Friday, August 31, 2007

Humidity is awesome!

I'm sitting in my plush hotel room at the Courtyard by Marriott in Raleigh (or is it Durham? Cary? It's near the airport...). I'm used to travelling with a junior hockey team, where I'd often be sharing a bed with someone, so getting a nice room to myself it pretty cool. By the way, whenever I think of Raleigh/Durham (which isn't often, I grant you), I think of this clip from The Simpsons (skip forward to 2:10).

Long day of travelling. American's MD-80s don't have TVs in them, so there was lots of card playing, reading, sleeping (me), etc. To the right is a picture I took with my's of Mt. Hood, shrouded in a cool looking cloud (I find things like this interesting). Short layover in Dallas, but long enough to run into a couple from Portland who are Timbers fans. It is funny to hear the conversations passersby will have with the Timbers: they're obviously a team of some kind, and it's fun to watch them try to figure out what the USL First Division is. A guy at the airport here asked if they were here to play UNC...I said, "they're below David Beckham, above college soccer."

The boys went to a giant mall nearby, and about ten of us had a pretty good meal at one of those big sports bars you see in suburban malls nowadays (like a Chili's with more TVs).

The team is in very good spirits (this is a really tight group, and they have fun together) ahead of tomorrow's game. Gavin's only real team talk tonight was to remind them of how much Carolina have to play for (in the hunt for the final playoff spot), and he exhorted them to "match [the Railhawks] effort." They know it's going to be a dogfight tomorrow.


God Bless the free Wi-Fi at PDX...

...really marvelous, and seemingly against the tide of ammenities for travlers at airports nowadays.

We're a few minutes away from boarding here. It's kind of an odd dynamic: while I've interviewed most of these players at one time or another, we haven't really had formal introductions or anything like that. But they're all great guys so that will take care of itself.

Here's the travel roster:
GK: Wicks, Elfvin
Def: Knowles, Thompson (J and S), Griffin, Morrison
Mid: Olum, Kreamalmeyer, Lara, Poltl, T Taylor, Ready
For: Jordan, M Taylor, Bagley, Hague, Ambriz

Couple of injuries as well, as you might know. Dombrowski is out 2-4 weeks, as is, it appears, Gregor. Shaun Higgins, who's been playing great of late and won the penalty at Miami, also broke a bone in his hand in that game, and is likely to be out 10 days. Those times are backdated, meaning don't jump to conclusions about the Vancouver game. Speaking to Gavin, he says there's still plenty to play for in these last two games, as they jockey for playoff positioning. I don't think anyone really wants to have to travel to Puerto Rico for a first leg playoff game if they can avoid it. I think these guys know three points tomorrow would be huge.

Starting boarding here on our way to Dallas. I'll try to check in from there if possible, but don't hold your breath...


Thursday, August 30, 2007

I don't have a clever title...

...even though I sat thinking about it for five minutes.

Whenever I prepare to call a game, I'm a sucker for cool biographical information on opposing players. Stats are great, but they don't help you understand who that person is trying to beat your team and ruin your day. So, a few interesting notes on Carolina Railhawks:

First, here's a brief explanation of what the heck a railhawk actually is.... Short answer: it's made up, like a Phoenix...or a Tucson (bam!)

Second, rarely used midfielder (2 appearances this year) Jon Caldwell went to Bradley University, where two of his teammates included TimbersLuke Kreamalmeyer and Salim Bullen.

Third, check out this story about midfielder Stuart Brightwell, who went from Old Trafford to Sunday Leagues, to the USL First Division.

Fourth (getting tired of the counting yet?), Railhawks Marcio Leite, Anthony Maher (whose younger brother Matthew is also on the team), and Chad Dombrowski (yes, of those Dombrowskis) all spent the winter playing with the MISL Milwaukee Wave, along with former Timber Greg Howes, and the other Bullen, Oral.

So there's a taste, plenty more to come Saturday. As for our travel tomorrow, I was planning on posting something brief during our stopover in Dallas, but apparantly that might be difficult. If they charge for power, I shudder to think what the wi-fi situation is like.

One final thought, for those of you with time to kill during work on Friday: I don't know how this got into my head recently, but it did. It's a clip from YouTube of Alanis Morissette singing the national anthems before game 4 of this year's Stanley Cup Finals up in Ottowa. I've become a big hockey fan the last two years, after working for a team in Eugene, and I remember being blown away watching this live, and it still gives me goose bumps.



Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Tonight, playing the part of Andy McNamara... me.

First, a quick intro: this is my second year on the Portland TImbers Broadcast Network as producer/director/equipment minder/halftime host/sideline reporter/drink getter/fill-in analyst/whateverelseandyneedsmetodo. I'm fresh out of the University of Oregon, a lifelong Portland resident, and there are unconfirmed rumors floating around the internets that I might have, at one time, had something to do with the Timbers Army.

This weekend will be my third crack at Timbers play-by-play: I did the Montreal home game earlier this year (Dombrowski cancelled out late by Marcina), and the Vancouver away game last June (funny story about that game, but I'll save it for a later post).

Our call-time at the airport is 8 am on Friday, wheels up at 9:30, which is much better than the 6 am stuff Andy has had to deal with this year.

I'll get into more detail previewing this weekend's game against Carolina after I get my notes on them ready tonight. And if you have any questions or anything you want me to address in future postings, put it in the comments, or send an e-mail to timbersradio "at"


ATTR Goin' to Carolina

It's been a great year for the Ax Men and a weak sauce year for the ATTR blog. Why has the blog suffered so? I'm not entirely sure, other than the fact that I felt it was becoming too much of a forum for me to whine about the USL's award-winning travel arrangements. More likely it's the lack of my old trusty iBook, which allowed me the ability to easily upload photos that my POS PC laptop does not. Overall, I'm not entirely certain why the lack of posts, but I'm not convinced the blog won't make a comeback.

This week's one-game roadie to Tobacco Country will be handled by capable Timbers Broadcast Network producer/director John Strong. Not only will he be calling the action for the webcast, he will also be posting on this blog! So keep your browsers pointed this direction this weekend.

In case you haven't heard, the Timbers first-round home playoff game will be Sunday, Sept. 16 at 5 p.m.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Not So Friendly Skies

Here's a brief recap of what's happened thus far on this travel day...

2:30 a.m. - Wakeup!
3:00 a.m. - Leave for PDX
5:00 a.m. - Arrive at PDX, check in for 6:20 a.m. flight to Minneapolis on Frontier Airlines
5:45 a.m. - Flight delayed until 7 a.m.
5:50 a.m. - Flight delayed until 11 a.m. and no longer going all the way to Minny (stopping in Denver, but not going on as originally scheduled)
6:00 a.m. - Began process of attempting to rebook through gate, desk and Timbers travel agent for flights on other airlines.
8:00 a.m. - Sprint to United counter to catch a 8:19 flight. Denied boarding as we were too late.
8:30 a.m. - Half the team hustles to the Northwest Counter for a 8:50 flight direct to Minny. Denied boarding - too late once again.
9:30 a.m. - Forced to wait until at least 11:30 to fly on Frontier to Denver (with no guarantee that will happen). Best case scenario has us arriving in the Twin Cities at 7:05 p.m., 5 1/2 hours late.

So much for the team's scheduled training session at 5 p.m. today. Evidently Frontier Airlines has one airplane and when it breaks, everyone booked to travel on that given day is screwed. They don't partner with any other airlines, thus giving them zero pull when it comes to booking passengers on other flights in order to make connections. This one guy in line at 5:45 a.m. was told that they could put him on a series of flights to get him from Portland to Indianapolis arriving at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday - 26 hours and 45 minutes later! If he starts driving his car now, he'll be there sooner than that.

I'd heard horror stories about Frontier prior to this trip, and having never flown the airline, shook them off. Now I know. So much for the baseball tickets I secured for tonight's Twins/Indians game at the Metrodome, featuring Cy Young winner Johan Santana and C.C. Sabathia. Curses!

As if the trip to Seattle on Wednesday wasn't bad enough! The Boys need to take care of the Thunder and capture three points (assuming we arrive by game time) or this trip has the potential of rivaling the Seattle/Vancouver bus debacle of a couple years back.