Archive for the 'On The Road' Category

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One Hand Washes the Other

The local sports teams do a great job of supporting one another in this city.

At today’s Red Sox/Mariners game a whole ribbon board was devoted to “Beat L.A.” and other pro Celtics phrases (as pictured above). Why not feed the beast though right? Half the crowd was wearing green today anyway, so give them what they want.

In turn, the Celtics found some very good seats for members of the Patriots at Game 1 and with a day game today a lot of Red Sox are in the building. Mike Lowell is up in a suite, Sox owner John Henry is in row two and Curt Schilling and David Ortiz are courtside.

(Ortiz is sitting next to former Celtic Antoine Walker, who at one point dubbed himself “Employee #8″, one of the best all-time nicknames)

The Celtics also made a point to honor Red Sox pitcher and cancer survivor Jon Lester as part of their “Heroes Among Us” program.

Police Escort

The longest it’s taken me to get from hotel to arena entrance so far this trip is 20 minutes. I rode the T (Boston’s subway system) which drops off at North Station right under the arena.

The standard trip has been about 10 minutes in a cab.

Today’s trip took about 6 minutes even though we were in a bus. With the aide of a police escort and a bus driver that thought he was behind the wheel of a lambo you can really get some stuff done, even through the narrow streets of Boston.

Yes it was the same guy that wore the Celtics hat the other day, he got demoted from team duty to third bus family duty. Thank god he’s not responsible for any of the players or coaching staff getting to the game.

O’Brien Centerline

Much has been made about the refs ability to distinguish where the centerline is after a couple of questionable over and back calls in Game 1. The normal center stripe is obscured by the giant Larry O’Brien trophy sticker that is applied to the floor for the Finals.

As you can see above (and in the post from media day) the line stops at the trophy, but a set of grey lines cut through the trophy as well as the logo.

The trophy and “The Finals” script are significantly marked up after just a couple days of use.

Four Corners

While Phil, Kobe and Pau head into the interview room to address the media after practice, the rest of the team deals with the reporters on the floor. Each corner of the floor is given a podium, mic, backdrop, and speaker setup to make it easier for the mass of reporters to get the answers to their questions.

This particular setup has been Lamar Odom’s home for the past two days.

Kobe Goes With the Bigs

The Lakers returned to the Garden floor this morning for a practice session following their 98-88 Game 1 loss to the Celtics last night. When the team came back out from their film session they were broken up into two groups–Bigs (Centers/Power Forwards) and Smalls (Guards/Small Forwards).

Taller wing players like Trevor Ariza and Sasha Vujacic fall into the Smalls category even though they both go about six-foot-seven because their game is perimeter based. Kobe Bryant on the other hand spent time with the Bigs (as you can see above), working on his high post and baseline moves with Kurt Rambis.

More from practice to come.

Early Coby

Reserve guard Coby Karl was the first Lakers team member to hit the floor tonight, besting Trevor Ariza by a good five minutes. They were followed by Luke Walton and then Ronny Turiaf.

T-Shirt Giveaway

Expect to see a lot of white mixed in with the yellow & black seats of the Garden. The team is giving away white shirts that “Gotta Beat LA” on the front. One is draped over each seat.

In The Building

It’s just before 6pm on the east coast, a full three hours before tip, and a lot of the media members have already arrived. This ice sculpture featuring the logos of the Lakers & Celtics along with the Finals script is being displayed in the media dining room.

Finally Gameday

Hype and posturing can finally take a back seat as Game One looms just a few long hours away (this 9pm start makes for a long day). Yesterdays rain has subsided, but the fog has remained and the temperature outside is about 60 degrees.

The team just got back from shoot around at the Garden and now has about six hours before they have to start heading back for Game 1.

I indulged in a northeastern institution this morning–Dunkin’ Donuts. These outnumber Starbucks in this city about 6 to 1 by my rough count. Everything I got was pretty tasty.

Meet the Fenway Frank

There are a lot of things I love about Fenway Park and the Fenway Frank is not one of them. As an outsider I feel like I reserve the right to go against this revered form of the hot dog. In the interested of full disclosure, I don’t like Dodger Dogs either (who wants a hot dog that extends past the bun).

The Fenway Frank takes one of the most simplistic foods and makes it even simpler, taking the bun out of the equation and replacing it a single piece of white bread. The next item on the Sox list of things to do is to take the word “be” and replace it with just “b”.

There’s not a lot of middle ground on the Fenway Frank, you love it or you hate it. Something I love about Fenway–the only mustard they have is spicy mustard. The way it was intended to be. That stuff can make anything taste good.