Thursday, October 29, 2015

World Series Blog: Part 2 - Stop Sulking, it Ain't Over Yet

Royals - 2
Mets - 0

Oh, shit...

This Royals team is no joke. I knew they were good going in, but I had no idea just how fucking good they were!

No lead is safe. No pitcher of ours is unhittable. No batter of theirs is soft. They're just a down and dirty, scrappy baseball team. It's really tough to hate them, too. They don't showboat. They don't have a prima donna superstar. They just put the ball in play, wreak havoc on the bases, and manufacture runs.

Hats off to them.

You know who they remind me of? And damnit, it sickens me to say this -- the Yankees of the late 90's. Before they got into the habit of filling their lineup with aging, overpaid sluggers, the Dynasty Yankees were built on getting on base and timely hitting. No matter how late in the game or how many runs they were down, there was always this impending doom of, "oh Christ, here they come" whenever the leadoff hitter got on with a walk or slapped a single to the opposite field.

This is going to be a tough road back. Game One should have been ours. My buddies and I spent the duration of that game curled up in balls on the couch, nervously sucking down Miller Lites at a rate that would put Wade Boggs to shame. Juerys Familia, old reliable closer, threw one bad pitch. One. Bad. Pitch. And these sons of bitches capitalized.

What do we have working for us? Home field advantage. While the Kansas City fans were loud and boisterous, I don't know if these Royals understand the zoo they'll be walking into tomorrow night. The Citifield faithful will be as fired up as ever. It's been twenty-nine years since we've been able to witness a World Series where we don't have to worry about the arrogant, shit-talking Yankee fans sitting next to us. This is a Mets town now. The 7-Line Army, the greatest fans in baseball, will be in full-force (I'll be joining them Saturday night for Game Four). Thor and his hammer will be taking the mound for Game Three. We know this team is capable of going on a scorching run, especially at home.

The last time the Mets won it all, they lost the first two at home. And they lost with Doc Gooden on the mound in Game 1 to boot. Think you're stressed out now? Imagine what it would have been like to drop the first two at Citi! It could be much, much worse.

Game One proved they can fight with this team. There's still plenty of baseball left, and the next three games will be played in front of 45,000 rabid, orange and blue animals. This team had been fighting adversity all season. Hell, they were a paltry two games above .500 at the trade deadline. Asking them to go 4-1 over the next five games is a tall order, but they've done it. They've done it a bunch.

So let's stop sulking and welcome our boys home. I know I've been waiting 15 years for this shit, and I'll be damned if I'll let a couple of tough losses ruin my good time. "The Mets are in the fucking World Series" is something I've only been able to scream twice in my 31 years on earth, and I'm going to believe in Mets magic all the way to the final out.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

World Series Blog: Part 1 - What it Means to Root for the Mets

It was Thursday evening, October the 15th.

I carefully pick up a neon-orange shirt, purchased and worn for a proposed "Orange Citi" rally that went bust in my trip to Game 3 of the NLDS against the Dodgers. It was the night Matt Harvey was shaky, and the CitiField faithful rained a symphony of "boos" and "fuck yous" down on Chase Utley during the pregame introductions. Utley's cheap slide-tackle on home-grown Ruben Tejada in Game 2, along with his Philadelphia Phillies roots, made him public enemy number one on that warm night in Flushing. As the Mets went on to slaughter the Dodgers 13-7, the boos evolved into an eerie "We-Want-Utley" chant. Ya gotta love creative New York fan heckling.

It was an evening I'll never forget. I went to the first postseason game in what I hope will be many in the history of CitiField, and I got to share it with one of my closest friends from the neighborhood. Matty Boy doesn't get out much anymore. He has a beautiful family of his own, along with a mortgage, and the days of partying with me till 4am are long behind him. While I'm still doing the bachelor thing at 31, he chose a different path. Yet on that night, with Mets playoff baseball before us, just like every Opening Day we've attended since 2010, Matty and I picked up right where we left off. He hung up his barfly cleats years ago, but was let off the hook on the eve of his 31st birthday to catch a ballgame with his old pal Chris. We talked about family, life, and adulthood, while our beloved New York Metropolitans took a 2-1 series lead.

So back to this shirt -- this bright-ass orange shirt. Game 5 of the NLDS was just a couple of hours away. The Dodgers had taken one back from New York in Game 4, anchored by an uncharacteristically clutch performance by Clayton Kershaw. Elimination game. Tensions were high. I couldn't focus on anything all day.

Is this what Yankee fans deal with every year? I can't handle this fucking stress! THIS ISN'T FUN!!!

I figured since I purchased this shirt for Game 3 and they won in such dominating fashion, coupled with the fact that I had an amazing night with close friend to boot, I had to wear it. No one will notice that it wreaks of stray beer and phantom smoke from the sausage and peppers stand, right?

I pop the shirt on. This is my game shirt. They can't lose if I wear this shirt.

I head over to my old roommate's new apartment in Hoboken. I spent the previous year living with a couple, Mango and Jaime, sharing a many of nights watching Mets baseball, along with Giants football, Rangers hockey, and putrid Knicks basketball. We dispersed after the lease was up in August, and I haven't seen them much since. Life has been hectic, for all parties.

I arrive, wearing my stinky bright-ass Orange shirt. I give my round of hugs, load the fridge with beers, and plop down on the couch I used to call my own. A couch that served as the replacement for the bed I didn't make it to on countless nights. A couch where we watched the Rangers crushingly lose game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals a year ago. A couch were we spent Sunday after Sunday eating bagels from Leo's in the Financial District while dissecting the previous night's episode of Saturday Night Live. A couch where we watched the Mad Men era come to an end, and Kimmy Schmidt emerge from her bunker. A couch where we bonded, ate together, and grew together.

Six weeks removed from seeing each other every day, the former roommates and I picked up right where we left off, just as Matty Boy and I did. They broke my balls about poor decisions made, past and present. We quoted Ray Donovan (actually, Ray Donovan's wife). We laughed and busted balls. It was we did for a whole year, and it's what we did that night.

In the swell of catching up, the subject of Dad's came up. Oh, shit. When was the last time I called my Dad?!? I got on the horn right away. After a ring and a half, as if he were waiting all day for the call, the Old Man picked up. We gushed about the thrill of the postseason. We commiserated about the stress of it all -- whether is was freakin' worth all these gray hairs I've been growing. He passed the phone around to the family, each of us exchanging a "Let's Go Mets" in lieu of "I Love You" for just this night. I hung up just in time for Zack Greinke's first pitch.

The Mets won that night, thanks to a bulldog performance by Jacob deGrom and the modern day Lou Gerhig that's become of Daniel Murphy. We screamed for joy. Joyous and loud enough for his neighbor to come a knockin', informing us that "this isn't a fraternity house".

It would have been just any other Thursday for me. Maybe I would have set up a Tinder date that went mediocre at best. Maybe I would have caught a flick, or grabbed a six-pack and found a new TV show to binge. That Monday night I spent at the NLDS with Matty Boy would have been just another night on the door, fighting with cabbies, spitting my frustration of just how fucking useless this degree I worked so hard for has been.

But they weren't just any other nights. The Mets are in the playoffs, and I'm sharing and loving every second of it with the people closest to me. I'm headed to Game 4 of the World Series with my brother on Saturday. The last time him and I were in attendance during a World Series game, we had to watch the hated cross-town rival Yankees celebrate on the Shea Stadium infield after Mike Piazza's sure-thing home run died in the autumn air. Fifteen years later, we're back, back in the New York Groove.

Tonight is Game 1. The shirt I picked out? It's blue, with the outline of New York state, and a Mets logo inside. I, along with every fan in attendance, received it during a free-shirt Friday promotion at CitiField on July 31st of this year -- hours after the Mets traded for Yoenis Cespedes and turned their season around. Wilmer Flores was the hero that night, smashing a walk-off home run into the left field bleachers in the bottom of the 12th. This came just two days after tearfully leaving his heart on the field after learning he'd been a piece in a trade that eventually would never happen. Since then it's been tears of joy for Wilmer and the Mets.

That night was my 31st birthday celebration, and again, I shared the turnaround game of the season with the people closest to me. It's a night I'll never forget.

So they can't lose if I wear this shirt, right?!?

Friday, October 9, 2015

Trip Advisor Review Readalong


Here are the reviews I'll be destroying in Episode 20 of the Just the Tips Podcast! Enjoy! LISTEN HERE.


“Not worth the visit!”

Reviewed October 24, 2008

Just last week when a couple of business travelers from the Northwest walked through the doors of The Grand Del Mar. Little did they know, they soon would become famous for having a terrible hotel experience, and creating one of the most entertaining Power point decks ever made to share with all our clients.

This classic Power point deck will take you through the duos late night discovery that guest just don't matter. From there these two detail what exactly a reservation agent "described" is (maybe not as rock solid as we all think), night clerk Mike's career path, and their forced to accept par service.

The hotel appears to have lost all of what was the good staff. No one knew what was going on and things were a disaster. We arrived late and with very few bags. The pushy doorman insisted on taking our small bag to the room. ( We let him because we understand that everyone could use a buck today) All was good but it was late and after two phone calls to the desk and 40 minutes later the little bag arrived. When we asked what appeared to be a housekeeper bringing it up, we were told that the bellman had gone home for the night.

The next day we just wanted to share the story with the manager and were told he would contact us shortly. “Surprise” we never heard from him. 

We had our meeting and it was fine. They had problems with the AC but often in monster hotels this can happen.

When we went to check out they said that they could not find our car keys, after about 30 minutes they found that they had been tossed to the bottom of their storage area. 

So the rule is don’t bother with this one. It is very grand in structure but poor in service.

 “New Year's eve at TGI Friday's 2015...” 

Reviewed January 12, 2015

First of all, I must tell you that before purchasing the tickets I had read some reviews about this event here at tripadvisor. Still, I decided to spend new years eve at tgi since it was my girlfriend s dream...
Having said that, in first place the food was not terrible:because there was no food!!! Just a few chicken fingers for 200 people. Drinks: yeah, that s trhe only positive comment I have about this event. 
Secondly, since we have bought the general admission tickets, we only gain access to a basement (a basement? really??) with no windows, almost no chairs, nothing. I STRONGLY RECOMMEND NOT TO SPEND NEW YEARS EVE AT TGI, SPECIALLY IF YOU WANT TO SEE THE BALLDROP, WHICH AS YOU CAN IMAGINE WE DIDN'T SEE AT ALL...
But the worst aspect I have to tell you (and it surprised me) is the organization. We arrived there 2 hours before the opening. After having made a line for an hour or so, I guy (no ID, no nothing, just a guy from the street) told us (and the rest of the line) we were making the wrong line....ahhhhrrrrggggg!!!!
To sum up: the worst new year s eve EVER.

Reviewed August 16, 2015

I have never left a very negative review before but the meal this evening was both very poor and very expensive. Given this was our first meal out on our family holiday, and that everyone had been looking forward to "eating at TGIs" it was also very disappointing.

First things first, alongside a general feeling of tiredness, with a hint of needing a good clean too, the place did not seem very organised. It took two people to go upstairs and check if they had room for the 6 of us followed by one shouting over the bannister to tell us to come up.

We then ordered our drinks and food. The drinks arrived after 5-10 minutes but that was he last we saw or heard of our waitress until, about 45 minutes later, we chased for the food. At no time did anyone ask if wanted any refills. The hand wipes they had provided were then not cleared for the entire meal either. I had thought waiting staff were trained to keep an eye on all their tables all the time but clearly not this time.

Clearly the staff were under pressure for some reason but there were too few and they weredisorganised and poorly trained. Sure they had time for what looked like some pretty heated discussions, and to disappear off for lengthy periods, but there was no sign of anyone, senior or junior, going the extra mile to help out if there was a shortfall. In fact one poor family thought they had been called up only to be told, halfway up the stairs including a buggy, that they were the wrong family and to get back downstairs.

Once we chased, the food eventually arrived by which time the jet lagged kids were almost asleep anyway. Were we offered more drinks when the food arrived? Nope. Did the meals arrive together? Nope too.

The best for last though. I had been minded to leave a small tip as I know it is important to staff and clearly something was badly awry. I then received the bill though to which the waitress had circled the gratuity recommendations and that service was not included. Certainly a first for everything I guess...

When I commented that the service had been bad the waitress said "you had service, I served your food...". So $0 it was, again I think for the first time.

I have eaten in many TGIs and until now regarded them as pretty decent food in a fun and family-friendly setting. This was anything back. And the punchline....a $166 bill for 6 drinks and 6 mains and I can't even recheck the bill as I never got it back.

Dreadful, so bad in fact that I can only assume something was awry somewhere behind the scenes. Not so bad that they can't charge full prices mind.

 “Jerked me around”

Reviewed September 17, 2010

I attended a large wedding at the hotel and used valet to park my car. When I got home that night I noticed my car (an S550 mercedes) was damaged.

I contacted the hotel the next day and they told me to drive there (about 45 minute drive each way) and they would handle it. I went, waited about an hour for them to check it out. Was told their insurance company would take care of it. I drove my 45 minutes home. 

They did not get back to me. After a follow up they had their insurance company call me and tell me that that regardless of anything, the fact that I didnt notice or report the damage before leading the hotel they would not cover it under and conditions. 

Why did they jerk me around and have me spend 3 hours of my time on a fruitless trip up there???

So I called the hotel general manager who proceeded to continue to not take responsibility. 'What did you think? We would just write you a check?'

Unfortunately for them, this is the attitude of the boss and this is the attitude at this hotel. 

Better to stay away.

Friday, October 2, 2015

For Your Weekly Dose of Doorman Stories...

Hello, beautiful person.

I haven't been consistent with posting stories here on the blog. It's mostly because I've moved on to writing about other stuff, but I still like to vent every now and then. So to keep with telling stories and ranting about guests, cabbies, and other assholes, check out the weekly podcast. It's called Doorman: Just the Tips and it's available on iTunes and your podcast smart phone app. I'm no longer interviewing people. It's just me venting and telling stories about my work week, sprinkling in a little Mets stuff every now and then. If you're a fan of my writing, you'll fucking love the podcast. Trust me. Get into it!

Subscribe on iTunes

Also -- If you're interested in FREE advertising for your business, email me at I'll write you a 30-60 second commercial script and read it on the air. First one is on me. Nothing to lose. Do it.