Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Waffle House Wins, Tournament Thoughts

Your friendly, neighborhood road radio voice (Ryan Rose, from the media relations office) posting from the press box in Dayton, Ohio...

After a long bus ride up from Charlotte to Dayton (see: 10 hours, including a quick 45-minute dinner stop in Charleston, WV), we pulled into the Dayton Marriott just short of 11 p.m. Monday night. That's a lot of card playing (I counted two spades games and a hearts game. )

Several Playstation Portables ran out of battery power and it was very funny to see guys plugging Iphones, Ipods and anything rechargeable in at every available outlet at the rest stop near the Virginia border.

So, my laptop would not connect to the Internet at the hotel or on the bus (yes, there was wireless Internet available on the bus - one of the reasons we love Rose Transportation - no relation to me, though I wish I could share in the profits...) so I finally am able to post when I get to the stadium for the team picture and walk-through on Tuesday afternoon. Only got the notes posted then... had to wait to Wednesday morning to post the All-Conference (Lyerly - first; Rivers, Williams, Wilson and Yermal - second) and Monday's Player of the Week announcement (Rivers).

Tuesday afternoon, we headed out to one of the malls in the Dayton area. When faced with about six choices for food, Waffle House was the clear favorite. It was one of the few times I went with the herd.

I'm not going to lie to you... the best part about being the baseball radio guy is traveling across the country. Unlike most sports, we get to stay in a town for more than a night or an afternoon, so we get to sample the local food places. It unnerves me to no end to watch guys eat at Burger King and McDonalds when we have access to those places at home. But, they are creatures of habit. (Coach Durkac complains that no one serves sweet tea when we travel - and he's from Western Pennsylvania, where they don't have sweet tea either, so his frustrations only make me laugh. He's a converted Southerner for sure...) Routine is what a coach wants for his (or her) players. Batting practice has a routine, in and out (what we call the defensive practice where guys take ground balls and outfielders take fly balls) also has a routine. I guess the eating has a routine as well. On the one hand, it might be better to go with food you recognize or feel comfortable with.

I'm from the other school of eating... when in Rome, eat what the Romans eat. I try to encourage my fellow travelers by pointing them to local places around the University when they visit us, and I rely on the word of fellow sports information contacts when we visit towns around the country.

I could probably write a book on the great eats in each town we get to go to. I do opine about it frequently when Web casting the games from the road. It's easily my favorite part of travel.

I think I will post my favorite road food places at some point, but for now the task at hand... Conference Tournament time... regardless of what the regular season tells you, this tournament is wide open.

Here are nuggets not found in any game note anywhere (a Touch of Green Exclusive)... Four of the six teams in the tournament mix have won 15 of their last 19 games (Charlotte, Dayton, Massachusetts and Rhode Island). Xavier was close behind with 14 of 19 and Fordham nearly backed into the tournament, winning just 10 of its last 19 games. Fordham also is the only team to face all five of the other tournament participants (which makes the Rams 16-11 mark even more impressive.) No conference team played all six tournament participants this season. Charlotte has a winning mark against 12 of 13 conference teams... The Niners are just 2-7 all-time versus Dayton... The Niners are 5-0 in tournament play against the five teams in this year's tournament field, including a pair of wins versus Fordham at Fifth Third Field in 2007... Ironic that Charlotte will face Xavier in the first game of this year's tournament, as the two met in last year's Championship Game, with Charlotte winning 4-3 in 11 innings.

Gotta get ready to call the action for the 3:30 p.m. game today. I'm sure you will be listening.

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