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(Second) Rate the IL Hotel: Toledo edition

Time once again folks for America’s fastest-growing sensation this side of Slinky, Pet Rock and Justin Bieber’s ego, Rate the IL Hotel!  And here’s your host, Jason Benetti!!!!


Well thank you.  It’s a pleasure once again to bring you the best and worst of the International League’s lodging.  Today, though, the title of the program isn’t exactly proper.  Today’s episode should be labeled:  Audit the IL Hotel.  To “rate” the Park Inn Toledo for this trip would be to brand it based on one possible outlier of an experience.  So, place your own rating on the Park Inn based on our experience from Friday and Saturday.


The Chiefs finished their series with Columbus on Friday night at 7 P.M.  As Kevin and I packed the equipment, I said to Kevin, “I have a bad feeling about this bus ride.”  “Bad feeling how?,” he asked.  I wasn’t sure.


When I got on the bus, I learned how.  Chiefs athletic trainer/maven of everything Atsushi Toriida told me that our bus–the one carrying the equipment–would be traveling first to the ballpark in Toledo, then to the hotel.  That didn’t seem like too much of a diversion; the Park Inn is a five minute walk from Fifth Third Field.  Ah, but there was the rub.  The Park Inn didn’t have enough rooms for all of us, so the whole team was staying the night across the border in Monroe, Michigan.


For those who have never been to Monroe, here are a few facts I learned on the trip:


*It is roughly 20 miles from Toledo.

*It contains a Quality Inn.


Here are a few facts I learned later:


*Christie Brinkley was born there.

*It is home to the War of 1812’s River Raisin Battlefield.

*The River Raisin is a body of water not established by Sun-Maid.


During our trip, a few things worth mentioning happened:


1) We learned everything we could possibly want to know about Ryan Tatusko, in a Twitter Q and A.  Check out his Twitter page @RyanTatusko.

2) Four movies were played, none of which I can name.

3) Our bus, at one point, stopped at an abandoned gas station.  The purpose here, we were told, was to allow one of our two bus drivers to stretch.  Inventors:  There is a market for a bus captain’s seat which allows for dexterity exercises mid-trip.  Please develop this.  Preferably before we leave Columbus Sunday night.


Seven-plus hours from departure, We arrived at the field in Toledo to unload the equipment as the sun came up in Lucas County, Ohio.  After the clubhouse attendants finished heaving player bags onto a cart, we were on our way to Monroe.  About 25 minutes later, we pulled into the parking lot of the Quality Inn.  Randy Knorr told the players that the bus for the Park Inn Toledo would leave at 3 P.M.    With the time being 7:15, the best the players could do was about six-and-a-half hours.


It should be said that sleeping while the sun is out is as restful as a Nine Inch Nails live album.


We all stood up front and waited for our room keys, which Sushi (that’s what we call the trainer) dutifully handed out.  My key did not exist.  It needed to be made.  This gave me quite the opportunity to watch confused Chiefs leave and return to the lobby in search of their rooms.  Evidently, at the Quality Inn Monroe, some rooms are to the left of the desk, some are to the right and others are outside and around the building.  In the movie The Thomas Crown Affair, there’s a scene where investigators are trying to find Pierce Brosnan (Crown) in a museum.    Crown, though, has at least a dozen others dressed exactly like him.  So, the cops scramble all around the museum and eventually bump into each other and all the impostors.  That’s what the lobby looked like:  mass misdirection.


The genial woman at the front desk handed me a key and I rode the elevator to the fourth floor.  I walked through a stairwell (Yes, a mid-floor stairwell.  Convenient in case of, you know, a sudden urge to go downstairs while in a corridor) and hit the end of the hall.  I opened the door and was greeted my Vesuvial heat.  It was surprising that a tornado didn’t form in my doorway.  Nothing’s been more hot and cold since Regis and Kathie Lee’s relationship.


To remedy the situation, I blasted the room with icy breezes by turning the wall unit to “high cool.”  Once the room was a more moderate temperature (and before bed), I switched the unit to “low cool.”  Nothing changed.  High cool and low cool were the same.  Imagine if a waiter came to your table and said “How would you like your steak?  Red or scorched?”  This is not a way to endear oneself to a customer.


So, I turned the unit up to full blast for a few minutes.  I then switched it off and went to sleep.  A few hours later, I got back up and got on the bus to go to the Park Inn in Toledo, about 25 minutes away.  The rooms were ready and all was OK.  The Chiefs split the series in Toledo, no real harm done.


I learned later that, in an ironic twist, the Chiefs were left without a place to stay by the Park Inn because the hotel was overbooked by a convention of Jehova’s Witnesses, a group that, by lore, is fond of knocking on doors.


A regularly-scheduled edition of (Second) Rate the IL Hotel will appear soon.


Syracuse and Columbus start their series tonight at 7:05 at downtown Huntington Park as Yunesky Maya returns to the rotation.  Join us starting at 6:50 with the Clubhouse Show on The Score 1260 or online at





(Second) Rate the IL Hotel: Rochester edition!

It’s time once again…..for the game where the room service is always cost-prohibitive…….


(Second) Rate the IL Hotel!!!!!  And now….our host with the second-most, Jason Benetti!


Thanks Johnny Gilbert.  It’s a pleasure to bring you another edition of (Second) Rate the IL Hotel, where we rank Triple-A sleeping spots.  We’ll give you three positives and three negatives about the hotel and spit out a fair and balanced ranking, depending on your definition of fair and balanced.  Today’s competitor:  The Rochester Plaza!




1) Proximity.  The Plaza is just about three blocks from the home of the Red Wings, Frontier Field.  That makes for a nice pregame walk if you’re so inclined.


2) Parking.  If you drive, you’ll definitely have a place to put your car overnight.  The Rochester Plaza has more parking spaces than Juan Valdez has coffee beans.  I believe the parking lot and garage have annexed themselves from Rochester proper.


3) Black market electronics.  Kevin went to the front desk during our first trip to the Plaza and asked if the clerk had any headphones.  The clerk indicated that the hotel didn’t have any.  The clerk did, though, have a pair of his own busted earbuds.  He was willing to sell them for a dollar.  Kevin made the purchase.   I have a feeling this income will not be taxed.




1) My bed:


What do you think it is?  Blood?  Paint?  Pieces of Woody Woodpecker’s hair?


2) The view:


Tropical, certainly.  But, this view is from directly outside the room.  If guests were visiting the pool they’d be able to watch Law and Order with me on my TV.


3) Flowery cleanliness.  The shampoo bottles in the Plaza bathrooms say “Desert Rain.”  Why do hotels name their toiletries as though they are New Age hits?  I don’t want to wash my hair with desert rain.  Honestly, desert rain makes me think my hair is dirty.  If the only way my hair is being touched by liquid is rain in the desert, it’s rather likely that I haven’t showered in weeks.


Final score:  67.  The beds are great, the view is too tremendous.  I recommend the rooms without the red glop on the comforter.



(Second) Rate the IL Hotel: Charlotte….ish Edition

Ladies and gentlemen…..boys and girls……cats and dogs…..Sense and Sensibility…..Sweet ‘N Low…..

It’s time for America’s second-fastest-growing sensation (behind kudzu)……

(Second) Rate The IL Hotel!!!!

And here’s your host, the man whose room always has enough power outlets, Jason Benetti!!!!

Thank you, thank you.  If only that introduction were true.  Today on the program, we make a value judgment on a value hotel in a value destination…..The Comfort Suites Pineville, North Carolina!!  If you’re new to the program, we’ll give you three pluses from the most recent hotel the Chiefs have inhabited.  For equal time purposes (under the Fairness Doctrine, which this blog still adheres to), we also give you three minuses which attach themselves to the hotel.  We then use a complex formula (similar to x + y = z) to rate the hotel.


1) Elevator ups.  Typical hotels have one bank of elevators for the entire establishment.  I was tipped off to the fact that the Comfort Suites Pineville has a second, conspicuous elevator at the end of the hallway.  When there is a mad rush for a lift at peak checkout times, it’s comforting to know that there’s a hidden way to get downstairs quickly with a few bags.  Nice touch.

2) Free continental breakfast.  It’s a paradox.  Great hotel–>pay for breakfast.  Nasty hotel–>free breakfast.  While the Comfort Suites Pineville isn’t exactly the Spelling mansion, it isn’t a yurt, either.  And the breakfast comes at no charge.  Even if you don’t wake up in time for the meal, the aromatic syrup residue is gripping, if not pleasing.

3) A trusting staff.  One of our players was locked out of his room, shoeless, as I left my room one day.  His key no longer worked and he wasn’t in much of a state to go to Diamond Head, let alone the front desk.  So, I went downstairs to ask if the staff if they could make a key.  Since we travel in a group and I could prove my identity, the desk woman did it.  Very kind.  And pragmatic.  Some larger establishments would have required a notarized document and blood sample.


1) Sound effects.  I was working in my room on the second day of our trip and heard a few shrill, intermittent beeps coming from the wall.  I first thought Jack Bauer was coming after me in one of four boxes.  Then, I thought the carbon monoxide detector was going off.  Which one would have been the better scenario, I’m still waffling on.  The front desk clerk told me that it was likely a low battery in the fire alarm.  To the hotel’s credit, it was fixed when I returned.

2) State lines bein’ drawn.  As previously mentioned on the blog, the Charlotte Knights play in Fort Mill, South Carolina. That’s like a supermarket putting Tostitos in the freezer section.   The team hotel, though, evidently is more geographically-inclined than the team.  It is located in Pineville, North Carolina.  So, we need to travel from NC to SC to play Charlotte.  This, like leaving your dogs at home when running the Iditarod, is rather inconvenient.  It is 30 minutes round-trip to the park.  There is one shuttle which takes the players to the field.  It has 14 seats.  20 players wanted to ride the first shuttle on day one.  Clown car.  A mess.

3) Something fishy.  There is an abandoned always empty Captain D’s restaurant three doors down.  I’ve never seen anyone there.  I just called the phone number listed online and someone answered and announced “Thank you for calling Capt….” and I hung up.  Vacant fast food seafood restaurants scare me.  Customerless fast food seafood restaurants with receptionists terrify me.

Rating:  62.  It’s an 85 without Captain D’s.

Chiefs and Braves tonight at 7:05.  Our airtime is 6:50… to ya then.


(Second) Rate the IL Hotel: Indianapolis

It’s time once again for the game where the towels are always fluffy and the good book is always in the top drawer:


(Second) Rate the IL Hotel!


And now, your host:  Jason Benetti!!!


<lack of clapping because applause light is under repair>


Well, thanks for…..thanks for being here at least.  It’s America’s third-fastest growing sensation:  (Second) Rate the IL Hotel.  If you’ve just joined us on (Second) Rate the IL Hotel, we offer three positives and negatives of the Chiefs’ hotel in a given Triple-A city and then offer a score between 1 and 100.


This season, we are giving the International League’s overnight establishments another chance to be seen, heard and slept in.  On this episode, though, we are putting a new hotel under the microscope.  Last year, the Chiefs stayed in Indianapolis at the SpringHill Suites.  This season, the team moved to the adjoining….Courtyard by Marriott!



1) The Bat Cave.   Though I know very little about developing photos, I am comfortable in how much I value a dark room.  The curtains at the Courtyard turn the room into a black hole.  With no lights on and the curtains drawn, every minute is midnight.  The cooling and sleep-facilitating dual purposes cannot be understated.

2) Hot shower time machine.  One of the first rooms I’ve ever been in which scrapped the typical bathtub concept in favor of a shower stall.  I like it.  You’re not taking a bath in a hotel unless you’re A) soaking a corn B) sick or C) completely ignorant of germs.   The Courtyard has eliminated the pretense that anyone really uses the bathtub in a hotel.  Plus, this shower had a nine million watt bulb in it.  Nothing gets a person ready for the day like than a cleansing interrogation.

3) Isn’t that conveeeeenient.  The hotel is two blocks from Victory Field, the home of the Indians.  It is four blocks from a huge mall.  It has a TGI Friday’s right next door.  The internet was steadily wonderful.  Shouldn’t be that this gets a place bonus points.  But it does.



1) Service with a frown.  The Courtyard by Marriott Indianapolis has a bank of three elevators.  When a patron hits one of two “up” buttons to go to his or her room, a blue circle illuminates around one of the “up” buttons.  The other “up” button gets a red circle around it.  This means that the service elevator is active.  You see, there are two passenger elevators and one service elevator.  But, the service elevator answers on the same track as the passenger elevators.  This leads to awkward situations where the service elevator opens, guests begin walking toward the elevator, they see the rear door and “service” markings and then decide not to get on.  This is a waste of everyone’s time.  While not riding is pointless, though, riding might be even sillier.

I took the service elevator Sunday from the 12th floor down.  Three times, the rear door opened and an employee got on with a cart full of toiletries.  Those carts are unwieldy.  They typically take some time to maneuver into the carriage.  Estimated time from floor 12 to lobby: four minutes.
2) If walls could cough.  The woman in the room next to mine wasn’t feeling great.  Truly, it sounded as though she had the USS Enterprise lodged in her esophagus.    There were more hacks coming from her room than your typical Manhattan cab company.  I felt like I should get some help for the poor lady.  But, as might be expected, I left Ms. Genovese to her own devices.  Hopefully one of those devices was a cough syrup IV.
3) Nouveau riche’s pieces.  There were three framed portraits and a bamboo plant in my room.  If I wanted that, I would have shacked up at Michael’s.  The Fairfield Inn must have recently accused the Courtyard of not being cultured enough.  The Courtyard will be closed next week as it reviews John Coltrane’s entire collection.


Final score:  81


Really nice hotel.  Almost too nice.  The elevator thing was too Larry David for the hotel’s own good.  Would have been a 90+ without it.




Don’t forget, the Chiefs will be on MLB Network Thursday morning at 10:30 against the Louisville Bats.


Follow us on Twitter @ChiefsRadio.  Do it.









(Second) Rate the IL Hotel

Last year:

The International League was taken over by a sensation so large, a movement with such force, a presence so daunting….that the fear created in inns around the circuit has……re-generated the beast!  I give you:

(Second) Rate the IL Hotel!!!! (Cue thunder clap).  Wait, we don’t have the thunder?  We were over-budget?

Anyway, our game of value-judging the vacation stops has returned.  Our producers thought it was unfair to simply create a reputation for the International League hotels based on a first impression.  So, the calendar has turned to 2011 and we give the establishments a second chance to be seen, heard, tasted and slept in.

If you’re new to the game, we offer up the pros and cons to each hotel that the Chiefs stay in and then assign a rating to that hotel using a gizmo which quite resembles the one in the board game “Mouse Trap.”

Our first hotel on the docket this season is:

The Sheraton Waterside Norfolk!!!!

The view from one of the guest rooms:

Here’s what they’re saying about the Sheraton Waterside Norfolk:

“Outback Steakhouse is next door, and you have the diner D’Eggs only a few short blocks away.  Does it get any better than that?”

—Neil Solondz, Voice of the Durham Bulls.

Normally, I’d take Neil’s word as gospel for two reasons:  1) He is a terribly perceptive fellow and 2) With Durham being in the same division as Norfolk, Neil spends more time at the Sheraton Waterside than Jay Gatsby spends staring at the green light.  In this case, though, the Voice of the Bulls has pointed out a false positive.  How about that?


1)  Valet parking.  Yes, parking is expensive (22 simoleans a night), but there’s something to be said about being at a hotel which offers valet parking.  It’s like going to a restaurant which has a 3000 dollar steak on the menu.  You don’t have to order it.  But, by virtue of its existence, you’re pretty sure the low-end stuff is going to be more than alright.  And, if you decide to take advantage of it, it feels slightly ritzy and empowering.  Especially when your rental car is a Ford Focus.

2) The sights.  Behind the hotel, you’ll find a walkway which takes you right along the water.  It’s a perfect place to see ships rolling in during the morning or early afternoon.  If you’re so inclined, it’s also an ideal running location (I was nearly sideswiped by a shirtless jogger yesterday).

3) The food nearby.  The mall is about an eight-minute walk from the hotel.  It has every chain restaurant one might ever ask for:  Chili’s, Max and Erma’s, California Pizza Kitchen, Johnny Rocket’s…and, yes, Panda Express.  Find me a reputable food court in the United States without a Panda Express.  I swear, there are malls which didn’t plan to have a Panda Express.  The construction workers go home for a nap around 10 one  night.  When they come back to the shell of the building, a Panda Express has moved in.  That’s the way it happens.  And what hungry foreman is going to say no to delectable beef and broccoli?

There’s also the Outback Steakhouse which Neil mentioned….


1) The Outback Steakhouse.  It’s open for dinner only on the weekdays!  I don’t know what sort of gustatory system Neil has, but having a closed Outback Steakhouse does nothing for my hunger pangs.  I cannot taste a bloomin’ onion simply by standing outside those giant wooden doors.   Maybe Durham’s had some day games or weekend night games.  Or Neil’s an E.T.

2) Internet.  The Sheraton Waterside and the Isle of Tortuga are the only two places in the galaxy which don’t make an effort at wireless internet.  I am posting this through an ethernet cable.  I feel CompuServe-y.

3) The front desk.  I went to the main reception area last night to get a new room key.  The gentleman told me to hold on a minute.  He then spent roughly 60 seconds looking around.  Then, he asked me what I needed.  It was as though he was an informant on some keycard-laundering ring.  Bizarre.  Not the first odd experience I’ve had at the Sheraton front desk.

Rating:  62.  The beds are nice.  Would have been a 50 without the beds.


The Chiefs and Tides play game three of four tonight.  Our coverage starts with the Clubhouse Show at 7….inside, you’ll hear our first of many Before They Were Chiefs Wednesdays as Kevin chats with both of Tommy Milone’s pitching coaches from his alma mater, USC.  Join us on your radio at 1260 AM or online at  Follow us on Twitter @ChiefsRadio.

Until next time,


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