Day 12: PNC Park

Last two days have been retro posts… We were very tired by this point in the trip.  Enjoy the pics of the of the stadium with the best view of stadiums we visit on this trip.

Recap of a pretty painful game.

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Day 11: Nationals Park

Hit our hotel in Bethesda. Dave took my car to do laundry and for the second time the one we found online didn’t exist when he found one the key in my car won’t come out.  After finishing laundry, a routine of sitting in the car changing it over and back to the car, Dave had to try to get back to the hotel through rush hour traffic.  Already running late I called AAA because the last thing we needed was a dead battery in the morning.  The AAA were not helpful at all and gave us no answers.  So we disconnected the battery and ran to catch the subway.  D.C. subway is most complicated thing I have ever seen I stared at board for five minutes just trying to figure it out.  Upon getting to the stadium station we still owed 33¢.  We had planned on getting to stadium early to meet Matt and get standing room only only seats however do to running late the game had already started and we were stuck with some of our most expensive tickets of trip but the seats were great and we were able sneak Matt down to our seats as well.  Spent most of game just catching up with Matt and don;t really remember what happen at the game. Nats recap Mets recap After the game we caught the last train back to Bethesda.

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Day 10: Citizens Bank Park

New day, new game with a good night sleep and only 2 hours of driving ahead of us.  Took the I 95 south to UPenn in Philly.  Highly recommend the Inn at the Penn managed by Hilton.  Dave attempted a run to the laundromat, fruitless as it is now an arcade yahoo and google need to update I guess, as I posted recap from Toronto.  We took the MFL to City Hall and BSL down to Sports Complex.

Game
Citizens Bank Park is one of the nicer parks we’ve been too on this trip but the location of sports parks and parking lots takes a lot away from the overall appeal of the park.  Having not eaten anything all day, we paid an immediate visit to the Philly Cheesesteak stand.  I can see myself making the trip to Philly for Pirates games in the future.  Our seats for this game were on the 1st base foul line in the outfield.  While watching cubs batting practice and nosh on garlic fries Dave called here’s one.  I looked up to see a foul ball landing in the next section over after watching it settle in the same row as ours, I put down the food and made quick dash straight across darting past a guy trying to climb over the seats for it to snag our first ball of the trip.  The game pitted cagey veteran Jamie Moyer vs. the younger ex-Pirate Gorzelanny.   A pitchers duel most of the game Cubs were able to score a run in the third when Theriot, on second from a single and steal, scored on a ground ball by Castro that went behind Rollins.  Theriot (pronounce “tear E O”, we decide he should instead go by “The Riot”) followed that by a great defensive play in the bottom to stop a hard ground ball from Utley.   Missed what happen in the top of the sixth for a beer run, only in a baseball stadium can you Newcastle and other premium beers at the same price as Bud.  Cubs scored again in the top of seventh when Soriano stretched a single to left center into a double and Baker’s ground ball went off the glove of Polanco.  Grabow replaced Gorzelanny in the bottom when Ruiz hit one right back at him, hitting his glove hand.  He still made the play to throw Ruiz out at first.  Durbin came in for relief of Moyer in the eighth. The Phillies got one run back off a Howard dribbler, which had the resemblance of a squeeze play with Polanco, held on third in the previous play, coming home.  Zambrano came in to end the inning. In the ninth Durbin walked two and hit another to load the bases, prompting a switch to Romero.  Romero was able to strike out Colvin, but pinch hitter Xavier Nady drove in two with a hard hit ball past second.  Marmol closed things out for the Cubs and striking out two in the effort.

On the subway ride back our quote of the day from a homeless guy to another…  “Man so many people have walked past me with cologne on today that I smell good.”

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Day 9: Yankee Stadium

This was definitely not our favorite leg of the trip.  With 4 hours of sleep we headed east through NY to Binghamton then South through Pennsylvania and into NJ raining a majority of the way.  Our hotel was near Newark International, so it had a shuttle to the airport.  Which we took after resting a little while.  On the way though it got a flat tire, so we lost about an 20 minutes waiting for a replacement shuttle.  From the airport we took a tram out to the NJ transit station and from there to Penn Station.  Exiting Penn Station it was pouring rain, so we held up in Borders for it to slow down and double check the station we had to go to.  Dave questioned it so I geeked out and pulled up my app for that on the iPad.  The rain slowed enough that we decided walk the block and half to catch the D express line to Yankee Stadium.  At this point we had been traveling a little under 12 hrs with only a few short breaks.  It was still raining as we exited the subway to enter the stadium.  When we got to the bag check I got turned away; Yankee Stadium doesn’t allow consumer video cameras like every other stadium does.  So I first tried to get in through a different line no luck.  I went searching for lockers that were suppose to be across the street with no luck came back across the street for direction.  Finally found the place with lockers checked my camera and got back in line.  This time now my iPad can’t come in ???? what why are the Yankees hating on Apple.  Pretty upset I go back again and put my entire bag in the locker forgetting to grab the long sleeve shirt I packed.  Got back in line again only to discover I no longer had my ticket (paper print out from StubHub).  It was steadily drizzling this entire time and I was exhausted, defeated, and really hating the Yankees and NY.  Because Dave was in front of me line the first time, he had been inside the whole time and had to borrow someone phone to call me when I was wandering around looking for the lockers.  Talking through the fence, he convinced me that maybe I put the ticket in my bag after one of the failed bag checks.  So exhausted I started walking back to the lockers head hang out of shear exhaustion when by the grace of God laying on the ground at my feat soaking wet was a piece of paper that read StubHub.  I had to pinch myself to make sure I was hallucinating.  Picked it up and sure enough it was my ticket; it is a good thing New Yorkers ignore everything around them.  It was ready to fall apart but the bar code was intact so I dried it out the best I could and went back to the Stadium.  Finding the ticket plus a really good Italian sausage in the stadium gave me a boost, but that was short lived as it rained the entire game and was windy as hell.  The game was rain delayed about an hour pushing the start back to 8.

GAME

Here are excellent recaps of the game Yankees or Red Sox.   We however, do to the constant rain and wind, last in the upper deck all of 3 innings before heading to the stadium store to warm up.  We then watched the Yankees get a sizable lead from the second level standing area. Still really cold we got some hot chocolate then took what photos we could.  Red Sox were able to notch one run but were blanked again in the seventh.  As it was get pretty late and we didn’t want to miss the last train to NJ and because we were completely exhausted / not in the mood for Yankee fans.  We left the game starting the journey back to the hotel (grabbing my bag before we left.)  When someone getting on the train to NJ announced that it was 5 to 4 in the top of ninth, we realized we made a mistake. In short this leg was not the best experience.

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Day 8: Rogers Centre

PREGAME:

After quick call to make sure we could leave the car in valet until after the game, grabbed some breakfast at Tim Horton’s.  We voyaged down Yonge Street to the Temple of Hockey and gaze upon Lord Stanley’s Cup.  The Hockey Hall of Fame located in the lower level of Brookfield Place, gives it a very odd feel at first feels like it’s just another store front.  Consisted of about 20 or 30 bigger contributors like Gretzky, Orr, Hull, Howe, Lemeiux, etc. in the front section. IIHF Hall focuses on world play, Olympics, and leagues outside North America. Hockey Year in review has exhibits of current champions in the various leagues. There were also a mock up of the Montreal Canadians locker room, History of the hockey uniforms, history of the Stanley Cup, collectibles exhibit, broadcast history, and interactive try it yourself area with broadcast booth, be the goalie, or shoot the puck sections. The Great Hall is in a former Bank of Montreal building and holds all the major trophies, most importantly Lord Stanley’s cup, as well as glass etchings of all the honorees.
After the HHOF we wandered the city, unable to locate Mill Street Brewery for a tour and lunch. Ended up along the harbor toward the stadium and found Steam Whistle Brewery but by then were to hungry so we grabbed lunch at Penelope at pretty nice Greek restaurant were able to just get in a lunch order.  Prices were very reasonable and the food was excellent.

GAME:

Rogers Centre is what it is, and that’s a Multipurpose Stadium.  In a league that has almost completely switched to parks designed specifically for baseball, it can’t compare.  That said the hotel in the outfield would be excellent to stay in as well as its down town location right next to the CN Tower.  All in all the facility is quite nice.
Eveland did not  start well loading base with two walks before getting Kubel to dribble the ball right back at him for the 3rd out. In the bottom when Overbay struck out the crowd booed and a couple of  yelled overpaid. A home run by young in the second was answered in the by a two run homer in the bottom by Bautista. The BooJays were loud in the 4th when the Jays looked liked they were playing tee ball.  With Hudson and Mauer on third and first, Overbay was unable to stop a Morneau ball hit right at him.  But that was only the beginning Cuddyer was called safe at first the crowd and Dave believed it was a bad call. I thought I saw Overbay drop the ball, confirmed later by mlb.com. Either way Morneau took off for third and Overbay’s attempt to throw him out went wild and Morneau scored.  Cuddyer ran to second and that throw was also dropped.  Cuddyer also took third on a past ball to Kubel.  The bottom started with Bautista hitting the ball with his check swing and called out when the thrown ball hit him the back for another round boos and didn’t get any better.  The chats of “Overpaid“ and replacing lets go Bluejays with “lets trade Overbay,” continued in the 5th when he again ended the inning.  In the 6th we were privileged enough to witness the Worlds Fastest Ground Crew  …. Really!?, Really!?  its AstroTurf, of course they are the fastest.  Morneau polished off a career day and the Jays with two home runs a solo in the sixth and a two run in the eighth.

Leaving was much less eventful than entering Toronto, driving down to Buffalo, NY.  Hardest the thing trying to calculate litres to gallons in my head.

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Day 7: Comerica Park

PREGAME

Left Battle Creek (of Kellogg fame) late which was compounded by forgetting the phone back in the room.  Luckily remembered before getting to far when I went to tweet that we were off.  Got into Detroit with just enough time hit the FedEx Kinkos ( we forgot to hit the hotel business center before leaving, not sure they would’ve had one it was another 80’s era hotel ) print the tickets and walk to the Park.  Our travel survival skills kicked in quickly once we realized the Kinkos was closed being a Sunday, and sought out the first hotel we could find which happened to be a Garden Inn Hilton.  Walked in like we owned it and found the business center behind a hotel card access door.  By a struck of luck some one was using the room and let us in.

GAME

The Comerica Park sits adjacent to Ford Field.  There was a good deal of construction going on outside the east gates but overall the park is a nice mix of old style and new design and technology.  We only missed two outs in the first in which the Red Sox stranded 2 men and a Johnny Damon walk was all the Tigers could muster.  In the second Galarraga again blanked the Red Sox.  After giving up a run via a Kelly single to left field, Lackey got worked by Avila for a number of pitches eventually giving up the walk.  On his first major league at bat Danny Worth was able to leg out a slow dribble to first base. It wasn’t pretty but a hit is a hit and it loaded the bases.  Damon again walked scoring the second run of the game.  Santiago let the struggling Lackey off the hook by flying out.  Hermida answered in the third with a double to score Van Every.  I zoned out in the bottom of the inning but was brought to by a great play by Scudero to prevent another single, throwing out Boesch at second.  But it still scored Ordonez. Tigers stretched the lead in the bottom of the fourth with a two out rally including a Damon single and steal and Santiago home run to right field. Bonderman came in with skillful relief in the sixth and two more outs in the seventh.  Was replaced by the pitcher named Ni ( didn’t see any shrubbery ) and promptly gave up two hits and walked a third batter to load the bases but escaped the inning with a strike out.  In the 8th the crowd started the first wave of our trip; it went around the stadium four times. Tigers sealed it up when Hermida hit it to first with two on and two out for an easy tag of the bag.

POSTGAME

Left the city via tunnel to Windsor, stopped at Tim Horton’s (exchange rate 97) in London, and pulled into Toronto at 9:45 pm. Google put us on the right road but on the complete other side of town.  So, we had to drive 90 blocks downtown to our hotel.

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Day 6: Wrigley Field

[Andy has punted the Day 6 posting to me – Dave]

Pre-Game:  An early morning is one thing but an early morning and a late night is brutal.  We were on the road after a quick graze of the continental breakfast. (Our first of the trip)  RED BULL !! I don’t know if gives me wings but it was the only reason I was awake enough to drive.   After staying up after arriving in Indy to figure out how to take the train to Wrigley Field we decided mid trip to drive all the way since we were making excellent time.  After a stop for new directions, we made it to Chicago in record time and promptly sat in slow moving traffic.  UGH I hate traffic.  Fortunately it was not as bad as on the way to Milwaukee and we made it to the Devry parking lot in plenty of time.  The shuttle that the Cubs organization runs from there is great and dropped us off right at the stadium.  It is obvious that Wrigley Field has been around awhile because there is NO parking around it like most newer built/planned parks.

The Field and the Game:

Wrigley Field is not very aestically pleasing form the outside and looks old.  That is part of its mystic.  It was crazy to see the famous red sign in person. When we entered we immediately walked around taking pictures as batting practice finished up.  Wrigley is a nice field and it truly seems to transport you back in time with the old school scoreboard and lack of HD screen a la Target Field.  It is easy to see why everyone loves Wrigley and it is defineately cool to at a field that isn’t a copy of another stadium and has its own personality.  We went and found our seats soon after and had a great view directly behind homeplate from section 222.  Though Andy had a slight issue seeing rightfield with the support beam in front of him.

It was great to finally be at a Pirates game.  Very few chants of lets go Bucs but they did stop them from getting off to a fast start in the first plating three runs.  Two walks set the plate for McCutchen’s rbi single and Church doubled in the other two.  Maholm pitched well through the first two innings but I was not very confident it would last as every out seemed to be a rocket shot off the Cubs bats.  The dam did break in the bottom of the third after a lead off double by Dempster (so much for the pitcher being an easy out) and a single by Theriot (and a fly out that moved Theriot to Second), Ramirez doubled in two runs.  The inning could have been a lot worse but Ramirez was sent home on Soto’s single to leftfield and he was out at home by a country mile.  It wasn’t even a tough play for Church to make.  Doumit had time to take three steps up the line as A-ram was running in.  After the third things moved along quickly with both teams threatening but neither one able to capitalize.   I was surprised to see more then a handful of Pirates fans in the house.  During the top of the ninth Clement drilled a Home run to leftfield, the crowd was silent except for his family going nuts behind Home plate it was cool to see.  In the bottom half of the inning Dotel finished out the game but not without making it interesting giving up a run scoring triple to Fukudome.  With Fukudome on third he buckled down and struck out both Theriot and Byrd.  It definitely kept the crowd on its toes and was by far the best finish to a game we have seen all week.   It was also the largest crowd we have seen at 41,336 people, barely edging out the crowd at Target Field.

Post game:

Only two things to mention after game.  On the shuttle ride back to the parking lot the bus driver pulled over and through people off the bus for leaning out the window and pulling on the stop request buzzer.  He was jacked!!  I couldn’t believe to see people so disrespectful.   The second thing … Chicago traffic sucks.

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Day 5: Great American Ball Park

PREGAME:

Slept in YAY!!  Jumped on the road out farm country passing Santa Claus into Kentucky via Louisville.  Passed a trailer carrying an old Airsteam that looked like it was pulled directly out the barn that it had been sitting in for the last 30 years still hitched to the beat up GTO that put it there.  Entering from Kentucky, the city’s skyline just appears from behind the hill and is quite impressive.  For such good locations Cincinnati’s Stadiums were by far the least attractive we’ve seen.  As far as I can tell they were trying to give the “Great American Ball Park” a steal bridge aesthetic from the riverfront and brick facade from the city side neither was pulled off very well.

GAME:

The most exciting game of our trip so far, a pair of two run home runs by Pujols and Ludwick propelled the Cardinals over the Reds, despite a late game effort.  In the seventh Gomes hit a double and and Stubbs brought him in with a home run to straight away center. In was Gomes again in the ninth with a single over the SS and promptly stealing second. Bruce’s drop fly put men at first in third with no outs.  Stubbs hit to second scored Gomes and nearly a double play but was interrupt by a skillful slide by Bruce.  The crowd was brought to a near frenzy with Hannigan’s single to center field.  Then like letting the air out of a balloon, gasp as pinch hitter Hernandez hit into a double play ending the game.

POST GAME:

It was Friday Fireworks Night as apart of Cincinnati’s Civil Rights Week.  The display was timed to music and famous events in Civil Rights history.  After the display we drove onto Indy.

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Day 4: Busch Stadium

PREGAME:
Bright and early headed out of KC at 6:30 in a heavy rain.  Like a champ Dave drove the distance to St. Louis as I wrote up the day 3 recap.  Out ran the storm about an hour outside St. Louis.  Made a quick pitstop at McDonald’s to upload photos and post the recap before entering the city.  Found a parking ramp with $10 parking for the game, the girls collecting the money seemed a little sketchy (think snoop from the wire).

GAME

For our first outfield game we arrived in time to watch Atros hit batting practice.  The clouds creep closer as the game approached but burnt off just before hitting us. So instead of clouds and rain, received a good dose of blistering sun.  A pitching dual between Carpenter and Norris, Carpenter blinked first in the top of third when Berkman hit single in the gap create by the shortstop holding the runner on second.  Carlos Lee initiated a bench clearing but end with just a lot of posturing.  The pause in the action did little to help Carpenter as Pence cleared the bases with home run to left center, giving the Astros a 4 – 0 nothing lead.  The game continued at a rapid pace, only lasting two hours and 18 minutes. The Cardinals got a on the board in the seventh when Pujols was able to advance on a pass ball and Holliday knocked him in with a single to center field.  In the 8th Cards tried to get things going again but after John Jay, pinch hitting for Carpenter, put down a sacrifice bunt to advance Molina and Greene, Shumaker hit into a double play.  Berkman tagged first and then threw out Molina at home.  That was the last best hope for the Cardinals and they lost with a final of 4 -1.

POST GAME

With the early end of the game walked around the stadium taking pictures as a high school game started.  Leaving the parking garage either the garage got scammed or had some incompetent workers because we didn’t have card.  When we told the attendant she lets go but was quite upset and said something to other attendant like “how many is that now 17?”  Drove to Evansville, IN after the game as a halfway point in between St. Louis and Cincinnati.  The Marriott looks like something stuck in the early 80s.

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Day 3: Kaufmann Field

PREGAME:
Lazy morning … got off to a late start and didn’t get on the road until 9:40; forgetting even to grab directions to the next destination.  Luckily, in talking to locals last night on the fun run bus, remembered that 35S went all the way to Kansas City.  Once on the road, had a breakfast of cupcakes, OJ, yogurt, and combos.  Got as far south 12 miles north of Iowa and stopped for gas.  There was a Walmart at the exit so we stocked up on food as well before getting back on the road.  A thunderstorm kicked up 30 miles north of Des Moines.  Stopped to make sandwiches in Des Moines.  Another thunderstorm leaving Iowa and again entering Kansas City.  Thunderstorms would be a drastic understatement, God was pretty much dropping giant water balloons on us… forcing us to pull off in Kansas City.  Major kudos to Holiday Inn’s new look, the hotel was right across the highway from the field and had a free shuttle to from the game.  Arrived with just enough time to drop off our stuff, post the photos from the day before.

GAME:

Best seats so far, not that it mattered we could have sat anywhere we wanted, right behind the net on the 3rd base side 6 rows up.  Choo started the indians off with a single between first and second. Followed by a Hafner walk but Kearns grounded out to the shortstop for the third out.  Royals looked like they were going to have a good night starting with two singles and a sac bunt.  However a pop out and ground out, set the tone of game leaving two men on base, and thirteen total by the end of the night.  No score until the 5th when Cabera scored two runners, who were advanced by a sac bunt, off a single up the middle.  The rain force a halt in play, we took advantage of buck night… Hot Dogs, Peanuts, Sodas, and … Twinkies were only a dollar. I would state here that with the rain delay that the fans left in droves but there weren’t droves to leave.  Also, we were highly disappointed no one use the tarp as a slip and slide.  When resumed Indians added another two runs via a Russell Branyan home run, before another second long delay.  With second delay we sampled local Boulevard Brewery’s Golden Wheat and Zōn brews.  The only thing exciting about the rest of the was watching people chase foul balls through the empty seats.

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