Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Dallas (2019 Hockey Road Trip)

I strongly considered having "Sean Does Dallas" as the title of this blog post, but I went with the less controversial title instead. Over the weekend, I visited Dallas as part of my annual hockey road trip. Here are some pictures:

When I checked into my flight, I realized that I purchased a "Basic Economy" ticket. This means that I got to take one personal item on the flight or pay $25 or $30 each way for a bag, even if it's a carry-on bag. Yes, I managed to fit everything I needed for the weekend and the flights into a backpack.

I'm going out of order, but besides the hockey game, the one thing that I had to do in Dallas was see The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. The trees are much taller now, but this picture is from the sixth floor of the building formerly know as the Texas School Book Depository, just several feet away from where Lee Harvey Oswald shot President John F. Kennedy. Despite the assassination occurring 55 years ago, this museum seems to be the top tourist attraction in Dallas. I'm sure that city and corporate officials want the focus to be on arts, sports, and other things, but I get a sense that the assassination is always going to be a significant part of Dallas. (As an anecdote, I asked the waitress and hostess at a restaurant what's one thing we had to see in Dallas, and they both replied, separately, the JFK Museum.) Anyway, I highly recommend visiting the museum.

Oh, I didn't expect to see the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette available at the gift shop.

I also didn't expect to see this T-shirt available a few blocks away from the museum. I noticed the don't take pictures sign about a minute after taking this picture.

The reason for going to Dallas during a cold January weekend was to see the Dallas Stars, making it the 24th game/arena my friend and I have seen together over the past decade.

I really like the Dallas Stars green and even the giant star that comes down onto the ice during the pregame ceremonies. It's not as good as the sabretooth Nashville Predator, but it's a close second (until I see the San Jose Shark in person).

I couldn't get a great picture, but it's nice to see someone appreciate Dallas Stars legend Jaromir Jagr.

One neat feature of the American Airlines Arena is that there is no room for the visiting back-up goalie on the bench. Therefore, he needs to sit way over here.

There's no reason why the North Stars moved to Dallas and why they keep the retired numbers of the Minnesota players.

You'll notice that this was not my picture. I really, really, really, really wanted to take a picture of and with the Stars' mascot Victor E. Green (better known as Texas Youppi!), but it didn't happen. Maybe if I got a picture with Victor, the Stars would have won. Instead, the St. Louis Blues won 3-1 with Vladimir Tarasenko scoring two goals. In the two Blues games we've attended, Tarasenko scored 5 goals. Coincidence?

For breakfast at the hotel, a Texas waffle! (Not pictured: This waffle covered with chocolate chips, whipped cream, and syrup. I make sure to eat healthy on vacations!)

We also saw the Allen Americans face off against the Wichita Thunder in an ECHL minor league hockey game. If you're holding a baby in a front row seat and feel the need to bang on the glass, you got to do what you got to do.

Even though the team is called the Americans, this seems like some Communist propaganda celebration after goals. By the way, I hope that Zachary Pochiro makes it to the NHL, so I can say that I saw him score 4 goals in a game for the Americans! I also feel like the Americans should have pictures of Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys throughout the arena.

Deep Ellum appears to be the cool, trendy area. We drove through on Sunday morning, and I felt the need to take a picture of this odd robot statue dude who likes to hold pigeons.

Finally, I arrived back to Dulles Airport to this. Actually, Dulles was closed, so we got diverted to Philadelphia and sat on the plane, refueled, and were able to fly back when Dulles reopened. I got home about 3.5 hours later than expected, but at least I made it home on the same day.

And this was Monday morning back in Virginia. Time to shovel.

Victor E. Green picture courtesy of Getty Images. (Not pictured or mentioned was a visit to the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. If you're in Dallas for an extended period of time, check it out.)

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

2019 State Of The Ramblings

Sean’s Ramblings turned 14 yesterday making this the oldest, continuous non-subject specific blog on the planet.* What I mean by this is that there are probably other blogs that have been operational longer, but they are about one particular subject (sports teams, a genre of books, etc.). This is just a personal blog about whatever I feel like writing about on a given day where I make little to no money. Whether this is the first time you’ve visited my blog or, like Kevin Pittsnogle’s mom (no one is going to get this reference), you've read this for years, thanks for checking out Sean’s Ramblings!

A quick update about the last year. I started 2018 with the intention of writing more posts than in 2017. Then, I promptly dislocated my wrist and had a cast for 5-6 weeks making typing (and everything else) much more difficult. A sincere thank you to Christine for writing a guest post about her experiences living in South Korea right before the beginning of the Pyeongchang Olympics and to Shannon, Josh, and John and Rachael for agreeing to interviews in early 2018. They provided fantastic content while I was on the disabled list.

Overall, I accomplished my goal of writing more posts in 2018 than 2017. Hooray for me and for you in that you got to read more of my posts! With that written, I find it more and more difficult to write as often as I’d like with three kids. While I’d love to make a goal this year to write more than last year, I’m not sure that’s possible. Instead, I may try to write longer, more meaningful posts. This sounds good in theory, so we’ll see if this actually happens.

I also want this year to be the year that I become an “official” blogger. Whether this means I’m successful in my quest to be a blogger for the new Loudoun United soccer team or that I get to cover some type of event such as a grand opening, an awards ceremony, or a press pass for a sporting event, 2019 is the year this will finally happen!

Thanks again for all of your support, and I hope to continue to provide you with some fun and thought provoking (well, probably not thought provoking) content in 2019.

You can click here to see my previous State of the Ramblings posts. In addition, please like/follow me on Instagram and Facebook too!

* This statement may or may not be true, but if you can find an older, continuous non-subject specific blog on Earth, please let me know.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Sean On Pittsburgh Sports

The biggest story in Pittsburgh sports clearly involves the son of now former Riverhounds assistant coach Mark Pulisic. If you haven’t heard, Chelsea signed his son Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund for approximately $73 million. Not too shabby.

(I'll miss seeing Pulisic in black and gold though.)

Oh, did something else happen in Pittsburgh sports? Perhaps you want to read all about the Penguins scoring 7 goals (chili goal! chili goal! chili goal! chili goal! chili goal!) in a 7-2 win over the New York Rangers on Wednesday, extending the team's winning streak to 7 games.

Oh, not what you're looking for? Fine. The Steelers finished 9-6-1 and failed to reach the playoffs. The team had a turnover differential of -11, good for 28th out of 32 NFL teams. If the team had an awful but slightly better turnover differential, they would have reached the playoffs, and Pittsburgh sports fans would be talking about a playoff match-up this weekend instead of this mess.

I don't really want to get into this, but I will. Ben Roethlisberger is the best QB in franchise history, but he also tends to call out teammates on his radio show and threw way too many interceptions this season. He is a good teammate or not a good teammate. Mike Tomlin is still in the top tier of NFL coaches or his team lacks discipline and his players have tuned him out. The defense was inconsistent and gave up too many second half touchdowns. Chris Boswell had an awful season. Unfair penalties. The Le'Veon Bell saga. Ugh, make this all stop. Again, if the team made the playoffs, most of this stuff would have gone away. Winning hides a lot of things.

Now, to top it all off, there's Antonio Brown. Basically, Antonio Brown may or may not have had an injured knee, but he failed to show up to his MRI. He may have been unable to play on Sunday due to an injury or he was suspended. Regardless, he didn't play and now it sounds like he's asked to be traded. Except that Coach Mike Tomlin says that he hasn't asked for a trade.

Here's my two cents. Brown can be difficult and he's a diva. He also remains one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. Brown had 104 catches for nearly 1,300 yards, and an amazing 15 touchdowns in 15 games. He's probably a bad teammate, yet, he's so productive. The Steelers would be worse without him. Plus, you can't discount the money. As ESPN's Bill Barnwell tweeted, "If you’re reading that the cap isn’t an issue with an Antonio Brown trade, just ask this: has a team ever eaten 10% of the cap in dead money to trade a Pro Bowl player in the prime of his career?"

While I may dispute the prime of his career part of this Tweet, the rest is accurate. You can't give up 10% of your salary cap to one player not on your roster. Brown isn't going anywhere. With the season over, let's let cooler heads prevail. Brown and the Steelers organization will take some time away from each other and realize that they both need each other.

Again, just make this all stop!

In the meantime, can we have a little joy in our lives? Antonio Brown was (spoiler) good on The Masked Singer, FOX's new show Wednesday night. Yes, really!

By the way, Robin Thicke was an excellent judge on the show. I may need to have a separate blog post just about The Masked Singer. (The terrific Emily Yahr wrote a terrific piece about it.)

The Christian Pulisic picture is from Sports Illustrated.