Friday Night in Baltimore
Friday, July 13, 2007
Observations From Baltimore
Sorry to disappear since the break. I came with the team to Baltimore and have had meetings in Washington, DC yesterday and today.
Some random thoughts and observations as two left-handers race through tonight’s game …
After riding the train back and forth the last two days, I realize I am not cut out to be a commuter.
I was surprised by how many players were on the flight out Wednesday night.
Ozzie was hilarious today before the game in describing his travel nightmares yesterday.
"I turned to Joey in the ninth inning and told him, ‘If this day ends the way mine started, we are all in trouble,’" Guillen laughed.
Originally scheduled to fly with Cora commercially, Guillen and his family instead opted to take a private jet with Javier Vazquez. One plane didn’t work. The second started down the runway, before the pilots aborted the takeoff. A third plane had to be flown in from Orlando to Miami to eventually get the manager to Baltimore for the game, arriving about an hour before game time.
Ozzie said he’s making Vazquez pay the fine for missing the mandatory team workout.
The hotel here in Baltimore brings back great memories (my only complaint is that depanding on where your room is located, it can be like a 1/2 mile walk to the elevator). Anyway, my very first trip with the Sox came in 1991 and Wilson Alvarez tossed his famous no-hitter. It also was my first wedding anniversary, so rather than a nice dinner on the town that night, my wife and I stayed in my room eating room service as I answered call after call from Venezuelan media.
Anyway, I always loved this ballpark and think of Baltimore as a great baseball town. Despite a decade or so of .500 or below baseball, fans still turn out in decent numbers to support their O’s.
Nice to see the ovation for Harold Baines at each game. Well deserved.
Prior to tonight’s game, someone asked Mark Buehrle, "Do you have nine in you tonight?"
I spent today having lunch with a great, great White Sox fan. Kevin Sullivan, aka Sully, is the Director of Communications at the White House. He invited me up for lunch and a tour of the newly renovated media space (no truth to the rumor that they considered moving the media to right field).
We dined in the White House mess, called that because it is staffed by the Navy (but think fine dining hall) and we spent an hour comparing our jobs and our days. If I ever think I’m busy, I just need to call Kevin …
"You prioritize," he said. "I always ask myself is this the most important thing I can be doing right now?"
"Well, I’m sure you’ve got better things to do than have lunch with me," I responded.
After lunch, he walked me down through the media areas, stopping by Tony Snow’s office (multiple televisions running, local times of the world’s major cities on the wall), rounded desk. Then we snuck into the back of the briefing room to listen and watch Snow’s daily meeting with the media. The room is tiny and the press work area is tight. Cameras and reporters were literally elbow to elbow.
Kevin, an Evergreen Park native, Marist and Purdue grad, dropped me off to head into a meeting with President Bush and select national columnists.
Thirteen members of our travel party woke up early this morning and headed out for a private tour, arranged by Ed Farmer, of Air Force 1. Reviews were that our group was duly impressed by the size and scope of the operation.
"It is like an entire house," said one member. "A giant, flying house."
"They didn’t let us see one level," said another. "You can only guess what they had on that level of the airplane."
"When he steps onto that plane, he is stepping into his office. And no one steps off that plane until the President is ready to de-plane."
My apologies to my six-year-old. I missed her first ever soccer victory last night on the fields of UIC. By the time I talked to her this morning, the excitement was gone.
But she might like those boxes of White House M&Ms that are headed home.