Thursday, July 27, 2006

Media Days Recap

It's getting late here in KC, and we're leaving early but somehow I can't sleep. Today was interesting. I sat down with Ivan Maisel of and Chip Brown of the Dallas Morning News at lunch. I didn't say much, just listened. I seem to learn more that way. Brian Davis, also of the Morning News and a Daily Texan alum, wandered over after Maisel left, and I got to learn a thing or two from him too.

After Oklahoma spoke with the print media, Treon and I filed our stories as quickly as possible and made our exit. Then it was back to the Holiday Inn Express for a quick nap, then dinner at Chili's (Boneless Buffalo wings, ranch instead of blue cheese, extra buffalo sauce, always). We met up with the KU writer once again, and he drove us to Kauffman Stadium.

As bad as the Royals are, the play in a gorgeous ballpark. The between-inning video screen distractions were lame for the most part, but we had a good ball game to keep our attention. It featured the Orioles against the Red Sox and two pitchers I knew nothing about. Within the first two innings we witnessed to run-downs. Baserunning snafus are fun.

The Royals made a valiant come back attempt with an eighth inning rally after falling behind 4-0 but came up one run short, 4-3.
They also came up one hit short.
12 hits and everyone in the ballpark has won a dozen Shipley's Doughnuts, but it was not to be. Kansas City was held hitless in the bottom of the ninth and we went home empty-handed. Oh well, we still have our complimentary breakfast to look forward to.

Overall, Media Days were a smashing success. Hopefully I wrote some readable stories and there was something to be learned from them. I ended up writing a column while I was here, something I'm always nervous about and have only done once before.

I still agree with what I wrote then, by the way. Stephen McGee would not though, and his opinion is important, so take that into account.

Adrian Peterson lists rushing for 2200 yards as a goal. it'll be interesting to see if he has a chance after the first few games, and if it takes on a life of its own, even affecting playcalls. Somehow, I doubt it.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Day 3

The final day begins, and I'm in my dimly lit hotel room wanting to stay in bed.
But there are people to meet, so I must soon be heading back to the Marriot.
Last night I visited Westport, one of 6th streets smaller cousins. Me and a writer from the Kansan kicked back at Harpo's, an impressive bar with a second floor, a courtyard, and a spacious first floor. On a Tuesday night, this seemed to be the right place to be.
We made plans with another bar patron to go to the Royals / Orioles game this evening, so now I have something to look forward to after Big 12 Media Days come to their scheduled screeching halt this afternoon.
It's sad to see Media Days drawing to a close, but I'm ready to get back to Austin and all of its weirdness.

A few impressions of Day 2:

Colorado players are always articulate and well-spoken. This is at least true for the players I've talked to in Kansas City and last year in Houston.

Dan Hawkins will be fun to follow, regardless of how the team does. Who can't like a coach who wraps up practice with golf?

Texas looks poised to play as well as their talent will let them. Sure, they've lost some big names, but they're still Texas, and they're going to be good.

Selvin Young is a natural with a mike in his hand. He was on hand interviewing his teammates and coach, and the results were enjoyable, if a bit irrelevant.

Oklahoma State is in trouble. Jus' sayin'

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Day 2

Day 2 dawns in Kansas City, and we’re settling into the swing of things. Last night we met Mack Brown at a reception, and he was just as pleasant as you’d imagine.

Speaking of that reception -- throw a bunch of underpaid guys together in a room and give ‘em an open bar. That was the gist of the reception. I was surprised to see no one get obliterated (and no Mack was not drinking).

It appears Chip Brown scooped everyone here. That’s what he does. I’m not too upset about it, but the Dallas Morning News is reporting that Ramonce Taylor is on his way out.

So we should get an official announcement on that in the next couple of hours. Today’s itinerary includes meeting with Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma State and Colorado. Texas brought along Justin Blalock, Michael Griffin and Aaron Ross. Other notables today include Colorado’s kicker Mason Crosby (who I once wrote a story on) and Oklahoma State’s D’Juan Woods. We also have a State of the Conference Address and another reception to look forward to. It’s going to be a long day, and I just learned someone already stole my seat in the conference room… son of a gun.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Day 1

Kansas City, MO., Staying up all night before heading to Kansas City, Mo at 6am Sunday morning probably wasn’t the best of ideas, but then again, it made falling asleep easy as closing my eyes thereby shortening a 12.5 hour drive to just over six. I did my fair share of driving, but my partner on this trip, Ricky Treon, had no one to talk to as I slept.

Kansas City has fallen behind since Rogers and Hammerstein penned “Ev’rythin’s up to date in Kansas City. They’ve gone about as fur as they c’n go…” Instead, we found a quaint cityscape about as impressive in stature as Waco on steroids. To be fair, everything here is clean and trees line the streets making the city a pleasant setting for the Big 12 Media Days we’re here to cover.

Media Days signal the start of football season for those of us in the press. Here we’ll get our first look at a pair of new head coaches, in Colorado’s Dan Hawkins and Kansas State’s Ron Prince. We’ll get to catch up with Oklahoma’s Adrian Peterson and listen to Texas Tech’s Mike Leach say something bizarre (just wait, you’ll see).

Other perks of the trip, like free meals, notebooks and various other moderately useful items aren’t to be overlooked. And rubbing shoulders with national writers while reacquainting ourselves with our counterparts from papers around Texas and the rest of the seven Big 12 states makes the trip just that much more worthwhile.

We’ll be here for four nights and cover three days worth of press conferences. We’ll collect a couple hundred quotes and write all the news that’ll fit our one page of sports. And if we’re lucky, we’ll see if this town has any bars worth going to.