Well, still in Birmingham. I haven’t spent this many consecutive days in Alabama since I left Auburn almost fifteen years ago.
The SEC Tourney wrapped up Sunday with LSU downing Ole Miss to take the crown. Our main feature subject, Mr. Pedro Alvarez and his Vanderbilt Commodores, were bumped from the tournament on Saturday night. They had defeated the Ole Miss Rebels in the first game of what turned out to be a triple-header (the pair of Vandy-Ole Miss tilts sandwiching a game between LSU & Alabama; LSU won that middle game to advance to the Final, much to the consternation of the swarm of Crimson Tide fans in attendance and to the relief of many of the media members who didn’t want to stick around for a quadruple-header).
We entered the park Saturday morning at around, oh, 9:30 am or so, having just eaten breakfast back at the hotel. Greeting us at the gate were a group of young ladies wearing Chick-Fil-A t-shirts, giving away free chicken strips and coupons. Naturally, I took a free chicken strip, adhering to my policy of “If it’s free, it’s me.” Jonathan looked at me like I was crazy, but hey, free chicken is free chicken. And yeah, despite being full of eggs & sausage, I ate that sucker when we got to the press box.
The media gift for the tourney was kind of interesting. It was a bag, and a pretty flimsy one at that. Jonathan’s take was “What am I gonna do with this?” But we both took ’em anyway. Maybe I’ll let my kids store their crayons in it or something. Last year’s gift, an SEC business card holder, ended up being my daughter’s money holder for her school lunch (until we got her something a little more appropriate for a 7-year-old girl).
The SEC feature turned out pretty well, so be sure to check it out during the MLB.com Draft Preview show on June 2nd.
Lisa arrived Sunday afternoon and Jonathan headed back to that Pittsburgh of the North (you know… Pittsburgh) on Monday morning. So I swapped my college feature hat for my more regular minor league feature hat.
With Clayton Kershaw now a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the target for our feature shifted to Ivan DeJesus Jr., the promising 21-year-old shortstop who became the youngest player on his team when the 20-year-old Kershaw got his call-up. Monday was interview day, as we talked to Ivan, his manager John Shoemaker and pitcher James McDonald (that’ll be a seperate video piece). Look for the feature on Ivan and the JMac interview sometime next week on milb.com or dodgers.com.
I would’ve shot some b-roll of Ivan yesterday (Monday), except that I had a dead hard drive on my hands and needed to get that SEC Tournament feature sent back to the NY office, so it was off to Best Buy for a replacement drive instead of sticking around for the game. If it hadn’t been a holiday, the store would’ve stayed open later and I might have been able to get a couple of at-bats from DeJesus. Oh well, it wasn’t meant to be.
But we’re back here at Regions Park for Day Five of my “Birmingham Bonanza” and if it stops raining, we’ll be in business. Not too long ago it was pouring, but it’s been gradually slackening, giving me hope that we’ll start on time.