Monday, July 26, 2010

St. Louis ~ Work, Phillies v Cardinals, and fun with great friends

Every year my company has meetings where we all get together to network and learn.  In previous years, we've held meetings in Orlando, Las Vegas, and San Antonio.  This year we all met in St. Louis, MO.  I look forward to this event because I have the chance to spend time with my coworkers who are my friends.  Usually, we stay the weekend or extend the trip to take advantage of the location and time together.  This time, in addition to learning, I was able to gamble, check out another sporting venue (i.e. Philadelphia Phillies v St. Louis Cardinals at the new Busch Stadium) and visit with friends. 

With The Rick and other friends, I was able to really enjoy and explore St. Louis.  From drinks at the Four Seasons rooftop, Lumiere Place, the City Museum, and the new Bush Stadium (i.e. my 73 venue). 

The pictures from the seats in the stadium were taken from the Redbird Club (i.e. where air-conditioning was available inside).  I ate my first pretzel dog and drank two large bottles of water.  It was a scorcher!  On the way out, I picked up an Albert Pujols' bobblehead ~ and it's sitting pretty on my shelf.  For anyone looking to go to St. Louis and check out a game, I recommend staying at the Hilton Ballpark.  It's right next to the new Busch Stadium and some rooms offer a wonderful views of the park.

St. Louis Arch in the background

At the new Busch Stadium

Albert Pujols at bat

Stan Musial statue

Jack Buck

Ozzie Smith

With The Rick

With great friends in St. Louis

What a great few days!

**** Quote from The Rick: "Cab to Lumiere $10, pretzel dog $5, pizza and cookie at Grill 21 (i.e. at Harrah's) $1200, having someone walk up to craps table with $20, then ask if your green stack of chips is theirs'...  PRICELESS!"


I play craps to win ~ I love dice...

I spent the past several days in casinos...  I win. 
I play craps...  I win.
I've been to Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and St. Louis...  I win.

I'm a winner.

If you can't win with $200 you can't win at all and you need to walk away.  Figure out who your cooler friends are and never gamble with them.  Figure out who your lucky friends are and don't leave home without them.  Look for a heavy table (i.e. with a lot of chips on it).  Figure out who knows how to shoot dice and don't feel bad about skipping shooters who can't shoot.

By all means, if you can't make a point or like to roll 7s ~ pass the dice.

FYI - I played my first crapless craps tables in St. Louis, and I loved it.


It's all about the Benjamins

The lone girl in AC, while the guys leave the beach during guys' week...

The beach in AC.  I assure I'm not huge.  The dress is flowy.

The post-it note on the mirror in the suite


2010 NBA Summer League ~ Las Vegas

I went to watch NBA Summer League in Las Vegas this year.  I've never been to Summer League before, but after spying my friend Mandy's pictures I decided I wanted to join in the fun.

I checked in the newly renovated Hard Rock Hotel and explored the new HRH Tower and pool during my "down time".  My room over looked the main pool and the Sunday Rehab party.


I watched various Summer League games and the final game between the NBDL Select team and the LA Clippers.  I was sitting courtside and saw the buzzer beater that put the NBDL team over the Clippers for the win.

For anyone who's never been to Summer League and is interested in scouting new NBA talent, I highly recommend taking the trip.  It is an international event and there are scouts, coaches, players, reporters and everyone is incredibly accessible.  Trust me.  In 2 days I sat  behind Vlade Divac and played craps with Bill Laimbeer.  How random is that?

Lithuanian fan in front of me

Vlade Divac

For about $25 you can get a ticket for the day's events.  Games were held at both the Cox Pavilion and the Thomas & Mack Center.

UNLV retired jerseys

For you Ohioans out there, you might recognize the name Mike Gansey.  He's a hard worker and plays tough.  I had to look him up after watching him play, and yes - I might just have a little bit of a crush.  He's super cute!

Mike Gansey

Baron Davis rooting on his LA Clippers

The NBDL Wins


Friday, July 16, 2010

Checking in ~ Steinbrenner dies, NL wins, and Summer League

Yes, I am alive.  It's just been a slow news week.  George Steinbrenner died.  As an Ohioan, I claim him because he's from Rocky River...

Other than that the National League finally beat the America League in the 2010 MLB All-Star Game.  I'm pulling for the New York Yankees and the Atlanta Braves...

I'm off to Las Vegas for Summer League tomorrow...  I don't normally like to telegraph my passes ~ but it's been almost a week since I've posted sooooooo there...  I threw you a bone :-P


Monday, July 12, 2010

Mary Poppins & SF Giants defeat the Washington Nationals ~ July 10, 2010

I never turn my phone off.  Ok - that's a lie.  I turn my phone on airplane mode on planes.  Regardless, that's not the point.  The point is I'm rarely if ever away from my phone because you never know who's going to call and what can happen.

I was running around on Saturday and on my way to grab my friend, Amy, so we could go and see Mary Poppins at the Kennedy Center.  I wanted to go to the matinee show so I'd have my night open to do whatever else I wanted to do.  ****  For those of you that are curious about the show ~ go see it.  It's not completely true to the movie, but it's a great adaptation.  My only real complaint is that the show didn't do the whole "Step in Time" song.

View from our seats in the Opera House at the Kennedy Center

Now back to my baseball story...

While I was driving, I received a text from my friend, Pat.  He said he might end up with some really great tickets to Saturday night's game and wanted to know if I wanted to go.  ****  Lucky for me, his buddy was at the beach and couldn't go!  I texted back "Yes!!!!!!"  Next thing you knew I had a ticket to the game in the President's Club.  What a guy!!! 

Awesome night for a baseball game, and I got to see the San Francisco Giants defeat the Washington Nationals.  The Nats had the lead, but blew it.  Regardless, it was a GORGEOUS night out for a baseball game and it was definitely fun to check out the President's Club.

For those of you that don't know ~ the President's Club is the area right behind home plate and the seats are padded.  The seats come with all you can eat food and a buffet before/during the game.  From inside you can see the Nats' batting cages and the Media Room where the post-game press conferences are conducted.

Batting cages behind me ~ Adam Dunn at bat

Pablo Sandoval at bat

Pudge Rodriguez at bat with Adam Dunn ready to run

Awesome seats and a gorgeous night for baseball

Pat and I in our seats

San Francisco Giants won


Injured Boston Red Sox Mickey Mouse ~ 2010 MLB All-Star Game

Poor Mickey!  He was beat up, but he's still smiling...

The 2010 MLB All-Star Game Mickeys are in Anaheim to help celebrate the All-Star festivities.  Poor Boston Red Sox Mickey was vandalized!  It was housed in front of the Discovery Science Center.

Here is a picture of the injured Mickey Mouse (i.e. complete with cast and ice pack).  Poor guy!  ****  Photo courtesy of a reader of

If you're a Red Sox fan and a Disney fan, you can own a healthier version of the figurine.


Would you hire Isiah Thomas back as GM of the Knicks?

Can anyone tell me why James Dolan would consider bringing Isiah Thomas back as General Manager for the New York Knicks?  Haven't the Knicks' fans suffered enough?

I don't even understand why Isiah was sent to Akron to meet with LeBron's people. Seriously?!?! Why?

I know why I'm not a fan of Isiah.  For me, it's personal.  I didn't agree with his rotation during the 2003 NBA All-Star game in Atlanta.  Don't understand that remark?  Look at the roster and if you know me, you know where I'm coming from.

Remember when he bought the CBA (i.e. now better known as the Collective Bargaining Agreement nowadays, but back then known as the Continental Basketball Association?  Yep, me too. 

You remember the sexual harassment lawsuit in 2006?  Yep, me too.

Remember the Knicks winning during the 2007-2008 season?  No, me neither ~ but they did win 23 games...

The last story I remember about Isiah had to do with the ambulance being sent to his house. Remember that story?  Yep, me too.

Seriously. Someone out there has to know something.

And for those of you that are in desperate need for a taste of the "good old days" ~ how about some DVDs?  LOL.


Friday, July 9, 2010

LeBron James Fathead stickers on sale: $17.41

If you're listening to WKNR 850 in Cleveland, you may not know this but you can buy a LeBron James Fathead for $17.41.  Why $17.41?  Well, because that's the year Benedict Arnold was born.

You have 3 to choose from.  Knock yourself out.


Quick Poll: Would you watch the Heat play the Cavs at the Q?

Simple question:  Now that LeBron has joined the Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, would you watch the Miami Heat play the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Quicken Loans Arena?

Here's some video I shot (i.e. at Game 6 of the Cavs v Wiz series in April 2008) of LeBron's pregame chalk routine, that we'll probably never have to see again...


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Dan Gilbert's (Cleveland Cavs majority owner) Open Letter "says" what needed to be "said"

I can't not include this in my blog.  I commend Dan Gilbert for having the guts to say something (i.e. even though it's too late).  Someone needs to say something.  To have LeBron not contact the Cleveland Cavaliers and not inform them of his decision after 7 years and all that the organization has done for him, his friends, and family is utterly DESPICABLE.

I heard LeBron mention something about the Cavaliers getting rid of him.  Give me a break.  The city cried when he was drafted and welcomed him with open arms and were willing to fight for him with both arms also.  All it takes is a look at oft-injured, veteran center who NEVER gave up and always believed to see that loyalty is rewarded.  Rome wasn't built in a day, and I doubt sincerely that the Heat earn the championships they expect to win with the Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and LeBron James trio...  If anything LeBron has placed himself among a different peer group in his attempt to chase titles.  He's now a "Pippen" (i.e. SORRY, SCOTTIE), but not even ~ because Pippen actually WON.  ****  Scottie Pippen is actually a trending topic on Twitter right now, so obviously great minds think alike!

Below is the full-text of Dan Gilbert's open letter and the link for you to click on if you prefer:


Cavaliers: Open Letter to Fans from Cavaliers Majority Owner Dan Gilbert

Dear Cleveland, All Of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Cavaliers Supporters Wherever You May Be Tonight;

As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.

This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his "decision" unlike anything ever "witnessed" in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment.

Clearly, this is bitterly disappointing to all of us.

The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you.

There is so much more to tell you about the events of the recent past and our more than exciting future. Over the next several days and weeks, we will be communicating much of that to you.

You simply don't deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.

You have given so much and deserve so much more.

In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight:


You can take it to the bank.

If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our "motivation" to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels.

Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.

Sorry, but that's simply not how it works.

This shocking act of disloyalty from our home grown "chosen one" sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And "who" we would want them to grow-up to become.

But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called "curse" on Cleveland, Ohio.

The self-declared former "King" will be taking the "curse" with him down south. And until he does "right" by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.

Just watch.

Sleep well, Cleveland.

Tomorrow is a new and much brighter day....

I PROMISE you that our energy, focus, capital, knowledge and experience will be directed at one thing and one thing only:

DELIVERING YOU the championship you have long deserved and is long overdue....

Dan Gilbert
Majority Owner
Cleveland Cavaliers

Sick of LeBron ~ You probably avoid ESPN, but can you avoid the Internet?

If you're sick of LeBron you probably avoided ESPN the past few days and definitely didn't watch "The Decision", but brace yourself if you're hitting the Internet any time soon...

Consider yourself warned. again

Actually, I'm surprised that doesn't have LeBron James on it's home page considering the shit storm that is going on in Northeast Ohio right now.  I feel your pain, Cleveland. 


Thoughts on LeBron and The Decision

Thoughts on the LeBronathon... 

I'm watcing The Decision while logged into my Facebook and Twitter accounts....  Here are my thoughts.  I'll update them as I go ~ so this post is a "Wirk" in process...  Some are bullets and some are tweets.  The hashtags will help you figure out what's what.

I'm still calling the Cleveland Cavaliers.

  • I love Mike Wilbon, Jon Barry, and Stuart Smith - but come on now, the NBA season is over.  Did we really need a panel for this announcement?
  • My brother is in Florida and says everyone is calling the #Heat.
  • Am I the only one flashing back to elections when everyone tried to call #Florida first?!?! Go #Cavs! #Lebron #NBA #Heat
****  Updated at: 9:28.  I'm no longer a LeBron supporter.  Enough is enough.  Trade Delonte West to the Heat now.  Just saying...

  • congrats #heat. good luck with it.
  • ugh, poor byron scott...
  • #lebron just said the "kids are our future"... seriously?!!? ok, #whitney.
  • seems like everyone drank the #heat kool-aid, but then again so did the folks at #jonestown... #lebron #bosh #dwyane #nba
  • anyone know how to #unsubscribe from

It's 10:30 PM, and the Cavs just released a statement.  There's no mention of LeBron.  I got the urge to check their website.  99% of the  Lebron pics are gone.

I was in Miami for Game 5 when the Miami Heat defeated the Dallas Mavericks during the NBA Finals. 

Don't kid yourself, LeBron.  The opening chalk routine.  The Lebron-centric pre-game.  I'm guessing all the shenanigans will be gone.  Heaven help me if there's a new handshake.  I like Dwyane Wade's style.  I don't know him at all.  To quote the Pussycat Dolls, "Be careful what you wish for, 'cause you just might get it."

There's definitely not 3 "I's" in TEAM

It's 11PM and the Cleveland police have used their cars to keep people away from the large LeBron Nike Witness banner.


Cleveland Cavaliers ticket holders - Tix listed already or waiting for LeBron's announcement

Cleveland friends and sportsfans with Cleveland Cavaliers season tickets,  I have a question.  It's a sincere question, since I'm an Ohio girl.  Did you list your Cavs tickets already on eBay or StubHub! etc. or are you waiting to see what happens during LeBron's announcement at 9PM?


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

LeBron James: Home ~ More Than A Player

So, the folks at Central Graphics Group in Ohio have been busy... 

Actually that may be a huge understatement, considering there are a handful of other NBA teams (i.e. New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, etc.) playing the free agent lottery.  Rather than focus on earning potential and celebrity it appears that Cleveland has focused on one concept ~ HOME.  The concept of HOME:  More Than A Player, is a message that EVERYONE can relate to. 

Yes, Cleveland is a smaller market than New York.  However, Cleveland/Akron is home to LeBron and for a man that grew up in the area and has given so much back ~ I'd imagine that HOME is where the heart is.  LeBron isn't like the average person.  Just because some folks out there aspire to live in New York and/or visit New York ~ doesn't mean that he wants to LIVE there and raise his kids there.  I'm not bashing NYC by any means.  I <3 NYC.  I have family that lived/live there and I love to visit it ~ but I also like to return HOME.  In this day and age, it's more than easy to go to NYC for the day to catch a game or see a show and return (i.e. after a day trip or couple of days) to Ohio. 

The weather in Miami is gorgeous.  Yes, I love the beach and the temperatures, but that doesn't mean people want to necessarily live there either.  I've spent many a weekend/week in Miami and enjoyed myself ~ but I still wanted to head HOME after a few days. 

Sure, some basketball players don't necessarily adopt the city they play for as their home in the off-season.  They may rent an apartment/house or trade homes with another player who's also been relocated ~ but still, why shuffle a HOME when you don't have to? 

I used to be engaged to one of  LeBron's teammates.  We were together for 4 years.  I know what it's like to see the guys travel to 41 away games a year.  Basketball is different than other sports in a way that basketball players draw more attention to themselves just because of their height.  They need a place to retreat after practice and in between games.  When you have the comforts of home and everyone that you care about right next to your work, why on Earth would you rock the boat, leave $30 million on the table, and move to a new team?  LeBron is special in that he has the chance to play at HOME, and I think he knows it.

Yesterday 12 more signs went up around Akron, Ohio so that LeBron could see them on his drive HOME from his basketball camps at the University of Akron.  FYI - basketball camp ends tonight.

Photos are courtesy of Dave Soulsby, President of Central Graphics Group.  Coincidentally, I just figured out that Dave is also an Akron alumnus.  Go Zips!

It took Dorothy a tornado, a walk down the yellow brick road, and fights with flying monkeys, before she realized that, "There's no place like home."  So what if it took LeBron a few weeks to come to the same conclusion. 

Big announcement tomorrow (i.e. Thursday) at 9PM on ESPN.

****  And yes, there's a chance I may have to eat this post, but I'm a gambler and I welcome the risk.