A housekeeping story.

If you see skid marks on the way out of St. Louis, that would be me, trying to leave before the creeping FOR LEASE fungus that appears to have infected most of downtown attacks my hotel too. I haven’t had a decent meal here – the breakfast place several readers recommended, Roosters, is opening an hour later than normal this week due to the All-Star Game, with no signage up anywhere at the store to explain this. That’s right: In a week when there are more potential customers than usual in town, Roosters is open for fewer hours. They did not teach us this strategy in business school.

My first Futures Game recap is here on ESPN.com, and I just filed a second one today with notes on more players. I also appeared on Mike and Mike this morning for a segment and a half. Those are so much better when I’m live with the host. We didn’t do Futures Game talk but I thought their question about balancing the future versus the chance to win now was a good one with no clear right answer.

Anyway, here’s the ridiculous story of the post’s title. I’m allergic to feathers. It’s not a huge deal, just annoying when I go to hotel rooms, since most hotels assume people would rather sleep on feathers (which I don’t like anyway because I’m used to sleeping on foam), and some hotels decide to get all fancy-like and use down comforters too. Like, for example, the Union Station Marriott in St. Louis.

Occasionally, a hotel will see that my reservation has a “no feathers” request and they’ll just prep a room without feather pillows or bedding. It’s great when they do it, but I don’t expect it, and the first thing I do when I get into a hotel room is punch one of the pillows. (If the hole fills back in, it’s foam. Otherwise, it’s down. Either way, it’s fun.) If the room has foam pillows, I’ll just swap them out. I used to call housekeeping when I encountered down bedding beyond just pillows, but what usually happens is a giant production where two or three people come up and detox the room, including an almost choreographed effort to remake the bed with regular bedding, begging the question of how many hotel employees it takes to make a double or queen bed. There’s no reason for me to cause this kind of disruption, since I am perfectly capable of making a bed myself, so when I discovered down pillows and comforters in the St. Louis Marriott, with a cotton blanket in the closet, I fixed everything myself. Each bed had one foam pillow and one regular one, so I took the two foam pillows and put the two feather pillows on the other bed. I threw the down comforter on the unused bed and made my bed with the regular blanket. It wasn’t very complicated.

I come back from the Futures Game the next night to find the room made up … incorrectly. The maid did leave the fabric blanket on my bed, but topped it with the down comforter. Even worse, she took one foam pillow off my bed, moved it to the unused bed, and took one feather pillow from that bad and put it back on my bed. I’m imagining a maid with OCD who was highly disturbed to find anything in a place other than the one in which she had left it 24 hours earlier.

I’m checking out in a few minutes, but I was contemplating the hypothetical situation if I was staying another night or two. Do I call down and have the feather stuff removed, risking an army of hotel employees coming through the room for no good reason? Do I simply play cat and mouse with the maid every day? Do I hide the feather bedding in the closet or under a bed, and see if that’s sufficient to stop her? I have no answers.

Media & links.

I’ll be on XM Radio channel 144 with Bill Pidto and Bruce Murray on Tuesday at 9:25 am EDT, and will appear via phone on First Take at either 10:50 am or 11:25 am EDT, time TBD. I’ll also be on with longtime friend Jeff Erickson’s Fantasy Focus Internet radio show, although we won’t do straight fantasy content. If you remember Jeff’s radio show on XM, this is the same show, but he moved it online after the Sirius-XM merger.

My most recent post on my main ESPN.com blog now has BP video of Buster Posey. There’s also video up of Tim Wheeler and Drew Storen in my most recent draft blog entry. I should have more draft notes and videos later this week.

Jason Whitlock had some strong (and dead-on) words about Selena Roberts and accuracy. Shysterball had similar words last week. I’ve pointed this out previously, but Roberts has gone after A-Rod at odd times before, like writing her 2007 World Series post mortem about him, even though he hadn’t played in that or the previous series. Squawking Baseball takes aim at Roberts’ implication that A-Rod couldn’t have tripled his bench-press ability without the use of PEDs.

Is Twitter the CB radio of Web 2.0? (HT to Shysterball.) I kind of hope not, now that I crossed the 1000-followers mark.

JoePo is obsessed with cycles. I couldn’t agree less; I think cycles are boring – statistical oddities that hold no interest for me. One reason is that a player who goes 1b-2b-3b-hr has hit for the cycle and goes on that list that some guy keeps that gets trotted out the next time some Joey Bagodonuts goes 1b-2b-3b-hr, but some other player who goes 2b-2b-hr-hr had a better day and doesn’t make any list, unless there’s some other guy keeping some other list that he really doesn’t get to trot out that often because no one gives a crap about guys who went 2b-2b-hr-hr.

This clip cracks me up: auto-tuning the news. (HT to mental_floss from their post earlier this week auto-tuning.) I’m not sure which I like best – the facial expressions on the guy “talking” to Katie Couric, the angry gorilla, or the ever-present tambourine.

Security for tots.

The Playmobil Security Check Point is funny enough – yes, it’s just what it sounds like – but the reviews are priceless. My personal favorite, a two-star writeup:

My family was planning a vacation to Europe, so I purchased this item to teach my twins about what to expect at the airport and hopefully, alleviate some of their anxiety. We also downloaded the actual TSA security checklist from the American Airlines website and then proceeded with our demonstration. Well, first we had to round up a Barbie and a few Bratz dolls to play the other family members, so that cost us a few extra bucks at the Dollar General and it is aggravating that the manufacturer did not make this product “family-friendly.” Of course, since the playmobil Dad could not remove his shoes or other clothing items, unlike the Barbie, the playmobil security agent became suspicious and after waving her wand wildy a few dozen times, called her supervisor to wisk the Dad into a special body-cavity search room, (which incidentally led to quite an embarasing and interesting discussion with my twin daughters about personal hygiene and a slight adjustment to the rules we had them memorize about touching by strangers). But worst of all, since the suitcase did not actually open, the baggage inspector made a call to the FBI and ATF bomb squads which then segregated the family’s suitcase (which btw was the only suitcase they provided for our educational family experience) and according to the advanced TSA regulations, had to blow it up, (since they could not otherwise mutilate the luggage, break off the locks and put one of those nice little advisory stickers on it), which we had to simulate out in the backyard with a few M-80s and other fireworks. The girls started crying. They became so hysterical by the whole experience that we could not even get them in the car when the time came to actually take our trip, and so we had to cancel the whole thing at the last minute, losing over $7,000 in airfare and hotel charges that we could not recoup do to the last minute cancellations. We’ve now spent an additional $3,000 to pay for the girls therapy and medication over the past year since this incident occurred, and the psychologists have told us that this will affect them for life, so much for their college fund and our retirement. Then, to top it all off, when we tried to use to playmobil phone to call the company to ask for reimbursement, as you might expect, of course the damn thing didn’t even work; neither did our efforts to e-mail them using the computer screen on the baggage checkpoint; and our real-life efforts to contact them to obtain re-imbursement have also likewise been ignored. Worse yet, we had the product tested and found out that it was positive for both lead paint and toxic chemicals, having been manufactured in China by workers holding formerly American jobs, so now we all have cancer and have been given only another year or so to live. My advice – educating your kids about airport security with this toy may actually be more harmful to them than just packing them in the damn luggage with some bottled water & hoping they survive. :)

Five laughable sports leagues.

My editors at ESPN have always hammered home one point, even mentioning it before I was hired: Readers love lists. That’s why we rank everything – prospects, draft prospects, free agents, and so on. And I guess I’m just as susceptible as any other reader, since I was sucked into Mental Floss’s various lists (discovered by way of Shysterball), including their list of 5 Sports Leagues That Didn’t Make It, including Roller Hockey International and the WFL.

I’m curious why they stopped at five, though. I’ve always been fascinated by the business of sports leagues – a sort of empires rising and falling without all the war and death and backstabbing (okay, some backstabbing) – particularly the ways in which they respond to success (overexpansion, usually) and setbacks. I imagine this economy will prove particularly tough going for some of the fringe leagues out there, such as the National Lacrosse League, which hasn’t exactly been a hallmark of stability but is still going after 22 years with one of its original franchises still extant. (I’ve been to probably half a dozen NLL games, although none since the original Boston Blazers went under in 1997.)

Anyway, here are five other leagues that didn’t make it and included some silliness:

  • The North American Soccer League. This league did at least have a peak, packing Giants Stadium for New York Cosmos games and employing some of the best players in the world, including Pele, but they expanded like crazy, ran up huge debts, tried to run a winter indoor season to compete with the similarly ill-fated MISL, and – worst of all – named a team the Tea Men, which was marginally acceptable when they were in New England, but just plain stupid when the team moved to Jacksonville and kept the nickname.
  • The American Lacrosse League. This ALL didn’t finish its first season, in 1988, because the entire operation was a financial scam run by the two founders. As if that wasn’t bizarre enough, the league included five teams in the northeast … and one in Denver. That’s a good way to manage your travel costs.
  • The National Professional Soccer League. Originally called the American Indoor Soccer Association, the NPSL used a weird scoring system where goals could be worth more points if they were shot from farther away. It didn’t help.
  • Major League Volleyball. A women’s volleyball league that lasted a year and a half, and part of the now-quaint trend of giving women’s sports teams feminine names like the Dallas Belles. I actually am surprised that there hasn’t been an effort to start a men’s professional volleyball league in the United States; while it may always be a fringe sport, it’s very popular in other countries (face it – we are a country of people from other countries), is fun to watch, and doesn’t require construction of giant or single-use facilities. But if there’s been a financially successful women’s pro league in any sport in the U.S., it’s news to me – and no, the WNBA doesn’t count.
  • World Basketball League. Another of my all-time favorite wacko sports leagues, for two reasons. First, the league had a height restriction: Players over 6’5″ were ineligible to play in the league. Second, the league was funded with money the founder had embezzled from his other company, the discount pharmacy chain Phar-Mor. I thought that Bo Jackson was drafted by an Orange County entry in this league, although the one article I managed to find on the subject identifies that league as the International Basketball Association, which appears to have held a draft (easy) but not to have played a game (hard).

Unclear on the concept.

I get some pretty funny comments in the moderation queue that I don’t publish, usually things that have nothing to do with the site but are written to look like “normal” comments that slip through the spam filter. This one might be my all-time favorite.

It was posted in response to my writeup of Long Beach restaurants, which started with this passage:

Dessert first: Frozen yogurt is all the rage in southern California, and the most popular chain is Pinkberry, so I felt almost obligated to try it so I could make fun of all of the people who consume the stuff. I was, however, unprepared for how absolutely vile the stuff is.

The user’s comment:

Kieth, if you like frozen yogurt try the Pinkberry in downtown Long Beach off Pine.

Saddest part? The commenter is a lawyer.

Want to lay odds…

… on whether, the next time the Yanks come to Fenway, some Sox fan throws an umbilical cord at A-Rod?

Help.

I’m at a wedding and the dj is playing “Sweet Caroline” … and he’s pausing like we’re in the 8th inning at Fenway. Someone call 911 – I’m about to fake my own death.

UPDATE: He’s also played “Time to Say Goodbye” – beautiful song, not exactly appropriate for a wedding – and Pink Floyd’s “Us and Them.” Not sure I can explain that one at all.

Keith Law, a Captain among Rabbits.

So I have a Google Alert set up with my name so I can catch when I’m quoted by sportswriters or various blogs. Of course, there’s some noise in there, with occasional crime stories popping up (the hazard of having my last name) and, well, things like this:

But Geoff’s master stroke has been to appoint Keith Law as his Rabbit Captain. … Certainly, Keith is the man for this Mission Impossible and it will crown what looks like being another fabulous year’s golf at Hebden Bridge Golf Club if he can pull it off. Watch this space.

I have no idea what any of that means, but I might use “Rabbit Captain” as my title on my next set of business cards.

The Onion article about me…

…okay, not really. But it could be.

The pride of Smithtown …

Northport man charged in $68M scam

I’ve known the defendant since elementary school – he graduated from high school a year ahead of me. Never in a million years would I have pegged him as smart enough to pull off (temporarily, at least) a multi-million dollar fraud scheme.