04 June 2010

Pittsburgh and the Big Apple

(Compiled on the train from Stamford, CT to Boston, MA)

We left Detroit promptly after the game there on Memorial Day to head out for Pittsburgh. We drove through an absolute monsoon in Ohio. I had driven the whole trip up until shortly before getting to the outskirts of Cleveland when my body could barely function anymore without endangering both of us, so I finally relented and left Jay to drive through the cats and dogs. I hated to make him drive for the first time in an unfamiliar car, in the rain, and at night, but for me to continue would’ve been much worse. Obviously we did survive to tell the tale and arrived at Caitlyn’s (Jay’s girlfriend) parents house in Beaver, PA around 11:30 or so. They are super nice people (like everyone else on this trip so far) and took us to breakfast at the Brighton Hot Dog Stand, and no, we didn’t have hot dogs for breakfast. After breakfast, we literally spent hours updating this blog and trying to get you folks some pictures of everything so far.

That afternoon we headed to beautiful downtown Pittsburgh to hit the world famous Primanti Brothers Restaurant, where the sandwiches are bigger than the engine of our Camaro, piled high with cabbage and French fries. Such a simple idea but oh so wonderfully delicious and satisfying.

After stuffing our faces, we parked our car on the far side of the Ohio River and walked across the Roberto Clemente Bridge to get to PNC Park. PNC is sitting in hands -down the finest setting for a ballpark in the country. The view of all the buildings to go along with the beautiful architecture of the ballpark itself sitting right alongside the river is breathtaking. Even non-baseball fans can appreciate that. After picking up our tickets at Will Call, we met Jay’s former co-worker Steven for a few pregame beers at Rivertowne Brewery before moving over the Park.

The Pirates had almost no offense to speak of and were down a run most of the game after Xavier Nady blasted a two-run homer to left for the Cubs. Later, with Pittsburgh starting pitcher Jeff Karstens trying to score on a double by Lastings Milledge, Milledge tried to stretch it into a triple with two outs and was gunned down before the pitcher crossed the plate. Kids, never make the third out at third!! Luckily, the Pirates were saved by rookie hometown hero Neil Walker’s first career home run, a two-run shot that put the Bucs up 3-2 in the 8th. The Pirates went onto win by the same score.

After the game we met some of Caitlyn’s friends at a restaurant called Mad Mex and had a good time. We spent that night in Pittsburgh as well, then moved out at 0800 for the long trek to New York City. Pennsylvania has some beautiful countryside and as I’ve said many times on this trip already, I could find myself living there. We rolled into NYC around 4:30 and dropped our stuff off in Rye, NY at our host’s house, the Petrocellis. We probably spent 10 minutes there before Chris, the Petrocelli’s son and recent college grad (hire him!), took us to the train station not far from their house. On the train, we met a young lady named Heather who directed us two Southern boys through the maze of train stations to get to 153rd Street, better known as Yankee Stadium. Heather specifically said not to put her picture on the blog, so I suppose I’ll respect her wishes.

It was extremely depressing to walk out of the station and see a giant hole in the ground where The House That Ruth Built stood since the '20s until very recently. Not all progress is a good thing in my humble opinion, but I digress. The new Yankee Stadium is quite an impressive facility, if not extravagant. It really suits the culture of the Bronx Bombers perfectly. We picked up our tickets that were left by Yankees DH Nick Johnson at Will Call. The seats were excellent of course, on the Club Level even with the first base bag near some of the other player’s families. Brett Gardner’s father was right next to me and Francisco Cervelli's family was seated right in front of us.

The Yankees absolutely throttled the Orioles from the get go, winning 9-1. Their offense is absolutely scary. Robinson Cano had a fantastic night as usual, ending the night hitting an MLB leading .373 with a home run. After the game, we met back up with Heather and she helped direct us back to Rye safely on the train.

Tomorrow, we'll get something on here describing the terrific day we had at Fenway Park and our adventure getting there. Since it's now almost 1:30 in the morning and we'll be getting up at 5:45 to catch a train back to NYC, I'm a little too tired to write about Boston at the moment. The train ride will either be a good chance to write a little or a chance to catch some sleep. We'll see how that goes...
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