7:00 AM - I've been in Missouri for two days and the weather forecast for Monday was "scattered thunderstorms". Same for Tuesday and…yep, same for today.
7:05 AM - The local news has "live, team coverage" of the rising Missouri River waters and continues to reference some "great flood" that apparently washed away the state in 1993. I found more information on this disaster right here, but you know what they say: If it's on Wikipedia, it's probably worth checking a second source. I can't be bothered at the moment, so let's assume this is true. Maybe.
7:15 AM - Fifteen minutes into the news and I've heard the words "state of emergency" often enough to seriously reconsider my planned cross-state trip to Kansas City to see the Royals play my beloved A's. Ah, f*ck it…it's the A's, I'm in a rental car and Mrs. Bootleg gets six times the insurance payout if I die on travel (ten times if my death-on-travel is due to an "act of God"). Cha-ching!
10:00 AM - After two hours of repeating meetings, speakers and the hardship of holding my head up, it's break time. I head for the head, close the stall door behind me and am shocked at what I find…or, more specifically, what I don't find. Do they not use those tissue toilet seat covers out here? I actually have to put my ass directly on the seat that everyone else's ass has assed, without protection?
10:05 AM - I finally finish…covering every piece of exposed porcelain with meticulously torn toilet paper. Now, we can poo.
10:30 AM - Outside the conference rooms, the early morning array of donuts has congealed into a collectively sticky, yeasty mess. (TBG Note: I spent the last five minutes staring at my computer in an ill-fated attempt to tie this comparison to Lil' Kim. In four years of Bootlegging, have I exhausted all my Kimberly Jones jabs?)
12:00 PM - We break for lunch and I break for my hotel room, while warily eyeing the partly cloudy skies. In California, any kind of AM cloud cover has burned off by now. Here…it seems to linger. I've got to get some local midday news.
12:30 PM - Back in my room and every station is saying the same thing: "Scattered thunderstorms". Unfortunately, since I'm in St. Louis, I'm only getting the forecast for…St. Louis. I think it's quaint how in a state that's about the size of Southern California, the meteorologists treat St. Louis and Kansas City as if they aren't just suburbs of Chicago.
1:00 PM - So, throwing caution to the rapidly increasing wind, three grown men pretzel themselves into my rental Mustang and head west on I-70. This…can't end well.
1:05 PM - I probably should mention that the car came equipped with Sirius Satellite Radio, which quickly became a blessing and a curse. One of the passengers requested "anything '80s". The other quickly spit out, "F*ck that". I briefly considered testing the white-boy waters with Backspin, but settled on Dan Patrick, instead.
1:10 PM - I learn that Curt Schilling has apparently apologized for some comments directed at Barry Bonds. Both of my guests use "douche" to describe Schilling in what I'd later discover would become a continuously running radio commentary on anything playing on my radio. (In hindsight, I should've put the dial on Backspin. If only in the hope to hear one of 'em say, "That MC Serch. Whatta douche! I hate Hammer, too, but 'Pop Goes the Weasel' was weak. Weak!")
1:45 PM - In the last 15 minutes, we've passed the following three billboards: "Embryos Are Alive!", "ADOPTION!" and "Embryos Are Babies Before Babies Are Born." That's all each of them said…and that last one literally hurt my brain.
2:30 PM - Time to fill up the ol' gas tank, so the three of us stop in scenic Sweet Springs, MO. I pull in behind a red pick-up truck that appears to be hauling small farm equipment.
2:31 PM - Two good ol' boys approach the pick-up after exiting the convenience store/diner/port-o-potty combo that all gas stations seem to be connected to in these parts. They're both eyeballin' me pretty good, which can only mean…racists. Or, as they prefer to be called in the red states: "politically incorrect".
2:45 PM - We're back on the road and passing the off ramp that leads to Louisiana. Not the state, but the city. Louisiana, Missouri. I am not making this up.
3:15 PM - And, look…now we're just a few miles from Mexico. Yes…Mexico, Missouri. I don't have a map, but I assume the whole city sits just outside of a Home Depot. (Do they only do that in California? If so, have a friend on the west coast explain it to you.)
3:30 PM - Nice try, Missouri, but "Houstonia" is just as bad as "Louisiana" and "Mexico". These aren't cities. They're new-age ethnic names. Just add a "La" in the front to change the gender.
3:45 PM - We're 25 miles from Kansas City when the first raindrops fall. Five minutes later, the drizzle has fizzled out. Wayyyyyyyy too late to turn back now.
4:15 PM - KANSAS CITY~! After three hours and 15 minutes, my original plan to drive the additional 10 miles into the state of Kansas just to add it to the 24 states I've already been to (halfway to 50!) is quickly scuttled.
4:30 PM - Stadium parking is $9.00. For comparative purposes, on-site parking in Oakland is $14.00. In Oakland! The only city on earth where you're guaranteed to get robbed whether you go to a game or not.
4:40 PM - OK, I'm not kidding: We paid for parking 10 minutes ago and we're still driving around the complex to find a parking lot that's not chained off. The traffic attendants seem to be directing us into Kansas, after all.
4:45 PM - We've now driven past the Kansas City Chiefs' Arrowhead Stadium, which is part of the same complex, and we've looped back around to the same guy who took my $9.00 fifteen minutes ago. "Did you guys leave?", he asked. "Just park in Lot B.", he replied to my non-response.
4:45 PM and 30 seconds - Of course "Lot B" is about 50 feet from where he's standing.
4:55 PM - Lots and lots of A's fans are out in force, which is always awesome to see on the road. It's almost like the late '80s, back when Oakland was the choice of both casual fans and flash-in-the-pan rappers alike.
5:00 PM - The ticket windows are a little less, uh, "crowded with people" than in St. Louis the night before. Two hours before game time, we ask for three "best available" and end up with three tickets, on the aisle, three rows behind home plate. Small crowds, swarming with opposing fans & great seats always available? Quit stealing Oakland's style, Kansas City!
5:15 PM - While the skies continue to darken, I overhear one usher telling another that storms aren't expected in the area until 8:00 PM. Let's see…7:00 PM start…in the American League…that means "the top of the 2nd inning". Ruh oh.