Thursday, July 31, 2008

THOUGHTS ON THE DO'

Response to my new brunette do:

From a fellow reporter: "Your IQ level just went up 15 points."

From Russell Martin: "When did you do it? I think it looks good."

From my mom: "Do you like it?

From a friend: "Oh, my god, I love it!"

From an acquaintance: "Did you do something to your teeth?"

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

PROOF I PLAYED BALL AT DODGER STADIUM!

Annual Dodger Media Game 2008

I finally got pictures from that amazing day where I got to play baseball at Dodger Stadium in the annual media game. I was one of only three girls who played (the other two were way better than me, I confess). If you'll notice, I am smiling the entire time.

Smiling when I'm standing at home plate. Smiling when I hit the ball. Smiling as I run.

Look at the grin on my face! Unfortunately we lost, but who really care?! If only we did this every week ...

Laura Lane up to bat and thinking: "Ok, elbow up, knees bent ... Let's hope the pitching coach doesn't throw a 95 mph fastball at me."

"And swing!" (still smiling)

EDITORS UPDATE: I've been told my swing sucks by many people. FYI guys, yes, I realize that. But thanks for the technical advice.

"What?! I hit the ball? Really??? Sweet ... Oh yeah - Run!"

"Ha! No big deal. That's how the pros do it. What can I say?"

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

EARTHQUAKES AND GOODBYES FROM CALI


There was a significant earthquake in California about 10 minutes ago. It was a 5.8 magnitude located in Chino Hills according to the USGS Caltech Seismic Net (it's this awesome website that updates seismic activity in Cali every couple minutes). 

It was 29 miles from Los Angeles and could be felt down to Orange county and even San Diego. There's been no sizeable aftershocks so far (at least none that I've felt 29 miles away from the epicenter). 

Funny that this happened just a week before I moved to New York. Luckily nothing broke in my apartment. I went under the doorway like I'm supposed to. However, considering how old my building is, perhaps I should have ran outside like a few of my neighbors did. 

Must be my goodbye from California. 

UPDATE: It's been a half hour now and my phone is still haven't difficulty connecting calls and it refuses to send text messages. Damn you Sprint phone lines! ... On the bright side, god bless the internet. 

UPDATE 2: The earthquake has been revised down to a 5.4 from the initial 5.8. And more importantly, my phone is working. 

Monday, July 28, 2008

BEST GAME IN THE WORLD (AND I GOT TO CHEER!)



Okay, maybe not the best game cause we lost ... but I got to be a fan today! (as opposed to an unbiased reporter).

First and foremost, yes, I dyed my hair brown. Woke up this morning, said to myself, "I think I want to dye my hair brown," called the hair salon and two and a half hours later, Laura Lane became a brunette after spending a good 10 years as a blond. 

Second of all, tonight was the best going away party EVER! I brought 20 of my friends and my amazing family to Dodger stadium to celebrate my going away in a ridiculously incredible suite that a friend of mine gave me for the night (food included!). 

It also doesn't hurt being friends with the amazing people at the Dodgers organization. I ran into one friend as we walked in who told me I could bring two of my friend to the field for batting practice (I regretfully declined since I didn't want to hurt anyones feelings). And then I ran into another friend walking upstairs and 10 minutes later he brought everyone in my suite free Dodgers hats. It was perfect.

Despite the 7-6 loss to the Giants (I really thought they were making a comeback), it was an entertaining night that included Joe Torre getting kicked out the game, Casey Blake getting unusually upset after the second bad call by the umps of the night for him and Andruw Jones actually hitting the ball and getting on base (WTF?)!

My best (okay, only) present of the night was a box of wine, crackers, Perrier and other goodies from my friend Maddy with a note that read, "For your first picnic in Central Park." I almost cried. 

It was an incredible boost of self-esteem to be at my first game where there is absolutely no question I knew more about the team than any of the other 20 people in the room. You see, normally I'm in the press box surrounded by the stat-smart press core who have about 25 years of baseball reporting experience on me, that far outdates my age and knowledge of the "good ol' days." However, I was proudly giving my friends more info than even I realized I knew about every batter, pitcher and player in the game. 

"You've met all of them?!" one of my friends asked me. "Who's # 7? He's cute."

"James Loney," I replied. "I just did a story on him the other day actually. Real nice guy. He hit a homerun in the last game too." 

I have to give a few of my not-so-sportsy friends credit for pretending to be interested in the game (most of them actually were interested), but seriously, there is no excuse to not know the words to "Take Me Out To The Ball Game." I mean, really! At least they caught on by the second round. Here's some more pics from the night:




Sunday, July 27, 2008

SOUP KNOWS BEST


There's no need to watch TV (besides Sports Center, Entourage and the Daily Show) when there is an amazing show called The Soup. If you're not a fan of the show, then you need to get on it. It's my weekly dose of laughter and catches me up on all the awful TV shows I wouldn't dare take the time to watch.


I used to go to tapings every week and before I left for NYC I needed to go to one more taping. I brought my family and this week they had guests on the show! Double the fun. 

Joel Mchale and his amazing wife and kids are my second family and I figured it was time he meet my actual family before I take off for NYC. 

The Soup always knows just how to point out how certain celebrity news shows are completely non-newsworthy, cheesy and an utter waste of time. However, a clip of the show is definitely worth your time. 

WHY CELEBS SHOULD DRESS LIKE MATT KEMP



Don't expect to see Dodger outfielder Matt Kemp wearing sunglasses indoors like so many other "too cool for school" celebs in H-wood. 


"We don't wear sunglasses in the dark," Kemp explained to me today. "We only wear sunglasses when the sun's out. People wear sunglasses inside when they're hiding something. And I ain't got nothing to hide. You know what I'm saying?" 

(The "we" he was talking about was his Dodger buddy, Juan Pierre, who he sits next to in the locker room).

I couldn't agree more! I never understood why celebs wore sunglasses indoors. If anything, it causes more attention. And it's not like it really hides their face much. We still know who it is.

I saw Kemp at the ESPY's last week and didn't even recognize him at first all dressed up in his suit. And he picked it out all by himself! 

All he needed was some sunglasses like Greg Oden and he'd be set ... but as he explained, no sunglasses indoors. Oh, and for the record, I was joking about wearing the Greg Oden sunglasses.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A BLAKE FOR A BLAKE



Goodbye Blake DeWitt, hello Casey Blake.

Yesterday Blake DeWitt was interviewed on ESPN 710 radio by Mason and Ireland where they asked him if he worries about competing to keep his 3rd base spot on the Dodger's roster. He basically brushed off the question and said that he tries his hardest every time he comes to the field and doesn't think about those things.

Ironically, the next day DeWitt was off the Dodger's roster. Today DeWitt was optioned down to Triple-A Las Vegas to make room for Casey Blake who was acquired today from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for two minor leaguers, catcher Carlos Santana and pitcher John Meloan.

I interviewed Casey Blake last month, who said similar words to DeWitt. He said, "If you want something bad enough, you've got to work harder than everybody else."

Unfortunately for DeWitt, that's not always true. However, he's young, hardworking and one of the nicest guys on the team and I'm sure he'll be back soon enough. For now, good luck to the Blake's.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

GOLF + BOWLING > DATE + MOTORCYCLE

Getting stood up ... was probably the best thing that could have happened!

I mean, technically I wasn't completely stood up since the guy called, er, texted. The only reason I wanted to go out with him was because he drove a motorcycle, which I've never been on so it seemed somewhat rebelliously sexy to hop on the bike, hold on tight and ride through the streets of L.A.

We'd been running into each other a lot in the past month or so and the guy had been asking to get drinks with me for the last two weeks. We finally made plans a week ago, touched base the day before, touch base that day and then he TEXTS me an hour and a half before we're supposed to go out and says, "Hey baby, might have to postpone ... crap."

What?! Uhhhggg. Men! My text response? "No worries."

I wouldn't be so annoyed except for the fact that I had sold my car that day and was frantically trying to figure out which family member's car I could borrow to get back up to L.A. Once I finally piled all my stuff in the borrowed car, turned the ignition on and was about to leave the OC, I get the text. Uhhhgggg!

This is called dating Karma.

I'm moving in 2 weeks and shouldn't have even been going on a date anyways. I should just be spending time with family and friends ... but it would have been hot to go on a motorcycle.

Well, after the date cancellation text, I immediately called by bestie, apologized for ever choosing to hang out with a guy over her, and then drove to her house to meet up with her and my other friend.


We had heard rumors of some event held late Wednesday night in the summer at the Griffith Park golf course, where there's a bartender, DJ, BBQ, free driving range, the movie Caddyshack projected on the clubhouse wall and a costume contest for the person dressed in the best golf gear. It was apparently started by actor Jason Biggs.

We were on a mission for some random fun so we set out to find this incredible secret extravaganza. After an hour of getting lost in the Griffith Park hills, which made for many laughs as we tried to follow the directions we found on some blog, we made it.

And sure enough, there was a full bar, a hundred or so young folks lounging around the clubhouse, the movie Caddyshack silently playing in the background and dozens of golfers hitting balls off the driving range with a Stella Artois next to their basket.

I grabbed five balls off the ground and borrowed a fellow golfer's club in attempt to try my luck at the driving range. Turns out, hitting that tiny, white, dimpled ball is just as hard as throwing darts (another "sport" I'm pretty awful at - stand far away if you see me try ... ping pong on the other hand, I own).

Oh yeah, high-heels and all.

After an hour of golf course menacing, we decided to continue our night of randomness by heading to Luck Strike bowling alley. I had bowled there last week, but I didn't even finish a game and I let random party goers bowl for me half the time, so I must not have realized the secret bowling skills I had kept even from myself. I'm like, really good! Who would have thought?

Lucky Strike is my new favorite place. They always play ESPN on the big screens, the people there are always nice, you get to bowl, have a cocktail and you always end up meeting random fun people.

We were bowling next to two scensters - the girl had on overall shorts, tiny boots, a long feathered earring in the right ear, a hoop earring in the left and her hair pulled back in a long faux-hawk. The guy had Kanye sunglasses, tight pants, a neon shirt and rings on both hands that when across four of his fingers. He said he was a rapper. Every time one person would get a strike the other person would run out on the lane and have to break dance. It made for quite an entertaining spectacle watching the "rapper" spin on his head in between turns.

In the end, I beat both of my friends bowling, scoring 114 in the second game, which might not be pro-status, but for a girl who hasn't truly played in years, I was pretty impressed with myself.

While I might sound a bit competitive, I'm also the best cheerleader when one of my friends gets a strike or a spare. Our celebration included me running out to greet them on the lane, giving a high-five and then the two of us doing a brief swing dance and celebratory spin.

Let's just say the night beat any date I could have ever gone on. Golf and bowling is greater than a date and a motorcycle ride any day.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

MY LOVE OF THE CAGES


The batting cages are my new favorite thing to do. The only place nearby that has them is a place called Boomers, where there is also miniature golf, arcades and wall climbing. Meaning I had to navigate through 75 hyper-active 13 year-olds just to make way over to the cages. Needless to say, it was worth it.

I've worked my way from the 40 mph baseball cage to the 50 mph baseball cage, hit more than 200 balls and by the end of summer, I highly intend to be successfully in the 60 mph baseball cage.

Unfortunately, yet again, I was unable to find anyone who wanted to go with me. It seems, no one else has affection for the cages quite like myself. Not my brother, certainly none of my friends and even my dad, who had first introduced me to the cages at the age of 10, has a hurt shoulder now. Damn you people. Recognize the greatness of the batting cages.

Monday, July 21, 2008

JT'S AMAZING "I LOVE SPORTS" SONG

Yes, I got to see this performance last Wednesday LIVE and it was even better than watching it on TV, but I just have to say, does Justin Timberlake read my blog? Because I posted that Ennio Marchetto video on the 4th of July and I swear that JT got some of his ideas for his incredible ESPY performance from that video. Just saying.

Anyways, I know awards shows can be dull (We all just like the red carpet pre-show anyways) but the ESPY's were AMAZING. If you watch anything, watch Justin's performance below. And Justin, I'm totally flattered you read my blog.

REGGIE MEET DAVE



It was pretty cool introducing Brothers and Sisters star Dave Annable to NFL star Reggie Bush. I mean, who am I to be making the introduction? But I knew them both so I made it happen.

I met Dave Annable at a Celebrity Scrabble event a few weeks ago where we talked about sports (I had read an interview where he said he wanted to date a girl who liked watching sports. So of course I asked him what that was all about). He's a super nice (and good looking) guy so when I saw him standing at Lucky Strike at Matt Leinart's celeb bowling event, I immediately went to say hi.

"I think I just won a Led Zepplin guitar in the silent auction!" he says giving me a hug and introducing me to his friend.

"That's awesome!" I say. "Stairway to Heaven was the first song I even learned the words to because my dad would just replay it in the car. Are you bowling?"

"No, I'm not sure," he says. "Maybe. Are you?"

"Of course." I say. "We have a lane right over there."

After a few more minutes of chatting and pointing out who all is at the event, Annable mentions that he's never met Reggie Bush.

"I'll introduce you," I say. "Come with me!"

He follows me over to Bush and Kim Kardashian's lane, who I had just finished chatting with (Kim swore she's a better bowler than Reggie and then quickly took it back).

"Reggie, this is my friend Dave."

They exchange hand shakes and quickly chat.

"Man, I owe you," says Annable after the meet and greet.

"No problem," I say. "Well I'm going to go bowl now but I'll see you guys around."

Little did I realize I would be leaving soon and wouldn't see Annable again and who knows when we'll cross paths next. Oh well ... he did say he owes me. Drinks, perhaps? Anyways ...

The athletes and celebs included Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, Kim Kardashian, Keith Rivers, Shaun Cody, Brody Jenner, Wilmer Valderama and a bunch others. Leinart hosted the bowling event for his charity, invited all of his rich celebs friends and I, along with a bunch of other media attended. Of course, I went to school with half of these guys at USC, so I was extra happy to get to hang with my fellow Trojans.

Afterwards I went with a bunch of the guys to Hollywood club Goa where I officially became the coolest older sister in the world when I managed to sneak my 18 year-old sister into the club using my I.D. It was the first event I'd ever brought her to (I'd feel super guilty if I left L.A. before bringing her to any cool celeb event). Earlier at bowling she apparently told another bowler that I'm too over-protective of her (it's true), so getting her in the club more than made up for that. My innocent and celeb-stricken sis was already in awe getting to bowl next to Brody Jenner and Reggie Bush so this pretty much topped things off.




(Bringing the lil' sis along for my H-wood fun and of course, showing the 'fight on!' sign for my Trojans.)

We danced for awhile and soon Greg Oden and Bridgette from the Girls Next Door showed up to join in the fun. Oh Hollywood! It was a random night of bowling, dancing with my former USC Trojan buds, taking the lil' sis along, and, of course, getting to chat again with the gorgeous Dave Annable.

Damn, why do I want to move to N.Y. again? With all these gorgeous, talented, nice and charming men ...

Good luck finding that girl who likes watching sports. I'll be in NYC ... watching sports.

MANNY BEING MY BUDDY



Manny Ramirez and I are buddies.

I was covering the Red Sox-Angels series (which the Angels swept) and by Sunday, Manny was introducing me to his teammates, talking about the good ol' days on Cleveland and talking about Salsa dancing.

I interviewed Julian Tavarez last week, who I had met two years ago through a friend and we started talking about the old days and a prank that Sandy Alomar played on him and Manny back when they were 19 or 20 year-old rookies playing for Cleveland. Sandy told Manny and Julian and another teammate that he could lift all three guys with one arm because he had voodoo powers and if he couldn't he would give them $3,000. The guys agreed, so they got tied up and instead of lifting them, the vets poured trash on them, took their clothes during the game and gave them hula costumes to wear as the typical rookie hazing.

"I said, 'All my family is waiting outside,'" Tavarez told me. "I was so little and so skinny and I don’t know what to say because my underwear was gone too and all I had was a skirt on and a bra and a hat and a purse. The manager told me if I don’t walk out side I don’t get my pay check. I said, 'Manny what are you going to do?' And Manny said, 'I’m from New York. I’m not going outside.' And I said, 'I need my pay check to support my family. I’m going out.' I went out. We’ve still got the tape."

Manny says he did end up going outside in the costume. Needless to say, they weren't pleased.

On Sunday, I told Manny that Julian had told me the story and he started cracking up and talking about how much he loved playing for Cleveland because of all the guys on the team. Now, Manny rarely does interviews, so I was a little shocked he was chatting me up considering they had lost the last two games. Then he started blaring some Salsa music in the clubhouse asked if I knew how to Salsa dance.

"Nope, never have," I reply.

"You should get lessons. See that guy over there. He is the best Salsa dancer," says Manny.

"Oh yeah?" I say.

"But you have to wear shorts like these," says Manny pulling out some of his long spandex shorts.

"I'll wear those shorts, when you wear the hula costume you and Julian had to wear."

Who knows, if the contract negotiations don't work out with the Red Sox, Manny just might end up in Cleveland or another ballpark soon.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

NECKLACE BEHIND RED SOX SUCCESS?




When I was covering the Red Sox this past weekend, I couldn't help but notice that a bunch of the players including Mike Timlin, Manny Ramirez, Clay Buchholz and few others were wearing these camoflauge necklaces around their necks. Now I knew it couldn't be for style so I asked relief pitcher Mike Timlin what the deal was with the necklaces.

"It’s that titanium thing," he explained, adding that they were handed out to the team. "It’s suppose to realign your energy or something like that."

Well, I looked into the necklaces and got some more info and found out that Buchholz and Josh Beckett are actually endorsers of the necklace along with a few other MLBers on other teams.

INFO ON THE NECKLACE:

The Phiten Titanium Necklace is worn by athletes on a daily basis to relieve pain and stress. The strands of Phiten's revolutionary necklace are coated with Phiten's water soluble Aqua-Titanium. The Phiten necklace's core has micro sized Titanium spheres, as well as Carbonized Titanium; designed to stabilize the flow of electric current and increase your body's energy level. Showcases a clip fastener closure for easy on and off action. The Phiten Titanium 22'' necklace is ideal for sports lovers, enhancement of athletic abilities, fatigue reduction, relaxation and refreshment. Hand wash reccomended. 22-inch design. The Titanium Necklace from Phiten can also be worn on the wrist, ankle or waist to quickly relieve pain and stress. Now available in new Camouflage designs.

Available Colors: Black, Navy, Red, Dark Brown Camouflage, Moss Green Camouflage, Black/Gray Camouflage

What is Aqua Titanium? ''Aqua Titanium'' is the name used for titanium particles dissolved in water. It represents Phiten's successful effort to bond titanium molecules with water molecules, which had heretofore been considered infeasible, using a unique technology. Phiten's original technology causes titanium to dissolve in water (Aqua Titanium) and lets the titanium particles thus obtained permeate each fiber of the material fabric. Phiten products, made of these specially processed fabrics deliver the natural health-promoting properties of titanium to various parts of your body. Phiten necklaces have quickly become the choice of professional athletes everywhere and can be seen regularly on baseball players of all levels.

More info.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

AFTER-AFTER-AFTER PARTIES ESPY MADNESS




I met Brady Quinn.

It's going to be pretty damn hard to top my night at the ESPY's. For starters, I rarely stay out past 1am and I got home, via cab, at 5am.

I was excited all week for the ESPY's. My heiress roommate loaned me her $800 dress and I was ready to go. I arrived to the ESPY's with my friend Arash, barely making the 5:30 "doors closing" cutoff for the 6pm show. One of my amazing mentors at ESPN scored me a ticket. My seat was at Orchestra level, which was better than some of my celeb friends that walked the carpet. Dodgers player Matt Kemp was seriously in the row in front of me. I run into World Series of Poker Champion Jamie Gold as I walk in. He's one of the nicest guy's ever and now I know the night is off to a good start.


Justin Timberlake was the perfect host for the ESPY's. Ridiculously funny, charming, prepared and god damn talented. I had taken all of these notes from the ESPY's but I don't even care about those anymore because you should seriously just watch the show for yourself. What I want to talk about is the after parties.

After-party:

Once inside I saw about 25 friends and colleagues that I knew. I sit down to eat and start chatting with some famous boxer who's name I can't remember when the entire Celtics team walks in. Kendra and the Girls Next Door are eating a few tables next to me, Greg Oden walks in, I'm introduced to Tony Gonzalez, Terrell Owens enters with his entourage and Kate Walsh looks hot in her purple dress as she's chatting up a hot Tom Brady look-a-like by the door. Later, the Tom Brady look-a-like comes over to talk to me and my friend and I find out his name is Ryan and he's not athlete at all. He's an actor on some show called "Chuck" and thinks it's super cool that my friend and I are into sports, specifically that she is into Fantasy sports. After two of my colleagues and I make a few rounds around the party they invite me to the after-after party. They've got the "in." That's how it's done in Hollywood.

The after-after party is at a huge church downtown. I've been to a Snoop Dogg concert and Grammy party there before, which means I know where the bathrooms are. Once inside I see Derek Fisher whom I haven't seen since the NBA playoffs. He introduces me to his wife and we crack up about a certain scandle that happened a month ago he thinks is hilarious. "This is the girl from that story I told you about!" he says to his wife. Nice.

Matt Leinart's also at the party so I briefly chat up my former college classmate. "I like the look," I say eyeing his baby blue sweater. "I think I'm a little too preppy," he says.

Michael Vartan and his friend happen to be at the party as well and at this point we're at the hugging stage. We all hug and chat about the ESPY's which they missed. I fill them in on the det's.

T.O. and pretty much every other A-list athlete from the ESPY's and the first after-party make their way to this one and by 2am it's time for the after-after party. My incredible two friends toss me a wrist band and we cab it over to the Standard hotel. They're amazing and they've also got another "in" to an even more exclusive bash.



I didn't think it was possible to get more athletes into one party but I feel like I'm in some mega-star locker room. There's only one person worth mentioning though and that is Brady Quinn. Say what you will about his football skills, Brady Quinn was my second favorite athlete for the last four years (it was Barry Zito, Brady Quinn, Scott Podsednik and Tom Brady) and I was never able to meet him even at the Notre Dame football game in South Bend. I don't ever get nervous or too excited to see athletes or celebs (I mean I interview them on a daily basis) - but this was Brady Quinn. It'd be like meeting Zack Morris when I was in middle school. I introduced myself, met his gorgeous girlfriend and then sat down on the couch of the hotel room to take a breather, thinking, "Shit, there's no way to top this. Ever. I went to the ESPY's. Best show ever. I met Brady Quinn. I'm at an after-after-after party. And I met Brady Quinn."

By 5am, it was well past my bed time so I jumped in a cab and after the cab driver made a few wrong turns, I eventually ended up at my apartment, where I laid down and thought, "There's no way I'm making my 9am appointment in Orange County tomorrow."

PLAYBOY MANSION AND THE MICHAEL VARTAN MEETING



The ESPY's are a pretty fantastic time of year. It's a battle of the coasts. While half of the athletes and celebs head to the East Coast for the All-Star game, the other half are in Tinsel Town for the ESPY's. I was on the West Side of things. On Monday I was invited to go to the Playboy ESPY party, which I gladly accepted. I had promised my best friend that I would somehow take her to the Playboy Mansion before I left for New York and I was not about to go back on a promise.

I also promised her six months ago I would introduce her to Michael Vartan, which was randomly another promise I was able to accomplish that night.

I had met Vartan at a Blackberry event a while back with his friend who had a broken arm from a hockey injury. Vartan had been off of "Alias" for awhile and was on a new show that I loved called "Hot Shots." He told me his new show sucked and he didn't know why I liked it. So instead we ended up talking about the hockey league he is in. The whole time I kept thinking, "My best friend Katie and him would totally hit it off. They need to meet."

When I told her the next day that they needed to somehow meet so that they would fall in love, her response was something like, "Sure, Laura. Set it up. Oh, and while you're at it, would you mind introducing me to Brad Pitt and George Clooney?" Still, I insisted I would make it happen and ever since then it's been an ongoing joke with us.

Six months later at the Playboy Mansion, there was Michael Vartan with the same friend (minus the cast) standing at a table next to us.

"Katie, you're coming with me!" I said grabbing her hand.

"Michael, Laura Lane. I met you at that Blackberry party a few months ago."

"Hey! That's right. How are you?" Vartan said.

"Your arms all better," I said to his friend. "No more hockey injuries?"

And with that, the ice was broken and I made the introductions. They chatted for about 15 minutes, but unfortunately Katie felt no sparks. That is besides the point though. The point is, when you say something will happen it does. Seriously. I said I would get a job in New York within 6 months. And I start a job 6 months later. The ultimate proof of this happened a year ago. As I was walking up to a club I said to my best friend, "I wish Barry Zito here." And no joke, my favorite athlete was sitting at a table when I walked in. I ended up with a few friends at his house later that night playing guitar and listening to Beatles music. I said it and it happened.

This year, I said I would introduce my best friend to Michael Vartan. And, well, I did.

Other highlights at the Playboy Mansion were seeing my USC buddy Keith Rivers, making fun of Greg Oden's dancing skills, chatting with Kendra from the Girls Next Door (whom I pretended to be BFF's with although we've met only twice, none of which she remembers), insisting to Ray Allen that I wasn't really a Lakers fan, seeing my favorite person Sasha Vujacic who gave me a huge hug when he saw me (he even got up from his poker table!), running around like a 6 year-old when I find the empty game room at the mansion and having a 10 minute conversation with Bill Maher at the bar.

Maher went off on a shpeal about how the ESPY's are bullshit "because sports doesn't need an awards show to figure out who the best team is because they have a little thing called competition to figure that out." I strongly disagreed but had little to argue my side with. After all, who was I to try and win a debate with Bill Maher?! I immediately called my mom and dad and told them I met him. They're big fans.





With my fellow sports reporter and bestie.

I PLAYED BASEBALL AT DODGERS STADIUM!


(Photo editors note: real picture of me playing at Dodgers Stadium to come soon)

I played baseball at Dodgers stadium. Seriously.

I still don't really believe it. I stood at the plate, hit a ball, caught (ok, attempted to catch and completely mis-judged how far back to go) balls in center field. You see, the amazing people at the Dodgers organization throw a media game every year that I had the chance to play in it. Not everyone can play. One of my good friends was told he couldn't play because he hadn't followed the team long enough and for some reason I got to play with my esteemed fellow journalists.

It was pretty sick. I got some tips from a few of the players before hand. They said, "Don't fuck up." Nice. While I was warming up Hanley Ramierez walked by and I asked him if he wanted to join my team. He said no. Some of the other Marlins walking to the buss were a little more helpful in their advice, however.

I'd like to consider myself an okay all-around athlete ... but I take it all back. Despite, playing sports in high school, I hadn't played baseball since middle school. Some time between then and now my arm did the weirdest thing. It started throwing like a girl. You know that scene in "Rookie of the Year" where he is on the mound and all of the sudden he falls and his magic arm is gone and he can't throw anymore? That's how I felt. My hitting on the other hand wasn't so bad ...

I was so nervous about the game that I went to the batting cages the morning before to practice. All of my guy friends think I am the coolest chick in the world for going to the cages by myself but seriously, I think I might make it a regular thing now. I started out in the 60 mph baseball (baseball, not softball let me point out) cage, sucked, went down to 50 mph, sucked, went down to 40 mph, sucked, stuck it out and within 45 minutes I was hitting every ball that came my way. Granted it was 50 mph slower than the pros get, but give a girl some credit.

I had a good story to tell at the bar that night when I had my hands all taped up covering my blisters. It paid off though because I hit the ball both times up at bat in the game on the first pitch! Which was a baseball! Which was thrown by one of the pitching coaches for the Dodgers!!! AMAZING, right!?

Well, my team lost. Even the incredible Beto Duran, who had the first hit in the game couldn't secure our win. Oh well, there's always next year.

Friday, July 18, 2008

WHAT YOU MISSED AT DODGER STADIUM





I've been M.I.A. lately ... and I apologize profusely. However, it with good reason, which you'll read about here. My friends hate me because I can rarely hang out. And I have no clue what I would have done if I would have stayed working at E! until I left because I don't have time to breathe let alone have a day job. And now that I've said my apologies I will hopefully entertain you with some exciting info you can't find anywhere else.

To start, here are some awesome notes I took during the past four Dodgers games I was at. Oh, the little things I tend to notice.

Wednesday: Atlanta Braves v Dodgers

-People are still talking about the fan that ran out to the field and started break dancing the other day. Awesome. How did I miss that?!
-Dodgers win 2-1

Thursday: Florida Marlins vs. Dodgers

-One of the Marlins is making beer orders on the phone before the game. He orders Newcastle, Stella and says people don’t like Heineken … huh?
-Andre Either apparently has a cooking blog!?
-The Bachelor and Bachelorette (Deanna Pappas, and her fiance Jesse Csincsak) are here to throw out the first pitch and have a make out sesh before going out to the mound. Dan Uggla comes up to them and introduces himself to say what a huge fan he is of the show. Seriously?!
- I’m currently fascinated with the songs players choose for themselves when they come to the mound. Two of my fav’s: Jonathan Broxton’s got “Johnny B. Good” and Takaishi Saito’s “Bad to the Bone.”
-Russell Martin is sporting a new faux-hawk look. The joke is that when he changes his hair it’s good luck.
-Rafael Furcal has returned to the locker room from back surgery and lifts ups his Christian Audigier shirt to show off his scar to a couple teammates. He says he’ll be back in 6-8 weeks, maybe in September of this year.
-Joe Torre’s desk has no signs of his Yankee past. He has two snow globes on his desk with floating golf balls inside. He also had a Donald Trump figurine sitting at a desk that says “The Apprentice.”
-Dodgers lose 4-5

Friday: Florida Marlins vs. Dodgers

-Blake DeWitt gets rookie of the month
-Martin’s faux-hawk is gone. He’s shaved it off. What else could he possible do to his hair now? “Maybe I’ll add some lines on the side like Kanye,” Martin says. Perhaps he changed it just in time for the All-Star game.
-Hermida hits a homerun, and Ramirez and him bring the score to 2-0 just 4 minutes after the game started in the first.
-Another one! Cantu, third guy up hits a homerun! 3-0 with the first three guys up at bat. The 4th guys, Willingham, almost hit another one deep into center field but it's caught.
-Andruw Jones gets booed. Poor dude.
-Dodgers lose 1-3

Saturday: Florida Marlins vs. Dodgers

-I’m not there but the Dodgers lose 3-5

Sunday: Florida Marlins vs. Dodgers

-Takiashi Saito is reading a Japanese pitching coach’s memoir in Japanese before the game.
-Matt Kemp and Delwyn Young are talking about their beach plans in Manhattan during the All-Star break. Young says he’s getting floatees, and umbrella, Corona and a beach chair. Nice.
-In the other locker room, Hanley Ramirez is avoiding the media by playing a 1980 arcade game and putting headphones on and dancing in the locker room.
-The US Olympic women's Water polo team throws out first pitch. “Look at the shoulders on those girls!” says a reporter next to me.
-Joe Nelson’s nickname is Jellybean because he poured a thing of jellybeans in his car and whenever it starts it smells like jellybeans. I love it.
-Dodgers win 9-1. Seriously?! Did they save all their runs for Sunday or what?

Friday, July 11, 2008

MY DODGER VIDEO BLOG!

It's your very first Fast Lane Dodger Update! Whoo hoo! This is my first video blog, so be kind.

I promise I've got lots of fun insider info in these insightful 2 minutes - including why Russell Martin's hair could be the reason why the Dodgers are winning!


video

Monday, July 7, 2008

NOT EXACTLY THE KENTUCKY DERBY BUT -


I'd say it's even better! Better than the derby, you say? Oh yes.

That is if you ignore the sounds of gunshots a few blocks away in Inglewood, the bird-poop covered seats and the beer-bellied regulars yelling profanities.

The weekly horse races at Hollywood Park (don't let the name fool you, this is definitely not Hollywood) is quite the scene. While the crowd of grungy gamblers dressed in old jeans, ketchup-stained shirts and leather jackets from 1992 are certainly not the upscale Kentucky Derby crowd of billionaire caramel-colored suit wearers next to trophy wives in Jupiter-sized hats, who said people need to dress like they're going to an Elton John party to bet on some horse races?

(Photo editors note: Cristina gets credit for wearing a long Kentucky Derby-style dress.)

And who can argue with $1 hot dogs, $1 beers (don't let the $2 beer cup fool you, the cup size is less than double of the $1 version), $2 bets and suites for $3 (however, don't let the term "suites" fool you. Those are the bird-poop covered seats I referred to earlier. Keep expectations low, and you'll never be disappointed!)?

Yes, the Hollywood Park races are an underrated spectacle of L.A. I was lucky enough to partake in the fun. I didn't do so bad either on the betting side of things. I won $12 (though I spent $20) and finally got the hang of horse betting. Always bet to win.

That's my motto - go big, or go home!

RUN-INS WITH THE EX


Run-ins with the ex, whom you haven't seen in a year since he broke your heart can be a particularly awkward experience. This happened to me this weekend at a concert for a friend's band in L.A. Since it was a band I would regularly see with the ex, I had avoided any performances for the past year. But after the drummer had sent me four text messages begging me to come to the record release, I gave in.

I had cut off all contact with the struggling writer - turned major motion picture director (this transformation happened over the course of our dating. I can proudly say I fell for him during the 'struggling writer' faze. I've never been one to go for the successful Hollywood-types. They can be quite the stuck-up spotlight stealers).

I have to say I was impressed with the way things went and can now successfully leave L.A. knowing I have absolutely no feelings for any past romantic relationships. No fizzling feelings were brought back to life after the run-in. Uhg. None. At. All.

However, from the experience I have come up with five rules to follow when situations such as these arise:

1. When he smiles and waves, say hi, chat but be sure to be the first one to leave the conversation (this is important for all those times he said he had to get off the phone first).

2. Ignore his psycho ex-girlfriend-turned-best-friend whom always hated you when you were together. She'll come over and say hi but you both know she hates you. When she stands in front of you at the concert trying to dance super sexy, get up and leave. She'll casually turn around to see if you're looking at her, but by then you're already at the bar.

3. Don't go out of your way to say hi to any of his old friends whom also happen to be there. "Great," you think to yourself. Don't be alarmed. Smile, and say hi when they come over. And yes, they all come over. Oddly enough, they're curiously happy to see you. Remember, you look better than ever and you're moving soon for a hot new job, so you're the whole package this time around. Not him.

4. Don't say good-bye. In your old days, you would make any excuse to say good-bye, convincing yourself it was "rude" not too. You came to see the band. It's not rude. And you forgot he was even there.

5. Don't think too much into the whole night. No need to over-analyze anything. Okay, so you're single. But remember, so is he. Ha.

Friday, July 4, 2008

HAVE A FUNNY FOURTH!

Happy 4th of July! I'm skipping out on the over-crowded beaches and opting for some BBQ and pool time with the fam and topping off the night with fireworks at my old high school. Bringing it back this week, bringing it back.

I tried to find you a funny 4th of July video but instead, I came across an Ennio Marchetto video. Random, but oh so good.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

OH, MY YOUTHFUL INSIGHT


I wrote this in a high school notebook (about the time I took this pic at the ripe age of 16 years-old) and just found it (along with this pic) as I was cleaning out my stuff from high school. I'm pretty sure I had more insight then than I do now. And god damn I was in good shape.

Laugh and the world laughs with you,
Cry and the world becomes the sea,
Dream and you'll lose your reality,
Believe and your dreams become real,
Wish and you will never be satisfied,
Act and you will accomplish satisfaction,
Abstraction is a form of beauty,
And beauty is only a perception,
Fright is only the unknown,
And the odd is only the misunderstood,
Stupidity is believing what you're told,
Intelligence is creating new ideas,
Authority is what you think it is,
Don't question authority, challenge it,
Limitations aren't really there,
And options are endless,
Reality is only a dimension,
Truth is the only thing real,
Death is only the beginning,
And life is what you make of it

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

SO LONG SONICS, FAREWELL NEWSPAPERS



Is it just me or has this been wayyyy down-played in the media? The Seattle Sonics are LEAVING Seattle! They're going to Oklahoma City, where they'll have a new name and new colors. The SuperSonics name, logo and green, gold and white colors will be left for a potential future franchise in Seattle.

I suggest banning the group who named Oklahoma City's Arena Football team from having any say whatsoever in re-naming the NBA team. Granted they're an expansion team so the name can be a little out there, but the Yard Dawgz!?! The Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz??? Honestly. Who is the person who came up with this name? I would love to talk to them. And better yet, who are the people that sat in the meeting and said, "That's a great name!" And someone else said, "We should spell it all weird too!" Yes, it's really spelled like that.

It must make it seem tougher that way. Real hard core.

I'm all about change but the Sonics have been it Seattle since 1967! It just doesn't seem right. Those people need something to cheer for through all that dreary rain. Well, at least they can still brag about starting Starbucks (never mind, they're closing 600 stores. Bad times for Starbucks too). Well, they have the Mariners and the Seahawks (damn, Wikipedia is fast to update the Seattle page and delete the Sonics - and update Oklahoma City's page with an entire "relocation" section).
Click here to find out why this whole mess happened.

***

In other news, the L.A. Times is cutting 250 jobs including 150 editorial jobs. I just hope all my friends over there are okay. They're combining a lot of the print positions and online positions, which makes a lot of sense, but 250 jobs! They're also down-sizing the paper by 15%! This is a sad day for the industry and newspapers everywhere.

There seems to be an on-going war between print and online within companies. A sort of disconnected that I've noticed. I hope that when the two merge all goes smooth through this difficult change. Hopefully they continue to recognize the different audiences - online, which likes constant updates, blogs and quick news and the more feature-based, in-depth writing that works for paper.

Well, good luck Sonics and newspapers.

P.S. Do you like my picture choice for the L.A. Times? Fight on! I kept a few L.A. Times sports sections as a keepsake from memorable USC football games that I still have in storage. While I may move to New York, my heart will always be with the L.A. Times.