Footnote to the 2004 trip

The Hilton Pittsburgh, where we stayed during the 2004 trip, had its franchise pulled, so it’s no longer a Hilton.

At this hotel, we got to check in at about 11:30 A.M., but were given a room that hadn’t been cleaned yet (understandable), and it took several requests to the front desk before they finally got around to delivering a rollaway bed (slightly less understandable). Also, Levi was surprised to see that they sold porn — okay, Playboy “special editions” — in their gift shop. (I stayed at the Hilton LAX the night before I left for the 2010 trip, but didn’t check their gift shop. Last week, I stayed at a nice new Hilton in Asheville, NC, and they didn’t even have a gift shop.)

All-Stars and more

You see, every time we do a baseball trip, something happens that hasn’t happened in a long time. In 2004, it was the Red Sox winning the World Series. In 2010, it’s the National League winning the All-Star Game (because it’s looking like it’s not going to be the Cubs winning the World Series, or even the NL pennant).

All my photos from the trip have been uploaded to Flickr, and they’re in this set.

I’m going to be at an event in the South Bay area of California this weekend, and decided to attend the Giants-Mets game Saturday evening. It’s Tim Lincecum bobblehead night! Sadly, San Jose Mercury News reporter (and friend of Andrew Baggarly won’t be around — since he worked the All-Star Game, the newspaper is giving him the Mets series off.

And we’re off! Sort of.

Baseball Related Program Activities for 2010 have begun!

And what better way to kick things off than with a 3-1 Cubs win over the Pirates at Wrigley Field that is best described as “crisp”? Both teams played solid defense, both teams pitched well (or, perhaps more likely, given these two teams, hit poorly), and in a mere 2:23 we were out of there and into the car . . . I mean, onto bicycles and L cars for the ten-minute trip back to my house.

Notes from the game:

* Stacey came along, thus taking the honorable position of our first official BRPA 2010 hanger-on.

* The game wasn’t the only thing that was crisp: a game-time temperature of 65 degrees combined with a constant breeze to keep the upper deck just cooler than cool, and convince me to pack some jeans for the trip. Maybe mittens, too: we are, after all, going to Minneapolis.

* Some fans two rows behind us, seeing Stacey taking our photo, correctly guessed that we were on a road trip. We didn’t really try to explain that while, yes, we were on a road trip, I have been sitting in that very seat for a dozen years. (Our caps may also have clued them in: I was, as usual, wearing my Cardinals cap, while Jim was wearing what must have been a Time Bandits cap–it said “TB” on the front, and I have a hard time believing that he was rooting for tuberculosis.)

* Alfonso Soriano apparently ate all his Home Run Crunch before the game, as he hit two absolute bombs.

* I’ll be surprised if anyone even comes close to taking the title of Best Shoes of BRPA 2010 from Lastings Milledge. I can’t believe that all his teammates haven’t followed his lead and started wearing yellow-trimmed cleats. Dude looks sharp.

* Jim didn’t vomit on the usher until after the fourth bag of cotton candy. Wait, no: he didn’t vomit on the usher at all, because he refused my offer to buy all his meals on the entire trip if he would eat only cotton candy at the ballpark every night.

And now to bed–tomorrow at this time, we’ll be in Kansas City!

More road trip “competition”

Just happened to run across this photo set

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on Flickr: a 2007 baseball road trip that was 10 games in 8 cities in 12 days. Obviously, it wasn’t planned on graph paper by me. I haven’t given the photos my full attention, but it looks like a good trip. I need to take more photos on next week’s trip than I did in 2004 (which will be easier thanks to advances in technology over the past 6 years).

Just how bad is the economy?

On the trip in 2004, the lowest

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price we paid for gas was $1.789, in Ohio.

Gas here in Los Angeles, which tends to be a bit pricier than in Ohio (due to higher taxes and a special low-emission blend), is now running about 10 cents per gallon below that.

Again with the "Jeopardy!"

On tonight’s “Jeopardy!”, one of the contestants had taken a baseball road trip with his father in which they saw 9 baseball games in 9 cities in 8 days. If I ever get on the show, it’s going to look like I’m copying with my “11 baseball games in 11 cities in 10 days” story. Maybe I’ll just talk about my cat.

Now what am I going to talk about when I’m on the show?

A transcript of Alex Trebek’s interview with a contestant on tonight’s “Jeopardy!”…

Alex: Tim Woodward is a teacher from Salem, New Hampshire. There is, ladies and gentlemen, a fine line between “fan” and “fanatic,” and I suspect that Tim may have crossed over that line with regard to baseball. Tell us.
Tim: Yes, a friend of mine and I had some summer free time, and we decided to see nine baseball games in nine days all across the country. We started in Los Angeles, drove 26 hours to Houston, and then went on from there. Dallas, Wichita, Oklahoma City. Ended in Chic– oh, ended in Detroit after going to Chicago.
Alex: What was the purpose of this?
Tim: To see some baseball.
Alex: How cool. Nine games in nine different cities — you know, you can see nine games in the same city. We have the Angels and the Dodgers here. You could see four or five —
Tim: The Angels were out of town.
Alex: Oh. That explains it. All right.

Remember these golden classics

Bet you weren’t expecting this at this late date! Courtesy of Mrs. Levi, we have some late additions to the pool of photographs of the 2004 trip. In Cleveland, here are Maura, Jim, Dan, and Dianne, and you may notice that Dan is eagerly showing off a Hostess Baseball:

And eight days before that, in St. Louis, standing in a location that doesn’t exist anymore, here are The Flash, Trainman, Cap’n Slap, and Bicycle Repairman (in their not-so-secret identities as Tony, Jim, Levi, and Luke):

Aerial photos of the stadiums on the trip

There’s not much for me to do at work today, so I have plenty of time to play around with Terraserver.

John O’Donnell Stadium, Davenport, Iowa (picture taken pre-renovation, so it doesn’t quite look like this now)

Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri (not zoomed in any farther because I like the fact that the Gateway Arch is in the shot, too)

Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan

Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts

The future site of Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (in the parking lot to the east of Veterans Stadium)

The future site of PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (replacing the buildings to the north and west of the second bridge east of Three Rivers Stadium)

Jacobs Field, Cleveland, Ohio (right at the junction of two aerial photos, so it looks a little disjointed)

U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago, Illinois

Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (under construction)

And while I’m at it, here are the other baseball stadiums where I saw games this year…

Yankee Stadium, New York, New York (as a special bonus, with a subway train passing right by the stadium at the moment this photo was taken)

Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida

Petco Park, San Diego, California (under construction)

Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California

Angel Field of Anaheim, Anaheim, California