Grand Slam update: Michelle makes it to semi-finals

August 27th, 2007

This is an update for those who weren’t able to watch the Game Show Network this weekend.  My friend Michelle beat John Carpenter to advance to the semi-finals in the game show Grand Slam.  Carpenter received his fame by being the first person to win $1MM on “Who wants to be a Millionaire”…. in fact, he used his last “lifeline” on that show to call his father during the last question, not to ask for help on an answer, but to let him know that he already knew the answer and was about to win $1MM.  That cocky attitude soon disappeared once Michelle started beating him.  Michelle won the first 3 rounds to give herself a comfortable lead going into the last round.  A couple tough questions had her sweating a little, but she pulled off the win in easy fashion. 

Michelle competes against Ken Jennings in the semi’s this Saturday (4pm PDT).  Jennings is the guy that won something like 80 jeoardy games in a row.  To say he’s a nerd is like saying the sun is a little hot.  Michelle has a good chance though, so set your tivos and root Michelle on.

Mariners post-season ticket screwiness

August 17th, 2007

The Mariners don’t normally make it to the playoffs…. in fact, if Seattle is still mathematically in contention come September, that’s considered a good year.. heck, a GREAT year.  As of today, the Mariners are 3.5 games behind Anaheim in the AL West.  But, we are 1st place in the Wild Card standings (a half game above the NY Yankees).  This is good stuff.  The Mariners control their own fate and have a decent shot at making it to the post-season… which starts in 45 days. 

I’m also a Mariners season ticket holder.  Granted, I only have a 1/4 season, but still, I get all the rights of a full season ticket holder. The team just came out with post-season tickets.  Apparently, the league “authorized” them to sell post-season tickets since they were likely candidates to make it to the playoffs.  So, given that I have a quarter season ticket license, I assumed that the Mariners would enable me to purchase a quarter of playoff games in my regular seats.  Makes sense, right?  That if you have the rights to the seats during the season, those rights should extend to the post-season too.  Well that argument fell on deaf ears in the Mariners ticket office. 

I was offered the rights to purchase post-season tickets…. but not in my normal seats, or even seats close to it.  The way the Mariners ticket office explained it to me, was that I got the best available seats after fulfilling team and league requirements.  I’m sure that sounds very official and all, but really, I’ll translate it for you. What they’re really saying is, “We’re giving all our season-ticket holders worse seats in order to be able to sell the best seats in the house to higher-paying customers and give friends/sponsors of the team/league the seats near the field.”  As a customer-service based business, the Mariners need to realize that the season ticket holders are the ones that pay the team’s salaries during the good years and bad years.  We’re the ones that show up to games throughout the year…. and we should be rewarded with at least the seats we normally have.  The ticket execs may want to reward their friends/sponsors just because they have the power to…. but that’s wrong.  This equates to standing in a long line and watching someone cut in front of you just because they know someone. 

I think this builds bad customer relations and keeps the best fans from the best seats.  Really, would they want a bunch of team/league VIPs sitting down close to the field, who may not be avid fans?  Of course not… you want the die-hard crazy fans up close to show lots of spirit…. not some old executive who doesn’t get out of his seat to clap, or who can’t even name 3 players other than Ichiro.  Wake up Mariners, it’s time to reward those fans who’ve been there this whole season… it’s time to dance with the one who brought you…. it’s time to man-up and play fair with ticket allocations.  Otherwise, you’ll lose the true fans and be stuck with those VIPs who just want to show up in October.

My friend Michelle is on the Game Show Network

August 7th, 2007

The Game Show Network has started a new game show, called Grand Slam.  This game is like the all-star competition of past game show winners.  The contestants are top winners from other game shows.  They include Ken Jennings ($3 million winner from Jeopardy), John Carpenter ($1 million winner from “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”) and many other top winners from other shows. 

My friend Michelle was the top winner from the Weakest Link back a few years ago.  I knew Michelle back when I lived near Washington D.C. and we all knew she had won the Weakest Link, but never figured it would lead to additional game show opportunties.  This game show is a little bit different than others. 

Grand Slam pits two contestents against each other.  The first person is given a question to answer, and 1 minute on the clock.  As the clock ticks down, if the person answers the question correctly, the clock stops and the clock for the other person starts, and they must then answer a question correctly.  It reminds me of chess, where a player plays a move (answers a question correctly) and hits the timer so the other person’s clock starts.  When a player’s minute clock ticks down to zero, the other player with time still remaining wins.  This is a fast-paced game, where if you get flustered, time seems to fly by and you’re gone before you know it. 

Of the 16 contestants in the single-elimination tournament, Michelle is ranked 14th (based on career game show earnings).  This made her compete against the 3rd ranked player (who was a quiz bowl teacher that won on both Jeopardy and Millionaire).  It came down to the final few seconds, but Michelle ended up beating the 3rd ranked player with just 3 seconds to spare.  WOOHOO!  Now she advances to the next round to compete against either the 6th or 11th ranked players (based on who wins that match).

Here’s the short of it all.  Michelle’s next match is on Sunday Aug 19th.  If you have Tivo or a DVR, search for “Grand Slam” and record it.  Even though the entire tournament has already been taped, the results are kept secret, so I don’t know what’s going to happen on the 19th.  Root on for Michelle Kitt and hopefully she continues to win and advances to the final four and eventually becomes the Grand Slam Champion. 

12 innings and 4+ hours

August 2nd, 2007

Tonight’s game lasted over 4 hours, but in the bottom of the 12th inning, the Mariners finally pulled it off.  The game seemed well in hand in the 7th inning, with a good 3 run cushion on the 1st place Angels.  The 8th inning went off without a hitch and our shutdown closer J.J. Putz was supposed to finish the 9th.  Putz ends up giving up 3 runs in the 9th inning and off to extra innings we went.  A few times both teams had great chances to score, but defenses came through and the night kept going on.  The crowd dimmed only a little, from about 30,000 at first pitch, down to 18,000 at the final out.  With bases loaded and only 1 out, the Mariners seemed destined to win in the bottom of the 12th.  The Angels brought the centerfielder in to play infield…. making 5 infielders and only 2 outfielders.  Even with this unorthodox defense, the Mariners were able to get a ground ball through the infield and the crowd erupted with appreciation that the team won, AND that they were able to go home.  I think another inning or two would have made me put my feet up and take a nap during the breaks.  Now the Mariners are only 3 games behind the Angels and only a half game back in the AL Wild Card race, behind the Indians.