Much to my surprise, when we got up and got ready this morning, Chuck was full of life. Last night all his planning, all his worries, all the struggling he did to achieve what he did, it finally paid off. I honestly thought he would be just absolutely wiped out this morning. Nope! He was awake and ready to head to Philly with more energy than I was. His trip was over. He broke the Guinness World Record, previously held by himself, and now he was going on to support me on my journey to #SeeAll30.
It’s only about a 2 hour drive from Baltimore to Philadelphia, which after the drive we had to get to Baltimore, would feel like nothing! The weather as we left town wasn’t that great. It was still overcast with the occasional shower. However, just before we got to the City of Brotherly Love, the clouds parted, the sun came out and it stayed beautiful the rest of the day.
I love Philadelphia. Being the history buff that I am, I have been there several times. Philly is a city where you can hardly walk down the street without bumping into something of some great historical significance. Since we had a Sunday afternoon game to get to we didn’t have the time to enjoy Philly like I would have loved to have but I did make sure we took the scenic route to the ballpark. I drove us by Independence Hall, saw the building where the Liberty Bell is housed, Ben Franklin’s grave, the US Mint, the Philadelphia Museum of Art (the giant steps that Rocky ran up, also home of the Rocky statue) and of course both Pat’s and Geno’s cheesesteak stands at the corner of 9th Street & Passyunk Avenue. We didn’t stop to eat though as this time we had our sights set on something at the ballpark that was a suggestion of our friend, fellow Ballpark Chaser, Doug Miller.
My 1st game at Citizen’s Bank Park was back in 2005. It was the 1st game of a doubleheader for me that included the ESPN Sunday night game in Washington DC at RFK (Mets vs Nationals). Ever since that game I have really enjoyed myself in Philadelphia. The lone exception was in 2009 when my buddy Bob was traveling with me and we stopped here for a game. The only reason that game wasn’t as fun was because it was pouring down rain the entire game!
As we got to the park, we entered via the center field gate and after our usual quick restroom break, we made our way over to the stand that sells “The Schmitter ”. If you have never been to a game at Citizen’s Bank Park and got yourself one of these, you are missing out. As I said before, I had been to a few games here, but never had one because I was also going for the cheesesteak (be that before going to the park or while at the park). Doug Miller has bragged up The Schmitter to me for a few years now. Knowing Doug the way that I do, I understand him and fully trust him when it comes to food selections because we are like brothers from another mother when it comes to “Road Chow”. We both want to try the local foods. We both won’t settle for “the same ole, same ole”. I will admit that Doug is a bit more adventourous than I am as illustrated by his stop at “Cooperstown” in Phoenix a couple years ago where he took on “The Big Unit”  a 22 inch hot dog covered in chili with a side of fries. He made it just over 18 inches into it before he had to call it. There is no way that I would have come even close to that. With that said, let me say once again, I trust my brother Doug when he gives me suggestions on foods to eat when I am on the road (see again KC and “Oklahoma Joes BBQ”). The Schmitter, which has Salami, roast beef, American cheese, mayo, sweet pickle relish, ketchup, butter, onion and tomato on a Kaiser roll was, honestly, to me, is a bit of a disappointment. Now, don’t get me wrong. It tasted great. However, it was quite tiny for the price tag ($9.50) and huge hype that includes long lines to wait in just to get your hands on one (not as big as a disappointment as the “Crab Fries” though, also at Citizens Bank Park). If the lines weren’t so long, this would be totally worth it. Then again if waiting isn’t a big thing to you, by all means, have at it 🙂
The game itself was a good one. Matt Garza for the Cubs vs Kyle Kendrick of the Phillies. Garza tossed 1 hit ball through 7 innings, while striking out 10! The Cubs had a 5-0 lead going into the bottom of the 9th when they brought in Marmol. This is where things got interesting. He gave up 1 hit while walking 3 and luckily getting away with only 1 run as he got Victorino, the potential tying run, to ground out and end the game.
As per usual, we left the park as soon as the game was over. We had a long drive ahead of us up to Hartford, CT. The drive, just over 4 hours, wouldn’t be that bad, but late on a Sunday afternoon, you just know that the traffic as you head through the outside of New York City will not be fun. It wasn’t! After a couple hours just sitting there in traffic, barely moving, paying way too dang much in tolls, driving on terrible highways and a quick stop at Wendy’s for dinner, we got to our hotel in Hartford a little over 6 hours after leaving the park in Philly. We would not be deterred. Tomorrow we were going to Boston. The Crown Jewel. Fenway Park. The game I have been waiting for!