|Bob Kelly, Me and The King|
Here's how it went:
Monday night after work I went up to the Bronx to see the Yankees open a three game series against the red hot Baltimore Orioles.
The Yankees won thanks to a solid pitching performance by Hiroki Kuroda as they beat the Orioles, 2-1. All the runs came in the second inning. The Orioles took a brief 1-0 lead in top half of the inning and the Yankees answered back as Eric Chavez delivered a two run homer which turned out to be the difference.
What I didn't know at the time was that I saw Mariano Rivera's last appearance of the season most likely because he hurt his knee during batting practice later in the week.
Mariano said he plans to return from this injury. Before the season started, he hinted this year could be his last. Time will tell. If he doesn't come back, I saw the last game he pitched in. With that being said, I may have seen history without knowing it at the time.
Like the King, I'm not a big fan of closers, but since it's become crucial to have one these days, I'll take Mariano any day of the week. He's the best in the business at what he does. Nobody comes close. He's not perfect but when you need somebody to get the big outs at the end of a game, he comes through almost every time he's called on especially when it matters most. I do hope to see him pitch again in the future.
Tuesday night after work I went back to Yankee Stadium for game two of the three game set. The King and I were joined by our pal Vincent Ascanio who was present and accounted for.
As for the game we saw, the Orioles beat up the Yankees, 7-1. In the process, Orioles' manager Buck Showalter who managed the Yankees back in 1995 picked up his 1,000th win as a Major League manager.
Wednesday night I returned to the Bronx for the rubber game of the series. I had the privilege of meeting up with a few special guests who were at the game. I'm talking about Greg Venuto, who reads my blog regularly and his Cousin Dave who came to the game with him. Greg drove down from his home in Norwalk, Connecticut. He stopped off to pick up his Cousin Dave in White Plains on the way down.
They wisely decided to leave their car by the Woodlawn station which is the first and last stop of the number 4 train. By doing so, they were able to park for free on the street and then they hopped on the train to the game. Why drive all the way there and have to hassle to find a parking spot somewhere near the Stadium unless you have to.
Since I knew they were coming to the game, I arranged to give them a royal upgrade. Greg has told me in the past that he prefers to sit behind home plate like I do so I made it happen for them. He told me his tickets were in section 306 on the terrace level which is way out by the right field foul pole.
As promised, I delivered on my word. I told him I'll meet them by my seat in section 420B row 7 around 6:45PM. I got up there around 6:40PM and they were already there. Nothing beats perfect planning and execution. Thankfully Greg and Dave listen and cooperate well. In order to make the dream work, you need teamwork. This is just another of the many examples I can talk about that proves my point.
When I came up I had my sandwich from the Court Deli Restaurant with me. So I just needed a little time to eat it. Once I got done and I got my scorecard ready for the game, I proceeded to have a conversation with them. Everything went well except for the game on the field. Since Greg is a big Yankee fan, he wanted to see them win. Unfortunately, on this night they laid an egg. They wound up getting shut out by the Orioles, 5-0. As a result, they also lost the series two games to one. Regardless of the outcome, Greg, Dave and I all enjoyed each other's company and that's all that matters.
Thursday night after work I went to a work related get together. Originally I was planning to go home after work. Then I find out this gathering was taking place and I was invited. With that being said, I thought it would be appropriate and proper for me to go.
Shortly thereafter, I found out the Devils were also playing that night and my pal Andrew Van Cleve asked me if I was going to the game. I told him maybe. Stay tuned for the special post that I will be doing on how I wound going there too.
As for the meet and greet get together I had, I wound up impressing a young lady named Colleen who I work with from the company we wound up visiting. She was blown away with my travel knowledge. She said she went to school in Richmond, Virginia. I dazzled her when I told her different things about that area. She has seen my blog before so she now knows what I write is the truth for sure.
Friday night after work I wasn't sure what I was going to eat for dinner on my way to Citi Field. Then my pal Manny Bonilla texted me just before I was leaving work and he said am I going to Taste of Dolly's. I was leaning towards not going there but when he said that's what he wanted I said to him since you want to go there, I'll join you. We met up there and we ate dinner together. Needless to say, he loves the royal way.
After we ate, we got back on the train for one stop and we went to Citi Field to see the Mets open a three game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Upon arrival, I introduced Manny to my buddy Sam Citron the security guard who also is a big fan of my blog.
After seeing Sam, we went inside to the royal box if you will as recommended by the Stadium Journey Magazine in section 516.
We got to meet up with the rest of the royal court that were on hand which included Ralph and Vincent Ascanio.
As for the game we saw, the Mets had a 4-2 lead in the eighth inning but their bullpen imploded. An error, a walk and a few hits did them in as they went on to lose, 5-4.
Saturday which was Cinco De Mayo, I went back to Citi Field. It was Tom Seaver Bobblehead day. So the King and I made sure we arrived early so we could get them because it was only for the first 25,000 fans.
As the musical group Chicago used to sing back in the day, Saturday in the Park. That it was and we had a very large royal gathering too I might add. We were joined by our pals Bryan Gilligan, Manny Morales, Marc Beck, Manny Bonilla who came back for more and Steve Tepperman were there along with Ralph and Vincent Ascanio.
Later in the game, we got a surprise visit from our friend Bob Kelly who came up special to say hello to us. He said he was sitting on the 300 level with some co-workers. He was on a business trip. We met him last year in Norfolk, Virginia for a minor league hockey game since he lives in nearby Virginia Beach. He also came to Citi Field last September with his brother Dennis who was there with his lovely wife Sue. They had come in from Irvine, California which is near Anaheim. The King and I originally met them when we were in Japan to see the Mets in 2000 to open the baseball season. We've taken turns seeing each other over the years. As always, it was great to see Bob again. I want to thank him for going out of his way to come up to see us. That's what royal treatment is all about. He wanted to make sure he told his brother Dennis that he saw us. See the picture above for the proof.
As for the game we all saw, the Mets scored four runs in the fourth inning and they held on to beat the Diamondbacks, 4-3.
After the game, the King, Bryan Gilligan went to Donovan's Pub to enjoy a post game victory meal. We invited Bob but he couldn't make it. Next time he's in town, he said we'll get together and we'll all go out. He's such a great guy, I can't wait to see him again.
Sunday we returned to Citi Field for the rubber match of the series. Before we got inside the park we got to meet and greet ballpark chaser Ken Lee who was visiting from the Seattle area. He's in the midst of his "See All 30" road trip. It was nice to finally get to meet and greet him.
I proceeded to say hello to Sam Citron as I ran in and I barely made the first pitch but I saw it as usual. After watching the first inning and a half downstairs, I went upstairs to watch the rest of the game from the royal box where we got a visit from our pal Arjun Lal who was so excited to see us again.
As for the game we saw, it was a quick one as R.A. Dickey worked into the ninth inning before Frank Francisco came on to close it out. The Mets won, 3-1 as they took the series.
With that another week of baseball is in the books.
Thank you for reading and following along.