We got back home on Sunday night after a long and exhausting trip from Denver. It was great to be home. Yet, we were somewhat saddened by the fact that we have now run out of new, big league ballparks to visit. This incredible trip, which began in early April and concluded last week, will surely be an experience that we will remember for the rest of our lives. Now, whenever we watch a game on TV, it is a lot of fun to reminisce about the game that we saw at that ballpark.

Thank you for joining us along the way. Here are some quick takes.

Our favorite ballparks: We liked them ALL but here are a few that were especially beautiful. AT&T Park in San Francisco, PNC Park in Pittsburgh,  Wrigley Field in Chicago, Camden Yards in Baltimore, Comerica Park in Detroit, and Miller Park in Milwaukee. And of course, Progressive Field in Cleveland, by default, as we are Indians fans.

Most exciting games: There were quite a few.

(1) Anibal Sanchez carrying a no-hitter through one out in the ninth inning against Minnesota before it was broken up by Joe Mauer at Comerica Park, Detroit on May 24th.

(2) Ronny Cedeno putting down a safety squeeze in the ninth to push the Astros past Cubs by a score of 4-3 at Wrigley Field in Chicago on June 22nd.

(3) Brandon “The Baby Giraffe” Belt’s costly error in the ninth when he let a ball go between his legs and allowed the Cubs to score two runs and beat the Giants 3-2 at AT&T Park in San Francisco on July 26th.

(4) Padres’ Chris Denorfia coming up with a huge 2-run, walk-off, pinch-hit homer in the bottom of the ninth against fireballer Aroldis Chapman for a shocking 2-1 win over the Reds at Petco Park in San Diego on July 29th.

The home team win-loss record: 10 – 20 (The home field advantage is waaaaay overrated, we think).

Number of one-run games: 8 (that’s more than a quarter of all the games we saw!)

Number of pitchers with Cy Young Awards: 6 (Cliff Lee, Jake Peavy, Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke, Bartolo Colon, and Tim Lincecum)

Wildest half inning:  The Tigers scored 8 runs in the top of the fourth inning at Camden Yards on June 1. The inning began with three back-to-back-to-back home runs and was capped by a grand slam by Miguel Cabrera!

Number of home runs: 70

Number of Balks: 5

Best “Take That” Moment: Light-hitting 2B Chris Getz of KC launching a home run shortly after it was announced prior to his at-bat, on the main scoreboard in Atlanta, that “In 829 at bats for the Royals, Getz has never hit a home run.”

Number of current/former students met: 16

Our most exhausting trip: Nine games in nine different cities in nine days (June 14-22)

Bobble-heads: Ryan Braun (Brewers) and Vin Scully (Dodgers)

Fireworks: Comerica Park (Detroit), Kauffman Stadium (Kansas City), and Chase Field (Phoenix).

Post-game concert: Citi Field, NY on June 14, 2013. Performed by Foreigner.

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Finishing On A Mile-High Note

Game 30: Coors Field, Denver, CO

Cincinnati Reds vs Colorado Rockies – Saturday, August 31, 2o13

We took a late morning flight out of Phoenix that brought us into Denver just before 3 in the afternoon. By the time we took a shuttle to our hotel, checked in, and posted our Diamondbacks blog, it was around 4:30 PM. We got on the complimentary Mall-Ride bus service right in front of the hotel and were dropped off just a few blocks away from Coors Field. We then walked to the ballpark and got there about an hour before game time. We were a little worried as the skies were overcast and we felt a few drops. We really hoped this game didn’t get rained out. It would be a tough one to make up.

We were still able to walk around Coors Field and take a few pictures. Just before going in, we bought a hat and ball from a gentleman who was selling them outside the main gate. We struck up a conversation with him and it turned out that he had actually lived in Waterville, ME back in 1969. How about that?! What are the odds?! Small world!

We walked inside Coors Field and had enough time to stroll around the main concourse on level one and take pictures before heading to our seats that were located just behind (and to the right of) home plate. We had a great view of the action and the main scoreboard. Shortly afterward, we were joined by former Thamattoor student, Claire Herbig ’13. We had seen Claire and her grandfather just a few weeks earlier at the Giants game in San Francisco, and it was good to see her again.

The game turned out to be a lopsided affair as the Rockies got rocked. Cincinnati plated two runs in the first inning even as the fans were just getting into their seats. Former Indian, Shin-Soo Choo drew a lead-off walk and scored on an exciting triple to right center by another former Indian Brandon Phillips. Phillips then came home on a grounder to short by Joey Votto. Phillips had a monster night. He smacked a solo shot in the third to right center to put the Reds up 3-0 and also had a double in the fifth. He fell just a single shy of a cycle. The Reds scored three more in the fifth. With the bases loaded, the new pitcher Wilton Lopez, who came on in relief of Rockies starter Juan Nicasio, balked in a run even before throwing his first pitch to make it 4-0. He then gave up a two-run single to Ryan Ludwick and the visitors were sitting pretty at 6-0. Meanwhile, the Reds’ starter Greg Reynolds, a former Rockies pitcher, was twirling a beauty. He also made a spectacular defensive play in the third to kill a Rockies rally. In the fifth, however, he gave up a run when pinch-hitter Jordan Pacheco hit a double to center to score Charlie Blackmon, who had singled earlier. The Reds would get that run right back in the sixth. Reynolds, showing that he is no bunny with a bat, scorched a double to left, advanced to third on a single by Choo, and finally scored on Votto’s single up the middle. Reynolds again displayed his offensive skills in the eighth when he laid down a perfect bunt to advance Zack Cozart, who had singled earlier, to third. The next batter Choo hit a double to center plating Cozart and the score was now 8-1. The Rockies cut the lead to 8-3 in the eighth on a two-run homer to right by Corey Dickerson, and that ended up being the game’s final score.

Although the game itself did not give the home fans much to cheer about, they were up on their feet and making a lot of noise every time their first baseman Todd Helton came to bat. Helton, a Colorado native who has been with the Rockies for a long time, was sitting on 2,499 hits and the crowd wanted to see him get to 2,500. Alas, that milestone was not to be on this day as Helton went 0-4. He did hit a deep fly ball to center in his first at-bat that looked like it might leave the yard, but Choo was able to track it down and make a nice catch. Helton struck out swinging in each of his next three at-bats.

During the game, the two of us walked around the ballpark with Claire as we took in the action from different angles and snapped a lot of pictures. When we got up to the highest tier, one of the ushers pointed out the row of purple seats, clearly set off from all the other green seats, which marked a distance of one mile above sea level. Cool!

After the game, we walked with Claire to her car that was parked a couple of blocks away from the ballpark, bid goodbye to her, and, as it was a beautiful evening, headed toward our hotel on foot. It was fun to experience the energy in the city, even at 10 PM, as we walked down the 16th Avenue Mall. We saw some people playing chess, others playing music and singing, and a fairly large number of people walking or going by on horse-drawn carriages. We stopped in at the Hard Rock Café, which was just a block or so from our hotel, for dinner. It was a much larger café than the one in Phoenix and they had all kinds of really awesome exhibits. We took plenty of pictures.

Finally, we walked back to our hotel and turned in right away as we had to take an early morning shuttle to the airport.

We’ll catch up with you after we get back home.  Bye now!


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Snake-Bitten Diamondbacks

Game 29: Chase Field, Phoenix, AZ

San Francisco Giants vs Arizona Diamondbacks – Friday, August 30, 2o13

We flew out of Portland early yesterday morning and after a brief layover in Philly, arrived in Phoenix just after 12 Noon. We took the shuttle to the hotel, checked in, hopped on the light rail, and headed downtown. We stopped to eat and take a few pictures at the Hard Rock Café that is located close to Chase Field. We then walked over to the Arizona Science Center where we spent two wonderful hours. They had so many really cool interactive exhibits and we also saw a short 3D documentary in the IMAX Theater called “Space Junk 3D (narrated by Tom Wilkinson).” Pretty sobering! It looks like our space explorations have had some unintended negative consequences as we tend to leave our space trash (disabled or nonfunctioning satellites, for example) up there, and they tend to collide with one another or worse, with functioning systems, to spew debris everywhere. Not good, according to the projected model which warns of dire consequences if we keep doing what we have been doing up there. Fortunately, scientists are beginning to recognize the problem, and trying to figure out ways to clean up the mess. We’ll see. If you are an astronaut up there, just make sure you don’t get smacked in the head with a flying door knob from a broken up shuttle. Ouch!

It was a short walk from the Science Center to Chase Field and we got to the ballpark nearly an hour and a half before game time. The retractable roof was closed because of the weather (it was very hot and there was also a threat of rain) and the building reminded us of other indoor fields like those in Milwaukee, Miami, and Houston. We first walked outside Chase Field and took plenty of pictures before making our way in. We stopped in at the team store to buy our usual souvenirs, a cap and ball, and then strolled around the concourse on the first level and took pictures. Chase Field is a beautiful park and fairly new as the Arizona Diamondbacks franchise has only been around since 1998. As it turned out, the Diamondbacks were celebrating the 80’s and the entire evening was geared to that theme. We saw costumed characters from the 80’s like Storm Troopers, Robocop, Spiderman, and there were vehicles like KIT from Knight Rider, the Ghostbusters’ Ecto-1, Robocop’s Patrol Car, and the General Lee from the Dukes of Hazzard that were driven around the outfield tracks before the game. Cool!

We were also able to walk around the second level concourse before heading to our seats that were located on the third level right behind home plate. The view was fantastic. We could follow the action closely on the field and see all the cool things that was being shown on the large centerfield scoreboard. Whenever a new Diamondback player came to bat, he was portrayed as a character from an 80’s movie, TV show, or song. It was nicely done and very funny. We got to see Randall Delgado as Michael Jackson, Didi Gregorius as Mr. T, Gerardo Parra in Top Gun, A.J. Pollock in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Martin Prado hunting ghosts, Paul Goldschmidt chasing a gopher in Caddyshack, and E.T. riding in Adam Eaton’s bike basket, among others.

The game, too, was a gem. Starting for the Giants was Tim Lincecum, a four-time all-star, back-to-back Cy Young winner (2008 and 2009), and a member of the 2010 and 2012 World Series-winning Giants. He also won the Babe Ruth Award for being the MVP of the 2010 postseason. Although Lincecum has had a rough season this year, he pitched six scoreless innings in this one, scattering six hits, walking two, and striking out two. In fact, the Diamondbacks were blanked 1-0. Interestingly, the only run of the game was scored in the first inning by the very first batter, Angel Pagan, who was playing in his first game after an 84-game stint on the disabled list. And the Giants, with good pitching and spectacular defensive plays, made it stand up the rest of the way. Pagan, hit a double over the head of the right fielder, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Marco “Blockbuster” Scutaro, and scored on Brandon “The Baby Giraffe” Belt’s sacrifice fly to shallow center. The snakes, who are still in the hunt for a wild card spot, had so many opportunities, but they couldn’t get the clutch hit or were plagued by bad luck. In the bottom of the first, they had Eaton on second with just one out, but the next two hitters, Goldschmidt and Prado, both grounded out to end the threat. In the sixth inning, a bases-loaded-one-out opportunity was quenched by a three-pitch strike out of Miguel “Microwave” Montero and an amazing defensive play by Pablo “Kung Fu Panda” Sandoval, who threw out the next hitter Pollock. Overall, the home team went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position.

Within a few minutes following the conclusion of the game, the roof was retracted and the Diamondbacks put on a spectacular display of fireworks set to 80’s music. It was awesome! We had a great view of the show as it was staged behind the center field scoreboard.

During the middle innings, we walked around the stadium some more and took pictures from different angles. The Diamondbacks have a really nice ballpark. Lucky fans!

We walked over to the light rail station after the game and returned to our hotel around 11 PM. We stayed up for a little, downloaded the pictures, and called it a night. We had to be on our way in the morning for our 30th and final game

We’ll catch up with you soon from our last stop on what has been, for us, an amazing baseball journey. So long!

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“Let’s Play Two!”

Said the great hall of famer, Ernie “Mr. Cub” Banks. And that’s our motto as we head into the final two games of our journey. We will be back on the road again tomorrow. Hope you will be able to join us as we close out an incredible summer of baseball.


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Roundin’ Third and Headin’ Home

After watching the third and final game on this trip in Toronto, it was time to get back home. On Saturday morning, we walked around downtown Toronto for a little while and then got on the road again. About five hours later, we pulled into Montreal. We checked into a hotel there and walked down to the Vieux-Montreal (Old Montreal) and Vieux Port (Old Port) areas. The architecture of the buildings there were amazing. As it turned out, there was a festival going on celebrating Arabic heritage, and several stalls were set up selling goods from various countries in North Africa and the Middle East. We bought a Moroccan tagine and an inlaid box made in Syria. There were also stalls featuring Arabic food, and people were dancing both on and off stage to beautiful Arabic music. It was an incredible experience and the event reminded us of the Ananda Mela festival in Seattle. Afterward, on our way back to the hotel, we walked by the Montreal Science Centre that was right next to the festival in Vieux-Port. The next day, we checked out of our hotel and drove to Mont-Royal. We walked up through the park to the chalet there and then back down to Lac des Castors (Beaver Lake) that was also part of the park. The view of the city from Mont Royal was simply spectacular. It was a beautiful day and we saw many people out and about having a good time. The sculpture garden was especially impressive. We then had lunch at a really nice Greek café and drove by the Olympic Stadium to the world famous Montreal Botanical Garden. The garden featured the Montreal International Mosaicultures 2013 exhibition, a stunning display of 48 horticultural art exhibits. The colorful topiaries that covered a variety of themes have to be seen to be believed. We also visited the Japanese bonsai garden and viewed their amazing collection. Some of the specimens there were over a hundred years old and still living! This was by far the most extraordinary botanical garden that we have been to yet. Finally, just after 5 PM, we got back in the car and headed toward Maine. This was a memorable trip on many counts but we would not be getting home without checking off one more item on our bucket list. Despite living in Maine all these years, we had never seen a live moose before. But within minutes after crossing the border into the US, and as we were coming around a bend in the woods at night with our high beams on, we saw a giant mama moose leisurely crossing the paved road followed by a baby moose. We were really thrilled to see these wonderful creatures in the wild. We were also glad that we able to slow down in time and not drive into them. Guess all those warning signs are posted for a reason. Whew!

 We got home just before midnight on Sunday, still excited about our moose sightings. Of course, for two of us (Luca and Das), this trip also meant that we were done with 28 games in 28 different ballparks since April. That means only two are left. We hope to get to those over the Labor Day weekend.

 We’ll be back with you then. Bye now, and take care!


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Reddick, Set, Go! A’s Overrun Jays

Game 28: Rogers Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada

Oakland Athletics vs Toronto Blue Jays – Friday, August 9, 2o13


On Thursday morning, we enjoyed breakfast with Jim and Janice, bid our goodbyes to them, and got on the road to head north. Along the way, we stopped briefly at the American side of Niagara Falls to view the famous natural wonder, and went to the Hard Rock Café there to get something to drink. We took plenty of pictures as well. We then crossed the border and checked into a hotel around 7 PM on the Canadian side of the Falls. Afterward, we went for a stroll along the walkway by the water that has spectacular, full frontal views of both the Niagara and Horseshoe Falls. The evening was beautiful and the views were incredible. We took pictures of the scenery and the “Maid of the Mist” boats that take poncho-covered customers up close to the Falls. We also had a great view of the Skylon tower and it reminded us of the Space Needle that we saw last week in Seattle. We finally made our way up Clifton Hill and took in the “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” museum before going to another Hard Rock Café, this time for dinner. Later, we retraced our steps to the hotel and saw the Falls and Skylon Tower by night. They were beautifully lit up.

The next morning we checked out of the hotel after breakfast, left our luggage with them, and walked back by the Falls to the tourist trap that is Clifton Hill Street. We visited the Guinness World Records Museum and the Louis Tussaud’s Wax Museum. Around noon, we retrieved our bags from the hotel and got back on the road again, on our way to Toronto.

After a drive that took us just under two hours, we arrived in Toronto around 3 PM and checked into a hotel downtown. We then walked over to Toronto’s edition of the Hard Rock Café for a late lunch and made our way on foot to the ballpark. It was a pleasant walk on a beautiful day and the city looked awesome. By the time we got to Rogers Centre, we had over an hour before game time. We also had a nice view of Toronto’s famous CN (Canadian National) Tower that is right next to the ballpark.

We walked around Rogers Centre and took pictures before going in. The ballpark has a retractable roof that was left open given the pleasant evening. As soon as we walked in, we were greeted by a high-energy, live rock concert in the courtyard that was performed onstage by a band wearing Blue Jays gear! They were really good. As we still had plenty of time, we strolled around the main concourse, bought a Jays cap and ball, and went into the team store that also housed a Blue Jays museum of sorts. Sunday being “Canada Baseball Day,” there were a lot of festivities on tap this weekend. The two back-to-back World Series Trophies that the Blue Jays won in 1992 and 1993 were on display as were memorabilia of former Blue Jays stars. There was also a section on Canadian-born baseball players (e.g. Joey Votto, Larry Walker, and others). We even had time to walk around the concourse on the second level before going back down to our seats that were just behind and to the right of home plate. The view of the action and players was outstanding! Right behind us, we could see the CN tower rising above the ballpark. There was not much of a crowd, however, and the attendance reflected what has been a tough season for the Blue Jays.

The game itself was kind of weird. Starting for the home team was Esmil Rogers whom the Blue Jays acquired last off-season in a trade with the Indians. We were somewhat surprised to see Rogers start because he was a reliever with the Indians. We found out later that the Jays rotation woes created an opportunity for Rogers, but his performance has been uneven. In this game, he got rocked! Even before the fans had a chance to settle into their seats, the A’s pounded out four runs, four batters into the game, thanks to two back-to-back homers. Rogers gave up a lead-off hit to Coco Crisp and then issued a walk to Eric Sogard. The next batter, Jed Lowrie, crushed a 93 mph fastball over the right field to put the A’s up 3-0. Then Yoenis Cespedes, who won the Home Run Derby this year, launched the very first pitch he saw, a 95 mph heater, to left for a solo shot to make it 4-0. The onslaught continued in the second as Rogers coughed up two more. After Seth Smith doubled and Stephen Vogt walked, Rogers balked to advance Smith to third and Vogt to second. Crisp then hit an RBI single to right that scored Smith and pushed Vogt to third. That was followed by a strange play. Sogard hit a fly ball to Jose Bautista in right deep enough to score Vogt. Bautista caught the ball and fired to first base to get Crisp, who had left base and couldn’t get back in time. It was an inning-ending double play but the run, which was plated before Crisp was out, counted. Interesting! The A’s were now up 6-0. The home team tried to make a game of it in the bottom of the second. Colby Rasmus walked and scored on a double to left by Brett Lawrie to make it 6-1. Then Lawrie scored on a single to center by Emilio Bonificio. Bonificio promptly stole second on a close play and came home on a Jose Reyes double to right. It was now 6-3 and it looked like a battle was on. It wasn’t. The A’s were relentless thanks to Josh Reddick, who put on quite a show. With two outs in the third, Reddick hit a solo shot to right to make it 7-3 for the A’s. Rogers was lifted after the third inning, but there was no relief on this night for the home team. Reddick came up to bat in the fifth, again with two outs. This time, he crushed a pitch over the left field wall for his second homer of the game. A double by Smith followed by another double by Vogt (that scored Smith) made it 9-3 A’s. The route was on, but the A’s were not done yet. Reddick, who has had a miserable season this year and came in batting barely above the Mendoza line (0.203), hit his third home run of the evening in the sixth inning, a majestic three-run shot to right! The A’s were now up 12-3. They added two more in the seventh, thanks to an RBI single to left by Lowrie that scored Crisp from second, and an RBI groundout to short by Cespedes that brought in Sogard from third. It was now 14-3. The home team tried to get something going in the eighth, but it was too little, too late. Bautista cranked a deep fly to left for his 26th homer of the season, followed by a two-run homer by Rasmus to center with Adam Lind on first. It was now 14-6 and that ended up being the final score.

So in this game, we saw seven home runs (five by the A’s and two by the Jays) with Reddick hitting three of them for 5 RBIs (he had a total of five RBIs in his previous 22 games)! Lowrie had a great night as well with four hits and four RBIs. We also saw a balk by the pitcher; two double plays including an inning-ending one that still scored a run; a stolen base; a passed ball; a shattered bat; and an error. Quite a night!

During the middle innings, the two of us (Luca and Das) walked around taking pictures from different parts of the ballpark. Rogers Centre looked great and it reminded us a little bit of Miller Park.

After the game, we walked back to our hotel and turned in right away. It was a long, but fun day, and we had to head back home the next morning.

So long! We’ll catch up with you after we get back to Waterville.

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Reds by a Thread

Game 27: Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati, OH

Oakland Athletics vs Cincinnati Reds – Wednesday, August 7, 2o13


The three of us spent all of Tuesday afternoon at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland. It’s an awesome place. We started by watching a video called “Mystery Train,” that provided a historic perspective to the evolution of Rock and Roll music, and then browsed the extraordinary variety of memorabilia of some the most recognizable rock stars/groups that were displayed throughout the museum. We also toured the HOF and saw video clips of several induction ceremonies. The highlight, however, was a special exhibit celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Rolling Stones. Two entire floors were devoted to this iconic, ageless band.

Afterward, clearly not saturated yet by what we had just seen, we walked over to the Hard Rock Café in Tower City, had dinner there, and took more pictures of rock memorabilia on display. We then drove back to the Zinsers home, hung out with them and their neighbors (Don and Stephanie Hunsinger) for a while, and finally turned in for the night.

Early yesterday morning, the three of us were back on the road again, on our way to Cincinnati, OH.  By the time we arrived at the ballpark and parked our car, it was about 30 minutes before game time. So, we quickly walked around and took pictures, bought a Reds cap and ball at the team store, and found our seats that were located just a few rows back from the right field line, about midway between the first base and the right field wall. It was overcast but warm and for a while it looked like we might have rain. Fortunately, the weather held.

The game was a cracker! Pitching for Oakland was former Indian Bartolo Colon who won a Cy Young with the Angels (2005) and is a three-time All Star (including this year). The Reds countered with Homer Bailey. Colon, a veteran who is now 40, entered the game with a 14-3 record, and is having a surprisingly great season as he attempts to revive his career. Bailey, on the other hand, came into the game with a 6-10 record. The baseball gods did not seem to care. Colon turned in a clunker and in the worst performance of his career, gave up five runs and could not get out of the third inning. He loaded the bases in the first with a hit-walk-hit sequence and nearly got out of the jam unscathed. But with one out, the A’s were unable to turn an inning-ending double play, and allowed a run to score when Jay Bruce grounded short for a force out. Still Colon, had limited the damage to just that one run. The A’s promptly responded in the top of the second when Josh Donaldson smacked a solo shot to right off Bailey to tie it up at 1-1. In the bottom of the frame, the Reds untied the score after Corky Miller hit an RBI double to right that scored Zack Cozart, who had singled earlier. Then came the meltdown for Colon in the third. Joey Votto got on base with a single and the next batter Bruce smashed a two-run shot to right to put the Reds up 4-2. The score became 5-2 when, just like the inning before, Cozart hit a single and came home on a Miller RBI double, this time to left. Colon walked the pitcher Bailey next and was lifted from the game. Who would’ve thunk? The score became 5-3 after the A’s got a run in the fourth. Stephen Vogt hit a single to right that scored Brandon Moss from third. On the play, Alberto Callaspo also tried to score, but was thrown out at the plate as he collided violently with the catcher Miller. Callaspo hurt his arm and had to leave the game. Miller was also hurt and would be eventually replaced by Devin Mesoroco. The two replacements would have an impact on the game. In the fifth, Mesoraco hit a sharp grounder to third that ate up Donaldson and scored Xavier Paul to give the Reds a 6-3 lead. The A’s, however, would not be subdued without a fight. They scored two in the sixth. Donaldson hit an RBI single to left to score Jed Lowrie from third. The bespectacled Eric Sogard followed with a two-out triple to right that scored Moss and Donaldson. The score was now 6-5 and the A’s still had only one out. Unfortunately for them, Sogard was erased after a run down following a Derek Norris grounder to short and the inning ended with Josh Reddick striking out. Aroldis Chapman, who gave up that walk-off homer in San Diego just a few days ago, came in to save the 6-5 win.

During the game, two of us (Luca and Das) walked around the stands and took plenty of pictures. The Reds have a wonderful ballpark that sits right by the river. Even though the attendance was not that great for this afternoon game, there was a decent crowd on hand to cheer the home team.

After the game, two of us (Luca and Das again) visited the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum. The Reds are the oldest professional team in baseball (founded in 1869) and have five World Series Championships (including the controversial 1919 win tainted by the Black Sox scandal). So they had a lot to show and tell. There was a video celebrating the team’s history and scores of memorabilia of Reds legends such as Joe “The Ol’ Left-hander” Nuxhall, Johnny Bench, Pete “Charlie Hustle” Rose, Sparky Anderson, and Joe Morgan, among others. Three of their most recent WS trophies (1975, 1976, and 1989) were also on display.

We retrieved the car from the parking lot and headed back to Janice and Jim’s place. By the time we got there, it was nearly 11 PM and we were exhausted. So we turned in for the night, as we had to get back on the road again in the morning.

We will see you from our next game soon. So long!

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Tribe Troubles

Game 26: Progressive Field, Cleveland, OH

Detroit Tigers vs Cleveland Indians – Monday, August 5, 2o13


We left Cooperstown, NY on Sunday afternoon and arrived around 10 PM at the home of our dear and long time friends, Professors Jim and Janice Zinser, who live just outside Oberlin, OH. We hadn’t seen them in a couple of years, so it was wonderful to catch up.

The next day, we went with Janice to visit Oberlin College, which will always remain a special place for us. We hung out with some old friends and went around the campus. Later that evening, the five of us along with three other friends (Professor Nelson DeJesus, his wife Roseanne, and their 10-year old grandson Ben) went to Cleveland to see the Indians play. To avoid traffic, we parked our cars away from town, and took the train in. We actually got to Progressive Field about 45 minutes before game time. So two of us (Luca and Das) went around the ballpark taking pictures, while the rest went in. Before first pitch, however, all eight of us were in our seats (just beyond the right field wall) loudly cheering for our Tribe.

The second place Indians played awesome baseball for the first eight innings in this opening game of a crucial four-game series against first place Detroit. Corey Kluber pitched his heart out for seven and a third, there were spectacular defensive plays, and the Tribe even scratched out a couple of runs. In the second inning, Michael Brantley singled, stole second, and scored on a Jason Giambi single to center to put the Tribe up 1-0. Brantley also scored the second run when he singled, and was brought home by a double from Carlos Santana. Things were looking good for the Indians up until the end of the eighth as they tried to gain ground on the Motor City Kitties.

Then came a nightmarish top of the ninth authored by Indians closer Chris Perez. Perez, who was pitching for the third straight day, issued a lead-off double to Prince Fielder and an RBI single to former Indian Victor “V-Mart” Martinez to make it 2-1. Perez then walked Andy Dirks to put two men with still nobody out. Then came the big blow! The Tribe closer, whose stuff looked completely flat, tossed a lollipop to Alex Avila who crushed it to left center for a three-run homer. That shot seemed to suck all the air out of the ballpark as the home fans watched in horror. Detroit had come from behind to grab a 4-2 lead that ended up being the final score. We were devastated.

During the game, two of us (yes, Luca and Das again) went around the ballpark to view the action from different points and take pictures. The highlight of this trip around the stands was a meeting and photo-op with John Adams, who has been banging away at his drums for many years at Indians home games.

After the game, we made our way back home, still fuming at the ugly events that transpired in the top of the ninth. Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. This loss really hurt as it put our beloved Tribe further back in the race to make the play-offs. Hopefully, they will bounce back soon.

See you from our next game. So long!

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Going to ‘town!

Cooperstown, NY – Saturday and Sunday, August 3 and 4, 2013


This time, all three of us (Luca, Davida, and Das) got on the road early Saturday morning, and after a leisurely drive that included especially scenic stretches through western Massachussetts and central New York, arrived at our hotel around 3 PM. All the hotels in Cooperstown were sold out so we ended up staying at the tiny village of Richmondville that is about 30 miles outside. After checking in, we drove into town and by the time we got to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, it was around 4 PM.

Cooperstown, the place where Baseball was supposedly invented in 1839 by resident U.S. Army Gen. Abner Doubleday, is a MAGICAL place! It is an incredibly cute and picturesque village, with beautiful homes and a hopping downtown that sits right by Otsego Lake. If you are a baseball junkie, there is no place quite like this. Just about everything here is connected to baseball. Although the HOF/Museum is surely the centerpiece, many of the stores and restaurants in town thrive on the baseball theme.

We spent a solid five hours at the museum, until it closed at 9 PM. We started on the second level foyer in the “Cooperstown Room” where there were exhibits on the history of the HOF/Museum and the events that lead to its creation and subsequent renovations. We then watched a 13-minute video called “The Baseball Experience” in an interestingly designed “Grandstand Theater” that made us feel like we were sitting inside a ballpark. The director, Peter E. Raymond, has posted the video online that you can see at. At the end of the show, pictures of the games most celebrated immortals (such as Babe Ruth, Ty “The Georgia Peach” Cobb, Jackie Robinson and others) popped up above us on the ceiling! Really cool!

We then strolled around the huge second level that marked the timeline of baseball from the early nineteenth century to the present day. There was also an interactive stall where you had to guess what happened on a given play based on the video shown. This stall highlighted how the rules of baseball had changed over time. For example, did you know that back in the day, the hitter could set his own strike zone (up or down)? Or that a foul ball was not considered a strike at all? Or that a fielder could catch a ball on one bounce and the batter would be out? Or that the catcher would stand way back because he had no protective gear? Or that they had five balls and four strikes system? In addition, the second level featured the history of how the teams evolved, the Japanese baseball connection, the integration of African-American players, the emergence of Latino players, women in baseball, and baseball scouts. There was also an entire section devoted to Babe Ruth. Then we moved on to the third level that featured exhibits from many ballparks both old and new, an entire segment on Hammerin’ Hank Aaron called “Chasing the Dream,” a huge section of various baseball records, a large segment on postseason baseball, and another section on the famous Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First” comedy skit. There was a gallery of portraits and baseball cards as well. Afterward, we went back down to the first floor where we saw John Fogerty’s handwritten lyrics to the song “Centerfield” and a room that featured “Art in Baseball.” We then walked over to the other side and entered the Hall. This was an unusual year in which no living person was inducted. The three posthumous inductees were Deacon White, a tremendously successful hitter and catcher who played in the late 1800’s; congressman and brewer Jacob “Jake” Ruppert who owned the Yankees in the early 1900’s and laid the foundation for it to become the most storied franchise in baseball; and highly regarded umpire and former pitcher Hank “Reverend” O’Day who called balls and strikes in the first World Series in 1903. We then toured the “Hallowed Halls” and viewed the plaques of the inductees who were honored over the years.

Toward the end of our visit, we stopped by the HOF library and the section on baseball writers and game callers. There was also an area set aside for “Baseball in the Movies”. Finally, we stopped by the bookstore and the museum store to purchase souvenirs before heading out. After having dinner at a nice Italian restaurant, we drove back to the hotel and turned in for the night. We were exhausted!

The next day, we checked out of the hotel and went back to Cooperstown. This time, we visited the Heroes of Baseball Wax Museum, which included a really funny video showing “Baseball Bloopers.” We stopped for brunch at the tiny but famous Cooperstown Diner and walked over to the Doubleday Field where a game was going on. We then walked around town for a little while, bought a few more souvenirs, and got back on the road again to our next destination.

Cooperstown was better than advertised. It was definitely worth the trip.

We’ll see you from our next stop. Bye now!

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Back East

Thus ended our six-game swing through the West Coast. We saw terrific games at beautiful ballparks and also got to hang out with some really cool people. Yesterday morning, we took a flight out of San Diego and arrived in Boston just after 7 PM. By the time we got home, after a bus trip to Portland and a car ride to Waterville, it was well after 11 PM. We were exhausted but still itching to get back on the road again. Our next trip is coming up this Saturday.

See you then. Take care!

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