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.