Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Drew Carey says “Cleveland Rocks”, but from what I’ve seen this year, “Cleveland Drains”. This was my second trip. It rained the entire weekend I was there in May. Two of our three games were rained out. So we returned to make up a game and it rained harder.
There were more people on the grounds crew than in the stands. I heard a phone ring and said on the air, “it’s the guy in the bleachers”. However, I did get to call a Mariner nine-run inning capped off with a grand slam. Even some of the grounds crew left after that.
To be fair, when the Mariners were in Cleveland in August (minus me) it did not rain. They just had an earthquake.
We won then flew on to Minneapolis just missing the monsoon, volcano eruption, and falling meteor. Get a dome!
Minnesota is the home of the Hamm’s Bear, Bob Dylan, the former-artist formerly-known-as Prince, wrestler/governor Jesse Ventura, and comedian/senator, Al Franken.
Our hotel in Minneapolis was the tres chic W in the Foshay Tower. This is a great old art deco structure, once the tallest building in Minneapolis. Stately and classic. But the W now goes for a different vibe. High-end gentleman’s club. Everything is dark with pink and purple florescent lighting. I just instinctively went to the front desk and asked for a stack of ones.
Items in the honor bar included cashews, cookies, and an intimacy kit. Not sure what’s in that but I assume a condom and WD-40.
There actually are a number of gentleman’s clubs in downtown Minneapolis. Diablo Cody was a nude dancer in several of them. So if you’re looking for a great screenwriter in Minnesota that’s where they work. Stop by the W for ones.
Made myself a martini then headed downstairs to Manny’s Steakhouse where I joined our producer/engineer Kevin Cremin for a delightful Bludgeon of Beef. That’s what they call it – a 50-ounce bone-in ribeye. Billed as half meal/half weapon. Picture a cow on Paul Bunyan’s ax. It was exceptional! For the record, we split it. We didn’t each order our own. I mean, it was 10:00 at night. You don’t want to really fill up that late. 25 ounces just hit the spot!
For some reason, couldn’t get to sleep. Thank God for the martinis. Passed out around 4:00. Woke up late. Had another martini then headed to the ballpark.
Strip joints aside, downtown Minneapolis has really been built up over the last twenty years. And one terrific feature they have is a skyway system that allows you to pretty much walk from any building to any other building. You could easily stroll from our hotel to Target Field… although one wrong turn and you end up in Bismark, North Dakota.
Did not pay my respects to the Mary Tyler Moore statue this go-round, but a few kindly pigeons did that for me.
The summers are hot and the winters are brutal but Minnesota is a great place to raise a family and residents just consider the severe climate a “Quality of Living Tax”.
One strange feature though: the press elevator. It goes to three floors. -2, 0, 2. Why a –2 … unless they’re just so used to sub-zero readings.
Woke up the next morning, fixed myself a cocktail, then went to Keys Bar & Grill for a hearty breakfast. I can’t believe these portions. Every place you go is the Hungry Heifer.
The Mighty M’s took two of the three games (so the Twins were –2) then headed to Dallas. Navigation is a breeze! Once you take off from Minneapolis and are in the air for three minutes you can already see Cowboy Stadium a thousand miles away. That is the Bludgeon of Beef of sports venues.
There’s a delightful tradition in Major League Baseball. During one flight on the last road trip all of the rookies have to dress up. Usually that means five or six players. The Mariners had fifteen. It looked like the road company of LA CAGE AUX FOLLES. One by one they paraded, in frilly dresses, superhero costumes, Spandex, ridiculous hats, frog suits and clown attire. Where they got these get-ups I do not know. I’m guessing someone just broke into RuPaul’s closet. A good time was had by all… except them. (Sorry kids, no pictures.)
In Minneapolis it was 50. We landed in Dallas at night and it was a glorious 90. Again stayed at the fabulous Four Seasons Los Colinas. My room in the W could fit in my bathroom at the Four Seasons. But no martini glasses and cocktail shaker. What is this, camping?!
Passed the American Airlines museum on the way to the ballpark. Did not stop in but from what I understand, they have some rare artifacts on display like free blankets, legroom, and hot meal serving carts for coach.
How’d things go for the team over the weekend? Here’s all you need to know: On Saturday, my fellow broadcasters and I were driving to the park and noticed a bunch of guys standing around on a street corner. As we got closer we began to recognize them. They were the Seattle Mariners. Their van had broken down. So there they were, basically making a personal appearance at a Shell gas station on North MacArthur Blvd. in Irving, Texas. The only thing worse would have been if the bus had broken down while half the players were still in drag.
Went to a great place for dinner Saturday night with Rangers’ broadcaster Eric Nadel and his wife. I have no idea where it is. Everything in Dallas takes a half hour to get to and you drive on six highways and pass five Chuck E. Cheese’s. This place is called NeighborHood Service. Good luck finding it. There’s no sign. Just the letters NHS on the front door. But you open that door and the place is packed. I assume just with locals, although no one wore spurs so I couldn’t be sure. But the food was spectacular, and they have the best burger in Big D. I believe for your convenience they have several hidden locations.
Said goodbye to the team on Sunday. That was very emotional. Many of the guys promised to write this winter from Venezuela. Flew back home to Los Angeles with nothing but warm memories, a cold, and a cholesterol level of 400. What a week! What a year! What a steak!
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By Ken Levine at 5:53 AM