The Long Weekend (of Sports)

I went up to Canada for the long weekend on Thursday morning and came back late last night on a drive that lasted much longer than I had anticipated. Sure there was going to be some traffic considering the number of people coming back from their 4th of July holidays but an 8 hour drive ended up taking nearly 12 – there was a stretch early on by the border where it took well over an hour and a half to cross a one mile distance to get into the United States.

Anyway Canada was good as usual. I went to a wedding, played some basketball, cricket and Halo as well as hearing about the wacky Yankee/Red Sox series and catching the first two plus sets of the Nadal/Federer Wimbledon final. Unfortunately I had to leave to comeback and miss arguably the greatest tennis match ever played. Go catch an online clip of it if you can, I’ll put up an update later tonight.

Baseball news before the NHL stuff. Brewers really surprised me in acquiring C.C. Sabathia for four prospects and giving themselves two top of the line starting pitchers (Ben Sheets). Sheets is 10-2 with 2.77 ERA – by far the best start of this career to go with CC who is only 6-8 with a 3.83 ERA. Keep in mind though that the Indians scored two runs or fewer in 11 of his 18 starts this season. Brewers stand at 3.5 games behind the division leading Cubs but are tied for the lead in the Wildcard with their division foes St. Louis Cardinals. This race can get real interesting with those three teams having the top three records in the National League but only two spots are available to them and the race could get even more crowded if the Mets finally decide to heat up a little and the Phillies continue their decline.

As for the NHL news today that there will be second New Year’s Winter Classic Day game – this time at Wrigley Field between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings. It was a fantastic game last year especially with the large crowd outdoors and I was kinda hoping they would do it at Yankee Stadium this year so maybe I had a chance to go see it but that didn’t pan out. Anyways, I’ll make sure to catch this game on tv just as I did the one last year.

Last New Year’s Day, more people tuned in to see the NHL play outdoors than any other regular-season game in more than a decade.

The Penguins-Sabres game in snowy Buffalo — the first regular-season outdoor NHL game in the United States — drew a 2.6 overnight rating and a 5 share on NBC. Each ratings point represents about 735,000 households; the rating is the percentage watching a telecast among homes with televisions, and the share is the percentage tuned into a broadcast among those households with televisions on at the time. Overnight ratings measure the 55 largest TV markets in the United States.

The 2.6/5 were the best numbers since a six-game regional telecast on Fox drew a 3.0 overnight rating and a 7 share on Feb. 3, 1996.

The Winter Classic ratings also surpassed Wayne Gretzky’s final game, which was broadcast on Fox on April 18, 1999, and drew a 2.5/6. Article

P.S. The MLB All-Star game from Yankee Stadium is coming up. I’m sure this media coverage on that in the tri-state is going to be crazy. Hopefully its a memorable one.

Not A Bad Few Days…

Well the past few days have been a little busy as I’ve traveled around Norway. I went among other places Lillehammer (site of 1994 Winter Olympics), a local beach, a jungle of sorts that starts from the backyard of my cousin’s house and the Holmenkollen ski jump.

Norway has pretty much been what I expected it to be… not too many cars (good luck getting stuck in traffic here… just doesn’t happen). Tons of people just walking around or on bikes all the time. I wish I kept my phone on (which has a pedometer) to keep track of how much I’ve asked these past few days… it has certainly been a lot. Holmenkollen was simply fantastic and makes me wanna go skiing or ski jumping (haha).

The jungle that starts in my cousin’s backyard was not what i expected it to be at all. I thought it would be something small and short but boy was I in for a hike. We cut it short to only an hour but it is a remarkable trail (see pictures here on my sister’s blog). I think I’m gonna head back there tomorrow morning and I know my sister won’t be tagging along… that hike took quite a bit out of her the first time. There are also reports of snakes and other sorts of animals in that jungle but I didn’t see any in the first time there… maybe its a little ominous to be asking/hoping to see them the second time around but we’ll see how it goes.

We went to Lillehammer yesterday which hosted the 1994 Winter Olympics. The weather was completely awful and that is an understatement. There was plenty of rain and so much fog that you could barely see anything in front of you and never mind anything on the sites like a huge ski jump or other sites. I got a chance to go into the gift shop there and was met by a wonderful tour guide of sorts named Hans who showed plenty of highlights and artifacts from the games and even signed a couple of postcards (don’t ask me why) with his name, number and email address. I learned plenty from him and it was wonderful that he spoke English but it clearly seemed like he hadn’t seen a living life form in ages and was just happy for the company.

Went to a local beach today which was really amazing. Although at times it was disturbing to see some what grown up children without any forms of clothing, which has happened twice now, it was still a great experience. Plenty of walking along the bumpy rocks with cousin and his father, another half an hour trek by the mountain side and the fjords as well as being talked to by a guy in Norwegian and nodding my head to his talk while I have no idea what he trying to say. On the other hand, I did eventually learn how to say “Do you speak English?” and “Thank you” which should come in useful.  I’ll have pictures up on ABG Photos here soon, so stay tuned.

Tomorrow and by that I mean later today since it’s 3 AM local time, I think I’ll travel more in Oslo city and see the downtown a bit more. Maybe some really good food tasting is in order and a movie at night at the unique local theater would be nice. We’ll see what happens but let me try to get to bed for once before the sun is completely up (around 4 AM local time) and before my cousin’s wife gets up to go work. I have gone to bed after she has woken up to go to work more than the other way around… and that’s something I should definitely change. More Halo in line for tomorrow night, so if anyone wants to join me around midnight Norway time, 6 PM EST… let me know.

Random Fact: The day of the opening ceremonies, art thieves stole Edvard Munch’s masterpiece The Scream from the National Museum in Oslo.

Also remember that life is like a box of chocolate, a box that I just might bring home if it is Mars Chocolate Bars… something I can’t find back in the States.

One more thing, how have the Yankees been doing? I haven’t paid much attention to them while I’ve been here but any thing specific that I missed out on that a boxscore won’t tell me? and what’s up with Willie about to be getting fired anyways?

– ABG From OSL