Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Covering Liverpool in Bangkok Day One June 12

Covering Liverpool in Bangkok Day 1
by rick olivares

Bangkok Day 1
July 12, 2015
A huge roar went up as Liverpool great Ian Rush (229 goals for the Reds) went through the lobby of Le Meridien along former left winger Luis Garcia (18 goals in 77 matches). The two, along with some LFC officials went off for a public appearance, one of several scheduled this Monday, for the Merseyside squad. 

Some 100 digital cameras whirred into life clicking madly away as every step, every moment was captured. For the some 100 fans who had waited for several hours just to get a glimpse of their football heroes, it was worth it. And they hoped they would be rewarded with a selfie or an autograph or maybe even both if they were really lucky.

In my departure card from Manila, there's a category were one must mark with a "x" their purpose for traveling to the said country. Holiday the first box says. Business is next and so on and so forth. I check others, "Football," I remark.

It is difficult where you're passionate and rabid Liverpool Football Club fan. For the better part of the last two and a half decades, you recite your annual rosary that seems to encompass nothing but sorrowful mysteries. But such is life that one has to hope that maybe next year luck will change.

The last time Liverpool went to Thailand, they finished second in the Premier League. Of course, the Reds are not putting their faith on mere coincidence as they know after last season's embarrassing fall, they have their work cut out for them.

And hopefully, it starts out with a good pre-season tour that kicks off right here in Bangkok, Thailand. Hope, does spring eternal.

Philippine Airlines Flight PR 730 was not even half full outbound to Thailand. It was fine with me because I got to move to a whole row and stretch. The problem of being long-legged are the small and cramped places you have to deal with on planes. 

Mercifully, before I knew it, were were taxiing into Suvarnabumi International Airport. My excitement kicked up several notches higher. More so when I got my goodie bag from the fine folks at Standard Chartered, the global partner of Liverpool Football Club that contained the home kit for the 2015-16 season bearing the New Balance logo for the first time, a squeeze bottle, and a mini-football! And of course -- here's the gold -- the media pass that allows me access to all the LFC events for the next two days including lunch with Luis Garcia on Tuesday!

I am with selected media from Bangladesh, Singapore, and Vietnam (and of course, from the home country) and it sure is fun to make their acquaintance. For the press conference, manager Brendan Rodgers and defensive midfielder Lucas Leiva were in attendance. Most of the questions are about the just-traded Raheem Sterling who was sent to Manchester City for quite a sum. The others are about the new potential new signings. Both manager and player expertly deflected any controversy.

And maybe that's not such a bad way to get this new season underway.

Later in the day, I spent about an hour and half at Kinokuniya at Siam Paragon that is literally a stone's throw away from Novotel Siam where I am billeted with my media colleagues. I return to the hotel in time to reconnect with an old classmate over an Italian dinner and some coffee. It has a been a pleasant Day One.

With some of the foreign media covering the Liverpool friendly

My Liverpool goodie bag containing the new 2015-16 New Balance kit, a squeeze bottle, and a mini-football. And of course, my media badge. Not bad.

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