The Shoestring Catch


6/7 comerica park and tigers game
June 10, 2009, 5:39 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,
Liam at Comerica Park

Liam at Comerica Park

Today was Kids Day at Comerica Park, so there were more ankle biters at the stadium than we have been accustomed to on this trip.  Honestly, I wish every day was Kids Day at every ballpark in America.  The more dads that take their 10 year old sons and daughters to the ballpark, the better off the sport (and America in general) will be.  On Kids Day at Comerica Park, children 14 and under are entitled to free face painting, free rides on the carousel and merry-go-round, a post game run-the-bases, and the chance to win one of four bicycles given away at different points throughout the game.  They also get a free promotional item.  This week the free promotional item was a Justin Verlander adjustable cap.  Eric really wanted one of those hats and even stooped as low as telling the vendor he was 16, but the cutoff was 14, and she wasn’t buying it anyway.

Comerica Park is just the latest in a string of really great ballparks we have visited.  There are awesome larger-than-life tiger statues outside the gates, the aforementioned carousel and merry-go-round for the kids, and great views of the field from all over the park.  We bought “obstructed view” seats because they were the cheapest, but they weren’t obstructed at all.  There was a metal railing in front of our seats, but I would have gladly paid extra for this convenient footrest.  The park, as well as most of downtown Detroit for that matter, was also very clean.

Chone Figgins hit a homerun to a little dip in the right field fence to leadoff the game.  I’m all for quirky ballpark dimensions, but this one really seems to have no point.  It’s not even aesthetically pleasing.  As of this posting, that “dinger” is Chone Figgins only homerun this season.  By making a cut in the wall like that, the Tigers are basically asking light-hitting leadoff men to embarrass them.

I was excited to get to see young fireballer Rick Porcello throw for the Tigers, but the hero of this game was pinch hitting reserve outfielder Clete Thomas.  His at bat music “Song of the South” seemed wildly inappropriate in the heart of Motor City, but no one seemed to care after he belted a game winning grand slam in the eighth inning.



Detroit 6/6
June 10, 2009, 4:57 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
View of Detroit from Mat's Garage

View of Detroit from Mat's Garage

And something did materialize!  When we got back into America I called our Detroit couchsurfer and asked him if he could put us up for an extra night.  He agreed and we were drinking beer and watching the Redwings beat up the Penguins with Mat in Detroit by 9:00PM.  Mat lives in the nicest condos in all of Detroit.  They actually have a walkway connecting them to Joe Louis Arena, where the Redwings play their home games.  After the game we went out onto the roof of Mat’s parking structure and watched the screaming fans pour out of the Arena.  It was awesome.  After that we played video games until we all crashed around 2:00AM.  We woke up at the crack of noon on Sunday and Mat drove us out to Comerica Park on his way to run some errands.



Toronto 6/6
June 10, 2009, 4:53 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,
Liam and CN Tower

Liam and CN Tower

We got to Toronto around 10:00AM and walked around the city for awhile before our 1:00PM Royals vs. Blue Jays game.  Toronto has a very large Chinatown and we got turned around once or twice while exploring.  Apparently the CN Tower was the tallest free-standing building in the world until 2007.  I’ve got to tell you though– it doesn’t look that tall in person.  We thought about taking a tour, but at $20.00, tickets were way out of our price range.  As unimpressed as I was with CN Tower, I thought the Rogers Centre was amazing.  As the first stadium with a fully-retractable roof, it is architecturally significant, and a nice place to watch a game.  This Astros fan thanks you for paving the way Canada.  When the roof is open, as it was for our game, you also have a good view of downtown, and especially of CN Tower.

The game was nothing special.  It’s hard for a National League boy to get too worked up over Royals vs. Blue Jays, but I am very glad we made it up to Canada.  We were supposed to couchsurf with a guy in Toronto, but he sent me an email saying he couldn’t host us because his two Swedish female couchsurfers were staying an extra week.  I can’t say that I blame him for kicking us to the curb, but it did put us in a bit of a bind.  With no place to stay in Canada, we just started driving towards Detroit, hoping something would materialize.

Rogers Centre

Rogers Centre



A Long Night 6/5-6/6
June 10, 2009, 4:48 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
Niagara Falls!

Niagara Falls!

After the Sox game we picked up my car from Grayson’s house and started driving to Toronto.  This is a nine hour drive that has to be treated with respect, so of course we got on the road around midnight.  I had to drive what I thought would be the graveyard shift from 3:00AM until 8:00AM, but we were so far north that it started to get light around 4:30AM.  This made the drive much easier.

We weren’t really planning on stopping at Niagara Falls, but when we realized how close we would be driving by it, we had to stop.  It was definitely worth it.  Lots of people plan entire vacations around seeing the falls, but for us it was just one of those wonderful incidentals that will occasionally crop up during the course of a three week road trip.  We pulled into the falls around 7:00AM and walked around and took pictures for about an hour.  After that we headed for the Canadian border.  The entire trip we had been worrying about getting into Canada because Andrew does not have a passport.  This fear was only heightened when we learned that stricter border crossing laws had gone into effect on June 1.  I wish we had a cool smuggling story or something of that nature, but the truth is the border patrol was very friendly and didn’t give us any trouble.  Once in Canada, Andrew immediately started worrying about getting back into the US, but we were able to accomplish that without a hitch as well.



Shiner Fan
June 10, 2009, 4:45 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:
The Joy of Sharing Beer

The Joy of Sharing Beer

As a Native Texan, Grayson is a big fan of Shiner Bock.  He has asked his local liquor stores to do anything they can to start stocking it, but so far he hasn’t had any luck.  Needless to say, his eyes lit up like Christmas morning when I told him I was leaving him a six pack.



Fenway Park 6/5
June 10, 2009, 4:40 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,
Liam at Fenway!

Catching a game at Fenway Park is the closest thing to a religious experience I have had on this trip. I am not a Red Sox fan, but being in that cramped ballpark screaming and cheering and singing Sweet Caroline sent chills down my spine. It was cold and drizzling the whole night, but the park was packed from first pitch to last.

I blew my no-purchases-at-a-game policy out of the water for this one, but it was worth it. I had a Fenway Frank, a souvenir soda, and ice cream in a bowl shaped like a Red Sox batting helmet. The cup and bowl will probably end up as my only souvenirs from the entire trip, so I cherish them.

We had the misfortune of sitting directly behind some unruly Texas Rangers fans at the game. Three of them were nice enough, but one of the guys, a 21 year old junior from Fort Worth attending Boston University, screamed and yelled the entire time. At one point he tried to get into an altercation with Andrew, but we are above such nonsense. I don’t have any problems with someone rooting for their team in an opposing ballpark, but this kid was completely out of line. The worst part was that he gave the Boston fans a bad impression of people from my great State of Texas. We tried to apologize for his conduct on behalf of Texas, but it was difficult. At one point an usher asked him to sit down and stop swearing, to which he replied, “I’m being harassed!” We all burst out laughing because if anything, he was harassing everyone around him. Actually, Eric burst out laughing because he thought the kid’s reasoning for not sitting down was “I have a rash!” We corrected him later. I was impressed with how well the Boston fans tolerated his misbehavior; I honestly thought somebody was going to curb stomp him, especially after the Rangers won the game. The surrounding patrons did taunt him back, but nothing too out of line. At one point a group of girls sitting behind us started chanting “Swine Flu! Swine Flu!” at him and the rest of his Texan pals. I alternated between thinking this was hilarious and horribly inappropriate.

Although I remember that little prick better than any other aspect of the game, just being at the park was a wonderful experience. If you are a true baseball fan, you have to go to Fenway Park. Trust me, you won’t regret it.



Boston Day I
June 5, 2009, 1:49 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

We got into Boston around 2:00PM and drove around the city for awhile trying to find cheap parking.  After this failed we drove over to Fenway and found a $1/hour meter near the park.  My guess is that this meter will not be available on game day.  A one hour tour of the park only costs $12, so we decided to take one.  Andrew was giddy the entire time.  We got to see the press box, sit in the original seats in the grandstands, stand on top of the Green Monster, and check out the fairly new right field rooftop section.  I was happy we got to see the park before the game because I don’t plan on leaving my seat during the game.  At most parks I like to do a walk around during the game, but at Fenway I want to sit in my seat and absorb as much baseball goodness as possible.  After the tour we moved the car to a meter near city hall and walked some of the Freedom Trail.  We saw Paul Revere’s house, Cobb’s Hill Cemetery, Faneuil Hall, and taverns that date back to the 1700s on our walk.  I think we are going to try to see the USS Constitution tomorrow, and perhaps the Harpoon Brewery.  Whatever we do tomorrow, we are definitely taking the subway into town so that we don’t have to deal with parking the car.