This better be the best game ever

For our 2004 trip, we had the itinerary set early enough that I happened to log on to the Red Sox website shortly after single-game tickets had gone on sale and was able to buy bleacher tickets for what quickly became a sold-out game.

This year, that wasn’t the case: tickets for the Twins-Rays game on July 2nd are officially sold out, and at this point, the cheapest group of 4 seats available on Stubhub is being offered for exactly $50.34 each, for tickets with a face value of $15 (there are also sets of standing room tickets available for a mere $45 each, but I’m old and cranky and like to be able to sit during sporting events). I know it’s a new stadium, and the Twins and Rays are both pretty good, but come on. I can only guess that the big attraction is the post-game fireworks display, because after all those years of the Twins playing in the Metrodome, there is a lot of pent-up demand among Minnesotans to watch a major league baseball game immediately followed by fireworks.

I guess I’m going to hold off for a while and see if sellers decide to drop their prices any — unless anyone else has better ideas, or wants to reveal that they have an “in.”

(By the way, I hope you like fireworks, Levi. They’re scheduled for four of the five games on the itinerary. That’s what happens over Fourth of July weekend.)

Itinerary posted

I’ve posted a complete itinerary — at least in terms of what games we’re seeing, where we’re staying, and how we’re getting there. Some items are subject to change, of course; for example, we may be staying with a friend of Levi’s in Iowa City the night of the 3rd, rather than in the listed Hampton Inn in Cedar Rapids.

Hey, the trip starts in less than 3 weeks for me!

It is on

This is what I was alluding to with the previous post. Finally, after 6 years, Levi and I are doing another proper baseball road trip. For reasons of busy-ness and other facets of

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adulthood, this one will be shorter than the 2004 trip: only five games in five days in five cities (and only four metropolitan areas).

Wednesday, June 30: Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals
Thursday, July 1: Omaha Royals at Iowa Cubs
Friday, July 2: Tampa Bay Rays at Minnesota Twins
Saturday, July 3: Clinton LumberKings at Cedar Rapids Kernels
Sunday, July 4: Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks at Kansas City T-Bones

Yes, you read correctly: two visiting teams with CamelCase names. Actually, the main purpose of this trip is to see Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City and Target Field in Minneapolis, two stadiums neither Levi nor I have been to yet.

We haven’t quite worked out all the logistics yet (for example, you may note that we have to get to and from Kansas City somehow), but then, that’s what was originally created for.

What a difference 6 years makes

Some differences between May 2010 and May 2004:

  • The Boston Red Sox have won the World Series twice.
  • The Tampa Bay Devil Rays are now just the Tampa Bay Rays, and have won the American League pennant.
  • Kaufmann Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals, has been renovated.
  • The Minnesota Twins play in an outdoor stadium.
  • I have a job where Excel is installed on my computer, which means I don’t have to use graph paper. I can make actual spreadsheets, such as this one.
  • Through various travel-related machinations, I hold Premier Executive elite status with United Airlines, Executive status with National Car Rental, and Platinum status with Hyatt.
  • There are no Hyatt hotels in the state of Iowa. (Actually, this may have been true in 2004 as well.)
  • I like baseball even more.
  • Levi is at least twice as busy.

Does this list of differences have anything to do with anything? Mmmmmmaybe…

Both L.A. teams in one day

Longtime fans of Baseball-Related Program Activities may remember that, on August 30, 2004, Levi and I went to two baseball games in two cities in one day: White Sox vs. Phillies in Chicago, and then Brewers vs. Pirates in Milwaukee.

We finally had a chance to recreate that experience. Levi came to Los Angeles for business, and both the Dodgers and Angels were at home, and on May 9, the Dodgers were scheduled for an afternoon game, with the Angels playing at night.

The only thing that put a damper on the experience was Manny Ramirez being suspended for 50 games just three days before we were going to see him.

What Levi, I, and hanger-on Jason did end up seeing was the Dodgers defeating the Giants 8-0, followed by the Angels over the Royals, 1-0. Yes,

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we saw no visiting team runs. We also saw complete games by three pitchers — Eric Stults of the Dodgers, Joe Saunders of the Angels, and Zack Greinke of the Royals. Greinke entered the game with a 0.40 ERA, which meant that his ERA went up after pitching a 1-run complete game, which is almost as rare of an event as the Dodgers and Angels both playing at home the same weekend. The Angels game finished in 2:07 — not quite as short as the 1:56 Indians-White Sox game on our road trip, but impressive nonetheless.

(Special shout-outs to Maggie, Kimiko, and Kate for being hangers-on for the first game.)

There have already been plenty of Dodger Stadium and Angel Stadium pictures on this blog over the years, so all you get here is a picture of Greinke looking intense during his warmup:

The Angels made me sick!

Levi was in town on business, and so were the Angels, which meant it was time for the first official Baseball-Related Program Activities event since the 2004 road trip. The hangers-on were Jason, and Levi’s co-worker Carrie.

When Edison International dropped their sponsorship of the stadium in Anaheim, their logos on the end of the seats were covered over — but you can’t stop people from scratching paint off, I guess.

Jim Leyland showed up himself to exchange lineup cards, but Mike Scoscia sent a lackey…

It had been announced earlier in the day that Anaheim would be hosting the 2010 All-Star Game…

My new camera is noticeably faster to actually take the picture once you press the shutter button than my old one was — making it easier to get shots like this…

Early mound meeting, since Angels pitcher Joe Saunders had given up three runs in the first inning…

They kept having to reset this video display in order to fix this problem…

The Amtrak noise meter, because nothing is as noisy as a train…

The rally monkey was invoked a little

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late, and so the Angels lost 6-2…

The final line (not quite final at this point, but I was anticipating)…

And finally, a picture to replace the one that’s been at the top of this blog since 2004, which I was sick of looking at…

No, the Angels didn’t literally make me sick. There was a stomach bug involved. For you fans of Jim Ellwanger illnesses that coincide with baseball games, I also had a stomach bug right around the time I traveled to Chicago and attended Opening Day 1997 at Wrigley Field — I spent an entire day lying on the floor of the dorm room of Levi’s future wife.

When it says baseball, baseball, baseball on the label, label, label

I’ve taken advantage of some downtime at work and gone back through the history of to add labels (or, as the kids call them, “tags”) to all the posts. Now you can easily read all the posts here that contain some content related to Johnny Damon — including this one!

Only eight days until Levi and I see a baseball game together for the first time since the trip in August 2004.