and home to an irrelevant NBA team. Right at the entrance, they have this huge, moving sculpture, depicting the Trail of Tears, which I was assured has nothing to do with Kevin Durant's following Stampler's footsteps west. This fellow still looks too sturdy and muscular to be starving if you ask me, but cool statue nonetheless.
There were statues of other American icons like Abraham Lincoln and John Wayne (did you know he was 6'4?) and this guy.
Oh, and here's a tattoo parlor, old west style:
My favorite part of the museum was the recreation of an old west town at dusk, though it was sorely lacking in women of ill repute in the saloon.
Finally, there was a Native-American wedding gown, which looked to me like a cross between something Elton John and Jamiroquai would wear.
After that, we ate at Tucker's Onion Burgers, a grease-bomb similar to In-N-Out but with a ton of onions inside and much tastier fries. Highly recommended, if you're ever in town.
(Perhaps not the most flattering picture, but it tastes way better than it looks.)
After that, we hauled it to Kansas City, to spend 45 minutes at the Negro Baseball League Museum before it closed. It made for a rushed experience, but honestly the place was pretty small and even with all the time in the world you can knock it out in a couple of hours. My favorite parts were the life-size statues of Negro League greats they had lined up around a miniature field they had in the main hall and the gift shop.
I don't know about this one...
I chickened out and bought a Homestead Grays hat.
Stopped at a bar/restaurant called The Brick! for toasted ravioli, a supposed Missouri treat (the chili there was better) and then off to Kauffman Stadium for Royals vs. Angels. It's right next to Arrowhead Stadium, where the Chiefs play, so I took a picture of a banner of my favorite active football player.
Sadly, it's longer than his average pass attempt.
As for the baseball game, I rather enjoyed the park, known for its trademark fountains beyond the outfield fence. The Royals looked like anything but the defending champs on this night, as the Halos destroyed them 13-0, including a 22-3 advantage in hits. To make matters worse, Raul Mondesi's kid made his MLB debut in the game, which reminded me of how old I am. Senior won Rookie of the Year for the Dodgers in 1994.
Here are the fountains going off, and with that I'm going to call it a night. More to come...