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Monday, February 26, 2007

The Curse of the Sportslady

Doesn't that sound like the title of a Nancy Drew mystery?

Nothing mysterious here. Fridays are the new Monday. Anything that can go wrong for me on a Friday, apparently will go wrong. I won't go into the details of every Friday this month... suffice to say, things were sucky. And for no apparent reason.

I will, however, tell you about one thing that happened to me this last Friday.

Last week, I split my time between covering Spring Training (Red Sox and Twins) and the ACE Group Classic, a PGA Senior Tour "Champions Tour" event. While spring training is more interesting (I met Bert Blyleven this week-- he was really nice. Cory got to play softball with him), there are advantages to covering pro golf. For one thing, the golf tournaments always feed you. And the food is usually really good.

Friday, I headed out to the course to shoot the first round of the tournament. Since I'm just one person, I obviously can't cover every golfer over the entire golf course. So, after eating, I planted myself in the shade on the eighteenth green, waited for the leaders to come in, and as they finished their rounds, I quickly interviewed them.

Photographers at PGA tour events are given "inside the ropes" access, which basically means that I get to stand where other people don't. The PGA gives us a big orange sticker to wear, so that people let us go wherever we want. The sticker, as it turned out, came in very handy.

See, shortly after I arrived on the 18th green and set up my camera, I needed to grab something out of my bag. I squatted down, and managed to bump up against a wooden stake sticking out of the ground. And I heard this:


That's the sound of a giant rip forming in the ass of my pants.

I should point out here that I was wearing my favorite pants. They're a nice pair of lightweight khakis... a little loose on me, which makes them very comfy. They weren't super tight (thus facilitating the rip), and they weren't really worn out, either. No reason for them to rip, except of course for the big wooden stake that I bumped.

So there I am, pants flapping in the breeze, undies visible to the world (Fortunately, I hadn't worn anything with Snoopy or Hello Kitty on them that day). What to do?

A little light bulb appeared over my head. The Sticker! Sure, it would mean having a giant orange sticker drawing attention to my ass... but at least the whole world wouldn't see my skivvies.

So instead of spending an entire day with people pointing and snickering at the giant hole in my pants, I got to spend an entire day with people saying to me, "Hey, you know you've got a big sticker on your ass?"

And then I'd tell them that I had a big rip in my pants, and we'd all have a good giggle. It happened about 45 times.

The worst was on the drive back to work. I had to stop at a gas station, and while I was waiting in line, the man behind me started laughing. And talking in Spanish. And while I don't know much of the Espanol, when a guy is laughing, staring at my ass, and says something which ends with the word "pantalones," I'm pretty sure I know what you're talking about.

I turned around and smiled sweetly. "I have a rip in my pantalones. I had to cover it somehow." I laughed. He laughed. I'm just not sure if he was laughing with me or at me.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Here comes the Bridezilla...

Another bridal dilemma solved over at Jeckyll & Bride!


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Friday, February 16, 2007

Another Day, Another Circus

...Media circus, that is.

My humble home town here in the Sunshine State is feverish with Daisuke-Mania. The Boston Red Sox' new zillion dollar investment has arrived here in town, and all of the media has been whipped into a frenzy.

But unlike last year's drama over Manny, it isn't just Red Sox nation that's been sucked into the craziness. This year, we're going worldwide. The entire city has been overrun with Japanese media. It seems like every time I turn around, there's a Japanese man or woman wielding a microphone or a camera, staking any possible place Daiskue might emerge. Today, there were three camera crews along the side of the road near the Sox spring training complex, just waiting for him to drive by.

Last night, the frenzy may have peaked. A press conference for Daisuke. Complete with interpreter. And a throng of media.

And while a news conference may not sound unusual, around here it is. See, spring training is casual. The players hold very informal practices, then showered, walk over to their cars, and drive off. If we (the media) want to talk to them, then we just mosey on over, and start chit-chatting. Sometimes they're cool about it. Sometimes they're dicks. Either way, it's very laid-back. When there is a "news conference," it's usually around a picnic table.

Not this year.

150 members of the media (about 60% Japanese) stood around , watching and listening at the Daisuke news conference, which was televised live in Japan (at 8:00 am). Oh, watching it was not unlike the thrill of watching paint dry. Someone would ask a question in English, which would then get translated into Japanese, to which Daisuke would respond in Japanese, and then we would hear the translator's version of his remarks. Every question took at least five minutes to answer, and the majority of the answers were pretty dry. I get the feeling it was kind of like a game of "telephone" when you're a kid... every version gets a little more watered-down than the previous version. Often, he wasn't answering the question that was asked. Once, his answer didn't even remotely resemble the question. And often, even if he spoke for a minute, his interpreter's response was very brief- maybe 10 seconds long.

He did manage to crack a few jokes in there, and he seems to have a pretty good sense of humor. He'll need it to survive with the Sox.

By the way, if you're wondering why I'm standing sooooo far away in the above picture, it's because I had gotten bored with the news conference itself, and had moved off to the side to get video of the media throng instead. To me, they became the real story.

By the way, Jayson Stark at ESPN.com did a great article on Thursday's media circus at City of Palms Park. He makes many of the same observations that I reported on during last night's newcast. And since you can't watch me, you might as well read his article, which is much more articulate than anything I've ever spoken or typed.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Same Time, Next Year

Last night, I managed to make a fool out of myself at karaoke-- and I never even got up on the stage.
Elvis Costello with his biggest fan.
After work, I met Cory at our usual hangout, an Italian restaurant/karaoke bar. Odd combination, I know. He was there with a few of his co-workers and a couple folks that work at my station, too. Not long after I got there, Cory was called up to the front to sing. If you don't know Cory, you probably don't know that he has a great voice. And last night, he really knocked one out of the park.
The problem was the song that he sang.

"Alison," by Elvis Costello.

Hearing any Elvis Costello song always makes me think of my old friend Mike, who was quite possibly Elvis' biggest fan. And I mean that literally. It's hard to imagine anyone being more of a fan than Mike was.

Mike had kind of a love/hate relationship with the song "Alison." On the one hand, he used to get so ticked off with people who only knew one Elvis Costello song-- and that song was always "Alison." On the other hand, it's a great song. And for God's sake, Mike named his cat Alison.

So Cory's singing away, and all of these thoughts about Mike are reeling through my head, and it suddenly dawns on me... Mike died two years ago, almost to the very day. And at that point, sitting in the middle of the bar, I started crying. Not big, gasping sobs, thankfully. I don't think many people noticed... and I hope that those people who did notice just figured that I was crying because Cory was doing such a nice job with the song. Then again, I kind of wish someone had asked, so that I could tell them how great Mike was and how much I still miss him.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sum Of The Parts

How much are you worth?


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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Your Ad Here

Being able to post to the ol' sportslady blog through my email account is pretty nice. It keeps me from logging into Blogger at work, so the big boss men don't know that I'm slacking off (or at least, they'll have to put forth a little added effort to spy on me before they figure it out.)
But I should probably point out the one flaw in posting to my blog via email. See, the fun folks at Hotmail stick an advertisement at the bottom of all of my emails. It's the price of "free" email, I suppose.
I'm not sure if Gmail does the same thing, so I may need to look into that. But for now...

WARNING: Hotmail-sponsored advertisement below.

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Friday, February 09, 2007

The Plot Thickens

Ok... so we all know that I was fascinated by the weirdness that was Anna Nicole Smith. And the latest developments are certainly peculiar. Especially considering the arguments over who her "Baby Daddy" is. And the continuing litigation against her by the family of her ex-husband. And the recent death of her son.

Let's face it, the woman was a train-wreck in life. But in death, she's become even weirder.

Today, I was sitting in the sports office, when one of our producers wandered in to see us. "By the way," Adam said, "I thought you should know that Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband says he's the father of Anna Nicole Smith's baby."

We laughed, thinking he was joking. He wasn't.

And that's not the weird part. The weird part comes when you read more about Prince Frederick Von Anhalt.

Abridged from the Associated Press wire report:

Von Anhalt, who is Gabor's eighth husband, said he and Smith met in the 1990s when Smith was still married to elderly oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II. He said Smith approached him and Gabor at the Plaza Hotel in New York.

"She was a very big fan of
Zsa Zsa and wanted to be like Zsa Zsa," he said. "She wanted to be a princess."

He said the two started an affair soon after, meeting over the years in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. For much of that time, he said, Smith urged him to make her a princess like his wife.

But short of divorcing the actress, he said the only solution would have been adopting Smith. Von Anhalt said he did consider that and even filled out adoption papers, but Gabor refused to sign them.

Von Anhalt's royal credentials have been the cause of speculation over the years. According to stories in the British press, he was born Robert Lichtenberg, the son of a German policeman, and bought his title after being adopted as an adult by a bankrupt daughter-in-law of the last kaiser.

Seriously? Can this get any weirder?
My co-worker Randy says that the whole situation is kind of like a "Mad Libs" story. You know... you name a couple nouns, verbs, places and celebrities, and the end result is just about as bizarre as this whole Anna Nicole Smith saga.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Be My Valentine

My Valentinr - sportslady
Go ahead.

You know you want to send me a virtual valentine.

Or maybe not... but if you're as shameless as I am about trying to get people to tell you how much they adore you, you can get your own "valentinr."


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The Glamorous Life

Ahh, yes... the glamorous life of a television reporter. That's me, along with our sports director, at about midnight after the Super Bowl. It's oddly appropriate that the picture is blurry, since that's how I felt. And that was before the four-hour-long journey back home.

Super Bowl XLI was the first-ever Super Bowl to be played in the rain. And anyone down here will tell you that it hardly ever rains in the winter in Florida. What they neglect to tell you, however, is that when it rains during the summer, the showers last for maybe an hour. When it rains in the winter, it rains all day long.

And that's what happened on Super Bowl Sunday.

As a "special tv reporter" at the Super Bowl, I essentially had permission to roam around the stadium during the game, though "special reporters" don't get the privilege of a seat in the press box or in the stands. I managed to find a spot to watch most of the first quarter... and I shot a few pictures with my trusty digital camera to keep myself distracted from the fact that I was soaking wet.

Don't expect to be impressed by these photos, by the way. There's nothing particularly interesting or spectacular about them. For the most part, they're just pictures.

In this one, you can see a close-up of Rex Grossman on the giant screen. For some reason, I imagine he was talking to himself kind of like Tim Robbins' character in Bull Durham, mumbling things to himself like "Why does he keep calling me 'Meat?'"

This woman loved Lovie Smith (The Bears Head Coach). I think she was from his home town. Her sign says "Big Sandy, Texas is Lovie Country!"

Speaking of Bears, I know I've expressed my fondness for mascots before. I enjoyed watching the Bears mascot share a high-five with one of the stadium security guys. The high-five happened just after the Bears scored their second touchdown of the game. I missed the first TD (Devin Hester's Kickoff Return Touchdown) because I was in line to buy Cory a souvenir. He better damn well wear it every day for the rest of the year.

I didn't get a very good picture of the Bears TD-- though I got a shot of Reggie Wayne celebrating after his first-quarter touchdown reception. Too bad they were all the way on the other side of the stadium, otherwise the picture wouldn't have been nearly as blurry.

By this point, I was cold, wet, and downright miserable. At the end of the first quarter, I decided to go for a walk and see if I could find any cool souvenirs. Not surprisingly, everying was phenomenally overpriced. I bought Cory a visor for $25, and I got myself a shirt-- a bargain at $32. So how overpriced was everything? Get this... a 12 oz. beer was ten bucks!

Cold and bitter, I wandered down to the working media room to watch the rest of the game. And here's where it gets really glamorous, as you can see from the picture. But hell, it was warm, it was dry, and there was plenty of free food. I loaded up on fajitas, Cape Cod chips, popcorn, m&ms and sour gummi bears for the next three hours. I didn't even go back into the rain to see Prince in the halftime show, opting to watch it on the hi-def TV in the workroom instead. At a few points, I regretted not going out in the rain to see him-- but I kept telling myself that what I saw on Thursday was infinitely cooler than having to share a Prince concert with 80,000 other people.

(By the way, did anyone get the Prince connection with the title of this post? Kudos to you if you did.)

The rest of the night was pretty uneventful. I didn't go down on the field to see the trophy presentation. I hung out at the satellite truck until it was time to do our live shots (I wasn't reporting, so I just watched). We saw a guy that Clayton was convinced was Ladainian Tomlinson, but it turned out to be Jerry Azumah. We had to ride a shuttle bus 30 minutes to get to our car, then turn around and drive back the exact opposite direction to go back home. I got to the condo by 4:15 a.m. and was in bed by 4:20.

The glamorous life, indeed.

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Take Heart, Chicago Bears Fans...

To impoverished people in third-world nations, the Bears will always be Super Bowl XLI Champions.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

No time to relax

Friday, I got a glorious day off-- I didn't do much of anything the whole day. Balanced the checkbook, paid a few bills, updated the blog. I was pretty useless, to be honest.

Oh-- but I did go to Home Depot and spend $150 on stuff to renovate the bathroom. I just couldn't take this any more.

I figure, since I'm working a long week, the overtime will cover the majority of our bathroom "renovation." We actually started the demo work on Saturday morning-- tearing down the bright pink moldings and door frame. So now, we have big holes along the wall... and I'm not sure it looks any worse than it did before!

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Super Bowl Royalty

Thursday I was supposed to do a live-via-satellite segment from the Super Bowl-- just talking about the vibe in Miami that day and introducing one of the stories that I did. More on that later...

I also needed to visit the media center... partially because our satellite truck operator needed to pick up his credentials... and partially because of something I saw on the lengthy list of events and news conferences:

2:00 p.m. National Anthem Press Conference with Billy Joel
2:30 p.m. Halftime Show Press Conference with Prince

I've seen Billy Joel in concert four times (he played at the Palace of Auburn Hills when I worked there in the late 80s and early 90s). But I've never, ever seen Prince. Let's face it... the guy is kind of an enigma. Very unpredictable. And from what I understand, he really doesn't talk.

So the potential for something interesting/bizarre/hilarious/cool to happen was definitely there. Definitely worth stopping by.

Around 2:20, I moseyed into the Billy Joel news conference. He was charming and funny, and he had all of the reporters eating out of his hand. There were probably about 40 or 50 TV news cameras there, about the same number of newspaper photographers, and a couple hundred reporters. When he finished, they announced that the Prince press conference would be starting in about ten minutes. I noticed that a keyboard had mysteriously appeared on the stage.

This is gonna be good, I thought.

I had a few errands to run in the Media Center-- visiting all the booths where they were passing out the free stuff. I got a free leather briefcase, a commemorative Super Bowl pin, and one of these, along with some food, a candy bar, and a little mini office supply kit.

I also wandered down Radio Row, looking to see who was there doing their radio shows and if I could spot any celebritites. I saw a bunch of retired football players who looked vaguely familiar, but none whose names I could place with the faces. I also briefly pondered throwing something at Jim Rome's head (there are few people on this planet that annoy me more), but then I saw something much, much, more interesting.
Now that's good radio.
Some radio show was interviewing The King.

No, not Elvis. The Burger King mascot. By the way, mascots don't talk. It was one of the most surreal things I've ever seen. I snapped a picture with the little el-cheapo camera, but it really doesn't do the situation justice.

I think the guys sitting next to the King are is spokesmen. I'm not quite sure. There was a small crowd gathered around the spectacle... all trying to figure out exactly what was going on. I had to hold the camera up in the air, point it down, and hope that the picture turned out-- which is why it's off-center.

At this point, my 10 minutes was over, and I wandered back to the conference room to check out the Prince press conference. As I walked in, one of the Super Bowl committee members was waxing poetic about Prince and how excited they were that he would be performing the Halftime show. Then he introduced his magesty.

Prince's band walked out. Prince's dancers walked out. Then Prince walked out.

He walked up to the microphone, then said "Contrary to any rumors you may have heard, I'd like to take a few questions."

Stunned silence for about five seconds.

Then some guy shouted out, "Prince, how do you..." at which point, Prince turned around, pumped his fist, and his band broke into "Johnny Be Goode."

That's right... I showed up at a press conference... and a concert broke out.

It was great... all in all, there were maybe 500 people there, and Prince and his band did a three-song set. We had to take off during the third song, but not before I shot a bunch of video for the news and took a few shitty little pictures with my shitty little camera.

Seriousy... that little orange dude is Prince.  Oddly enough, this photo is life-size.
I know... you can't even tell it's Prince. He's the one in orange holding what looks like a guitar.

I'm very glad I got to see Prince do his little impromptu concert, because the rest of the day went to hell in a handbasket. The satellite booking company double-booked our satellite channel, so I never got my live-via-satellite shot. So essentially, I drove to Miami for nothing. Except I got some cool free stuff and I saw Prince in a private concert.

On a side note... isn't the Super Bowl halftime show all about "good clean fun" ever since the famed "wardrobe malfunction?" That's what I thought, too. But isn't Prince the same guy who did the songs "Erotic City," "Horny Pony," and "Gett Off?" And isn't he the same guy who once wore a pair of lacy ass-less pants on national television while performing one of the above songs?

Or is my memory failing me? Nope. I didn't think so.

Sure, Prince has mellowed out in the last 15 years or so... But I'm still a little suprised that he was chosen to do halftime. Not complaining... just surprised.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Photographs and Memories

I love my digital camera-- but it's just a little too big (and a little too nice) to take everywhere I go. A couple of years back, when Cory and I went to Music Midtown, we ended up taking a disposable cardboard camera with us. This week, I haven't been taking my digital camera to the Super Bowl, and I've kind of been kicking myself for that, but it's too big to fit in my messenger bag with everything else I'm lugging around.

A couple of days ago, Cory mentioned that he might like his own digital camera-- a small, fairly inexpensive one to take to places like amusement parks. His cell phone already has a camera-- but I don't think he's figured out how to transfer photos from his phone to our computer yet.

Last night, I bought a $15 digital camera. Yeah, it's a piece of crap, but it's tiny and it's quick. I figure if I'm walking down the street and William "The Refrigerator" Perry wanders by, I can snap a picture of him before he even knows it.

By the way, I have something kind of fun planned for the Super Bowl today. It might fall through, so I'm not going to tell you what it is just yet... but if all goes as planned, I may have a treat for all of you children of the 80s out there.

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One Ringy-Dingy....

There's an interesting article on ESPN.com right now about Super Bowl rings. Extravagant? Yes. Ugly? Yes. But every Super Bowl ring has a story behind it.

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