That would be Los Angeles, just so you know. I know back in the day when I used to travel all the time I would just fill up the hotel room sink with a bunch of beer and ice, drink it all, and just blog like crazy. I would like you to know that I've grown up from those days - the beer is in the fridge.
- I was at the Dodger game tonight (more on that later) and I opened up Twitter on my phone to tell everyone how cool I am for being at Dodger Stadium and what do I see? J.P. Macura committed to Xavier. Shit. Everything Pitino has been doing with recruiting has been impressive so far with getting on so many top 5 and top 3 lists for a whole bunch of really good prospects, but none of that matters if nobody actually, you know, signs on to become a Gopher. Right or wrong (actually obviously wrong) Macura was the one everybody just kind of assumed would be a Gopher.
He was a Minnesota kid, and although he was highly regarded (#104 according to Rivals) he wasn't so highly regarded that the big time programs would be after like with Rashad Vaughn, Tyus Jones, and Reid Travis (recently offered by Duke by the way - FML) and so the Gophers would have an edge despite the late start for Pitino in chasing him. There was also the perception, for some reason, that the other two schools in the hunt (Xavier and Creighton) were lesser programs and that also gave the Gophers a real good shot. Well, oops.
The new Big East is a pretty damn good hoops conference (Xavier, Creighton, DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St Johns, Seton Hall, Butler, and Villanova) with some pretty good history among those individual programs, not to mention between each other in the old Big East, so you can certainly see why Macura would be interested. Minnesota's enrollment is north of 50,000, while Xavier is just shy of 5,000, so if the kid wants smaller class sizes and student body (I have no idea if this was a factor) there's a dramatic difference. And it's not like J.P. didn't do his due dilligence, he unoffically visited the U like 5 times, but Xavier showed up to visit with him today and left with his verbal, so good on them.
There's no doubt that this sucks. Even though Macura wasn't the highest rated player Pitino has worked to have a shot with, he was the most likely to become a Gopher, or so we thought. Those who are talking themselves into the fact that Macura didn't commit to Minnesota because he's worried Pitino will recruit over him with a higher rated wing (hi gopherhole) are just chasing unicorns (along with those thinking oh well he wasn't a program changer anyway or Pitino is after bigger fish anyway). Although I remain confident, there is nothing really to be confident about and that's the honest truth.
Some fans are panicking. Some are almost absurdly confident. The truth, as usual, is somewhere in the middle. There's no doubt Pitino has made some serious recruiting inroads, and the Gophers remain very much in the game for some very good players. The most important right now is probably Lourawls Nairn, ranked #61 by Rivals who has narrowed his list to the Gophers, Oklahoma, and Indiana. If Pitino can ink him we can all throw a party with sombreros and pie and move on with confidence. There are still a handful of others who could make us all feel warm and happy (Isaiah Whitehead, Paul White, Josh Martin) as well as the remaining three Minnesota kids, but recruits are committing all over the place right now and I would feel much, much better if the Gophers could sign one of them. Any one.
- We went to the Dodger game tonight which was cool. It was supposed to be the whole group of 20 or so who are out here for this work thing, but everything fell apart and it was just me and one co-worker. We cabbed it out there (nearly an hour, stupid LA traffic) and as we're getting out of the cab I say, "You brought your ticket right?" because I had purchased them (corporate card, of course) and printed his out and gave it to him before we left Minnesota. He says, "oh shit no, it's in my laptop bag." I chuckled because of course I assume he's kidding. He wasn't, and he's like, what do we do now?
Luckily I'm like Jason Bourne and quick on my feet, so I'm like "boom smartphone" and pull up the ticket and we should be good to go. Well the 100-year old man at the gate is like, "no, you have to have a printed ticket" and I ask if there's anywhere to print them here assuming he'll say no and we're shit out of luck. Fortunately, however, he says we can go to Lot G where they actually have Stubhub ticket booths to print tickets. Nice. We walk halfway around the stadium and get the ticket printed and we're good to go.
Then we get in and I look where we are and we are walking in by section 52. Our tickets are section 53. This is working out well. We look around, however, and can't find 53. So we ask the usher dude who kind of chuckles and says, "you're on the wrong side of the stadium guys." Turns out the even sections are on one side of the stadium and the odd are on the other. We walked in by the right field foul pole and our seats are by the left field foul pole only we can't get there going through the outfield sections and have to pretty much walk all the way around the stadium. So at least we got to see pretty much all of it, which was nice.
- Dodger Stadium was really nice, and you'd never know it was built in 1962 and is the third oldest major league ballpark still in use behind Fenway, which is a dump, and Wrigley, which I'm ashamed to admit I still haven't been to. It's got that thing all the newer ballparks have where you can see the game from the concourse no matter where you are (which came in handy tonight) and was just a real nice, pleasant field. We had seats right by the Dodger bullpen in the third row in left field and I never had a ball hit anywhere near me. Still have never caught a ball at a major league game which seems ridiculous considering how many games I've been to in my life. Stupid probability.
- Juan Uribe hit 3 home runs which was pretty cool because I can't recall ever being at a game where somebody hit 3 home runs. You know how many homers he hit last season? Two. The year before that? Four. So this was the rarest of rare occurrences and I think it makes me pretty awesome.
- There were way more non-white people there than at Target Field. Like way more.
- Carlos Marmol throws really, really hard. That's not breaking news, but we were right next to the Dodger bullpen and a bunch of guys warmed up and you could hear the catcher's mitt pop but when Marmol got up it was a whole different sound - like when he first aired it out everyone in the section's head just jerked in that direction to see what was going on. Of course, he has no idea where he's throwing it, but he has no idea where he's throwing it pretty fast.
- Dodger Stadium is pretty spendy. I got what they're famous for - a Dodger Dog (good as advertised) and garlic fries (not nearly as good as I expected) plus a domestic light beer and the total was $24. I guess it's pretty stupid to continue to get surprised by stadium/airport/movie theater/hotel prices, but I've never said I'm not stupid.
- Speaking of that, this hotel I'm at might be the fanciest I've ever stayed in, and I've stayed at the Cornhusker Inn in Lincoln, NE. And a water costs $4. I'm not talking some fancy water from the mini-bar either, just regular old bottled water. The mini-bar water is $7.50, as is a bag of chips that would normally cost 99 cents. Snickers? $5. I know, I know, I sound like a cranky old man. I kind of want to kick my own ass right now. Let's just move on.
- This cars.com commercial with James van der Beek is easily the greatest commercial ever. In case you haven't seen it:
- I finally started watching Breaking Bad, and let me tell you that the hype is totally valid. It's so awesome. I think I've been watching for two weeks and I'm already up to Season 5, Episode 6. I can't describe it, it's seriously amazing. Every time you think you know where they're going, they go somewhere else and every episode is good. My favorite shows have been the first 3 seasons of Lost and Game of Thrones, and I think Breaking Bad might be better than either. We'll see how they wrap it up here in a couple of weeks, but if you can get to it, start watching it. DO IT.
- That's all I guess. See you tomorrow.