Royalty Tours USA

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Royalty goes to Toronto for basketball & football with USRT!

Prince at Rogers Centre for NFL Football
After spending the night at Super 8 in the Buffalo area, the King and I and our pal Frank Anichiarico met up with our road tripping buddies, Andrew Kulyk and Peter Farrell aka the Ultimate Sports Road Trip, USRT if you will.

I want to take a moment to congratulate these guys on their 10th Anniversary of seeing all the venues in all four major sports that being MLB, NFL, NBA & the NHL that culminated back on December 15, 2002 at Ford Field in Detroit.

Please see the link below that acknowledges their accomplishment and what they've done since then and what their future holds as it appeared in Artvoice which is a local publication that these guys write articles for.

The King and I and our friend Frank Anichiarico met them at the Royal Restaurant which is located across the street from the Super 8 we stayed at for breakfast. We all indulged in a hearty breakfast together.

After we ate, they left their cars near the restaurant and they joined us as I drove us all to Toronto for the day. It was quite a collection of sports travelers. As always, we reminisced about the different places and adventures we've taken together over the years. Quite amazingly, the King and I have had a lot more luck than Andrew and Peter. Those guys always seem to have a problem when they go places. For example, Andrew went into detail about a trip they took down to Florida to see the then Devil Rays over Labor Day weekend back in 2004. They left Buffalo where it was surprisingly warm in the 80's temperature wise they said to go to the Tampa-St. Petersburg area to see baseball and Florida Gator football in Gainesville. It sounded like a great trip on paper until mother nature decided to interfere. With the luck these guys have, a hurricane hit the area and they were grounded for the weekend in Florida while people they know at home we enjoying Florida like weather. Go figure.

Thankfully the royal company made sure this day was a successful one.

Andrew told me to go over the Lewiston Bridge into Canada which turned out to be a good choice. We got through customs relatively easily which isn't always the case. We continued on to Toronto which has grown leaps and bounds the last 10-15 years. The skyline from the distance is barely visible these days and there are more cranes around as more construction is taking place.

We finally arrive in the vicinity of the Rogers Centre which is the home of the Toronto Blue Jays. It also is the home of the Canadian Football League Toronto Argonauts. On this day, it was the home field of the Buffalo Bills who have played a home game there each of the last five seasons. Today the Bills were hosting the Seattle Seahawks at 4:05PM. Stay tuned for further details.

Before that game the Toronto Raptors who play at the Air Canada Centre which is a short walk from the Rogers Centre, were home against the Houston Rockets at 1PM. With that being said, it made for an easy two sport doubleheader.

Mind you the King and our friend Frank Anichiarico hadn't seen the Bills play in Rogers Centre before. In fact, this was Frank's first time to Toronto. He's been to different places over the years including Montreal but he never got to Toronto for whatever reason. I was thrilled to have the honor of getting him there finally.
As for me, I saw the Raptors and Bills play in the same scenario back on December 7, 2008 with Andrew & Peter. We were also joined by another roadtripper named Adam Goldstein from England who was in the midst of a monster football trip at the time.

Then in 2009, I met them for a Bill game on a Thursday night with the Jets there as well. The King wasn't able to join us. With that being said, I made sure this time he made it that was the primary purpose of this excursion initially.

As for the basketball game we saw, the Raptors got off to a fast start but they still trailed 28-26 to the Rockets after the first quarter.

In the second quarter, the Raptors fought back to even the score at 49 at halftime.

In the third quarter, the Raptors started to pull away again as they took a six point lead, 77-71 after three quarters.

In the fourth quarter, they maintained their lead and they held off the Rockets to win the game, 103-96.
Guard Jose Calderon of the Raptors was the star of the game as he posted a triple double. He scored 18 points, he handed out 14 assists and he pulled down 10 rebounds. His teammates Alan Anderson and DeMar DeRozan added 24 and 19 points respectively to help lead the Raptors to victory.

As for the Rockets, they got a game high 28 points from James Harden while former Knick Jeremy Lin had a bad day as he finished the game with just 7 points and 2 assists in the losing effort.

After the game, we all went over to the Rogers Centre to see the Bills take on the Seahawks. It was raining lightly outside but thankfully it was nice and comfortable inside. Mind you I'm not a big fan of seeing baseball and/or football games in dome stadiums but sometimes it's beneficial to do so. This was one of those days.
As for the game we saw, the Bills got lit up early and often as rookie quarterback Russell Wilson of the Seahawks ran circles around the Bills' defense. On the first drive of the game, Wilson scored the first of his three rushing touchdowns to give the Seahawks an early 7-0 lead with 10 minutes to go in the first quarter with a 14 yard scamper. With 5:46 to go, Wilson ran in from 25 yards to make it a 14-0 game. The Bills fought back as running back C.J. Spiller got the Bills on the scoreboard with a 14 yard touchdown run with 34 seconds left in the first quarter to make it a 14-7 contest.

In the second quarter, the Seahawks extended their lead to 17-7 as kicker Steven Hauschka booted a 19 yard field goal with 12:03 left until halftime. That drive was highlighted by a beautiful flea flicker from Russell Wilson to wide receiver Golden Tate that covered 44 yards. The Seahawks got the ball back again and this time they got into the end zone as Russell Wilson hit tight end Zach Miller on a 4 yard touchdown pass to make it a 24-7 score. With 5:31 left, Russell Wilson got the hat trick if you will as he ran in from 13 yards out to pad the Seahawks' lead to 31-7. The Bills staged a comeback as quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a 20 yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Stevie Johnson with 1:10 to go to make it 31-14. The Bills wound up getting the ball back before the half ended and they capitalized on the opportunity as kicker Ryan Lindell split the uprights from 41 yards out as the half ended. The Bills trailed, 31-17 at the intermission.

It should be noted that during the intermission, the crowd was treated to a performance by international star, Psy who did his song Gangham Style on a stage that was set up at mid field. It was entertaining to say the least.

If you want to listen to the performance, please click on the link below:

In the third quarter, the Bills got the opening kickoff. They were riding the momentum they had before the half ended but that quickly fizzled when Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a costly interception that dampened the hopes of the Bill fans who also made the trek north of the border. I felt bad for our pal Peter Farrell who's a die hard Bill fan, he knew that was going to happen. Much to his chagrin, he was right. The Seahawks took advantage as former Bill Marshawn Lynch scored on a 13 yard touchdown run to make it 37-17 after the point after was blocked. For the Bills' sake, it was too little too late. With 7:29 to go in the third quarter, Steven Hauschka made it 40-17 with a 33 yard field goal. It got worse in a hurry as Ryan Fitzpatrick threw another interception. This one was a pick 6 by free safety Earl Thomas who ran it back 57 yards to make it 47-17.

In the fourth quarter, the Seahawks tacked on a 23 yard field goal with 9:17 to go to make the score, 50-17. The drive was prolonged by a fake punt as head coach Pete Carroll showed no mercy for the hopeless Bills. That's the way it finally ended. As a result, the Bills were officially eliminated from the postseason again.

After the game, we walked back to the car. We wound up driving back over the Rainbow Bridge which is right by Niagara Falls. It was a nice scenic view as we made our way back to the States.

After we got through customs with relative ease once again, we drove Andrew and Peter back to their cars.

We then followed them to one of their favorite local hangouts, Jim's Steakout for a post game meal before we drove back home overnight.

We all had a great time reuniting together again. I want to personally thank Andrew and Peter for joining us for the day.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The weather comment reminded me of when I went alone to Houston for the two final games at the Astrodome.

The weather was gorgeous in Texas, yet I sat indoors. My best friend Joel, however, was back home in Michigan watching Michigan play Purdue in a torrential downpour. No protection at the Big House!