Pee Pee Time, Vegas recap, Santino's travel tips, and Naj makes his return to Best Bud City. Read More
The best part of traveling is the hotels. No offense to Disney World, or Six Flags or Grandma’s house in Oklahoma City. I enjoy traveling for the hotels.
It wasn’t always this way. When we were young, my Dad used to put us up in a shoddy collection of motels, RV Parks (we never had an RV, mind you) and Log Cabins. These were hotels only in the purest sense of the term. They took your money, and provided you a bed. If you left alive was never a concern. These were places that you had to walk on a narrow sidewalk, usually on the second floor, to find the one ice machine (that was working) and fill up that little tiny bucket of ice, which promptly melted by the time you got back to the room.
These were different times, of course, and Dad merely stopped when the sun fell and found the closest VACANCY sign. More often or not, Norman Bates would have envied these dives.
Today, my trips are much more structured. One of the fun parts of having a tiny bit of obsessive-compulsive disorder is planning out where you will stay. There’s nothing quite like un-checking the TWO STARS box to filter out those places that Dad used to find. That usually filters out the Super 8’s and the Motel 6’s and for the most part, that leaves me with Holiday Inn’s, Ramada’s and an occasional Hilton or Marriott, if the rates are low that weekend.
With the help of modern technology, I can find the hotels that give me exactly what I want. Internet and free breakfast. Some families might search for a swimming pool, or pet-friendly, or close to attractions. I’ll drive an extra 20 minutes if it’s got free internet and those crappy rubber scrambled eggs and those tiny boxes of Corn Flakes as long as I don’t have to pay extra for it. (This is the part of my Dad’s personality that I DID retain.)
I’m a three-star guy. I don’t ask for much. But I know my limits. This past weekend, I was in Omaha and found that just about every hotel room was booked for a State High School Track Meet. So I had to go higher and stay in a four-star hotel.
I hated it. First of all, there was this jacked up code I had to put in to get on the Internet. Then, when I checked in, I asked, “What time’s breakfast?” and the lady handed me a menu. A MENU?? $8 for a bowl of Frosted Flakes? What is this, Beverly Hills 90210? I guess people that can afford $150 a night for a hotel room can also afford $25 for a crappy breakfast.
The last straw was when I sat down on my bed and they didn’t have a guide near the TV to tell me what channel was ESPN. So that meant every time I turned on the TV, I had to sift through 42 commercials, 6 MTV Teen Pregnancy shows and 19 Weather Channels to finally find it. By the time I got back the next day, I’d forgotten what channel ESPN was and had to start all over again.
Part of growing up is realizing what lane you’re in. Me? I’m in the tiny box of corn flakes, free wireless internet, no poodles next door, ESPN is channel 22 kind of guy.
Just when you think you’ve seen it all, you see something else.
Let’s turn on the Wayback Machine and dial it back to 1991. Operation Desert Storm began in Iraq that January night – back when CNN was still a reputable news source. The Kansas City Royals were only 6 years removed from their first World Championship and were looking to add a second under skipper John Wathan, Shortstop Kurt Stillwell and Left Fielder Kirk Gibson. And Saturday morning television featured such programs as Back to the Future: The Animated Series and Super Mario World.
It was a simpler time. If you’ll also recall, it was 1991 when professional Boxer, and Heavyweight Champion, Mike Tyson was arrested for raping 18-year-old Desiree Washington. Tyson was found guilty in 1992 and went on to serve three years of a six year sentence in hte Plainfield Correctional Facility in Indiana.
Since 1991, a lot has changed in the world. Reality television has become popular. The Royals are still looking for their second World Championship and Saturday Morning cartoons are all but a thing of the past, being replaced by the Cartoon Network. The world in many ways became a much colder place after 9/11 and entertainment has, arguably, never been more un-entertaining.
Since Mike Tyson pinned Desiree Washington down on an Indianapolis hotel bed and raped her as she pleaded for him to stop, Tyson has returned to boxing. He has also completely rehabilitated his image to the point of exceeding his fame that he had in the 1980’s when he pummeled all those who would come before him including Michael Spinks. In the past 10 years, Tyson has lived off of his name, appearing in movies like The Hangover Series, and How I Met Your Mother. “Famous for being famous.” Tyson, who still has issues with rage (he said in a 2003 interview with Fox News on whether he raped Washington, “I really wish I did now. But now I really do want to rape her.”) will star in an animated series, Mike Tyson Mysteries.
Here’s a brief thumbnail of the series:
In the new animated comedy series Mike Tyson Mysteries, Mike Tyson is taking the fight from the boxing ring to the streets… by solving mysteries! Armed with a magical tattoo on his face and a trusty associate by his side — a talking pigeon — if you have a problem that needs solving, Iron Mike is in your corner. The series incorporates live-action appearances featuring Mighty Mike himself, and the gloves come off as the former heavyweight champ and his fowl-mouthed partner gear up for weekly adventures as they put unsolved mysteries — like how to defeat a super computer at chess or why a famous author/werewolf can’t finish his novel — down for the count.
It’s got a parrot!. Admittedly, it’s on the adult-themed “Adult Swim” which is the after-hours portion of Cartoon Network, but I’m still stumped at how this convicted felon just keeps getting nine more lives.
Tyson joins a long line of those who are “Famous for being famous” like the Kardashians and Paris Hilton. Television (and the world) would be better off if it didn’t have them on it.
Mike Tyson is a douchebag. He deserves an animated cartoon just about as much as I do. Except I didn’t rape anyone. Maybe if I had made poorer choices back in 1991, I’d find myself living in Vegas starring in movies and cartoons, too!
May was a tough month. So tough. Grueling. But May is over, and all that was left was to talk about the aftermath and pick up the pieces.
We talked about the changes to the coaching staff and what trading Jack Maloof for George Brett means for the team going forward and if it means anything other than window dressing and a PR cover.
We also discussed Yordano Ventura's promotion, Danny Duffy's rehab starts, and other moves recently. That led to a discussion about whether fans are setting themselves up for disappointment about Duffy whenever he returns. The concern came from Duffy's activity in social media, his previous work in the big leagues, and the expectation that he's going to be back to form right away.
Then we covered the weird rain delay game, delved into the PED controversy, and hoped for better days for the Royals.
The entire crew of The Ballgame was together to discuss or commiserate the state of the current 2013 Royals. But this was a no-grumbling zone for the hour. We spoke with former Royals outfielder Brian McRae about his time growing up in the Royals clubhouse with his father Hal. We also talked to him about his very opinionated thoughts on what to do to fix the current Royals. We ended the show each giving our ideas on how to take the Royals, who went from first to last – back to first again.
The Ballgame is on ESPN 1510 AM in Kansas City every Wednesday from 4pm to 5pm. You can interact with the show on Facebook at Twitter at /theballgamekc or catch all our episodes at theballgamekc.com.
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Wow. The Royals. What a disaster. It’s unclear if even today’s news of them hiring Hall of Famer George Brett as the new hitting coach can help things.
One thing is certain, Brad Brickell has had it. He’s seen enough promises. He’s seen enough slogans. He’s seen enough misery. He’s out.
These are his words. You’re welcome to throw him a follow at twitter.com/bradbrick
Many of us aren’t far behind you, Brad.
Leaving the Royals
My name is Brad and I’m a recovering Royals fan. In the back of my mind I’ve known for some time that it would come to this, but I patiently stuck with the Royals through thin and thinner. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), May 2013 was enough to push me over the edge and into action.
I came to be a Royals fan just as I was coming back to baseball in the early 2000s. It made sense geographically, and I was falling in love with the game again. 2003 happened, and I got caught up in the excitement of long time Royals fans in the area who made a season of slightly above .500 baseball feel like a magic carpet ride. My crew and I probably made the 2 hour drive in from Manhattan to the K a dozen or more times that season.
Yet even in 2003, the summer of success (3rd place but whatever), it was becoming apparent that the Royals had a hard time doing smart things. My greatest error was in believing that dumb things would be recognized and corrected. Obviously I still had a lot to learn about baseball.
In 2004 I was pumped for baseball, and experienced my first real Royaling. The Gonzalez and Santiago signings were quickly shown to be mistakes. Tony Pena believed he had Roy Halladay as his ironman ace, when in fact he had Brian Anderson. And then there was Mendy Lopez who hit an improbable homerun on opening day, and somehow found his way into the lineup for the rest of eternity after that. Add in Angel Berroa – leadoff hitter and Curtis Leskanic – closer for good measure. In the year of going for it the Royals traded their best player at the deadline for prospects, and it was obviously the right thing to do.
But baseball people learn from mistakes, right? I guess I was still naïve. But I was hopefully naïve upon the hiring of new general manager Dayton Moore. A new GM implies a new way of doing things, and in some respects that was true. Ownership and management had agreed on a start from scratch, slow and steady turnaround. Focus on the low minors, drafting, signing, and hoarding prospects. They said this is the only way it’s going to work in Kansas City, and it sounded reasonable. Smart even. I guess I just took it for granted that all of that deliberate planning would also come with at least a dash of baseball IQ mixed in.
And now here we are, 7 years later. Ownership’s greatest failure has not been willingness to spend on any aspect. They have spent in the draft, they have spent internationally, they have spent on the farm system, and they have spent at the big league level (Meche, Guillen, Greinke, Butler, Gordon, Santana, Shields, Francoeur). But ownership not blameless either. They have enabled Dayton Moore to make bad decision after bad decision with no accountability.
Moore is responsible for Yuni. Moore is responsible for Mike Jacobs. Moore is responsible for Christian Colon and Roman Colon. Moore is responsible for Arguellas, Crow, Hosmer and Moustakas. Moore is responsible for Francoeur, Hochevar, and Kyle Davies, and maybe Tommy John himself. Moore is responsible for Trey Hillman, Ned Yost, and Gil Meche’s arm. He’s not responsible for every prospect flame out, but he is responsible for the much higher than average percentage of prospect flameouts. Moore is responsible for overseeing an organization that believes in giving away free outs to advance a runner, that walking is for mailmen, and that if they try hard enough they can lead the league in not hitting HRs.
After 11 years I’ve had enough of waiting for stubborn people to learn from mistakes they’re not interested in learning from. I’m searching for a new team to follow. I don’t want to raise my kids as Royals fans, and have to explain to them that Daddy’s team does everything that Daddy thinks is stupid. I want to bond with my kids over baseball and make good memories. I would love to stay with the Royals and expect that will happen. But I am learning from my mistakes. And unlike the Royals I am taking action. I have a short list of teams to try out. I’m hopeful I can learn to love one of them like I’ve loved the Royals. More than that, I’m hopeful that it won’t be long before I can return to the Royals. But that depends on ownership. Will they correct their greatest failure? Will they take action? Will they learn from their mistakes? Will they fire Dayton Moore? I hope so.
Because I’m done with the Royals until they do.