Thursday, June 4, 2009


As we've alluded to recently, I've been traveling the past several days, hence my absence in these parts.

My excursion began Friday. A full day at work turned into a late night at the office as I rushed to make the final preparations for my trip. I caught a bit of the game on the radio and returned home just in time to see Alfredo Aceves get out of the jam Andy Pettitte's balky back had gotten into. I then promptly fell asleep. It would be the last Yankee baseball I would view live until last night.

Saturday saw me up at 6 AM to run errands, begin packing, make another trip to the office, etc. By late morning I was on the road to the belly of the beast - Boston - for the wedding of a former college roomate. In Boston with the Yankees in first place - it was like college all over again, unfortunately it's only late May.

Prior to the wedding, we pre-gamed at a bar in Newton. The Sox-Jays game was on, and there were a handful of fans watching at the bar, one of whom sported a Youk shirt, goatee, and a hat of Youk's alma-mater: the Cincinnati Bearcats. Unfortunatley I couldn't inconspicuously snap a picture before he left, so fack him too.

The wedding was a lot of fun. While not at all informal, the bride and groom were not overly serious about things, with the main focus being that everyone had a damn good time. There was an open bar to ensure that. Unfortunately for me, I had a flight to catch at 6:15 the next morning, so in a move that was antithetical to every fiber of my existence, I had to reign in my behavior at an open bar. My pride still hurts.

At the reception, I was seated at a table (the Pabst Blue Ribbon table) with all the old college buddies, including Gripp. You all may remember Gripp from the rip-roaring exchange we had here last week, which in the end, was tame compared to the emails we were trading. Thankfully, the topic of Yankee centerfielders was not broached, civility was maintained, and the reception wasn't ruined for anyone.

Perhaps taking a cue from the bride and groom, the atmosphere was rather loose at the PBR table. At one point I noticed that each of us had a potentially humorous butter plate at our place setting, so my artistic side took over:

Phallic butter balls and knives. Always a crowd pleaser. It ilicited a few good laughs at the table. Unfortunately, it happened during the toast. So, yeah, sorry about that.

The highlight of the reception however was the brother of the bride. He's a dead-ringer for a certain Red Sox first baseman, so of course, given our name here, I had to document it:

Sorry about the glare. And the low quality. Despite it being taken rather early on in the night, my photographer was already drunk. The picture doesn't really do it justice. You should have seen him with a Sox cap on during the bachelor party; it was uncanny. Thanks for being a good sport Ted.

From there, the band took the stage. Though perhaps not as entertaining as the wedding band in Old School, The B Street Band was great. Mostly Springsteen covers, with some other crowd pleasers thrown in for good measure. Except for when they played Sweet Caroline, I couldn't really complain.

The reception ran until 2:00 AM. I was in my room at 2:05. I packed and passed out by 2:30. My alarm went off at 3:30, I took a shower, got dressed, and hopped in a cab to Logan by 4:00. It cost me $220 for two hours in the hotel room. For that kind of hourly rate I could have retained a high end escort to accompany me to the wedding.

The rest of the day is a blur. I took off from Logan at 6:15, landing at JFK less than an hour later. After a layover, I hopped a plane to Toronto, landing around 11. Aside from a little a vacation to Puerto Rico, it was the first time I'd left the U.S. in 14 years, when I was 14 years old. On that trip I traveled as an unaccompanied minor on that trip, which meant the airline essentially held my hand each step of the way. Last year, I didn't need to bother with a passport or customs since Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory. So I had little to no clue what I was doing Sunday morning and I was doing it on no sleep to boot. But I must have faked it well; somehow I avoided an international incident.

From there, it was a walk through the airport where there were signs like "0.3% of all Canadian auto accidents involve a moose". Had I not been so out of it I would have snapped a picture. But I had to catch a cab, because the trade show I was attending actually started at 7:30 that morning.

I hustled to the hotel, got cleaned up, and managed to somehow work my company's booth for the remainder of the day. If business tanks this month, we may know why. Things finally wrapped up around 7:45. I scuttled across the street to the sports bar to grab a quick dinner.

As one of the 20 remaining NHL fans in the US, it was very cool to be in a Canadian sports bar watching the Stanley Cup Finals and have everyone there give a shit about it. Still, I could only manage to stay through the start of the second. I had to get some sleep.

The rest of the trip was pretty non-descript. Canada was like bizarro world: just like America, but not quite right. The tourism magazine in my room had an article on the Blue Jays. In it, they talked about the "centrefielder" Vernon Wells, how Alex Rios is a fan "favourite" amongst the ladies, and said the B.J. Ryan was once again healthy and deploying his "slingshot delivery". I don't which was most disorienting amongst the three.

Flipping through the stations at night, there was a lot of American TV on. I caught Conan's debut, not because I was particularly interested, but because I wanted to catch Pearl Jam's performance. There was also some British version of Law and Order on. Apparently the 15 different American versions of the show aren't enough. The one thing I wanted to watch, the Monday night Yankee-Indian game on ESPN, I couldn't because of a client dinner.

Even more torturous was being right around the corner from the Hockey Hall of Fame, but unable to go. The days are unbearably long at these shows, 7 AM to at least 5 PM, with networking and glad-handing to follow. And the Hall, being housed in a former bank, keeps banker's hours, closing at like 5:30 daily. Stupid Canadian metric time.

I had wanted to stay through Tuesday. My best friend from home has business in Toronto and he was flying in Tuesday afternoon. We made plans to go to the Jays game that night, to watch the fake umps, and more importantly, to watch the insanely hot waitresses in the seats behind the plate. Unfortunately for me, Delta wanted $800, or twice the cost of my round trip ticket, to make the change, so that wasn't happening. So fuck you Delta, no wonder your whole industry is barely staying alive. Oh and to add insult to injury, Doc Halladay spun a gem Tuesday, going the distance and whiffing 14.

In the end it was just as well. Staying only would have kept me in Canada for another day. I'm not trying to disparage our neighbors to the north, but I realize why my ancestors left there many generations ago. I like my country. So how was I welcomed back? The U.S. customs agent was a total dick to me. Then in the security line, I was chosen at random for the "physical search". Thankfully no cavities were involved. So I got to stand there in front of God and everyone while one guy wearing a turban wanded the metal detector over me and two guys speaking broken English patted me down and questioned me. These are U.S. agents mind you. At the risk of sounding like the Ugly American, I found a bit of irony in all of it.

After another detour through JFK I wound up back at Logan where some friends were nice enough to pick me up - and then let me use their wireless to do Tuesday's recap. Worn out from my whirlwind North American tour, I spent the night in Boston and finally returned home yesterday. I'm glad to be back.

In the end, it's not the most exciting trip recap. But at least we have some filler to hold us over until game time. See you shortly.


  1. I was fairly disappointed in Pearl Jam's new song/performance. Hopefully they clean it up a bit before the tour.

  2. I was half asleep at the time, so I can't really comment on its quality. I like Pearl Jam, but I don't consider myself a die hard. They've had some very good stuff through the last 15 years, but to me, nothing compares to Ten and Vs.

  3. A few thoughts:

    - Bringing an escort to the wedding would have made this post at least twice as exciting.

    - You hadn't left the country in 14 years, but still had a valid passport? Impressive.

    - I'm not sure that Puerto Rico or Canada reeeeally count as "leaving the country". Less impressive.

    - Customs blows, regardless of who is patting you down. Especially when you have drugs smuggled in your rectum.

    - Welcome back.

  4. A few respones

    - Completely agree about the escort. Would have made the post 2x as interesting and the wedding 20x as interesting. Unfortunately my invitation did not include a plus one. That didn't stop some of the wedding guests (ahem Bomber ahem), but it did stop me.

    - Passport had expired years ago. I had to drop something close to $200 to get a new one for this. We'll see if I can expense that.

    - I care not if you're impressed. There were different flags flying, so I left the country. I count the time I toured the Saudi Arabian embassy on a field trip as leaving the country. Besides, if I get that worked up about going to quasi-Americas, imagine what it would be like if I went somewhere really foreign.

    - Agreed on customs. Luckily for me there were no drugs involved. I did however find the Canadian agents to be pretty friendly. Hosers.

    - Thank you

  5. Funny about trying to get an inconspicuous pic of the Youkalike. I was back in the Bean a few weeks back visiting my fellow BC '06 buddies and we went to some bar/cafe joint in the South End. There was this dude working in the kitchen who looked EXACTLY like Big Pawpi. I tried getting a pic of him with my camera phone but couldn't get a good shot of him. This was the weekend when he was benched I was going to put up a post saying something like that's ok Sawx fans, Pawpi can still grill a mean fackin' filet.

  6. Never too early to plan for life after baseball. It doesn't seem to far off for Ortiz right now.

    I should have posted this thought in Jay's Papi post yesterday, but I feel bad for the guy, in as much as I can feel sympathy for a poorly performing member of the Red Sox.

    Despite the fact the he murdered the Yankees for about 5 years straight, it's hard to dislike Ortiz when he's not playing against your team. He's a gregarious, fun loving guy, seemingly a very good teammate, and always seemed to get the big hit. He was a nice "likeable" foil to the immaturity and unprofessionalism of Manny.

    Of course, if you can't hit, none of that matters.