Wednesday, April 25, 2012


The next stop on my trip was Washington DC.  I had been to DC a few times before but I had never actually seen anything.  Last time I visited I went and spent time with my friend who was injured in Iraq and was held up at Walter Reed Medical Center.  As a veteran it is very important for me to give back to the veteran community as much as I can.  I decided since I was in the area I would stop by Walter Reed once again and see if any soldiers needed somebody to hang out with for a little bit.  I entered Walter Reed into my GPS and made my way to the front gate.  When I got there the people at the security checkpoint informed me that Walter Reed was no longer a functioning facility and there was a new facility for our wounded warriors.  They gave me the address and I headed over there.  I made my way onto the base after receiving directions from a Navy security officer who was working the gate.  I loaded my book bag with stuff I’ve collected from different ballparks; programs, magnet schedules, books, etc.  When I was in Iraq and Afghanistan I liked to decorate my personal areas with things from my favorite sports teams.  I figured these soldiers could get better use of this stuff than I could.   I made my way to the hospital building and asked an Army Specialist if there was any way I could hang out with some soldiers who were kind of lonely.  She looked at me like I was from Neptune and told me to hold on while she asked her supervisors.  She came back and told me that I would have to talk to somebody in the Red Cross office and gave me the number.  I dialed the number and asked the lady on the phone if it would be possible to visit some soldiers.  She explained to me that this was a time for soldiers to deal with their new situations and get reacquainted with their families.  She told me I could come to her office and discuss it further if I would like.  I chose that option hoping I could have a better chance if I were there in person.  I made my way to her office and was greeted with the same response.  We talked for a while and she told me that the Army just doesn’t allow random visits anymore.  I found out that this woman was in Iraq and Afghanistan at the same times that I was and she recently helped the closing of a Red Cross office in Baghdad.  She told me that my best chance of interacting with our wounded heroes was at their dining facility.  She gave me directions to their dining hall but they weren’t the best.  They were directions that locals would understand but a new person could get confused easily.  I must of made a wrong turn and found myself heading outside of the base.  Rather than go through the hassle of going back onto base and trying to find my way around I gave up.  I made my way through the awful DC traffic and found my hotel. 

The Nationals game didn’t start until 7:05 so I had some time to kill.  The number one priority on my tourist to do list was seeing Arlington National Cemetery.  I have driven by and seen it from a distance before but I wanted to pay my respect to true American Heroes.  As I went into the welcome center I noticed all the pictures of ceremonies at Arlington.  As was taking pictures I received a call from a friend I was in Afghanistan with.  I told him where I was and he told me he always wanted to see it but thought it would be too emotional for him.  For somebody who truly understands the sacrifice of the men and women who are laid to rest here it can be a bit overwhelming.  I started walking towards the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers.  There is a big monument where JFK is buried but I had no interest in seeing that.  Yes he’s one of our most captivating American Presidents but to me Arlington is about the soldiers.  I got to the Tomb of The Unknown Soldiers as they were just completing the changing of the guard.  The changing of the guard is a ceremony that takes place every 30 minutes.  The tomb is guarded 24/7 no matter what the weather is like.  The soldiers who guard it and the most disciplined respectable soldiers I have ever seen.  It is the most honorable position in the military and my hat go’s off to each and every one of them.  I stuck around and watched the full ceremony.  I was blown away.  It’s an amazing experience.  I was lucky enough to be there for a presentation of a wreath ceremony.  It’s a simple ceremony where a group of four people give a wreath on behalf of a larger group to honor the unknown soldiers.  Part of this is a trumpet player who plays taps.  Every time I hear taps it brings tears to my eyes.  I put my sun glasses down and watched.  For any soldier who has been at a ceremony overseas and witnessed the final roll call, the soldiers cross, and taps being played for a fallen soldier you are changed forever.  It is easy to tell who the veterans are when you are walking through Arlington.  With groups of children on tours and other people talking the veterans are silent.  As they walk past the graves they read the names, they wonder how that person lost their life, and they thank them in silence.  Arlington National Cemetery is a very somber place for veterans such as myself.  Next time I am there I hope there’s not many more graves. 

I didn’t receive any free tickets from the Washington Nationals organization so I hopped on my stubhub app and bought a ticket for $2.  Getting down to the stadium is easy if you can stomach the DC traffic.  Once I got down there I found a spot to park for $10 a few blocks from the park.  I kept hearing that it was in a rough neighborhood but it really didn’t seem too bad to me.  I bought a thing of peanuts from a vendor outside for $2 and made my way towards the gate.  I didn’t have an actual ticket or even a printed one so I went over to the Ticket Service window and asked if they could print me one.  They guy said it was no problem and printed one for me.  As I was standing there I heard a man ask for a printed ticket because he printed his tickets offline and was visiting all 30 parks and wanted a ticket.  I asked him which park he was on he said it was number 8.  I got excited and introduced myself to him telling him that I was doing the same thing.  Lee informed me that he was from Detroit in DC on business.  He is trying to get to all 30 ballparks but not in one summer. 

When I got inside the park I instantly enjoyed the vibe of the park.  At the main entrance they had their four president mascots taking pictures with fans.  I took a look at the field and wandered around.  I saw a batting cage area so I decided to check it out.  The lady who was working as I walked in informed me that there was different areas for pitching and batting.  On the walls they had diagrams showing you differnet things like how to throw a curve ball or how to properly swing a bat.  I started talking to Chris, an employee of the area, and he explained to me all the different diagrams and how the pitching/hitting games worked.  He told me that this was his second season working there.  He was incredibly knowledgeable and was a good fit to work in that area. 

Walking around the park was interesting to people watch.  There were more people in business suits than I’d seen at all other parks combined.  I also noticed that it seemed to be a melting pot for baseball fans.  I noticed people wearing Tigers, Indians, Yankees, Red Sox gear.  I also noticed a lot of Montreal Expos hats which I thought were pretty cool.  The park was pretty empty so I made my way to the upper levels.  When a park is empty I like to see the view from the very top seat if possible.  I sat there for a bit and decided to find my seat.  As I was walking down I noticed that the second deck was like a giant party area.  When that place is filled later this summer I bet it will be a blast.  Another cool thing I noticed about the park is there are lounge areas everywhere.  There are tons of places to sit and enjoy a drink or eat your food at a picnic table. 

My seat for $2 was pretty amazing.  It was on the 1st base line right in foul ball territory.  Several came over my way but I was unable to snag one.  My section was a ton of fun.  There was one super fan in front of me who was dressed to the 9’s.  He had a fuzzy red hat and scarf with a blinking Michael Jackson glove and he kept getting the crowd pumped up.  The section was also getting fired up by the camera man who was assigned to our area.  Anytime they did something on the jumbotron such as kiss cam or dance cam people in my area got on.  The mascots kept making their way to our area as well.  Up close I also noticed that they were kind of creepy looking but the children loved them. 

During the game the Nationals welcomed home a group of veterans that were give a suite.  The crowd absolutely erupted for a standing ovation that seemed to last forever.  It always makes me proud when I see a group of veterans being honored in that way. 

I really enjoyed my experience at the park.  It is extremely fan friendly and the people were really nice.  That is defiantly a park I would like to visit for a Saturday afternoon game. 

Keep On Smilin- It’s Baseball Season!

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Bronx Bombers

I left Philly pretty early in the morning.  I planned on posting a blog but the Wi-Fi in the hotel I was in went out and the guy said that they couldn’t get anybody out to fix it.  I started to head in the direction of New York but stopped at a place with internet.  I posted a blog and worked on my next one.  After spending some time I got back on the road and made my way to NYC.  I had previously talked to Gary Herman of Royalty Tours and he advised me to get there early and park on the street to avoid paying 30+ dollars for parking.  I found a spot a few block away from Yankee Stadium and made the journey.  I tweeted about this and several people informed me that the Bronx was a bad neighborhood.  It was 2pm and the game wasn’t until 8pm so I had some time on my hands.  I walked over to Yankee stadium and walked around the outside taking pictures.  I found the Yankees offices and tried to talk my way into getting in early.  The man told me I could try again later when more people there but I would probably get shot down because the Yankees were playing the Angels.

I walked back to my car and charged my phone while I talked to people.  Everybody kept staring at me like I didn’t belong.  I was really hoping my car would be safe for the duration of the game.  After my phone was fully charged I went back to Yankee Stadium.  I went into the Hard Rock CafĂ© and had a beer and looked over the menu.  Nothing really jumped out at me that I just had to try so I just decided to drink.  I hung out at the bar for a little bit but then decided to go on the patio.  I sat on the patio for a while just people watching.  Like any good American I love people watching.  I was amazed that the fans were at the park five hours before game time and they flooded the streets two and a half hours before first pitch.  After I had a few beers I made my way over to the McDonalds on the corner.  I figured I’d be better off to get something in my stomach now then pay insane prices inside the park.  As I ate my food I sat in the courtyard and watched the ticket scalpers try to work their magic.  It was very entertaining to watch and see the chain of command in their little world. 

When I left McDonalds I decided to check out what appeared to be a small bar called the dugout.  I walked in and it was flooded with people, which is expected before game time.  It didn’t take very long to get my beer.  The bar tenders were quick and efficient.  I walked towards the back of the bar and there was another room to the right.  A much bigger room with another bar and a lot more people.  They even had a little concession area that sold ballpark foods for way cheaper than ballpark prices.  I’m glad I stepped in there it was a pretty cool place.

I walked into Yankee Stadium and had to see the field.  The Stadium is more of a coliseum or an arena.  I asked an employee the quickest way to the field and they pointed me in the right direction.  I did my normal ritual and started to explore Yankee Stadium.  I had been to Yankee Stadium once before but it was a rather rushed experience so this time I was trying to enjoy myself.  I love seeing the baseball greats at every turn.  I really loved how they had pictures from decades of baseball around the entire park. 

My last time in Yankee Stadium I purchased a ticket at the ticket counter just before the game.  It was on the 500 level and cost me around $90.  It was an insane price and made me never want to sit in that area again.  This time around I got tickets from for the bleachers.  This was an excellent decision on my part.  The bleachers are where the true Yankee fans sit in my opinion.  They were so full of passion and it was truly contagious. 

Before the game even started they had to play the National Anthem.  As it was playing and I was paying my respects I noticed that two gentleman who were sitting next to me did not stand up.  I was offended by this so I said something trying to be respectful as well as not disrespect the anthem.  When it was all said and done and people were sitting down I asked the guy why he didn’t stand up.  He then explained to me he is a Jehovah's Witness and that it was against their religion to stand up for the flag but he meant no disrespect.  I was perfectly fine with that answer.  I believe that my generation is a generation of tolerance.  I’ve been around the world a time or two and I understand that your beliefs are your beliefs and people should respect that.  It’s also something I enjoy about this trip, I get to learn things like this regarding different cultures in American society.  I talked to him a while longer and found out his name was David.  He really didn’t want to offend me so he explained in detail why he didn’t stand up.  I know Jehovah’s Witnesses have a reputation for being a little over bearing but it wasn’t like that at all.  I gave David my contact information so he could read my blog at the end of our conversation.  The following day he emailed me a more detailed explanation of his beliefs on this subject.  I thought that was amazing and I will share with you what he wrote.  Flagsalute. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that bowing down to a flag or saluting it, often in conjunction with an anthem, is a religious act that ascribes salvation, not to God, but to the State or to its leaders. (Isaiah 43:11; 1 Corinthians 10:14; 1 John 5:21) One such leader was King Nebuchadnezzar of ancient Babylon. To impress the people with his majesty and religious ardor, this powerful monarch erected a great image and compelled his subjects to bow down to it while music, like an anthem, was being played. However, three Hebrews—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—refused to bow to the image, even on pain of death.—Daniel, chapter 3.

In our age, “nationalism’s chief symbol of faith and central object of worship is the flag,” wrote historian Carlton Hayes. “Men bare their heads when the flag passes by; and in praise of the flag poets write odes and children sing hymns.” Nationalism, he added, also has its “holy days,” such as the Fourth of July in the United States, as well as its “saints and heroes” and its “temples,” or shrines. In a public ceremony in Brazil, the minister general of the army acknowledged: “The flag is venerated and worshiped . . . just as the Fatherland is worshiped.” Yes, “the flag, like the cross, is sacred,” The Encyclopedia Americana once observed.

The aforementioned encyclopedia more recently noted that national anthems “are expressions of patriotic feeling and often include an invocation for divine guidance and protection of the people or their rulers.” Jehovah’s servants are not being unreasonable, therefore, when they view patriotic ceremonies involving the flag salute and national anthems as religious. In fact, when commenting on the refusal of children of Jehovah’s Witnesses to give homage to the flag or to swear the oath of allegiance in U.S. schools, the book The American Character stated: “That these daily rituals are religious has been at last affirmed by the Supreme Court in a series of cases.”

While not joining in ceremonies that they view as unscriptural, Jehovah’s people certainly respect the right of others to do so. They also respect national flags as emblems and recognize duly constituted governments as “superior authorities” serving as “God’s minister.” (Romans 13:1-4) Hence, Jehovah’s Witnesses heed the exhortation to pray “concerning kings and all those who are in high station.” Our motive, though, is “in order that we may go on leading a calm and quiet life with full godly devotion and seriousness.”—1 Timothy 2:2.”

As I said before the bleacher section was a ton of fun.  At one point there was a Boston Red Sox fan that was getting kind of rowdy.  There was a confrontation of some sort and the entire bleacher section erupted on this guy.  There were a few people who took it kind of far by throwing their beers on him but other than that it was kind of fun.  Eventually security came by and escorted the fan out as he flipped off the Yankee fans.  They ended up escorting out several more people who were sitting in that general area as well.  During the commotion the Yankees scored several runs.  The fans were amazing, and on their feet every time something exciting happened.  They showed Time Tebow on the giant screen and everybody booed him.  I got a good laugh out of this.  New York Sports fans are intense.

I was set to meet Gary and pretty excited about it.  He’s a seasoned sports traveler and has tons of knowledge to pass on to anybody who wants it.  He goes to over 400 sporting events a year and knows the east coast intimately.  We talked for a while and he gave me plenty of helpful tips.  As we were talking Douglas “Chuck” Booth came over to say hi as well.  Chuck is the world record holder for the fastest 30 ballgames.  He had previously seen a game from start to finish in all 30 MLB ballparks in just 24 days.  This season he was trying to do it in 20 days but after a few setbacks he is on pace to do it in just 23 days.  Either way you look at it, it’s nothing short of amazing.  We took our conversation down into the concourse so we wouldn’t disturb the people around us.  We sat there and exchanged stories and travel tips.  I gave chuck the information for my contacts with the Cleveland Indians and the awesome people at for his visit to Cleveland.  After a while we parted ways but I hope to see those guys again. 

I am trying to collect an actual ticket from each ballpark and not just one I download from stub hub.  I was telling this to somebody when Dima Raskolnikov overheard.  He asked more about my journey and then offered me his ticket.  He introduced me to his group of friends.  They were nice people and I was glad to have met them.  I walked around to get one last look at Yankee Stadium when I stopped on the 100 level to watch the rest of the game.  There was a young boy who was trying to get pictures and I told him to sneak up into an area where the ushers were trying to keep people out of.  I told him that he was a kid and nobody was going to stop him from trying to get a picture.  His father agreed with me and we started talking.  I told him about my trip and an idea that I had thought of earlier that day.  I would love to start a nonprofit group that helps soldiers returning home from tours of duty to chase their dreams like I’m doing.  I think it would be an incredible adventure and I love helping soldiers.  If anybody is reading this and can help please contact me.  The man I was talking to explained to me that he creates TV shows including reality TV and I may have a wonderful concept.  We traded business cards and said that we would be in touch with each other. 

I enjoyed my visit to Yankee Stadium this time a lot more than my previous visit.  I met a lot of great people which is what I enjoy most about this adventure.  I was asked last night on a radio interview that I did who had the nicest fans.  Off the top of my head I said Cincinnati but after some thought it was the Yankees fans. 

Keep On Smilin- It's Baseball Season!

Sunday, April 22, 2012


I left Boston kind of late in the evening.  It takes about six hours to reach Philadelphia and by the time I got there I was pretty tired.  This was another one of those times where getting a hotel really didn’t make much sense.  So I did what any normal person would do, I found a hotel parking lot, parked in the way back, and took a nap.  I woke up pretty early in the morning because I got cold and decided to start my day.  I looked up local YMCA’s on my phone and decided to head towards one so I could take a shower.  When I arrived there it was in what appeared to be a shady neighborhood and there was no parking.  I decided to forgo the shower and just wear a hat all day.  My next stop was a Starbucks.  I was hoping to get some writing done and post a new blog.  Starbuck did not have an internet connection so I just stayed there and did some writing.  My next step for the day was getting some food.  I couldn’t be in Philadelphia and not get a Cheese Steak.  I made my way over to the cheesesteak corner and went with Genos.  Everybody I talked to said I should go to Genos instead of Pats so that’s what I did.  I liked the feel of this place and it was really busy.  All over they had signs thanking military and police.  One sign in particular that made me laugh said if you can’t speak English get out of the line.  I ordered a cheesesteak with provolone and everything on it.  Every time I go to a new place and try something I try it just the way it’s intended.  It was pretty good.  A lot different than a Philly Cheesesteak from Subway.

I was still kind of tired so I decided to make my way to one of the parking lots in the arena district and take a nap.  I found a parking lot that cost $10 so I went in and parked there.  I took a spot that was un-crowded, tilted my chair back and fell asleep.  When I woke up there was full on tailgating going on all around me.  There were beer pong tables, hillbilly horse shoes, and corn hole being played everywhere.  Off in the distance they had a food tent, a ying-ling beer tent, and a band.  I sat there for a while and realized I was pretty thirsty.  I made my way over to the beer tent and realized that everybody and bracelet on their wrist showing that they were of age to drink.  I walked over to a table and asked a lady how I could get one.  She informed me that the tailgate was actually a fundraiser for fallen fire-fighters.  She told me I could purchase a bracelet for $95 and that included all the food and drinks from the tailgate plus a ticket to the game.  I told her that I already had a ticket to the game and I just wanted something to drink.  Just a bracelet to par take in the tailgating was $45.  There was no way that I was going to be able to get my money’s worth on that deal so I declined.  I’m all for supporting good causes but that was a little steep for my blood.   

I walked towards the park and walked around for a little bit.  I took pictures of the statues and people watched.  On feature I like about the outside of the park was all the sitting space.  If you are waiting for somebody to meet you at the game you have plenty of areas to take a load off your feet.  I made my way into the park and found my seats.  I was pretty early so there weren’t very many people in the crowd.  My seats were four rows up in left center.  It was a pretty good view and I enjoyed sitting there.  The people were interesting and entertaining.  The crowd filled in and I was in a sea of red, wearing my “cheers” t-shirt I picked up in Boston.  The beer guy for that was section was friendly and seemed to know everybody. 

One thing I noticed as I watched the game was how quiet the fans were.  There were a few people who would yell out something but for the most part it was pretty quiet.  When I expressed this to the gentleman next to me he said it was because they were mad at the team.  Apparently they’re only loud when their team is doing well.  I’ve heard how crazy Philadelphia fans are and I was kind of disappointed I couldn’t see it first-hand.  When I was in Pittsburg and saw the Phillies play the Pirates the Phillies fans were louder. 

The 7th inning stretch came along and I said goodbye to my new friends from that game.  I walked up to the corridor and met Andrew Van Cleve and the Ultimate Sports Baby.  The baby isn’t even two years old yet and he was attending his 60th Professional Baseball game.  It was his 135th professional sporting event.  I haven’t even been to that many sporting events.  I couldn’t even tell you how many games I’ve been to in my life.  The baby sat there and played with his hot wheels and me and Andrew discussed sports traveling. 

I walked around the park one last time.  I honestly wasn’t too impressed.  It was a nice park, very clean, large corridors.  It just wasn’t a park that stood out amongst any of the others.  After the game I made my way back to the parking lot and hung out while traffic died down.  My next game was going to be in the Bronx and I was looking forward to it.  

Keep On Smilin- It's Baseball Season

Friday, April 20, 2012

New York City

Hey everybody.  I'm in New York City for a night game this evening at Citi Field to watch the Giants take on the Mets.  I will be meeting with Paul Sanders, Tom Garziose, and Gary Herman.  I will also be honored as part of the welcome home veterans program.  Me and my friend Melissa are exploring NYC until the game.  Any recommendations on what we should do? 

Pictures from New York

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Boston 100

I made my way towards Fenway Park.  I had intended to scout out the area the night before but I was tired so I went back to my hotel instead.  I figured that the traffic would be crazy for Opening Day 100 so I parked at the very first parking garage I saw.  It was two miles away from the park so I figured it would be way cheaper and I would get the opportunity to walk through Boston a little bit.  I asked Siri on my iPhone and she told me where to go.  As I was walking I saw a big sign that said Cheers.  Several people told me I had to go visit one of the Cheers’ while I was in Boston so I gladly went in.  I was a huge fan of that show growing up.  I remember watching it with my parents every time it came on.  I walked in and it kind of almost looked like the TV show cheers just a lot smaller.  Apparently there are two locations, one is the bar that the show was based odd of and the other is a replica of the show.  I went into the gift shop and got a super awesome Cheers’ shirt.  The only t-shirt I’ve purchased so far on this trip. 

I continued my way towards the park and the excitement continued to build as I got closer.  For the millionth time on this trip I just couldn’t believe I was here.  The streets were packed with people and everybody had a smile on their face.  I had purchased a standing room only ticket a while back and was in no rush to get to my nonexistent seat.  I went to the outfield bleachers and stood by the wall for a very long time.  I watched all of batting practice and just stood there looking around.  I was in awe of this place.  Every great baseball player in the last 100 years has played on that field.  Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Joe Dimaggio, Cy Young, Ted Williams, etc.  One of the things I noticed standing near the bleachers is that the Green Monster didn’t seem so big.  Clearly I’m not the one out there trying to hit a ball over it.  I couldn’t help but imagine my grandfather watching games here.  I imagined my great grandfather listening to games played here on the radio. 

I loved walking through the corridors and seeing all of the rich Red Sox history.  At every turn there was something awesome to look at.  I have no shame in being the guy in the ballpark standing in the middle of a crowded corridor trying to take a picture.  Yea, I’m that guy, stop by and say hi next time!  At the bottom of this blog there will be a link to the pictures I took from that game.  You have to check them out. 

I found an ok place to stand to watch the first pitch and National Anthem.  Watching the National Anthem was pretty awesome.  They had an Air Force unit on the field and they received a standing ovation.  The flag that they draped over the green monster was outrageous.  The thing was absolutely huge.  At the end of the Star Spangled Banner there was a fly over of F-16’s by an Air Force National Guard unit out of Vermont.  Apparently I was standing in a no standing room only zone so an usher asked me to leave.  There was several of us standing there and some of the men got extremely upset.  They commented on how the staff at Fenway has taken a turn for the worst over the last several years.  I don’t know if that is accurate or not but the guy just seemed to be doing his job. 

I found some seats that nobody was sitting in because they were directly behind a pole.  All I had to do was lean a little to the left and right to attempt to see what was going on.  As I looked around the park I noticed that there were a ton of these poles all over.  The thing I dislike most about Fenway Park is that nearly every view is an obstructed view.  It’s hard to say that they should build a new park.  This park is an absolute amazing part of history and should live in Boston forever.  But it certainly has its drawbacks. 

I walked around a little while and found the perfect place to stand.  It was on the first base side just beyond the beer patio/standing room only section.  At the top of the 100 level there’s a tiny walkway, maybe big enough for two people, and it has a little ledge behind it.  I stood on the ledge and could see most of the ballpark.  When a fly ball was hit I couldn’t follow it so I would just watch the field for player reactions.  The man who was standing next to me was a loud Sox fan.  That is one thing I loved about the Boston fans, they were loud and very passionate.  When the Sox would make a good play this man would slap my back or shake me a little bit.  He was really into the game and it was really making for an enjoyable experience.  We started exchanging stories and I found out his name is John and he is a fourth generation Firefighter on Cape Cod.  He was a nice guy and kept thanking me for my service.  After a while his daughter Sarah came up and her dad introduced us.  I talked to her for a while and she was just as much a Red Sox fan as her father.  Once again showing the hospitality of the average American person she offered me a place to stay if I’m ever in Cape Cod.  It still shocks me that people actually do this.  After a good conversation I parted ways with Sarah and John and went on to meet Bill Pritchard whom I met on

I met up with Bill and his friends who were in Boston via New Jersey.  Bill and his brother are huge Sox fans and their buddy is a Yankees fan.  Their friend was afraid to wear his Yankees gear so he bought a San Francisco Giants hat instead.  I guess anything is better than wearing a New York Yankees hat.  The group gave me tips about Boston and other cities they’ve been to.  Me and Bill discussed out journeys to get to all 30.  I told them I was going to walk around for a bit and they invited me out for beers after the game.  I had to get to Philly for a game the next day but I had plenty of time so I met up with them.  We went to a pizzeria Uno (which didn’t seem anything like the pizzeria Uno in Chicago to me) and had a beer.  I had a lot of fun hanging out with them and hopefully our paths will cross again at some point. 

My next stop on the journey was Philly and I wasn’t sure what I should expect.  The Philly fans have a reputation for being rather harsh. 

Keep On Smilin- It’s Baseball Season

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Meeting fun people

I got up the morning after the Toronto game and started headed towards Boston.  I sent a message to a friend from basic training and told him I would be driving through his area later that evening.  We arranged to meet up and I was pretty excited.  I hadn’t seen him in six years.  As I was driving on the New York thruway (turnpike) I got spotted by a New York State Trooper.  I was texting and didn’t realize how fast I was going.  I looked down at my speedometer and realized that I was going 85 in a 65.  Oh crap!  I hadn’t even passed the officer and he was already pulling out to pull me over.  The lights came on and I moved over to the shoulder.  The officer approached my passenger side and requested my license and insurance and I gave him the documents.  No small talk, all business.  He went back to his vehicle without giving me a chance to weasel my way out of this.  I immediately started tweeting and face booking that I was pulled over.  Everybody said to use my military status to get out of it.  I’m not a big fan of using that to get out of trouble.  The cop came back and explained the ticket to me.  I kept asking question trying to get a conversation started but this man wasn’t having any of that.  I gave the officer a card with all my information on it and told him that he would be included in my blog!  If you’re reading this and would like to take away the ticket now, I would be ok with that. 

I made it to Catskill, New York where I was meeting my buddy.  It was an hour before we were supposed to meet so I decided to go to their downtown area and get some writing done.  I was looking for a place with Wi-Fi so I could post when I was finished.  No such luck.  This town was everything you think of when you think of a small town.  It was just after 5pm and everything closed at 5.  I walked around looking at the store fronts and noticed that most of them had something supporting the anti-1% movement.  This isn’t a political blog so I won’t go into my feelings on that. 

I met Cory and his wife at a local pizza shop.  We played catch up talked about our tours overseas and how life is being out of the Army.  We reminisced on life in basic training, and our evil yet awesome Drill Sergeant, Drill Sergeant Garcia.  If you see that man, thank him for his service, and then run as fast as you can in the opposite direction. 

I stayed that night in Boston and the game wasn’t until the following day.  I wasn’t sure what to do with my day when I got an idea.  I figured I would get to as many states as I could that I had never been to before.  In that area that consisted of Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.  I started driving north towards New Hampshire and once I arrived there I stopped to try to find a post card.  The first place I stopped didn’t have any post cards so I kept trying over and over again with no luck.  Eventually I made my way into Vermont without finding a postcard.

When I arrived in Vermont I decided to take a random road and see what I come up with.  I found an old country store that looked like something strait out of a movie.  I went in and grabbed a Red bull and found some post cards.  They had a New Hampshire postcard so I was rather excited and expressed this to the lady when I was checking out.  She asked me what I was doing in the area and she I explained to her my trip.  She then told me that she was a Tigers fan!  I quickly told her that I was a Tigers fan as well.  She told her husband to come over and we started talking.  They were originally from the Detroit area but ended up moving around a bit for work.  Before I even told him about my blog he asked me if I would be writing a book about my journey.  I told him that that would be excellent and it’s something that I may attempt to pursue.  He started to tell me stories of baseball.  Regarding my trip to Boston he informed me that Fenway Park and Tiger stadium were opened up the same week the Titanic sank.  He told me about how he saw the first ever night Cubs game.  He didn’t have tickets for the original first night game but because it got rained out he was able to see it.  He also told me he has an old friend who has written a few books and I should contact him.  After checking Facebook I was given his name and number.  Come to find out the writer is from my home town.  Small world!  The owners of the store gave me a free bowl of maple creemee.  Its vanilla ice cream mixed with real maple syrup.  It doesn’t sound like it’d be too great but it was amazing.  If you’re ever in Quechee, Vermont stop by the Route 4 Country Store and say hello to Tony and Margie Battaglia.

After leaving there I was in a great mood.  I drove back to the Boston area and decided to meet up with my friend Ashley.  Ashley is a good friend who was a manager at a movie theater back when I had my first job.  My friends and I weren’t exactly the best employees so it was always an interesting time.  Over the years Ashley and I have become friends and she always sent me packages when I was overseas.  I pulled into the Movie Theater and was pleasantly surprised on how awesome it looked.  There were bars and restaurants throughout the theater.  I had them page Ashley and we played the catch up game.  She told me I had to see a movie in the “Luxe” area of the theater.  It is a luxury dining experience while watching a movie.  I watched American Wedding and ate steak.  It was a great experience and National Amusements always gets it right.  I said goodbye to Ashley and drove to Rhode Island to get another state off my list.  I was kind of tired after all that driving so I returned to my hotel and called it a day.  The next day was the Fenway home opener and I didn’t know what to expect.
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Keep On Smilin-It's Baseball Season!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Toronto, it was.... fun....

After I left Cleveland I immediately started driving towards Toronto.  I had a day for travel so I was in no rush.  I decided to stop in Niagara Falls for the night and see the falls in the morning.  I used my app and found a cheap place to stay.  I booked it and went to check in.  When I arrived the man at the front desk informed me that because I ordered the room after midnight I wasn’t due to check in until the following evening.  Oops.  I guess that makes sense though.  I paid for a room and decided I would deal with cancelling with the following day. 

I woke up and headed over the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.  I sort of remember being there as a child.  At the very least I’ve seen pictures of me being there as a child.  Do you know what I realized?  They’re not as big as I remembered.  I mean yea, they’re still pretty monstrous but I thought they were bigger.  The thing about the falls themselves is they’re only good for a few minutes of entertainment.  I walked over to the touristy area of Niagara and sat down at a Tim Horton’s to attempt to catch up on some of my writing.  After a while I started to get hungry so I walked across the courtyard to Boston Pizza.  I had heard a ton about Boston Pizza before so I had to try it.  I had the tropical chicken pizza Stromboli with cactus cut potatoes.  The Stromboli was excellent and the cactus cut potatoes just meant fresh potato chips.  The potatoes were rather spicy but still delicious and I ate them all.  I asked for the bill and handed the bar tender my debit card.  He came back with a hand held machine and told me to enter my pin number.  As I was looking at it, it read declined.  Oh crap, did I forget to tell my bank I was going to be doing a ton of traveling.  Rookie mistake.  Luckily I had some cash on me and paid the bartender after apologizing.  I called my bank and after a few moments got everything taken care of.  Now that I was handeling issues I decided to call and cancel my room.  After a long and very painful conversation I was informed that there was nothing I could do.  The room was booked and whether I stay there or not I was getting charged for it.  I was planning on calling the hotel and telling them to just give the room to somebody but my phone started roaming because I was in Canada.

Once I hit the Canadian border my GPS no longer wanted to give me directions.  As much as people like to joke Canada is a real country with roads and my GPS should be informed of that.  At least I still had my iPhone.  Siri would never let me down, she loves me, I’ve asked!  Siri let me down.  Apparently my phone doesn’t want to do anything in Canada except allow text messages.  I kept getting a message that said if I wanted to enable my phone to do more I would be charged.  No thank you, I think I can handle a few hours without my phone.  Luckily Toronto wasn’t that far away so the highway signs pointed me in the right direction.  My next issue: Speed Limit.  Kilometers per hour.  I don’t think they realize how slow driving not in miles per hour is.  The speed limit on the highway was roughly 50MPH.  I’m not familiar with Canadian traffic laws so I decided to obey the speed limit the best that I could.  AS I approached the city of Toronto I was instantly turned off.  I like cities.  I like old buildings.  I like old.  Toronto was too new, too modern for my blood.  All the building were all glass and there were a million of them.  Not an attractive looking city by any means.  I either didn’t see a sign for, or they didn’t have a sign for the Rogers Centre.  Either way I saw it from the highway and went for an exit after I had passed.  I arrived right at the heart of rush hour.  Traffic was awful and I just really wanted out of this country already.  Getting to Rogers Centre was pretty easy and parking was not a problem.

I didn’t plan on going to the game that night but I wasn’t comfortable being in a place where I couldn’t use my phone.  Last time that happened to me I was in Afghanistan.  I went to ticket sales and bought a $16 ticket for the upper deck.  It started to rain so I was glad that Rogers Centre had its retractable roof closed.  I found my gate and went in.  To get to the 500 deck I had to walk up a huge ramp that was steep and seemed to take forever to navigate.  I reached my level and walked right in to get a look at the field.  I picked out a random seat and watched the Boston Red Sox take batting practice.  It was well before game time so I walked around getting a feel for the park.  There were two unique features that I love about this place.  They have a phone charging station.  I know in some parks my phone is always searching for a signal so it seems to die rather quickly.  It would be awesome if more parks had this.  The next thing that was so cool to me was a vending machine.  However, this was no ordinary vending machine.  Instead of candy or pop this machine dispensed baseball cards.  I want one of these in my house. 

I walked down a ramp to attempt to explore the rest of the arena.  I got to the 200 level and was told that I needed to turn around and go back up to my level.  The Blue Jays don’t want people who bought the cheap seats to have access to other areas.  I tried getting through by explaining my trip but the usher was not having any of that.  He informed me once again that I had a ticket to the 500 level and I could only be on the 500 level.  After returning to the unworthy patrons who also buy cheap seats I found a guest services counter.  I talked to the gentleman and told him why I would like to see other areas of the park and he gave me the same answer.  The man did give me a phone number just in case I would like to schedule a tour of the park at a later date and get to see the park that way.  I was getting really frustrated with the way the Jays fans get treated by the organization when I found another customer services representative.  This woman told me that I could see the 100 level to go to the shop or grab food but they would probably ask me to return to my seats.  Are you kidding me?  I went down to the 100 level and walked around. 

I stopped walking for the American National Anthem and paid my respects.  I did notice that few people took of their caps or even stopped talking.  That’s ok it’s not my country so I can’t complain.  After the anthem they sang O’ Canada and I noticed that people were still talking and wearing hats.  The only time anybody seemed to pay attention was at the end when people started singing along.  I walked around for a while and stopped towards the outfield where unruly fans were heckling the players.  I didn’t really expect that in Toronto but I guess everybody has their crazy fans.

I made my way back to the 500s and decided to get some food and a beer.  I saw signs for Pizza Pizza and assumed it was an affiliate of Little Caesars.  I remember that being Little Caesars slogan as a kid so I wanted to see for myself.  It was not Little Caesars pizza.  It was by far the worst ballpark pizza I’ve ever had.  It was a thin slice of crust and really hard cheese.  I can’t believe I just paid for this.  Next stop beer line.  I needed a beer after this ordeal.  The beer line was insanely long.  They were moving at a crazy slow pace and people were incredibly agitated.  I talked to some people in the line and at least they were friendly.  Reaching the front of the line I was informed that their credit card machine was down and I needed to pay in cash.  Thank God they accepted my American cash because I didn’t want to show the Canadians an angry American. 

I sat down in my seat and started to have some fun.  The crowd was really into the game and the group around me was really fun.  The two guys next to me were a couple of pot heads who spent more time looking at the girls in the crowd then watching the game.  They were pretty funny.  There were two gentlemen behind me who really seemed to know their baseball.  I kept overhearing their conversation and they were clearly intelligent baseball fans.  I heard them reference a few things in Michigan so I finally asked them where they were from.  They are from Toronto but apparently go on shopping trips to the United States.  I’ve heard of Canadians doing this but I didn’t realize they came from so far away.  The game seemed to take forever.  The only time the Red Sox showed any sign of life was in the top of the 9th and I was ready to get back to the states. 

I was so glad to have accidently booked a hotel the night before.  It was only an hour drive back to Niagara Falls and I didn’t have to look for a place to sleep.  On the way back I was slightly confused on where to go by I accidently took all the right roads and saw found the United States.  Apparently my Army training paid off.  Going through customs the agent started asking me the routine questions.  Come to find out me and him were deployed to the same place in Afghanistan at the same time.  I thought that was pretty cool.  Even cooler, I was back in the US.

Don’t get me wrong.  I have nothing against Canada.  I actually wear an I love Canada bracelet on my wrist every day.  That’s a fact.  I just did not have a good experience on the way to, from and at a ballpark I did not enjoy.  From Niagara my next game was Boston Opening Day for the 100th year so I was pretty excited to continue my journey.

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Keep On Smilin- It’s baseball season!!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I'm so sorry everybody for taking so long to post this.  Busy days combined with bad luck when trying to post this.  But it is finally here!!

I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to Cleveland.  I had such an amazing time and met so many fantastic people.  I hope I don’t leave anybody out but I apologize if I do.  I was contacted several weeks ago by a writer for Matthew Van Wormer.  He asked if he could do a story on me and then a follow up story after me game in Cleveland.  I was more then happy to answer his questions and the story ran back in March.  Matt asked me if he could show me around when I’m in town.  Sounded like a great plan to me so I was happy to accept his offer.  As the season approached Matt seemed to get more and more excited about.  He said he had some special things in store for me!

The day of the game I was due to meet up with Matt at Melt Bar and Grill.  There are a few locations but I met him at the original in Lakewood, Ohio.  I had never met Matt before so we were standing by the door with our group’s texting each other when we realized we were standing next to each other.  We waited a few minutes and got our table.  My group which consisted of Melissa, Christian, myself, and #andRyan looked at the massive menu as Matt and Jason, another writer, and his girlfriend gave us recommendations on what to get.  I got the Parmageddon, a sandwich contraption consisting of toasted bread, a pirogue, sour kraut, and some cheese.  I also tried a great lakes brewing company beer that was named for the Indians fan that beats his drum at every game.  I don’t remember what everybody else got but we all loved what we ate.  As we finished up lunch and were getting ready to leave the owner of Melt came over and introduced himself to me.  He wasn’t what I was expecting in a restaurant owner but you could see why this restaurant is successful.  The atmosphere of Melt is unlike any restaurant I’ve been to.  The employees don’t wear uniforms they just show up in whatever they want it appeared.  It had a very cool hipster feel to it and the owner Matt Fish lead the way. 

Once we were finished with lunch we headed to the ballpark area.  We got to the park and retrieved our tickets from will call.  On the way to our gate we were greeted by Erin Parker an employee of the Cleveland Indians.  She guided us inside the gate and we made our way to the field.  The Indians were stretching out and getting warmed up.  I was only yards for the Cleveland Indians and I’m sure I had a giant smile on my face.  Erin escorted us behind a rope that was placed behind home plate.  We were informed that we were supposed to stay behind that area.  I was then introduced to Anne Keegan who would be my chauffer for the rest of the evening.  Me and my friends looked around in awe and took pictures.  Matt got the attention of long time Indians broadcaster Tom Hamiliton and had him come over and talk to me.  I told him about my story and why I was doing what I’m doing and he seemed to enjoy it.  Matt got the attention of players Jack Hannahan and Justin Masterson and they talked to me and took pictures.  I also had conversations with Many Acta and Sandy Alomar Jr.  While we were standing there I was also introduced to the Lake Erie Monsters, an ACHL hockey team located in Cleveland.  I talked with them and they all seemed like pretty cool guys.  They were being escorted around by Indians employee Danielle Cherry who kept pulling me in for pictures with them. 

Batting practice was over so we decided to walk over to Heritage Park which is the Cleveland Indians Hall Of Fame area.  I had been to Progressive Field in January for a hockey game but Heritage Park wasn’t open.  All of the baseball history in that area was fantastic.  I love seeing how much they give recognition to legendary Indians pitcher Bob Feller.  I walked around taking pictures as Matt filled me in on Indians history.  Matt is a great Indians fan.  He can rattle off any number of fun Indians facts at the drop of a hat.  It was really cool getting the insight of such a strong Indians fan. 

After visiting Heritage Park we walked around the park and looked in the gift shops and purchased some beers.  We made our way up to the Social Suite.  The Cleveland Indians have designated a suite for people who utilize social media.  It was a pretty chilly evening so the suite would come in handy when we needed to warm up a bit.  The suite was nothing short of spectacular.  I had never been in a suite before so this was another experience that had me all giddy.  I’m sure you’ve all seen pictures of suites before but if you ever get the chance you have to sit in one.  You can make a request through the Indians website to sit in the suite.  All you have to do is use social media to tell about your experiences.  That’s pretty easy for people of my generation unless you’re some weirdo who doesn’t use social media (if you’re reading this it’s probably not you!)  We were joking around all night because we were all sitting in the Social Sweet tweeting away, except for Ryan.  Somehow my friend Ryan uses no social media at all.  That’s why if you see #andRyan on any of my tweets it’s because we had to include Ryan in our experiences even if he doesn’t have a twitter handle.  Feel free to use #andRyan in any tweet.  There would be nothing funnier to us then if that started trending. 

Me and my crew sat on the balcony and watched the game.  We were having a blast joking around hanging out with each other.  We couldn’t help but notice how few Indians fans were there that evening.  It was a Wednesday evening game in April so it’s understandable.  The fans that were there were loud and dedicated to their team.  The Indians fell short to the Chicago White Sox that evening but there fans stayed with them the entire time. 

During the game I got to meet Mike Brandyberry, a founder of  We talked about my trip, the Cleveland Indians, and everything in between.  Mike is a high school teacher and baseball coach who runs did the tribe win on the side.  I don’t know how this man ever gets any sleep.  After the game we said our goodbyes and I had to be on my way to Toronto.

I had such an amazing time in Cleveland.  I can’t really put it into words but it was truly one of the best experiences of my life.  A dream come true on a road trip of dreams.  The Cleveland Indians showed me an excellent time and the staff of went above and beyond.  It was everything I could hope for and I have to thank Melt bar and Grill, Anne, Erin, Mike, and the Indians organization as a whole.  A special thanks go Matt VanWormer who was the guy that put this all together.  This is an experience I will never forget.  Everybody who reads this should go check out


Keep On Smilin- It’s Baseball Season!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

PNC Pittsburgh

I left the Cincinnati game as soon as it was over.  It was a five hour drive to Pittsburgh and I just wanted to get there.  I think that is my general attitude for this trip.  I’d like to get to my destination as soon as possible that way there’s less chance for something to go wrong and I miss a stop.  I didn’t sleep much the night before because I was excited but I still had plenty of juice left in my tank for this night.  I stopped and got gas and energy drinks and continued on my way.  I won’t say texting while I was driving with several friends made the trip go by faster, because texting and driving is illegal.  So don’t do that!  I certainly won’t say that using my iPhone to Skype my friend Rachel took place either.  If it had though she would have seen my face as I was going through the tunnel to get into Pittsburgh.  I hate tunnels.  I have no idea why, it’s just an irrational fear of mine.  But coming out of the tunnel in downtown Pittsburgh was really cool.  You have no idea that the city is right there until you come through.

When I reached Pittsburgh it was nearing 3 o’clock in the morning.  I didn’t see any point in getting a hotel for only a few hours so I decided to find a place to park my car and catch a nap.  I knew I would run into situations like this so I came prepared with my pillow and blanket.  Some of you may be thinking how could you just sleep in your car like that?  I’ve had to sleep in some pretty gnarly places in my military career.  Lying down in the back of a car is actually kind of nice.  (I’m not very tall)  I found a parking garage and decided I would camp out there for the evening.  I made my way to the top story so I could get the best view I could of the city.  I parked the car and walked over to the edge so I could have a look.  I was directly across from PNC Park.  It was a gorgeous view looking across the river at the ballpark.  When I woke up the next morning the very first thing I saw was PNC.  For a man who’s sleeping in a car, there’s no better way to wake up.  I charged my phone a little bit and got cleaned up.  I changed my clothes, brushed my teeth, reapplied deodorant and cologne.  The trick to quick sanitation is baby wipes.  They do the trick when you don’t have time to shower.  All the military folks out there know exactly what I’m talking about. 

I left the parking garage and started walking towards PNC Park.  I love cities so I was taking in the surrounding area as much as I could.  I am a lifelong Pittsburgh Steelers fan yet I had never been to Pittsburgh before.  I liked being able to see the yellow seats of Heinz field just a few blocks away.  I made my way to the sidewalk and started crossing what I believe is the Roberto Clemente Bridge.  Half way through I realized that they had the bridge closed.  I made a mental note of this because I wanted to walk in the middle of the road.  As I approached the park I loved the atmosphere I was walking into.  They had giant blow up bounce things for little kids in the streets.  The outside of the park has almost a European feel to it.  There are several restaurants and they all had tables set up so people could enjoy their food and enjoy one of Americans most prevalent pastimes, people watching.  There are several statues on the outside of the park of the Pirate greats.  These statues were extremely crowded with people wanting to get pictures.  I went and picked up my tickets at Will Call without any issues.   The Pirates organization had comped me one ticket.  They offered more but I knew I would be traveling to Pittsburgh on my own.  I continued to walk around the stadium and check out the sites and made my way into a gate.  I carry my backpack with me usually when I travel so they checked it and allowed me to enter their palace.  I entered near a back entrance by the river and a kids play area.  It was Easter so they were giving a plush toy of the pirate mascot to all the kids.  I wanted one but unfortunetly I am slightly over the age limit.  Jerks!  If only they knew the age I actually act at times. 

As always I walked right in and found my way to a place where I could look at the field.  I took it all in and noticed a family bathroom right next to me.  One thing I already appreciate on this trip is the opportunity to have a private bathroom.  I continued to walk around when I noticed a lot of people standing in line and eventually spinning a wheel.  I wanted to spin that wheel too.  I got to the front and gave the lady all my super personal information such as my name.   In return she gave me a Pirates card that makes me eligible for prizes.  I also got to spin the wheel.  I mustered up all my strength and spun this tiny plastic wheel that could rival The Price Is Right.  The wheel stopped on $6 off a ticket.  I took my voucher and started to walk away.  An older gentleman at the end of the line asked me what the whole process was about.  I informed him and also gave him my ticket voucher seeing as I probably won’t be back in Pittsburgh for a while. 

I made my way towards the front of the park and ran into something I did not like.  The bottom level of the park is the concession level.  As you get to the front you are forced to go to the seating level which is actually the second level.  You can’t just walk around the whole park.  If you want to do that you have to go up a level then back down once you get to the other side of home plate.  Just before I headed to the upper level I noticed some statues.  In the High Park Legacy Square there are several statues that are in honor of the Negro League Greats that played in Pittsburgh.  I went up to the main concourse and found my seat.  I was on the third base line 20 rows up or so.  During the national anthem they had a United States Army Reserve Specialist stand at home plate and honor the salute.  They informed the crowd that she was deploying for Afghanistan tomorrow and everybody’s heart went out to her.  Knowing you only have one day left at home and you’re wearing your uniform standing on home plate.  That’s an amazing experience I’m sure.   It was Kids Opening Day at PNC park and they had 9 kids down on the field to take part.  They introduced the kids, ages ranging from 6-9, and they ran to whatever spot they were told on the field.  When the Pirates came out they stood next to the kids, signed a ball for them, and sent them on their way.  It was really cute to see these tiny kids running out and then standing next to these giant ballplayers. 

One of the first thing I noticed once the game began is the sea of red.  There is no doubt that there were more Phillies fans there that day then Pirates fans.  The Phillies got off to a good start and you could of thought by the cheering that they were the home team.  I look over and I see the Pirate Parrot mascot.  He was taking pictures with kids and kept putting people’s heads in his beak.  If you’ve ever been to PNC you know what I’m talking about.  

I decided to get some food and found a place that served burgers.  I got a $9 “Bucco Burger” which consisted of beef patty, bacon, BBQ sauce, onion straws, and cheddar cheese.  I sat down to eat it and the first bite was delicious.  After a few bites I wasn’t feeling it so much.  I didn’t like the flavor of the BBQ sauce and there was too much of everything except burger.  I finished half of the sandwich and decided to take all the toppings off. 

The stands were empty and it was pretty chilly out.  I decided to go to the very top level and see what a ballgame looked like from there.  I was rather impressed by how close you felt to the game even though you were 7 miles high.  There was only a few people in the entire section.  They had kids and they seemed to enjoy the freedom of allowing them space to play in the nosebleeds.  Directly across from me the section was completely empty except for two people.  I made my way over to get a view from that side and saw that these two gentlemen were die hard pirates fans.  I’m not sure if they dressed up like pirates or if they always looked like that.  I watched nearly the rest of the game from this section.  I started making my way down and missed a walk off hit.  I was disappointed to miss that but I was ready to go get warm.  The next stop on my trip was Cleveland and I had a very special day in store for me. 

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Keep On Smilin- It’s Baseball Season!