June 28, 2007
The following is a recap of Friday, June 22.
For this trip the only plans were for the two baseball games. Both were at night so we just had to plan when to leave to get to our destinations. This meant that we would be getting back somewhat late. It also meant we had no early morning plans. Getting to sleep in is not something I get to do, ever. On weekends I ‘sleep in’. That means getting up two hours later than usual. So I get to sleep until 7:30am.
Friday Plan: Miami, Twins vs. Marlins @ Dolphin Stadium
Today consisted of waking up and wandering around the house, watching SportsCenter, setting fantasy lineups, checking email, and having some breakfast. The most difficult thing I had to do all morning was convince myself that I didn’t actually have to be doing anything. Sitting around being lazy was exactly was I was supposed to be doing.
For lunch Evan wanted to show me a place called Philly Junction. He claimed they had the best Philly Cheese Steaks he has had in Florida. They were special because they had Amoroso rolls and Cheese Whiz. We headed out with Evan’s roommate and her boyfriend. The place had a lot of posters and pennants of all the Philly teams. I felt like I had half of the stuff in my room when I was little. It was cool to see all that, but they need to make a trip up north and get some new items. The Cheese Steak was good, impressive for Florida. I saw Pork Roll on the menu and decided that we needed to come back for breakfast one day.
When we returned to the house there was still some time before we had to depart for Miami. We hung around in the pool for a while and discussed future sports trips. Hopefully the West Coast Baseball Trip will happen in 2008 and Evan will make it to his first Penn State game this season.
The drive to Miami wasn’t bad at all. We were able to listen to Miller and Moulton on ESPNRadio. They are Evan’s favorite local guys down there. He has called in and gotten an email read on the air. Unfortunately they weren’t very entertaining. I’m not sure the one guy even spoke. Evan said it was the worst show he’s heard them do. Just my luck.
We made it to the stadium in about two hours. There was plenty of parking. We spotted the area where we tailgated for the Orange Bowl over a year ago. I don’t think anyone needed to park anywhere near that spot. The parking areas are designated by models of Toyota cars and numbers. Good use of sponsorship.
At the gate they were giving away scratch cards. One hundred lucky fans won an autographed Charles Johnson jersey. We didn’t win. The weekend was apparently the 10th anniversary of the 1997 Marlins World Series Championship. I didn’t notice any other mention of it besides the chance to win that jersey.
We found our way to our seats to see what they looked like. I had ordered the tickets as soon as the trip was planned. When I had gone on there were first row seats available in right field. I couldn’t pass them up. When we got to the seats the Twins were still having batting practice so we stayed for that. In right field was #54 and Joe Nathan. I looked it up on my phone and #54 was Matt Guerrier, a relief pitcher. The young kids who had congregated in the front row in hopes of getting a ball didn’t know his name. They just shouted “Number 54!!” He didn’t mind and was very generous throwing balls into the seats. Joe Nathan still had his warmup jacket on. I was pretty sure it was him and was assured when some Twins fans arrived and started calling his name. I was impressed with the effort the two pitchers put into shagging flies during batting practice.
After BP we wandered the stadium to check things out. Parts of the stadium are off limits. They usually have tarps over the outfield seats and that area was closed. They are also renovating the stadium for the Dolphins, so there were some areas under construction. The pictures of what the stadium will look like when its done look very nice. I don’t think the Marlins figure at all into those plans.
As we accessed the food options we began to grow concerned about the availability of Ice Cream Helmets. They were not mentioned on any of the menus and not visible at any of the stands. We began to theorize that Ice Cream Helmets are not part of baseball in the south. They did not have them in DC or Atlanta.
The game got started in front of a rather small crowd. The paid attendance was listed at 15,271. I don’t think everyone showed up. The ones that did weren’t all that into the game. After warmups the Marlins rightfielder, Jeremy Hermida, threw the ball into the stands. A guy leaned over and lost his hat. Hermida looked at the guy and said something like “Now you’re going to make me walk all the way over there?” In a friendly, joking manner.
We were hungry so we went for hot dogs in the 4th instead of the usual 5th. I thought the hot dog was decent but the roll took away from the entire experience.
We decided it was warm enough to get ice cream, in a helmet or otherwise. Upon close inspection of the ice cream stand it was discovered that they did, in fact, have Ice Cream Helmets. They were right behind the counter. You had to specifically ask for them. What kind of marketing is that?
Instead of returning to our seats we decided to get a different angle from one of the empty seats behind home plate. It seemed that the tickets just got you into the stadium and after that were only necessary to solve conflicts. If you found a seat that was not claimed anywhere in the stadium it was yours unless the rightful owner showed up. Even then, they would likely be willing to sit a row behind. Very nice of the ushers to just let things be.
The Marlins wound up winning 5-4. Hanley Ramirez hit the go ahead home run in the 8th. The only other notable thing from the game was Justin Morneau bruising a lung on a collision at home. We were getting our ice cream when we saw the collision on the TV. When we got to our seats I was curious why Morneau wasn’t playing first. It wasn’t until later that we found out about the bruised lung.
There wasn’t any problem getting out of the parking lot and heading home. After the Orange Bowl there was so much traffic one of our friends got out of the car and walked down the interstate. Luckily that was not possible this time.
Friday featured the return of the License Plate Game. It started out of nowhere as Evan called one out at the start of the trip. He quickly built up a lead and cruised to a victory. For those of you not up on the License Plate game, or at least our variation. You get one point per new state you call out, states can only be used once per day and once a state has been physically entered during that trip the state is no longer on the table. We didn’t leave Florida so that was the only state off limits. Since just playing with states can get slow during a long trip the additional wrinkle of vanity plates was added many years ago. One point for each vanity plate spotted, no matter the state.