So a few hours of sleep helps clear up some thoughts.  The Gathering (…III) deserves more attention than a few Google-searched doppelganger bad-matches.  The day turned out to be so much more than I expected.  I mean, I usually keep the bar pretty low on what I expect of others- but man, this cleared that bar with room to spare.  Some observations:

  • Had a freak thought as I was sitting in the car before everyone arrived (with my pal El Cinturon– the insufferable Williams grad… he went to school with Nutting, if that wasn’t inserted into your conversation with him…).  I had this thought that went something like this, “Hold on.  Hold on! What the hell are we doing here?!  We just flew in from Vermont to tailgate for 7 hours, with… with.. with who?!  I’ve never met any of these people in my life!  This is crazy!  What if they’re all,you know… hold on- Cocktails is on the phone.  ‘Yeah?  Behind me?  Waving like crazy?  Yeah, I see you…‘  Whew, this is going to be OK.”
  • You guys know a TON about baseball.  I didn’t even get to talk to half of you, but what a crew?!  Everyone (everyone!) had informed opinions about Starling Marte, Neal Huntington, fastball command, Mark Appel, Clint Barmes, bunting, Erik Bedard, and everything else…  I’m telling you, for real- this is a unique bunch of guys.  You just don’t find this.
  • The Tilted Kilt is a nice place to grab a coffee.
  • ATribeCalledGreg is doing a fine thing.  That documentary is going to be awesome. What he’s doing will give every Pirate fan across the nation, and the Pirates organization, about the best gift you could ever give- the fans’ narrative of a return to greatness.  Unbelievable.  If he’s able to put all of this together (right after the first playoff run in two decades), it could be the best movie you’ve ever seen.
  • If you ever want to have a pitcher’s perspective on pitching during a game- sit next to insane_sanity.  Good stuff.  I always love hearing the insights of people who really know the game on the field.  It adds a whole new layer to the experience.
  • The coffee at the Tilted Kilt is just fine.
  • How could something like this happen without Cocktailsfor2?  Yeah?!  Let’s hear it for Cocktails!  It was a pleasure to meet the man behind the mike that helps make this on-line community more (much more) than just a bunch of overgrown kids on computers.  What a fun guy to hang out with.
  • One gallon of coleslaw is too much… for any occasion.
  • Rumbunter throws a nasty wiffle-screw.  Nasty.
  • I’ve never (never!) seen so much cornhole in one place.  Good God.  What’s with cornhole?  Just tossin’ bags in the ol’ cornhole all friggin day! Cornhole here, cornhole there.  Cornholin’ the livelong day away.  Sheesh…  Cornhole.
  • The Vanilla Ice scene next to us was quite entertaining.
  • War Machine talks all proper-like.
  • PNC Park is easily the best designed, most beautiful ballpark I’ve ever been to.  (Easily…)  They did it right.  Pirates fans are lucky.
  • The parking lot looked like a war zone when we left.  No joke.  Pittsburgh knows how to tailgate.  That was a new kind of scene for me.
  • About that parking lot… There was some drunken mayhem, for sure.  But I didn’t see anyone out of control in the ballpark.  No one.
  • People really do say ‘yinz’.  What is that?  Come on!  I mean, I get it- I could figure out how to use it if I had to.  But it’s hard to force into sentences- it doesn’t even flow.  And yet, there it is.  Yinz…
  • Nice work on the grill guys!
  • We stopped by an Eatin’ Park after checking into the luxurious Days Inn Pittsburgh last night.  I asked for a recommendation from our lovely waitress and she recommended Dr. Pepper.  They have a fine Dr. Pepper at the Eatin’ Park.
  • But that coffee at the Tilted Kilt is quite good, too.  Just what you might need.
  • Oh, and the game:  Burnett pitched a gem.  And (and!) he gave a clinic on bunting.  He caught that first one on a tough up-and-in pitch.  And the next one he bunted down the first base line with the third baseman charging.  And neither time did he bunt the ball into his eye.  It’s pretty cool that a baseball game can completely hinge on a ball thrown down the right field line- it’s just too bad the Bucs never got that one hit that would’ve sent the crowd into a frenzy.  Oh, and it was really fun to watch Zambrano implode.  (I do think the crowd could have taunted him a little more…)  And it’s too bad he didn’t punch anyone in the face or destroy the dugout on his way out.  But maybe I should just be satisfied that the Bucs knocked him out in the 4th inning… and won the game.  Good stuff.

Well, it’s hard to believe that the Gathering has already come and past.  Maybe it should be a full series event?  Friday through Sunday?  Anyway… Thanks again for having me.  I’ll be back next year!

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8 thoughts on “More coherent thoughts re: The Gathering III

  1. You, sir, are THE MAN.

    I can’t tell you how great it was to finally meet you and shoot the shit and watch you flail like Clint Barmes with that whiffle bat.

  2. I had a great time too, even though we didn’t get to talk much. BTW, the QB for the Hawkeyes in 1990 was Matt Rodgers. I remembered around the time I drove past South Bend this afternoon. And current Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema was on that team as well.

  3. Also, I sort of had that feeling in 2010. I wasn’t too nervous about it because I had dated girls I met online, so I had some experience meeting people from the online world. But yeah, it went away when I met Cocktails for the Friday night game the day before. I thought, yeah, this will be cool.

    Sorry I couldn’t stay around for the game this afternoon you went to with BucDaddy and a few others from the BucsDugout.

  4. Also – I MUST say here that I’m not the one who should be getting alla th’ kudos for this.

    The guys at PSF – and Steelreign in particular this year – are responsible for pulling it all together. I’m just happy to do my small part of it.

    That said, I’m happy to help be a kind of “ringleader,” if only because I apparently don’t know when to shut the f*ck up. There’s SOME small advantage to being a loudmouth, it seems. Lucky to have found my niche, I guess…

  5. Thank you for the kind words. Was great sitting next to you at the game…too bad I had to sit next to the Brewers guy (he was much more of a fan of baseball than just the Brewers though…and his wife was a Cards fan…so I left feeling pity for the guy…a little). Loved your insight on the Red Sox and your feelings on what has gone on there — I’ve never really paid a lot of attention to what they were doing…great to get your perspective! It was all good — hope to see you at next year’s Gathering!

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