Friday, July 2, 2010

The Blog Is Back

It's been several months since I typed anything on this blog. My apologies for that. I have been very caught up with work the last two months.  And before that, my college basketball blog was on overdrive in March and early April with the year of the mid major in the NCAA Tournament.

But I want to make up for in a big way. It's my second annual baseball trip.  If you look at the archives from last year,  you will see we did a similar trip.  You learn a lot of things traveling across country.  So, again my friend Tony Terentieff and I are traveling around the country enjoying the National Pasttime.

This year it's seven games in seven days with a focus on the Great Lakes part of the country for want of a better term. The itinerary is listed below.

July 1 - Mets vs. Nationals - Washington DC
July 2 - Phillies vs. Pirates - Pittsburgh, PA
July 3 - Mariners vs. Tigers - Detroit, MI
July 4 - Reds vs. Cubs - Chicago, IL (Wrigley on the 4th!)
July 5 - Giants vs Brewers - Milwaukee, WI
July 6 - Akron Aeros (AA)
July 7 - Braves vs. Phillies - Philadelphia, PA

It's an ambitious trip as we are driving the entire way in my 2001 Honda Accord, which I had a lot of work put into in preparation for this.  So far, it's driving like a champ. We have already gone on the first leg of the trip, having gone down to DC for the Nats - Mets game last night.

I will give each day its own post.  I just can't promise that it will be each day we are on this trip.  I am learning a few things already.  First, my brand new MSI win computer has a very sensitive keypad with my big fingers.  So typing has been a chore. Second, I am typing this from Cumberland, Maryland where the Marriott Fairfield is fully packed, but has a 24 hour exercise and separate pool room.  Should have taken the swim last night when we got in.  Tried to this morning at 7:30 and the guy was working on the pool.  Arggh.

I can tell you so far that I have a greater appreciation for Nationals Park.  Sitting on the third base side in row CC in Section 115, you got a better view of the stadium as a whole.  It still doesn't stack up to PNC in Pittsburgh, or Citizen's Bank in Philly, but it's very nice   And it has a Five Guys Burger stand!  I always heard about their burgers and fries, but I never tried them till last night.  Great burgers and perhaps even better fries.  Highly recommended.

Prior to the game,  I did some crowd watching.  The stadium had a little more than 20,000 people in attendance last night (a little than less than 50% full)  A lot of people in the park had of course Stephen Strasberg jerseys. Ryan Zimmerman was a distant second.  Also, a lot, and I mean a lot of Mets fans came down to see the game.  You can always tell how the Mets are doing by how well their fan base shows up.

Also two friends of mine were at the game last night separately as well.  My friend Seth was there but I never got to see him (we apparently missed each other while I was online desperately trying to get something to drink that I would like- long story).

But I knew my good friend Mo Goldman was attending and he came down from his seats to hang out with me.   Both Mo and I went old school last night.  He had a Roberto Clemente Pirates shirt on while I went with my old school Tom Seaver shirt. We talked about our work, our families, but most importantly our fantasy baseball teams!

As for the game itself, it was an old fashioned pitchers duel as Livan Hernandez and Johan Santana hooked up.  The Mets scored a run in the top of the first inning and it looked like it would hold up, as Santana had little problems with the Nats lineup. But in the bottom of the seventh, Nyjer Morgan drove home Ian Desmond with a clutch two out two strike single.

The Mets couldn't score after the first inning as Livan buckled the Mets with his assortment of curveballs and Bugs Bunny changeups.   A lot of slow stuff.  In fact, one pitch was clocked at 62 mph.  Yup, 62.  After Livan left the game after 7 innings, Strasberg's fellow 2009 first round teammate Drew Storen came in and mowed down the Mets in the 8th.  He's very impressive.  After the Nationals couldn't score in the 8th, Matt Capps pitched a scoreless ninth for the Nats.

Then came the bottom of the ninth.  After Pedro Feliciano got Wil Nieves out, Mets killer Willie Harris worked out a walk.  It was a bad walk by Feliciano since Harris is hitting .155 on the season.  Morgan followed up with a beautiful drag bunt between the pitcher and first base.  Then Christian Guzman drilled a single to left but somehow Harris was held at third base, probably due in part to Ryan Zimmerman being up.

The Mets decided to put left fielder Jesus Feliciano in the infield for the rarely seen but always enjoyable five man infield.  Zimmerman would hit a long enough fly ball to Jeff Francoeur and Harris would score the game winner.  The fireworks went off and we headed out to our current destination.

As I finished typing this, I realized why the hotel here in Cumberland is so packed.  A loud train whistle just came from outside the room.  The famous Western Maryland Scenic Railroad is right around here and the rail is right outside our hotel room.  Thus this great picture.  Now I have another trip I can plan with my two sons who love trains.  Nice.  See the things you learn on a long baseball trip.

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