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Tuesday, March 28, 2006 

Remembering San Diego

As you may or may not know, Team Noob Sports and our good friends Bar-None and T-Necks took a trip out to San Diego for the semifinals and finals of the WBC. We had planned on updating the site every day or so, but that ended up not happening. We were having too good of a time, too much fun, laughing too hard, drinking too much, and generally making fools of ourselves all over the Gaslamp District and surroung areas. Below you'll find our thoughts on the events that took place over those glorious 4 days in March. Even though this is a week late, we still hope you get a kick out of it:

- Petco Park is a first class facility. The park itself is beautiful and is located in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter, which is undergoing a lot of construction as new condos, apartments, and shops are being built. There are so many cranes involved in this process that it was openly speculated that there might actually be a crane factory beyond the outfield walls.

- Inside the stadium, the Jumbotron and screens are all crystal clear and the sight lines are much better than average. The seats are spacious, padded, and angled toward home plate. There also several unique features at Petco: the outfield features a wiffleball field, a beach, a "grassy knoll," and a "book depository." SEL wanted to take batting practice on the wiffs field, but apparently it's for kids only and it's a chick pitching the balls underhanded. Unfortunate, as it certainly would have been a display of power the likes of which Petco has never seen.

- In game 1, Cuba upset the Domicans 3-1. The game was also really, really cold. Bar-none was so cold that he had to go spend $55 on a WBC sweatshirt (which, admittedly, looked very sharp). We were all stunned at the level of excitement during the game, as whistles and drums and horns could be heard all over the stadium.

- It was exciting to see all the major league stars on the Domican team. At one point, there was about a billion dollars worth of baseball players stretching together in the outfield. Bartolo Colon and David Ortiz bothed looked bigger in real life, and that's saying something. Seeing those two led to a number of "who would win in an eating contest?" jokes. We kept imagining Colon and Papi sitting in the dugout, each trying to put down a monstrous burrito and chili dog as fast as they could. Great times. (For the record: Papi would win the eating contest, Colon the drinking contest)

- In about the 3rd inning, the Cubans brought in a pitcher by the name of Lazo. His warmup was the most half-assed thing any of us had ever seen as he lollipopped every one of his pitches, and this led to the inevetable "Lazy" nickname. Well, Lazy is awesome. The Dominicans couldn't TOUCH him. His throwing motion still looked very relaxed, but the speed gun said he was bringing 93 MPH heat.

- A gem by Bar-None: Dominican Adrian Beltre can't make a tough play at the hot corner, the diehard Mariner fans sitting in front of us look dismayed, and Team Barwick screams "He would have made the play if it was a contract year!!!" The crowd is generally amused but the Mariner fans clearly aren't impressed and cast their first of many disapproving glances.

- We had planned on going to the NCAA bball game being played at Cox Arena, but the Cuba/Domican game took about 7 hours to complete. Those plans were scratched, and were replaced by us psyching up for the night cap by playing drinking games. In between there was also a Dan Shaughnessy sighting... although we didn't realize that it was the Boston sportswriter until after he passed us. Turns out, it would be a preview of things to come.

- On our way to the stadium for the Korea/Japan game, we were wondering whether or not the crowd would be anything close to the Dominican/Cuba game. We've seen the Hispanic countries rally around their national teams before but we weren't sure what to expect in the night cap. We feared the game between Korea and Japan might not have as much electricity and energy as the first game. Plus there was a significant lack of star power in this game, especially when compared to the Dominican team. Ichiro was the only real big name (besides Choi... obviously much bigger than Ichiro). Thankfully, our fears were put to rest when we approached the stadium, and we saw...

- HOLY SHIT! It was total bedlam. The Korean supporters were nothing short of phenomenal. Outside the stadium, there were thousands of Koreans dancing and singing and chanting and everything you can imagine. One of the Koreans even had a sign that said "Ichiro, cover yo mouth like u got SARS!!!" How awesome is that?

- The stadium was more electric than words can describe. From the opening pitch, the supporters were yelling, screaming, cheering, and flat out going wild for every pitch and every play. Every pitch had the opportunity to put the crowd into a frenzy. The Korean supporters were officially vocal, as they booed Ichiro very loudly every at bat, and went wild for anything the Koreans did well. Throughout the game (pretty much 10 times an inning), they started a chant that went "Dae Han Min Guk!!! (bum bum, ba bum bum!)." It means: "One Republic of Korea". We decided to join in, going crazy and chanting "Hey, Harindo!!! (bum bum, ba bum bum!)." Give us a break, we were drunk and don't speak fluent Korean. The Korean supporters loved that we were with them, as an elderly Korean man sitting behind us offered SEL some "KOREA" thundersticks (and his daughter) to show his gratitude.

- Fortunately, Bar-None wins over the family sitting next to us by strategically presenting the kid with a t-shirt he caught. Now, they don't seem to mind that we keep crawling over them on every beer run and instead just roll their eyes and smile. We also realize that married people rarely speak to one another, a fact that is proven time and time again over the weekend.

- There was about a 45 minute rain delay in the 7th inning of the Korea/Japan game, and about 1/2 the people left. Obviously not the diehards. The cheers were just as loud with the stadium half full, and it was unbelievable to be there and witness it first hand. Team Japan ended up winning 6-0, and after the teams had shaken hands, the crowd burst into one final, boistorous "Dae, Han Min Guk!!!". Team Korea came out of the dugout and started bowing to the fans, and the fans went crazy, growing even louder with the chant. This was almost surreal, and certainly sent chills up and down all of our spines.

- None of us really remember our day off, Sunday. All any of us can recall is that it involved copious amounts of Caguama. For those of you who aren't familiar with the beer, think of a week old Ice House with a hint of lime. Basically, it tastes like turtle piss. Our day started off by Bar-None waking up, rolling out of bed, brushing his teeth, and promptly shotgunning a warm Caguama, to our collective dismay. As disgusting as it was, it got us fired up. Unfortunately, the other liquor in the hotel room was Old Crow Whiskey. The only things any of us can remember from the afternoon were a store called "Boating and Barwick," some water, a little hacky-sack, tossing ideas around with the Research & Development department, Bar-None yelling "Me love you long time" to a woman passing us by, and T-Necks chasing after a young child. Other than that, we're pretty sure nothing else happened. At least that's what our memory tells us.

- Monday was the big day, the final between Japan and Cuba. Capitalism vs. Communism. The game didn't start until 6 PM, so we spent the first part of the day visiting Hotel Del Coronado. To get to Coronado Island and the hotel, you must cross the massive Coronado Bridge and several other streets named after our favorite conquistador. Our cab driver smelled strongly of gin, reminisced about his time in the military, and mentioned his fear of the police on the island several times, probably because he had outstanding warrants. After dropping us off, he thought hard about scamming an extra $20 from NJV. The hotel was gorgeous, the beach was really nice, and the fruity drinks were outstanding. Also present were a couple nice pieces of "road beef."

- We made sure we got to the stadium early and found our favorite bar that we've ever seen inside any stadium. Nobody ever goes there, and it's tucked away in a back nook of the park... but it's OUTSTANDING. The beer prices are cheaper there than anywhere else in the park, and it has a beautiful view overlooking the bay of San Diego. Plus, the bartender looked strikingly similar to Ronaldinho (and she was a chick). Just to let you know how our night was going at this point, the bartender said "wow, you guys are really slowing down, I've only seen you 4 times since the game started." It was the 3rd inning at this point.

- Our seats were located on the Toyota Terrace, the middle section of the stadium. Coincidentally, the press box was located between the bar and our seats. The first time we walked by the press box, Bar-None opened the door and yelled into there: "Hey Shaughnessy!", which gave us a little laugh. Subsequently, every time after that he was a little drunker, and started yelling more things. "Hey Shaughnessy, I hate you!!!" and "Hey Shaughnessy, you owe me 10 large!!!". Needless to say things progressed until security glared at him every time he walked by. Absolutely hilarious.

- After the game we went out and partied with Ronaldinho. She was obviously unimpressed as SEL and T-Necks were trying to play Hack running down the street at full speed, through throngs of people. We ended up at a Tequila bar, which was a great decision. Apparently we went to a number of other bars, but none of us remember any of it. All we remember is at approximately 3 AM we ended up at a pizza place way out of the way, and it started downpouring. After 20 minutes trying to hail a cab (about 3 cars passed in the 20 minutes, and we legitimately thought about stealing one), one of the employees of the pizza place told us cabs never go by there, and told us we were only 8 blocks from our hotel. We ended up sprinting home, full-speed, to the lovely Hotel St. James, where the night ended.

- All in all, it was a fantastic trip. 4 days were filled with non-stop laughter. It was great to see each other again, and even better to see that although we all live in 4 different parts of the country (D.C., Ann Arbor, Chicago, Boulder), none of us had changed one bit. There were many inside jokes brought up again, and many fresh new ones to add to our arsenal. We got to experience some of the great eateries and drinkeries of San Diego, including: Star Bar, Whiskey Girl, the Oceanaire (first class, by the way), Hooters, Pandar, Ciro's... and many more. A pact was made by the four of us that as long as we're all alive and physically able, we're going to attend every single one of the WBC's, as this was a definite 10 out of 10 performance. We'll be back in 2009.

-The Noob Sports Family (pictured right... with our new second family, all Koreans. Dae Han Min Guk!!!)

I give the WBC a 10 out of 10.
I give Caguama a -6 out of 10.

Thanks for the heartfelt story. How many times did you guys have sex with each other?

cool post!

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