SeeAll30.com – Road Tripping To All 30 MLB Ballparks

SeeAll30.com – Road Tripping To All 30 MLB Ballparks

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Detroit – Comerica Park – Ballpark # 6

Don't you just hate seeing this on a long drive?!?

My drive wasn’t all the bad to begin with.  I had breezed through the first part of it and next thing you know I was in Chicago and I wasn’t too much further until I would see the sun come up.  While in the Chicago area I had to make a restroom stop, so I took an exit and when I got back on I evidently missed a toll booth (the kind where you toss change).  There was no light on, you couldn’t really see it until it was too late and by the time I realized what it was, the flash from the camera dang near blinded me!  At that point I was stopped and could have backed up and paid the toll, but figured “WHY? They are still gonna ticket me” so I kept going.

By the time I hit the Michigan border, I was in trouble.  I had already had 2 5 Hour Energy drinks (1 as I was leaving Minneapolis and another 5 hours later), had moved on to a couple small bottles of Coke and I was still freaking tired.  At this point I still had almost 2 hours to go to where I was going to meet my former General Manager and his wife for breakfast and then another hour plus past that to my friend Lisa’s house.  I was fighting it.  All I really wanted to do was to get some sleep, but if I did, that would throw my schedule off.  If I wasn’t meeting them for breakfast I would be ok.  I kept telling myself, “If you can make it to breakfast, you will get a chance to relax a bit, then you will be good.”  I kept telling myself this… over and over and over again.  It didn’t work.  So I upped the amount of caffeine I was drinking.  I went from a 20 oz bottle to 1 little bottleS, yes, bottleS, I grabbed 2!  I also grabbed some chips to snack on and it wasn’t long before I could feel my body kicking my ass!  I started shaking, or at least I felt like I was shaking.  I wasn’t actually moving, but I could feel like I was.  Both of my arms, my chest, my neck and even in my face and bottle lip was doing this.  Maybe shaking isn’t the right word, but maybe quivering. It freaked me out.. BIG TIME!  I wasn’t sure what the heck was going on. I kept telling myself that it was the caffeine and to stop drinking it.  Or maybe it was the sodium from the chips combined with the fact that I was already swollen so bad that was doing it.  Whatever it was, it just kept getting worse.  When I got to the Denny’s where I was meeting Keith & Gretchen, I realized I was almost an hour early.  Being early should have been a good thing, I could have got some rest in the car.  That wasn’t going to happen because of whatever it is that I was dealing with.  I got out and headed into the diner to get some water and hopefully just sit there and wait for my company to show up.  That didn’t work either.  I had to keep excusing myself to go out and get some air.  I was having a little hard time breathing but I really feel that was more of a panic attack brought on by whatever this was I was dealing with.  Eventually my friends showed up, a little early even, we had breakfast and even though I had to go walk outside a few times to get air, I think we had a good visit.  It had been over a year since I had last seen them.  Wish I had been feeling better and could have stayed longer.

Comerica Park, from the Bleachers...

Against Gretchen’s best wishes, I went ahead and hit the road after breakfast.  She wished I would go get checked out.  I felt that I was getting a little better and that if I could just make it to Lisa’s I would be good after I could put my feet up and just relax a while before we went to the game.  That drive, just over an hour, was brutal.  See, my head/brain was wide the heck awake, but my body was falling asleep!  It was terrible.  It was right then that I swore off the 5 Hour Energy drinks! If they were truly the cause for what I was going through, NO MORE! As I got to Lisa’s in Westland, MI, I could barely handle being in the car, I had to get out.  I had to relax.  I needed to put my feet up. This was important. Evidently 14 hours of driving, after being up and going all day long, is too much for me any more.  Just this past October I had driven 22 hours home from Denver, but I did get a good nights sleep the night before and hit the road in the morning.  I guess that is the difference.

I was so glad that Lisa had nothing planned and we could just sit around and talk for a while.  I needed that.  As it is, I fell asleep on her a couple times, but my body needed it. After a great home cooked dinner (thank you again, I needed that too after eating out every night while on the road), I asked Lisa what was the last possible minute we have to leave to make it before first pitch?  She told me and that gave me 55 minutes to go rest.  I had been texting with my wife about me not going to the game.  She reminded me that I had no possible make up for this game and that if I missed this game, the rest of the trip is moot.  She was right, so a nap was in my future.  Lisa told me later that I was asleep within 2 minutes of my head hitting the pillow on the couch, if not sooner. I guess I really did need it because even her youngest 2 screaming and playing didn’t budge me. Sleep was a good thing!

As I got up and got ready to go to the game, I felt like a different person.  It was then that I realized that maybe the caffeine had something to do with it, maybe it was the 5 Hour Energy drinks, but I truly feel the biggest problem was the lack of sleep.  By the time I took that nap I had been up and running for 31 hours or so and did all that I had in that time.  I am almost 40.  Evidently my body can’t do those things any more.  I was ok with that because I knew going in that this portion of the trip was gonna be crazy.  My next 2 longest drives I would have Chuck with me, so that would be a big help vs being by myself.  Either way, we hit the road into town and got to Comerica Park in plenty of time before the first pitch.

My 3rd game at Comerica Park...

I love Comerica Park.  For the first 3 years after my first visit there I referred to Comerica as “My favorite of the new ballparks”.  I loved the decorations, with the Tigers all over the place.  I loved the history of the Tigers as you walk around the park.  The statues and retired names/numbers in the outfield.  The old wood chairs that pay a tribute to the days gone by at old Tiger Stadium are still very cool. There are so many cool things to love about Comerica Park. This was my 3rd game there and each time I have been with my friend Lisa and her family. My first game with then was July 24, 2002, vs the Royals.  The game lasted 1 hour and 41 minutes!  People were just getting there as they were calling “Last Call” in the 7th inning.  It was still daylight out as we left that game.  It was crazy!  My second game was 4 years later, August 22, 2006, vs the White Sox.  Was weird being back there.  This time, not quite 5 years after my last game there, was just as cool as the first 2 games.

The game itself was great!  Gotta love seeing your home team, the Seattle Mariners, win on the road.  For the official 30 ballgames for my “SeeAll30 Summer”, this is the only game I will see the Mariners on the road.  I have been lucky enough to see them at other parks in the past though in Oakland, Anaheim, Chicago (AL), Boston, Texas and New York (AL). This just added to my list. Maybe that should be my next goal, to see the Mariners at all 30 ballparks, whatcha think dear? 🙂  Anyway, the game was great because as much trash talking as Lisa and I had been doing leading up to this game, with her Tigers, the Mariners stuck it to Detroit 7-4!  Ichiro went 3-5 and so did Alex Liddi.  It was quite cold though, but what should I expect for Detroit in late April, huh?  I was having a lot of fun just hanging out with Lisa’s family at the game, but by the 6th inning my tank was almost empty from my nap.  I very rarely leave a game early, but by time for the 7th inning stretch, it was certainly on my mind.  6 outs later we got up and started the slow walk around the park which put us at the gate right on time and we got outta there long before the crowd.

The rest of the night was filled with just relaxing and visiting until I finally had to get some sleep.  I was going to need it since I had to get up and get to the airport in Pittsburgh tomorrow to pick up Chuck & fellow ballpark chaser, Lori Martini.  We got a doubleheader tomorrow with the Noon game in Pittsburgh followed by the nightcap in Cleveland.  Another long day tomorrow, followed by a crazy driving day the day after… but more about it then… time for me to get some sleep so I can get up and be on the road by 5am.  Night! 🙂

Visitor 4, Home 2

Here is  a link to my pictures from Comerica Park.

Team123456789RHE
Mariners (8-10)1030101017150
Tigers (10-7)001210000481
W: Vargas (3-1) L: Scherzer (1-2) S: League (6)

Boxscore

Minneapolis – Target Field – Ballpark #5

Matt's Bar in Minneapolis, MN

I’m not really sure what time I got up this morning, but I do know that after last night… my head was hurting!  It wasn’t too bad, but I am sure glad that I was able to just lay around a few hours, finish my left over pizza (2 small slices) from Psycho Suzi’s and watch some ESPN as I rested.  I lounged around my hotel room for a while before I realized that if I was going to replace my GPS unit, I would have to get that done today before the ball game.  Then I vaguely started remembering something about getting a tattoo, which make me laugh!  Before long, I got up and got ready.  Im just not the kind that can lay around like that when I could be out doing something.  Especially when I am somewhere I may never get back to.

After checking out of the hotel and loading up my car, it hit me.  Yeah, yeah… I had stayed at this place the last time I was in Minneapolis by myself, back in 2010.  Im not sure if it had the same name, but based on the parking lot and the entrance, now that I could see it better during the day, I know I stayed here back then.  Either way, I hit the road, first stop was lunch at a place I have been waiting to get back to since I was there in 2010: Matt’s Bar.  Matt’s is the home of the Juicy Lucy.  I had never heard of it until I saw it on the Travel Channel show called “Food Wars” a couple years ago.  It’s a show where they take the best, similar items, in a single town and have them compete to see which is the best based on a panel of 3 judges.  Matt’s went up against another bar in town, “The 5*8 Club”, and Matt’s won.  By pure chance last time (I just happened to be at a park & ride lot that was closer) I went to Matt’s first.  After standing in line waiting for a bout 30+ minutes (I didn’t have to, but after working in restaurants for years, I didn’t want to take a single seat at a 4 top table or bigger, so I waited for a spot at the counter… which took a while.  Along the way the waitress, yes THE waitress as she was working alone out front, bought me 2 beers and even offered me a job when she realized that I was paying more attention to what was going on in her place than she was… again, years in the restaurant business) I finally got a seat at the end of the counter and the guy working there, who looked familiar to me, took my order.  What I ended up getting was the best hamburger I had ever ate before!  What is it?  Its two patties of seasoned beef that is stuffed with cheese. OMG!  It might not sound like much, but holy cow!  When I was done, I went to pay and the guy that looked familiar to me told me, “No charge. It’s on us.  Thank you for doing what you did earlier, nobody would have done that, so thanks for keeping the flow of business going, we appreciate it.”  Wow, really?  I had a burger, small fry (which is still big) and 5 beers.  Needless to say, I left the waitress a really nice tip!  So this time through, I got a seat at the end of the counter again, and ordered the same thing. Oh yeah, just as good as last time.  A burger, filled with molten lava cheese.  Oh sooo good!  If I would have had the room, I would have ate 2 or more.  Funny thing is that after the last time I was here, I went home and tried to make my own… not even close!  Crazy how that is, but dang they are good! Btw, that guy looked familiar, because he was the owner!

I got some ink in Minneapolis...

After lunch I headed for St. Louis Park and the nearest Costco to get my GPS.  After doing some shopping, I topped the tank off and then, well, I headed for Creative Images.  Figured, I might as well go check out this tattoo thing and see what it was all about.  As I walked in, I thought to myself, “Are you sure?”  The last couple years I have tried to live my life by reminding myself “You only get 1 go ’round” and to “Experience Live!”  There are things I have always wanted to do or an curious about that I feel I should just do.  With this tattoo, or any that I would get, I would’nt be the kind where it would be seen easily.  It would be for me.  This one I wanted was the Boston “B” and I wanted it on my right arm, up by the shoulder.  After talking to the artist, Jak (from last night), who didn’t think I was going to show up (to quote Brad Paisley, “Me Neither!”), I sat down and she started to work.  After she got the stencil on, she started telling me what to expect and when she asked if I was ready I replied, “As ready as I will ever be”.  She let me know that the outline will be the worst, but really shouldn’t hurt either.  Once she started, I was quite surprised at how little it hurt.  As a matter of fact, it did NOT hurt at all.  It was more of an annoyance than a pain really.  Truth be told, when she was filling in the red color of the “B”, I almost fell asleep on her.  Much like her, I wish my wife Yvonne could have been here to see it though (next time).  I did take several pictures along the way to show her as it was going on.  I know people are going to wonder why I went with the “B” instead of the Oklahoma Sooner’s “OU”, but my theory is simple.  It’s freakin’ baseball season people!  Plus, at Target Field tonight I am seeing the Minnesota Twins play the Boston Red Sox, my team!  Makes perfect sense to me, ya know?

After I got my tat, I headed back into town with about 90 minutes to kill before I wanted to be at the ballpark.  I drove around trying to decide what to do, but I eventually ended up at the 5*8 Club for a couple cold ones.  Didn’t hurt that I knew I was going to want to eat, eventually, before going to the game tonight as well and might as well give their Jucy Lucy (yes, that is spelled right) another try.  Gotta say that, much like in 2010, there was an easy and obvious winner in this food war: Matt’s Bar! The 5*8’s Lucy, just really isn’t Juicy (or Jucy, either way).  While at the 5*8 you can get all sorts of different kind of cheeses in your Lucy, I went with good ole American cheese, just like at Matt’s, and again, Matt’s was the winner.  It wasn’t even close.  I can say this about the 5*8, all their burgers come with a really good cole slaw and the beer, while a terrible selection, was good and cold.

My 3rd game at Target Field...

After leaving the 5*8, I headed to the Lake Street park & ride lot.  This is my biggest suggestion for anyone going to a game at Target Field: park at a park & ride lot on the Hiawatha train line, most of them for free, and ride the train in.  You can even park as far south as the Mall of America in Bloomington, and ride in from there.   My round trip ticket was only $6.  For that $6 I was able to park for free, let someone else do the driving into downtown and it was my ride out of the downtown area after the game was over. I didn’t have to deal with traffic because I beat most of it out that far to where I was parked.  From there it’s a quick jump onto the highway and away I go.

After my train ride in, I got to Target Field just after the opened the gates.  Not having a ticket yet, I hit the nearest box office,  grabbed me an $18 bleacher seat and headed in.  As I walked in I was delighted to see that it was Minnesota Twins Umbrella Night as I was handed a cool little red/white/blue umbrella.  It fit nicely in my backpack and I had a feeling it would come in handy a time or two before the end of the trip.  After packing my umbrella away I headed towards my seat to watch the Red Sox taking BP and like a little kid, I had my glove and hopes of catching one… NOPE!  Oh well, still always fun to watch BP before the game.  After BP I kept walking around checking out Target Field.  It honestly felt weird being back here as I was here for 2 games back in July 2010.  At that point, seeing a game at Target Field put me back in the “All 30 Club” once again. Now, its just over all park #42 for me as they opened a new one in Miami this year, which will later become #30 and put me back in the “All 30 Club”.

An awesome IPA from Surly Brewing Co....

There are things I like about Target Field and things that make me wonder, “What in the hell were they thinking?”  The tan stone they use is kinda cool, different for sure.  I thought it was a bit odd to begin with, but it’s kinda cool.  As a sponsor, Best Buy, has a charging station set up where you can charge your cell phones.  They have all sorts of different plugs and it is free to do.  I don’t understand why they don’t have that at other ballparks as it really saved my bacon here back in 2010! I like the beers of Minnesota booth, very cool to plug the local microbrews.  I also like the booths where you can get state fair foods, like foods on a stick.  That’s pretty cool.  I don’t like how high the made the wall on the main concourse in the outfield.  Its too hard to look over, though I see they have added a step there this time that wasn’t there my last visit.  Still seems strange to me.  I love the plaza area beyond the seats in right field.  A cool place to grab a beer, hang out and watch the game. Over all I have enjoyed my games at Target Field and would suggest to anyone to go check it out themselves. The fans are pretty fun to be around as well, even with me wearing opposing team (Red Sox) gear.

The game itself was pretty good.  The Sox jumped out to a 3-0 lead after 2 but gave it up in the 4th when the Twins scored 4, including a 2 runner by Valencia. The Twins added another run in the 5th.  In the 7th inning, as I was enjoying my Surly IPA (that can only be found on tap at Target Field), walking down the 3rd baseline, Cody Ross jacks a 2 runner to knot the score at 5 all. That’s where it sat until the 9th inning when, with Matt Capps on the mound, the hero of the night, Cody Ross, once again goes yard.  This time he put the Sox ahead for good as Boston went on to win 6-5.  What a great finish to the game.  Always a lot of fun seeing your team win on the road.

Wish I could have stayed for a little longer, but as soon as it was over, I was out the door and on to the train for my ride back to my car.  To say I had a long drive ahead of me was, well, being nice.  I was about to drive 667+ miles overnight. I was gonna drive from Minneapolis to Westland, MI to a friends house, where I would stay Tuesday night and go to the Tigers vs Mariners game with her and her family that night.  My drive would take me through a part of Minnesota, all of Wisconsin, some of Illinois, Indiana and dang near all of Michigan.  I knew I was gonna need to summons all I had to make this drive… plus rely on some Coke & 5 hour energy shots from Costco!

Visitor 3, Home 2

Here is a link to my pictures from Target Field.

 

Team123456789RHE
Red Sox (5-10)1200002016122
Twins (5-12)000410000580
W: bard (1-2) L: Capps (0-1) S: Aceves (3)

Boxscore

My Day Off Between Milwaukee & Minneapolis…

The sign says it all...

I call it a “Day Off” but in reality, it was a busy day! I just didn’t see any baseball games, live, today. I was, however, up and out the door long before it became daylight so I could go drop Chuck off with Bob so they could go to Detroit. How did that all come about? Oh, yeah, let me give you some back story. When this trip was originally planned, today, April 22nd, was to be the day that Chuck would fly from Milwaukee to Phoenix for a game at Chase Field. A few days ago he had a flight cancelled in San Diego that was to take him to Cleveland so he could do a game there in the afternoon, then go to Baltimore for the night cap. Both of which he missed. Instead of taking a zero for the day, he adjusted his schedule to put the rescheduled game in Arlington on that day. Pushed his Cleveland game to April 25th with me and the Baltimore game to the 28th. Thus, he still had to do Detroit and today was the only day he could. Because he went to a game at Chase Field on April 6th, the day before the ‘Official’ streak started, he was able to retro his schedule to make that his 1st game, thus not having to fly out there today and being able to make it to Detroit. However, while planning this it appeared that I was going to have to drive him from Milwaukee to Detroit (373 miles, about 6.5 hours not including the hour time change) to have to drive back to Minneapolis (690 miles, about 12 hours driving) so I can make it to the Twins game on the 23rd. Then right after the game I would have to drive back to Detroit to hang out with friends and go to the Tigers vs Mariners game there on the 24th. INSANE! But then I got lucky! When Bob DeVries said he would be able to drive Chuck to the game in Detroit, unless I just wanted to do it, I jumped all over that! What that did create though was a situation where I had to get up freakin early to be able to drop the package off with Bob.

After the exchange was made, I was going to meet a friend for breakfast in Woodstock, IL. Since I wasn’t meeting her until 8:30am, this left me with plenty of time to do just nothing. I wondered around the oasis for a bit looking at things, talked to my wife on the phone when she called since she was still up at home, tried to get my gps working again so I wouldn’t have to use my phone until I could get to a Costco and just basically relaxed before making the drive to Woodstock.

The restaurant my friend chose to meet for breakfast was called “Angelo’s”. I had never heard of it, obviously, so I just set the gps on my phone and away I went. When I got to Woodstock, it was a cool little town with

As seen in the movie "Groundhog Day".

a town square in the middle. Looked neat. I was pretty early, so I walked around a bit looking at things. If it weren’t so chilly this morning I would have liked to walk around a bit more. I eventually went inside, got a table and a cup of coffee. As I sat there looking around, I noticed several pictures on the walls of Bill Murray in the movie “Groundhog Day”. Several of them were even signed by him. That’s cool. Eventually my friend showed up. Was good to see her as it’s been 4 years, almost to the day, since I had last seen her. As we sat there talking she asked me if I recognized where we were? I told her that I don’t believe we have ever been here before, so “No?” She then pointed to the pictures on the wall and told me that this was the restaurant from the movie “Groundhog Day”. Oh, how freakin cool… and that explains the pictures. As she went on to explain more about the town, it hit me. The big gazebo in the town square was where they had the festival at ‘Gobler’s Knob’. Very cool. I love seeing stuff like this from movies I reallylike and she knew this, hence why she chose Angelo’s for breakfast.

After breakfast and about another hour of just catching up on everything, it was time for me to go. Before I did though, we took a few minutes to walk through the town square where my friend pointed out some historical things to me that were cool. Wish I could have stayed longer, but it was time to hit the road for my 370 mile drive to Minneapolis. Not that I had a game to rush off to, but I was hoping to get to town, have some dinner and relax for a while before my long ass drive after the game tomorrow night. After showing her a copy of the book I co-wrote, I said “Later” to my friend, set the gps and I was off.

The drive to Minneapolis wasn’t a bad one at all honestly.  A lot of what I drive, I have driven several times before, but I did get to see some new things and a few places that I can’t really remember being, but man it felt like I had been there before.  As I was driving a long I saw a sign that said “Big Foot Cemetery” and I had to circle back to get a picture of it for my brother, and his son, who are Big Foot enthusiasts.  When I pulled over and started to circle back I got this big feeling of deja vu coming over me.  It was kinda crazy really.  I truly felt that I had been there before yet thinking back to all of my trips back to the part of the country, I can not figure out a time I would have been in this part of Illinois.  Either way, I got the picture I wanted and hit the road.  Just a couple miles ahead, if that, was the Wisconsin state line.  The rest of the drive was pretty routine.  As I always do when I am through here, I make a stop at the Black River Falls oasis to fill up, use the restroom and to see the big mouse and orange moose.  I saw them on my first trip through here back in 2001 as I was driving home from Chicago after 9/11 and I have stopped every trip through since.

In Minneapolis. A Very cool place!

As I got closer to Minneapolis it was time to decide where I wanted to have dinner.  Did I want to go somewhere that I have been before and I knew would be great, or try something new?  That is, of course, the age old debate.  If I try something new and it sucks, what a waste. Yet if its good, OMG!  Well, I opted to go to a place I loved the last time I was through, Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge. I had seen the place on “Diners, Drive In’s & Dives” originally. I am a big fan/believer of shows like DDD or “Man vs Food”.  Whenever I know I am going to be on the road, I like to check out and see if either of these places have been there and where they went.  Over the last several years I have gone to way too many to count.  I have yet to get one where I wonder why they went there.  Most are really good, but some, like Psycho Suzi’s is just plain awesome!

When I made my choice, I launched my Yelp app on my iPhone, got the address and set my gps.  As I pulled up to the place though, there was a big sign that read “CLOSED!”  I was shocked!  I couldn’t believe it!  I did another search to see if maybe I had done something wrong.  I know the place looked like the place I was 2 years ago, so how could it be closed for business.  That made no sense to me.  What I found in my search is that they moved!  It was now located a couple blocks up the road and when I got there the parking lot was packed!  I honestly expected nothing less.

As I walked in, I quickly realized why they moved… this place was HUGE!  There is a full on restaurant up stairs, but the main action is down stairs in the bar, so that’s where I headed.  As I grabbed me a seat at the counter and ordered up what would be the 1st of many beers, I started looking around.  This place was so much bigger than the last place.  There was more seating in that bar area alone than there was in the entire other place.  This place also had seating outside overlooking the waters of the Mississippi River.  On a hot, sunny summer afternoon/evening, I bet that is awesome seating. However, for April 22nd, inside at the bar is just fine with me.

What I learned when I was at Psycho Suzi’s 2 years ago is that they have incredibly awesome hot wings.  Crazy enough, I prefer wings that are swimming in a great wing sauce, but these come out DRY!  However, they come with an amazing tequila hot wing sauce to dip them in.  They are crazy good!  I also remembered that on DDD they talked about how good their pizza was and I was seeing them go out to table after table after table thinking maybe I should have got one instead of the wings.

As I sat there enjoying my wings, and a few more beers (Bell’s “2-Hearted Ale”), I started talking with a few locals.  Before I knew it I was talking to this couple that worked at a tattoo parlor in town about tattoos and how I am too big of a wuss to get one.  One of them explained to me that if I have ever been scratched by a cat, that would hurt far more than getting a tattoo would.  I dunno if it was that logic or the many 2-Hearted Ales I had already had, but I started thinking about getting one.  I pulled up the Boston “B” on my phone and asked how much she would charge me to do it.  SHe told me she would give me a deal if I could come in the next day.  Still not so sure about this and knowing that in the past my wife has always said she wanted to be there to see me getting one if I ever did, I texted her about it and she replied with: “DO IT!”  Iw as actually kinda surprised at her reaction.  Thought for sure she would say “No, since I’m not there.” We talked a bit longer about tattoos, had a few more beers, did a few shots and then it was time for me to go check into my hotel and get some sleep for tomorrow.  Before I left though I ordered me a small pizza to take with me and holy cow, it was awesome!

Today was a day about feeling like I had done something before, between the diner from Groundhog Day, to the Big Foot Cemetery and then my hotel.  I certainly don’t recall it by name, but when I pulled in, I knew I had been here before or at least I felt like I had. Things looked really familiar to me.  I dunno, maybe I had been here before, then again, who really knows.  Right now all I cared about was getting checked in and getting some sleep.  I had a long, long… FREAKIN’ looooong day ahead of me tomorrow!

Milwaukee – Miller Park – Ballpark # 4

Ken @ Miller Park

I was on and off the phone with Chuck on the drive up to Milwaukee.  Just making sure all things were going smoothly and more importantly to find out if their drive was going as easily as mine?  It was unreal, really.   I had got out of Wrigley, hit White Castle and was still going to make it to Miller Park over an hour before the game was scheduled to start.  That’s just crazy!  Worst yet, I had got nothing to tailgate with since I was under the belief that we would be pressed for time.  As it turns out, I got there a while before the rest of them.  This gave me time to get a parking spot, put my leg brace on and then once I knew where they were, start my walk over to their car amid the sea of Brewers fans yelling at me for having my Cubs jersey on still.  You know, it was the usual, “They aren’t playing today” and “You’re not in Chicago.”  or my favorite, “You do realize this isn’t Wrigley Field, right?”   Sorry Brewers fans, but that is a mistake that NOBODY will ever make!

When I got to Bob’s car, I noticed that he came prepared.  You can tell he has done this a time or 30.  He had the ice chest out and the beer was flowing.  Very cool.  Summer Shandy by Lieinenkugel, a great choice. Had a great time standing there, drinking a few cold ones with good friends, watching the goings on of others as they tailgated.  Eventually it was time for us to head in for the game and as we started our walk in my phone starts blowing up!  Between the texts and calls I found out that at Safeco Field, just 36 minutes from my house, Phil Humber of the Chicago White Sox, had just thrown a perfect game!  I couldn’t believe it.  In my back yard.  At *MY* home park.  A perfecto!  I got pissed thinking I could have just missed that.  People were texting me asking if I was there? Evidently they had completely forgot that I was doing this trip. The more texts I got, the madder I got until I realized 1 thing.  The Mariner’s were playing the White Sox, ain’t no way I would have been there! LOL. However, I did know at least 5 people that were.  Very cool for them.  I have still not seen a No-No or Perfecto.  But as I told one of them who was there, as he was rubbing it in that he saw something so “rare”, “I’ve seen a 4 HR game and the ONLY time in MLB history that 2 teammates have gone back-to-back with HR’s TWICE in 1 inning.”  It don’t get more rare than that. Though, I gotta admit, the ironic thing is that the game i am talking about was also vs the White Sox.  However, it was on the South Side of Chicago and I was there after attending the Noon game at Miller Park.

After a quick stop for pictures by the “Miller Park” sign, we went in amid people still giving us (Bob also had his Cubs jersey on) a bad time for wearing our Cubs jerseys.  It wasn’t as bad as earlier though and it eventually died down to nothing (until after the game).  Bob had got us Club Level seats, which were great.  Even better is that the 4 of us guys, Chuck being the smallest, were able to sit side by side in our seats.  That was awesome.  Our seats were basically just past 1st base and we had a great view of the park.  I have never sat on this side at Miller Park, so I was excited to get to see the park from a different angle.  Today was my 5th game at Miller Park.  That seems weird to me because I know of nobody that says, “Hey, let’s go to Milwaukee!”  To have actually been in Milwaukee that many times to be able to have now seen 5 games, that just blows my mind!

This was a strange trip to Miller Park for me.  Not only did I have a better seat than I have ever had there, but since I was still full from the White Castle I got on the way up, I didn’t have a single brat! How is that

The view from our Club Level seats.

possible?  I actually really enjoy Miller Park, each and every game I have been to there has been fun.  The people, in general (unless you are wearing Cubs gear evidently, lol) are great.  One trip through, back in 2006, I was asked by the people I parked next to if I wanted to join them as they tailgated. That was cool, just to be able to experience it since it is illegal to do out here in Seattle.  I’ve been to Miller Park 3 times by myself, the only other time I was here with someone was back in 2002 when my buddy Bob Mason joined me on a trip. Today, like 4 of the 5 times I have been here, the roof was closed.  That was a bummer.  The only time i have been here when it has been open was in 2002 with Bob Mason.  Much like other ballparks with a retractable roof, this one has a completely different when it’s open vs when it’s closed.  This roof opens different than the rest.  While most have a rolling roof system that covers the field like a cap, this one kinda fans open from the middle.  It’s pretty cool actually.  As of today, the only retractable roof park I have been in without the roof open is Rogers Centre aka Skydome in Toronto.  Would love to see that one open when I go up there to be able to see the view of the CN Tower you can get from the 3rd base side.

Today’s game was a good one.  Exciting, 13 runs scored, with the Brewers winning 9-4.  Got to see 4 home runs. The Rockies hit 2: 1 by Tulo, 1 by Helton and the Brewers hit 2: 1 by Braun and 1 by Gonzalez.  Gonzalez had a great game, going 3-4 with 4 rbi’s and a run scored.  Not too shabby! Besides the seats we had (section 318, row 6) what I will take away the most from my time at Miller Park this trip through is that when you are on a Guinness World Record breaking run, sometimes you get tired.  Guinness only says that you gave to be at the game, it doesn’t say that you have to enjoy it, or even watch it or for that matter even, be awake for it.  Thus, I cracked up when I looked over and there was Chuck full on sound asleep! Even the greatest of all ballpark chasers gets tired from time to time. 🙂

After the game Chuck and I made our way to our hotel, with the usual stop at Wendy’s for some chili first.  While our hotel wasn’t the greatest, it didn’t really matter because we wouldn’t be there long at all.  We got checked in and to our room just after 11pm and I had to have Chuck to the Lake Forrest oasis by 4:30am to meet up with Bob.  That didn’t leave much time for things like sleep, but I did the best I could. I drifted off to sleep with a sense of accomplishment. Not only have I seen 4 games in 4 different parks in 3 days, I just completed my first doubleheader of the trip…

Visitors 2, Home 2

Here is a link to my pictures from Miller Park.


Team123456789RHE
Rockies (7-7)000100201460
Brewers (7-8)00002160X990
W: Veras (2-0) L: Rogers (0-1)

Boxscore

Chicago – Wrigley Field – Ballpark #3

As the fireworks disappeared from our rear view mirrors and we were on our way to Chicago, via St. Louis, Chuck started noticing that the truck wasn’t handling good.  A look at the gauges showed us that there was a tire that was more than a little low.  A not so quick stop for air, plus some gas and a couple 5 hour energy’s for Chuck and we were back on the road and running smoothly.  The drive was long and not that easy at all.  I really feel that people have no idea how hard a trip like this is to do until you have done it.  It’s not just all fun & games and I was getting my first taste of this night # 2.  I can drive forever, I can drive until I run outta gas without any issues.  In the last 3 summers I have made runs to the Bay Area, either Oakland or San Francisco for games, which is about a 12 hour drive from where I live, without blinking an eye.  However, when you are going on fumes after flying 1/2 way across the country, being up all day and then knowing you have a long drive ahead of you, it just makes you that much more tired.  There were a few highlights on the drive though.  Be that seeing the Arch in St. Louis all lit up, or when Chuck started to realize that even while driving a Dodge Ram truck, we were burning through gas in a hurry, so we pulled into a station to fill up and I noticed a knob on the dash that indicated that were were in full on 4-wheel drive and once it sunk into Chuck he yells out, “Holy Fuck, EH!?”  I honestly thought I was going to piss my pants laughing at that!  Little did we know that #HFE would go on to become a big part of our time on the road.

Our parking spot at Wrigley Field

Our parking spot at Wrigley Field

After putting the truck into 2-wheel drive we noticed a big difference in gas mileage, thankfully.  The rest of the trip, up until the crack of dawn, was filled with short stops at either rest areas, gas stations or even one time we stopped at a 7-11 for a quick cat nap.  It’s funny how a 15-20 minute nap can really refresh you to go another hour or so, if not longer.  This is what we did right up until the sun finally came up and it hit us, to quote the movie “Rookie Of The Year”, “WE’RE GOING TO THE CUBS GAME!”

Just outside of Chicago we started running over the game plan again.  Chuck would drop me off at O’Hare, I would take a couple of our bags with me, the smaller ones (easier to carry) and I would catch the shuttle out to get our new car from Advantage.  He would go return the truck, load up the rest of our stuff on the shuttle there, then meet me back where he dropped me off for the shuttle at O’Hare.  I would then pick him up, load up the car and make our way towards Wrigley Field.  The plan was executed to near perfection.  The only glitch, a minor one at that, was that the shuttle I needed didn’t pick up where I was and I had to go chasing after it while, but I did eventually catch up to it a few blocks away.  I bet I was a sight to see, running up the block in my crocks, red Oklahoma jacket on, wearing shorts, with a duffle bag strapped over my shoulder, briefcase in one hand and a laptop case in the other.  Honestly, who cares?!  I mean, I had to catch that shuttle so I could get the car and meet Chuck.  Nothing was going to stop me!

The drive from O’Hare to Wrigley was pretty uneventful, which is always nice.  The closer we would get to the North Side, the more our juices started flowing.  Once we could see the lights at Wrigley, forget about it, we were full blown going crazy!  Parking around Wrigley, well, sucks.  You either pay an arm and a leg, or you pay 2 arms and a leg.  Your choice.  We chose to go with the later, that put us in a lot that guaranteed us an easy out and that we wouldn’t be blocked in.  It was $5 more than the normal spots, so we jumped on it.  We were attempting the 1st doubleheader of my trip today (Wrigley/Miller), an important one for Doug that he needed to nail and to be able to get out of our parking spot easily would be well worth the extra $5 in the end run.  As it was our parking spot was super close to Wrigley Field.  Closer than I have ever parked before.  Was kinda cool.

Murphy's Bleachers

Murphy's Bleachers across from Wrigley Field

There is something special about going to a game at Wrigley Field, sitting in the bleachers with the rest of  the “Bleacher Bums” and just enjoying the game.  Win or Lose, it’s awesome.  Today, however, would be more special as we were meeting up with Wrigley Field Ballpark Expert Bob DeVries and his friend Dan.  The plan was to meet before the game at Murphy’s Bleachers, just across Sheffield Avenue from the entrance to the bleachers at Wrigley. After we parked our car, we made our walk up Addison, turned on Sheffield and headed straight to Murphy’s.  The scene outside of Wrigley is a crazy one that close to game time.  People buying souvenirs, people trying to buy or sell tickets to the game and just general merriment.  Always fun walking through that.  However, our mission was to get to Murphy’s and partake of a few cold ones.  Once we got there it was, of course, packed!  That didn’t stop us and once we finally made our way through the thick crowd and got inside we found Bob and Dan awaiting.

Murphy’s Bleachers is a great place for a pregame beer or 4.  The history alone of this place is so cool.  All the Cubs memorabilia they have inside is just awesome. As we stood there talking with Bob & Dan, Chuck was sharing road stories and we discussed our exit plan for after the game, it hit me: I WAS GOING TO A GAME AT WRIGLEY FIELD!  I was so excited.  I took everything in that I could.   While people watching I noticed this guy walking around wearing a Twins jacket that kinda looked familiar.  A few minutes after I spotted him, he walks up to the bar right next to me.  Since I was going to be in Minneapolis the next two days and was curious if he had any suggestions for things to  do or an off beat place to eat, I asked him “Are you from Minneapolis?”  He replied with, “No, but when your brother is the teams manager, you kinda gotta be a fan.” AH HA!  That’s why he looked familiar, he looks a lot like his brother, Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire.  We talked for a few minutes, that was kinda cool.  Good guy.

After what was probably too many beers (is that possible?) at 11:30am (on a Saturday, and I’m on vacation!) we headed over to the ballpark.  We grabbed what was the last row of seats in the lower section of the bleachers, right against the back railing (which is nice because we were able to lean up against it during the game).  The main problem with these seats is that we were right by the section where you walk down, so the wind would blow right up that concourse and straight on to us!  It got kinda chilly in a hurry.  It’s freakin’ Chicago in April, what did you expect?!?

Bob, Chuck & Ken

I have said for years, since my first game at Wrigley, that there is something magical about being there.  I have gone to as many games as I possibly could at Wrigley.  Heck, even my wife has joined me for a couple games.  I am often asked which ballpark I like the best: Wrigley or Fenway.  I do so love my Red Sox, but nothing beats an afternoon at Wrigley Field, in the bleachers, with your friends.  Today, that is exactly what I was going to do.

The game was a good one, exciting to start off as the Reds got a run in the 1st, but the Cubs tied it up in the bottom half.  In the 2nd inning the Cubs scored 4 runs on 5 hits, including a 2B by Barney and a 3B by Castro!  HR’s are nice and all, but watching someone leg out a 3B is awesome!  The Cubs added another run in the 7th as well to win 6-1.

The majority of the afternoon was spent just talking with Chuck, Bob & Dan.  I can’t really even remember who it was that did the 7th Inning Stretch that day, how sad is that?  A big reason for that though is that a couple innings prior to this a group of guys started chanting for one of them to put a Cubs helmet on. Oh, but this wasn’t just any Cubs helmet, it was one of those souvenir helmets that people can get now filled with nachos.  Someone had ate maybe 1/2 of them and dared this guy to put it on his head.  What we found out is that he said he would for $200, so people started collecting $ to get this done.  It became a really big thing out in the bleachers with people chanting “Na-cho Hat! Na-cho Hat! Na-cho Hat!”  The best part is when the finally collected the money, just over $260 actually, it looked like he wasn’t going to do it after all, and this gal in front of us yelled, “Do it nacho bitch”! Finally, after the stretch, he donned the hat.  I gotta say, I was hoping to see nacho cheese running down his face, with the occasional falling jalepeno… but nothing!  While people were going nuts over it, I was kinda disappointed really.

Before I knew it, it was time to get ready to go.  We started our walk towards the gate and as we got up the women in front of us freaked out!  Funny thing is that when you have big guys like us blocking the wind all game for you, when we leave, it hits you!  So funny to hear them screaming how cold it was, yeah, no kidding, huh!?  Wanna feel my ass?  It’s a frozen rock! For some reason, even though Doug was riding with Bob and Dan, I went ahead and left a little early to get to my car and be ready to go by the final out.  I did, however, take my time as I walked through Wrigleyville.  I took it all in, stopped for a few pictures.  Just enjoyed it while I could before getting to the car.   The $ Chuck spent on that parking spot was well worth it as I was able to pull right out onto Addision and I was almost to the freeway before I realized it.   Funny thing is that any time I am in that area after a Cubs game, my car always makes a stop at White Castle as it is only a couple more blocks to the Kennedy Expressway from there.

With my bag of sliders, I hit I-94 and was off to Milwaukee.  Chuck was safely in the car with Bob and Dan and on his way to Milwaukee as well…

Visitors 2, Home 1

Here is a link to my pictures from Wrigley Field.

Team123456789RHE
Reds (6-9)100000000162
Cubs (4-11)14000010X6142
W: Maholm (1-2) L: Leake (0-2)

Boxscore

Kansas City – Kauffman Stadium – Ballpark # 2

Our Red Ram

"We're Gonna Beat The Tar Outta This Car"

Ok, let me preface this by saying that I was VERY excited to get to go to a game in Kansas City.  A couple years ago Chuck and I planned a trip that just didn’t work out and the thing that bummed me out the most was that I wasn’t able to get to a game in Kansas City.  What’s so special about Kansas City you ask?  Well, I used to live in NE Oklahoma, about 3 hours from Kansas City.  In 1987 I was able to attend my first MLB game outside of Seattle and I did so in Kansas City. The following is from my “About Me” page here on SeeAll30.com: “In 1987 as we were visiting family in Northeast Oklahoma a group of us decided to go to Kansas City to catch a Royals game. It’s a 3+ hour drive from Picher, OK to Royal Stadium and I couldn’t hide my excitement. Until that day I had never thought I’d get to see a game anywhere else besides the Kingdome. The experience was incredible! It was hotter than blue blazes, but we had a great time. We sat in the front row, down the 3rd baseline directly by the foul pole. Bo Jackson was playing left for the Royals then and I got a great picture of him waving in our direction. All I recall of the game is that the Royals beat the Twins and Dan Gladden hit a HR for Minnesota, but I can remember the beauty of the ballpark vividly.” It’s been 25 years since I last saw a game in Kansas City, but that changes today…

We got to the airport in Seattle a couple hours before our flight.  The only ‘glitch’ we had with security is that they wanted to open my carry on bag to see what the ‘mass’ was at the bottom.  What they found was a gallon sized zip lock bag filled with mainly quarters, but also dimes and nickels.  I was asked what it was for and I replied with 1 simple word: “Tolls”. That was good enough and we headed towards our gate to await our flight.  Our first flight was to Minneapolis, about 3.5 hours and thanks to a couple pills my wife gave me, I was barely awake when we took off and slept just over the first 2 hours of the flight.  That is so unlike me, but I loved it!  After a quick stop in MPLS, we were on to Kansas City.  The airport in KC is one of, if not the smallest (major) airport I have ever flown in/out of.  This is not a problem though as you can get in/out in a hurry.  The game plan here was simple, I will wait for my luggage, Chuck will go get the truck.  This plan was executed to perfection!

Oklahoma Joes BBQ

My lunch at Oklahoma Joe's

After picking me up in a bright red Dodger Ram pickup, we hit the road headed to get some lunch at “Oklahoma Joe’s“.  It’s a BBQ place that my buddy Doug Miller had suggested I try. It is actually in Kansas, not Missouri (or Oklahoma lol).  I am by no means a BBQ fan, but my theory is “When on the road, you eat the best of the local area”.  I gotta say that Doug nailed this one!  Holy cow it was awesome! Oklahoma Joes is in a gas station.  Yes, you read that right.  It’s a BBQ place that is INSIDE of a gas station.  It also has several aisles of different BBQ sauces. I had no idea there were that many different kinds, to be honest.  Once we got there we had to get in line.  I wasn’t sure if we would have enough time to be able to wait, but Chuck was trying to get a hold of the “Air Miles” people, so that bought us some time being able to do both things at once.  The big line we were in moved a long pretty quickly.  We only waited about 20 minutes and the payoff was well worth it.  I opted for the “Z-Man” sandwich which is Brisket, smoked provolone topped w/ two onion rings on a kaiser bun.  The sandwich by itself was awesome, but when you add to it the great Oklahoma Joe’s spicy BBQ sauce… HOLY COW!  The homemade potato salad that I also tried with it was pretty good, not as good at my wife’s, but it was quite tasty and went well with the Z-Man.  Thanks again for the suggestion Doug!

Something I noticed just before we got to Oklahoma Joe’s was that my GPS wasn’t working.  I wasn’t sure what the issue was, but had to use the GPS on my iPhone to get us there.  I was able to get it working to get us to Kauffman Stadium, but was able to determine that the charging unit wasn’t working and I NEEDED A NEW GPS!  There was no way that I would be able to do this entire trip without a working GPS.  I know several of the parks really well, but not with everything else I would be doing.  Luckily from KC-Chicago was easy, so would be Chicago-Milwaukee, so we were set for a couple days.  I learned a very valuable lesson from Chuck at that moment: “When you are on the road.  Get mad, then get over it and move on!”  I was pissed that my GPS had died. But I realized that I can get me a new one from Costco, then just take it back when I got home if needed.  I got mad, I figured out a way to fix it, got over it and moved on!

My 1st Game in KC after 25 years!

It had been 25 years between games in KC for me!

Once we hit I-70 I knew where we were.  I had been to KC back in 2003 with my nephew, but we were unable to catch a game.  Unlike today, we had time to visit the Negro Leagues Museum though.  As you travel I-70  East bound the ballpark just jumps up on you and BAM!  There it is.  Sitting with it’s sister, Arrowhead Stadium, in the Harry S. Truman Sports Complex.

Even though it’s been almost 25 years to the day since I last went to a game there, somethings never change.  I can still picture us back then as we pulled in to park.  We were in my cousin Bub’s Mustang, I was crammed in the back seat, and we had the brand new Bon Jovi cassette, “Slippery When Wet”, blasting. Ironically, just after Chuck & I got parked, the next song being blasted from the PA system in the park during BP was “Living On A Prayer” by Bon Jovi, from Slippery When Wet.  It’s little things like that that I notice that crack me up.

Once the gates opened up and we were able to go in, Chuck’s first stop was at the nearest hot dog stand as it was $1 hot dog/sm pop/popcorn/peanut night.  There was a limit of 5 items per transaction, so he got 4 dogs and a Pepsi before we headed to the bowl area to watch some BP and take our pictures.  As you can well imagine, I was smiling like a school girl with her first crush!  I couldn’t believe that after 25 years, I was finally back in Kansas City for a game.  What seems so trivial to some people, was a big deal to me.  As I sat there looking around I noticed all the changes from the last time I was there.  Be that the upgraded seats, the better jumbotron, or a number of different things.  With teams getting new parks all over the country, Kansas City (a very small market team) couldn’t afford that, so they did a bunch of upgrades and you can really tell.  As I looked around I thought that this jewel will really be on display for this years All-Star game in July and I cant wait to watch it.

The George Brett Statue @ Kauffman Stadium

The George Brett Statue @ Kauffman Stadium

The coolest part of getting to the park early, though my wife would disagree, is that you get to take time to walk around and see the park from all over.  I love doing this, even if I have been to that park several times.  It seems you will always catch something new that you have never seen, plus it is fun to just simply “People Watch”. While walking around Kauffman Stadium I was able to pay $10.50 for a nasty micro brew (a warm pale ale that was just terrible), meet the Royals Mascot “Sluggerrr” (he gave me crap about my M’s hat til I told him that’s where I live), see the field from all sorts of different angles, view the water fountains up close, enjoy a couple $1 hot dogs and see the statues on the outfield walkway up close.  The statues are for George Brett, Frank White, Dick Howser & the Kauffmans.  They were pretty cool to see and again, most certainly new since I was last at a game in KC.

Our seats were upper deck seats, but I had a feeling that since we were in KC, we should have no problem getting a lower seat if we just took some time to make it happen.  As luck would have it, on our walk around, just before the game started, we spotted seats in the “Miller Light Fountain Bar” in LF/CF.  We grabbed a couple of those at the counter top that wraps around it and watched most of the game from there.  The game itself, well, since it was Kansas City vs Toronto, it was as expected for the most part… a snoozer.  It was so much a snooze fest that I don’t believe many fans there tonight actually saw something really cool when it happened.  Let me set it up: bottom of the 3rd, score tied 0-0, the Royals Alex Gordon leads off with a 2B to right.  That was followed by a Yuniesky Betancourt walk on 4 straight pitches.  This brought up Eric Hosmer who lined a 2-2 pitch to Blue Jays 1st baseman Adam Lind.  Lind catches it, tosses it to Jays 2nd baseman Yunel Escobar to double off Gordon. Escobar then tosses the ball back to Lind who tags first for the out on Betancourt. End of the inning.  I saw it myself.  I watched it with my own eyes, but wasn’t really sure of what just happened.  I looked to Chuck, he looked at me, both of us smiling and saying, “Was that a triple play?” Not a soul in the Miller Light Fountain Bar, except for us, was even paying attention to the game.  Not a one of them made any comment on what just happened.  It’s not like you see a triple play every day either.  We looked over my score book: Double, Walk, end of inning.  It HAD to be a triple play.  Still not a single mention of it from anyone or over the PA system.  Finally Chuck tells me to “Take it to Twitter”, so I post the question about it there and within a couple short minutes we have confirmation back that indeed I had just seen my first live triple play!!  I can mark that one off my “Baseball Bucket List” now.  I was so freakin’ excited and it happened in KC, where the special night just got even more so for me!

Meeting Sluggerrr in Kansas City.

Meeting Sluggerrr @ Kauffman Stadium

The rest of the game was pretty blah, as baseball games go.  By the top of the 7th we got up from our seats and started walking back towards the gate where we came in.  This would make for a much quicker getaway.  Tonight happened to be “Fireworks Friday” so we knew we should be able to get out and on the road pretty fast for our drive to Chicago via St. Louis, but why risk it.  On our walk back around this allowed us time to see the park lit up at night from different vantage points as well as take in the glory of the statues as they were all lit up.  We eventually found ourselves over by the gate as the top of the 8th was starting, Royals leading 2-1.  The Blue Jays proceeded to tie it up, 2-2, making us sweat thinking that this game might run long.  Knowing that we had a 540 mile drive to do over night to get to Chicago (both of us having been awake since 2am minus a couple hour nap on the plane), so we can get to O’Hare to drop this truck off and pick up another car (that I would have for the next 28 days) and get to Wrigley Field, hopefully in time for some pregame beers at Murphy’s Bleachers with my brother from another mother Bob De Vries so we couldn’t have an extra innings game tonight!  It wasn’t long before all of our worries were put to rest and the Jays plated 2 more runs to take a 4-2 lead. I waited with Chuck til the middle of the 9th, then I headed out to the truck (I left a bit early because I am slow).  This allowed me time to hit the head once more, change into my crocks outta my shoes and leg brace and get ready for him to come running.  Come running he did.  As soon as the game was over, he came sprinting out, jumped in the truck, reminded me that he has full coverage on the truck, and started going!  I think he even went over a curb or two on the way out of the parking lot lol.  Even though the truck was handling weird, and taking not even sharp corners it sounded like it was gonna fall apart, we got outta the lot and on to I-70 just as the fireworks were starting.  A well executed plan it was and as we were East Bound and Down, we watched the fireworks in the rear view mirrors.  So long Kansas City, it was fun… I hope it’s not another 25 years before I get to come back again!

Visitors 2, Home 0

Here is a link to my pictures from Kauffman Stadium.

 

Team123456789RHE
Blue Jays (7-6)000010030470
Royals (3-10)010100001370
W: Perez (2-0) L: Holland (0-2) S: Santos (2)

Boxscore

Seattle – Safeco Field – Ballpark # 1

Ken, Chuck & Doug

Ken, Chuck & Doug

 

The day had finally come. Tax Season was over, all my employee evals were done, it was time to pick Chuck up at Sea-Tac airport and start enjoying some baseball!  Last night after finishing up my last eval meeting, I met a friend for a couple beers, then packed up everything and headed back to Marysville to spend an extra night with my pup pups and wife before hitting the road.  I am really glad I got to do this, but what really sucked is that it meant I had to be up and on the road by 8:30am to drive to the airport to get Chuck and back to the house to rest a bit before heading to the game.  This is exactly what we did.  Once I pick up the Eagle, er um, the “Maple Leaf” at the airport, we made our way back to Marysville, made our first stop at Wendy’s for some chili, then headed to the house.

As we sat there enjoying our lunch, Chuck was sharing some road stories with my wife, then as he made his way to go get a little rest, the skies opened up and it didnt start raining, it began to POUR!  Rain like I hadn’t seen in a long time.  The only saving grace was knowing that Safeco Field has a roof and no matter how hard it rained, we’d be seeing a game tonight.  When it came time to leave the house headed back down to Seattle for the game, it was still pouring rain. It was crazy!  But this didnt detour us at all.

Kings Court

There we are above the King's Court sign

 

As we left the house I sent out a tweet saying “@ChuckBooth3024’s Guinness record breaking attempt takes us to Safeco to see the #Mariners vs #Indians. Felix is on the hill. @Mariners” in an attempt to see if the Mariners, who follow me on Twitter (@SeeAll30), would pick up on it.  Sure enough they did and sent me a direct message asking me about his trip, where we were sitting and several other questions.  It wasn’t until after we met up with my friend and fellow ballpark chaser, Doug Miller, at Safeco and were inside that the Mariners finally told me they were going to send him out a swag bag and welcome him to Safeco Field on the big screen.  I gotta say, that’s pretty cool.

Since we got there during BP we had plenty of time to take pictures (though they never turn out all that good when the roof is closed) and walk around checking things out before taking our seats.  What was cool about our seats, in the left field bleachers, is that they were directly above the King Court.  We had 1st row seats in our section, so that put the Kings Court sign right in front of us.  We would be easy to spot that night and sure enough, before the game even got started, my wife sent me a picture message where you could see us.  She had spotted us while watching the pregame, so she paused the dvr and snapped the picture.  To me the best part oft his picture is that they didn’t catch me eating something.  Nope, instead, they caught Doug! lol Doug was eating, Chuck was sharing stories from the road and I was tweeting.  Very cool, thanks again Dear!

I have been to Safeco Field countless times since it opened in 1999.  Each game, to me, is special.  I love being at the ballpark.  This time, well, it was extra special for me.  Not only was I there with a couple good friends, Chuck & Doug, but this was game # 18 for Chuck on his Guinness World Record breaking attempt and it was game # 1, Numero Uno, for me and my “SeeAll30 Summer”.  If you can’t finish at home, might as well start there, huh?

Chuck on the Big Screen

Chuck on the Big Screen

 

It was in the 5th inning when a couple gals dressed in all M’s gear came out and asked “Is there a Chuck Booth here?”  They were welcoming him to Safeco Field with a bag of Mariner’s swag that included a “My Oh My” sign, a Mariners Hat, Felix Hernandez bobblehead, t-shirt, Viva Las Vargas Sunglasses, trading cards, Safeco Field magnet, Franklin Gutierrez fly swatter (this thing was wicked funny!) and more all contained in a really cool vinyl Mariners bag.  It was so very cool of them to do that. But it didn’t end there. The next inning a camera crew showed up and in between innings as the camera focused on Chuck, you could hear the PA announcer (Tom Hutler?) start talking about Chuck.  He basically went through everything I had told the @Mariners in our direct messages about his previous trip/record and how things were going on his current streak.  Then you hear him say, to welcome Chuck to Safeco Field and there he was… up on the big screen waving at everyone!  As Chuck would say in his review from today, “At the end of the 5th inning, a group of young women came up to our section and presented me with a SWAG BAG of goodies. The next thing I knew, I was on Camera as the PA announcer was announcing my baseball journey.  The classy Seattle fans gave me a great round of applause as I stood there waving like I was a presidential election candidate.  It was a really surreal moment.”  Talk about wicked cool!  The power of Social Media at its best right there folks.  I sent out that tweet hoping they might pick up on it and do something cool for him and boy did they ever.  Gotta love my home town Mariners!  Way to be awesome!

The game itself, well, Felix had 12 K’s (was perfect through 4) and left in the 9th with a 1-0 lead.  However, thanks to League, that didn’t last long as in his 2/3 of an inning he game up 2 hits, walked 2, had 1 K, but also gave up 2 runs and the lead before Wedge pulled him.  Luetge came in for the final out, but the damage was done and the Mariners lost 2-1 to the Cleveland Indians.

Visitors 1, Home 0

After the game we headed back to the house, in the rain, to get a couple hours of sleep, a quick shower and get ready to head to the airport in the morning…

Here is a link to my pictures from Safeco Field.

 

 

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W: Tomlin (1-1) L: League (0-1) S: Perez (4)

Boxscore

Following Chuck On His Trip…

Let me start by saying that I love my job.  I know not many people can say that, but I really do.  As General Manager for Jackson Hewitt Tax Service I work in Lacey, WA at our office there and I over see 7 other offices in Washington and 6 more in New Mexico.  Part of what makes my job so great is that I only work solid from the 1st week of December through the end of April. However, within those 5 months it’s not uncommon for me to work several 80-110 hour weeks. Needless to say, that when the tax season is winding down, I am usually ready for a break.  This year was far worse than normal! Once Chuck started to go to games on April 5th, all I could thinking about was going to baseball games!  My mind was so far removed from taxes it wasn’t even funny.

At this point I had 2 weeks until my 1st game, so I spent the next 2 weeks posting pictures and updates for Chuck on Facebook as well as assisting him adjust his schedule when needed and it was needed a few times. Be that when his flight from Houston to Dallas was delayed making him miss the Rangers game on April 8th or when his flight from San Diego to Cleveland was cancelled on April 10th or even due to a game running really long in Atlanta, he was unable to make the 2nd game of his scheduled doubleheader in St. Louis on April 18th.

Here is what is crazy.  Before Chuck started he put his “Over/Under” at 23 days.  Things were looking really crazy when he missed the Cleveland/Baltimore doubleheader on the 11th.  But again I say, you know, it’s funny how things work out. With that doubleheader miss it looked like my trip was in jeopardy, until the St. Louis miss.  That miss put Chuck right on pace to where he felt he would finish, spot on with his last attempt (if he ran it perfect) and opened the door to really help me out.  Why?  Simple.  His scheduled finishing game was on April 26th at U.S. Cellular Field on the South Side of Chicago.  Now, just the day before I am to meet him in Seattle, he misses out on the 2nd game of his scheduled doubleheader (St. Louis), thus that game becomes a make up game for him and it allows me to be able to get to St. Louis early and not have to do the Dallas-St.Louis-Miami run I was looking at having to do.  Furthermore his schedule changes also mean that he will be joining me in Cleveland for the Indians vs Royals game on the 25th, instead of forcing me to have to drive from Detroit-Pittsburgh-Cleveland and back to Detroit to pick him up before heading to Cincinnati to drop him off and head back up to O’Hare in Chicago to pick him up and get him to The Cell.  That would have been an incredibly long 2 days.  But that was partially avoided with the miss in Cleveland.  His last rescheduled game is Baltimore and by adding it on as Saturday, April 28th, that puts me right back on track.  All in all it allowed me to catch a game earlier than planned (St. Louis), saved me about 600+ miles of driving, a tank and 1/2 of gas and an extra night hotel cost.  This also freed up May 12th for me to do whatever I need to or to go to another Rangers game if I choose before heading to Miami.  You know, it’s funny how things work out…

My adjusted schedule is as follows:
Ballpark   # 1   Game   # 1  – Thursday, April 19th – 7:10pm – Mariners vs Indians – Safeco Field (Seattle, WA)
Ballpark   # 2   Game   # 2  – Friday, April 20th – 7:10pm – Royals vs Blue Jays – Kauffmann (Kansas City, MO)
Ballpark   # 3   Game   # 3  – Saturday, April 21st – 12:05pm – Cubs vs Reds – Wrigley Field (Chicago, IL)
Ballpark   # 4   Game   # 4  – Saturday, April 21st  – 6:05pm – Brewers vs Rockies – Miller Park (Milwaukee, WI)
Ballpark   # 5   Game   # 5  – Monday, April 23rd  – 7:10pm – Twins vs Red Sox – Target Field (Minneapolis, MN)
Ballpark   # 6   Game   # 6  – Tuesday, April 24th – 7:10pm – Mariners vs Tigers – Comerica Park (Detroit, MI)
Ballpark   # 7   Game   # 7  – Wednesday, April 25th – 12:35pm – Pirates vs Rockies – PNC Park (Pittsburgh, PA)
Ballpark   # 8   Game   # 8  – Wednesday, April 25th – 7:10pm – Indians vs Royals – Progressive Field (Cleveland, OH)
Ballpark   # 9   Game   # 9  – Thursday, April 26th – 7:10pm – White Sox vs Red Sox – US Cellular Field (Chicago, IL)
Ballpark   #10  Game  #10  – Saturday, April 27thth   – 7:10pm – Cardinals vs Brewers – Busch Stadium (St. Louis, MO)
Ballpark   #11  Game  #11  – Saturday, April 28th – 7:10pm – Orioles vs A’s – Camden Yards (Baltimore, MD)
Ballpark   #12  Game  #12  – Sunday, April 29th – 7:10pm – Phillies vs Cubs – Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia, PA)
Ballpark   #13  Game  #13  – Monday, April 30th – 7:10pm – Red Sox vs A’s – Fenway Park (Boston, MA)
Ballpark   #14  Game  #14  – Tuesday, May 1st  – 7:05pm – Yankees vs Orioles – Yankee Stadium (Bronx, NY)
Ballpark   #15  Game  #15  – Wednesday, May 2nd  – 12:35pm – Blue Jays vs Rangers – Rogers Centre (Toronto, ON)
Ballpark   #16  Game  #16  – Thursday, May 3rd   – 12:35pm – Reds vs Cubs – Great American Ballpark (Cincinnati, OH)
Ballpark   #17  Game  #17  – Saturday, May 5th   – 1:05pm – Nationals vs Phillies – National’s Park (Washington DC)
Ballpark   #18  Game  #18  – Sunday, May 6th   – 1:10pm – Mets vs D’Backs – Citi Field (Queens, NY)
Ballpark   #19  Game  #19  – Tuesday, May 8th  – 7:05pm – Astros vs Marlins – Minute Maid Park (Houston, TX)
Ballpark   #20  Game  #20  – Friday, May 11th  – 7:05pm – Rangers vs Angels – Rangers Ballpark (Arlington, TX)
Ballpark   #21  Game  #21  – Monday, May 14th  – 7:10pm – Marlins vs Pirates – Marlins Park (Miami, FL)
Ballpark   #21  Game  #22  – Tuesday, May 15th  – 7:10pm – Marlins vs Pirates – Marlin Park (Miami, FL)
Ballpark   #22  Game  #23  – Wednesday, May 16th  – 7:10pm – Rays vs Red Sox – Tropicana Field (Tampa, FL)
Ballpark   #23  Game  #24  – Thursday, May 17th  – 7:10pm – Braves vs Marlins – Turner Field (Atlanta, GA)
Ballpark   #24  Game  #25  – Saturday, August 18th  – 6:10pm – Rockies vs Marlins – Coors Field (Denver, CO)
Ballpark   #25  Game  #26  – Saturday, August 25th   – 5:10pm – D’Backs vs Padres – Chase Field (Phoenix, AZ)
Ballpark   #25  Game  #27  – Sunday, August 26th   – 1:10pm – D’Backs vs Padres – Chase Field (Phoenix, AZ)
Ballpark   #26  Game  #29  – Monday, August 27th   – 7:05pm – Padres vs Braves – Petco Park (San Diego, CA)
Ballpark   #27  Game  #30  – Tuesday, August 28th   – 7:05pm – Angels vs Red Sox – Angels Stadium (Los Angeles, CA)
Ballpark   #27  Game  #31  – Wednesday, August 29th   – 7:05pm – Angels vs Red Sox – Angels Stadium (Los Angeles, CA)
Ballpark   #28  Game  #32  – Thursday, August 30th   – 7:10pm – Dodgers vs D’Backs – Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles, CA)
Ballpark   #29  Game  #33  – Friday, August 31st   – 7:05pm – A’s vs Red Sox – O.co Coliseum (Oakland, CA)
Ballpark   #29  Game  #34  – Saturday, September 1st   – 6:05pm – A’s vs Red Sox – O.co Coliseum (Oakland, CA)
Ballpark   #29  Game  #35  – Sunday, September 2nd  – 1:05pm – A’s vs Red Sox – O.co Coliseum (Oakland, CA)
Ballpark   #30  Game  #36  – Monday, September 3rd  – 1:05pm – Giants vs D’Backs – AT&T Park (San Francisco, CA)
Ballpark   #30  Game  #37  – Tuesday, September 4th  – 7:05pm – Mariners vs Red Sox – Safeco Field (Seattle, WA)

It’s almost time to go…

Got just 1 more day of Tax Season left, a day of employee evals… then its time to hit the road!  I’m soooo ready to go, mentally, but my planning has been a bit lacking.  I still have a few nights where I have no hotel reservations yet and that is soooo unlike me.  Problem is that with a trip like this, one where I have several uncertain events coming up, I can’t really plan ahead.  With that said… BRING IT ON!!!!

First game: May 19th – Indians vs Mariners @ Safeco Field with King Felix on the hill!

Who I’ll be seeing…

3 weeks from today I will leave on a trip to SEEALL30.  I got to thinking that since I will be going to 37 total games this summer, assuming all goes well, that I wonder who I will be seeing the most and who I will be seeing the least.  Below is that detailed list:

Red Sox – 10x in 7 different parks
Marlins – 5x
A’s – 5x
D’Backs – 5x
Rockies – 4x
Mariners – 3x
Angels – 3x
Braves – 3x
Padres – 3x
Pirates – 3x
Cubs – 3x
Rangers – 2x
Phillies – 2x
Reds – 2x
Orioles – 2x
Indians – 2x
Royals – 2x
Blue Jays – 2x
Brewers – 1x
Twins – 1x
Tigers – 1x
White Sox – 1x
Yankees – 1x
Nationals – 1x
Mets – 1x
Cardinals – 1x
Rays – 1x
Dodgers – 1x
Giants – 1x
Astros – 1x

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