Archive for June, 2008

An Idiots Guide To Scalping Tickets

Posted in Baseball Roadtrip with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2008 by manydn

Scalper gets busted

By Daren Many

 

CHICAGO — I pretty much knew things weren’t going according to plan when a Chicago Police Sergeant told me he was pretty close to pulling out the cuffs. This was after his fellow female officer, who was writing me a citation, strung together a sentence full of obscenities that made me feel like I had just stolen a woman’s baby and threw it in the Chicago River.

 

Wait, let me back up for a minute.

 

We try to develop a story that transitions to film for each ballpark we visit. It offers a unique look into the game, its surroundings and the people involved. For the Chicago White Sox game we had decided ticket scalping was the story of the day.

 

It was a great time to breach this subject due to the scarcity of tickets. It was an interleague game between the White Sox and Cubs. A classic city rivalry that involves two teams with tons of history. It divides a city between the north and south sides. It pits couples and family members against each other.  It offers one of the best atmospheres in baseball. That is, if you can score a ticket. That’s where we came in.

 

Troy and I decided it would be great to get inside the world of ticket scalping. To do this we needed to know how to buy a ticket and how to sell a ticket. We decided before we left the hotel that I would be the one working this experiment even though I couldn’t sell a ladder to a guy trapped in a well.

 

Phase 1: Buying a Ticket.

 

This part is pretty easy. No matter what park you go to there are a ton of scalpers around, but they don’t always make themselves easily identifiable.  They’re trying to make a profit, and doing so on ballpark property might be illegal, depending on where you are. Sometimes the scalpers are operating in broad daylight, sometimes they’re clandestine. Today was somewhere in the middle.

 

 

All 30 Ballparks in One SeasonIt was my goal to ask around for several tickets to get a feel for the market so I knew how much I could sell for. The problem was I only needed one ticket and they usually come in pairs.  No problem. Within 45 minutes I found a guy who sold me one ticket for $75. It was a lower-level ticket and I felt good to have scored such a good price on such a hot ticket. Just 15 minutes earlier a guy tried to sell me two for $150 apiece.  They weren’t even as good as the one I just bought. Phase 1 was a success. On to phase 2.

 

Phase 2: Selling Tickets.

 

This part takes a little bit of finesse and knowledge of the area. I had neither and it would ultimately come back to haunt me. I had been observing other scalpers at work so I went about mimicking their style. This involves asking other people if they have tickets. You can ask people if they need tickets but you better be willing to sell them for face value to avoid any kind of trouble from the law. Once you get someone to acknowledge that tickets are being exchanged you can than ask if they actually have tickets to sell or if they really want to buy tickets. It’s a tricky situation but I got some interest here and there.

 

Selling Scalped TicketsWe weren’t willing to sell the tickets too low because of the magnitude of the game. I had a couple of guys pass up my offers and I moved along to another area. I decided to walk around the outside of U.S. Cellular Field and get away from the front entrance. People seemed to be passing through this area at a decent rate.

 

I found two guys who expressed interest right away. They took a look at the tickets and asked me what I wanted. Having grown up in a town of approximately 1,000 people, my street smarts leave a little to be desired. Yet, I knew enough to make them give me a price first. Then after five seconds of going back and forth I forgot my own advice and told them $85 a piece. The face value was $31.

 

This is when half of the Chicago PD rolled in.

 

A guy in a blue polo came from behind me out of nowhere. Batman had nothing on this guy. I might have to go back and consult the video (Troy was filming me secretly across the street) but I’m pretty sure the guy came down from the side of the stadium on a zip line.

 

Almost as fast, another cop rolled up on a four-wheeler. I had just tried to sell my tickets to undercover cops. I was called over to the woman officer on the four-wheeler and given a brisk round of questioning by her and what turned out to be a sergeant of the CPD. They asked me if brokering tickets was my full-time job and if anyone was working with me. I pulled out the “I’m a dumb hick from Colorado” card and “I just wanted wanted to get rid of some extra tickets” line.

 

This drew some raised eyebrows.  I also asked them how come they were giving me a hard time when there were guys all around doing the same thing.

 

In hindsight I shouldn’t have said that. After telling the cops how to do their jobs it became quite clear that the sergeant wanted to flex some of his power. He went off. He told me he could put me in bracelets so fast my head would spin. His annoying sidekick on the ATV expressed a deep consternation that involved obscenities as to why I would question their business. I’ve never seen someone enjoy writing a ticket so much.

 

Of course, Troy was filming this the whole time from across the street so keep an eye out for the video version of this classic moment.  Phase 2 was a complete disaster. On to Phase 3.

 

Phase 3: Lose Tickets, Get Fined.

 

So in conclusion I lost both of the tickets, got a fine (which I don’t know the cost of yet), and then had to go inside and get raped again as I bought beer for ridiculous sums of money. We have our counsel Todd working on our case back in Portland as I write this.  It didn’t work out the way we planned but I learned some valuable lessons, such as don’t sell tickets to undercover cops.

 

As far as the game it was once again another blowout.  The Sox thumped the Cubbies. The atmosphere was incredible, though. It was one of the rowdier games we’ve been to with several fights breaking out in the crowd (we also have those on video).

 

Baseball in Chicago is for real. The only other city that’s even close from my experience is New York.

Ahhhh. True Love.

Ahhhh. True Love.

 

My story about scalping might overshadow our experience at Wrigley Field the day before, but in all reality Wrigley is the No. 1 story in my mind. It’s unreal.

 

If it weren’t for the way people dressed and the lack of horse carriages outside of the park you would think you went back in a time machine to the early 1900s and were watching a game. For the first time on this trip I really, truly felt the history of the game.

 

Going to Wrigley is an experience unlike any other. It’s like sitting in a living museum and being a part of something you can’t even understand. It transcends baseball and if you’ve never been you need to add it to your list. If or when I ever have kids I will be taking them to Chicago to watch baseball and experience the city.

 

It’s off to Ohio, but I will never forget these past few days. Not ever.

 

Mets: Making a push. Only 3 games back.

(There’s more on this and our other adventures at BaseCrawl.com.)

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I’d rather have a bear in my tent than a spider

Posted in Baseball Roadtrip with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2008 by manydn
Even the fish in Wisconsin are Packer fans.

Even the fish in Wisconsin are Packers fans.

By Daren Many

SLINGER, Wis. — Anyone who really knows me is aware of my fear of spiders. Spiders suck.

So when I woke up this morning to find this in my tent I basically flipped out and started wondering where our Louisville Slugger was. Then I remembered last night. So without a weapon I decided the four hours of sleep I had was plenty and proceeded to jump out of my tent in a fashion usually reserved for people being burned alive.

 

This was our first night in Wisconsin.

 

I think it’s important to mention a few things about our journey between Kansas City and Milwaukee. First off, thank you to our host in St. Louis. Will was an amazing host and had even more amazing stories. Take for example this classic:

 

One day Will walks into Wal-Mart to buy some random stuff. As he’s wandering up and down the aisles he is witness to a woman who has just collapsed on the floor. A small crowd gathers around the woman trying to digest what just happened as well as dial for help. Will, who is not a doctor, offers the following diagnosis of her condition:

 

“Must have been the falling prices” to which the woman’s husband replies, “That’s my wife you Mother $#&!^%.”

 

Couldn’t have said it better myself. A classic line that deserves to be put on a marble rock somewhere. Anyway, thanks Will for all your hospitality and advice about our project. Will is one of those guys that you genuinely hope you will see again someday.

 

St. Louis was interesting in that you were never quite sure if you liked it or not. The stadium was great. The surrounding city had the downtown feel of most cities but you couldn’t quite grasp any kind of uniqueness until you got down by the arch.

 

Now I assumed the arch would be like a lot of overly large monuments that cities sometimes think they need to stand out. It wasn’t that at all in my mind. It was large but you felt the symbolism as you looked across towards downtown on one side and the flooding Mississippi on the other. The museum under the monolith told the story even better. The ride to the top of the arch was horrifically claustrophobic at best. Will likened it to riding in a washing machine. I have never actually gotten in a washing machine but I would assume by my time with Will that he would actually know this first-hand. The view was great from the top and made me forget that I just went 600 feet up into the air in a whirlpool front loader.  

 

Back to Wisconsin.  I can’t believe people that grew up only a day’s drive from my hometown can sound so different. It was incredible. It’s like I went to bed and woke up in the movie Fargo. We spoke to some Brewers fans when we were in Denver and they let it be known that Brewers fans are the tailgating elite. After spending the day in Milwaukee I have no arguments. The parking lot at Miller Park held up to the name on the Stadium. It was the closest thing to a football game I have seen so far.

We’re spending tonight in Wisconsin but it will be off to Michigan tomorrow. We’re also hoping to catch the ferry across Lake Michigan to save gas and get a little reprieve from the road. A couple things before I sign off.

 

One, how come every time I need a specific article of clothing out of my suitcase it’s at the bottom nearly 100 percent of the time? It’s like the clothes know I’m coming and they burrow to the bottom.

 

Second, as Troy mentioned in his blog, I just bought a CD. They’re like small records if you haven’t seen one in a while.  I thought Coldplay was one of the best bands this decade before I bought “Viva la Vida.” Now I think they’re one of the best bands ever. It’s brilliant. Normally I wouldn’t have a music review in my blog but this thing is so good I had to say something.

 

Mets: 3.5 games back.

(There’s more on this and our other adventures at BaseCrawl.com.)

Where did our stickers go?

Posted in Baseball Roadtrip with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 17, 2008 by manydn

Five Down!!!

By Daren Many

SULLIVAN, Mo. — By the end of this trip I’m going to owe a lot of people a lot of favors. Or at least I will need to let a lot of people sleep on my couch for the next decade.

Big thanks to our friend Lindsey and the Messinger family for putting us up in Denver and Troy’s cousin, Erica, and her husband, Andrew, for putting us up in Kansas City. Once again we were humbled by their generosity.

Van GoghIt’s been awhile since I wrote something, so sorry to those of you who actually look forward to reading this thing (Mom). Since I’ve written last we have been through eight states including stops in Denver, Kansas City, and the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. We’ve driven some 2,000 miles, drank approximately six to seven 12-packs of shitty beer, spent absolutely no money on any vegetable products, got an oil change at an all-lesbian-employed garage (our Jeep runs great, by the way), saw the biggest Van Gogh painting in the world in Kansas, and played a game that involved traffic and a piece of hotdog. All these things have made our trip one of the best I will ever take.

What is not making this trip fun is file extensions. A quick word about this subject and I will move on. I have spent approximately 12 to 14 hours of my life converting video from one file extension to another. Which just so happens to be the same amount of time it takes the Mets to drop two games in the standings.

If you’re reading this, Bill Gates, why do I need to convert a .fuk file to a .you file every time I want to take video and move it around? It’s like having to change your clothes every time you walk into a different room in your house. It’s annoying and uncalled for. Plus, I don’t know what I’m doing, so it’s easier just to say everyone else is wrong.

When you log as many miles as Troy and I have you sometimes run out of things to talk about. Either that or the conversations start to sound like something you would hear Tom Hanks saying to a volleyball on a desert island.  As we were returning from the Rockies game the other day we somehow got into a conversation about things that really annoy us. Here is the shortened list that Troy threw at me.

Pancakes, Yellow Bikes, Wind, Idaho, People Who Talk On Those Ear Phone Things, The Oregon Ducks, Gavin Rossdale, Blurred Out License Plates On TV Shows, People Who Fish And Brag About What They Caught, People Who Say: “ Git-r-done,” and Facebook.

He does love Pat Benatar, though, so go figure. There are only two things that really annoy me other than erroneous file extensions. One is Troy sneezing. His sneezes are loud, long, over dramatized, and extremely annoying. Picture yourself sitting at home relaxing in your living room watching a movie. You’re in a completely comfortable state. All of a sudden a cement truck full of clowns blows through your living room wall. It’s that kind of annoying. Sorry, Troy.

Flood WatersSecondly, its annoying paying $8 for a movie ticket to a crappy movie. Troy and I went and saw M. Night Shyamalan’s new movie “The Happening” the other night for something different. It just so “happened” that it sucked. 

What’s not annoying is the weather in the Midwest. It’s bad-ass and I love it. Having lived in Southern Idaho for four years I started to long for weather. Any kind of weather. I got sick of the sun. I grew up in the Catskills, where we had thunderstorms and snow. Wind and hail. In Southern Idaho all you get is wind. I like actual weather, so the past few days of dodging tornadoes and moving lakes have been great. The wind and rain on our trip from Omaha to Sullivan, Missouri, were so out of control they blew the baseball stickers right off the Jeep. It was awesome and I look forward to more downed trees, hydroplaning, and general bad-ass weather.

The actual baseball games have been great. We have had a good showing of friends and family in both Denver and Kansas City. Things are exponentially better when we can share these moments with family and friends, so we look forward to people continuing to come out to the park and drink expensive beers with us.

I think my biggest surprise so far has been Kansas City. At the beginning of the trip I had visions of myself sitting at historic Fenway and Wrigley, getting beer dumped on me and my Mets jersey at Yankee Stadium, and getting to see modern-day wonders such as AT&T Park. Never did I expect so much from a park in the middle of the country. Not only is Kaufmann Stadium in the middle of the country, it’s in the middle of a hay field.

I was thoroughly impressed with the fans, the park itself, and the overall atmosphere. I was impressed that the fans still talk about the 1985 championship like it was yesterday and are willing to wait for the next one. I was impressed with my seats. For the first time on this trip I didn’t get altitude sickness walking to my section.

I was impressed that Troy’s cousin, Whitney, pulled on the tail of the Royals mascot Sluggerrr, drunkenly rooted for the Rangers because she thought they were the Royals, and held our entire camera collection while we went to get way too many hotdogs. It was only a buck for a hotdog so it had to be done.

We are on our way to St. Louis this morning to go watch a Cardinals game. I got up today to learn that half the state I’m in is underwater and the Mets just fired their entire coaching staff. We’re hoping to get to the Field of Dreams tomorrow in Dyersville, Iowa, if it’s not underwater.

I’m also hoping to get a new team soon.

Mets: 6.5 Games Back

(There’s more on this and our other adventures at BaseCrawl.com.)

We’ve been Yoko Onoed

Posted in Baseball Roadtrip with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 10, 2008 by manydn

No Kiss  ;-)

By Daren Many

GOODLAND, Kan. — I remember like it was yesterday.

I had just moved into an unfamiliar house with unfamiliar roommates. I was living with a cat. I hated cats. I was struggling with the questions of life like, “What the hell am I doing in Twin Falls, Idaho?” and “Twin Falls Idaho? What the hell am I doing here?”

I didn’t know Troy and I didn’t know Danielle, my other roommate. Then Nolan walks into the living room like Kramer walking into Jerry’s apartment in “Seinfeld”. “Who the hell is this guy?” I wondered to myself. Life hasn’t been the same since, and it’s why I lived in Twin Falls for four years and not just 12 months.

Nolan has been there for me through it all. When I needed to go get a beer at midnight because my girlfriend dumped me on Valentine’s Day, Nolan walked to the bar with me. If my truck was in the shop he was the first to offer me one of his vehicles. If he was cooking his famous spaghetti he would call me to make sure I came over and got some. The guy can make you laugh in the darkest moments of life.

Till this day the hardest I have ever laughed was a camping trip I took with Nolan in the Sawtooth. I won’t repeat what he said here, but I laughed so hard I needed to hold onto a tree so I didn’t fall over. I thought I was going to rupture something. All of this and more is why I’m happy Nolan is going home.

Major League Baseball DocumentaryNolan was not the same guy I know on this trip. You could constantly see it in his eyes and his posture. He couldn’t enjoy himself. He missed Beth terribly.

As soon as Beth got to Denver he was himself again. That’s why I’m happy for him.

He needs to be back in Twin. It’s not that I don’t want Nolan to be on this trip. After he left the airport this morning I felt a huge loss. I don’t know if it was him leaving the trip or what his leaving signified. What I knew in my mid-20s is gone. I realized in a moment of clarity that things change and you can’t hold on to them forever.  The days when things were a little simpler are long gone.

It made me sad because I saw myself in the mirror for a second and wondered what I was doing. I just lost a girl that I loved. I saw Nolan walking away and started wishing it were me. I wished it were me with my girl.  We have all given Nolan a lot of crap about leaving lately, but maybe it’s because we want what he has.

Having said all that, I’m still happy to be on this trip. I’m still traveling with one of my best friends. I’m still going to watch BASEBALL for the rest of the summer instead of working. I’m still going to meet incredible people, see incredible things, and experience life to its fullest.

Nolan, I wish you the best of luck and although things have changed you will always be one of my best friends. That never changes.

(There’s more on this and our other adventures at BaseCrawl.com.)

San Diego: Half the traffic, twice the mustard

Posted in Baseball Roadtrip with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 7, 2008 by manydn

A Petco Park view

By Daren Many

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — This round of thanks goes to three people. Jack and Judy Roach put us up for three nights in a sweet pad in San Diego. Not only did they give us a place to sleep, but they fed us and allowed us to do our laundry. They treated us like royalty and we couldn’t have been happier to meet them.

The third person in my Thank You Hall of Fame goes to that lady at Petco Park who sold me a dog, soda, and fries for $8. For those of you who’ve been to the ballpark, you know this would easily cost $215 on a normal day.

I’ve had a lot of people text me about the Nolan situation. I will not address that in this blog as Nolan has one more game with us in Denver. I’ll speak about the ketchup/mustard machine outside the concession stand in Section 227, though.

It should be outlawed. It’s a menace to society and should be torn down. I did get my hot dog meal for only $8, but nearly $16 dollars worth of mustard came out of that thing, rendering my hot dog completely useless as a food source.

Petco Park KittyWhat happened next was completely unexpected. I moved on to the ketchup spout and tried to outsmart it. That was my first problem, because it spewed out a thin stream at the speed of light. Ketchup came out faster than anything I’ve ever seen and it hit the dog with such force that it backfired onto my new Tom Seaver jersey. This threw me into a mood that would only worsen when the Mets lost in the bottom of the ninth

Now, it has been our ritual on this trip to buy a window sticker representing each Major League team and place it in ceremonial fashion on the side of our Jeep. All these stickers have matched so far, but not at Petco. In perfect fashion the only sticker we found had a bunch of flowers around the San Diego logo.

If you look at our Jeep window it looks like we went to five major league stadiums and a botanical garden association conference. These issues aside, the city of San Diego and Petco Park were great. Both rate very highly in my book. The city must form a committee to look into the condiments machines, though.

Unbelievably, I left out something in my last blog that should have been addressed immediately. I will tell this story now.

As we were leaving Dodger Stadium the other night I heard someone yelling in my general direction. I turned to see a guy in a yellow hat. I know what you’re thinking, and no it wasn’t the man who owns Curious George. It was the Livestrong guys from Oakland (read my Oakland blog). I don’t know how they recognized us, but there they were. I couldn’t believe it. They’re so nice but their successes sometimes make us feel like we haven’t planned our project effectively. Of course, as we were getting harassed by stadium security they were getting to meet Joe Torre and Nomar Garciaparra

Because we just drove 16 hours straight from San Diego to Denver I need to go to bed. We have a Rockies game on Sunday and then it’s off toward the Midwest.

Mets: 5.5 games back.

(There’s more on this and our other adventures at BaseCrawl.com.)

It’s not just a monkey; it’s a Rally Monkey

Posted in Baseball Roadtrip with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 4, 2008 by manydn

Rally Monkey

By Daren Many

ANAHEIM, Calif. — I’m going to start every blog with a thank-you to the people who have helped us in each city. In Los Angeles it was Bryan Mansell.

Bryan is a friend of Troy’s that he has known since kindergarten. Bryan is also a sound engineer in L.A. who bought us dinner, let us sleep at his pad for two nights, and figured out our wireless microphone system because we’re idiots. Thanks, Bryan.

Also, you should know that Bryan has the biggest house cat I have ever seen. It looks like it ate another cat of equal or larger size. If it were out roaming around in Africa you would look at his cat from inside a Land Rover with a guide carrying a high-powered rifle. I didn’t actually get a picture of the cat but I found a picture of one that was pretty similar, if not a little smaller.

On every long road trip like the one we’re attempting you run into problems. We have had more than our fair share of equipment problems. Not a day goes by that we don’t hear some of the following:

1.)  Wow! Maybe we should just film this thing with an Etch a Sketch. It would be a lot easier than the piece of crap we’re using now.

2.)  Hi! I’m a Mac and I’m a PC. Well guess what, you’re both pieces of garbage. Hand me another beer out of the cooler because I can’t handle this anymore.

3.)  PC load letter? What the @#%! does that mean?

4.)  Hey a-hole. Way to charge the battery last night. The five seconds of video I captured of the Rally Monkey should really spice up our documentary.

These things happen every single day. This actually is good and it means we care about what we’re doing on this trip. It’s not so good when you drink in the parking lot for an hour and a half and miss the first five innings of a game. That’s what happened in Anaheim and it’s a sign that things aren’t running all that smoothly. I don’t want to overreact, but there are some things getting in the way.

One is the amount of sleep we’ve been getting. When you’re driving to a day game at 10 in the morning in a major city and mistake it for a completely different city you might need a couple more hours of rest. 

Baseball and AlcoholTwo is the amount of beer. Drinking beer is part of the game and when you get three buddies together it’s going to happen. But in all honesty, and I’m not going to be holding too much back in this blog, we are drinking too much.

We haven’t bought any food for our cooler because it would take up the much needed space for beer. We’re drinking around a case a day. This does not help our productivity.

Three is women. Now, this is a touchy subject and I might get yelled at after I publish this blog, but oh well. I’m single. When you’re single your phone rings slightly more than your grandparents’ cell phone. You know that phone. The one your grandpa has for emergencies.

Nolan’s and Troy’s phones need their own cell networks to handle the traffic. The amount of time these guys spend on the phone with their girlfriends adds up to numbers not yet acknowledged by the scientific community.

Nolan talks to BethListen, it’s fine. I’ve been in their situations. But even though they may disagree with me it’s affecting what we’re trying to get done. For example, most nights we spend some time trying to diagnose computer/video problems. It’s almost guaranteed that when we’re about five seconds from fixing a problem this happens:

1.)  Phone rings

2.)  Troy/Nolan picks up phone to talk to girlfriend

3.)  All productivity goes out the window, I grab another beer to prepare for the journey that will be the conversation between lovers, and I eventually go to bed so I can wake up the next morning to Nolan texting his girl.

I will leave you with a few small notes about the games we saw. The five innings we saw at Angel Stadium were fun and the park is pretty nice. We had a lot of fans telling us that the Rally Monkey actually helps the team. I guess it’s supposed to be good luck.

Well, the Angels won in the bottom of the ninth so what do I know? I asked a guy outside the stadium if he thought that the monkey might just run away if they took it off its leash. He didn’t think that was funny. These fans are serious about their monkey. I’ll leave it at that.

You will hear a lot about Dodger Stadium from the other guys so I won’t say much. Our experience there was less than desirable. Aside from that I felt some of the nostalgia, and anytime you can hang out in a ballpark it’s a good day.

We’re off to San Diego next, which I’m extremely excited about. It’s one of my favorite cities, I’ve been to the park before and it’s awesome, and of course I get to see the Mets play. I’ll be putting on the Seaver jersey for the first time this trip and I’m looking forward to it.

Mets: 3.5 games back

(There’s more on this and our other adventures at BaseCrawl.com.)

Battle for the Bay

Posted in Baseball Roadtrip with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2008 by manydn

baseball roadtrip

By Daren Many

SAN FRANCISCO — Before I get started on the Battle for the Bay, I must first give a huge thank you to Al and Rochelle Blair. They welcomed us into their home for three nights. I don’t even think my mom would want us to stay three nights. 

Our trip depends heavily on the generosity of others and the Blairs made our stay in the Bay Area a great one. A special thanks to Al for hanging in until 4 in the morning on Saturday as we buried two bottles of Jack and a bottle of vodka for good measure. A trip like this is only as good as the people you meet and ours has been awesome so far. Thank you, Al and Rochelle.

Now, in this corner we have McAfee Coliseum. In the opposite corner AT&T Park. Let’s have a good clean fight, fellas. DING!

Round 1: AT&T Park punches the Coliseum in the face. Game over.

AT&T Park is awesome. It’s the perfect baseball setting.

The Coliseum looks like a giant cement turd fell out of the heavens and landed in the middle of a parking lot.

AT&T Park has an amazing view of the bay, a great waterfront walkway, statues honoring their most beloved players, and a very interactive stadium experience.

The Coliseum has some green tarps that cover up the seats where nobody sits. The tarps do have “Athletics” printed across them, so it’s got that going for it.

We attended the two stadiums on consecutive days and the differences were glaring. The Coliseum aside, Oakland has great fans who are loyal. There just aren’t a lot of them. But it’s okay, Oakland. I grew up with Shea Stadium and that’s just as big of a dump, but I still love it.

So here’s what went down in the eighth inning at the Coliseum that nearly pushed us over an emotional cliff. Here’s a rough transcription of a conversation between me and a guy who noticed me holding a fancy video camera.

30 ON ONEGuy: “Hey! Nice video camera, we have one just like it.”

Daren: “Cool, what are you guys doing with yours?”

Guy: “We’re making a documentary about baseball. We’re traveling around to all 30 Major League stadiums in one summer.”

Daren: “Wow, sounds like a great idea.”

We all understand this trip has been done before. We are not breaking new ground. This trip will be done again. But to run into a group of people who are doing the same thing at the exact same time — at only the second game! — was a little deflating.

Here’s a comparison of our trips:

We are driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee across the county. They’re driving a huge luxury RV with a kitchen, master bedroom and bathroom.

One point for them.

They are promoting and raising money for cancer research and have sponsors. We are promoting nothing and are sponsored by no one.

Another point for them.

They have guys who went to film school. We have a math professor.

Tie.

They’re trying to get in the Guinness Book of World Records by attending one game in each of the four major sporting leagues of North America. Troy is going to try and take a dump in all 30 MLB parks.

Point for us.

They win in a close one, 3-2. None of this really matters, though, because they’re radically different projects. We understand this; it’s actually not a big deal to us that another group of BaseCrawlers are doing a documentary. There no doubt will be several others.

But back to the games.

GuzzlerOne thing that AT&T Park has is this slide that goes down through the middle of a huge Coke bottle above the outfield bleachers. It’s a brilliant marketing strategy. It gets all kinds of kids. So, of course, Troy and I had to go down it. The only problem is it’s designed for humans weighing 100 pounds or less. It’s a fairly long slide and I got stuck in the middle. It’s enclosed, too, so I immediately had a panic attack. I had to awkwardly maneuver down to freedom.

It was the worst slide ride of my life.

I need to wrap this blog up but in closing it was a great trip to the Bay. Nolan and I got in kayaks today and hung out in McCovey Cove. It was unreal paddling around next to this huge park that you have seen so many times on ESPN.

We didn’t get any home run balls but Troy was nice enough to throw us practice splash hits. It’s a lot harder than it looks. For us to actually get a ball I’m convinced it would need to land directly in the kayak.

That’s it for now. Los Angeles is up next with an actual Mets game looming in San Diego.

Mets: 4 games back.

(There’s more on this and our other adventures at BaseCrawl.com.)

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