Baseball Trek – Summer 2019

Old Jan 15th, 2020, 10:17 AM
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Baseball Trek – Summer 2019

I like to write trip reports of our European trips but have never written one for anything in the US so I thought I would go ahead and do this. Weirdly, I enjoy writing trip reports plus I like to be able to pull them up and read them every now and then. So here goes – a quick recap of our fun trip.

Baseball Trek – Summer 2019

A few months after I retired, my brother in law proposed that he and I (both fairly avid baseball fans) go on a baseball trek. It took a while to figure out a schedule but we found a 15 day period in June of 2019 where we could drive from Atlanta and see 5 major league games, 3 minor league games and visit the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

A big part of the trip was getting to the ballparks early so we could do some exploring and eat ballpark food (a lot of which was surprisingly good) as well as watch the game. We also spent time exploring the cities, visiting museums, trying local foods and pretty much just finding local adventure. My brother in law likes craft beers so we searched for local bars and enjoyed lots of good local beers on this trip.

Here is a quick rundown of our trip. I ended up doing all the driving (which was fine with me) and we drove about 2600 miles. We stayed in the downtown area of every city (Waze worked great to get us around) and we later figured out I had driven in all 5 boroughs of NYC. What a fun adventure!

Day 1 – Drove to Charlotte Knights AAA minor league at BB & T Park. We were surprised that our tickets gave us access to the private, enclosed Diamonds Direct Luxury Lounge behind home plate. Great views of Charlotte skyline behind center field.

Day 2 – Drove to Pittsburgh – explored surprisingly vibrant downtown Pittsburgh. Had a few craft beers at local bars then fun dinner at an Italian restaurant (Girasole) on Copeland. The owner, servers, food and entertainment were all very nice.

Day 3 – Explored more of Pittsburgh. Went up Duquesne Incline. Found the original Primanti Brothers restaurant and had a sandwich of grilled meat, melted cheese, an oil & vinegar-based coleslaw, tomato slices, and French fries between two thick slices of Italian breads. Walked around Yinzers in the Burgh looking at all Pittsburgh team’s sports apparel. Walked across Roberto Clemente bridge to see Pirates at PNC Park. Great views of Pittsburgh skyline behind the outfield. Some of the buildings had a light show when the Pirates hit a home run.

Day 4 – Drove to Allentown IronPigs AAA minor league at Coca Cola Park. Very nice ballpark was packed with enthusiast fans. Good game too - the IronPigs had a walkoff win.

Day 5 – Drove to Philadelphia – explored downtown Philadelphia – visited Barnes Foundation Museum – subway to see Phillies at Citizens Park – Wiz wit Philly Cheese Steak from Tony Luke’s at the ballpark.

Day 6 – Drove to Brooklyn - stayed at B&B in Park Slope – visited my nephew in Williamsburg – lunch at Roberta’s Pizza. Dinner at Bamonte’s.

Day 7 – Drove to Queens to see Mets at Citi Field. Lunch at Porsche Club at the ballpark. Dinner at Chinatown in Flushing.

Day 8 – Metro to Metropolitan Museum of Art – had lunch and spent the afternoon in the museum. Metro to see Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Game eventually postponed due to rain.

Day 9 – Drove to Cooperstown and explored the town. Local bar for craft beer.

Day 10 – Visited the Baseball Hall of Fame all day (absolutely incredible and well worth the trip) then drove to Hyde Park hotel.

Day 11 – Visited FDR home. Lunch at Bocuse Restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America. Drove back to Park Slope B&B in Brooklyn.

Day 12 – Nephew showed us around some of Brooklyn. Saw a performance of Broadway in the Boroughs – songs from the casts of Hadestown and Mean Girls. Walked through Prospect Park. Lunch at Tom’s Restaurant. Subway to Coney Island – walked around boardwalk and pier – Nathan’s hot dog. Saw Brooklyn Cyclones A minor league at MCU Park.

Day 13 – Drove to Baltimore and had crab cakes at John W Faidley Seafood Raw Bar. Walked around Inner Harbor – water taxi to Fort McHenry.

Day 14 – Father’s Day afternoon game at Camden Yards to see Orioles. Before game, fathers and their kids were invited down on to the field to have a catch. Soft shell crab sandwich at the park. Drove part way home after the game.

Day 15 – Drove home
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Old Jan 16th, 2020, 05:27 AM
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What fun, john183. Did you have a favorite?
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Old Jan 16th, 2020, 08:13 AM
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Thanks. You did a portion of my husband's bucket list! He's only been to the following parks so far: Dodger stadium (of course), Angels, Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs, Red Socks, (then) Montreal Expos, Phillies (then Vets Park), NY Mets (then Shea). A lot more to cover!
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Old Jan 16th, 2020, 08:53 AM
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TDudette - we both liked Camden Yards in Baltimore the best. It is relatively old but still wonderful. We really did have a great trip. It turns out my brother in law and I are fairly compatible for a trip like this.

surfergirl - Your husband and I both have a lot more to cover - but it is a fun task. Minor league games are fun too. A lot more personal than the majors. Besides the ones we saw on this trip I've only seen these major league teams in their home parks:

Atlanta Braves
Kansas City Royals

Minnesota Twins
SF Giants
Miami Marlins
Texas Rangers
Milwaukee Brewers
Tampa Bay Rays
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Old Jan 16th, 2020, 08:58 AM
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Here is a link to all the pics I took on this trip. And it is a lot - sorry. I just added them to an existing album I had already set up. Most of them have captions to identify where they were taken. I'm mainly including it here so I can quickly look at them whenever I'm on this forum.

https://rhinerivercruiseaugust2018.s...m/pictures/702
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Old Jan 16th, 2020, 12:32 PM
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Wonderful trip, John! It inspires me to do the same, maybe once I retire. Baseball will still be around then.
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Old Jan 16th, 2020, 12:38 PM
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Charlotte's skyline is pretty nice!

I had to laugh about your description of Camden Yards being old....Memorial Stadium was its predecessor that we attended for many years so Camden is new to us! I'm still bitter about the Colts leaving town. LOL
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Old Jan 16th, 2020, 08:13 PM
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mac_kraut - Thanks. The trip exceeded all my expectations. It was fun to see all the different ballparks and to explore the cities. And if you are even a casual baseball fan, the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown is a must see. We spent almost an entire day there and loved every minute of it. And you are correct, baseball will still be around when you retire.

TDudette- Charlotte and Pittsburgh had the best skyline views. All my Baltimore friends are also bitter about the Colts leaving and especially about the way they did it. I lived in New Jersey for a while in the late 80's - early 90's and my job took me to many cities in the mid-Atlantic area. While on business trips, I went to Shea, old Yankee stadium and old Veterans Park in Philadelphia. All these parks have been replaced by new ones and they are all newer than Camden Yards. Atlanta is on its second new stadium since Camden Yards was built. I also went to many Orioles games at Memorial Park. A group of about 20 - 30 friends took off from work, met at a friends house in Columbia and made a day of it going to the Orioles opening day every year. We chartered a bus and usually went to Fells Point after the game and partied late in to the night. The next day at work was always very rough. Did I mention those were my young, wild days? LOL.

One year, my parents came to visit me and I got tickets to an Orioles game at Memorial Park. As we were getting off an elevator trying to get to our seats, Joe Garagiola bumped in to my mom as he got on and never said a word to apologize. My mom never forgave him for that.

Last story - I promise. My company had season tickets in a box next to the Governor's box at the then new Camden Yards in the early nineties. One of the great things about those seats was access to the private, enclosed bar area on that level. Once during a game I went to the bar for a drink and there was one guy siting there - it was Frank Robinson. We chatted for a quite a while - pretty cool.

Last edited by john183; Jan 16th, 2020 at 08:18 PM.
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Old Jan 18th, 2020, 01:23 PM
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Meeting Frank Robinson would be huge. One can do such 1-day trips when young, eh?! Thanks.
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Old Jan 19th, 2020, 04:59 PM
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ps-At some point in the 1980s, we saw an Os game with a balk, a grand slam, and Earl Weaver getting ejected.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2020, 05:13 AM
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I know baseball is just a game but it sure is fun to see all the crazy things that can happen. Here in Atlanta we are used to seeing the manager get ejected. Bobby Cox holds the all time record by far. It was a lot of fun to watch all the Braves Hall of Famers play during their heyday in the nineties. One thing I wish I could see live would be a no-hitter.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2020, 07:04 AM
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Some years ago I came into a modest inheritance from a relative who was very distant to all but a couple of my immediates. I decided to "blow it" on an all-expenses-paid spring training trip to Arizona for me, my son, and two nephews (no nieces in the family.) We flew to Phoenix and spent, as I recall, four or five days attending at least one, and sometimes two, "Cactus League" ballgames daily. The weather was gorgeous, the Mexican food to die for, and when we weren't at the ballparks or en route to/from, we took drives out into the desert, around Scottsdale, etc., or hung by the pool. We got to see all the big stars and a lot of future ones, autographs galore, and plenty of good baseball. And did I mention the Mexican food?

It was about as good a break from wet and dismal Seattle as it gets.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2020, 09:45 AM
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A friend of DH's did that Gardyloo, but to Florida. He absolutely loved the entire experience. The few times we free-loaded with DH's parents during spring training times, we enjoyed those games. Even more than attending minor league games.
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Old Jan 24th, 2020, 06:45 PM
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I have always wanted to go to some games in the Grapefruit League but it just never worked out. My brother in law lived in Tampa for a while and was able to see quite a few spring training games. He said they were great.

What a nice way to spend the inheritance. Phoenix seems to be about the exact opposite of Seattle. When you remember all the good things about the trip you will remember it was made possible by your relative. If only I had such a relative....
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