Two weeks off is a long time, but it sure doesn’t feel like it when you spend that time cavorting around Europe, not getting much sleep and thrice getting up before 3 a.m. to catch travel connections. Here’s a quick rundown, and thanks to all who took the time to e-mail me suggestions.
London: Looks pretty. I didn’t see much except for the 40 minute bus ride from Gatwick to Heathrow. A ride I would never have had to take if US Airways hadn’t delayed my flight out of Philadelphia by 3.5 hours causing me to miss my connection in London to Hungary. US Airways has offered me no compensation for this. On that note, any lawyers out there want to me help me get the 120 euros owed to me by SpanAIR, which has so far been delinquent in reimbursing me for over a year now?
Budapest: Decent amount of stuff to see/do in the city, but, and maybe this was the timing, where were all the people? The city of 2 million people felt like it had a fraction of the people in my hometown of 30,000. Half the restaurants/bas/shops seemed/were closed. The whole city just seemed dead. Great wine though.
Warsaw: Much nicer than anticipated. Kudos on the completely rebuilt old town which lends a lot to the city. I’ll be going back.
Krakow: Same as above, though better because I had high expectations (unlike Warsaw) and those were exceeded. Krakow is great. In five years, it could be what Prague is today.
Ljubljana: Great place to make two days seem like a week, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. The city has a lot going for it, but if it wants to get up to the Krakow potential level, I feel like it needs something closer akin to Krakow’s main square. On the plus side, the whole area reminds me very much of Seattle with moss on the trees, partly cloudy skies, snow capped peaks in the landscape, some spitting, off-and-on rain and chill people, so big kudos for that.
Venice: You gotta go, and you gotta go back a few times in order to see everything. One of those places you just have to go to. That being said, once you’ve seen everything, there’s very little else to do. It’s not a city where I would list its nightlife or value as attractions. Hey, if you’ve got the money to blow, by all means hang out in Venice, but if you’re going for Italian culture, go somewhere else. Venice strikes me as Italy’s Las Vegas if you squint really hard.
So that was that. Suggestions on where to go next? Let me hear them. I love all things travel.
On Field Coaches Are Worthy of Talking About – Dan Fox and Neal Williams go way way in depth looking at on field coaches and try to quantify them.
No, Really, Take Your Time – Scott Podsednik is ahead of schedule in his return from injury. Given his production level and Ozzie Guillen‘s overconfidence in Podsednik, maybe it would be better for the White Sox if Scott slowed down the rehab a bit.
A Problem in the Inner City – Blacks in baseball have been on a steep decline since the 1970s and it’s an issue that needs to be seriously looked at. The hyper emergence of football and basketball are not the only causes. More needs to be done to address this problem.
Savor Every Moment – You never know when something will slip out of your grasp. I sure hope Mark Prior relished the entirety of his 2003 campaign because there’s been little else to feel good about on the baseball diamond since and now the latest setback, he’s not going to begin the season in the rotation.
Synonymous – Baseball is a game that melds perfectly for the radio, unlike almost all other sports. From that tradition, we get the loyalty felt to those announcers who are good enough to stick around for a long time. Their voices become synonymous with baseball for us and it’s hard to imagine a season without them. Dave Niehaus has been with the Mariners since their inception in 1977 and has called all but 77 of their 4,675 games.
The Royals Examined – A rather in-depth look into the Royals’ 2007 roster. They certainly have some hitting talent but, much like that Nationals, where is the pitching going to come from? Gil Meche is the answer to the wrong questions.
Rose Still Delusional – Pete Rose claims it would be good for baseball to reinstate him because it would please the fans. I don’t know, how do you all feel about Rose? Should he be allowed back into baseball?
Nats Newest New Stadium Feature – So the new stadium for the Nationals is going to house some cherry trees behind the leftfield bleachers. “We couldn’t find another ballpark that had trees in the ballpark,” team president Stan Kasten said. Hey Stan, you know what else no ballpark has? Mounds of dead plague-carrying rats. That would be like totally unique. Wait, what’s that you say? “You see those [trees],” Kasten said, “And you know you’re either in D.C. or Japan.” Or Seattle, or Provence, or Young in New South Wales for crying out loud. Cherry trees grow nearly everywhere. I’m not saying I don’t like the idea, I do. But why the pretense? Why not just say they’re pretty? Boring facts beat semi-interesting lies.
Just Say No to Willie – Every once in awhile (okay, way more often than that) it seems like sportswriters local or national latch onto some idea, like the 2005 White Sox being a small ball team, and just repeat it ad infineum without a shred of evidence to back it up. Willie Bloomquist is a terrible hitter by major league standards. He deserves no part of a starting job. He doesn’t even deserve to be mentioned as a possible part of a platoon. Just stop it, writers.
Today at THT
Five Questions: Detroit Tigers – The defending American League champs?
Five Questions: Texas Rangers – Adam looks at this year’s Rangers.
What’s the Deal With Mark Redman? – The 2006 All-Star finally has a job. Jeff wonders why it took so long and tries to figure out whether he deserves it.
Managerial Aging Patterns – What can historical data about teams over and underperforming their talent tell us about managers?
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And one last time, GO QUAKERS