Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Rogers Centre -- Toronto Blue Jays 9-23-08


30 Major League Ball Parks in one season. 20 years of planning and one retirement later, we’ve completed our journey. Last night, we watched the Yankees beat the Blue Jays 3-1 in Toronto’s Rogers Centre.

Rogers Centre is a convention center masquerading as a baseball stadium. It has a retractable roof (railroad tracks just like Houston and Seattle). I’ll do some research when I get home to see which of the stadiums was the original, prototype design. Canadians are hearty people. It was cold and the roof should have been close, but NO! Having said that, the open roof did provide a spectacular view of the CN Tower. The concourses are wide and, instead of concrete, the floors were department store-like faux granite (Nancy’s description). It was actually comfortable to walk on. The stadium was very clean with more than enough bathrooms. They had lots of food choices, but be sure to bring Canadian money and be ready to pay extra … tax is NOT included in the price.

Here's the link to the pictures:

The hot dogs were ok. Nancy’s Italian sausage with fresh peppers and onions was better than my hot dog with onions. We gave it a 7.5. One caveat … I think we’ve OD’ed on hot dogs and that has probably influenced our ratings. I had a slice of pepperoni pizza which was surprisingly good. Nancy drank an India Pale Ale which she liked. I thought it was too light, but what do I know. I haven’t had many beers in the past 20 years.

The game was a good one. The Yankees took advantage of opportunities; the Blue Jays did not. Mike Mussina pitched well despite getting hit by a line drive. Joba Chamberlain pitched into and out of a bases loaded jam. Mariano Rivera got another save … ho, hum. And, the Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs when the Red Sox beat the Indians. Here's a link to the box score:

As I write this, we’re on our way home. I feel like I should be planning another trip. We’ll figure out something. This was too much fun. I’ll be publishing “What We Did on Our Summer Vacation” shortly.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Detroit -- Comerica Park 9/22/08

We're on the road again. Detroit this evening to see the KC Royals play the Detroit Tigers. Ball Park #29. On the way to the stadium, we stopped to see our former neighbors, Randy and Sharon Byrd in Novi, Michigan. They've purchased the Virginia Bar-B-Que franchise for the area and just opened their first store. Not bad for fast food bar-b-que. Stop by if you're in the area (

Comerica is a very nice new ball park. It's very well laid out. Wide concourses; good views from all locations; kid friendly with a carousel and a ferris wheel. We had great seats (not much competition for seats as you'd expect for a late September game with both teams out of the playoff race). The only negative ... the seats were not very comfortable ... narrow and not much leg room. One surprise ... there's a Montgomery Inn restaurant area behind right field. If anyone has any idea why the Gregory family wanted a franchise in Detroit, let me know.

The game was what you'd expect from 2 teams out of the playoff race ... not great pitching, not much hitting and general player disinterest (except for the September call-ups). Kansas City won 6-2. It was the David DeJesus show. He had 4 hits and a couple of nice plays in center field. Here's the link to the box score:

Here's a link to the pictures:
(They'll be uploaded tomorrow ... the link isn't working tonight)

Hot Dog Rating: I had great expectations for Comerica hot dogs, but they let me down. I had a Hebrew National hot dog with grilled onions (no sauerkraut available in the stadium ... believe me, we asked). Nancy had an Italian Sausage with onions and peppers. We rated both 7.5, good not great.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Summary of East Coast Trip 9/2/08

Sorry it has taken me so long to post the East Coast trip summary. After visiting the 7 East Coast stadiums, we spent a week at the Jersey Shore (Brigantine -- an island just north of Atlantic City) and I wasn't going to waste valuable beach time writing my blog. Then, when we got back to Cincinnati, I had to take care of some overdue bills (We were gone a month and Clermont County Water and Duke Energy were threatening to shut off our water and electric), see my dentist, participate in my Fantasy Football draft, play some golf and see some of my P&G buddies to catch up on the latest gossip/info. I lead such a busy life!

This trip seemed so short after driving to the West Coast earlier this summer. The longest time we were in our car was 6 hours. Most of our trips were less than 3 hours. We put 3133 miles on our car. Gas was cheaper than in California ($439.96). Typical cost was $3.69 a gallon. However, NJ must have low taxes. The gas stations there were charging only $3.35 a gallon. Our hotel costs were also cheaper ($1846.96) since we stayed with friends and family for much of the trip although that was offset by our expensive week at the shore (NJ Shore Condo $1800).

Our restaurant costs were typical of our other trips ($1651.34). Museums/Activities ($258.74), Baseball Tickets ($1190.10), and Miscellaneous expenses ($691.71) were also on par. Groceries were a bit high ($374.84) since we spent a bunch of $$ to stock Steven's apartment with food. Our cash outlay was also high ($1460.00) given the readily available, and generally unsuccessful, gambling opportunities in Atlantic City.

General summary of things and stuff:
1) Pittsburgh is a great town. I loved the Inclines. Great food choices. Very clean. Surprising to me given the decline of the steel industry which dominated Pittsburgh industry for so long.
2) If you like horse racing, there's nothing better than Saratoga. Beautiful grounds, friendly atmosphere, and the opportunity to win a few bucks betting on the horses (note: opportunity means I didn't win).
3) Boston is a great city. While I cannot bring myself to root for the Red Sox, Fenway Park was a great experience. The city has a lot to offer ... history and great restaurants.
4) Yankee Stadium is the best, but I am biased.
5) If you love Chinese food, go to Chinatown in Flushing NY. But, you better learn Mandarin first.
6) I have made great friends in my life. It was great to see people I haven't seen in years.
7) Brigantine, NJ -- great beaches, proximity to Atlantic City, wonderful Italian food.

Songs of the Trip -- I picked two since we heard both way too many times:

"I Kissed a Girl" by Kate Perry

"All Summer Long" by Kid Rock (It sounds like "Werewolves of London" to me)

Two more stadiums left. We'll be visiting Detroit and Toronto in two weeks (9/21 and 9/22). I can't believe we're almost done. I've lived with planning this trip for over 20 years. It feels like I'm losing an old friend.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Atlantic City 8-18-08

My casino losing streak is intact. I lost $45 at the Trump Marina hotel playing blackjack. I'm done gambling on this vacation. I won't play again until we do our next Vegas trip. Jeff?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Monmouth Park 8-15-08

Well, I finally had a successful day gambling. My dad and I went to Monmouth Park in NJ to play the horses. I bought the racing form, did all my calculations, studied the form and made my selections. I won $15. I should feel really good about it except for the fact that Nancy picked horses by name, gave me $10 and won $13. I should have just played her horses and saved myself the time.

We're in Brigantine, a beach community just 5 minutes north of Atlantic City. Steven and Rob have joined us for beach time. Hopefully, my luck will carry over. We'll be playing blackjack on Monday.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

DC Boat Tour 8-13-08

Not much doing today. We hung around Steven's apartment all morning then decided to go on a boat tour on the Potomac. We've had good luck with boat tours on our baseball stadium trip. They provide a good overview of the sights and a lot of information about the local area. Here's a link to our pictures:

I can't believe we're almost done with the tour. It's been more than I expected. The stadiums were great, but the side trips really made it great.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

NY Mets vs. Washington Nationals 8-12-08

I really liked Nationals Stadium. It is the newest of the parks we've seen and they got all the amenities right. Wide aisles, lots of food choices, decent seats with leg room, a very nice, wide open center field pavilion. The only quibble ... its not in the best of areas and the center field view is marginal. A definite top 5 candidate.

While in DC, we're staying with our son, Steven. He and his friend James came with us to the game. It was T-Shirt Tuesday so we all got Nationals T-Shirts with "Run, Teddy, Run" on the back. The mascot race is between the 'Rushmores', the 4 Presidents on the face of Mt. Rushmore. Apparently, in the 4 years of their existence, Teddy has never won. They keep coming up with creative ways for him to lose. Today, he was in the lead and went back to attack a mascot bee which allowed Abe to win.

Here's the link to the pictures:

It was a good game. The Mets won 4-3. They scored the winning run in the 8th when Damion Easley was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Here's a link to the box score:

Hot Dog Rating ... we have a new standard bearer. Nancy had a chili dog from Ben's Chili Bowl (in left field). It was great ... spicy chili, a tasty hot dog and a great bun. I had a foot long hot dog from the Senator's Sausages kiosk. great taste, good mustard and grilled sauerkraut pile thick. Yummy!! If I was an Eastern Bloc judge, I'd give it a ten ... "9.9" Nancy liked the beer, but it was a national brand, Miller Lite, in a bottle.

We'll be doing a few museums in DC before we head to the Jersey shore and the Brigantine Condo we've stayed in each of the past 8 years. 28 stadiums down, 2 to go. We'll do Detroit and Toronto in September.