Monday, June 20, 2016

OOooooo . . . What a Weekend

It took until June 17th; but I finally made it to the ballpark.  I skipped on work at 3:00 pm Friday, and drove up to Baltimore to the Hilton next to the ballpark, arriving just after 5:00.  Gotta love D.C. traffic.  I decided to use the "Digital Key" function on the HiltonHonors App for this trip, and it worked out pretty well.  You can basically pick out your room ahead of time and, when it's ready, the hotel sends you a "digital key" to your phone.  When you arrive, you go straight to your room and, standing in front of the door, press the "open" button on the App, and the door magically opens.  Pretty cool technology.  It allows you to avoid waiting in lines, dealing with a person, and having to keep track of a key card.
After unpacking, I walked across the street to the Yard and settled in for Game 1 of the series against the Jays.  It was a great night for a ballgame:
Mike Wright was on the mound for the O's.  24 hours later he had earned a well-deserved one-way bus ticket headed for Triple A.   The game was over by the middle of the third inning.  And this resulted in P3 making an extended visit to the Warehouse Pub where beer flows frequently and with longevity . . . well past the standard 7th inning stretch cut-off that governs the rest of the stadium concessions.
I woke up Saturday feeling . . . less than delightful.  Water and coffee failed to revive.  My only hope of bouncing back before the 4:05 first pitch was my fail-proof hangover remedy --  exercise.  Now, this always works; but it's not pleasant.  If your pain and illness is a 6 out of 10, expect this remedy to ratchet it up to an 8 or 9 before the cure kicks in.  I began around 1:00 pm.  I could barely bend down to tie my sneakers; it was a process.  Then, out onto the streets . . . starting slow . . . dodging tourists . . . waiting on downtown traffic lights . . . 13 minutes in, I had reached the 1 mile mark on the east side of the Harbor . . . the less touristy side of the city.  Head pounding just a bit less.  From there, the streets opened up, the blood flowed, and my pace hastened . . . mile 2 through the Fells Point neighborhood went uninterrupted by traffic and took a more reasonable 9:15 . . . by mile 3, which touched on the Canton neighborhood before heading back towards downtown, the pace was down to 8:30 and I was feeling good.    I reached the hotel just at 5 miles, and was ready for baseball.
I was back in the Club Level for game two - R.A. Dickey against Gallardo. 
The O's held on in the 9th to even the series.  I headed back to the hotel to charge my phone before dinner (one downside to the digital key is that you sort of need a working, charged, phone when you get back to the hotel late at night . . .).  I walked over to Mortons over at the Sheraton, arriving around 8:30.  Mark, a fantastic bartender was on duty.  It had been close to a year since I last saw him, but without skipping a beat, I was sitting in front of a glass of Primal Cut Cabernet.  And, the Mets game was on.  #winning.  Sadly, however, the Mets did not win.  In fact, they basically did everything in their power to avoid winning . . . snatching defeat from the preverbal jaws of victory . . . which led to a Pete P. Peters Twitter rant on the @Mets page. When I awoke the next morning, I had second thoughts; perhaps some of the tweets had gone to far.  Make no mistake -- I was angry.  But, I didn't really hope that Curtis Granderson skinned his knee and fell into a puddle of HIV . . .
Anyway . . . back in the hotel room after dinner, Oriole Park presented quite a sight:

I sat at the window for probably an hour, just watching the stadium crews doing their thing which, at 1:00 am after a game, meant power-washing each section of the stadium (in case you've ever wondered where all those peanut shells go!).  In fact, it was amazing to see the amount of activity that goes on at a ball park over the course of a weekend.  There's pregame BP and other activities, of course.  But there's more.  Saturday, for instance, when I got up at 9:00am, the entire O's pitching staff was on the field working on pick-off moves for a half hour . . .  Perhaps I'm just a nerd for baseball; but I found it all interesting.
Sunday I got up earlier than I otherwise would have preferred in order to shake off the cobwebs and get ready for an 11:00 work call, which I took from the lobby of the Hilton.  Then I checked out, and drove my car over the Horseshoe Casino a mile away, to enable a swift escape from the downtown area after the ball game.  Walking from the casino to the Yard, at just before noon, I almost saw a dude die . . .
He was walking a block or so ahead of me wearing a bright orange O's jersey.  There are train tracks separating the Casino and M&T Bank Stadium (where the Raven's play).  Every once in a while, the CSX Train comes by . . . for, like, 15 minutes.  This was one of those occasions.  When I approached the tracks, the guy was leaning against the side of a building adjacent from the tracks.  His jersey was totally unbuttoned.  And he was drinking from a red solo cup.  He was clearly hammered.  Perhaps he had been at the casino all night?  Who knows.  And, there were a few older people on the other side of the street, who were also walking to the game and waiting for the train to pass.  And there were a handful of cars lined up at the crossing . . . waiting.   The train was a standard csx . . . long; obviously.  And hauling a variety of cars.  Every now and then, an empty flat bed car would pass.  If you can't picture it, this is what I'm referring to:

So, after 5 minutes or so, drunk dude starts into a trot, heading towards the tracks, as another flatbed car approaches.  It takes my brain a second to comprehend that this idiot is going to try and hop the MOVING fright train.  I don't need to see anyone die on a Sunday morning walk to the ballpark.  Particularly not when I'm the closest person to the wreck.  But here this fucktard goes . . . He picks up speed . . . sizes up the car . . . and makes a leap.  SMACK.  He does not make it.  While I was half turning away from the scene, it appeared as though he did not jump high enough, and maybe caught his shins on the side of the platform.  In any event, he "luckily" feel directly backwards, landing on his back, and NOT underneath the train.  The older couple on the other side of the street let out a high-pitched shriek.   A woman in one of the cars watched . . . mouth agape . . . Dude, still on the ground, yells something about how he would have made it if he hadn't of tried to "save his solo cup."  Dude gets up, dusts himself off, and retreats a bit from the tracks.  But then, a few brief moments later, another flatbed car approaches, and he prepares TO TRY AGAIN.  I Can't. Fucken. Look.  This is not how I want to start a relaxing Sunday of baseball.  I actually start walking the other direction back towards the casino . . . like, in case he misses again and gets a leg severed, maybe someone else will respond to him first if I'm not facing that direction.  Ears open; I don't hear any screams of horror.  A few moments later, I turn and look back.  Dude appears on the other side of the tracks.  Unharmed.  Who knows . . . I guess he was an important guy and had places to be on a Sunday morning.  Perhaps he did not want to miss noon church service.  In any event, I'd be lying if I didn't admit the entire incident rattled me.  I don't like blood and such.  And, if someone wants to kill themselves, I'd prefer they do it when I'm not around.  This had all the makings of a disaster.  Fortunately, this clown beat the laws of Darwinism on a sunny Sunday morning.
Field level for game three of the series -- a decent match up (in theory) between Marcus Strohman and Chris Tillman:

A pitchers duel was not, however, on the menu as Strohman lasted his shortest outing of the year; and Tillman was just barely better.  It was nice to see the O's bounce back from last weekend's drubbing in Toronto.  Given how bad the Mets look, it's nice to be able to root for a winner.
Next weekend, the Rays are in town for a 4-game series (playing two Saturday).  As of now, I plan on heading back to catch Saturday night's and Sunday's games. #Bases

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Vegas Post Script

Perhaps nine days of drinking and gambling has taken its toll.  I woke up this morning to find several emails from Southwest indicating the departure time for my flight home had been changed.  For some reason, I thought it was leaving an hour-and-a-half sooner.  Yes, in retrospect, this does not make much sense.  So, I hauled ass to the airport.  Of course, upon check in, I realized that my flight was delayed . . . and I had a solid 4.5 hours to kill.  Good times.

Not sure what to say about this trip.  It was nice to get away from the office for a week.  And, apparently, the weather in Florida sort of sucked the past ten days . . . so that trip would have sucked . . .  On the bright side, it was good to catch up with Coach again, whom I hadn't seen in several years. And dinner with Ms. AC and ggrouchie was solid.   But over all, the week just sort of dragged.  I'm waiting on my MLIFE Tier Credits to balance out from my room charges and, assuming I've hit the 200,000 needed for Platinum, I don't anticipate retiring to Vegas this year (if I fell short, I'll likely come back for a quick weekend over 4th of July). 

I ended the trip down $1,800, which is a fairly decent result, given the amount of mashing I did.  I hit a few big hands over the course of the week, including flopping quads three times on 50/100 hand machines.  This was the best hit:

I played  total of 10 hours of cash, including three sessions at the Excal, which is sort of my current favorite room.  The game was a bit nuts at times.  Friday night, there was a ton of cash on the table and loads of reckless play.  One guy kept going "all in" every other hand, and was winning and losing chips by the hundreds.  Perhaps the hand of the night did not even involve him.  Dude UTG open shoves $675.  UTG+1, who has him covered, calls blind.  They flip -- Q5 against Q6 . . . A five on the flop took down a $1,300 pot.  Pretty crazy.  I ended up dropping $200 my final session Saturday afternoon when I over played KQ suited.  I opened to 12 and a decent Euro r-raised to $25.  I should have folded; but I called . . . and saw a Q high flop.  Euro led for $35, and I raised to $105.  He shoved.  I had about $55 behind, but found a pretty easy fold . . . . Served me right for calling a three bet with the kind of hand that's not likely to crack a big pair.

I had a few decent dinners over the course of the week, including filets at BLT, Gordon Ramsey and Strip Steak:

I also spent a few relaxing days at the pool, kicking back some Coronas and working on the tan:

There are worse ways to spend a week. But there are a lot better too.  I'll be looking to find a better option for the August vacation.

Friday, June 10, 2016

PHamous Friday Night

I played my first tournament of the year tonight -- the 7:00 pm, $100 deepstack at the PH.  10,000 chips, 30 minute levels, blinds starting at 50/100.  I did so well I'm back in my room at Signature blogging about it before 10:00 pm....

I found myself in the BB first hand.  An open to 250; SB calls. I look down at QQ and raise to 1,100.  Fold. Fold.  It was the only hand I won all night.

I had a few decent hands.  I flatted a 600 raise at 100/200 with 99, and got bet off the on the flop when 3 over cards hit.

A while later I flatted 600 with AK in position.  I thought about 3-betting, but opted to see the flop heads up.  Flop was Q high.  Guy led for $600, and I raised to 1,800.  Guy shoved about 3500 more.  I Fold.

The death-hand occurred at 100/200.  I had about 6,800 to start the hand.  A(c) J(c).  I open to 600 and get a call.  Flop is T(c) 8(h) 2(c).  I bet 800; dude raises to 1,800.  I call.  Turn bricks.  Guy checks again.  I have 4,400 left.  I decide to shove.  Guy tanks . . . calls with a T . . . River blanks and I'm done.  

Tomorrow is my last day in town. I'm pretty much ready to leave.  In fact, this morning, I tried to move my flight home up to tomorrow, but it would have cost another $400; so, I'm sticking around until Sunday.  I mentioned before that Vegas lost its luster to me at some point during my nearly two months in town last fall.  My short visit in February was fun.  But, being here for a week-plus this trip just feels like a grind.  It's been 100+ degrees everyday, making it difficult to spend more than an hour or so at the pool.  And its simply unpleasant to spend any time outside.  I've actually had fun mashing VP; but I've reached the point that the drunk idiots roaming the casino every night are getting on my nerves.  Last night I stopped by Whiskey Down for a glass of Cabernet after a brief poker session at The Excal.  I paid for it, because they refuse to comp cabernet, even though I'm mashing bar top VP...  It's like 1:30 am.  I simply want to chill with a decent wine, and plays some VP.  But I've got some drunk muscle head next to me basically pushing me out of the way of the machine. He's simply oblivious that I'm there playing.  He leaves, and some woman who's even drunker takes his spot.  She tries to talk to me, but she's so drunk I can't understand a word.  Not that I had any interest in hearing what she had to say (she was, um, NOT hot).  Then she actually grabs my ass and starts cackling like a lunatic.  I cash out immediately and leave.   Perhaps I'm just too old for this town . . .