March 19, 2003

A man without his tools

As I said a few days ago, I am at home for spring break right now. So, I spent most of Tuesday sitting around the house with my dog, watching TV and "surfing" the internet. We got "highspeed" internet access here last year and I absolutely love it and can't even imagine a time when I was without it.

So anyway, at like 5 o'clock I left the house to go to an "NCAA Tournament Draft/Auction." Basically, there are eight guys and we had an auction for the 64 teams involved in the NCAA tourney. Each of the guys pays an entry fee of...well, let's say a significant amount of U.S. currency. And we each get a "salary cap" of $200 (which may coincide with the entry fee, although I'm not saying for sure...).

Each win that a team gets during the tournament is worth one point and the guy with the most points at the end of the whole thing wins.

It's really a lot of fun and I've done it like three years in a row now...and it isn't even my team! You see, one of my uncle's best friends is supposed to do it and the other seven guys are all his friends. But, for various reasons, he hasn't been able to do it in many past years, so my uncle stepped in once a few years back and drafted for him (and won the whole thing). However, now my uncle hasn't even been able to do it lately, so I've somehow been assigned the job, which is fine with me.

They let me go in for 25% of the team and I make all the decisions, so it's like getting to be the CEO of a company and not really having to worry all that much about the company being completely worthless three weeks later. Damn, I love stretched analogies.

Anyway, I went to the draft Tuesday night and got myself 5 teams:





Arizona State

Normally I would like to get at least six or seven teams. I would never bid on a 15 or 16 seed, but I would have liked to have gotten a couple of 13s or 14s, but it's tough getting cheap teams when you buy a #1 seed, a great #4 seed and a #3 seed.

For those of you that read the entry with my predictions for the tournament, you probably recognize that I wasn't particularly high on a few of those teams and the one team I was sky high on, Texas, is not on that list.

Well, that's because my uncle's friend gave me instructions that he liked Oklahoma a lot and Oklahoma and Texas went for essentially the same amount, so I grabbed Oklahoma because it is, after all, his team.

I really like Illinois and think if they can just find a way to beat Arizona, they'll get to the Final Four. I am not particularly fond of Xavier, but they are a #3 seed and they went pretty cheap. I like Indiana's chances and ASU was a way for me to spend my remaining few dollars at the end of the draft and actually get a team with a decent shot at winning their first round game.

So those are now the 5 teams I am rooting for, aside from the Texas Longhorns, whom I picked to win it all. Usually between 11-13 "points" win the whole thing. If Oklahoma gets to the Final Four that is 4 points...if Illinois can beat Arizona that is 3 points...well, we are cutting it close, but we'll see what happens.

The draft lasted approximately three hours and I got home by about 9 o'clock. I had some dinner, talked to my uncle about which teams we got and then went to sign on to AOL and check my mail. With "highspeed" internet it is so easy, there is no "dialing" or waiting, you just click "sign on" and two seconds later you are checking your mail.

I clicked "sign on" and not a damn thing happened. This sometimes happens when I leave the computer on "standby" for a while, so I turned everything off and restarted it. Nothing. As you know, I've had some problems with my computer lately, so I was deathly worried that this would be another three week trip to HP to get something fixed.

I went downstairs and tested my mom's computer...same thing. So it wasn't anything wrong with my laptop, but our connection was obviously faulty. A call was made to our "highspeed" internet provider and they told us, and I quote, "We can probably get someone out there on Thursday."

Now, today is Thursday...but the call was made on Tuesday night, which means I had to go without my highspeed internet access for about 36 hours! Believe me, it has been like (what I imagine) detox feels like. And it's sort of like (what I imagine) having a limb amputated. Every once in a while I forget that I don't have it and I try to go to a website without "dialing up AOL" and I just get this annoying error message.

Plus, when I do dial up AOL and try to go to a website it takes like 15 minutes for each page to load, so it is just very frustrating.

Depending on when you are reading this, the guy from our internet provider should already have been here to fix the problem. Before he shows up (I am writing this on Wednesday night) I want to make a prediction: He will show up later than the time frame they gave us ("between nine and noon") and he will stay for about 10 minutes before telling me that he doesn't have the ability to fix our problem and that someone will come out next week to do it. That is my official prediction.

I am not going to say the name of the company in question, but I will give you a clue: It is the name of a cartoon character that runs really fast and goes "meep meep!" No, wait, that is too good of a clue. Okay, forget I said that. Their company name starts with "Road..." No, wait, that is too easy too. Okay, how about this: Their company name ends with "Runner." Yeah, that's a good clue.

So for those of you wondering why this entry on a "Baseball Blog" has absolutely nothing to do with baseball, the reason is that I am without my writing partner: the internet. I can't look up Jacque Jones' hitting splits or Cincinnati's record in 1-run games or Oscar Gamble's career stats or Luis Rivas' "zone rating" (which, I assure you, is still awful).

I also can't surf the web for interesting stories to comment on, which is a staple of this blog.

Depending on whether or not "Meep Meep" does what they say and I get my baby back by tomorrow's entry, you may have some good baseball writing or you may have another column about me gambling on NCAA basketball games, a thing some would call a "gambling problem." (which, incidentally, is only a problem when you lose).

Until then, if you are in the mood for some of my writing about baseball, please check out this brand spanking new article of mine over at Baseball Primer:

Looking Forward to 2003: Chicago White Sox (by Aaron Gleeman)

*****Comments? Questions? Email me!*****

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