After months of planning and counting down the days, it was finally time to set off on my annual trip to visit a new park! Don’t get me wrong, I love each of my three main stadiums in their own special way. But with how many times I’ve visited them them lately, it truly was a very welcomed change and a treat to see something new.
I have been wanting to see the Rogers Centre for almost three years. In 2010, my family vacationed to Niagara Falls and took a day trip to Toronto. We did all the touristy stuff they had to offer, with the exception of seeing the Blue Jays. They were right in the middle of a homestand the day we were there, but it was no use trying to convince my mom and sister to to make the day even longer by watching a game they had no interest in whatsoever.
Now, if you’re one of my local readers, you know what the years 2010 and 2013 have in common.
In fact, it was the 2010 Stanley Cup victory that brought us to Toronto in the first place. Dad and I knew we would regret it if we didn’t take the short drive from Niagara and visit the Hockey Hall of Fame. This year, the same thing brought us back. Dad loves baseball and enjoys going to a few games with me each season, but he was much more interested in the Hall. Every year, they make a tribute video to show in the little theater they have. In 2010, the end of June was too early, and we watched the Penguins video from 2009. The end of May, as it turns out, was too late to see the Hawks. It stopped running just a week before we got there. Yes, it’s sucky, but we’ll see it someday. Dad wants to make it a tradition to come up here every time they win.
Now that I’ve covered WHY I’m traveling such a long distance, let’s get into the actual adventure!
Before the game, it felt like the day would never end. Minutes felt like hours as I wandered around the city of Milwaukee while Shawn was working. We were up past 2 AM the night before thanks to the long game, but mostly because of my gawking at his massive collection that consisted of everything you could think of that had to do with baseball. I won’t get into specifics, but I was expecting to be completely blown away. Even with that mindset, I was still in disbelief.
I awoke at 6:00 AM in Shawn’s living room. He starts work downtown at 8:00, which meant that we needed to leave his house at 7:15. If you want to know how to seamlessly integrate Ballhawking into your life, call this guy. On days he works, he goes 8:00 to 2:00, which leaves him just enough time to get lunch and park on the street near Miller Park at 3:15. He’s really got it down.
I’ve already written about Miller Park plenty of times this season. Because of that, I’m going to make this entry as short and sweet as I can and give you as little fluff as possible. The people who actually care about the details were right next to me in the stands, anyway.
When I arrived in Milwaukee, I passed right by Miller Park and went to Shawn’s house. He was ever so graciously letting me crash on his couch so I could make the most of my time here and attend the game the following day as well. We had talked about this double header for quite a while, but never set anything in stone. I finally picked this series because I was told the Orioles have one of the best BPs in all of baseball.
We met up with Kenny, another regular here and an awesome guy who I’ve mentioned before, and got to Miller Park at 3:30.
There are very few games that get extra special attention from me. Most of the time, there’s not really a reason to circle a specific day on the calendar. For the most part, I go catch some balls, blog about it, and look forward to the next one. But every so often, a seemingly normal game becomes one of the most special I could possibly go to. This was one of those days (and also one hell of a day for me in terms of balls).
It’s become a ‘trend’, if you will, for players to take victory laps and announce their retirement before the season starts. I’m not particularly a fan of this practice, because all it does for a player is draw every ounce of attention to themselves. I can’t imagine many teammates would be happy about that. Today, I saw first hand the things that the teammates have to put up with from the fans who came to the park just to get close and say they saw Derek Jeter.
From the second I woke up and looked outside, I knew this was looking to be a much, much better day than it was for my previous game. Who knows what pissed Mother Nature off, but we were back to sunny skies, which meant two very full sessions of BP.
I got to the VIP line about half an hour before it opened, and was fairly pleased with my spot in line. For some weird reason, the lines are always shortest on Sundays.
It was perfect as could be on the inside:
Nothing makes me feel better than knowing I have a full hour and a half out here. There’s almost limitless possibilities. I had some energy saved up from last game’s BP rain out, and the additional lessons Shawn taught me in Milwaukee earlier in the week were still fresh in my mind. I was ready to hit the ground running, and never stop.
This weekend was the one I was most looking forward to in the month of May. I had games at Wrigley on Friday and Sunday, and would have all of Saturday to hang out with Kyra at her apartment. (To new readers, this is my girlfriend. She’s great, and goes to Loyola University Chicago; about 20 minutes north of Wrigley).
The Brewers were in town, which was both good and bad. The bad part is that I’m getting sick of seeing that stupid little ‘M’ and the people of Wisconsin. The good part is that I had a little edge because of my matching jersey and hat. That would turn out to be a huge asset today. Look what Kyra and I had to drive through when we left Schaumburg in the morning:
You can see the rain, but what you can’t see is the giant snowflakes and 41 degree temperature. Did we time travel back to April or something? This was unfair and total nonsense! There was no way in hell I’d see any BP, due to both the rain and the cold. The entire game was in jeopardy, too. In these conditions, the last thing I wanted was the day to last longer than it had to. If it got any worse, I’d have to deal with a make-up game sometime during the summer when I wouldn’t be able to go. And today, of all days, is when I had TWO tickets for the Bleachers. What a great way to spend $60 to make myself feel miserable. (more…)
Where to begin? I barley had time to breathe between my first game at the Cell and this one the following Tuesday. Moving out, Mother’s Day stuff, catching up with the girlfriend, and then BAM – it was time to hop in the car and head up to Milwaukee.
I parked on the same street as last time, and ran into Shawn as I was walking down the block. I made sure there was no chance I could be late this time. In March, I showed up at 3:30 to find out that the Brewers already started BP. Now that it was the regular season and I was only coming from home rather than school, I wouldn’t let myself miss ANYTHING.
I made a promise to myself in the off-season to do everything I can and more if I had the chance to get to a game. In this case, that meant leaving ISU on Friday morning right after finals were done. I was looking forward to it for the most part, but in retrospect, I really wish I had considered the consequences once I woke up at 6:00 AM on four hours of sleep the next morning to go down and move myself out of my current apartment for good.
Before all that regret, I was excited to be at the Cell for the first of what looks to be only two visits this year.
Happy Birthday to youuuuuuuuu….
Happy Birthday tooooo youuuuuuu……
Happy Birthday dear Wrig-leyyyyyy…..
Happy Birthday to you!
Yes, you read right. A Tuesday. As you probably could have guessed, I would not miss the 100th Birthday game at Wrigley for ANYTHING. It was already decided about two weeks in advance that I’d be here mid-week. Just a few days before today, however, I realized I would be able to switch to an earlier section of my Tuesday class, and not face any more consequences than I already was. So that’s exactly what I did.
I made it to Kyra’s a little after 1:30, and had plenty of time to relax at her apartment, grab some lunch, and hang out on her awesome patio.
Eventually, I bundled up, walked to the El station, and arrived at Wrigley at 4:15. It was going to be a loooooooong, chilly night.