Category Archives: NTN Buzztime

Mother Nature conspires with Ernie Banks

LEXINGTON — I’m 821 miles from Russell. I’m 593 miles from my hangouts on Barry Road in Kansas City, Buffalo Wild Wings Zona Rosa and Minsky’s Pizza. I’m in a state I’ve never been to, and one of the only two cities in the Southeastern Conferernce I had yet to visit until now. 

Yet here I am, sitting at the bar at a Buffalo Wild Wings, playing Buzztime trivia. 

It can mean (a) I’m a creature of habit; (b) a very boring person; (c) very dedicated to Buzztime; (d) somoene who doesn’t like adventure; or (c) all of the above.

My schedule for the weekend has been altered. I think it’s a good alteration. 

When I got off Interstate 64 in search of the Kentucky capitol (not a state capitol; Kentucky is a commonwealth) in Frankfort, I found I had a message from Bill Franques, LSU’s longtime baseball publicist and the man I am really here to see this weekend (along with Lexington and UK campus, because as I said before, I’ve never been). 

Instead of playing single games Friday, Saturday and Sunday, LSU and Kentucky will play.a doubleheader beginning tomorrow at 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT. Tomorrow’s game was originally scheduled for 6:30 ET. 

The National Weather Service has forecast a rainy weekend across all of Kentucky for a week. Now, the meterologists are saying it will be a gullywasher Saturday, with up to an inch of rain Saturday.

For some reason, Kentucky scheduled Saturday’s game for 6:30 instead of the daytime, which would have been much better to wait out a rain delay. Maybe with all the rain that is expected, it wouldn’t have mattered. 

Instead of playing a makeup doubleheader Sunday, the coaches decided to move the second game up a day. 

Southeastern Conference rules forced the hands of LSU coach Paul Maineri and his Kentucky counterpart, Nick Mignone. 

If the doubleheader were scheduled for Sunday, both games would have to be seven innings, not nine. The rule is in place ostensibly to allow the visitng team to catch its flight after the Sunday game. 

I understand the idea behind the rule. Airline tickets are non-refundable that close to the flight, and no team wants to be stranded at the airport or face an extrmely long bus ride home.

In the case of this weekend’s series in Lexington, the travel rule is totally unnecessray. LSU flew charter to Lexington and can leave whenever it needs to. 

I don’t see why the SEC cannot waive the seven inning game rule on Sundays if the visitor is traveling by charter flight or bus and both coaches agree to play two nine inning games. The NCAA Division I baseball committee has demanded teams play as many nine ining games as possible, yet the SEC won’t allow flexibility when it is available. 

Also, I don’t see why a team cannot stay over and play Monday if they receive permission from its school administration. Or in the case of Mississippi State vs. either Ole Miss or Alabama, travel back to Oxford or Tuscaloosa and vice versa? 

I would be in favor of all series staritng on Thursday so teams would have Sunday as the built-in rain day. But I understand not wanting to miss two days of class. 

Tomorrow will be a long day at Cliff Hagan Stadium. First game at 2, clear the stadium after the game, then start the second game at approximately 6. 

Saturday is now an off day, with the Sunday game still scheduled for 1 ET. It doesn’t affect me, because I’m not leaving until Monday anyway. 

I’m on Eastern time for the first time in almost 12 years. There was no sign on Interstate 64 in Indiana marking the change from Central to Eastern, but I set my watch ahead when I crossed the Wabash River, and then my iPhone and iPad adjusted when the GPS inside detected the line had been crossed. 

The drive from St. Louis to Lexington took seven hours, including stops at the Indiana state line, the Pilot travel center I blogged from, and then the Kentucky capitol. The hotel I’m staying at is full for the weekend, as is every other hotel in Lexington because of the horse racing season at Keeneland, the second largest horse track in Kentucky. Unless you’ve been living under rock, you can guess #1. 

If SIX weren’t the Buzztime game tonight, I probably would have skipped. But I love that game and didn’t want to go two weeks wihtout playing it, so here I am. I won’t stay after SIX. My body is still on Central time, but I have to deal with the reality of Eastern time, so I’ll get to bed and be ready for tomorrow. 

In the Garden (City)

I spent much of yesterday feeling very guilty.

The first thing Crista told me when we started our session was that she saw Norton play Smith Center in the third place match of the Mid-Continent League volleyball tournament last Saturday. If you recall, I did not go to the MCL tournament the second day, although I did go the first, which coincided with my birthday.

I wish I had been there Saturday. I would have loved to introduce Crista to Peggy and Caitlyn. Now I feel terrible about not going.

I was pretty certain I was going to Norton’s sub-state in Lakin tomorrow, but when Crista told me that, it cemented it.

To that end, I’m now in Garden City, 30 miles east of Lakin on US 50. It was a three-hour drive from Russell, I-70 to Oakley and US 83 down. The TownePlace Suites, where I’ve stayed before, is on K-156, the road which heads towards Jetmore, Larned and Great Bend. I could have saved a few miles if I had taken US 281 from Russell to Great Bend, then K-156 all the way down, but I figured the way I went saved some time.

I passed a tanker about a mile south of Oakley on 83. He was throwing rocks. IDIOT. Every time I then dropped to 65, he would tailgate me. I was ready to call the Kansas Highway Patrol and report him, but after crossing into Scott County, he disappeared from my rear view mirror.

Lucky I passed through Scott City. I had something I forgot to mail in Russell. Better I drop it off than keep carrying it in my car, although it wasn’t super important.

Norton plays Hoisington tomorrow following the completion of the match between Lakin and Syracuse, which begins at 2 p.m. on the east court.

TMP, which is 34-2 and the top seed, plays on the West court at 2 vs. Southwestern Heights. The second match on the West court is Hugoton vs. Cimarron.

The TMP-Southwestern Heights and Hugoton-Cimarron winners play on the West court in one semifinal, while the Norton-Hoisington and Lakin-Syracuse winners play on the East court in the semis. The championship is on the West court.

The winner advances to the Class 3A state tournament next Friday and Saturday at Emporia.

Norton hasn’t been to a state tournament since 2007, when Caitlyn’s sister, Courtney (Otto), was a senior. The Bluejays were 10-20 heading into sub-state, but beat Lakin, Cimarron and Phillipsburg to advance. The state tournament wasn’t so good, with Norton going 0-3, but it was remarkable to make it.

The 22-13 record Norton carries into sub-state is the best for the school since 2005, when Caitlyn’s OTHER sister, Chelsea (Funk), was a senior. Norton has generally had great success in all other sports, winning state championships in both boys and girls track in the years I’ve been here, in addition to seven wrestling championships in 11 seasons, but volleyball somehow has been left behind.

It could be much worse. Some schools have very little athletic success. Like one I’m very familiar with.

The next time Norton has an event in Hays isn’t until Feb. 3, when the Bluejays play basketball at TMP. I will remind Crista many times. .

I’m going to find a place to play Buzztime this evening. Either I’m going to Buffalo Wild Wings, which recently opened, or Old Chicago. Those are the only locales in Garden City, but hey, it’s better than Hays, where the only place you can play now is the Fort Hays Student Union, and I’m sure they hate non-students going in there. Therefore, the closest place to Russell to play is Buffalo Wild Wings in Salina.

Maybe it’s a good thing there isn’t a Buzztime location in Hays. I might spend too much time there and stay too late, which would disrupt my sleep patterns. It’s just too bad the best games are at night, which force me to drive I-70 between Salina and Russell at night. It’s a boring stretch any time, but it’s dangerous at night.

I’ve learned to cut myself off in Kansas City. Never later than 10, usually earlier. And staying very close to Zona Rosa helps.

I have a stop to make at Dillon’s to buy Caitlyn’s teammates some Gatorade for tomorrow. High is supposed to be around 27 Celsius (81 Fahrenheit), which is absolutely absurd for October 22. They’ll need hydration, even though Lakin’s gym is air conditioned. I already bought Caitlyn’s grape Gatorade in Oakley when I stopped for gas and to use the restroom.

I’m hoping I’m not back in Garden City too early tomorrow evening. Bad news if I am.