Saturday, April 5, 2008

Are You Ready For Some (sort of) Football?

This group of fanatics was psyched to watch their Rampage clash with the Los Angeles Avengers on a lazy Sunday in Grand Rapids, MI.

The crowd was a little bit, um, sparser, inside.

But the crowd got into it as their Rampage jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first 8 seconds or so. I mean, it was real quick. By halftime, I was bored of touchdowns.

Despite the sparse crowd, the small field, and the whole "the NFL season is months away, this should hold you over" attitude, Arena Ball is an intimate fan experience. Fans in the front row heckle opposing players who come near the wall. Loren's friends in that picture use the Rampage to get their fix now that they're done with college. There is plenty of fun to be had.

And then at halftime they have the team's web designer stand in the middle of the field with a helmet with a bell on it and have fans try to throw footballs at his head. And when the fans miss, they move them closer so as not to disappoint the crowd. And the poor web designer takes a few footballs to the spinal column for good measure.

The highlight of the second half was watching a video of the Rampage QB reading the weather report. And another video of him showing fans around his house a la MTV Cribs. "This is my fridge. I got...bacon, and some Rampage water, I took it from the facility."
Final Score: Rampage 84, Avengers 59. That's 20 touchdowns. (yawn)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Beautiful Day for a Ballgame

Oh yeah, the weather sucks in Chicago in late March. But 4o degree temperatures and pouring rain wouldn't stop hordes of eternally optimistic Cubs fans from piling into Wrigley field to watch their perennially disappointing team begin their 100th try at another World Championship.

Before any baseball could be played, we had to witness what I call "the dance of the grounds crew."

Here they come!

Now, everyone grab on:
Ok, 1...2...3...CHARGE!

Hey guys, you spilled it all over the infield! I can get it off...with my foot...

I think I need some help here:

Oh yeah, we have these broom things...ok everyone get a broom thing and push the water toward the drains!

There we go, good work boys. Ok, now let's go roll it up.

Everybody 1...2...3...PUSH!

And finally they play:

The Cubs newest import, Kosuke Fukudome makes an immediate impact, whacking the first pitch he sees to the centerfield wall for a Double.

And then it started raining again.

So we took a picture: And drank hot chocolate:

(Benetti note: Nothing in America that costs two dollars is what it says it is. The contents of that white styrofoam container were neither hot nor chocolate.)

Eventually it stopped raining and they played again. The Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers traded bullpen implosions. Fukudome added to his stellar debut with a game-tying three run homer in the bottom of the ninth. Then the Brewers scored in the tenth and spoiled opening day for the Cubs and their water-logged fans.

Or as we learned, they really didn't spoil anything. Most of the fans seemed less interested in the game than they were in drinking beer, eating sausage and texting their friends on their blackberrys to brag about skipping work to go to Opening Day.

Insert cheesy sentimental line about the trip coming to an end here.

We have more to blog about, and a book to write. Thanks for joining us so far. Stay with us; you won't be disappointed.



Hello from Denver International Airport, home of lots of tents and a red-eyed bronco.

You're saying to yourself, "Where'd the rest of the trip go?" It's here. It's just that we spent the last two days in a car. Cars do not provide internet. Therefore, we have not told you about Grand Rapids, Michigan or Chicago, Illinois. We will do that shortly.

Briefly, Grand Rapids has a diner which prints a menu for the express purpose of confusing its customers and Chicago is a great place to develop an energy-drink business long as you're wearing a poncho.

Talk soon,

-Benetti and Spiegel at a table near a fountain

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting

If you think boxing is a dying sport, 512 degenerate gamblers in Mount Pleasant, Michigan will tell you otherwise. Last night was world (loose meaning) fight night at the Soaring Eagle Casino, and it marked the first boxing experience for either Benetti or myself (except for that one time we roughed the Jets up).

Briefly, let us note that casino and boxing is fantastic synergy. Sorta like a toothpick display at a banjo convention.

Chairs were set up in seminar form and with a constant stream of people flowing in and out of their seats to drink and smoke, visibility was challenging. I was able to use my sneakiness (don't under-estimate it) to take a couple good pictures.At a boxing match, the need for information is enormous. But, sadly, there are no scoreboards to provide you with what you need to know. No scoreboards without legs, that is.
What's going on, by the way, is a constant parade of call girls.

5 of the 7 fights went to the scorecards (one of them a bout between females). The other two matchups were classic confrontations of David and Goliath. Until Goliath beat the crap out of David. The second of these two massacres would have landed a guy in the electric chair if he weren't between the ropes. The night culminated with the Main Event (see, we're learning). It started with a girl named Minx singing the National Anthem. At first I thought she was taking liberties with the song, but by the time it was over I realized she didn't know the tune. The fight was a ten-rounder between Raul Marquez and a guy named Bronco. Who do you think won?During his post game interview, Marquez declared his win another launching point in his career. "I hope to move on to ESPN and HBO." The interview aired on Fox Sports Net. Ouch. Pretty neat that the ringside reporter was Danny DeVito's portrayal of the Penguin.

Arena football and Wrigley field to wrap things up,

-LBK and Benetti

Mystery Day

No internet made posting unavailable Friday (but thanks to the Horowitz's for giving us a bed).

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Four Words: Smuckers Stars On Ice

There are some games on this road trip that some sports fans would pay a lot of money to see. The Sweet 16. Opening day at Wrigley field. Blackhawks vs. Blue Jackets. And then there was Thursday.

This trip's been in the works for a while, and we always knew Thursday would be the wild card. We needed Northern Ohio. We needed an event. We couldn't find anything. But we're not 90 percent of NBA players during 80 percent of the season. We don't take an off night. So we ended up at the Q in Cleveland to find out...some fans are willing to pay a lot of money to see this as well.

It took a lot for David and I to sit next to each other at an event like this. The looks were piercing. Even 5 year olds thought we were gay.

Thankfully, there were very few other men there to make fun of us. Girls under ten was the main demographic, and to their credit, they were very big skating fans. 7 year old Lydia was very disappointed that we were not clapping after each song. So we started clapping. She was satisfied, and decided to share her jelly beans.

Here is the line for the women's bathroom at the intermission. I used my limited knowledge of supply and demand to start scalping tickets to the men's room.

While in the bathroom, the men were united in empathy for each other. I turned to one and said "We're half way there." He said "We can only hope. What if they tragically gave us another intermission?" The horror. The horror. We did conclude that any man who came to the event, put on a good face, and checked NCAA tournament scores (tough to do with Xavier and West Virginia in overtime) as little as possible was in line for some "way to be a good sport" action from his wife/girlfriend when the night came to an end.

Here's heartthrob Michael Weiss giving some girl his shirt:
We asked four security guards if this was their worst night of the year. Only one gave us an affirmative. Security guard #2 said that one week later, he's still trying to figure out The Blue Man Group (what's there to figure out?). Another told us to thank our lucky stars we weren't attending the two day "Women of Power" rally. I am woman, hear me roar!

This is Sasha Cohen, the star of the show. She fell 3 times. Looks like she's ready for another Olympics.


All in the first 30 minutes

Incest, misogyny and lesbians. I spent my night watching the Beverly Hillbillies.....gone wild.

Actually, I saw The Color Purple at the Palace Theater in Cleveland. It is billed as a musical of hope. As in, I hope all of these things don't happen at once. But they do.

The clientele at the theater was positively un-hockeyish. By that, I mean minorities were represented.

Tolerance was also at a midwest maximum. The woman next to me (white) turned to the man next to her (black) before the show and spoke something very similar to "This is the most blacks I've seen at this theater......and the most kids." She then said she really enjoyed the episode of Diff'rent Strokes when Arnold gets caught with liquor and pulled a 8 1/2 by 11 of W.E.B. DuBois out of her wallet. Just kidding, there.

Great voice on the lead, by the way.