Reds vs Braves 8/3/19
The Game: Boy, what a game it was to watch for the finale of my trip! Braves scored early in two different innings. The new rookie for the Reds that went off late in the season (Aquino) hit his first ever home run to tie the ball game up 3-3 later in the 7th. It was Trevor Bauer’s 1st ever game pitching for the Reds after he was traded from the Indians. It was also the 1st game with the newer Braves bullpen of Martin, Melancon, and Greene. Their reliever Lorenzen walked 3 straight players to allow the Braves to go up in the 8th, however Greene blew his 1st save opportunity for the Reds to tie it 4-4 in the 9th. I was able to witness Acuña Jr hit his 1st ever walk off hit. Man what a close game! Braves win 5-4!
My highlights: The whole day. It was sort of a dream. I got to see my cousins and their kids in the morning with one playing a high school softball game. David and I arrived in the early afternoon for a free tour of the stadium. I have a friend I grew up playing ball with back in my home town who happens to have a pretty good position in the Braves organization who really helped me out and treated me well. We got on-field batting practice access which allowed me to finally get a Braves player’s autograph...Charlie Culberson. It was so cool to finally for the first time ever be on the field for batting practice at an MLB game. We got tomahawks, I got a game used ball, and just absolutely loved the whole game. We even got to take pictures on the field after the game. My dad and old college roommate came up to attend the game with me! So fun...and absolutely relieved to finish the trip. Whew!
Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Blue Jays vs Orioles 8/1/19
The Game: My cousin happened to be pitching for the Orioles for this game, but unfortunately the Blue Jays were really good...not just against him but the whole Oriole pitching crew. Lots of homers and doubles hit in this one. Vlad Jr was on fire in this game with 2 homers and a double. Final was Blue Jays over the Orioles 11-2.
My Highlights: The craziness of being able to be at this game with my cousin pitching is a miracle in itself. His last name is Wojciechowski and was originally playing for the AAA Columbus team under the Cleveland Indians. Around the beginning of July he was traded to the Orioles. He had a few rough games but still managed 2 fantastic games vs the Red Sox and Angels. His number happens to be #29 and this was my 29th stadium on my tour pitching the exact game I knew I would be attending a year ago. All I can do is scratch my head and say “wow”. He goes by “Wojo”, because that’s a lot easier than the 13 letter version and I was able to make and buy a black jersey with that on it. So happy! The community relations dept for the Orioles was able to bless David and I with free tours of the stadium too. It truly is an amazing ballpark, and everyone around the US told me how nice it would be. I wish I could have chatted and visited my cousin more at the game, but couldn’t since he was busy pitching and everything.
Braves vs Nationals 7/29/19
The Game: Fairly close and hard fought game on both sides. The only reason the Nationals won was because of a 6th inning Grand Slam by Rendon. Braves had some chances, but couldn’t make the Nationals pay for their 2 errors enough to overcome the run deficit. Final with Nationals beating the Braves 6-3.
My Highlights: David got to go downtown DC and explore the National Museum of African-American History and Culture. I stayed back at my friends place we were staying several nights in order to rest and gather my thoughts and plans for the upcoming and final days of the trip. Getting to sit behind the Braves bullpen and chat with some of them was a treat. :). I actually won a free* cruise with Diamond Resorts from those spinning wheel games at the entrance to the stadium. I was shocked at the deal...and the * does mean some $ was involved, but I’m getting a crazy good deal on a week long vacation in the US plus a free cruise. :)
Citizens Bank Park
Braves at Phillies 7/27/19
The Game: Sorry Phillies, but yall didn’t show up to this game till it was over. There was so much scoring in this game first by the Braves and then later on by the Phillies. Inciarte and Acuña Jr both hit 2 run homers in the 2nd inning. Albies hit a grand slam in the 3rd inning. At one point the score was 14-1...yea. We almost thought it was going to be another Yankees vs Red Sox game we had seen just a few days ago, but Phillies had fun hitting the Braves battered bullpen around...as the trend was then. Final was Braves over the Phillies 15-7.
My Highlights: As a Braves fan, the whole game. :) I didn’t get too loud or show off type as the Braves were pouring on the runs, but man...it was hilarious. The Phillies fans are true to their uniqueness. They boo their own players, they try to start chants anti their head coach and then verbally argue with other Philly fans, they sing “Fly Eagles Fly” (a football chant) at least 10 times at a baseball game, and were basically done with Harper as a player this evening with him striking out 3 times. I did enjoy the stadium style and design. It was really cool to be there for the 1 game of the year where fans could go down and stand and shake hands/get autographs by nearly all the players of the team. Really cool idea and if they ever did that for the Braves, I wish I could go.
Pirates vs NY Mets 7/26/19
The Game: We didn’t get to the stadium/game till the 3rd inning due to traffic and distance. Thankfully we got there just in time to see McNeil hit a 3 run homer. Pirates had really good opportunities early in the game to score a bunch, but only able to get 1 run. Pirates were still struggling in the 2nd half of the season while this was the start of a really hot Mets team. The Mets committed 3 errors in the game and still managed to win due to key home runs. We even got to see Pete Alonso crush a homer, his 34th of the season. Another stat highlight was seeing Lugo get his 1st save for the season. Mets ran away with this game from the Pirates 6-3 final.
My Highlights: Really great side adventures up in Plymouth stopping to see historic landmarks in the city and region. National Landmark of our Forefathers, I highly recommend checking that out and learning more of our history as a Nation. I really enjoyed Citi Field and is definitely in my top 10. The layout of the stadium, the staff, parking, the field, and all was really nice. After the game David and I headed to explore and drive in manhattan down straight through Times Square at midnight while also seeing Ground Zero. Fun long day with enjoyable stops and game. This was the shortest game time wise of 2 hours and 20 minutes. So quick!
Yankees vs Red Sox 7/25/19
The Game: It’s a game I’ve been anticipating since I made the itinerary last August. Yankees vs Red Sox. Red Sox at the time are about 10 games back from NY, and it’s a pretty important series for them as a team of trying to make playoffs. They started off hot scoring 7 runs in the 1st inning off of Tanaka. They scored 5 more in the 4th with a total of 12 against him. It was a butt-whoopin all around. Bogaerts hit 2 homers, scoring the first and the last runs of the game. The first was a 451 footer mammoth shot over everything and everyone on the Green Monster in left field.
Final was 19-3 with Red Sox running circles around the Yankees in this 1 game.
The adventure of parking on certain sides of the street...is a headache in itself. After parking was figured out for the day, my friend David and I headed out for the Sam Adams Brewery tour at mid-day. The tour was pretty simple and relaxed. After that we headed over to the stadium for an early afternoon tour. We both enjoyed the tour very much. The temperature was quite high and afterwards we headed back to my friends place. We later headed back to the stadium and enjoyed the atmosphere of the park and the fans. Best moment of the night was in the 8th inning, the game is completely over. It’s 16-3. The fans are chanting the “Yankees Suck” chant, and all of a sudden Red Sox player Sandy Leon hits a bomb to right center field while stadium wide chant is going on. Timing couldn’t be any better for that.
Indians vs Blue Jays 7/23/19
It was a pitching duel on both sides. The only run the Indians scored was from a deflected ball in the 3rd inning. Blue Jays may be having a rough year, but this was a really good game by them. Not a lot of hitting, and really good fielding too. Blue Jays player, Smoak, hit a home run in the bottom of the 9th to tie the game, and then later in the bottom of the 10th the same player (Smoak) hit a game winning single! It was so exciting to finally see a home-team walk-off win!
Final 2-1 with Blue Jays barely getting by the Indians.
This was my 1st ever time going into Canada! It was also really amazing to see and visit the Niagara Falls. I had heard and learned about them as a child, so to see them with my own eyes was a dream coming true! The Canadian side has made a section of town such a crazy and cool looking touristy area. It was also great to meet up with a friend I made down in Cleveland, so it made the trip more enjoyable being with a familiar face. I got a lot of people honking at me for my lettering on the sides of my vehicle for my trip. I guess the Canadians appreciate a crazy American? Haha. Toronto was beautiful and massive. So many large skyscrapers. Their downtown area was really cool to walk around in. I saw their version of Canadian “walk of fame”, tried a local brewery, and enjoyed the game there in Rogers Centre. I do hope to go back and check out other places.
Rockies vs Yankees 7/21/19
Rockies came out with a strong offensive showing early and often against the Yankees...which can’t be said too often of them over the course of their season. Blackmon, Arenado, Story, and others for the Rockies were fueling most of the scoring. Yankees did get a few runs, but they were mostly from solo shot home runs. Due to the George Washington Bridge traffic chaos, I didn’t make it to the game till about the 3rd/4th inning. The game play was still fun to watch.
Final 8-4 with Rockies over the Yankees.
I had heard from many people all over the country that this new Yankees Stadium wasn’t that great, so with that in mind I tried to find the nice parts about it. It has a Coliseum feel to it as you approach from the outside design. The location of the old stadium is used at green open space and ball fields for people to play on themselves, which NY can use all the green open spaces they can get. The NY Yankee accent was pretty funny to hear while talking to local fans at the bar in Center Field. I got to go with a friend I made at the All-star game in Cleveland, so it was a treat to see a familiar face in very populated NYC. I didn’t get a chance to try the special foods they may have to offer at Yankee Stadium. It was personally a treat to see Yankees lose since I’m from Georgia...and NYY are the type of team where almost everyone else doesn’t like. It’s just how the dynamics are of the team. It was also 1 of the hottest days of the year at the game, so very hot 1 PM Sunday afternoon game for sure.
Phillies vs Pirates 7/20/19
This was a good one with in-state rivals between the Phillies and the Pirates. Being a Braves fan, I was rooting really hard for the Pirates. :). Pirates struck 1st with 3 runs in the 3rd inning. Phillies managed to get a run in the 5th inning, but Pirates got out of a jam because the Phillies were in position to score lot more runs. Pirates added 2 more runs as the game moved along. There was a small 45 min rain delay, but no problem. I left in the 8th inning due to needing to get sleep, but the final score was the same. No home runs were hit in this game.
Final 5-1 Pirates over the Phillies.
Still fresh off the mental stress of my car situation and buying literally a brand new one, getting to go on a tour of PNC was a breath of fresh air that I needed. The tour was really good and let’s you really see all the different points of the stadium. My hosts took me to an amazing Argentinian restaurant and beer cellar while exploring town that afternoon. The game I went to was a celebration for the 1979 World Series Pirates team. Both teams were wearing retro jerseys, all the former players and coaches that could make it were acknowledged before the game, and even the scoreboard was re-design3d with the old school ‘79 pixel details. It was a fantastic and much needed day and game. Being at the baseball games helped my stress of the car and route melt away.
Great American Ball Park
Cardinals vs Reds 7/18/19
Tough game for the Reds in this one. They started out pretty good with a solo shot in the 1st and more runs in the 3rd. They started falling apart a bit in the 5 when the Cardinals got a 2 run homer, but then Tommy Edman hit a Grand Slam in the 6th to really bust the game open. Reds got another run back in the bottom of the 6th, but to no avail. What was really sad about the Grand Slam is that a play or 2 earlier it looked like to have been a throw-out play at 1st where the runner just barely made it back to be safe...setting up for the Grand Slam.
Final: 7-4 Cardinals over the Reds
I really enjoyed this stadium, and a big thanks to the Reds Community Relations dept for getting me a ticket! I went to this game alone, but I always meet people and make new friends real easily. The hilarious bobble head was of Puig on a horse with his tongue out. Haha. It’s definitely a keeper for sure. The Cincy folks reminded me of Braves fans down in the Deep South...it’s a bunch of good ‘ol folks. The Reds are celebrating their 150th year as a team, so the decor and emblems everywhere looked really good. I even got on the jumbo-tron again at this game! It never gets old, and I LOVE sharing about my neon sign for my trip on that big screen.
Update on the Subaru: turns out the brand new water pump (device that regulates flow of coolant into the engine) was a faulty one. So, I had to spend even more money fixing that issue. I know I can’t pay the work in full, but thankfully there was a paying option for 3 months with no interest. I feel pretty solid about this fix with how the diagnosed every little thing about how my engine was running.