Sunday, May 13, 2012


I picked up my cousin Mike at his house in West Palm Beach.  I was really excited about seeing him.  Mike used to live in an apartment with me and my other cousin Christian but up and decided to move about a month before I started my own journey.  For the next two hours or so we caught up and found out what was new in each other’s lives. 

I had heard about the terrible parking situation around the park so I looked at getting a parking pass.  It wasn’t worth the price so I made my way near the park and found a parking lot a few blocks away for only $5.  The neighborhood wasn’t great but, is there any ballparks in a great neighborhood?  We got to the park and checked things out.  The first thing I noticed was the giant letters that just happened to be on the ground outside.  I’m not sure exactly what they spelled out.  I had just assumed it spelled out Miami Marlins but now as I sit here and think about it I don’t know where an O would fit into those words.  They had a few vendors set up around the park, info on a new Chevy, you could even get free tickets for giving blood.  I would actually love to do that.  Before I deployed overseas I would give blood every 8 weeks.  Now my blood is compromised and they don’t want my blood. 

I went to will call and tried to pick up my tickets.  They didn’t have them for me so I got on my phone and started double checking all of my information.  I checked the email that I had received from the Marlins and everything seemed to be in order.  I called the number of Juan Leonel Gárciga who was my contact with the Marlins.  He said he had the tickets in his pocket and was holding them so he could meet me.  I met him at a gate and he gave me my tickets.  We talked about my trip, favorite parks, and this amazing dream that I am going after.  Juan went back to work and me and my cousin headed towards the gates.  We both had to go to the bathroom and there was nothing on the outside of the park, no restaurants or bars. 

We got inside and made our way up to the 2nd level which was the seating level.  The first thing I noticed was of course the lime green monster in the outfield.  It’s not a monster in the sense of the wall outfield wall in Fenway but because of the color.  I looked at it for several minutes and came to the conclusion that I liked the lime green color.  It just seems to fit Miami.  We were watching batting practice when they were testing out the t-shirt gun.  It went off and two shirts fell in the very first rows of the stands.  Mike ran down there and just as he was about to grab one some other guy snuck in there like a ninja and got the shirt first.  Mike was upset by this but I was amused.  I made my way down to the visitors’ dugout area.  The Marlins were taking on the DBacks that night and I was standing 20 feet away from Allen Trammel.  For you Tigers fans out there you can understand how cool this was for me.  I grew up watching Allen Trammel and Kirk Gibson playing infield for the Tigers.  They were an amazing team and now they are an amazing coaching team.  I tried to get both of their attention so I could get their picture with Doc but it didn’t work. 

After batting practice was over me and Mike decided to check out the rest of this new park.  It looked like it was going to rain so the roof was closed which was a little disappointing.  On a side note every park that I’ve been to during rain has been an indoor park which has worked out perfectly for me.  We checked out the bobble head museum which I thought was pretty awesome.  The coolest ones I saw were Ernie Harwell and a Justin Verlander one that had a strike counter on it.  We made our way to the very top seats just to see what it looked like from the top.  I noticed that the top seats seemed really far away.  It was incredibly steep.  It felt like if you stumbled at all you would fall all the way down and go over the barriers onto the field.  I hope that never happens.  If it does I really hope it’s not me.  I couldn’t imagine a worse way to die. 

Me and Mike watched the game and it really seemed like a slow paced game.  We went out to smoke, on special occasions I like to enjoy a cigar.  Hanging out with my cousin in Miami seemed like the perfect time to me.  As we were standing outside on the patio a few shady looking gentleman walked out and were happy to see that I was smoking a very heavy smelling cigar.  They lit up a joint and were smoking weed in the open.  You don’t see that happen in too many places.  We started walking around again when we saw Miami’s Billy the Marlin Mascot.  He was in the seating area and people were swarming him.  Little kids were flocking to him trying to get pictures and he was trying to run away from them.  He jumped over a few seats and ran out into the corridor.  We wanted our picture with him so we chased him down and forced him into a picture. 

I talked to an usher in the top of the 9th and he led me to some pretty good seats behind the visitors’ dugout.  We met some really cool people who were excited to hear about my trip.  I talked to them for a while and before I knew it the game was over.  The Marlins opened the roof a little bit which allowed a nice breeze to come in.  As we were exiting the park we noticed a long line of people trying to get into the Clevelander which is a club inside Marlins Park.  From the outside of the park you can see in and we saw something you would only see in a baseball stadium in Miami.  There were several girls standing on top of the bar wearing nothing but body paint.  It seemed like a fun time but I had to get Mike back to West Palm Beach so I could make my way to Atlanta. 

I got back and dropped Mike off.  He gave me some crazy energy drinks and we said goodbye.  It was so great to see my cousin and to see how great he is doing in Florida.  I am really close with all of my cousins and cherish the time we get to spend together now that we are older.  It was an amazing two days in Florida hanging out with my family and I’m so glad that during this trip I had the opportunity to spend a few days with the people that I love

Keep On Smilin- It’s Baseball Season!!

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