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 baseballrelated.com 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.

Rays awesomeness watch (now a regular feature, apparently)

After yesterday’s 2-1 win over the Yankees, the Rays are now alone in first place in the AL East. They’re 7 games over .500 for the first time ever; they’ve now won 11 home games in a row.

In other news, we have an actual baseball-related program activity (the original rationale for this blog, remember?) coming two weeks from today: Levi will be in L.A. on business, but is taking time out

so we can see the Angels play the Tigers in Anaheim. He’s been here a few times for his job, but this is the first time he’s going to make it to a baseball game.

Can we look back at posts like this one and laugh yet?

Take off your rainbow shades

Jason and I are taking a weekend trip to Phoenix in September (actually, we’ll be staying in a motel in Tempe), and it’s going to include attendance at a Diamondbacks game…

I bought a pair of tickets on stubhub.com. Can you believe a season-ticket holder would want to see the D-Backs play the Rockies so little that they’d be selling these tickets for half-price? (Half the single-game price, that is; there’s a big season ticket discount that’s already reflected in the price printed on this ticket.)

After the baseball game, Jason and I will be heading for the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe to see the ASU Sun Devils play our beloved Northwestern Wildcats in a game that starts at 7:00, but that’s more of a topic of discussion for Football-Related Program Activities.

Historical baseball note

Since I don’t have high-speed Internet at my new apartment yet, I’ve been watching more TV than usual. That included tonight’s Dodgers game, a 2-1 win over the Brewers. I wanted to mention this piece of trivia that fascinated Vin Scully, since I’m not sure how far it will be disseminated: with this game, the Dodgers have now played more games at Dodger Stadium than they had at Ebbets Field.

Incidentally, the best Vin Scully moment of the game was him reading Jim Tracy’s lips during an argument with the home plate umpire, but not giving the exact translation: “Fertilizer, fertilizer.” The second-best was his plug for the pre-game show airing before tomorrow’s game: “I think you’ll find it somewhat interesting, as it always is.”

While I’m at it, it’s looking like the plans detailed here for me and Jason to do a 4-city baseball trip next month are not going to come to fruition, since I will have only been in my new job for a month. We may do an overnight trip just to Phoenix, for a Saturday night game. But that leaves things open for me to ask: hey, Levi, how about a Western trip in 2006?

It’s up to you, New York, New York

As far as I know, Levi is in New York right now. He tells me he’s going to the Mets-Cardinals game on Saturday (and I’m going to the Dodgers-Braves game here in L.A. on Saturday).

Now, he’s with his wife and some friends from the U.K. Their plans were to rent a car and drive from Chicago to New York (and then back) so the British folks could see the country, or at least what one can see from the Interstate between Chicago and New York. Since even Levi knows a car can be a liability in New York, I first suggested two one-way rentals, but those were ridiculously expensive. So my other suggestion was that Levi park the car in New Jersey near public transportation, and the only good place I could come up with where he could definitely park it overnight and it would be reasonably secure was the long-term parking lot at Newark International Airport.

I gave Levi careful directions for how to get from the airport to the apartment the group is renting near Columbus Circle, via NJ Transit commuter train and subway. They were supposed to arrive this afternoon sometime.

This evening, this happened, on the very train tracks Levi would have been traveling over between Newark and New York. Perhaps Levi has started smoking, and threw his cigarette out the window when he saw the conductor coming. At any rate, I certainly hope Levi was safely in New York by that point, since my careful directions did not account for the possibility of trains not running due to a fire!

Levi, on the off chance you’re reading this: if those tracks aren’t open yet by the time you’re leaving NYC, I think the best alternate way to get back to Newark Airport would be to take the downtown C train to World Trade Center, then take the PATH subway (separate fare) to Newark Penn Station, and then take the next NJ Transit train to Newark Airport.

Original comments…

Levi: The fire occurred about an hour after we crossed, right around the time I was praising Jim for giving us flawless directions that were easy to follow, and about four minutes before the crazy woman from whom we rented an apartment started hollering about how she wasn’t told there would be four people staying there.

Big Ben: For future reference, the terminus of the Gladstone Branch of the NJT Morris & Essex lines (Gladstone Station) has free parking. I’ve parked there for as many as five days with no trouble. It’s not necessarily secured, but it’s in a quiet New Jersey ‘burb that feels pretty safe. The Summit station on the same line has paid ($5/day) parking that is probably a little more secure.

levi’s help-mate: hey there jim,

levi probably already told you, but we passed over that bridge two hours before the fire. and he probably also told you that on the way home we stopped in philly to catch the cardinals again!

– stacey

Baseball plans for 2005: Now it can be told

First of all, on last night’s “Simpsons,” astrology was described as “the Tampa Bay Devil Rays of the sciences.” True enough.

Now, then, a while back, someone asked about baseball trips this summer. Sorry to say Levi and I aren’t doing a big baseball road trip this year like we did last year. But — unless gas goes above $4.00 a gallon — Jason and I have a Western trip planned for July, involving fewer games than the trip last year…

Thursday, July 7: St. Louis at Arizona
Friday, July 8: Memphis at Albuquerque (Pacific Coast League, class AAA)
Saturday, July 9: Salt Lake City at Colorado Springs (another PCL game)
Sunday, July 10: San Diego at Colorado

We’d have done a slightly longer trip, but the baseball schedules didn’t permit (for one thing, that’s leading into the All-Star break for both MLB and the PCL).

Now, I also happen to know that Levi and Stacey are visiting New York next month with friends from the U.K.; I assume either the Yankees or the Mets will be in town, but their schedule might be filled with other plans. (The two minor-league teams in NYC won’t be playing yet, since they’re short-season Class A.)

And I have also suggested a fair number of potential itineraries to Levi and Stacey that would work if they wanted to visit southern California and see the Dodgers, Angels, and Padres. Now, Levi’s predictable enough that I know his top choice would be the last weekend in July, when the Cardinals are in town to play the Dodgers, but he hasn’t made a decision yet on whether or not he can make it then (or ever).

As far as I know, my first major-league game attendance this year is going to be two weeks from tonight, to see the first-place Dodgers play, that’s right, the first-place Washington Nationals on May 2nd. Well, maybe they won’t be in first place in two weeks, but whatever. The post-Opening Day column in the L.A. Times about how horrible the Dodgers were going to be this year is now but a distant memory.

Original comments…

Levi: I just this morning purchased several tickets in a terrible, distant-from-the-plate (maybe not even in Queens!) section of the upper deck of Shea Stadium to see the Cardinals play the Mets on May 14th.

Jim: From what I know about Shea Stadium, sounds like you’ll have a very good view of the underside of airplanes.

How could I pass it up?

I’ve decided to attend Monday’s Marlins/Expos game at Comiskey Park.

With Hurricane Pudge approaching, MLB has rescheduled the first two games of the Marlins/Expos series for Comiskey on Monday and Tuesday aftenoons. Tickets will be general admission, $15, with $5 going to hurricane relief. I’m going because I can’t pass up the chance to be one of a couple hundred people at one of the weirdest games ever.

Who’s with me?

Original comments…

thatbob: If you root hard enough for the Expos in Comiskey, maybe they’ll move here.

Jason: Maybe BOTH the Expos & Marlins will move to Comiskey, if the Fish don’t get their new stadium.

Levi: I think Alan Keyes already moved there, but he’ll be back in Maryland by the end of the World Series, so no conflict there.

Jon Solomon: How was the game?!

Bonus pictures from prior to the official start of the trip

Since I never scanned it before, this is (part of) the chart I used to plan the trip. Possible teams are on the left and dates are across the top (starting with April 30, with an “M” indicating Mondays). Home games for each team are indicated by blue (night game), red (day game), or gray (unknown, because some teams didn’t have game times posted in January, when I made the chart). The teams are numbered so I could follow them all the way across.

They Might Be Giants ticket stub from the night before I left for the trip. And I wish I’d known my flight was going to be delayed two hours, so I could have gotten two extra hours of sleep!

Why my flight was delayed two hours: a rainy Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport (and it had been a lot worse earlier in the day, I heard)…

A 2:30 P.M. boarding time was wildly optimistic. I think this flight ended up boarding at about 4:40 P.M.

Illinois Railway Museum ticket. For an extra $4.00, I could have ridden on the Thomas the Tank Engine train with a bunch of screaming kids. I chose not to pay extra.