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Archive for June, 2008

Kansas City, Arlington, Houston.

Seven days, three-ball parks, four guys.

Plane, rental car, 798 mile road trip.

For any avid baseball fan or those who love the open road, this trip is for you. It’s certainly for me. The annual baseball trip – thanks to my father-in-law and his two late-teenage sons – is actually my second tour of duty in the last three years. My first year (fifth overall for the Lacter men – Barry, Alex and Austin) began in Cleveland before moving on to Pittsburgh for the 2006 MLB All-Star Game.

Classic. I was a rookie then. Am told I won’t have to carry all the bags this time around but we’ll see how that goes.

Actually looking forward to the stops in Kansas City and Houston myself: we’ll be making a much anticipated visit to the Negro League Baseball Museum in KC which I’m absolutely amped for (spoke with a former Negro League player over the phone this past weekend who raved endlessly about the joint), and the Astros play my Boston Red Sox (no bandwagon here, Sawx fan since ’86) on the last stop of the baseball strip.

Still waiting to see who’s on the hill….hoping for Dice K. But I’ll settle for Josh Beckett.

More than a week on the road also means a writing hiatus. Can’t remember the last time I had one of those. Yes I can. Last July; packed up our 600 square-foot Manhattan apartment and drove 3000 miles in a 16-foot Penske to Portland via Nebraska with a buddy in three days. It was very Jack Kerouac, minus the drugs and dysentery. But even then – basically days before I waved good-bye to New York – I covered the NBA Draft at Madison Square Garden, with the Portland Trail Blazers selecting Greg Oden with the first overall selection. Just feet away when David Stern made the announcement and Oden strolled across the stage sans the janky knee.

It was my last hoorah at the Garden. It was a good way to go out. This year though, I’ll be taking in the draft from the friendly confines of an Oklahoma City hotel room, one of the several planned stops on this incredible journey. So, no deadlines for this writer, just a phone call or two to wish Blazers General Manager Kevin Pritchard good luck and to Tommy Beer who will be covering the event for HOOPSWORLD on Thursday at MSG. Still have to get the scoop.

As for Portland and the draft?

Expect the Blazers to be busy as usual. I will say this about Pritchard: if thirty NBA GM’s sat around a table playing a couple hands of highstakes poker, I’d bank on KP to stack chips every time out. Phil Hellmuth has nothing on him. The Portland roster I know today will not be the same roster that welcomes me back in a week. Call it a hunch.

As for me?

It’s time to re-charge. Sure, I’ll journal and maybe work on some edits for the manuscript – 45 pages and counting – but the Dell Inspiron-E1405 is not making the trek. I’m leaving the beat behind. But you know I’ll be catching up on some reading. Time to brush some dust off my stack of dust jackets.

I will see you in a week with some stories….and hopefully a foul ball.

 

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Well Said….

“There comes a time in a man’s life when to get where he has to go – if there are no doors or windows he walks through a wall.” – Bernard Malamud

 

 

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In New Jersey

Here’s the latest from HOOPSWORLD, my take today on the endless rumor mill spinning around the New Jersey Nets. I’ll tell you this: it may be hard to tell who is coming to New Jersey this summer, but it’s a no-brainer as to who is not coming to the Nets.

I know what you are thinking: what is a guy who lives in Portland and covers the Blazers doing writing about the Nets? Easy. My opinion on the NBA is boundless and without borders, and that is the beautiful thing about writing for HOOPSWORLD.

It’s a well-paved avenue if you avoid the bumps and drive it right.

Besides, after cutting my teeth in New Jersey covering the Nets – and rubbing elbows with Jay Z and Beyonce’ along the way -I tend to keep my ears open to what is going on in East Rutherford, which of late swings between rebuilding and holding on to hope for a team I watched go at it in the playoffs two straight seasons (2006-’07).

Plus, after all the half-hour bus rides ( sometimes standing) I took from Port Authority in mid-town Manhattan to East Rutherford, New Jersey to cover games, it’s hard not to keep tabs and have a take or two on what’s going on.

Actually the picture above says a lot right now. Not only did I get this opposite view from seven rows back in press row (see that second receeding hairline over Richard Jefferson’s shoulder? that’s mine) as the Nets and LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers battled in the second round of the ’07 playoffs at then-Continental Airlines Arena, but Jefferson (that’s him on the right) may be trying to avoid eye-contact with his days in Jersey perhaps coming to an end.

R.J.’s a good guy though, so I hope he stays. Never had great talks with him while on the Nets beat – save for his typical postgame banter while Vince Carter and then-Nets point guard Jason Kidd worked the media podium. But this last season in Portland when New Jersey came to town, I made it a point to talk up Jefferson. It was good to catch-up.

Not only is he open and straight real about himself, his job and the life of the NBA, but being in a smaller market like Portland like I am, it affords writers to get to know guys who are usually swarmed by media moshpits in New York and New Jersey.

Good luck R.J.

Hard to tell what the future holds in New Jersey.

 

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Slowly but surely.

That pretty much sums up my evolution into the blogosphere….procrastination aside, starting a blog is truly a chance for me to stage a place for my work. Or I should say one place for all my work.

Between writing for HOOPSWORLD – nearing my fifth year covering the NBA; Associated Content.com – where I often run an on-going interview series on other writers and authors; and of late contributing to a montly paper in Northwest Portland – The Northwest Examiner – I’ve at times found myself eager to keep track of it all (double click links below for my easy reading access), especially now with my current baseball writing endeavor underway which I’ll detail later (stay tuned).

Thankfully WordPress is here to help keep it all straight. 

Hopefully.

Consider this my standing resume’, complete with writing updates and insight, links from the beat and a trip to the bookshelf every now and again.   

So with this, my official first post, I want to say thank you. Thank you to those who read and write often, both friends and other writers. Thank you for putting up with the weekly Facebook story links and shameless plugs by way of Hotmail. And of course a big thank you to Emily and Piper for being so supportive while I type the day and night away.

Thank you…..

The Goods: 

Story archive at HOOPSWORLD

The scoop over at Associated Content.com

The Northwest Examiner – hopfully fading from PDF format soon – until then, enjoy “The 1946 Rosebuds: Black Baseball Team All But Forgotten”.

The story starts at the bottom of Page 1….

And continues here on pages 28 and 29

 

Some Shameless Plugs:

NBA.com….Newsday….Oregonlive….BlazersEdge….TrueHoop….RealGM….Deadspin….

The Columbian….The Big Lead….BallHype….ExpressNews….

SportsAgentBlog.com….NetsDaily….Collegehoops.net….StartingFive….

The Southern….ClubBlazers….3 Shades of Blue….YardBarker….MVN

 

 

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