Nick's Knacks Nick's Knacks

  • Mandatory

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

    I love appetizers. Nothing more to say there, really. I just love appetizers. But apps have brought to a grinding halt a supper club tradition that I believe ought to be mandatory at all restaurants – the relish tray.

    A little cheese spread, a little liver spread, carrots, celery, green onions, radishes, maybe something pickled, and a big ol’ basket of crackers. Mmm mmm.

    It doesn’t get any better than the supper club relish tray.

  • How Dirty is Clean?

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

    The results are in, and if you attended a professional sporting event in the state of Wisconsin in 2009, you probably consumed something from a vendor in violation of health requirements. Here’s how our venues scored:

    Bradley Center
    Milwaukee Bucks
    Vendors with critical violations: 23%
    Inspection report excerpt: A volunteer worker used bare hands to level ice in an ice bin. The inspector ordered the ice to be discarded.

    Lambeau Field
    Green Bay Packers
    Vendors with critical violations: 18%
    Inspection report excerpt: Two locations were cited after inspectors found an employee who "did not wash hands after blowing nose or eating food prior to handling customer food or ice."

    Miller Park
    Milwaukee Brewers
    Vendors with critical violations: 33%
    Inspection report excerpt: Mold was growing in ice machines at six locations.

    Obviously, 0% is the goal, and certainly what I’d most like to read, but Wisconsin’s destinations were far from the most heinous offenders. See the entire list HERE.

    The question I have surrounds a frame of reference. How dirty is clean? Or perhaps I should phrase it: how dirty is clean enough? Are we to feel good about the 18% at Lambeau because…well…it’s below 20%?

    I know I’m a germaphobe, but the thought of 1/3 of my Miller Park vendors scooping mold into my Coke makes me want to hurl. If that’s growing in the ice machines, what’s budding in the Cactus League Nachos bins?

  • (Anheuser) Busch Gardens

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    Photo courtesy of Creative Commons



    200 foot climb. 4 second pause. 90 degree drop at speeds in excess of 70mph. Wait. Is that water? Indeed.


    Ride it at Busch Gardens. Then change your pants and get a drink…not necessarily in that order. In fact, I recommend getting that drink before you decide to ride.

    Devil, thy name is SheiKra.

  • Missing NE WI

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    Don’t let the title fool you, I am by no means ready to come home! This is a cuisine driven heading.

    Eating is often the event I most look forward to on vacation. The chance to read a book or two? I do like that. Beach time? It’s great. Exploring new terrain? You bet. But it’s the local menu in which I can’t wait to immerse myself.

    I am a huge seafood fan, so this year’s Tampa booking is working out splendidly. Grouper, amberjack, red snapper…they are all uniquely fantastic, but truthfully, I think I’d take a perch or walleye plate over all of ‘em.

  • No Tar Balls!

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    Clean and clear and under control. Tampa beach conditions are perfect. My wife and I have been fortunate to be able to travel to some pretty sweet destinations in our four years of marriage – no beaches can compete with the white sand beaches of the Gulf.

  • Da Da Da Da Da-Da…CHARGE!

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

    The second half of the MLB season has arrived. What is a renewed, focused sense of purpose for many teams, has more of a training run feel for the Milwaukee Brewers: halfway out…turn around… head on home. The scenery? The same. The terrain? Predictable.

    It pains me to observe that the clouds over Miller Park show no signs of lifting in 2010, but nothing about the radar has me feeling particularly sunny. After all, leading the second half charge out of the clubhouse, down the tunnel, through the dugout, and onto the field…Dave Bush.

    I know that Dave’s had a nice little run as of late. And I like Dave. I truly do. I think he’s a nice #4 fella to have in the rotation. Unfortunately, he’s our present #1. I know Yo will be back, but does bumping Bush to #2 make you feel any better about this rotation?

    I find it laughable that the team continues to ponder (at least publicly) whether it will emerge as a buyer or a seller by the deadline. Really? Eight to start on the road, and a clean sweep guarantees you return home still under .500. Sounds like we’re right in the thick of it!

    Stranger things have happened. Is there a Colorado Rockies run in this squad? Sure…it’s possible. But banking on possible is a lot like a single guy taking Cialis. Better hope the “right moment” comes soon, or you just hauled all that bathtub water for nothin’…so to speak. 

  • Swing Away

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    In honor of tonight’s MLB All-Star game:

  • Get Me Johnnie

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

    There are a lot of rules in sports that don’t make sense to me, but none more bewildering to my person than the sacrifice fly in baseball. Here are the criteria necessary to satisfy such a designation:

    1 – Less than 2 outs.

    2 – Ball hit to the outfield.

    3 – Defender makes the play and the batter is out (or would have been out if not for an error).

    4 – A runner who is already on base scores.

    The batter is credited with an RBI and he is not charged with an official at-bat.

    The sacrifice bunt is the only other instance in which a player is not so charged after putting the ball in play. The bunt I get – an individual is giving himself up for the betterment of the team’s situation. There is intent there. But unless you’re talking about plating the winning run in the bottom of the ninth, everybody’s looking to get a hit.

    For the guy who flies out, the RBI is a nice consolation prize for his failed attempt to get on base. That’s all he should get. He shouldn’t be rewarded with a 0 for 0 stat line. The guy who’s thrown out on a chopper to second that allows the run to score is 0-1. The same end is achieved, yet he is penalized. Why not the fly ball hitter?

    It’s absurd to assume that the player who hits the fly ball is merely intending to get his teammate across home plate. He’d gladly trade an RBI single or double or triple or 2 RBI home run for that fly ball.

    To further complicate the rule, a batter in the midst of a hitting streak will have that streak halted by a sacrifice fly. Confusingly, his streak carries over if he registers all sacrifice bunts.

    It doesn’t make any sense.

  • No Roses Here

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    “The Decision” generated a 7.3 rating last night, yet no one is willing to admit that he watched it, as though doing so would somehow indicate acceptance of all things evil in professional sports.

    It delivered on every pre-air caution. It was boring; it was contrived; it was narcissistic; it was gratuitous; but it was an event. And despite the fact that the 7.3 rated program delivered about a 1.0 on the entertainment scale, I don’t regret taking it in. LeBron on the other hand – he likely regrets putting it on. At least he should.

    Interestingly enough, James isn’t the most foul smelling entity of this saga. Enter Cavs majority owner Dan Gilbert:


    The Decision

  • What Does it Mean?

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    What does it mean?  I don’t know, but this dude is a mess.  Stay with it until the end. He’ll start crying about 2:30 in:

    This should be shown to every middle school student in America.  “The perils of drug use.”

  • At What Cost?

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    I don’t know why, but people do crazy stuff to secure a baseball. I once jumped down a six foot drainage well to get my hands on a Robin Yount home run. I didn’t think. I just went in after it.

    We’ve all laughed at the guy who gets trampled, the beer that explodes, and the dude who goes rear end-over-tea kettle trying to snag a hot shot down the third baseline. But there is nothing funny about the man who fell from the second deck of the Ballpark at Arlington last night.

    Thankfully, Fox Sports Southwest did not air the footage on the live broadcast, but the umpire’s reaction says it all:


  • Then or Now?

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    “Battle of the Mercury Girls.”

    From Maino’s era…Yvette Mimieux:

    From my era…Jill Wagner:

    Who will get you to the Mercury dealer?