Archive for August, 2008

I hate hot dogs

Posted in Baseball Roadtrip with tags , , , , on August 27, 2008 by manydn
Game #1.
Game No. 1 when we didn’t know what the hell we were getting into.

By Daren Many

FROM SOMEWHERE IN COLORADO — Too often in life we fail to appreciate the things in front of us until they’re in our rearview mirror. I’m especially guilty of this. I tend to concentrate on “getting through” an experience as opposed to taking in the moment.

This was not the case this summer.

Every ballpark we visited, every stretch of road we drove, and every person we met along the way sparked something in me that I haven’t felt, well, maybe ever.

Not surprisingly, people respond with apprehensive amazement when I tell them what I did this past summer. I still find it hard to explain what we did because I still can’t grasp what we just accomplished. That’s how much this summer consumed me. It took me completely out of my element and threw me out the other side with a new take on life.

How do you sum up a 75-day, 17,000-mile road trip? You normally wouldn’t be able to in a manner that anyone can understand unless they were there. Luckily we filmed the whole thing and at some point anyone who’s interested will be able to see Troy, Nolan, and I more than they probably want to.

 

Still 15,000 miles to go.

When we still had 15,000 miles and 25 games to go.

From the start Troy and I decided this would be a no-holds-barred documentary. We agreed that people needed to see us at our highest and lowest moments.

I’m by no means an on-camera personality. I never wanted to be, but signing onto this project forced me to come out of my comfort zone. There are moments on this trip that I don’t necessarily want people to see, but if a long-form version of our documentary ever develops you’ll probably see them all. Troy and I have already prepared ourselves for some of the backlash. Not everyone will see this trip the way we want them to. We’re OK with it, though, because we believe we did it the way it was supposed to be done.

I’m still in shock that the journey is over. From the moment Troy and I started talking about the project until the day I rolled away from Twin Falls at the conclusion of filming seems like some sort of foggy dream. You know it’s there but you’re not sure what it is. The trip itself is engrained in me very vividly. It’s just shocking how fast it passed by.

 

I’m already on my next adventure and I don’t feel like I had time to bask in the accomplishment of the last one. As I write this last entry Troy and I have not talked for more than a week. This is not on purpose but my new job has taken me away from the hustle and bustle of the 30-some major cities we visited to the wilds of Western America. It’s been a difficult transition, but it’s offered me an even more unique perspective of the last two and a half months.

I’m not sure what I will take away from this adventure the most. Certainly the generosity of people surprised me. Before the trip began I started believing people just went about their daily lives, giving little thought to those around them. What I experienced on our basecrawl was exactly the opposite. From our first stop in Seattle to our last in Phoenix people blew me away with their generosity.

People provided us with food, shelter, and words of encouragement all along the way. Sometimes these things came from complete strangers. We interviewed literally hundreds of people on this trip and I can count on one hand the number of people who got visibly angry with us. This says a lot about people and their willingness to help out if given the chance.

My love of baseball has grown exponentially over the summer. I consider myself an above-average fan of America’s pastime. At the same time I have always been in my own little bubble of all things Mets. I spent my childhood going to Mets games in Queens. As an adult I ordered TV packages based on their ability to deliver me Mets games — ALL OF THEM! In the summer of 2005 I drove from Idaho to Seattle to watch an interleague matchup between the Mets and Mariners. I went for the sole purpose of watching my favorite team. I didn’t care about going to a new stadium or visiting a cool city.

This trip, however, has given me a new appreciation of all things baseball. The museums, the old parks, the new parks, the cities, the people who work at the games and the fans have all opened my eyes. Through our project and the stories we explored I’ve come to appreciate the game at a level I never envisioned.

Maybe what I’ll ultimately take away from this trip has nothing to do with baseball at all. I saw my country in all its beauty this summer. I’ve done my fair share of traveling but few people, including myself, can actually grasp what this country is about. You travel in short spurts. You go for a camping trip into a remote wilderness. You take a long weekend to a new city. Over your life your adventures are like puzzle pieces. You put them together and eventually a picture slowly comes into focus.

Over the past two and a half months we saw our country from coast to coast and developed an image that looks more like a classic painting than an old dusty puzzle. On this trip we were forced to immerse ourselves in American culture. We talked to people from all walks of life. We explored cities that I may have never visited in my life if it were not for the project. We did all this in a span of time that made you take notice of what the fabric of this country is made of.

The most satisfying portions of this journey were not when I got to sit in a new stadium or watch the Mets play. It was by far the people we met and the places we saw. There’s nothing more satisfying than hearing someone tell their story. Someone you never knew or will never see again. I came away from all of these encounters feeling like I had brought something valuable with me. I feel like a better person after this BaseCrawl, almost like I stumbled upon some lost secret that no one else has discovered.

I have suddenly realized how important it is to travel and meet new people. For those of you who find yourselves wondering if life is passing you by, take a chance. Meet new people but cherish the friends you have. I took something away from everyone I met but also realized once again how lucky I am to have the friends and family I have always had. I strangely found myself thinking several times how I’m going to make my kids travel. This is odd because I don’t have any kids and have no desire to have any at this point in my life. It just became apparent how important it is to meet new people, see new places, and push yourself beyond your perceived boundaries.

I struggled on this trip with a vast array of emotions. I was trying to move past a lost love. I was contemplating my life in a way that I had never anticipated. I was, and maybe still am, in life limbo considering where to go from here. I briefly considered that this trip was the apex of my life and it would all be down hill from here.

Not so. Not even close.

If this trip has taught me anything it’s that it’s not where you’re going but the ride that’s important. I have unlocked something that has allowed me to enjoy the now. The perfect example of this is my current situation. Coming off a 75-day road trip you start thinking how great it’s going to be to sleep in your own bed. How great it’s going to be to sleep in and not have to worry about interviews and the pressures of filming a project.

On our last day Troy and I drove 12 hours from Phoenix to Twin Falls. We arrived at Nolan’s at approximately 2 in the morning. We went to bed around 5. I had my vehicle packed and was on the road by 8 p.m. the same day to start the next inning of my life. This task seemed overly daunting and sometimes unnerving. The next six weeks of my life will be spent in anything but stability. My new job will offer little in the way of comfort. But my newfound appreciation of all things in the now has already started. I’m already forming new friendships. I’ve stumbled upon new things in the past week that I didn’t expect. Some of these experiences might surprise you — such as not having a real place to sleep or call home — but I have enjoyed every minute so far.

It’s just part of the ride.

Mets: When I wrote my first blog the Mets were 5.5 games out of first place. As I write my last blog they are alone in first place. Sounds like a good ending to me.

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

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Wait! It’s Over? Time to rank all 30 ballparks

Posted in Baseball Roadtrip with tags , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2008 by manydn

By Daren Many

PHOENIX, Ariz. — Every Major League ballpark we visited this summer holds a special memory for me.

We’ve completed our journey and seen them all. I come to you, now, with my final thoughts on all 30.

It’s proven hard to look back and try to rank some of the parks we’ve seen. Let’s face it, any day you get to sit down and watch a ballgame is a good day, no matter where you are. Some of the top choices were easy to rank. Others I just slapped a number next to because I had to put them somewhere. This doesn’t mean I didn’t like them, it just means some places hold an extra special memory. 

With this in mind here’s my rankings and reviews of all 30 parks:

 

No. 1: Fenway Park — Boston, Massachusetts

 

This is the ballpark of all ballparks. It just narrowly edges out Wrigley Field for my favorite park. I spent a fair amount of time walking around Yawkey Way interviewing fans who couldn’t get a ticket. It’s been increasingly hard to score a seat here over the years and for good reason. Even if you’re not a fan of baseball you need to go here. Sitting in the outfield we felt like we were in the movie “Fever Pitch.” Everyone felt like family around us. Watching a night game at Fenway and seeing the lights above the Green Monster is as good as it gets in baseball. Going out in Boston afterward also is a treat.

 

No. 2: Wrigley Field — Chicago, Illinois  

Believe everything you have ever heard.  I had to go with Wrigley Field for the history alone and it’s a very close second to Fenway. Sitting in this ballpark cannot be explained. Forget about parking unless you want to pay $30 to pull into someone’s garage like we did. The atmosphere around the park is phenomenal.

 

No. 3: AT&T Park — San Francisco, California

Hands down the best new park of the bunch. Incredible views of everything San Francisco. You can kayak outside the park. We found a FREE parking spot although it took me doing an 87-point turn to get the Jeep properly positioned. I’ve been to San Francisco before and it’s definitely a city I would live in.

 

No. 4: PNC Park — Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Sitting on the banks of the Allegheny River, this park has an old-school feel and is an amazing place to watch a game. It starts with the walk across the Roberto Clemente Bridge, which is closed to traffic on game days. Troy and I had to take a 10-hour drive to Pittsburgh from Boston and I had spent the whole previous night and morning at a bar in Cambridge. Even though I resembled a zombie when I got to PNC Park, I was still awed by its atmosphere.

 

No. 5: Petco Park — San Diego, California

I have had a love affair with Petco Park and the city of San Diego ever since I first visited it in 2005. Nothing has changed. I still love San Diego and it’s on my short list of places I would like to live. Petco is right in the heart of downtown, right next to the San Diego Bay and the park itself has a great baseball feel.  However, they need to outlaw the ketchup/mustard machine.

 

No. 6: Camden Yards — Baltimore, Maryland

I had a hard time ranking Camden Yards ahead of Safeco just because I like Seattle so much, but I give a slight edge to the park in Baltimore. Plus, it was a special night because I got to watch a baseball game with my mom. She’s the one who took me to my first-ever game at Shea Stadium and helped fuel my Mets fanaticism. We had great seats at Camden Yards and the atmosphere of the park has that great summer night feel to it.

 

No. 7: Safeco Field — Seattle, Washington

For some reason Seattle sticks out among all the cities I have been to. I would live there in a second and the ballpark is equally as impressive. Of course Todd Foster kept us liquored up through the whole thing so that may have skewed my impressions. Drunk or not, Seattle and its park gets a high rating.

 

No. 8: Coors Field — Denver, Colorado

Skiing plus baseball plus Coors Brewery equals a No. 8 ranking. Actually, when I put it that way, maybe it should be No. 1.

 

No. 9: Busch Stadium — St. Louis, Missouri

I still wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat thinking about the Mets losing to the Cardinals in the 2006 NLCS. I will not hold this against the park. It’s a great place to watch an evening game. The summer sunset made the whole stadium glow to make a perfect setting to watch baseball.

 

No. 10: Kaufmann Stadium — Kansas City, Missouri

This is a hard ranking to explain. Kaufmann is in the middle of nowhere. There’s absolutely nothing to do around the park. It has none of the bells or whistles of the newer parks or the history of the older parks. Yet it ranks fairly high on my list. Troy and I agree this was one of our better days at a ballgame. The atmosphere was great. The fans love their team although they haven’t done much in the past 23 years. It was a classic BaseCrawl experience.

 

No. 11: Yankee Stadium — Bronx, New York

Another fun experience although Nolan and I were stupid enough to wear our Red Sox and Mets jerseys to the game. I spent the first 23 years of my life living in the state of New York but this was my first trip to Yankee Stadium. To be honest it was kind of a crap hole, but it was still fun to think of the legends that had once played here. After the game we headed out on the town and had one of the most fun nights of the trip.

 

No. 12 Minute Maid Park — Houston, Texas

This day was one of my favorites. I dressed up like a puma and watched the whole game with The Little Pumas — an interesting perspective, to say the least. The park is certainly unique although I still have a problem with baseball being played indoors. The roof is primarily closed during the summer because of the unbearable heat.

 

No. 13 Tropicana Field — St. Petersburg, Florida

Now this wasn’t one of the nicer stadiums we went to and you hear a lot of negative things about Florida baseball, but I really enjoyed my experience here. As far as experiences go this stadium actually should be ranked much higher. Of course this was due to the company we kept. We got to spend the game with the smoking-hot Emily Rice and her awesome friends Kevin and Nicole along with several other people who were fun to hang out with. We had great seats, spent a couple innings in a cigar bar, and saw some Rays in a fish tank in the outfield stands.

 

No. 14 Great American Ballpark — Cincinnati, Ohio

On this day we were interviewing fans about Pete Rose. As I approached an older-looking man who I thought might have something interesting to say, I asked him, “Excuse me sir, I don’t mean to bother …” Before I could get out the complete sentence, he said, “Then don’t!” That guy did a great job pissing me off, but it couldn’t spoil the time Troy and I spent on the outfield porch at Club Red. We spent the majority of the game drinking beers, talking baseball, and generally enjoying the laid-back atmosphere.

 

No. 15: Turner Field — Atlanta, Georgia

Not only did I get to wear a Mets hat into enemy territory, I got to sit next to a crazy Braves fan who thought my hat was disgusting. Our host Emily (crazy Braves fan) was gracious enough to guide my Braves-hating mentality all over Turner Field. Even though temperatures once again soared into the “holy shit” range it was a great day to watch a game. Especially interesting was the old Fulton County Stadium wall, which still stands in the parking lot. 

 

No. 16: Miller Park — Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Once again I’m not a big fan of watching baseball indoors. They closed the roof on this day because of some lightning and a little bit of rain. I think there are nicer parks than Miller that are under it on this ranking. I ranked it higher because of the tailgating alone. I still don’t really understand why baseball and tailgating don’t go together. Of course Troy and I tailgate at every park whether it’s allowed or not, but it’s a much nicer atmosphere when everyone around you is doing the same.

 

No. 17: Comerica Park — Detroit, Michigan

I didn’t realize I was walking into a carnival as I walked into Comerica. Troy and I actually rode in a ferris wheel inside the park. As if two grown men riding a ferris wheel wasn’t weird enough, we sat next to John Lynch, who played Drew Carey’s brother on the Drew Carey show. The park was very family oriented but had a nice baseball feel to it. It had a nice view of downtown and the front entrance was the sweetest of the whole trip.

 

No. 18: Rangers Ballpark — Arlington, Texas

It took Troy and I a while to get into the stadium as we really enjoyed spending time in the parking lot reminiscing about our trip and wondering how it could almost be over. For those of you who can’t understand why we sometimes take so long to get into the stadium, call Troy and ask him about the principle of marginal utility. He will gladly take some time out of his busy schedule to discuss. As for the stadium itself it was a nice place to watch a ballgame. We spent the second half of the game sitting next to Shirley “The Cookie Lady” Kost. This was a treat as she’s a die hard Rangers fan and we got introduced to everyone. This includes ushers, security guards, and the girls who shoot T-shirts at you.

 

No. 19: Citizens Bank Ballpark — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

This was another really nice park that unfortunately started blending in with all the rest. We had a tailgating session with some great Philly fans that didn’t hold it against me that I was a Mets fan. On top of it I was front row and center for a hilarious moment on BaseCrawl that saw Troy trying to scalp tickets. Even though it rained almost the whole game, we didn’t care. The Mets lost but I enjoyed the experience nonetheless.

 

No. 20: Dodger Stadium — Los Angeles, California

I know there’s a lot of history connected to the team and this park. I felt some of it at times but the laid-back attitude of Southern California does not translate to Chavez Ravine. We got hassled from the second we got there. No tailgating, no cameras, no talking to fans, no backpacks, no gate entrance if you didn’t have the right ticket, no watching the game, no eating hot dogs, no talking, and absolutely no having any fun. Give me a break.

 

No. 21: Nationals Park — Washington, D.C.

This was a tough day for me. After our 10-hour drive to Pittsburgh from Boston we had another short night and then five hours to D.C. I was exhausted and was actually looking forward to the game being over. I was revived after getting to the park but when I saw the Nationals play I almost fell asleep. It’s not a very exciting team, but the park is brand new and makes a nice home for the one-time Montreal Expos. Although it’s new, it still didn’t stand out like some of the other retro parks. It felt a little vanilla but serves its purpose.

 

No. 22: Chase Field — Phoenix, Arizona

This was our last stop on BaseCrawl but not the least of all the parks. Once again we had to watch baseball indoors but once again we were at the “holy shit” alert warning for heat so I appreciated the air conditioning.  Unbelievably, they wouldn’t let us take our camera in, which was completely unexpected and they lost some points for that, especially when an overzealous security guard on a power trip gave Troy a mouthful and a personal frisk. On the positive side, there’s a bunch of cool places to have a beer around the park and we tested a few out. Indoors we had the best seats of the whole trip. Again, a nice park but nothing about it caused me to set it aside from all the others I’ve seen this summer.

 

No. 23: Progressive Stadium — Cleveland, Ohio

The Guy” who set off the fireworks for the team let us hang out with him on top of the parking garage across from the stadium. Just another surreal moment on this trip. A nice park that had nothing really wrong with it but it’s getting hard to rank these things.

 

No. 24: Angel Stadium — Anaheim, California

I felt like I was in a retirement community when outside the park. It didn’t have the historic feel of Dodger Stadium but it was a nice place to watch the best team in baseball.

 

No. 25: U.S. Cellular Field — Chicago, Illinois

Had serious attitude when we went there, whether it was the local law enforcement or the fans. Of course it was an interleague series with the Cubs. The area around the field is shady at best and doesn’t have the community feel that Wrigley and the north side of Chicago had, but you could tell the fans really loved their team. They didn’t show a lot of respect, but I understand to a certain extent because of the rivalry. I could have done without all the fights. The park is nice enough and the tailgating is fun.

 

No. 26: Metrodome — Minneapolis, Minnesota

Nolan in the Metrodome

I just took a virtual tour of the new ballpark, which is due to open in 2010. This is great news for the twin cities because the Metrodome was really bland. The city is great and I got a good vibe from the fans, but let’s just say I’m looking forward to the new park.

 

No. 27: Dolphins Stadium — Miami, Florida

The day after the game Troy and I chilled on the beach and had some Corona’s at a local grill. It was an amazing laid back atmosphere and I wished we could have stayed a little longer. As nice as the beaches were the football stadium did little for me. I enjoyed tailgating outside the stadium under the palm trees but baseball inside didn’t evoke feelings of a baseball trip. The Marlins need a new stadium or they need to move the team somewhere that deserves it. The average stadium attendance this season is just over 16,000 per game. Ouch. Compare that to a Yankees game where an average of almost 53,000 people show up to a game. Now I know that Miami will never have the baseball history or the same intensity of the fans in New York, but give me a break.

 

No. 28: Rogers Centre — Toronto, Ontario

In all honesty I just moved Canada up a spot. I had just written a whole diatribe on why Canada doesn’t deserve baseball, but decided I wasn’t being completely fair. The day we went to Toronto was one of the weirder and uneventful spots on our trip. No one was at the game and the upper concourses looked haunted. Canadians also were genuinely scared and perplexed at our interview attempts. I never felt so out of place in my life. But the city is very interesting and as of this writing the Blue Jays rank No. 20 in attendance. That’s better than 10 other teams in the U.S. So once again Oakland gets the cellar.

 

No. 29: Oakland Coliseum – Oakland, California

Sunny Day

I have to apologize to my brother-in-law, Bret. He’s a huge Oakland Raiders fan and I heard through my sister that he’s upset with my stance on McAfee Coliseum. Sorry Bret, it’s ranked last for a reason. I’ve heard Raiders games are crazy, but it’s just not happening at A’s games. The fans that did show up were good fans. The area sucks. There’s nothing there except parking lots and old warehouse buildings. 

 

Unranked: Shea Stadium — Queens, New York

OK, most of you who know me probably saw this coming. I can’t rank Shea Stadium No. 1 but I can’t rank it lower than that, either. I just can’t. In all reality, Shea is a rundown crap hole that no one in their right mind would rank higher than 29th. Having said that, there’s no place I would rather watch a game. I saw my first game here in April 1989 and continued to watch my Mets at Shea a scattering of times over the past 19 years. My last visit here was a great one. I found myself explaining all things baseball related to our host Becky, who put us up for our entire stay in the New York area. It was a perfect night for baseball. I bought Becky a beer and we talked about why the outfield apple should be saved and why pitchers suck at hitting. I couldn’t help but feel a little sad as the game was nearing its end. You get a great view of the new Citi Field over the left field wall and although I look forward to the new-and-improved home of the Mets my heart will always be with Shea.

So there it is. Each of these places holds an awesome memory that I will never forget. Towards the end of our trip I had a recurring nightmare that when we arrived home we were stunned to find out that there were actually 31 teams. Don’t think I haven’t checked on this several times. I’m planning to write one more blog to sum up this trip, so stay tuned.

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

Welcome to Texas … now go home

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

baseball documentary

By Daren Many 

HOUSTON — After spending the past several days in Texas I’m confident the human race can now start contemplating a colony on the surface of the sun.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Don’t be ridiculous, Daren. Texas is not as hot as the sun. Don’t be dramatic.

Well, my response is this: You’re wrong. It’s at least 14 times as hot as the sun. There’s absolutely no reason to be outside in the state of Texas unless having your ass catch on fire is something you’ve always wondered about.

As if standing outside motionless is not bad enough I went ahead and put on a ski suit that resembled a puma at the Houston Astros game. This was to be a very special day indeed.

We had an all-access interview with The Little Pumas. If you’re not familiar with these guys, read on.

They’re the loyal supporters of Astros first baseman Lance “Big Puma” Berkman. Lance used to have the nickname “Fat Elvis,” but that’s a story for another day.  The Little Pumas show their loyalty by not only attending all 81 home games at Minute Maid Park, but they dress up like pumas and chant their way through all nine innings.

I was not aware that I would actually have the honor of being a Little Puma until after we interviewed the guys outside the ball park.

“We have an extra outfit if you’re interested,” said Bubba, one of the founders of this fan club.

“You mean you want me to dress up like a cat on a 100-degree day and root for a team that I’ve never rooted for before?” I anxiously replied. “Where do I sign?”

The Little PumasSo began my game in Houston. I put the suit on right away and asked an elderly lady who had just taken a picture with us to zip me up in the back. It’s only the second time in my life a woman has zipped the back of a puma outfit up for me. The other time was 10 minutes later when the same old woman saw me going into the game and noticed I had somehow come unzipped again. She had a look of pity on her face as she repeated the same procedure she had done only a short time before.

Once inside the stadium we ran to the outfield porch to stake our claim. We would never leave this spot for the rest of the evening.  I thank my body for sparing me the embarrassment of having to go to the bathroom. See, the only way to get out of this thing is to once again unzip from the back (see above paragraph). I’ll leave the visual of me struggling in the bathroom up to you.

As a Little Puma you’re allowed to enjoy a minor bit of celebrity at the game. We sometimes get some odd looks at games because of our camera. It pales in comparison to the amount of people who looked my way this day.

We took pictures with no fewer than 50 people. Oddly enough, we weren’t the only spectacle at the game. Right next to us sat another famous Astros fan club, Los Caballitos. This is Carlos Lee’s fan club and they were out in full force with sombreros, stick horses, and their own chants. Don’t think that the clubs compete like some version of the Jets and Sharks from Westside Story, though. Both groups get along well and play off of each other the whole game.

Photo Courtesy Of Los Caballitos.

Photo Courtesy Of Los Caballitos.

Being a Little Puma takes some attentiveness. You don’t just sit there and drink beer like Troy and I do at most games. Every time Lance Berkman comes to bat you will see and hear this routine at an Astros game.

Step 1: Put on foam paw that says “Big Puma.”

Step 2: Stand up on the cement step under the railing to get the full body extension.

Step 3: Cheer frantically after Berkman is announced over the P.A.

Step 4: Wave your paw in a fluid up and down motion while you chant. “PUMA, PUMA, PUMA, PUMA. Note: This is usually only done on a hitter’s count, such as 2-1 or 3-0. Bubba will let you know.

Step 5: More cheering if Big Puma gets a hit or cursing when he gets an out.

Step 6: Lose voice.

While this chant is going on you could swear you’re the only ones making noise in the entire stadium. It’s unbelievable, and I want to hear what it sounds like someday from across the outfield.

One other routine that I enjoyed almost as much as the puma chant is calling out the Astros outfielders’ names. On every Astros pitching change the outfielders congregate to talk about things I can’t even imagine, such as buying Lamborghinis, taking one-night stands to Bermuda on private jets, or taking baths in bottles of Evian.

As Hunter Pence, Carlos Lee, and Darin Erstad came together we chanted their names over and over and over again until they acknowledged us. Watching Darin Erstad reluctantly wave his glove our way out of sheer annoyance made me extremely happy. We got all three outfielders to give us a wave of the cap or mitt. 

I couldn’t have felt more a part of this great group. They treated me like I was one of them even though I was a complete stranger. The Little Pumas were founded this season and these guys are going to keep getting bigger if my day with them was any indication

The fans love these guys, which includes several smoking-hot woman that wanted pictures with us. Girls, if you see these guys at the game you need to hand your numbers out. They’re good guys and, no, that they didn’t tell me to say that.

Nomik

Watch out Troy! They want your beer! Photo Courtesy of NOMIK.

After the game we marched into the nearest bar for a couple of well-earned drinks. Of course we got a round of applause as we walked in, cheap beers, and many more pictures with curious fans. We even did another puma chant. I reluctantly gave back my sweaty puma suit at the end of the night and we said our goodbyes. Luckily I got to keep my foam paw and the next time I’m in Houston I’m bringing it with me. PUMA, PUMA, PUMA!

As I write this we are on the road again heading farther west and closer to home. Texas has been good to us and I want to take the time to say thank you once again to Bubba, Kevin, Nathan, and Wes for showing us an Astros game the right way.

Thanks to Rich and Laurie for putting us up in Austin for three relaxing days. Just when we thought our BaseCrawl had normalized a little Rich, Laurie, Jim, and Sylvia took us to see a million and a half bats fly out from under a bridge in downtown Austin. That’s only normal if your name is Bruce Wayne.

Also, a big thank you to Shirley “The Cookie Lady” Kost and her husband Cal for welcoming us into their home, making us cookies, and sharing their experiences with us before the Rangers game. More to come on that subject later.

It’s on to Phoenix and the final chapter of BaseCrawl.

Mets: We lost our second straight tonight and have fallen from first to third in two days. It’s going to be a foot race to the end. Tug McGraw said it best. Ya Gotta Believe!

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

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