More observations from Austria: There are no fat people here. I have seen two fat guys in four days. Some pleasingly plump, but no real obese folks. The reasons are lots of walking and bicycling. You see guys and gals in business suits pedaling their way to work. The spartan diet is another reason. Not all is healthy here, there are tons of smokers. This is one of the last refuges of smoking in bars and restaurants. People don't just smoke here, they CHAIN smoke.
There are no malls here, no big box stores, very few franchise restaurants. The chains are the usual suspects, McDonalds and Burger King. They have great restaurants, awesome candy stores, great clothing and jewelry stores, but bring your checkbook. Lots of tradition and old buildings here inSalzburg especially old churches, some dating back to the sixth century. There Are 51 churches in Salzburg, 50 of them catholic.
I have seen two pickup trucks in four days, they are too big for the streets here. The television is terrible, two English channels CNN, and the BBC. Right now I am watching Malcolm in the Middle , in German, while typing this. I have learned to communicate by pointing and nodding.
The pace of life is very slow here, which is nice. I asked for a glass of tap water on my first day here, and it cost me 1.7 euros, about two bucks.
The biggest change in culture between the United States and Austria was evident the minute we landed in Vienna. Nobody on the plane made a mad scramble for their cell phones. When you land in the good old USA people rush to let everyone know how important they are. If you see a teenager on the street texting, you can bet she speaks English. People have cell phones here, but they are discreet in how they use them.
Also a lot of graffiti in Vienna, except on the many fabulous tourist sites here. It is really different to be in a country's where very few people speak English.
Stop the season. The Chicago Cubs are in first place in the National League Central. A rare occasion which probably won't happen for the rest of the season. A pair of former Boise Hawks led the Cubs to a 3-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Jeff Samardzija threw a two hit shutout through eight innings, while another former Hawk catcher Wellington Castillo hit a pair of doubles and drove in a run. The Cubs won despite the best efforts of Carlos Marmol who faced four batters, and only got one out in the bottom of the ninth.
It marked the first time the Cubs had won on opening daysince 2009. Stop the season, before it is too late.
I first discovered the Cactus League in the early 70's when I was just a kid. I have always been a terminal Chicago Cubs fan, and I would always spend a week or two in Mesa, Arizona watching the Cubs practice and play. Those days were great. You could watch a game and get something to eat at Hohokam Park for a ten dollar bill. Great. The Hohokams, a local civic group would cook burgers and hot dogs, and the atmosphere was magic.
The Cactus League has grown in recent years, and ballparks have sprung up throughout the Phoenix area. With the growth in popularity, and the fact the stadiums cost money, the cost of a ticket to a spring training game has skyrocketed. Earlier this month, I thought it would be great to watch the defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants take on their rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers. I have a friend in Arizona who also wanted to go, and he said he would buy the tickets. He knew a guy who could get us great seats. My friend, my wife, my father in law, and I made a party of four.
My buddy called me back and said the tickets were $127 dollars. I thought, wow, but figured I would pay it for the four of us. No, my friend said, its $127 dollars a ticket. What, for a spring training game, no way. So I purchased tickets to a Cubs road game in Peoria, Az. for $14. My buddy said he would get tickets for an Angels Diamondbacks game in Tempe. Ok I said, "go for it".
When we met my friend to go to the game, I asked how much I owed him for the tickets. "Rounding down", he said, "fifty bucks apiece". That's $150 for my wife, my father in law, and me. We would see two teams I didn't really care about, the D-Backs and the Angels. We arrived early and the seats were great. Right next to the Diamondbacks dugout. A half hour before the game, giant clouds descended on the stadium. You guessed it, the game was rained out, first time for me in 40 years. I found no solace in the fact I paid $150 for nothing. Rain checks wouldn't help, we were returning to Boise the next day.
My friends ticket broker laughed all the way to the bank while we sloshed our way to the car. My wife said, check the price on the tickets. It was $20. Last time I let my embarassed buddy buy the tickets. There are suckers everywhere, and sadly I am one. From now on, I am buying my own tickets.
On a day when Ryan Clady was named the Denver Broncos franchise player, Titus Young was cut by the St, Louis Rams. The former Boise State Broncos paths swerved in different directions. Clady is expected to earn nine and one-half million dollars in the coming season, while Young will probably run out his rookie contract. Clady, a three time all pro player has never missed a game for the Broncos, while Young was suspended for more than half of last season by the Detroit Lions for disciplinary reasons.
Clady has been one of the NFL's top offensive linemen since being drafted 12th in the first round several seasons ago. He allowed one sack of quarterback Peyton Manning last season after going two years without allowing a sack. Clady is expected to sign a multi year contract in the 50 million dollar range before next season.
Young was cut by the Detroit Lions after two seasons. His tantrum filled season saw him suspended for several games after allegedly lining up in the wrong formation during a game. Young complained about not getting the ball enough, Coach Chris Petersen said he talked with Young during the season, but had been unable to connect with the former star in recent weeks.Petersen indicated Young had made sime mistakes, but "had a good heart". Young lasted nine days with the Rams, and coach Jeff Fisher said Young was "not a good fit" with his team. Former BSU receiver Austin Pettis is currently on the Rams.
The quick cut by the Rams, the only team to claim Young off the waiver wire, may signal the end of Youngs NFL career. A career which was extremely promising with more than 80 catches and ten touchdowns in a season and one-half.
Ryan Clady and Titus Young, examples of the right way and the wrong was to get it done in the NFL.