Sunday, April 22, 2012

Bobbleheader or Doublebobble, what sounds better?

Last Saturday was an excellent sporting day for the DC fans. The Nationals won, the Capitals won, DC United won. Too bad the Wizards weren't able to continue the winning tradition throughout the day, but they are at the point where it's more beneficial to lose than win so I'm ok with that. Other than baseball doubleheaders, this is the first time I've attended. It wasn't attended for the love of the sports, more for the love of bobbleheads.

I have 42 bobbleheads and a garden gnome. Not gonna lie, it's a bit of an addiction. First bobblehead game I attended was Jose Guillen bobblehead night, and honestly that night was not chosen because it was a bobblehead night. My friends Sarah and Kate were in town and wanted to catch a game. I dragged my friend Chris to come with us and we happened to get bobbleheads. We went to Hooters afterwards, but I digress... At first I just wanted to collect the Nationals collection, but it has spread to me collecting all the DC pro sports teams. Usually my method is to buy multiple tickets so I can go through the turnstiles and collect extra bobbleheads and then trade those on Craigslist, but last fall I went a little crazy with Bill Me Later option on Ebay and grew my collection that way.

Anyways, so my friend Mike, who is also into bobbleheads, found out about John Wall Bobblehead Night back in January. The Wizards did not do a good job of hyping it up until March. Originally it was not on the promotions page and Mike found it on a random link of the site. Also, this was about the time where DC Sports Bog was doing a story on how cheap Wizards tickets were to acquire on the secondary market. I went on StubHub and bought 4 tickets for 30 bucks, retail price 40 back in early February. I actually did periodically check to see if I could've gotten a better deal, and yes I could've bought 10 tickets for 50 if I had waited.

For the Nationals, I just ordered the tickets directly from the team. I ordered a 5 game flex plan and the games I chose were Opening Day, the three bobblehead games, and I have a voucher for a game, which I will probably use for Harperkkah. I'm not sure when I realized that both games were on the same day, but I'm sure I was excited. I just wished that the Nationals game was at 1:05 instead of 4:05 just so I would have more time to get to the Verizon Center for the 7:00 game.

The game started at 4:05. They started selling 5 dollar Day of Game tickets at 1:30. I got there before 12:30. I am not sure what is more sad, that I got there more than 3 and a half hours for a baseball game or that I was not the first person in line, there were about 10 people ahead of me. I engaged in polite conversation with my line mates about Nationals games and how we hate tourists and I was easily able to acquire a 5 dollar ticket to go with my real ticket so I could get 2 Stephen Strasburg Bobbleheads.

I'm paranoid, so I always include a change of clothing so that I am not recognized when I go to double dip for a bobble. I started doing this when after Frank Howard Bobblehead Night. It was raining, so there weren't as many people going through the gates so it was easy to recognize people. I had 4 tickets, and they stopped me at 3 but I got my friend to walk by so I could get the 4th.

With 3 hours to kill before the game, I hung out with Matt, Jen, Dave, TJ and Lara at one of the restaurants, the Red Porch. I was very disappointed that they were not serving The Strasburger. I understand you cannot have 8 pounds of burger ready on a whim so you have to limit the days when it's available. BGR, the Burger Joint, has a policy of calling 24 hours in advance if you want to go for its 15.4 lb burger, and you have to leave your credit card number with them. But it was a nice day out, and bobblehead nights pretty much guarantee that you will have a huge crowd that will be arriving early, and its Strasburg Bobblehead Night. IF YOU HAVE A SPECIALTY ITEM BASED ON A PLAYER, IT SHOULD BE A FEDERAL CRIME IF IT ISN'T OFFERED ON THAT PLAYER'S (INSERT PROMOTIONAL ITEM HERE) GIVEAWAY NIGHT!

We tried to get Jordan Zimmermann to sign Matt's ball, but he was not by the dugout. We were able to wave at Drew Storen and Mike Rizzo though. Normally, baseball is my focus at baseball games but with the Capitals in the playoffs, they were the priority. Mike, Matt and I were able to get a great position at the Red Loft. We had a nice view of the field and when we turned around to look at the tv to pay attention to the game, we had a nice railing to lean on. So nice that some woman asked me if she could take my place since she was shorter and part of my attention was diverted to the tvs behind. I immediately told her no.

I have no regrets. I doubt it, but I kind of hope she's reading this. Lets be honest, if you're going to ask a random guy to give up his spot, it helps if you're hot and among female friends. She was average at best and among 2 dudes. Also, you're wearing a Red Sox cap. Maybe if you were actually a fan of the Nationals, I would've been more gracious and let you have my spot. But for a Boston fan, especially when the Caps are playing Boston, NO! Another thing, The Red Porch is not a ticketed area, its first come first serve. If you don't like the view you have, you have seats you purchased and are more than welcome to sit there.

I hate leaving games early but sometimes it's a necessary evil. I left early last week. It was a calculated risk. It was the bottom of the 6th inning, Nationals were up 3-1 and the Capitals were tied after regulation. We figured we could get the bobblehead and be able to chill and watch both games at the Green Turtle.

We met up with my friend Megan at Verizon Center and got our bobbleheads. Mike and I had 2 tickets each cause we're addicts. Matt forgot his ticket at home so he had to buy another ticket at the game. We settled in at Green Turtle with the Nationals reaching its conclusion and the Capitals game in OT. (On a side note, it should be a federal crime to operate a sports bar and not have high definition tvs. random side note, I'm not calling out any bars...) Nats won easily, and within seconds of Edwin Jackson and Kristina Akra getting doused with Gatorade , Backstrom scored the game winning goal in the 2nd OT.

The game wasn't that interesting. Cleveland got out to an 8-2 lead and never really looked back. The Wizards kept it close so it wasn't totally bad, but I still have hope for next year. Nothing exciting really happened, Wizards crowds aren't really full of life except during the Chick Fil A fowl shots promotions and the team has been horrible this year. But I think they are in a good position for the future, lots of youth and the only really bad contract on the team is Rashard Lewis but that expires next year. 

I was able to get four bobbleheads total, 2 Strasburgs and 2 John Walls. I traded the extra Strasburg for an Alex Ovechkin bobblehead from the 2008 season, so that means I have 3 different Ovi bobbleheads and the Wall bobblehead is being traded for a Deshawn Stevenson bobblehead.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

April 15, 2011 a day that will live in infamy

This was the day Patrice O'Neal made fun of me on the CD known as Mr.P.

Started out as just a normal day. It was my third day at a new job which involved sorting financial statements. After that, my friend Rob and I had tickets to see Patrice O'neal at 8PM at the DC Improv. After work, I parked by my old work so I wouldn't have to pay for parking at metro, and to see if my work check had been delivered (it wasn't). I was trying to kill as much time before the 8 PM show.

I go to comedy shows like most people go to concerts. I've only been to 1 music concert (Cypress Hill, thanks for asking) but 20 comedy shows. I'm not even sure how I got started listening to comedy. I think it was at the University of Maryland cause I would frequently download standups/cds of comedians and listen to them as I did my homework or went to sleep.

Patrice is one of my favorite comedians that I've seen live. I could listen to him riff about anything all day. I forgot how I first heard about him, either from The Sports Junkies or Opie and Anthony. This was my third time seeing him live, both previous sets were awesome. 

I got there pretty early and as a result, my seat was front and center. The 2 random people who Rob sold the extra tickets to came in about 30 minutes later, and Rob was the last person to show up at the table.

I wish I remembered the openers that night, but I don't. I wish there was a way to get my hands on the raw taping that night. Patrice had a great set, but I wasn't feeling it the first couple of jokes because I was stressed about some other stuff but towards the middle of his set was the good stuff, then he called me out.

He was just trying to be friendly, he did great crowd work, and he asks me what my name was and I said "Tolu." I could just see it on his face, and I knew I was done for. I had no idea this was being taped so I just went along for the ride. You can download and listen to it here. I thought it was funny, so I just laughed along. I'm used to being picked on at comedy shows because I'm usually the token black guy. Somehow I've never been made fun of because of my weight.

Normally after comedy shows with Rob, we go to the local strip club and watch the ladies but I was a bit on the broke side so we didn't. He had a cigarette and was drunkenly, unsuccessfully hitting on the store manager of the CVS. Then he we went home, but on the way home we had some Wendy's. Looking back, if I had known that there was a Nationals and a Capitals game that day, I probably would not have gone, but oh well.

I sent out this tweet thinking it would be an inconsequential moment in my life. November 29th, I got a tweet from my friend Tom that my name was listed as a track on Patrice's new CD. I knew it had to have been me cause there is no way Patrice O'neal found 2 people named Tolu and made fun of them both. I was honored. When the CD came out, I made sure I had an iTunes copy and a physical copy.

I know, last October, when Patrice O'neal had a stroke, he was scheduled to be at the DC Improv the last weekend of April. I hoped for the best, but I knew the chances of a full recovery were slim when they took him off the lineup on the website. I understand its a business, but it would have been nice to see the Improv leave that slot blank or to have a Mr.P listening party on that date.

I miss you, Patrice. There will never be another one like you.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Opening Day, 2012

I guess this would be considered a sequel to my Opening Day: A Retrospect post. Went to Opening Day on Thursday. Glad the Nationals won but I have yet to see a Nats starting pitcher get the win on Opening Day. And yes, I'm trying to see how many times I can say Opening Day in a sentence before you tire of it.

I woke up the same time I do as I'm going to work, but for some reason it was easier. I actually got down to the area around 9, so I headed to my friend Kim's house for a party. Beer, bagels, champagne. I hung around there for an hour then I headed down early so I could make sure I got one of the opening day hats. I learned my lesson from 2009 when I didn't get the hat. Very crowded, which can be good and bad. I like the energy of a crowd, but with a huge crowd comes the lack of cell coverage and lack of baseball intelligence.

I'm one of those people who do not like people walking up and down the isles or making people get up during game play. I believe you should either wait until the middle or end of the inning to get back to your seat or if you must be watching the game, quickly find a seat that is out of the way and then wait there until the middle/end of inning.

Also, I despise the wave. If I were supreme leader of the world, there would be no wave. It implies that you are bored and are not here for a baseball game. That being said, I can understand a wave starting during an extremely long pitching change or a blowout game. But trying to start the wave during the bottom of the 10th is indefensible. You should have your ability to buy tickets revoked.

My friend Tracy and I found some random guy taking on the Strasburger at the Red Porch. He was a little more than halfway done when we found him.
 According to the Director of Restaurant Operations, he was the first to attempt the burger. She came down, took pictures, gave him her card and I wasn't sure but it felt like she was going to comp his burger. The guy going for the challenge seemed cool. We talked about Man vs Food, old school Nationals and other stuff. I was so smitten with him, I even asked for his twitter (he didn't have one). Surprisingly, he wasn't that big, I would expect a big old fat guy going for the challenge. And for only 59 bucks, this seems like a great deal. I know the 15.4 pound burger at BGR: The Burger Joint is about 80 bucks and this is only 8 pounds.

Guy was doing an excellent job, he used the pizza method. He cut the burger into 8 slices and ate it like that. On his last slice, Tracy and I were escorted out because we were in the aisles. We could either sit and order food or leave, that bummed me out.(I understand this is a restaurant and you can't have people that aren't customers standing around obstructing the waiters but this was not a full restaurant, we could've sat at an empty table and watched or sat at his table, which had 3 empty seats and watched without being in the way or affecting the bottom line of the restaurant)

Afterwards, we ended up meeting up with some friends at the Scoreboard Walk and ended up hanging out until the pregame ceremonies where we quickly dispersed to our seats. Unfortunately I had to sit by myself, I only bought 1 ticket in 404, where my row was surprisingly empty. This was a great game, but it sucked that Gio was not able to get the win. He deserved it. Best Opening Day performance I've seen since Roy Halladay. For the record, I do not blame Brad Lidge. The 2 hits he gave up, the balls weren't hit too hardly. One of those walks was intentional, and I'm convinced the other was one of those unintentional/intentional walks. If Ryan Zimmerman plays closer to the line, those balls are most likely outs. I was told he was playing away from the line in order to protect from the bunt, and the Nats ended up winning so I'm not going to assign blame to anyone, its just one of those things that happened.

Great game, I know its early but its nice being in first place. Would be nice if we went wire to wire, probably won't happen if Utley and/or Howard come back to the Phillies at full strength but for now I will sit back and enjoy the season, and maybe a Strasburger or 2.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Ozzie Guillen situation is scaring me

People are calling for him to be fired and this scares me

I know,this isn't an issue of 1st Amendment rights because he is not facing government punishment and a private organization has the ability to hire/fire whomever they please, but I do not like this situation.

Let's get a couple of things straight. Ozzie Guillen is stupid for complementing Castro as an American citizen, let alone the manager of a team in a city with a lot of Cubans. He should be reprimanded internally. I don't particularly agree with a suspension, but I can understand wanting to punish him for showing bad judgment, but there are people wanting to fire him. I don't understand how an interview with a Venezuelan-American baseball manager can drift on the subject of Castro's rule, but I'm sure he could've easily said no comment or changed the subject or requested that his statement was off the record.

First off, Ozzie has a history of saying stupid stuff. Most of us are laughing about it. My first instinct was to laugh and make a joke about how the Washington Nationals need to make a statement denouncing
Robert Mugabe. Comedians Neal Brennan and Tosh.0 made jokes. Don't take Ozzie Guillen's quotes too seriously.

Next, he is just a baseball manager. WHO CARES WHAT HIS THOUGHTS ARE ABOUT FOREIGN POLITICAL LEADERS! They have little bearing on your life. I could understand the concern if he was President Guillen, Ambassador Guillen or Secretary of State Guillen. But he isn't. Marion Barry, a DC councilman has a history of saying/doing dumb stuff and so did Ted Kennedy, God rest his soul, but we still let them keep their jobs, and their thoughts and actions matter more than a baseball manager.

Thirdly, no matter how controversial your comments are, you should not be punished for stating an opinion that contains no racial slurs, doesn't condone violence against certain minorities or brings up unpleasant stereotypes. I don't completely agree with someone being reprimanded for calling a group of women nappy headed hos, or Whitney Houston a crack ho, or a comedian joking that he would kill his son for being gay, but I can understand doing something. But Castro is the bad person on this, not Ozzie.

Lastly, this trend is disturbing, borderline thought policing. Imagine if a manager of a minor league team in the bible belt was interviewed by a major magazine and he expressed pro gay or pro choice thoughts. The local population and other Americans might find those thoughts offensive and protest to try to get him fired. Isn't the Ozzie situation similar to that hypothetical situation I listed? Former St. Louis Cardinals manager
Tony LaRussa publicly supported controversial talk show host Glenn Beck  and people never called for LaRussa to be fired. It's a shame how far we've come in 2 years.

I'm sorry to all the Cubans that were negatively effected by Castro but calling on a boycott to get Guillen fired for this Castro issue, which he apologized for, is not going to heal your suffering. Lets just drop the issue and move on with your life.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

My 10 Commandments of Twitter

This was a trend about a month ago and I had a lot of fun tweeting and coming up with mine, so I figured I'd make mine into a blog post, and expound on my reasons why these are mine.

 1. If you have to ask for a follow then you're doing it wrong

I follow over 1900 people, I'm not exactly picky over who makes it into my timeline. I'll usually look to see we have common interests, or if we have met in real life before I follow back. If someone tweets me "hey, can you follow me," I make it a point to not follow because I feel like they are being rude. If you want someone to follow you, you should follow them first and interact with them and hopefully they will see that you're an interesting tweeter and they will follow back.

I've made exceptions, like one guy the first thing he tweeted me was that he's new on twitter and a Redskins fan. I had no problem following him back even though he asked, but he did give me a good reason to follow.

2. I have no problem with you tweeting about who unfollowed you, but calling them out by name is pretty pointless.

When unfollowr and other software came out, it was pretty cool. It was great coming up with a way to find out who unfollowed you, and it was actually cool to call out that twitter account that followed you just to get a follow back and then unfollowed.

But once everyone else who wanted that software got it, that novelty wore off. Besides you, nobody else really cares what accounts unfollow you. I use it and I sometimes tweet passive aggressive stuff about the people who unfollow me, but I'll never list them by name. I once had a guy follow me, then unfollow me a day after. That probably warranted me calling him out by name, but I didn't. What is the purpose, it makes you look like a boring douche.  Besides, If I unfollow you for a certain reason and I see you calling me out by name, you have just reaffirmed my decision.

I got called out for unfollowing one time. It was by a guy who I followed, and he followed me back but we never tweeted each other over the period of 6 months. One day, I looked at his tweets, they really weren't interesting so I unfollowed. I figure I'm doing both of us a favor.The day after I see that he called me out on it, so I just asked him what's the point, you look like a douche and I got blocked. He still never answered my question. I don't know if he expected me to refollow him after he called me out, but oh well.

3. Use the DM Option Sparingly

To me, a direct message is like a voicemail. I hate checking both and I usually only check them just to get the annoying icon off my phone. I understand some things have to be DMed, and I'm not going to hate on people for that but auto DMs serve no no purpose. I've never gone to a site or Facebook page because of a DM.

4. Try to use proper spelling and grammar

I know its just twitter, but at least try. Its just twitter, but this is a social network where you are judged on how you write. At least make a token attempt to spell/use grammar. I'm not going to be too hard on you for typing "u" instead of "you" or messing up (there/their/they're or you're/your) and I understand trying to fit something in 140 characters, something is gonna give. But no joke, I once got this tweet. "now ff'ing yu. Kindly ff bak swits" Ummm.... You broke rule number 1 and you spelled 2 words correctly in your tweet. Go away. Its kind of funny cause she blocked me too. Whats the point of blocking someone who doesnt want to follow you 

5. Reserve block button only for harassing tweeters

I try not to use the block button, I only use it when I suspect someone of being a spam account. I've only blocked somebody once because of content. It was one of those twitter accounts that randomly tweet their mixtapes out at random people and they got mad when I said I wouldn't listen. I regret not coming back with something insulting and clever. Nowadays you can call me a cunt and a jap I won't block you (yes this actually happened)

Redsox reporter, and former Orioles reporter (I'm not going to mention her by name because she will probably sue me for defamation of character or she will tweet, whine and complain about me, but there is enough clues to figure out who it is) recently blocked me. I never had a problem with her,even though it seemed as if half of Baltimore did. Last week, her parody account got shut down so I tweeted "The (Parody account) is gone? I never got a chance to say goodbye." She doesn't follow me so the only way she could have seen what I tweeted is if she was actively searching tweets to the parody account. And I didn't tweet anything insulting or rude. She tweeted me "Wow you turned into a dbag huh?" And then she blocked me. I tweeted a non rude fact about a public figure and I get blocked? Makes me think she's crazy

6. Foursquare is an awesome tool, but we don't need to know about your metro stop or other mundane check-ins
I use foursquare, and I love it but save the send to twitter option in foursquare for interesting check-ins. Like to bars, restaurants, theater events or sporting events. No one really cares about what metro stop you're at or the fact that you're shopping for groceries.

 7. Do not ask me to listen to your podcast or mixtape if I don't know you

Haven't gotten a request in a while, but when I did, it was pretty annoying having random people tweet their mixtape/podcast at me. If I don't know you, I don't care about your mixtape/podcast (unless its sports related)

8. If you don't like my tweets, unfollow

This one is a biggie, and even I have trouble adhering to it. Certain twitter accounts were created with a niche market (even mine). I won't be mad if you decide to unfollow me because of something I said, but if you're going to be one of those people who mention their disdain when I tweet certain words or tweet about certain subjects, you're better off dealing with it or just unfollowing. I will not be offended. It's my twitter account, I created it to express myself, not to entertain you.

9. Do not steal tweets

Self explanatory. Be creative, and come up with your own tweets. If you can't just hit the RT button.

10. Remember this is a social website. Be merry and talk with fellow tweeters & make real life friends

Twitter is the only social media site where you actually go out of your way to meet strangers. Facebook was pretty much created to reunite with old friends and Myspace was created to see who could have the coolest wallpaper or background song. I never went out of my way to meet someone I know from those sites, well maybe one person, but I digress.. My point, it's kind of fun going to tweet-ups and meeting people you know solely from twitter.