Posted: Tuesday December 27, 2005 12:54AM; Updated: Wednesday December 28, 2005 12:41PM
Notes on a Scorecard
SI.com's Arash Markazi caught up with Pete Rose at an autograph signing.
While shopping at the Forum Shops in Caesar's Palace on Friday, I ran into Pete Rose, who was signing autographs at Field of Dreams, a sports memorabilia store in the mall. We started chatting and I ended up sitting down with him for about 30 minutes for a new feature that will be on the site early next year. Despite being open and candid about his career, he didn't help me out on the three-team parlay I was working on at the time. Oh, well.
My favorite restaurant in New York is Tao, not so much for the amazing food and breathtaking ambiance, but because my childhood friend Michael Reginbogin is the manager there and hooks me up every time I stop by, even when I roll in unannounced. When I told him I was going to Vegas, he even hooked me up at the new Tao at the Venetian, which is fast becoming the hottest restaurant and night club in town. Not only did I get a table at the restaurant on Friday night, but I also got one on the dance floor at the exclusive second-floor club afterward. The table was right next to a balcony overlooking the Strip and right below a catwalk that had six scantily clad go-go dancers shaking it to Robin Thicke's I Want to Love You Girl while a woman who looked like Gisele Bundchen was taking a bath at the edge of the stage with nothing on but rose petals. Yeah, I know. Think Mena Suvari in American Beauty, only hotter.
I rolled to Club Ice on Saturday night in a stretch limo with my main man DJ Alligator and NYLA magazine editor in chief Mayar Zokaei. Alligator, who was without his signature gator contacts for the first time since I've known him, was in town spinning at the V-Theater the night before and stayed to watch Deep Dish, which brought down the house at Ice.
I got a pretty sweet Christmas present while reading the Los Angeles Times and enjoying my Terry Eggs Benedict at the Café Bellagio on Sunday morning. Not sure how deserving it was, but it was pretty sweet regardless.
I had a nice chat with USC basketball player Lodrick Stewart after the Trojans upset then-No. 17 North Carolina 74-59 on Wednesday night. Despite being tempted to take the Tar Heels to cover the six-point spread, I can't say I was shocked by the outcome. "What did I tell you?" he told me. "That Alaska trip saved this team, it saved our season."
Stewart was referring to the Trojans' visit to Anchorage for the Great Alaska Shootout in November, where they got blown out by Oral Roberts to start the season 0-2. During a team meeting after the game, Stewart and other upperclassmen told the younger players that they weren't playing up to their potential and that this team wasn't about to go through the same nightmare as last season's 12-17 finish.
"It's been night and day since then," said Stewart, who made snowmen and engaged in friendly snowball fights with his teammates after the meeting. "We're such a closer group now. We have confidence that we're going to win every game."
Well, so far they have. Since the meeting, the Trojans have won nine straight for the first time since the 2001-02 season, the last time they made the NCAA tournament. Oh, and, yes, it is December and, yes, that was a USC basketball update you just read.