Sunday, July 11, 2010

Destination #10: Los Angeles, CA (Anaheim)

Ed, Jeremy, and I woke up Sunday morning and made the hour and a half drive north to Anaheim.  We found parking close to Angels Stadium which was conveniently the parking lot for the Anaheim only seemed appropriate to start the day there.  Just as Scooter and I did in St. Louis, the day started off with buffalo wings, nachos, and Bud Light. 

After enjoying our breakfast/lunch of champions, we walked to the game and made our way to our seats in the center field section.  This was only the second day game of the trip and it was another hot one...unfortunately, these seats were not in the shade as we had in St. Louis.  The game was also the longest one on the trip at over three and half hours. 

There were a few highlights from this game.  First, we watched the umpire take a ball right in the leg:

The stadium feature another stacked dugout...I've learned it's not as uncommon as I thought in Philadelphia just 13 days ago:

The seventh inning stretch included "God Bless America" because of the memorial day weekend:

I did get agitated as I constantly had to watch the rally monkeys fly around in the area....bitter reminders of the 2002 World Series:

The Angels ended the game with a walk-off home run for their second game in a row.  The game from the previous day ended with Kendry Morales breaking his leg as he celebrated his walk-off run, so when Howie Kendrick hit today's walk-off the team was very careful in their celebration:

The walk-off home run boosted my home team record to 6-4.  Following the game, we decided to go to the 'Happiest Place on Earth" - after all, we were already in Anaheim.  Since the game lasted so long we figured going into Disneyland itself might now be worth the time so we enjoyed some food and beer at ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney. 

From there, we drove to Hermosa Beach to join Steve and his family for dinner at his parents' house and call it another successful day.

Destination #9: San Diego, CA

After returning from New York, I decided I should probably actually show up to work.  I worked a full five days, packed up the truck and headed south for another weekend of baseball.  For everyone who tried to tell me I was stupid for driving to San Diego on a three-day weekend - I made it down there in about 7 hours while making a few quick stops along the way (can't explain it, but there was no traffic).  After arriving at Ed's house in Encinitas, we called it an early night to prepare to the next day's adventures.

Since Alix had to work, we headed into La Jolla for an early lunch with her and George - we met at Karl Strauss Brewing Company.

The meal was highlighted with a beer float for dessert....that's right a beer float, not root-beer.

As Alix made her way to work, George joined myself, Ed, and Jeremy as we enjoyed a beautiful San Diego afternoon.  We started in Pacific Beach and grabbed a few cold beers with great views of the beach.

From there, we grabbed a cab and headed towards Petco Park in the heart of downtown.  We made a couple quick stops before entering the stadium - don't recall the names of the establishments, but it was here a couple people thought tequila would be a good idea.

Once we found our way into stadium, we headed to our amazing seats - we were in the front row of the center field section directly next to the Padres' bullpen.  We were also very fortunate to have a fantastic group of fans sitting around us - this helped us with our nine innings off taunting Nyjer Morgan of the Washington Nationals.  If they could awars fans an assist in baseball, we would have certainly received it as we lead to him missing a fly ball at the warning track 3 feet from out seats and then striking out at the top of the 8th inning. 

Following the game, we walked to San Diego's gas lamp district for a couple of post-game beers at Mary Jane's coffee shop.  We then got a ride back to Encinitas where Ed and I capped off the night with a little late night snack at Denny's.

San Diego definitely provide the best group of fans to sit with on my trip and increased my home team record back above .500 to 5-4.  They also shared an important message with the beer purchases:

Next stop Los Angeles...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

New York - Days 3 & 4

So after five straight days of baseball, it was a little bit of change on my third day in New York.  Melissa and I got up, cleaned ourselves up (and we looked good if I may say so) and headed down to Broadway.  It happened to Melissa's parents' 35th wedding anniversary and I was invited to join in the celebration.  The first event was attending West Side Story (my first show on Broadway).  I really enjoyed the show and was very impressed with all of the performers...Maria was pretty hot!

Following the performance we walked to midtown for a fantastic dinner at Fresco by Scoto - a restaurant that Melissa's dad has frequented.  To be honest, I was nervous to meet Melissa's family but by the end of the night I had a fantastic time with Melissa, her parents, and extended family!  On top of that the entire meal was great, which I topped off with my first glass of Grappa (wow!).

After dinner, Melissa's family had to head back "upstate" but Melissa and I were far from done - we walked to the The Oak Room at the Plaza for a couple of drinks.  Unfortunately, I did not get to meet the infamous bartender Orlando but it was a great time nonetheless. 

We then met up with the rest of the crew in Sojo and then finished the night with a few drinks in the East Village.

Sunday morning rolled around and it was finally time to head back reality. Thanks Melissa for the hospitality and awesome time!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Destination #8: New York, NY (Queens)

Well the 4:00 AM bedtime the night before allowed for an afternoon wake-up on Friday.  I started the day with a walk over to Central Park where I met up with Bri - we spent some time walking around the park where there were at least 3 million where enjoying the absolutely perfect sunny, 80-degree weather (just as in St. Louis I had to ask myself what these people do for a living).  Bri had stopped at a bakery on the way (can't remember the name) and brought the best cookie I have ever eaten.

Since our entire group was spread throughout the city during the day, we all made a plan to meet on the platform for the 7 train at Grand Central Station.  We somehow all - myself, Melissa, Jeremy, Roberto, Vince and Jeremy's friend Mariette - found each other easily and we were off to Queens to take in a game at Citi Field.  We had the opportunity to watch a Subway Series game - Yankees vs. Mets.

Overall, I thought this two-year old stadium was much more enjoyable than the two-year old Yankee Stadium.  We entered through the main stadium gate and into the Jackie Robinson Rotunda.

Since this is obviously a popular game for New York, these were the hardest tickets to come across - we sat in the upper deck area but the seats and view were fantastic.  I sat next to two girls who had never been to a major league baseball game as they were visiting from Austria.

During the game, we headed to the outfield to grab some food at the famous Shake Shack - after a 30 minute wait in line (thanks to Melissa who bought us beer while we waited!), I grabbed the cheeseburger and cheese fries.  The food was great, but I have to say In-N-Out has got them beat. 

The game was low scoring (Yankees won 2-1), but the crowd was very enthusiastic.  By the sound of the cheering - you could not tell who was the home team and who was visiting.  You would frequently hear "Let's go Yankees!" immediately followed by a "Yankees Suck!" and the cheering for Derek Jeter was quickly muffled by all of the booing.  One thing to say is that all of the fans, regardless of who they were rooting for, are passionate about their team...including these guys: 

One other unique thing the stadium featured was orange foul poles:

Following the game, there was really only one option for a post-game drink - a bar attached the stadium called McFadden's (sound familiar?....Philly).  We hurried over to the bar as the Sharks' game was just heading into overtime (now wishing I didn't have to watch that).  

We walked back to the subway station to return to Manhattan - a few of us grabbed a quick drink in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood but then called it a night.  Get a little break before the next game, but next stop is San Diego...

Stay tuned for a recap of the last couple of days in New York City.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Destination #7: New York, NY (The Bronx)

eremy, Roberto, and I checked-out of our DC hotel and headed to Union Station to board Amtrak for a trip into Manhattan.  After a few hour ride and couple of stops at the bar car, we arrived at Penn Station.  Luggage was dropped off and we waited for Vince's arrival.  Once he arrived, it was time to get the pre-game festivities started.  We all boarded the subway (like we were locals) and stopped at a bar - Kinsale Tavern - on the Upper East Side.  We had a couple drinks as we waited for Melissa (my roommate for the next few days) to get off of work and meet up with us.  We jumped back on the subway and made our way into the Bronx to the new Yankee Stadium - it was exciting to see the completed construction as I attended a game at the old Yankee Stadium when I visited Melissa a couple of years ago.

Once we got inside the stadium, we headed to our seats - this is when things got interesting!  Our tickets were in the first row of the outfield bleachers - yes, having the first row is awesome, but being in the bleachers is an experience in itself.  Let's just say the fans were pretty vocal with their opinions for the Tampa Bay Rays. 

We were directly above Rays' dugout, so not only were the outfielders getting an earful but so were all the pitchers.  To accompany all of the beer consumption and yelling, there were a good number of fights and police activity (don't worry, still not worse than a Niner/Raider game).

All in all it was a great experience and definitely a fun game to be apart of!  The Yankees did fall short and the home team record fell back to 4-3.

There were a couple unique things to note - the first was the grounds crew's performance of the YMCA following the sixth inning (I recall them doing this a couple of years ago too).

Secondly, prior to the playing of  "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh inning stretch they had everyone stand as they played Dean Martin's rendition of "God Bless America".  I really thought that was terrific - and yes, the entire crowd of 45,000 was respectful and singing along. 

After surviving the trenches of battle in the bleachers, we had to find our local post-game spot.  We stumbled across a bar called The Dugout which was under the train tracks directly outside the stadium.  The man outside the front door could tell it was our first time and walked us to their back bar where we could get the $3 beers - surprisingly it was good beer and we all got 16-oz. Rolling Rocks (cheers to you Harvey). 

After finishing a couple of beers it was back to the subway and into Manhattan.  We stopped in the Upper East Side to get Melissa home (she unfortunately had to work in the morning), and then we wall ducked into a bar to grab a quick drink near her apartment.  Well that quick drink turned into multiple pitchers while Vince and I dominate the Beirut table inside Jack Russell's Pub.

We then made one last stop at a bar in Midtown called Ashton's - thank goodness for this picture as none of use remembered the name of the bar in the morning.

Good old New York City kept us out until 4:00 AM on our first night town.....and the adventure was just beginning.  Next stop is still in New York, but out to Queens...