12:05 PM Eastern
So Monday morning I hopped in the ol’ Vista Cruiser with the family for what was supposed to be a fun-filled afternoon hop across the border to Buffalo, the intent being to hit the brand-spanking-new P.F. Chang’s for lunch, pick up “Just Dance” for the Wii for the girlies and grab a couple of pairs of those neat new Skechers walking-on-a-fulcrum shoes at massive American-type discounts.
A great plan in theory, but not so much in execution. As we drove up to the bumper-to-bumperness crossing the Peace Bridge on the way in to the U.S., it started to snow. By the time we got up to the customs official a half-hour later, you couldn’t see three feet in front of your face.
We sat at Chang’s lunching it up while watching nature’s fury pound the parking lot outside. The Mongol was spectacular, as always, though the Mandarin Chicken wasn’t nearly as good as I’d hoped. The lesson? Never order anything new. Anyway, another notch in the Chang’s-across-America tour. I’ve now hit them in Tampa, Orlando, Miami, Scottsdale, Nashville, Indianapolis, Vegas, Boston, Pittsburgh, Rochester and Buffalo.
The lake-effect snow beat the hell out of the Queen City at that rate for, oh, about six hours. The Walden Galleria gradually got busier and busier with people pulling in to, as they said, “escape Armageddon”.
Eight to ten inches later, we realized that there was no way we were getting home, so I went down to the Apple Store, Pricelined a hotel room, and we hunkered down at the Buffalo Airport Holiday Inn for the night. Major props to Aaron K. at the Apple Store, by the way. He walked me through the MacBook stuff, let me use the laptop even though I had absolutely no intent of buying one, and then printed out my hotel confirmation. Thank you, sir.
The hotel was conveniently located next door to a Denny’s, so that worked for dinner AND breakfast (I don’t recommend the Pancake Puppies, unless you’re in the mood for a Tiny Tom’s/Timbit sort of combo thing, only greasier – they didn’t sit well, to say the least). Tuesday morning, though, the sun was out, the roads were clear, and the drive home was completely uneventful, as though nothing had happened the day before. By the time we crossed over into Queenston, it was as though there hadn’t even been a storm – probably because the wintry brimstone didn’t even reach there.
Damn lake effect.
So, why am I regaling you with the details of my trip? So that it’s now tax-deductible? Well, partially, but also because there’s really nothing happening in the world of baseball other than Jason Bay signing with the Mets and Mark DeRosa with the Giants.
Poor Jason Bay – he goes from what was a great situation for him in Boston to a far less great situation in Flushing and for just six million dollars (Aside – how sick is it that we can say “just six million dollars” as though it’s an insignificant amount of money, given that it’s more than most of us will make in our lives?). Bay’s representatives seriously misread the market, and now he winds up in a place in which he doesn’t want to be, in a ballpark that doesn’t suit his game at all, and all because his agent led him to believe that he could do far better than the $60 million over four years that the Red Sox offered him both at the all-star break and again this winter.
On the Blue Jays front, don’t expect Alex Anthopoulos to stop trying to wheel and/or deal just because he’s getting married on Saturday and heading off to honeymoon in Hawaii for ten days. He still has conversations going with free agents and with other G.M.’s on several fronts, and deals could very well be made over the next couple of weeks.
Those deals, however, will not involve Ramon Castro. It turns out that the power-hitting back-up catcher who everyone reported that the Blue Jays had signed earlier this month is still a free agent. The Jays never did sign him, despite getting involved in negotiations with him. I’m not sure how or why it fell through, or if it even got close enough to reach the point where one can even accurately say that it “fell through”, but it didn’t happen. Right now, John Buck is the Jays’ starting catcher, and Raul Chavez will be his back-up.
I have one more hosting gig before the New Year, it’ll be the New Year’s Eve Afternoon Spectacular (or some such) from 2:00 – 4:00 pm Eastern on the 31st. My big brother, the famous film critic, will be in for the first hour to talk movies, and in the second hour we’ll have Brandon Morrow (unless his cell phone fails him – he’s on vacation) and probably some cheesy ’80s trivia as well.
Today and tomorrow are your last chances to vote for Tom Cheek. The damn Facebook voting thing seems to reset itself every three days or so, so there’s no real way to know where Tom sits in the balloting, other than the fact that he’s definitely in first or second. Regardless, it’s a close race with Jacques Doucet. Yes, Tom will absolutely finish in the top three in the voting, and will be included on the final ballot for the Ford C. Frick Award for inclusion in the broadcasters’ wing of the Hall of Fame, but that wasn’t the point of this exercise. The point was to have him finish first by such a huge margin that his candidacy wouldn’t be able to be ignored any longer. I really do appreciate all those of you who have come out and voted, and I’m asking all of you again to really come out and blitz the voting over these last two days. There is none more deserving of your time and effort. Please go to www.facebook.com/baseballhall to cast your vote for Tom.
Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome.