Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Season #2...

So, I have some news, and it involves adventures... and diamonds, but not those of the baseball variety-- I'm getting hitched on June 15.

Unfortunately, it detracts a bit from my ability to continue the adventures-- so I have to scale back a bit on my plans for this season.  I'd still like to make a swing through Cleveland, Detroit, & Cincinnati later in the summer (perhaps in August) on a week long road trip.  We might be able to hit up Boston, too.

And did I mention that there's a Pirates game on Nick's birthday again this year?  Since it coincides with me being in Pittsburgh anyway because it coincides with CMU's carnival and all... it just seems logical to go.  I'm not sure if enough other folks would want to go along with me to justify setting up another group event, but that's okay.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Last game of the season

Back to New York, New York tomorrow for the last game of this season-- Marlins at Mets.  I can empathize with Mets fans, with the Bucs needing to go 8-5 in the last 13 games of the season to eke out a winning record and avoid a 20th losing season.

(On a side note, I've been feeling old lately with my birthday and all, but it really drives home the point when I think that the last time the Pirates had a winning season, I was in eighth grade.)

Our games in Baltimore, DC, and Philadelphia all featured boy scouts.  Which was just fantastic, because Nick was an Eagle Scout, so there's nothing like being surrounded at baseball games by kids my brother would have judged mercilessly on behavior, merit badges (or lack thereof), OA regalia (or lack thereof), and so on.  Trust me, I know-- he did that every time we saw a boy scout troop, including at the last game we attended together.  And then, at the Yankees game-- without a doubt the hardest, most emotional game bar the Pirates/ 30th birthday-- there weren't boy scouts, but there were blood cancer awareness hats and swabbing to join the bone marrow donor registry.  Which was just awesome, because we never had enough time to even try a bone marrow transplant with Nick.   Just when it looked like I was going to dodge a weird emotional coincidence, it hits me again.  I checked the Mets schedule.  I don't see boy scouts.  I don't see any kind of disease awareness.  But, great-- it's a Bark in the Park fundraiser for an animal shelter and there's a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle wristband giveaway.  I swear I'm not making the latter up-- and it certainly wasn't there when I bought the tickets-- but I should note that like virtually all kids of that age my brother freaking loved TMNT.  To the point where mom actually bought the terrible cereal so that Nick could get the promotional cereal bowls.

Yup.  Looks like the good old family luck is doing its thing.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

We're DEFINITELY going to need a bigger shelf

Taking stock of my mementos from the games/ stadiums visited so far. My O's crab is pretty cramped now.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sailing into the sunrise

One last shot from New York Baseball Trip #1: Parrot on the Staten Island Ferry just after sunrise.

We're returning for New York Baseball Trip #2 next month (to see the Mets on September 22). While every game has had a certain amount of emotion associated with it (which I expect to continue), I'm kind of glad that I have the two big minefields out of the way. Not that I expect that a visit to, say, PNC Park will ever be NOT be fraught with emotion, but I cling to a tiny bit of hope that it won't be as bad in the future.

Maybe. At some undefined point in the distant future. Very distant.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Five down, twenty-five to go

Yankee Stadium

Well.  This happened.  We spent 27 hours away from home, during which we must have trekked at least six miles plus untold number of stairs in the subway stations plus the 6+ hours on the Megabus, so we've been recovering all today.

It was indeed as expected-- really, really, REALLY fricking hard.  I couldn't even look at the tickets without tearing up, so you can only imagine how it felt to be there.  We first got intimately reacquainted with the subway system (feces and vomit and urine, oh my) and did a little silly touristy-on-the-cheap stuff (like the Staten Island Ferry back & forth), but then there was the main event.

Hall of GreatsThe gate staff were super nice, even more so when they saw the Parrot and we told our story.  Our coincidence stream continued.  But his time, instead of the boy scouts making an appearance, it was a blood cancer awareness/ bone marrow donor registration drive (for those of you following at home, blood cancers include lymphoma & leukemia--Nick also developed leukemia in addition to Evans syndrome), and we now have hats to that effect.

The stadium itself is really nice-- and REALLY big!  The climb to our peanut heaven seats was really, really long-- and oddly not ventilated really well, as the ramps are completely enclosed with cinder block (very unpleasant on a hot and extremely humid day), but the levels were nice.  The food & beer were about as expensive as I expected, but too far off from ball park prices we've encountered elsewhere (and the garlic fries were fantastic!).   I couldn't get to Monument Park (it's only open for about an hour and closes at least 45 minutes before the game starts, which is a little tough to make), but the team store's air conditioning was blissful.  Instead of pierogies or presidents, there was a subway race (but seriously-- live mascots are far better than animated condiments or subways on the scoreboard!).  No vocalist for the national anthem, and they used Danny Kaye's version of God Bless America-- really odd, as I'd have figured that there are PLENTY of aspiring vocalists in New York.  They also sang "Root, root, root for the home team" instead of "Root, root, root for the Yankees" during the seventh inning stretch.  The bleacher seat folks were raucous and the large group of folks that sat near us were nice, but the sun and heat and humidity were brutal.

ScoreboardView from our seats

Not to mention the emotions.  It was too much to stay for the entire game without constantly thinking either that I need to tell/show/get something for/ call Nick or how much I wished that he was with us, or how I needed to find him the in the team store or in a crowd.  Luckily, my companion on the adventures thus far is extremely supportive, able to provide hugs faster than a speeding bullet and wipe tears in a single bound.

So, here's to you, Nick.  I'm sorry I couldn't make it past the 8th inning, and I'm sorry the Yankees lost, and I'm sorry that the hall of monuments was closed and I couldn't recreate your picture.  And I'm sorry I didn't do this with you when I had half a chance-- I always thought there'd be more time.  But I hope that, in some small way, you'd approve of what I did manage.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

New York, New York...

We made it. We're also exhausted physically & I'm exhausted emotionally. More later.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

92 hours and counting...

We're Megabussing (if that isn't a verb, it is one now) it to New York for a very long but still whirlwind day Saturday. I mean it-- we arrive at 5am and depart at 10pm for a 1pm game.

There is a method to this madness- I never feel like I have enough time in that oh-so-big city, plus (and even more importantly) I'm hoping to mitigate the inevitable pain from visiting Yankee Stadium by doing a few fun things. Nick was a HUGE Yankees fan in addition to his devotion to the Pirates. Yes, he was somehow able to maintain simultaneous fandom for a pair of polar opposite teams. It may have been my fault- well before he became a fan, I bought him a Yankees hat as a souvenir on a high school trip. And the obsession grew from there- including some ill-advised accessory choices.

So two years ago, when Megabus came to Pittsburgh and made such a trip semi-affordable on my teeny grad student budget, I took him to New York so he could finally see a Yankees game at Yankees stadium. It was a trip on the extremely cheap- think hostel on 103rd and eating cheap pizza cheap- but he actually hugged me when I told him we were going. It was cool because we did some things on our own- I hit MOMA & Chinatown, he did the Intrepid & the game- and it worked out perfectly. Then.

Of course, now I regret not going to that damned game with him in ways I can't begin to express. Which is why I really need that cushion to do lighter, more fun things-- because I'm already in tears, and I have no idea how I'm going to bear being in the vicinity of that stadium, let alone watch that game.

Ballparks left to visit: 25