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The Boys of Summer 2004
FINAL UPDATE - So, here I am, sitting in my own room, in my own house, typing on my own computer. It feels kind of strange after not seeing any of this stuff for 45 days now. The last couple weeks of the trip we visited stadiums that I had been to several times so I was more excited to complete the trip then to see the sites. The excitement of the trip ending started to really take over. To see all the faces I was familiar with, to get back to a normal schedule, to get out of the confines of the BA2K4 mobile and to say that we had finally accomplished a long time dream was starting to become a priority of mine. Now, it's over. The final game had been seen. A month and a half of adventures across the country is no longer. As much as I was looking forward to this moment, I already miss it. We arrived at Petco Park around 5 p.m. and became media sluts as we interviewed with pretty much every news outlet in San Diego County. Thanks to family friend Sue Gibson we were featured a featured story on Channel 4, Channel 8, Channel 9 and a number of other local stations. We were also mentioned on radio shows across the country. Celebrity is kind of a cool feeling. We were all a little tired to do the interviews, but nevertheless it was pretty cool to get some recognition. Seventy-nine tickets had been purchased and seventy nine people showed up for the final game. The excitement among the group was very uplifting as the people who had been following us could be a part of completing this dream. The game was between the Rockies and Padres. The home team lost just as they did when it all started. The game for once wasn't the focal point of the evening but rather the PR we all had to do in telling stories and memories to everyone who wished they could have been with us. Near the end of the game we ran into a lady named Michelle who had seen us on the pregame show earlier in the evening. She claimed that we were her heroes and she had to meet us. She left her home, snuck into the game and did a full search of the upper deck in order to find our group. She eventually found us and showered us with gifts and stories. Her excitement seemed to explode once she met us. After the game, she followed us to the car where she had us sign her shoe (her thing with people she meets) and joined us in the picture taking festivities. It was kind of nice to have my signature on something that was also signed by future Hall of Famer, Tony Gwynn. So, there we were. In the parking lot of what was the finale of our trip. What do we do now? There was a HUGE group of people there to see us add the final decal on our map (which we lost) and see the Baseball Adventure reach its conclusion. We all finished our picture taking, received our congratulations and then it was over. We went home and now, it is tomorrow. I have work tonight and school starts sooner than I think. The games on TV seem so distant but now I realize that every time I watch a game I will have a story of my own of "I've been there" or "That's where I sat" or "When we were there. . ." In my own personal opinion, baseball has come to life even more than it already was. Baseball is now a part of me more than I thought possible. I, along with Jason, Jeff and Tucker have done something that any extreme fan would want to do, and even though we'd all have a few changes, I believe I speak for all of us in saying that it was everything we had expected and more. I already miss it. I miss the overnight drives to make sure we caught the first pitch in Tampa Bay. I miss waking up every morning and packing the car up the same strategic way to make for maximum comfort (if comfort was possible). I miss the fights. Even though Jason probably wanted to kill me the entire trip, I personally feel closer to my brothers than I ever have. We had our ups and downs, but many more ups. The laughs, stories, adventures, and fights all meshed together to form what I can definitely say is the greatest summer of my life. I obviously will never forget this memory and will be sharing its stories for a long time to come. So, Jeff, Tucker and yes, even Jason....... thank you. Thanks for sharing and allowing for me to share with you what I can say was an adventure of a lifetime. I don't think anything in my life can quite compare to what we went through the last 48* days (45 for me, there you go Jason, I got my asterisk). As for now, I have to be at work in the morning, so my bed is screaming my name. But part of me wishes there was yet another game tomorrow.
July 9, 2004 7:05 PM PT - Hey guys, we are currently putting together the final photos we took down at Petco Park, along with some final thoughts and updates from our trip. For all you new guests please enjoy our website as much as we did creating it. Last the final group of Miss Baseball polls will be up soon, please check back and vote. The finals will begin July 16, remember top 2 of each group moves onto the finals.
July 8, 2004 2:17 PM PT - We are currently on the 5 South heading towards our last stop, San Diego.We have a couple appointments with some San Diego media before the game, including being part of the pre-game show of the San Diego Padres.Since our Uncle Richard joined the adventure and traveled with us from L.A. to S.F. seeing 2 games, we asked him if he would write the update for that period.So here it goes.Dodger Stadium.Streak over. After 84 straight saves over two seasons, Dodger reliever Eric Gagne finally blew one in the ninth inning against Arizona, AND WE WERE THERE!!!!!And even though the Dodgers came back to win in extra innings, it was a great night all around.We all agreed that the save is a dumb stat, and the streak was a dumb record, and Gagne is a dumb looking dumb guy, but we had to give him credit for doing something that has never even been approached in baseball history.Even the Dodger faithful put down their beach balls long enough to give him a curtain call (why they were still there in the ninth inning nobody can say).Thanks to Mom for the awesome beans and rice (we can eat at home while still being technically on the road), and the company at the game was great (Dee Dee, Amy, Dad, Isaac, Mom Aleece, Uncle Richard).As any season nears its end, the teams expand their regular rosters, so we decided to add a late season pickup to the team.Uncle Dick (The Master of Asterisks, Keeper of the Jetball) had a free day to travel north to San Fran., so he tagged along with us for one more game. What an honor.What a thrill.The man is a baseball encyclopedia of knowledge and trivia, and his sense of the rules of fair play, his honesty and integrity, and his impartial iron rule over all our internal squabbles kept us on the straight and narrow, even if only for a couple of days.He even put in some driving miles, just to get his name forever into the record book.Welcome, Uncle.You add a touch of class to The Adventure.On to San Francisco.By way of Gilroy.Modesto.Buttonwillow.Fresno. McKittrick.Wasco.Lost Hills.And dozens of other glittering jewels of California culture.Oh, yeah, the ballgame.Willie and Willie.The Cove.The Bottle.The Four-fingered Glove.The right field chickens.The cable car.The Sheboygans.The Barroid Shift.The Seagulls.The wind and cold.The bullpen blowing a giant Giant lead.Michael Tucker.J. T. Snow.Jason Schmidt.Maybe those Giants are on to something.Thanks to the Schmitz Family for the beds and the apfelpfanikuchenklangfarbenkachen(dont ask).Thanks to Cousin Stooge for the FREE tickets.Thanks to Cool Cuz K for a wonderful time.Thanks to Uncle Kaboobala for everything.And lets take it on home. - Uncle Richard
July 5, 2004 2:12 PM PT - OK, so its been a while since the last update but whats new?Some things just do not change.We left Oakland after a great breakfast heading for Denver at around We decided that we wanted to stay in Rawlins, Wyoming for the night and had driven enough to get to Denver on time for the game.Jason got sick so we had a slight change of plans and stayed in Evanston, Wyoming, a city right on the border of Utah and Wyoming.The next morning we got up and out around eight in the morning to be sure to make the game time in Denver.Once again we experienced another fun filled drive packed full of nothing.The only thing we saw worth stopping for was a huge bust of Abraham Lincoln.No Wall Drug, no corn palace. Wyoming needs to take some tourist lessons from South Dakota.We finally got to the park about an hour before game time and had to scalp tickets for it was fireworks night at Coors Field.We took our seats and Jeff and I decided to take our stroll to search for Miss Coors Field.On our way we ran into Marcia Smith, the reporter from the Orange County Register that is running a story on us and our adventures.We stopped and talked for a bit until Jason and -Tuck Daddy- showed up to get their interview in.After a small conversation, a great lunch and a few pictures we went our separate ways.The game was kind of dull but quick so we were glad because we had a long drive ahead of us to Phoenix.All was going as planned until Chawls (Charles) Johnson came up in the bottom of the ninth with two on and hit a jack to tie it up.GREAT!!EXTRA INNINGS!!Top of the tenth started off with a home run from the Tigers so we thought ok, it will end in the tenth. The Rockies led off with a double in their half of the tenth and then on a sacrifice bunt attempt there was an error and the batter reached second with a run scoring.Wonderful, another tie.Well, the next batter did the same thing and the game ended on two consecutive errors, Rockies winning 9-8.The fireworks show was awesome after the game with fans covering the outfield grass and a finale that was so powerful it made my chest hurt.After the show we all decided to drive through the night to Phoenix and get there with enough time to take a four hour nap before the game.We drove and drove and averaged a good speed the entire way.Jason originally wanted to stop for a bit but the rest of us thought that we might hit traffic or weather on the way which we could make us late for the game.At around seven in the morning Jeff and I realized that we would be arriving in Phoenixaround eleven in the morning rather than three in the afternoon.After discovering our slight miscalculation we shared a great laugh and decided to stop at MontezumasCastle, a small cave dwelling in Arizona.We got to our hotel at around two and Jason and Jeff took a nap while Tucker and I made our last trip to Marie Callendars for our last visit for free food.Thank you Bill!!So, after a much needed nap we headed towards the park.One hundred and fifteen degree weather does not make for a pleasant experience but with the retractable dome we were not worried.To our surprise the dome was not closed but with the A/C that the ballpark had it was still cool inside, kind of amazing if you ask me.The game itself was uneventful and lacked the ninth inning heroics we saw in Denver.The Diamondbacks played the Twins and lost, this did not seem like much of a surprise to the fans that are sick of their losing ways after winning four years ago.After the game was over we took to look at the contraption of balls going down ramps.Makes you feel like an idiot that it is so entertaining, I guess you kind of have to see what it is.The next stop was home.Finally, after over a month we were on our way to see a game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.We got into town after a short six hour drive and split up to see the people we have wanted to see.Jeff and I went to Moms, Jason met up with Aleece and Tucker went home to greet his family.Before the game Mary, my dads girlfriend, hosted a small bbq for us before the Fourth of July game.As we got to the game we were excited to see our home town team once again.Today they were facing the Dodgers and once again could not pull out a win.They finished the trip winless in the games we saw them play, pathetic!We enjoyed the game in the company of Dad, Mary, Mike, Terri, Judy, Jolie, Aleece and Isaac, thanks for sharing the experience with us.After the barrage of pictures we needed to take we called it a night.There was one catch about staying in our hometown, well, for Tuck, Jas and Jeff there was.Our Uncle Richard told us that if we went home and slept in our own beds then hit the road again it would be cheating or like starting the trip all over again, so we had to find a place to stay.Tucker stayed at his friend Kristens house, Jeff with Dad, Jason with Aleece and I stayed with Kelly (there you go, you made the website!!).The next day was the Dodger game and I am getting carsick, so our honorary guest, two game adventurer Uncle The Asterisk Richard, will resume the rest of the update at a later time.Three more to go!!!Love you all and see you soon enough. - Mike
July 2, 2004 3:02 PM MT - Hey guys, many stadiums have helped cut the costs of the trip by giving us complimentary tickets but we finally got a ticket that we did not really want.Mike is the guilty one, he got a speeding ticket from Officer Garcia of Washington State Patrol who was on a power trip because he did not only give us a ticket he thought he was so good he pulled over another guy at the same time.He was proud of himself.Anyways we arrived in Concord, California early Wednesday afternoon where we met up with Grandma and Grandpa Bleskey.Of course the table was already filled with snacks, fruit and other munchies and the smell of lasagna filled the house.Always seeing Grandma and Grandpa is a plus, but it was a bummer they could not make it to the game with us.We visited and told them about the trip as Grandma always wants to be kept updated and Grandpa shared some of his baseball moments from the old days of Warren Spahn in Milwaukee.We arrived at Network Associates Coliseum, home of the worlds largest foul territory, where we were greeted by Uncle Stefan and our number one fan, Aunt Janice.It brought back memories of when we used to meet at the ballpark when I was attending San FranciscoStateUniversity, Wednesday night games, two dollar tickets and dollar hot dogs.Although from previous experiences I have learned that fifty percent of the hot dogs are not consumed but rather piled with condiments and then used as projectiles through the stands at the other teams fans.Not to worry we kept a good amount of ammunition ourselves but ended up eating them when no threat was shown.So we picked up our complimentary tickets at will call thanks to Matt Bennett and the Angels organization and spent the first two innings in the seats below and then headed up towards the top to meet the rest of the gang from up north.After making a long trek themselves Dad and Joe made it to the game where we also were greeted by Cousin Karen and Virgus.Always great to see a game with dad, especially when the Angels are playing.While watching the game we ran into the loudest and annoying fans during the whole trip, and of course they sat right behind us, but I guess you can not complain for $2 seats.The game was kept close with a 2-2 tie after Adam Kennedys 2- run homer, but Oakland scored 2 in the 8th.The Angels blew their chance by getting shut down in the 9th after Vladimir Guerrero ran himself into an out by rounding first base too far and got hosed when trying to return safely.Of course immediately after the 3rd out was made my phone rang and Grandpa was there to rub in the loss, but it is ok because the season is only half way done.We headed back to the parking lot where we removed the excess luggage and had Dad and Joe take it back home to give us a little more room for the last stretch of the trip.Then came the traditional ritual where Aunt Janice was the honoree of placing the Oakland completion sticker on the back window.Look forward to seeing you all again Tuesday at the Giants game.We said our goodbyes to the Coliseum and Mount Davis (A section of seats added for Raiders games that have a view close to that of your ant farm at home) and headed back to Concord where we slept for the night.The next morning we got a wake-up call, but this one was different; this one was the smell of French toast being cooked from the kitchen.Thanks Grandma!Since time was a factor we had to leave early and head towards Denver a total of almost 1300 miles in two days.You may think that is nuts but tomorrow night we have to be in Phoenix a total of 900 miles away.Check back for an update from Coors Field home of the Colorado Rockies.Talk to you guys later.- Jeff
July 1, 2004 5:04 PM PT - The Rocky marathon has officially been launched on the BA2K4 trip.Sorry, you can not tune into your local station and watch one of the best sports series ever.On a side note Miss Jacobs Field is coming for the title of Miss Baseball with over 40 votes received today.The mayor of Cleveland must have rallied his people to vote.Anyways got to run Rocky II is starting at .Look back later for an update from Oakland where we got to meet up with baseball adventures number one fan, Janice Schmitz along with some great competition in the home-cooked meals by Grandma and Grandpa Bleskey. -Jeff
June 30, 2004 2 - Were driving, were driving, were driving, were stopping, just kidding, still driving.Howdy yall! I am writing you from the wonderful 5 freeway in northern California.God I love being sorta home.Since Mike last wrote, we have driven through five new states including the wonderfully boring south Dakota, beautiful Montana, and Idaho where we met up with my brother Gary and a few of his buddies from Moscow Idaho.Dave Ting was kind enough to let us stay at his place.On top of giving us shelter, he let us use his washer and dryer, set up poker night on the unusual Sunday night for us, and fed us.When I say fed us, I mean he cooked oysters and hot dogs and then barbequed the greatest ribs in the history of barbequing ribs.Emeril who?He promised to post the recipe on our website so keep an eye out.While in Moscow we also hung out with a few of Gary and Dave friends, so here are my shout outs. Mikes 2 year old drinks like a fish, Rob is the doctor in town, Stiles has a big mouth, James kicked my butt in poker, Lance and his wife have a huge kid and Lance took my friend home with him.Yeah I dont about Lance either. Joes boy is massive too.I think they are putting something in the water up in Moscow.On top of poker and the barbeque, we got to experience the first annual barbeque toss in Daves backyard.Dave won the competition out of a field of 1 participant(s).He lost points on style after taking a nasty roll down the stairs, but he recovered with a world record breaking toss of 4 feet.Nice toss Dave.Keep training, Im coming for your title next year.After sleeping off the long night, Gary and Dave took us to The Breakfast Club for a well, breakfast.We said our good byes and left for Seattle.It was a long drive through a lot of nothing, but we made it in time to barbeque again with Brian Focker Crawford, Chris Badilla, and his cousin and girlfriend (miss Safeco).Although the game was uneventful, the stadium was an overall good experience.As you may know Safeco has a retractable roof, but this roof is completely separate from the stadium making the stadium open unlike MillerPark or Minute Maid.The roof is like a mobile awning that slides over the stadium like a giant umbrella.The Mariners lost the game to the Rangers 8-5 but there was a streaker in the 6th inning which brought life to the game.On our drive through Oregon we stopped at a few minor league parks and in Salem-Keizer we met Steve.Steve works at Volcano Stadium and allowed us to come in and walk around for a bit.Thanks Steve.We are now currently on our way to the Oakland game.Check back in a couple of days for another update.Adios amigos! - Tucker
June 29, 2004 12:10 PM PT - (Continued from previous update) The Badlands is a National Park that we drove through.Before entering the park itself we took a bathroom break and ran into a couple bikers who showed interest in our car.We talked for a bit and left, thinking that was all we would see of them.In the park we took one stop to get a close up view and the bikers stopped at the same spot so we said hello to them there.The last stretch of the park we were right behind them as we exited the park and passed them, waving for what we thought would be our last goodbye, more on that in a bit.We got to Wall Drug, which is a mile long drug store offering everything including restaurants and different things to entertain an otherwise bored traveler.We stopped for lunch and ordered buffalo.It was the first time we all had it, except Tucker had chicken, and it was not too bad.Right when we ordered we were treated with yet another surprise, the bikers showed up to eat at the same place we were at.Of course we all shared a laugh and a few more stories and we though at this time we had to give them one of our shirts and the favor was then returned by Danny and Brandy, yes we were on a first name basis, giving us shirts of their own.We told them we were headed towards Mount Rushmore and they told us about a scheduled blasting at the Crazy Horse Memorial.We saw Mount Rushmore and headed towards Crazy Horse where we spent the four hours walking through the museum and tailgating in the parking lot, making soup and chili.The people in the parking lot, who came to see the blasting saw what we were doing and came over to see what was up.Jeff and Jason talked to a family from Detroit while Tucker and I entertained a family from Florida on their way to Alaska.The group on their way to Alaska bought two shirts and the family from Detroit bought six.We talked so much with the Alaska group (John, Karen, Debbie, Tom) that they actually invited me to meet them in Calgary on July 9th to finish the journey with them.Very tempting.The blasting started and we all were excited.Before we actually got settled in to watch the rest of it, it was over.Very anticlimactic but I think we were all glad we stayed anyways.Supposedly we saw 187 tons of rock blow off of this mountain.After the blasting Jason went to throw our trash away and guess who he ran into.You guessed it, or maybe you did not, but Danny and Brandy crossed our path again.This time we all greeted each other with hugs and took more pictures.As we left Danny left us with this advice.It went something like this, picture this with a group of bikers behind him: -You guys go home, go back to school, get a good education, get really good jobs, pay your taxes, pay your social security. . .so we can keep (riding) for the rest of our lives!-After the farewell it was off to Moscow, Idaho where Tucker will update you all in a couple days.Until then, take care, love you all and we will be home soon enough. - Mike
June 28, 2004 4:19 PM PT - Just a quick note to inform some of you guys. We got an e-mail from a friend telling us to post more pictures. Just a reminder if you click on each individual photo on the photo page it will bring up other photos from that same venue. Check them out and enjoy. Well, well, well, the good times keep rolling.It has been 36 days since the 3 originals (Jason, Jeff and Tucker) left home, and only 8 stadiums lie in our path until completion of the baseball adventure.We woke early on June 22nd to allow us to pay a visit to the NegroLeagueBaseballMuseum.Although it is not a hall of fame, it pays homage to the many greats who were not allowed to display their skills and talents with the rest of America in the major leagues because of the color of their skin.To hear about players such as Josh Gibson, who hit over 900 home runs in his negro league career, not having the chance to give Babe Ruth a run for his money makes you wonder how different this game would have been if there were no segregation.The museum offers great facts through informative displays, videos and artifacts of old jerseys, trophies and equipment.To hear stories on how players such as Satchel Paige, Cool Papa Bell, and Jackie Robinson would travel on a Negro all-star team playing white teams and fill stadiums to record capacities was not out of the ordinary.But it was sad to hear that when these players left the stadium they were not allowed in local restaurants, bars or even to occupy a room in the town motel.People would come from all over to see them play, but disgrace them anywhere away from the stadium.Upon conclusion of the museum you walk through a field of legends which is comprised of an all-time Negro leagues team of life-size bronze statues.A great place to visit and definitely recommended to any baseball fan that may come near Kansas City.We headed on our way out and were stopped by a pedestrian in the crosswalk who asked us if we were on a baseball road trip.He then introduced himself; his name was Rami and told us he recognized Jason from the beard page.Rami is an individual who is completing the same trip we are and is documenting his trip on rotoworld.com.We have written back and forth to one another a couple times trying to see if we would possibly have the same game.Overlooking the fact that we were both in KC at the same time we thought we would be given the opportunity to meet one another in Anaheim.What are the odds?To talk to someone and then run into one another.This trip has revolved around the greatest game in the world, baseball but has brought great times and odd coincidences.Along with the NegroLeagueMuseum we took the time to visit the JazzMuseum, which was in the same building.This paid tribute to all the jazz musicians throughout its history.Offering different audio tours and examples of music along with hands on activities such as using a mix board or creating a harmony, it provided us all with a pleasant break from the rest of our trip.Aunt Janice would be proud that we made time for other things on our adventure.After the museum it was off to Kauffmann Stadium in Kansas City to see the mighty Royals take on the fearsome Tigers.Yeah, this was the game we were dreading.This late in the trip and we get to see the Royals versus the Tigers, talk about a drag.That whole mindset changed when we pulled into the parking lot.We parked next to a guy who immediately showed interest in our trip.His name is Kerry and he works for a local newspaper in Pleasant Hill.We got to talking and seemed to almost instantly become friends.He told us that he was supposed to meet up with some friends and would have extra tickets behind home plate and if we did not mind waiting he would give them to us.Of course, anything free we will not turn down, especially tickets.Just to be safe though, because Kerry only had two extra seats we met Scott who sold us tickets for five dollars a piece, kind of insurance for us to have a seat. We stuck around for a bit and exchanged stories and after a few beers made our way into the park, with a couple new friends.As we got into the park we went to our seats and ran into Rami one more time then went to our seats that we had next to Kerry.There we met DJ, a friend of Kerrys and settled in to watch the game.The entire game conversation flowed and Kerry shared a lot of stories with us as we did with him.The Tigers ended up winning the game, a blowout, 12-3 I think, but that was not the story of the day.The story was the people we met.Kerry showed us more hospitality than we could have ever expected.Treating me to two Kansas City Brickyard Beers and each of us a plush Royals ball, he made sure we did not go home empty handed.In return to his gestures we got him a Royals shot glass because he collects them and saw one that he liked.As a side note, we got the chance to take a picture with former umpire Steve Palermo.If you dont know who he is take the time to look him up on the internet, he has a great story. At the conclusion of the game Kerry wanted us to go to guest relations where we would sign the Royals guestbook.Here we were treated like kings.We met Jim and Frank there and were given more than we expected.We got certificates commemorating our first visit to Kauffmann Stadium declaring us official Royals fans, car flags, a bobble head, a hat, and pins for each of us.Not to sound corny but I guess you could say we got the Royal treatment.We went to the parking lot and parted ways with Kerry who left us with the suggestion of checking out a nearby minor league stadium, CommunityAmericaPark, home of the Kansas City T-Bones.We took his advice and headed towards there but not before I did a quick walk around Arrowhead Stadium, where the Chiefs play.The two stadiums share the same parking lot.When we got to the minor league park we saw that they had a game that evening and didnt plan on stopping until we saw that it was bobble head night.Of course, with the craze of bobble heads going around we had to get a ticket and get one, not knowing what it was.So we did, $4.50 got us a seat on the berm, an Al Gallagher bobble head (yeah, we dont know who he is either) and another game to add to our list. The T-Bones won the game 7-3.Now it was time for the long haul to Seattle for game number 23.On our way there our first stop was Oklahoma City one more time.Even though Jeff, Jason and Tucker had already gone, I had to see what all the hype was about Bricktown.It is all legit, truly the best minor league park I have seen.Just around the corner was the Oklahoma City Memorial, so we took the time so I could check that out too.The next stop was Sioux City where we saw Lewis and ClarkPark where the Sioux City Explorers play.The stadium was not anything that I would write home about. . . actually, I guess it was but it was still very plain nonetheless.Our next gas stop we paid homage to our trip hero Paul.Paul Richards, the camera guy, works for a company called Tradewinds, which makes iced tea.He told us that we can find it at a convenience store called Kum and Go.It was not until now that we found one so we had to stop to try it.Hey Paul, Snapple does not have anything on you!The drive through South Dakota had more to offer than we had thought.In my opinion, South Dakota should be known for the most pointless tourist attractions off the highway.The first thing we came across was the CornPalace.This was a building devoted to corn.Yes, it had a corn museum and a corn gift shop.Even got a smashed CornPalace penny.Dee Dee, how about that for your collection?The building itself is adorned with corn all over the outside of it that is changed out annually.This year it was a tribute to Lewis and Clark.Driving through the rest of South Dakota we came across the best advertised drug store in the world, Wall Drug.Just on our part of the drive we counted 94 ads, and that was not including the thirty miles we skipped to drive through the Badlands. (2nd half of this update will be placed on later this evening so check back) -Mike
June 23, 2004 4:15 PM CT- After leaving Busch we had a long haul ahead of us somewhere around 940 miles to get to Houston.We already missed our originally planned game against the Angels because we stayed around to see Griffey in St. Louis.Not a very exciting drive as we already traveled along the same road the only difference was we were going the opposite direction.We finally arrived in Houston at MinuteMaidPark home of the 2004 All-Star game, which is nestled in the outskirts of downtown.Not the best looking stadium from the outside as it appeared to be a convention center of some sort with a giant glass window.Surrounding the stadium were an assortment of painted boots each decorated differently to represent each baseball team.There were also generic ones to advertise the all-star game, check out the pictures on the photo page under the Ameriquest Photo Tab.We finally made it inside where the temperature dropped about 20 degrees upon arrival into the air conditioned retractable stadium which was obviously closed to keep the environment nice.Mike says he hates domes because of the use of Astroturf and I understand now why they use it.Although it has a retractable roof the grass was taking its toll from the indoors.It was very thin and patchy and I think I would prefer to play on Astroturf rather then dirt, what does Mike know anyways.Another odd thing about the stadium was that in dead center there is a flag pole in fair territory which is on top of a little hill.Although we did not get to see Andy Pettite or Roger Clemens, the game was rather exciting.The Pirates took an early lead in the fourth scoring four runs but the Astros answered in the fifth scoring five, enabling us to see the Minute Maid Train travel along the left field wall after a home run.The Astros would later win the game with a final score of 7-5.Upon our exit we paid visits to the bronze statues of Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio and the Conoco Gas Pump which keeps track of the total number of Astros home runs hit there since its grand opening.We headed out of the air conditioned ballpark into the humid night to get to the car where we finally end up at a Homestead Suites and called it a night.It was nice the following day to travel only 200 miles to get to our next game, the Seattle Mariners vs. the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas.Although the stadium is celebrating its tenth year it does not appear to be aging at all.I liked the way the outfield pavilion looked with the right field having a classic baseball feel with the grandstand appearance, while center field had more of a retro touch with white facades dominating your attention.It truly is a great park to see a ballgame, and we were again taken care of thanks to Seattle Mariners Pitcher J.J. Putz.Thanks again.The game was a beating as the Rangers would pull out a lopsided victory over the Mariners 10-2.After the game we were approached by possibly the nicest fans we have yet to meet on the trip.We updated the decals and stickers and headed on our way.You always hear people say Dont mess with Texas, well we did not.We got in there saw 2 ballgames and got out.We are currently on our way to Kansas City where we plan onvisiting the NegroLeagueBaseballMuseum and seeing a Royals game tomorrow afternoon.Always look forward to all your notes and messages.Dont forget to vote in the new Miss Baseball poll, and last thing Happy Birthday Mom! Wish we were there to celebrate with you. <3 Jeff
June 22, 2004 3:55 PM CT - Group 2 poll of Miss Baseball has been updated and placed on the balloting page. Keep the votes coming. Look back for an update on Texas including both games in Houston and Arlington. Talk to you guys soon.