2007 Lithuania

August 2, 2008

August 18, 2007
Time to come home. And as great an international experience as we have had here in Lithuania, I think I speak for the others when I say that we’re all looking forward to sleeping in our own beds soon.
Not that the accommodations here were poor. Anything but. We’ve been in the Vilnius Radisson Astoria next door to the Turkish Embassy since the tournament ended, and some folks say this is the nicest hotel in the country. At $160/night, in this economy, it’s certainly among the priciest. Umpires were housed in a very nice hotel in Utena during the tournament as well.

The food provided for the umpires this year was fabulous as well. Full breakfast in the morning, hot lunch delivered to the field in the early afternoon, and dinner each night at a nice Italian restaurant/pizzeria. Our days were long – 12 hours at the field five days in a row – but the food and drink was plentiful, which helped us deal with warm, humid conditions.

We have been spoiled, but then, the Lithuanians are good at going over the top when it comes to being good hosts. Heck, they won’t even let us take a taxi to the airport Saturday morning.

To their credit, though, tourney organizers recognize that taking care of the umpires has its benefits. We keep coming back, for one, and we talk positively about the experience to our baseball contacts, which leads to U.S. teams wanting to come over and participate, which then leads to the other countries wanting to come play against them. SoCal has had a team here all three years and Dublin brought a team over last year.

Even at about $1,700 a head (airfare mostly), you can’t put a value on the richness of the experience. The American kids get to stay a couple of nights with host families before the tournament starts.

When the baseball ends, field trips begin. This year, organizers took the Americans to Old Town Thursday and a water park Friday, and there’ll be an open-air bus tour of the city Saturday before flying.

Again, organizers recognize the value of taking care of their guests.

So, what’s in store for Sporto Vilkai Cup 2008? Well, the dates are tentatively set for Aug. 12-17, and the goal is to have 8 teams, two from the U.S. As far as that goes, it’ll be first-come, first-served, as there is going to be more and more competition for these spots as word continues to get out to the baseball community about what a fabulous experience this is.

There is no better marketing than word of mouth, and as of this week, there’s another traveling party of 18 from Mission Viejo who will go home singing the event’s praises.

Until next year…

I’M OUT!!!

No Comments » | 2007 | Permalink
Posted by jeffchap

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Lithuania Day 7
August 16, 2007
Makoto Terui is an unassuming-looking MVP candidate, but there was no denying that he was, in fact, the best all-around player in this year’s Sporto Vilkai Cup.
His Mission Viejo team won the title, 8-4 over bunt-happy Belarus, and while Terui wasn’t even the most feared hitter on his own team, turns out he should have been.

He batted .706 (12-for-17), had an on-base-percentage of .736, drove in 11 runs, played errorless shortstop in six games and pitched to the tune of a 2.25 ERA.

His hulking teammate, Sam Kim, batted .615, gapped balls for a week and even received the only intentional walks. Whenever the public address announcer said his name, teams warming up on adjacent fields stopped and watched. Kim had said from Day One that he wanted to be the first youth player to clear the fences in this field’s history. In his final at-bat of the tournament, he struck out on a very high and outside pitch trying to meet his goal, rather than take ball four.

And, of course, he didn’t get his full complement of legit at-bats because manager Dave Ward turned his players around to bat from the opposite side once they got comfortably ahead.

That never really happened in the title game. The score was 1-1 into the 3rd and 5-3 into the 5th before a twi-run Terui single widened the gap.

Belarus, down 8-3 in the last inning, suicide squeezed home their final run. Curious coaching, at least from an American perspective, but the Belarussians celebrated it as though it was a game-winner.

So pretty much everybody was happy at the end. Mission Viejo had secured SoCal’s third straight Sporto Vilkai Cup title, Belarus had made the title game and played well vs. the Americans, Utena beat rival Sporto Vilkai twice in the same day (once to complete a suspended game from Tuesday, and then again for third place), and Sporto Vilkai justified its fourth-place finish by the fact that many of its players were in Bangor, ME at the Seniors World Series.

MV signed all its jerseys and gave them to Belarus, the Belarussian manager filming the whole presentation. The three American umpires – Sam Griffith, Frank Harris and myself – gave away the majority of their equipment to the umps from Lithuania and the Czech Republic. All six teams gathered on the field for photos, and then hugs and final good-byes. Everyone pledged to come back next year and do it all again.

And, at least from my perspective, why the heck not? It’s a feel-good baseball experience with few rivals.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO DEPT.: This happened to Sam in the fifth-place game today. Czech runner steals on pitch that is caught by catcher and called a ball. Immediately after, batter swings to distract catcher from making an accurate throw.

Is it a ball because that’s what it was already called?

Is it a strike because he swung?

Is it a ball, and then a strike as well?

Is it batter’s interference?

Sam stood by the original call, and we’ve been beating this one around ever since.

MISCELLANEOUS: I mentioned the other day that Rimvydas Vaitkus, who was the plate umpire for the title game, was also responsible for field maintenance. The night before the tournament started, we saw the field and the grass was a foot high. Later that night, we were told Rim had it under control, and by the next morning it HAD been cut. But only Wednesday did I learn that he cut the entire field, infield and outfield, fair and foul territory, with a weed-eater, and that it took him 5 hours. Amazing man.

A few days ago, I acknowledged the Z-Family and what a top-to-bottom baseball presence they have in Lithuania. It dawned on me today that there’s another group worth noting, the Matusevicius family. We just call them the Ed’s: Mr. Ed is an umpire and coach, Mrs. Ed is in the dugout as an assistant anytime he is coaching, son Edgaras is an outstanding young umpire, son Edvardas is on the Lithuanian seniors team, and son Edarus is a player as well.

Wednesday night was the Utena farewell party for us at Eel Man’s house, and Thursday night is the Vilnius sendoff on Ignas’ parents farm. It’s tough to be us

I’M OUT!!!

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Lithuania Day 6
August 15, 2007
Rimvydas (aka Rim) Vaitkus is one of the top five umpires in Lithuania and probably one of the top 10 or so in Eastern Europe.
He’s umpired at every level of baseball in this part of the world, and yet he considers the honor he received Tuesday as one of the most special in his life.

On Wednesday evening, he’ll have the plate assignment for the Sporto Vilkai Cup championship game between Mission Viejo and either Belarus or Sporto Vilkai. The final game of pool play was suspended by darkness Tuesday, and when it is finished Wednesday morning, we’ll know Mission Viejo’s opponent.

This tournament is being contested in Utena, where the 40-year-old high school P.E. teacher was born, raised and still resides. He and his teenage son do all the field maintenance during the tournament, and with the “equipment” they have here, and no water other than what comes in bottles, it’s back-breaking work.

But Rim is tireless, getting to the field an hour before everyone in the morning, prepping it between games, umpiring two or three games himself, and then dragging the field and prepping the mound and plate areas as everyone is going home at dark. The man makes you tired just watching him.

He deserves the championship game plate for a lot of reasons: he’s Lithuanian and this is a Lithuanian tournament; his hours of field prep work over six days, and he’s a darned good umpire who hasn’t yet done it.

“It is a special day for me,” he said. “I do not normally celebrate things like this, but this IS a big deal.”

Because we have so many umpires this year (eight are still here), we’ll use six in the title game. It’s overkill, but what the heck?

STANDINGS: Mission Viejo 5-0 (after a 16-8 win over the Czechs Tuesday), Sporto Vilkai 3-1, Belarus 3-2, Utena 2-2, Czech Republic 1-4, Vilnius 0-5.

Utena is leading Sporto Vilkai 6-1 after 3 innings in the final game of pool play that was suspended by darkness. That game will be completed Wednesday morning – if Sporto Vilkai rallies, it will meet Mission Viejo for the title; if Utena wins, Belarus advances to the championship game, and Utena will meet Sporto Vilkai for third.

Tourney organizers took us to a small village outside Utena Tuesday night to see traditional Lithuanian dancing, and it didn’t take long before Sam Griffith, Frank Harris, Bobby Gumbs and I were out there cutting a…well, cutting up the pavement. Seems some of the Utena team parents were there and knew we were coming. Fun time, but not as much fun as the annual eel bbq at Gintaras’ house Wednesday night after the finals.

I’M OUT!!!

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Lithuania Day 5
August 14, 2007
Hard to say who the biggest winners were in Lithuania yesterday. There were a lot to pick from, including:
* Belarus – After losing the first game of the tournament to Mission Viejo, and not looking very good doing it, the Belarussians have 10-runned Utena and the Czech Republic and are poised to make the finals of the Sporto Vilkai Cup with a win over the host team on Tuesday.

And perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. Belarus nearly made the final game here two years ago, beating Mission Viejo in pool play along the way, and with more kids playing baseball there than ever before, it’s a country whose program is on the rise.

They opened a new state-of-the-art stadium in the capitol city of Brest last year and they have the funding to host regional, baltic states tournaments on a regular basis, giving their kids a lot of international exposure. And a lot of the equipment and clothing that we have been sending to Lithuania ends up in Belarus because of proximity and the relationship between the baseball folks in these two countries.

You’re going to continue to hear about Belarus as it relates to baseball in this part of the world. It’s a nice story.

* Mission Viejo – SoCal has sent a team to all three Sporto Vilkai Cups because of Sam Griffith and the clout he has in his own backyard. On Wednesday, they’ll win their third title.

And this will be the third SoCal team to come here thinking baseball, baseball, baseball, and recognizing it’s really more about culture and compassion.

Dave Ward, a 59-year-old land surveyor and a grandfather of one of the Mission Viejo players, is a manager who absolutely, unequivocably gets it. Once the game’s in the bag, he has his team hitting from the left-hand side of the plate – if, while hitting left-handed, they hit the ball to left field, there’s a penalty. He high-fives opponents for a good play. He never raises his voice. He seems to have the total respect of his team.

In a tournament where 10 of 11 games thus far have been decided by 10 or more runs, Mission Viejo has not won by more than 13. Ward’s motto: Win, don’t embarrass the opponent, don’t embarrass yourself, and respect the game.

Ward didn’t tell me that. It’s just obvious from watching and listening.

Said Zilvinas Bareinke (Z-Man) after Mission Viejo’s 14-1 win over Vilnius Monday, “Dave Ward is a great man. He cares about OUR kids, too.”

Sunday, Mission Viejo had tourney organizers cancel dinner plans for his team, and instead his team BBQ’d hamburgers and hot dogs for his team and BOTH Vilnius teams.

It doesn’t take American teams long to figure out that making lifelong friends and lifelong impressions will far outlive the lustre on any trophy. And that’s a good thing.

*Lithuania baseball – This country awoke Monday to learn that Virmidas Neverauskas’ seniors team had lost only 4-1 to New Jersey at the Little League World Series in Bangor, ME.

Later in the day Monday, the radio feed from the Lithuanians’ second-round, 10-1 loss to Texas was aired over the stadium public address system here in Utena.

According to Orange County sheriff Manny Pacheco, who was in Bangor for Lithuania’s first two games, “Virmidas was clearly not happy.” Pacheco was here in 2005 as a coach and then hosted Virmidas in 2006.

“The team didn’t seem like they were ready to play,” he said via Blackberry. “They made a lot of errors in both games, and I think they could have beaten New Jersey.”

Still, many Lithuanians in Utena were celebrating despite an 0-2 record, preferring to look at the glass as being half full. “At least they did not get knocked out (10-runned),” said Edgaras Matusevicius, our 20-something Lithuanian umpire whose brother plays on the seniors team. “I am proud of them, and I think many other Lithuanians are too, for just making it to World Series.”

STANDINGS after Day 3: Mission Viejo 4-0, Belarus 2-1, Sporto Vilkai 2-1, Utena 2-2, Czech Republic 1-3, Vilnius 0-4…MV has clinched a spot in the title game, but the opponent is yet to be determined. The Czechs and Vilnius will play for 5th Wednesday no matter what happens Tuesday.

I’M OUT!!!

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Lithuania Day 4
August 12, 2007
When Lithuania’s seniors team won the European Regional in Italy a few weeks ago, it earned the all-expenses-paid trip to Maine for the World Series, which started Sunday night.
And it meant that Virmidas Neverauskas, who coaches ALL of the country’s baseball teams when they play outside Lithuania, had a dilemma since he couldn’t be home preparing the seniors team for Maine while also coaching the 12-year-old team in Poland at the European Regional.

So the latter responsibility fell on Zilvinas Bareinke – aka Z-Man – and Zilvinas brought his 15-year-old daughter, Dominique, to be a rostered coach, just in case something incredibly catastrophic happened.

Well, perhaps you can see where this is going.

Z-Man isn’t particularly in tune with LL rules and failed to achieve minimum play for one of his players against Bulgaria. The penalty? A two-game suspension, meaning that Dominique – aka Princess Z – had to coach the Lithuanians in their final games, against the top two teams, Germany and Netherlands.

The Lithuanians were 10-runned in both, and it wouldn’t have mattered if Sparky Anderson was coaching them. Lithuania finished the EMEA tournament 1-3.

“It was hard, and I was very, very nervous,” said Dominique, whose dad is coaching and brother (Kasparas, aka Little Z) playing in the Sporto Vilkai Cup here in Utena.

“They made my dad be very far away (the top row of the bleachers behind the team). I understand baseball, but still, sometimes I wasn’t sure what to do. The best part? The meeting at home base with the umpires and other coach – they made me feel good – and after the game when all other coaches came to me and said I did a good job.

“The worst part? We lose two games.”

When she went out to coach from the (coach’s) box, “umpires tell me I can’t because there has to be adult in dugout at all times, and I was the adult.”

While becoming the youngest head coach in European Regional history, she earned the admiration of pretty much everyone.

“She did a fabulous job,” said Danville’s Russ Ruslender, who was the chief umpire at the Poland tournament. “She was organized, the kids listened to her and they did what she asked them to do. They just didn’t win.”

Said her mother, Lina (aka Lina from Pasadena), “We are very proud of her. But much pressure. When it was over, she sat down and had a little weep.”

She had another little weep Sunday when we held an on-field ceremony and presented her with a framed photo board put together by a local Kutno photographer commemorating her two days as head coach.

We met them three years and love them to death…top to bottom, there is no better baseball family in Lithuania than the Z’s.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO? DEPT.: Runner at 3rd, two out, 3-and-1 count on the batter…batter swings and misses, catcher blocks ball in the dirt, batter takes offb running to first thinking he has struck out. Ball is overthrown at first and runner from third scores.

Oops! That was only strike 2.

Confusion on field – what to do with the batter? What to do with the run that scored?

To me, the ruling boiled down to making it right. Bring the batter back with a 3-2 count and put the runner back at third, since he scored only because of the confusion caused by the batter.

Hope y’all agree.

MISCELLANEOUS: Standings thru Sunday: Mission Viejo 2-0, Utena 2-1, Sporto Vilkai 1-1, Belarus 1-1, Czech Republic 1-2, Vilnius 0-2…All seven games thus far have been decided by 10+ runs…We have music between innings and during pitching changes this year, which is a nice touch. But “Born Free”? Would somebody please ship a baseball CD over here? Just don’t send it via Scandanavian Air, although they have located my luggage after three days. I’ll have it Monday night, basically halfway thru my trip…During the Czech Republic-Utena game Sunday night, there was a large crowd on hand and the beer and cigarettes were plentiful. But the drinking led to loud, loose lips, and Sam Griffith had to threaten to eject a mouthy Czech or two to settle things down.

I’M OUT!!!

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Lithuania Day 3
August 11, 2007
The wonderful thing about the Sporto Vilkai Cup is seeing the development of the European teams and, moreover, of the Euro umpires since we began coming here in 2005.
And it’s pretty cool when you see Lithuanians running around in well-worn Pleasanton All-Star (NorCal) and Tijeras Creek (SoCal) hats, or Aliso Creek (SoCal) or San Ramon American (NorCal) t-shirts, or Tribuco Canyon (SoCal) jerseys, as we did Saturday on opening day. Not to mention the five California Angels hats Sam Griffith counted.

That we have had such an impact on baseball in a country so far from home is…well, it’s astounding, and it never dawned on me three years ago that this might happen.

I was too busy enjoying the moment.

But now the Czechs want The Three Amigos, as Bobby Gumbs, Sam and I are known in these parts, to come “pump life into OUR teams,” as one of the team parents phrased it. We’ll see.

A lot of water will pass under the bridge between now and May 2008.

In the meantime, as I sit in the top row of the bleachers watching two Lithuania teams battling in the final game of the day, I have been mightily impressed by what I’ve seen.

OK, so Mission Viejo, CA beat Belarus 14-2. What I came away from this game thinking was: Belarus has developed a catching prospect with an arm who throws guys out at second and throws behind guys all day long; they have a first baseman who understands how to stretch for throws on close plays and that sometimes you have to come off the bag to catch an errant throw and save giving up extra bases, and they have a leadoff hitter who has an obvious feel for his role, crowding the plate, fake-bunting, taking a lot of pitches and getting on base.

None of those types of players have existed in the Belarussian arsenal before.

Oh, and Mission Viejo will win the championship in a cakewalk. Can’t see any of these other five teams being competitive against them. Too steady on defense. Hitting is solid up and down the lineup. Pitchers aren’t going to walk many. Add it all up and it’s…well, it’s rout-city. And the manager, Dave Ward, gets it – he is the only guy batting his entire roster. “Kids came too far to do minimum play, he said.

Sporto Vilkai beat the Czechs 19-13 – surprising since most of SV’s best players are in Bangor, Maine at the Seniors World Series. But the Lithuanians hit the ball, put a lot of pressure on the defense and are quite disciplined at the plate. Again, these are attributes that come with having a feel for the game, and Virmidas Neverauskas’ teams ALWAYS have a feel for the game.

Utena handled Vilnius 14-4 in the nightcap, and about the only thing I can say about it is that there is absolutely no love lost between these two, for whatever the reason. It’s a long-standing, deep-rooted Lithuanian thing, I’m told.

From an umpiring perspective, I was more than a little impressed, particularly when I think about 2005 when Sam, Bobby and I did FOUR games each day and the only respite we got was from our good friend Zilvinas (aka Z-Man, he of the “Safe, Out, Sorry” call from ‘05).

Today, Sam did two games, Bobby one and me none – still no luggage, so I just did evaluations and prepped game crews. Bottom line – with the improvement of Rimvydas and Edgaras from last year, and the emergence of two very fine newcomers, Tadas and Vladas, we’re doing exactly what we love to do – instruct, particularly on the finer points, like:

* Giving the count toward the pitcher, not the 1st and 3rd base coaches.

* Not holding up the left hand with four fingers extended to indicate a walk – with runners on 3rd, it looked like the umpire was saying “Dead ball, don’t consider stealing.”

* Pause, read, react – a few “out-safe” calls today

* The need to vocalize foul calls on balls at or near the line, rarther than just indicating

* No need to vocalize “foul” on obvious foul balls

* No need to vocalize or “bang” a swinging third strike

These are small steps when you have already walked a mile, and as far as I am concerned, the Lithuanian umpires we saw today have taken most of the steps on the way to being very, very good umpires.

That is to say, they have a feel for the game, arguably even a better feel than most of the teams we saw today.

And that’s saying something.

I’M OUT!!!

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Lithuania Day 2
August 11, 2007
One of the cool things about the Sporto Vilkai Cup is that Virmidas Neverauskas has entrusted Sam Griffith and I to run it. We are co-Tournament Directors and co-Umpires in Chief.
We conduct the coaches meeting, as we did earlier tonight, we determine what special rules we are going to play by, we schedule the umpires and, in the spirit of what we know Virmidas would want us to do, we make the tournament as much fun as we can for everybody involved, particularly our umpires, who come from four countries and who range in experience from 1-20 years.

In the tournament’s first two years, we have had to deal with two protests and an umpire – the 70-year-old so-called Grandfather of Lithuanian Baseball – who wouldn’t ever call a strike unless the batter swung. We even had to deal with the extenuating circumstances surrounding the host team running out of players due to injury in last year’s title game after having given a sub to another Lithuanian team to fill out a 7th-place game roster.

There are potential issues everywhere you turn because these teams play by whatever rules they want to most of the year. We’re imposing actual rules, or variations on rules.

And as far as the umpires imposing those rules, well, it’s a mixed bag. There is little or no formalized umpire training anywhere in Europe, which is not to say that there aren’t any good umpires, because there are. But we’ll reserve judgment on Martin, our Czech umpire, and locals Edgaras, Vladas and Tadas until we see them work their first games Saturday.

As much as possible, we’ll play by the LL green book tournament rules. Because of widely varying roster sizes, there will be no Must Play Rule. If a coach wants to bat his entire roster, as Mission Viejo manager Dave Ward would like to do, so be it.

Bobby Gumbs has the plate for the first game at 10 am Saturday (midnight Friday in CA). We’ll see how it goes today and adjust on the fly.

It’s what we’ve grown accustomed to over here. This is Lithuania, after all, not Louisiana.

MARKETING SLOGANS you’re not likely to see anytime soon, from my 48 hours of travel getting here:

Air Baltic – We even charge for water ($1.25 USD per cup)

Scandanavian Air – We cancel more flights than some carriers actually fly

Copenhagen – Clothing optional

The Comwell Hotel – Air conditioning? “Open the window and hope for a breeze” – I swear, that’s what the guy told me

IF YOU HAPPEN to see my luggage, you’re one up on the airlines, who don’t know if it’s in Chicago, London or Copenhagen – 3 cities I hit along the way – or some other city altogether.

I’M OUT!!!

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Lithuania 2007 Day 1
August 10, 2007
What if they held a baseball tournament in Lithuania and Virmidas Neverauskas wasn’t there to see it?
As implausable as that has seemed over the years, it has finally occurred. This country’s national baseball coach, who was appointed to the position by former Golden State Warrior Sarunas Marciulionis, who is now the Minister of Sport in this country, will miss the international event he started three years ago. It’s probably the highest profile baseball event in Lithuania, and the country’s highest profile baseball figure won’t be anywhere near it.

But he’s got as good a reason as a baseball coach could have. He’s in Bangor, Maine preparing his team for the Little League Seniors World Series starting Aug. 12. This is pretty much the same kids that visited the Dublin and Mission Viejo areas 18 months ago, including Dovydas, Iggy and the rest of that playful bunch.

Yes, they are huge underdogs. Probably 1,000-to-1 , if even that good. If they win one game, it will be an event that will be wildly celebrated half a world away right in front of us.

But even the most rabid of Lithuanians are realistic about the team’s chances. They’ll be following the goings-on in Bangor from afar, all the while putting on their own little shindig here in Utena involving teams from Mission Viejo, Czechoslovakia, Belarus and 3 from Lithuania. Teams from SoCal have won the two previous Sporto Vilkai Cups.

And that’s OK as far as the Lithuanians are concerned. It’s an American game, they rationalize, and they’ll only get better exposing their teams to the American way of playing it. That’s why the Bangor experience is seen as being so significant. Those kids will come home and teach what they have seen, and baseball will improve country-wide. And this same team will be considered the favorite to represent Europe at the Big League World Series in South Carolina a year from now. Even more exposure to Americans playing America’s game.

Until now, Lithuania has competed on a regular basis in the European LL championships, but without much fanfare. But now that they have broken through and earned their first all-expenses-paid trip to the U.S., don’t be surprised if regional championships start to become the norm for them.

ANOTHER REASON Lithuania baseball is on the rise – you!

A thousand pounds of uniforms, equipment and umpire gear were donated by many of you reading this post. It was coordinated by Sam Griffith in SoCal, and by Dave Wetmore and myself in NorCal, and shipped to Bangor – a big thank you to Livermore umpire Robin Van Galder of FedEx for handling the NorCal stuff – where the Lithuanians will take as much of it home as they can. What they can’t take, other needy teams will gobble up.

There is no shortage of need for jerseys and equipment from a global baseball perspective. A seemingly insignificant donation from one league goes a long, long way in countries where you simply cannot buy a ball, bat or glove. It’s easier to get a young kid interested in the game when the equipment is there, and you can slap a sharp-looking uniform on the kid’s back to boot.

And Lithuania has been blessed by having made friends in California, in the St. Louis area – where they went this past spring thanks to our good friend Steve Taylor – and now Bangor. It’s a situation that other countries in this region are envious of.

ON A STACK OF Bibles as tall as Manute Bol, I swear that the following travel nightmare is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

* It started with me forgetting my passport. Thanks to Drew Gillmore for his heroism in driving it over to me in San Francisco with time to spare.

* Then I checked in and was told that my connecting flight from Chicago to Copenhagen had been cancelled.

* And, oh by the way, that’ll be $50 for the 18 extra pounds of checked bags.

* Scandanavian Air rebooked me from Chicago to London, with a 6-hour layover at Heathrow, then to Copenhagen, and finally to Vilnius. But the Copenhagen-Vilnius connection was just 45 minutes, and we left London an hour late. Missed the flite to Vilnius by 30 seconds – it was backing away from the gate as we were pulling in right next door. Last flight of the night, of course. Excruciating.

* After standing in line for two HOURS, with everyone else who missed connections, SAS put me up for the night in Copenhagen – at a hotel an HOUR away because of the international fabric show that’s in town. Got to the hotel at midnight Thursday, and back to the airport by 6 am Friday.

* Scheduled to get to Vilnius at noon local time today (Friday) – 2 days after I left SF. Hope my bag has had an easier time of it than I have.

Until tonight, after the coach’s meeting, I’M OUT!

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Lithuania 2007
August 7, 2007
Stay tuned to this site for updates from Jeff Chapman on his Lithuania baseball experience Aug. 9-18, 2007.

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