08 June 2010

The Illadelph, Baltimore, and the District

(In the Camaro somewhere on the Pennsylvania Turnpike)

On our way out of New York, we decided we would head into Manhattan for a few hours just to show our faces and see what all the hubbub was.  In case you didn't know, it's rather busy down there, as if that needed to be said.  We passed by but didn't stop at Ground Zero, the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings, and Times Square.  Since we're trying to sample the local cuisine in every place we go, we had to get a slice of New York style pizza.  So we park the car and eat for probably 20 minutes.  When we get back to the car, there's a $95 parking ticket stuck to the windwshield.  The nerve of those people!  Do they honestly think I'm ever going to pay for a ticket on a rental car?  Not a chance.  After hitting the Lincoln Tunnel to Jersey, we headed down the NJ Turnpike to Philadelphia. 

 June 4 - Padres/Phillies - Philadelphia Photos

On our way into Philly, we crossed over the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and into downtown.  We made our way past Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell and managed to find our way to Caitlin's college friend Kristen's apartment.  Caitlin was good enough to fly up for the weekend to visit (see, you do make the blog!)  Those two are cut from the same cloth, but that's a good thing.  Kristen's boyfriend Nate was also there for the game. 

We didn't hang around long before it was time to catch a cab to Citizens Bank Park for the evening matchup between the hated Phillies and the San Diego Padres.  Inside the park, we briefly stopped in at McFadden's for a brew before heading to our seats.  Roy Halladay, the best pitcher in baseball, was on the bump for the Phillies, which meant he was completely dominant for the most part.  Thanks in large part to his performance and a two-run homer from the Flyin' Hawaiian Shane Victorino, the Phillies won 3-2.  As the Phils are the chief rival of the Braves, I was of course rooting for the Padres.  Regardless, the ballpark was impressive.

After the game, we hopped into another cab to grab a cheesesteak at Pat's and Geno's.  I can settle the debate right here and now on which place has the better cheesesteak.  Pat's is vastly superior to Geno's.  You're welcome world.

The next morning we were up early to visit all the historical things in Philly that I had never seen before.  The Independence Hall tour wasn't available to us until well after we had to leave for Baltimore, so we could only see it from the outside.  We did get to see the Liberty Bell and take the obligatory picture in front of it.  After saying our goodbyes to Caitlin, Kristen, and her boyfriend Nate, we headed to Baltimore to catch the evening tilt between the Red Sox and the Orioles.  Sure the Orioles have the worst record in baseball, but Camden Yards is a fun place to catch a game, even if the Orioles fans are badly outnumbered by insufferable Red Sox fans.  This was one of the parks I'd actually been to before.

June 5 - Red Sox/Orioles - Baltimore Photos

We were down on the field for Red Sox BP.  A big thanks goes to Monica Barlow, our contact with the Orioles who gave us field access and some sweet seats behind the plate.  We were literally surrounded by Red Sox fans with no Orioles fans in sight.  So of course we had to buy Orioles hats and help the home team out.  These days, they need as much help as they can get.  The game featured a great pitching performance by both starters (Jon Lester and Jeremy Guthrie), as the game was scoreless until the 7th when Kevin Youkilis put the Red Sox ahead for good with a solo homer to left, which delighted the home, errr, road crowd to no end.  The Sox broke it open with one more in the eighth and six in the ninth to put away the hapless Orioles 8-2. 

After suffering through postgame traffic and a slight issue locating the car, we moved east a few miles to stay with a friend of a friend named Julie.  Julie was a lot of fun to hang out with for the few hours we were actually in town.

June 6 - Reds/Nationals - Washington, DC Photos

We had to be in the nation's capital by 11:45 in order to do a television interview with MASN, the Nationals' TV network.  I was under the impression I was going to be doing a radio interview, so of course I looked like a homeless bum for TV.  Regardless, I think the interview went well and it's supposed to run locally this
coming week.  The interview should be posted to the MASN website as well very soon, so stay tuned.
After the interview, we went down to the field with Israel Negron of the Nats front office, who was just an outstanding host.  There we met Doug Slaten, one of the Nats relievers.  We also got to spend a minute with Jim Riggleman, the Nationals manager.  He's seemed like a really nice guy and I wish the Nationals the best, as long as they are not playing the Bravos.  Israel left us to fiddle around for a few minutes while he got our tickets and he mentioned he might be able to upgrade them.  Upgrade the tickets he did.  We got tickets in the Presidents Club, which is the fancy, schmoozy section right behind the plate with a four-star buffet inside.  We ended up sitting in the front row directly behind home plate where our ugly mugs were visible on TV all day long.  A big thanks goes out to Israel for all his hard work.

The game was a pretty close throughout, but the Nats bullpen really blew things late, blowing a lead in the 9th, only to tie it in the bottom half and lose in the 10th.  To add insult to injury, the Nationals sent yesterday's starter Craig Stammen (who pitched a great game) to the minors in order to make room for some guy named Strasbourg.  Apparently he's a big deal or something.

After the game, we waited for a friend of a friend (again) named Cooper, whom Jay had actually met before to get done with a flag football game.  While we waited, we hung out at a place near his house called The H Street Country Club, which was a pretty nifty place.  We had planned to go in and catch the Braves/Dodgers game on the TV, which of course they didn't have.  So as we waited watching random games, some people started coming in with shirts that appeared to say something about Skeeball.  And yes, there were Skeeball machines in the back of the joint.  So we start striking up a conversation with all these folks and they tell us that on Sundays they play in a Skeeball league.  Whoever knew that the demand for Skeeball was high enough that you could actually play in a league?  I haven't played in probably 20 years, with that time coming at Chuck E. Cheese's.  And even better, they were short a few players, so Jay and I happily volunteered to help out the team, named "That's How We Roll". 

After "our" league game, we played on the mini-golf course upstairs with Cooper and our new friend from the team Emily.  What kind of bar has a putt putt course upstairs?!  The cool ones of course!  I did a little bit better on that than on Skeeball to say the least. 

All in all, a wonderful night in our nation's capital doing a lot of things we never intended or could have imagined, which is pretty much how this entire crazy journey has gone.


  1. Sounds like you are having the time of your life and meeting some very nice people, which of course, is what this trip was all about. I'm so thankful everything has worked out,but you need to pay that parking ticket!) Yea right! Keep on having fun and stay safe, I love you. Mom

  2. Mom is hacker. Stop hacking my account Mom. :) Hmm, must've left myself logged in back in AL. Oh well..glad you're having a blast! Love that they have a Skeeball league..that's hilarious! Maybe you should see if the Army can sponsor a Skeeball team? Haha!

  3. Thanks for the update guys! I love the picture and I'm so glad you had a good time!