Posted on: September 18, 2009 3:43 pm

In the (fuel) tank for nascar

Ok, technically it's the fuel cell but whatever.  And sorry for the parentheses. 
Again, not at all a cheap seat..  This time: Richmond International Raceway for the nascar race.  Enjoyed the final race prior to the race for the actual championship with the #29 pit crew in the actual pit box.  The actual pit box.  Like where the crew chief sits and the crew goes to work.  Words cannot do it justice.  The experience of being that close to cars traveling 180 mph, the eardrum-shattering decibel level of the cars as they raced their way down the track (though even under caution they're still crazy loud), and the ground shaking with Richter-scale-measurement like rattling was unlike any other.  TV does not do it justice.  And as an ardent nascar fan, there's nothing wrong with watching a race on TV; do it all the time.  That said, TV does not do it justice.  All the cars moving in concert with each other on TV can't convey the speed at which they move.  Not possible.  Sort of like when you watch a football game and you have no idea how big and fast football players are, or with the NBA and it's not at all easily discernible how tall they are. 
So that's just watching the race.  Never mind watching the pit stop.  The crew guys basically hang out during the race kind of like anyone does in between work at work.  They snack, text, make small talk with each other.  The mood changes 100% when they get the nod that it's pit stop time.  Everyone grabs their equipment like a bunch of synchronized pitters and poise expectantly along the wall.  That wall the only thing separating them from a previously 180 mph fast car to about 30 mph.  They hop over and go to work.  The most pressurized, don't-screw-this-up, fast-paced work possible.  It's like Jiffy Lube on steroids.  And can only take like 14 seconds.  (What was the least thing you did in 14 seconds?) Car leaves.  They hop back over the wall, put things away (do a strange old-tire-marking thing), exhale and go back to snacking, texting and making small talk with each other. And then wait to do it again.  Unbelievable.
ps racecar is the best palindrome

Category: D.C.
Posted on: September 3, 2009 7:57 pm

The (Almost) Most Wonderful Time of the Year

So there's the first official kick of college football, pre-season NFL games wrapping up meaning record-counting football starts straightaway, impending postseason baseball, Tiger Woods and elite fields playing a few golf tournaments this time of year, NASCAR's getting ready for it's shootout with a pair of semi-local races looming... 
This time of year just feels like football, college football and playoff baseball.  It's absolutely palpable, no?   
What would be the the most wonderful?  Football playoffs and the Superbowl?  March Madness?  Those events, while undeniably amazing, stand alone; and rightfully so. That said, there isn't a cornucopia of burgeoning sports stories and chases to follow in a variety of sport.  Plus, with the Superbowl there's the inevitable post-NFL season letdown knowing that you have to wait for what feels like forever until football comes back.  Sure it bumps up against Daytona (if you're into that kind of thing and quite obviously I am.)  March Madness, which never lacks for drama and finding clever ways of watching it at work is always fun, has the stage pretty much all to itself except for when it goes head to head with The Masters and the ramp-up of the NASCAR season.  
I digress... What also adds to this time of year is the sense of anticipation.  All 32 football teams have so much promise (even you, Detroit) and unpredictability.  The pundits tell you Team X will be the dark horse and maybe 8 weeks later they're an afterthought when some team that was an afterthought goes on a hot streak and makes a run and Team X has been hammered with injuries.  And then there's knowing what you're doing with the weekend.  Saturdays are for on-campus football, Sunday for the pro's.  I can't be alone in planning what games I'll be watching, where I'll be watching them and who I'll be watching them with.  While also figuring out how to wedge in NASCAR races and golf tournament.  (While a major apologist and avid fan of golf, I could completely do without the FedEx Cup.  I mean really, PGA?  Really?) 
Realizing there's been nary an NBA or NHL mention, no offense intended.  To be sure, I am a fan of both; they can be electric and are great to watch.  But it's more of an intuitive, nostalgia-inducing, anticipation-building feeling when trying to identify what season sports-wise is the most exciting. 
So, if this isn't the best sports time of the year...  what is? 

Category: D.C.
Posted on: August 7, 2009 2:39 pm

Shilling for the Nationals

No, not Curt Schilling for the Nationals.  Though that'd be something.  Hear he's done, though. 
Was invited courtesy of Nats staff to check out a game earlier this week and not gonna lie, it was pretty terrific.  My media dorkness on DEFCON 5, it was a hoot to hang out with DC sports glitterati like Phil Wood, Craig Heist and George Wallace.  Press box was lovely with an amount of food that would make any fan jealous.  (So maybe today's blog should be called The Free Seats?)  There's a $10 all you can eat policy in the press box.  Who knew? 
What also made the game thoroughly enjoyable was, well, the game.  Was August 5th, the middle game of a 3-game set against the Marlins.  Needless to say, expectations were low.  To my surprise, Nats bats were on fire with Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Dunn going yard on back to back homers in the first.  Yeah, in the first.  Also notable, Cristian Guzman fell a home run short of hitting for the cycle.  Pitching was effective if not unspectacular.  John Lannan threw for 6 allowed 8 hits and 2 runs.  Bullpen was didn't-blow-the-lead so that's always good, right?  (Reminder: LOW expectations) But then factor in that in the doing they matched their season-high 4-game win streak.  Lightly remarkable.
Crowd was into it, too.  On their feet in the final inning, even.  It's no Fenway electricity but impressive for the oft-maligned team, for sure.  Having been to the ballpark before for games (and admittedly once with much better, much more expensive seats), the park's underrated.  Antiseptic, yes.  Devoid of anything authentic to dc, absolutely.  But that doesn't mean it's not new clean, fun and (for lack of a better word) lovely with a great view.  Just needs something more.  More wins.  More fans.  More Steven Strasburg.  C'mon Scott Boras!

Category: D.C.
Posted on: July 30, 2009 8:36 pm

A smorgasbord of thoughts

But that's really what a blog is, right? 
Almost done with week 2 and 106.7 The Fan has not switched to a country music station.  Plus everyone's door card still works.
Then there's the rumor of new competition in the form of Mr. Tony's return to the airwaves.  Intrepid blogger Dan Steinberg confirms it over on the dc sports bog. 
Lavar Arrington is the ironman of highfivers.  Has not missed a post-sports update high five yet.  Sometimes there's a dance.  It's like when NBA players have really intricate pre-game introduction handshakes.  It is as fun as it sounds.  There was the old running man dance one day.  Today the classic miming of casting a fishing line.  Waiting on the sprinkler.  Or the grocery cart.
And how 'bout that opening of Redskins training camp today?  Highlights include Coach Zorn admitting he and Clinton Portis have had some communication issues (shocker) and that they're on the same page.  Now.  Coach Z Man reluctant to articulate how many carries/how much work ol' CP will get.  And wouldn't come full tilt on how much #26 will appear at camp.  Which probably means not a lot.
As for Portis himself, he cleared up that he's not gay and that no woman in the world thinks he is.  A blonder version of CP is the reason this was broached.  Or should I say Sheriff Gonna Getcha? Go here for the photo and pithy comments
Phillip Daniels was hilarious.  Cracked some jokes about not wanting to participate in the first drill since that's what cost him the season last season.  Said he'd prefer to go in on maybe the 8th play.  Teammate applause ensued after his injury-free drill completion.
As acting golf-dork-in-chief...  Tiger Woods off to an inauspicious start at the Buick Open following his early trunk-slamming at the British.  Not exactly setting the world on fire with his first round 1-under-par-71.  The leader?  9 under. Yikes.
And now this, just for fun

Category: D.C.
Posted on: July 28, 2009 1:46 pm

Pulling the curtain back...

So week one's in the books for the new dc sportsy talker 106.7 The Fan...  
The radio station neither broke nor flipped to smooth jazz today so that makes it a wholesale success. 

From the cheap seats, some of the "best of" moments from the first week...
Mike Wise's coup with getting Coach Joe Gibb on the debut broadcast*.  He was really proud of that. (*It should be mentioned that Gibbs is pretty much doing a radio world tour promoting an upcoming book.  You don't want to know all the other programs Gibbs was on. Sorry, Wise.)
Met Lavar Arrington for the first time.  That guy is a party in a box.
Chris "Slacks" Kinard does in fact wear slacks every day.  ZZ Top appreciates that.
Figuring out which Junkie is which takes a couple of days. 
Chris Cooley and his entourage were in-studio.  They brought a round of applause after sports updates.  And as such are welcome back any time. 
Who plays the best music coming in and out of breaks?  CJ does.  Pay attention. 
Apparently it takes a lot of people to run Lavar and Chad Dukes's show; they have an army of interns.
Bill Rohland's wardrobe consists solely of free George Mason clothing. 
Dukes mentioning my name at all means he's already paid more attention to me than in the entire year we worked together in Baltimore. 
Having a work space adjacent to the imaging director's means there's a constant barrage of "106.7 The Fan!!!!" jingles that permeate the brain and cause nightmares.
Lavar has not missed a post-sports update high five. 
Category: D.C.
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