August 14, 2009.
I’ve heard everyone has times – moments – that define, or change, their lives. Some say it was the Kennedy assassination. Others, 9/11.
Some say it was when Wal-Mart moved to town and some say it was when they saw their first episode of Hawaii 5-0 (the new series starts in September, by the way).
Me? August 14, 2009.
The day after my 22nd birthday. And, the beginning of BRT. What’s BRT? Why, the Baseball Road Trip, of course – the voyage that made Moses’s desert storm look like a two-hour drive down California’s Highway 1 (we did that, by the way).
26 days. 18 cities. 14 baseball games from both coasts (and a little bit of Midwest action).
The first day was, as I mentioned, August 14 at Detroit’s Comerica Park. Brandon Inge hit a one-run, 9th inning home run and the Tigers beat the Kansas City Royals, 1-0.
Not a bad opener.
It was a blur. By September 2, I was delirious on the roulette floor of Las Vegas’s Paris. It was hard to believe that I had just been in Times Square, Wrigley Field, Fenway Park and Santa Monica.
The month was a quick memory. A flash in the pan.
The greatest trip of your life.
There is Reunion this weekend (BRTR) which I am unable to make. I’m sure the others will get on without me. But, that being said, I offer up some more memories and awards.
BEST MOMENTS ON THE FIELD
-Manny Ramirez and Matt Kemp hit back-to-back jacks in a losing effort against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
-With the Rally Monkey on the big screen at Angels Stadium, Kendry Morales hits a home run against the Oakland Athletics.
-A.J. Burnett gets slaughtered at Fenway Park. Four home runs go over the Green Monster.
-The scoreboard at Progressive Field (Cleveland) shows the entire Angels line-up has a season batting average over .300.
-While we wave signs saying, “Thanks for nothin’ Rios!”, new White Sox outfielder Alex Rios starts the game against Kansas City this way: 1) grounds into an inning-ending double play; 2) gets called out for bonehead base running between 1st and 2nd.
-Inge homers in the 9th. Night one.
-The Cubs win at home against the Pirates and “Hey Chicago, what do you say?” screams over the speakers.
-Prince Fielder hits a moon shot off the big screen in centre field. Longest home run of BRT.
-After Pablo “Panda” Sandoval puts the Giants ahead, closer Brian Wilson almost blows a three-run lead to Arizona in the top of the ninth.
-Italian Sausage at CitiField in Queens, NY.
-Roethlisburger at Pepe’s in Pittsburgh.
-Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich at the Phillies game… made better only because the”go-to” places for cheesesteaks (Geno’s and Pat’s) were terrible. “Do you want real cheese or cheese whiz?” Nuff said.
-Large, bagged Dill Pickle at Miller Park in Milwaukee… also, tailgating in Milwaukee… also, the eating of the first Extreme Bean in Milwaukee… also, the cheap beer in Milwaukee.
-A large suite in Cleveland and free parking that was cheaper than a dangerous, uncleaned room in Chicago with parking for $40/night.
-The Rally Monkey.
-The Manny Wig.
-Dwayne… a security guard from U.S. Cellular Field (south Chicago) that “Dwayned” (i.e. zoned out) while looking at the big screen for… oh… the whole game.
-The guy in Canton who drove while sleeping.
-Suzanne Somers, who said, “Let’s all pretend we know each other” before our photo with her.
-Pete Rose. We were amazed to see him signing autographs in Caesar’s Palace. And then we saw him the next day. And then, when I went to Vegas in December, he was still there. Hell, he’s probably still there now.
-The girl from The Dugout in Wrigleyville.
-”The Bloods” from the ever-blue collar, gangster sprawl of San Francisco.
-The cab driver that kicked us out of the car in San Fran for being “foreigners”.
-The hotel clerk at The Sheffield House in Chicago who was… drunk.
-The piece of work from Enterprise Rent-a-Car in Toronto’s Union Station.
If I’ve left a few things up in the air and some questions unanswered… well, I can’t help that. A code’s a code. But I’m sure your curiosity is peaked.
White Cover Staff
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