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Well Hello Friends, Family and Fans!

Let me start by apologizing for not blessing you with my internet presence for the past 6ish months. Honestly, I bit off more than I could chew with my plans of writing and blogging and preparing to move back to Texas (hallelujah Californians are crazy!) You should also know that I was so condemned to update you that I am writing this post in my history class…not paying any attention to my monotone professor. Actually, his voice is more like static in the background, providing some white noise making my blogging easier.

I want everyone to know I hate winter. I hate being cold and I hate not having baseball.

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So just so y’all know I have every intention of completing the book. I just don’t have a time yet. I have thousands of pictures and pages of notes to go through. Writing a book is a BIT of a tedious task, and I definitely underestimated it. But, it is still a dream of mine and I want to get it done.

This post is also in part due to the fact that my professor wants to read it. Thanks for the motivation to get back to my blog! There’s a follow button at the bottom right, make that happen Geoff! And did I use that colon right in my title? I pulled out my stylebook and I am going for emphasis!

For now you get to hear my frustration with the Rangers winter decisions.

WHY DIDN’T WE GO AFTER PRICE?!?? Can you imagine finishing a game thanking God you weren’t a victim of a the Strike Out King  thinking, “Whew, got through Darvish, who’s throwing tomorrow?” Then your almost excitement diminishes realizing it’s David Price.  I mean here we are spending stupid money and not buying arms. We need pitching JD, where’s your head at?

I do not agree with the Prince-Kinsler trade for many reasons. Obviously, I’m a girl…I like to look at Ian. And his old school pants are my favorite. But don’t get all sexist on me and ignore my valid reasons for hating this trade due to my wanna-be-baseball-wifery. Kinsler was a cornerstone in our franchise. He was loved by the fan base AND he is CONSISTENT.

Most of you are looking at the trade like a complete positive. And, don’t get me wrong I am excited to gain and extra 10-15 home runs. But, I want to offer up another idea to you and see if I can sway you to think a little more, instead of being blinded by a royal prince. Which, I should also add, I am not against Prince as a player. I would be ignorant to make any claims that he isn’t a great baseball player. I just don’t think it was necessarily the best for the Rangers, but I really hope I am wrong.

MY personal baseball philosophy is that defense wins championships. It doesn’t matter if you hit Babe Ruthy home runs if you can stop the other team from getting on base. With that being said, instead of spending $120 million on Elvis and picking up 7 years of a $214 million on Fielder, why not go get pitching?

Everyone who seems to be 100% of this Fielder thing has one thing they like about him. They come at me with the, “Oh, but Prince hits so many homers and he will in our park especially!” WHICH I COPLETELY AGREE WITH.  I just feel like they are only seeing home runs and not seeing the big picture. I will also add that on the list of MLB hitters Prince comes up at number 27 on the HR list playing in 162 games. So, he didn’t take a single day off, yet 25 of the 26 hitters ahead of him had days off and still hit more than he did. So yes, he hits home runs. But, he is no Chris Davis, who clearly couldn’t what he did in a Texas uniform. I believe the Tigers definitely got the better end of the deal in this one.

The point is you can’t base your team off homers, although they are helpful and exciting, I would have rather seen that money go to pitching. SO if you bring the Prince HR craze to my attention this is my argument–We have the best prospect in the game AND he plays SS. Not to mention, he made a statement his first time at bat in the majors with a HR. I’ll just point out that Profar hit 6 HR in 286 at bats and Andrus hit 4 in 620 in 2013. Basic math would say that if Profar had as many at bats as Andrus did, he would have hit 13 home runs.  My point is, what if we didn’t re-sign Andrus, let Profar play SS, left Kinsler at second and Moreland at first? So with this HR thing people keep talking about, in my scenario Prince hit 12 more HR than Kinsler did in 2013, but IF Profar is a 13 HR hitter really we win. Let’s think about this for a second, the three positions we are talking about here are 1st, 2nd, and SS. If we go off of 2013’s HR numbers and Profar’s hypothetical 13 this is how it adds up.

What we have with Prince

Prince(at 1st)-25 HR

Profar (at 2nd)-13 HR

Andrus (at SS)-4 HR

= 33 Homers

My scenario

Moreland (at 1st)- 23

Kinsler (at 2nd)-13

Profar (at SS)-13

= 49 Homers

Obviously there are a ton of factors I have not included but it’s food for thought. Also, some people will add that Prince will hit more homers at the ballpark. Well he will have to hit 16 more to get to 49. However slim chances, that is possible though because he hit over 41 HRs in ’07 and ’09.

I only bring this scenario up because again, most people are only telling me about how many HRs Prince will hit.

But in my scenario, we have PLENTY of money to buy a great pitcher. Specifically, David Price. I’m also not against Andrus by any means either. He is an incredible SS and combined with Beltre, provides the Ranger fan base with some comedy on and off the field. He is very young and his type of talent doesn’t come around often. I think that having him and Profar as middle infield will be great in the years to come I just worry about the mound.

As far as JP Arencibia, SO STOKED! I’ll buy his jersey simply because he is IS NOT Soto. I won’t continue on about my feelings toward Soto, just know I am not a fan. Also, JP provides me with the eye candy that was lost with Gentry and Kinsler. ❤

Speaking of Gentry, I’m so sad to see him go.

AND Shin Shoo Choo why we signed him through 2020 baffles me. I think we over paid on that one BIG time!!!

Oh, I forgot to tell you I got Fielder’s autograph at fan fest. Definitely a cool autograph to have, regardless of my past argument.

Well that’s about enough for now. I hope I opened up a couple of eyes and I’m sure there are plenty of arguments to be had still. Ultimately, I hope our pitching surprises me because if so, we will have a great season.

55 days ’till Opening Day.

I’m thinking about taking a trip to see a the Rangers play at a stadium I haven’t seen them at. Take a look at our schedule if you have any ideas or want to tag along at a certain park. Let’s plan it =]

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UPDATE!!!

Okay everyone I am so sorry I have been slacking on the posts! It is not easy keeping up and I’m pretty worn out. I promise to eventually get around to updating you on each park but right now let me give you a quick over view of what has been happening!! 

We have driven to Florida, which I was not impressed by either park, but regardless had a great time. Saw the Marlins win, that is a rare feat. From there we headed to Atlanta, had an absolute GREAT host, Josh Griffith. Went to the very first Chick-fil-A…I was super stoked. Watched the Braves beat the Giants and got a ton of free Braves gear. Then on our way to the Washington, we stopped to see the Durham Bulls…apparently I need to see the movie. In Washington I got bit by a black squirrel, was upset that the Washington Monument is under construction, decided I needed real shoes, and cried at the Vietnam Veteran Memorial Wall. The Nats game was great except Bryce Harper was still on the DL. In Philly I catered to my history buff/nerd side and LOVED the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and all around history of the city. The Phillies lost, their prices were outrageous, and their fans absolutely trashed the parking lot, I even smelled pee. But, the park was solid and had a great view of downtown, minus one very out of place billboard. Camden Yards is officially my favorite park so far. Just felt like a ballpark. AND it was designed by a woman! Janet Marie Smith is my hero. Other than the park…Baltimore scared me. I hope I never see a potential shooting /carjacking EVER again. We then took our trip to NYC, and that place my friends, is another world. We experienced what we could of the city in our short time: Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square, Central Park, 9/11 Memorial, and real NY pizza. We probably could have done more if we would have figured out the dang subway system faster. The Yanks LOST the the Rangers and we had a great time reppin’ our Texas red amidst a sea of navy. At the Mets game we got free T-shirts and the park is definitely top 5. Seeing Matt Harvey pitch was also pretty fantastic. Next was Boston. Fenway Park…need I say more??? Oldest park in baseball, green monster, walk off…amazing. Actually, the parking was outrageous and I wish we would have woken up early enough to take the subway. We sat close to a girl whose husband was in the Boston Bombing and his story is heart wrenching. Being far away from tragedy desensitizes you…I was almost in tears with compassion as the pain of the bombing became real. You can check out Marc’s story at http://www.marcfucarile.com. Before heading out we stopped at the Salem Witch Museum. The whole town was eery and being there on Halloween is officially on my bucket list. We had the pleasure of staying with my wonderful Aunt Colleen in New Hampshire before making our way to Cooperstown, NY. That place is heaven! I was giddy walking into the Hall of Fame. For the 4th of July, we watched fireworks over Niagara Falls, on the American side after eating dinner on the Canadian side. I stood in two countries at the same time, that was cool. In Toronto we met some incredibly nice people…Canadians really live up to the generosity we hear about. Everything in Canada was way more expensive than it should be. Especially the 128.9/liter of gas. Thank goodness we figured out that was in cents, not dollars. The Jays won and we got to see Kawasaki play second, the fans absolutely love him. A season ticket holder, John MacMillan, sat next to us and told us all we needed to know about the Rogers Center and then gave us an incredible donation. People continue to amaze me. We were both pretty excited to get back to the American border so our phones would work properly. Once in Detroit, we stopped at White Castle…bad decision. I was expecting something delicious….something movie worthy. But, they were terrible. We did’t stop for a game there as we will be making our way there by the end of this week. We drove straight through to Cincinnati, where we are now. The Great American Ballpark had a great vibe and even though the Reds lost to the Mariners, we had a great time. Tim Parks, the creator of the MLB Passport, treated us to tickets in the Campions Club. The all you can eat food worked out well, we ate enough there to get us through the rest of the day to save us some money! I love this city, too bad it snows in the winter or I could add it to my places of  possible future living, but I’m too much of a cold weather wimp.

 

Tomorrow morning we head to Pittsburgh and Cleveland from there. I am having the best time and learning so much! I am exhausted though, mentally and physically. But, I am so excited for our next destination. 

 

Here are some pictures!! It doesn’t look like they loaded in any particular order and it’s already 1:30am and I am way too tired to organize, so just enjoy them!!!

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Here are some pics!Image

Gwen And A Classy Cardinal Crew

SAINT LOUIS, MISSOURI.

I don’t even know where to start because this was the best game experience we have had to date.

First of all can I just say that I am NOT a cards fan…especially after 2011. If you don’t know I don’t want to talk about it, just google 2011 World Series. Basically, my heart was broken and just being at Busch Stadium brought back the memories.

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Okay, well now that I think of it most of you won’t google it and I feel like you need to know about it to understand where I am coming from and give you a quick baseball history lesson.

In 1961, MLB awarded Washington D.C. an expansion team after the Washington Senators moved and became the Minnesota Twins. The new team took the same name, Senators, but were a completely different ball club.

And….they sucked.

In 1971 they moved to Arlington, Texas and debuted in the ’72 season.

…and they sucked.

I was born in 1990, and the Texas Rangers…

well, they sucked.

Once I was old enough at least get the idea of what was going on…they finally made their first post season appearance, in 1996. Thank you Johnny Oates. They did so in ’98 and ’99 as well but continued to suck in post season losing back to back post season sweeps to the damn Yankees (excuse the language but it’s fitting).

Then for the next TEN years guess what??

….We pretty much sucked.

(Obviously, not completely we had some GREAT talent…just could never string anything together long enough. Overall, no post season appearances for ten straight years, just sucks).

So basically, growing a Rangers fan was rough, but I fell in love what can I say?

Finally, in 2010 our Rangers break through and make it to the World Series!!! And oh boy, was I excited!! THIS WAS IT! Well not really, we lost to the Giants.

Then in 2011 we do it again! Make it to the World Series to face the Cardinals…and okay boys, “This time we got it!” You can imagine now how badly I wanted this…I’ve waited to see “WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS” with the Texas Rangers logo, since I could walk! I mean this isn’t just a dream…it’s the same 7 year old little girl’s dream, and not to mention I was still recovering from losing the year prior! Going into game 6 we lead the series 3-2. The game was intense!! Almost gave me a heart attack. Going back and forth and we were ONE STRIKE AWAY from a championship…not once, but TWICE! And then….the terrible, horrible, heart breaking thing happened. David Freese comes to bat…works the count to 3-2..and just rips it…hits a bomb…a walk off solo shot and sends the series to a game 7. Did I mention we were one strike away two times?!?!? I can still picture it in my mind, flying in the air headed straight back to center field, in to the batters’ eye grassy field. We lost game 7 too, and I cried.

The thing about baseball is, you can get so close to success that you can taste it. You can see it, feel it, seems like you can touch it. It’s right there. The suspense is so high, your heart is pounding, every thing you’ve ever dreamed of is just lingering in the air waiting to be taken ahold of. In the blink of an eye, the scenario can change. In an instant, your dreams can be robbed, like a thief in the night, so quickly you don’t even know what hit you until moments after. Then as poetic justice would have it you watch the other team celebrate and enjoy the success that you worked so hard for, that floated in your mind and in your heart…and danced in your grasp. Now it’s gone. As fans who have played before, we sympathize with our teams because we’ve been there. We know the roller coaster of emotions the game takes you through and was want so bad to be a part of the high, that we willingly sign up our loyal faith and become vulnerable, knowing it very well could end in heartbreak.

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😦 😦 😦 😦 😦

Okay, so now that you get it. I was not excited to be reminded of that terrible series….especially when I saw the World Series Trophy on display in the UMB Champions Club while on our tour of Busch Stadium. I wanted to break the glass and throw it on the ground to shatter in hundreds of pieces.

The tour was the biggest tour I have been on, there were about 40 people. All of the other tours I have been on have had at most 5 people. Thus, the tour was not as personal as the others but, I’m still glad we went. The Cardinals definitely pay homage to Stan “The Man” Musial, one of the greatest hitters in the history of the game. He was a 24-time all star and played 22 seasons with the Cards. If you stand on the Musial Bridge you can see the plaza outside of the park with his statue. We also got to go to the Redbird Club. Holding 3,000 people, it is the largest club level in the majors. If you have tickets in the Redbird club your food and drinks are not included. Also, wallpapered along the walls is the vintage Cardinal baseball card collection of one of the owners of the team. The only player card you will see who did not play for the Cardinals is Satchel Paige. He played for the Browns, another major league team that played in STL.

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You can see the STL arch in mowed into the outfield grass. This started in 2009 when Busch Stadium was awarded the All-Star Game.

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Fun Fact: It took 2.5 million bricks to build Busch Stadium

Fun Story: We went to eat at a restaurant a couple blocks from the field and in front on an amazing public plaza area. The place was pretty empty, except a couple tables away sat a group of people who were on the tour with us earlier that day. They were going around the table cheersing to different things…to baseball, to the Cardinals, to this, to that. Then, I hear one lady say, “Oh I have one!” Everyone raises their beer. “Cheers to the Ranger fans we met on the tour, God Bless their souls.” I literally laughed out loud. I’m not sure if that lady ever noticed that we were sitting only a couple tables away.

The plaza was called Kiener Plaza. It was a great little area with a fountain that apparently doubles as a public swimming pool for the local children. I don’t think it was intended for that reason, but regardless it was full of them.

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This is me getting all photography on you

I noticed a bar called “The Outfield” on 7th and Walnut outside of the park if you’re looking to pre game. If you walk around the park you can learn more Cardinals history than you can remember just by reading all of the brick memorials. Cool things I noticed during the game included Bank of America ATMs which would have came in handy, considering we walked around down town for an epically long time trying to find one until, I finally decided to walk through the drive through ATM. There were also places where you could get a bottoms up beer. This is where they fill your beer from the bottom up. If you have a good craft beer you can definitely tell a difference, but with stuff like Bud Light…it still tastes like crap. So I decided not to pay for it.

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Yep, thats a drive up ATM…

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I obviously want to cheer for the home team at every park I go to…unless the Rangers are in town. But, this time it’s really hard for me considering the history lesson I gave earlier. Well, I don’t necessarily like the Dbacks either so it was up in the air until about 15 minutes before game time. Until, these two Cardinal “Bros” decided to sit in front of us. Imagine 30 year olds trying to keep the fratastic dream alive with their matching shorts, I don’t care attitudes, and throwing trash on the field. Not only was I already annoyed but, then one of them decides to completely disrespect the National Anthem. He decides to dial a number and talk on his phone, keep his hat on, and continue sitting facing away from the flag throughout the entire song.

YEP! That got us off the fence…Dbacks fans we were.

Thank goodness they didn’t stay longer than an inning.

From then on, we were blessed to sit next to some absolutely incredible people. Gwen Baird and her friends completely changed our outlook on the entire Cards experience. Even though she was there at that infamous game 6 I spoke of, she was delightful. She had some epic STL Cardinal shoes! I could tell she had a great heart when she told me that the bag of goodies she had, including a teddy bear and a small replica bat, was for random little kids that she met at the park! Adorable. Then she proved my great hearted assumption by handing my $60 cash from her and her friends as a “contribution to our trip.” That was the most generous thing I have ever experienced. I just could not believe that someone would do that! Well I guess from then on we were Cards fans….but JUST for the night! She is the epitome of a great baseball fan, she gets it. I promise to get great pictures of Lance Berkman for you, Gwen! Everyone else around us in our bleacher seats were just as nice. This was what I was excited about when I set out to experience baseball with fans from every city. Another fan, Tony Hartman, randomly gave us a Busch Stadium lanyard! This is perfect because I lose the key to car all the time, Patrick usually is responsible for it.

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During the game I really liked that they had an entire scoreboard to keep us update on game around the country. They had updates for the Texas game up the whole time, I was happy. Except we freaking lost to the BoSox. It also rotated through the stat leaders for both the AL and the NL. I definitely had to snap a picture when Darvish was up there! They had the first Asian stir fry booth at a ballpark that I have seen. I’d say the most unique thing I saw was a Build A Bear Workshop. If I were a mini Cards fans, I’d go crazy if I could make my own bear at the ballpark! We also got to see a wedding proposal!!! So cute, I’ve always loved the whole “Will you marry me?” at a ballpark idea!

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We had an absolute blast the whole night. I love baseball, you will only see stuff like I just described at a baseball game. The Cards put on a show too! Offensively 5 homers and defensively striking out 14, defeating the snakes 12-8.

Another awesome part out our St. Louis trip was Paul Goodloe. He was our very first CouchSurfing host and he was absolutely fantastic! He welcomed us into his home and allowed us to stay at his house both nights we were in town. He was great company and I’m so glad I got the opportunity to met he and his lovely girlfriend, Kelcye. THANK Y’ALL!

Like I said, St. Louis was our best experience to date. I still don’t like the Cards, but I love their fans.

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Thank Goodness We Weren’t In Kansas Anymore

I was pretty anxious to get to KC, I heard great things about Kauffman Stadium.

The drive from Denver was pretty boring. We took I70, the ‘Mother Road” of Kansas all the way through the state. If THAT was the mother road I don’t want to see anything else in the state. The most exciting thing on the road were the bright red and yellow signs every 20 miles that got us all excited about a zoo with a 5 legged cow and the World’s Largest Prairie Dog. We counted down the miles every time we saw the sign….120 miles….100 miles….50 miles…okay by now I’m super curious….20 miles……5 miles….2 miles….EXIT HERE to Prarie Dog Farm. I was pretty stoked until I saw the most depressing sign of all…

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DANGIT!
These fools had me all excited about their dang zoo…their stupid sign advertisements worked…and let me down. We were not happy.
Along with no zoo, I didn’t find Toto…or ANYTHING else. It was an epically boring drive, up until the end at least. Towards the end of the night, a storm started to brew, and considering the latest tornadic episodes of our country the middle of no where Kansas was the last place I wanted to be during any kind of storm. I definitely freaked myself out staring at storm clouds and driving through wind, constantly checking my weather app as Patrick, in the passenger seat, was engulfed in a book and completely oblivious to the could-be disaster. Well we got through it tornado free and with a great lightening storm.
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Thanks again to Tina Pangle, we had a great set up at the Westin in Downtown. It was right across the street from Union Station, which was awesome inside. We got a great night’s sleep and woke up to my worst nightmare…rain. I mean I LOVE rain…except when it means no baseball. I decided I was going to tour the park regardless of the weather.
Driving to the K was a little confusing at first because my dang Apple Maps took me to absolutely no where. I did figure it out and drove uphill to the park, which sits right next to Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs. There was nothing else atop this hill, so in my car coming over the hill I felt like I had arrived on the Kansas City sports mecca.
I was a little bit late to the noon tour and so I was running around like a crazy person trying to find where to go. The ushers at the park were incredibly helpful and even paged the tour department to make sure they waited for me. The tour started in the Royals Hall of Fame and they even had an exhibit from Cooperstown. After looking to the Hall of Fame, we were escorted to a theatre room that replicated the Royals dugout, with a statue of Buck O’ Neil sitting on the bench. We watched a very well put together show about the history of the Royals organization. When we were passing by the clubhouse I got an up close greeting with Alex Gordon as he passed right by me. He is crazy tall and gorgeous! And probably will show up as my Instagram #ManCrushMonday one day soon.

Kansas City baseball dates all the way back to 1888 with the Kansas City Blues. In 1955 the Philadelphia Athletics moved to town. They stayed there for 11 seasons until moving to Oakland. There was once season that KC was without baseball and in that time the St. Louis Cardinals and the Minnesota Twins periodically would play in KC so that the city wasn’t without baseball. The Royals played at Kansas City Municipal stadium until 1973 when Kauffman Stadium, “The K,” was completed. It is named after their owner Ewing Kauffman. His wife was also instrumental in the building of the park. Kansas City has the second most water fountains in the world behind Rome. Mrs. Kauffman wanted intertwine the city’s love affair with water fountains into their park. Apparently, it “wasn’t in the original budget” and Mr. Kauffman was not willing to incorporate the idea. Mrs. K was persistent though. You now see the largest privately funded water fountain in the world circulating 720,000 gallons of water, creating a beautiful backdrop along the outfield wall.

Dick Howser managed the team for the last part of the 1981 season until 1987 when he died of cancer. Though his career in KC was short lived, he is highly respected and the number 10 is retired in his honor. He turned around a crumbling, young team in 1985 to win their first and only World Series title.

The K has the 2nd largest scoreboard in MLB, Second to only the Seattle Mariners. To give you a perspective, check out the picture of it below the balls on top of the crown alone are 8 feet tall. Another awesome part of the park is the dugout suite. It is right next to the home team dugout and on field level. Definitely a cool perspective.

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The K was also renovated in 2009 adding a wonderful outfield experience. It was awarded the 2012 All Star Game and during the home run derby Mark Trumbo hit a ball so far that it hit the top of the Hall of Fame. That ball now resides as the only non-Royal member in the hall (minus of course the yearly Cooperstown exhibits). During this All Star game, each fan was given either a red, white, or blue t-shirt to wear at the time allotted. There was an arial picture taken from above in which the stadium looked like an American Flag was painted on the seats, thanks to the involvement of all of the fans wearing the correct color shirt. Look closely at the stands in the picture of a picture below and you can see what I am talking about.

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Luckily, the rain started to clear up a couple hours before game time and it turned out to be a beautiful night for baseball. We got a free KC Royals T-shirt thanks to T-shirt Tuesday at the park…it is an XL though so I gained a new PJ shirt. Before the game we noticed that their was a much older fan base than some of the other parks. During the game you could hear the sounds of the water fountains, which is definitely unique to that stadium. The screen was seriously massive, I cannot believe there is one bigger. The lion mascot, Sluggerrr, was highly involved in the game and the in between inning festivities on the scoreboard. The crowd had a chance to meet Sluggerrr by texting the correct answer to a trivia question that came on the board after the first inning. The winner was announced in the top of the 5th. The away scoreboard cycled through electronically and if you tweeted with the hashtag #RoyalsTweets your tweet may be feature on one of the screens that runs across the second deck.

Two cool things I noticed about shopping at the K were that they had a full New Era store and you can buy game used Royal memorabilia.

There is a red seat that sits right behind home plate and is the Buck O’ Neil legacy seat. Buck was the first black coach in Major League Baseball. This is seat is rewarded to a member of the community for doing some kind of awesome service to another or a member of a meaningful community service organization. It is a reward for the people, nominated by the people. They are recognized on the scored board after the 2nd inning. Unfortunately the home team lost to the Twins 3-0.

I was super excited to meet up with MegaBus Matt at this KC game! Matt is doing a 25 day, 25 game tour to raise money for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and he only budgeted $700!!!! I won’t steal his thunder because his story is incredible, so check it out for yourself. http://www.megabusmatt.com He is an awesome person and I am lucky that our journeys’ will meet again in DC and to get to catch another game with him.

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KC is also very proud of their contribution to breaking the color barrier in baseball. They were home to the most well know Negro League team, the Kansas City Monarchs. Most have heard of this team because Jackie Robinson played for them before becoming the first ever African-American MLB player for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Buck O’ Neil was the manager of the Kansas City Monarchs and played a great role in creating the Negro Baseball Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is located in the famous “18th & Vine” district. This area was made popular during the 40s and was a birthplace of Kansas City Jazz.

The Museum was incredible! We watched a short documentary on baseball history….which I am always down to learn more. The Field of Legends was an imitation field with statues of a player at each position including Satchel Paige pitching and Josh Gibson behind the plate. I definitely daydreamed about what it would be like to actually be on the field with these amazing people…best daydream ever. The museum was full of information we spent a couple hours during filling our heads and taking in some incredible baseball history. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures inside the museum…you will just gave to go for yourself!

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And of course we HAD to get some authentic KC BBQ while we were in town. We went to world famous Arthur Bryan’s, it was totally cliche and totally delicious. I also saw so much excitement over the Boulevard Brewing company, it is a local favorite. I tried their Pale Ale with our BBQ lunch and I must say it was pretty good too, a great version of a Pale.

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Kansas City was surprisingly more awesome than I expected with a ton of stuff to do. And I think “The K” was absolutely gorgeous.

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I though that sign was quite fitting.

Colorado’s Cow Balls

I had to go through a whole lot to get to Coors Field!

I never thought I would be scared to drive anywhere during the day. I was wrong. On the drive from the Grand Canyon to Denver, I was genuinely afraid to pull over no matter how bad I had to pee. Not only did we drive through a red desert full of absolutely NO visibility dust storms, I’m pretty sure we found the meth capital of America. Scattered across the God-forsaken desert were random skull painted, worn down shacks….with nothing around them for miles. The closest thing to them would be a couple tattered, worn down, puzzle pieced together double wides.  But even those make shift communites were a couple miles down the highway. And, it wasn’t just one creepy, horror movie scene, meth kitchen shack…we saw multiple! No store or gas station for miles and miles….perfect for the drug fiend. Obviously, there is no evidence for our case other than our wild, but surely accurate imaginations

Let’s rewind though and talk about the amazing Grand Canyon. Patrick’s exact words were “Be ready to have your mind blown.” No matter how big I thought I could think…my mind was blown. I could just stand and stare at the majesty of that hole in the ground for hours. It was breath taking and definitely humbling. It reminded be of how small I really am in the world. I definitely cannot wait to go back and go hiking!
We drove right by the four corners, so I was planning on having one extremity in four different states. It was going to be an epic picture! However, we didn’t realize that the whole four corners experience was an actual park, with a closing time. Midnight was definitely not a park hour and we didn’t even get to drive up to the corners spot. We were both pretty bummed out.
We ended up sleeping in my car at a random camp spot. We are equipped with a tent, but decided on the car because it was below 40 degrees…and we are pure bred Texans, who don’t like cold. Even though we were inside the car, I was smart and still used my sleeping bag and I was warm all night. Patrick on the other hand is ” a man for God’s sake” and decided on just a small fleece blanket. I got to say “I told you so” and didn’t feel bad for his frozen toes one bit.
Once in Denver we split ways. We both have family in the city and had the chance to see them. I managed to see every Spieker that lives in the Denver area…and that my friends, is no easy task. My lovely cousin Kristina and her little boy Jayden (the little boy in the picture with me at the bottom) let me crash at their house for the time I was there and I am quite thankful!
The energy outside of Coors Field was high, full of excitement and there were tons of vendors outside the park to get people prepared to watch a great baseball game. Peanuts, cotton candy, seeds…all of the important things.
My aunt got us GREAT tickets 6 rows behind the dugout for the game on June 1st against the Dodgers.  Because it was a day game I was unable to attend a tour, but as fate would have it I sat next to a die hard Rockies fan who taught me all I needed to know about the stadium and more.  Allan Brandt has been a season ticket holder for 20 years…ever since Coors Field has been in Denver. He is on the left…unfortunately my photographer didn’t know how to use the camera phone, and cut me out of the picture.
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The park was built around an on old rail yard and while in construction they found an dinosaur egg. Their stegosaurus mascot, Dinger hatched not long after.
As far as tickets are concerned, one has many options.  The Coors Clubhouse sits behind home plate and includes an all you can eat dinner. If you’re looking to keep it on the cheaper side, look for tickets in the Rock Pile. The Rock Pile is a second deck, bleacher only section in center field and you can find ticket as cheap as $4. There is a fan picnic area on grass level under the out of town manual scoreboard in right field. This was the Rockies 20 year anniversary. For all season ticket holders who have been holders all 20 years, like Allan, they gave them a gift card equal to 10% of the price they paid for this years tickets.
I realized that the Rockies are incredibly kid friendly. They announced the Jr. Starting Lineup at the beginning of the game. There were 9 of them and each had their own position. They took the field before the home team ran out, with a brand new shiny baseball and a sharpie. The Rockie of the matching position signed it for them before warming up, leaving them with a memory they will never forget, and a story they will tell their grandkids. There is a concession stand just for kids in left field called Buckaroos. If there are any future sluggers or hurlers at the game they have batting cages and speed pitching in the outfield experience. They even had a fantasy broadcasting booth, which was tempting but instead I decided to jump in the cages.
If you aren’t sitting in the upper deck it would be hard to notice the purple stripe that circles through the nosebleeds. This marks exactly one mile above sea level. The stadium itself was pretty impressive, built out of brick and had a great downtown location. We were walking distance to plenty of places to eat. If you go to a game I would definitely suggest walking to hang out somewhere after the game and let traffic die down. It was pretty terrible.
Allan told me that the game balls are stored in a humidor until they need to be used in the game. This is because the altitude of the park makes the ball just fly. If it weren’t this way Coors Field would probably have twice the homer runs as it does now.
Coors Field had a great selection of food as well. My sister would be happy to visit because it’s the first field I had seen with an entire gluten free stand, with beer and all! Some others I noticed were berry kaboobs… a.k.a chocolate covered strawberries on a stick. They sold the fancy nuts like you see at all of the malls during the holidays at a couple kiosks. I was pretty impressed with their craft beer selection as well, but as much as I wanted to try something new I had to have a Coors Light at Coors Field…cliche.
Allan decided it was imperative for me to try rocky mountain oysters. He knew I wasn’t from around there when I told him I didn’t like seafood, I guess I set myself up for that one. He disappeared for a while and came back with a fresh batch of fried cow balls and marinara…as if the sauce would do anything for the terrible visual I had as I bit into disgustingness. I almost threw up.
But hey, I tried them. YUCK
I really like how the Jumbo Tron told us how the Rockies obtained each player that was at bat. They Rockies also love them some Troy Tulowitzki. They have their own chant for him, that the whole stadium engages in and the Jumbo Tron says “TULO-git To Quit” as he comes to the plate.
 Thanks to Cargo and Cuddy I got to see the water fountains in the outfield after a Rockies homer.
Before the 3rd inning there was a “Finish the Lyrics” contest for a fan to win a Coors Prize pack.  After signing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” during the stretch , they crown sang along to Hey Baby! (If You’ll Be My Girl). The Rockies version of a mascot race is the “Comfort Dental Tooth Trot” after the 7th inning. There is Fresh the toothpaste, Toothy the Tooth, and Bristles the Toothbrush who face up each home game. In The middle of the middle of the 8th a lucky fan got to gamble a little bit in the High/Low game. They picked higher or lower by using the players number as the showed on the screen. If they get it right four times in a row they win free tickets to an upcoming game..
The energy was high from the time we walked in until Dexter Fowlers walk off hit in the bottom of the 10th. The fans were fun and I even saw a Texas shirt in the crowd!  I had a great time in Denver and I was so glad I got to see my family. I was also glad the Rockies beat the Dodgers 🙂
 Next up-KC ROYALS
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The Fan Friendly Snakes

Driving through west Texas is quite possibly the most boring drive you can ever make. In fact, El Paso is closer to California than it is to it’s own states capital and there is a whole lot of absolutely nothing in between. We did, however, find a Dairy Queen to stop for dinner…surprise surprise there was a DQ in a random small West Texas town.

I was super excited because we had the chance to stop and see my Grandpa and Uncle Doug aka Dougie… in Elephant Butte, New Mexico right outside of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. I think NM gets the award for the most ridiculous city names. My Grandpa is quite the spry character. Aside from his incredibly strong political views and epically big grandpa hugs, he is an avid karyoke singer. We had the pleasure of experiencing his entertainment on a very personal level in his bedroom…and it was fantastic. I was very grateful to get to see Dougie and gramps, even if it was just for a little bit. We arrived late Saturday night and left after lunch on Sunday, but something is better than nothing.
We then headed straight for Phoenix. I had been to Phoenix earlier this year for Spring Training and I was excited to get back, it’s a fun city. Thanks to Tina Pangle we were set up nicely at the Sheraton. Free club level room with access to the lounge and a free bottle of wine and hors d’oeuvres, the beds were pretty comfy too. We ate dinner at a delicious Italian restaurant, Oreganos, where you are only allowed to order two Belinis per person…I ordered one and understood why that rule is enforced.
 Monday morning we woke up excited and faithful that the Rangers would take at least one of the double header games…unfortunately we were wrong. But, fortunately that was the only down fall of our day. I was very excited to see how well Texas fans travel…there were a ton of us there. Chase Field was incredible. The first indication was the incredibly easy Will Call. We bought our tickets the night before online on the ticket master site and when we got to the field it took us all of 20 seconds to get to the machine, swipe my card, and print our tickets. It was free cap night for the first 5,000 fans 21 and older…Budweiser promotion. The portion of 4th street that runs right in front of the field was blocked off. I am not sure if this happens for every game or just because of the street festival that was occurring in between the games. Outside of the main entrance there is a bar/restaurant called Arizona Sports 360. I didn’t go in but considering the location I would imagine it would be a great place to pre-game, if you’re into that.  There were tons of fans that showed up in time for the hat promo and I’m glad we did…it’s a good lookin’ cap. We both noticed the efficiency of the lines to get in the park, they definitely weren’t short, but moved quickly.  I noticed some fans with a plastic snake rattle. Most were red and black but some were purple and black, so that must be an ongoing tradition.
Once inside we headed to the gift shop to get our official Chase Field MLB Passport stamp. They had an “engrave your own Louisville Slugger bat”…incredibly tempting. The guy next to us in line spent over $100 and got a free pack of Arizona Diamondbacks gold balls. An odd perk at a baseball field.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have set out to be the most fan friendly team in all of professional sports, says their president. They have done an incredible job so far. They have created an interactive environment for all fans, young an old. This is obvious through their in game activities and their helpful staff/guest relations. My favorite activity was the sign making. They had a long table set up fully stoked with think permanent markers and poster board. All you had to do was walk up and get creative. They have a lucky little kid who gets to announce “Play Ball” at the beginning of each game. I’m sure that’s something most of those kids will never forget. In a very unique way, the Diamondbacks have two hosts that come up on the scoreboard at least once an inning…They walk around the ballpark with microphones and walk you through what is going on and all of the promotions. Throughout the beginning of the game they do what is called the 50/50 raffle. Fans can purchase tickets for as little as $3, the money is collected and when the time comes a winner is drawn. They win half of the total money collected and the other half goes to the AZ Diamondbacks foundation. Unfortuanetely, I did not win, or I would be about $12,000 richer. You may also step up to any of the interactive kiosks and sign up to win a chance to spin a prize wheel, which everyone can watch on the scoreboard. In the middle of the third inning they did the hot dog race. This is where 3 lucky kids from different sections get dressed up in a hot dog costume; one with relish, one with ketchup, and one with mustard. They didn’t actually run, but the ran in place and moved their feet as fast as they could while a digital hot dog ran for them on the scoreboard. The winning hot dog awarded their entire section with free hots dogs. Every game they do a “Cheers for the troops,” where all vets and active military stand to be applauded. It meant a little bit more this time around, considering it was Memorial Day. In the middle of the 5th they did the typical kiss cam…I secretly really want to be one that one day…as long as I am with the right person. One thing that really impressed me was that they did a trash pick up at the beginning of the 7th. I felt like I was in an airplane and “passing all trash to the center isle.” Their Diamonbacks promo girls were quite active at the end of the game, but I wasn’t a fan of their pom poms and cheerleaderness…wrong sport. They did, however, wave big Dbacks flags with D. Baxter, their wildcat mascot. I didn’t catch the story as to why the Diamondbacks have a cat mascot.
During the second game the entire crowd gave a standing ovation for a WWII vet, sense of pride ran through my veins and gave me chills.
Their prices are also incredibly reasonable. $4 for a beer and $1.50 for hot dogs and small soft drinks. Makes a family outing much cheaper at Chase Field than almost any other park. Their food selection was also impressive. I saw everything from TCBY and ColdStone to FatBurger to Subway. This was also the first baseball game where the vendors chanted, “Get your Rice Crispies here!”
If you have a big group you can reserve the section with the pool in right center…that’s right…pool. Get your swimsuits and sunscreen and watch some baseball poolside. I was jealous.
As far as ballpark details, the seats were all tilted towards home plate and their scoreboard was very descriptive. It was the first time I have ever seen captions for what the announcer is saying…but then again this is only park 4 of the trip and 7 that I have seen in my lifetime. It also gave an updated inning summary in case you’re too busy looking in the nose bleeds above home plate to see which flag the clearly ex- baton/flag twirler was spinning. The amount of time she spent spinning those flags was quite impressive, given her age. Apparently her name is Cindy and she is there almost every game, even though she was all alone in her section.  They also had an epic pre game trailer that got fans excited to watch Diamondback baseball. We got to see one game with the roof covered because the day game was pretty hot, and the night game with the roof open. The park is beautiful both ways. I even got a little chilly when the roof was covered.

After the Rangers lost the first game but gave us an exciting 9th inning, we had a couple hours to kill at the street fair. For the kids there was a bounce house type batting cage and pitch throwing extravaganza. And, for those of age there was a beer garden complete with outside draught beer and drinking game. We would have owned at corn hole, just sayin’. Instead, we decided to save the crowd the humiliation of losing to us and headed to the Legends bar about a block away. Great decision. This was the perfect in between double header game hangout. It had a great selection of craft brews, and I love to try new beer. Kiltlifter from the Arizona Four Peaks Brewing Company is one of my favorites, when I realized they had it on tap my exact words to the bartender were “I love you right now.” But, because I always have to try something new, we also tried their Peach Ale…it was fantastic. The place was packed and we were quoted 45 minutes for a table. Luckily, the patio was large and active…we found a good spot out there and met some really awesome people. One who played soccer with Ian Kinsler as a little boy.
Considering there was a double header there were no ballpark tours we could attend. But, thanks to my friend RJ, we got connected with their tour department. With the fan friendly environment they have, Bryan White was more than happy to take us on to the field for pictures after the game, and was patient as we asked questions and picked his brain. This proves their dedication to their “Find A Way To Say Yes” attitude, because I’m sure everyone at that park was exhausted after such a long day. Bryan told me that the president of the Dbacks Derrick Hall is the one who has set out with the mission to make the team so fan friendly. I emailed him and told him I thought he has done a great job. Staying true to his mission, he returned my email and invited me back…very cool of him. The last thing Mr. White told me about was the sedona red seat located in the left field section. There was a season ticket owner who wasn’t too happy with the decision to change the Dbacks colors a couple years ago. He was well known and adamant that the new color was “just red” as opposed to the Sedona Red the team calls it. After he passed away his seat was painted red.
I had an absolute blast in Phoenix, as I did the last time I was there. The fan based culture the Dbacks have created is one of a kind. They truly believe that the fans are the most important and that there would be no baseball without them. Fans fall so much in love with the game and their players and teams and contribute to baseball’s great story.

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Houston Fans Follow Through

My favorite ticket story of my trip so far is how I got the tickets to see the Astros on May 21st.

Obviously, I have been planning this trip for a long time and I have been excited about it for 10 months prior to leaving. And what do you do when you’re excited about something? Talk about it. A couple months before I left on my trip I was doing what I do behind the bar… pourin’ beers, slingin’ drinks, and talkin’ baseball. There was a gentleman drinking Guiness and watching baseball sitting alone at the end of my bar top. He engaged in conversation with me about my trip and seemed to be interested. I found out that he lives in Houston, has been an Astros fan for years and is only in Cali temporarily to take care of his father. He finds out when I plan on hitting Minute Maid Park and then tells me he is a season ticket holder and as long as his brother is not using the tickets that he would give them to me! That is an incredibly nice offer and I was genuinely excited that he would do that. He asked me when I worked next and I told him I work every Friday at the same time. I gave him the benefit of the doubt, and was excited to see him “next time” like he said. A week passed and the next Friday I did not see him…I got a little discouraged, but let’s be honest…Astros tickets wouldn’t be hard to come by. The next Friday I was pretty busy and so when Joseph Lamas sat down it took me a minute to recognize who he was. Before I could ask him what he was drinking he handed me two tickets to the Astros game on Tuesday May 21st! I was ecstatic! I knew it was quite a drive from where he was staying to come all the way to my restaurant. I thanked him over and over again and poured him a Guiness. It was very encouraging to know that a complete stranger had enough faith in me and my dream to not only give me two of his season tickets, but to make the effort to have integrity in his word and make a point to come find me again. This Houston fan taught me that when you have baseball  in common with someone, you go the extra mile to help out and to follow through, because you sympathize with their baseball love affair.

Before the game I went on the “official” tour with Blake, as our tour guide. He was witty and sarcastic and had us laughing the entire time.

Minute Maid park’s central office is the old Union Station, and the entire park is built to mimic a train station. The archways and the ambiance of the park definitely gave me a train stationy feel. With the completion of Minute Maid in 2000, it helped business in the south side of downtown. Houston can say they are the only city in the world with two stadiums with retractable roofs, the other being Reliant Stadium home of the Houston Texans NFL team. Most games are played with the roof closed and if needed the park is a hurricane shelter. In Houston that’s an important factor. I did get to see the park with the roof both opened and closed. Watching the roof close was pretty interesting. I also would think that trying to find a fly ball with the roof on would be quite difficult.

My favorite part of Minute Maid park was the plaza outside centerfield. It was a mini park complete with a home plate, stands and statues of two of Houston’s pride: Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio. Another favorite was that they paid homage to these two players, Nolan Ryan, and other Astro greats by giving them a Walk of Fame Start so to speak. Their names were listed on the sidewalk inside a concrete carved baseball on the sidewalk of Texas Street.

Worth noting–If you’re looking to grab a drink before or after the game check out Texas Street. I grabbed a good ole Lone Star a the Home Plate Bar & Grill and then walked right across the street to the park. Perfect!

The Astros started as the Houston Buffs minor league team until 1961 and fed the St. Louis Cardinals. Their new logos since moving to the American League are are actually the old school font form this team.  They then played as the Colt .45s at Colt .45 Stadium until 1965 when the Astrodome was finished. This was the world’s first domed stadium and the Astro’s got their name from the city’s participation in the space community. This was also the first major installation of ChemGrass, better known as AstroTurf.

Joseph’s tickets were first row right above the home team’s bullpen in centerfield, I definitely wasn’t complaining. We watched Bud Norris warm up before trotting to the mound to get the game against the Royals started. We sat next to another season ticket holder, and his Royals fan friend, Kenny. Kenny was incredibly nice and actually bought us a beer, that’s always greatly appreciated. I learned that the whenever the Astros hit a homer the longhorn that waves a Texas flag on the digital screen was a tradition brought to Minute Maid from the Astrodome. They did the kid that steals a base and gets to take it home if he runs in enough time after the 3rd. If you’re lucky enough to sit in Jack’s Lucky Section you win free Jack In The Box. Possibly my favorite food endorsement…probably because I am obsessed with Chick-fil-A… was the Chick-fil-A foul poles. If an Astro hits a foul pole during a home game fans can you their ticket for a free chicken sandwich the next day. “Chickens are fair, Burgers are Foul.” One thing that really threw me for a loop was the salad bar…it just seems a little out of place. I will definitely be eating hot dogs and drinking beer at my games but I’m sure there are some people thankful for the healthy choice in Houston.

The stadium was not full, at all. It actually made me sad because the park is gorgeous! I was really impressed by the jumbo tron, it was huge and incredibly clear. They also display what type of pitch is thrown next to the speed of the pitch, which I thought was unique. There is a season ticket holder whom all of the Stro’s fan recognize with a sombrero and a HUGE mustache that sits/stands in the home run alley. Home run alley is between left and center field and is also home to the Home Run Pump which counts every home run hit in Minute Maid Park by the home team since the stadium was built. We were lucky enough to watch it go from 1200 to 1201. To go along with the whole train idea of the ballpark there is a train that sits high above home run alley. It looks to be normal size but in reality the wheels are slightly above 5 feet tall, much like the Astro’s 2nd base man, Jose Altuve, and the oranges that the train carries are each the size of a beach ball. Contrary to popular belief, the train is not automatic but actually must be driven by a conductor every time the Stros hit a homer or win a game.

Unfortunately, the home team lost 7-3 while we were in tow. I really do hope that Houston will start to show more love to their team, because I didn’t even feel like I was at a big league game. But, that just proves that there are definitely ups and downs in baseball.

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