planning out a road trip of the sort I returned from last night. One that I heed you all to consider if you're pondering a similar venture is to account for just how much sports-related crap you might find yourself coming home with. As you can see to the right, there were quite a few silly trinkets I came back with from my six-day jaunt through eight states and one province across two countries; that photo doesn't even include the multiple bottles of bourbon that were purchased. In the end I found myself somehow braving the subways yesterday with a messenger bag, duffel bag, three bottles of bourbon, one life-sized baseball bat, one mini baseball bat, one double bobblehead doll, one Cincinnati Reds stein, one terrible towel and an entirely superfluous Super Nintendo that was dragged along for inevitably no reason.
If you are plotting a trek like the one I just finished, account for these acquired articles in your pre-trip packing. It somehow escaped me.
Of course, that really only makes the trip more fun in the end. In a span of just six days I saw five old friends, went to four new stadiums, three bourbon distilleries, two sports halls of fame, two breweries, the world's most famous horse-racing track, one baseball bat factory, countless regional fast food chains and one incredibly wet boat ride around Niagara Falls. To cap the whole thing off, somehow my friend Dan and I didn't kill each other over the 30 hours and 2,500 miles we spent alone together in a car thanks to a steady stream of satellite radio and hearing the first 15 seconds of Florence + the Machine's cover of "Addicted to Love" about a billion times.
So, yeah. I recommend it.
I still have to sort out in my head just how hectic and bonkers this trip was -- on multiple occasions we completely forgot what day it was and what we had done the previous afternoon or even that morning. But at some point in the not-too-distant future I will commit to paper a full, exhaustive (and quiet possibly boring review) of the journey. I will note the stark differences in presentation and clientele between Maker's Mark and Jim Beam's distillery tours and spark your envy with how I saw Derek Jeter's final order of Louisville Slugger bats being made. I will wow you with tales of how our hazing at Ford Field was almost as brutal as the Giants' offensive performance. You'll hear of how disgustingly large my pile of "food" at Skyline Chili was, the mad scramble we both were embroiled in as we dove for a ball during batting practice at Great American Ball Park and just how crazy the visions you'll have are if you do a bourbon tasting on no sleep. You'll see that I was reunited with my old friend Barbaro, and that Culver's was gloriously brought back into my life. You'll read about America. Mostly, more than anything else, you'll see why at every single stop, some stranger asked us, "Neither of you guys are married, are you?"
Unfortunately one of those isn't going to happen for quite some time, so in the interim you'll have to sustain yourself with pondering the possibilities and reading my sure-to-be-wrong predictions for Week 2.
Last week: 6-10-0
Pittsburgh (+2.5) over BALTIMORE
Miami (-1) over BUFFALO
CINCINNATI (-5) over Atlanta
New Orleans (-6.5) over CLEVELAND
Dallas (+3.5) over TENNESSEE
New England (-3) over MINNESOTA
NY GIANTS (+2.5) over Arizona
Jacksonville (+6) over WASHINGTON
CAROLINA (-2.5) over Detroit
Seattle (-6) over SAN DIEGO
TAMPA BAY (-5.5) over St. Louis
DENVER (-13) over Kansas City
GREEN BAY (-8.5) over NY Jets
Houston (-3) over OAKLAND
SAN FRANCISCO (-7) over Chicago
INDIANAPOLIS (-3) over Philadelphia