Royalty Tours USA

Monday, April 8, 2013

Royalty goes to the Lone Star State to see baseball & hockey over Easter weekend!

After I went to see the Knicks beat up the Bobcats at Madison Square Garden Friday night, I came home to get some sleep. By the time I got myself packed and ready for our getaway to the Lone Star State, the King came home from Philadelphia just before midnight. Our friend Bryan Gilligan drove him there & back. Luckily they saw a very fast game which allowed them to get back so quickly. Despite that, the King decided he wasn't going to go to sleep. While he stayed up, I went to my room to get a few hours. He woke me up shortly after 3AM so we could get to LaGuardia Airport to catch our 5:30AM Eastern time flight to Houston, Texas on United Airlines.

We walked over to the bus stop which is about a mile or so from where we live in Astoria. We didn't want to risk waiting a while for the N train to go two stops to Astoria Blvd. Shortly thereafter, we caught the M60 bus that took us to the airport. It worked out well as we got to the gate after going through security with plenty of time to spare. We met up with our pal Bryan Gilligan who joined us for this royal roadie. He wound up leaving his car at Newark Airport in New Jersey because he was flying back there on Monday morning. Stay tuned for further details in a later post as I recap the rest of our adventurous weekend.

Thanks to United Airlines we got in earlier than scheduled. We arrived around 20 minutes early at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston around 8:10AM Central time. With that being said, we had some margin for error. Based on the tight game plan I made, we needed any break we could get in order for this journey to be a complete success.

Once we got off the plane and into the terminal we walked around for a while following the signs to ground transportation, we finally got the shuttle bus to the car rental center which is located just outside the airport area. Upon arrival, I proceeded to go to Alamo to pick up the car I reserved for the weekend. I went right to the kiosk so I could serve myself because there were a few people on line waiting to see an agent for assistance. I didn't want to waste the time we made so I took matters into my own hands. A few minutes later, we walked out to the area where the cars were and I got to pick out a mid size car. I decided to take a Chrysler 200 that was available. It worked out well since it only had 898 miles on it. In addition, it was equipped with a Sirius satellite radio which was a royal treat.

Once we left the airport area, we proceeded to drive just over 200 miles to San Antonio where we were going to see an exhibition baseball game at the Alamodome. The Texas Rangers were hosting what they called Big League weekend as they were playing the San Diego Padres in a few preseason games. They played Friday night and Saturday afternoon. By doing so, it gave us a reason to take a three hour ride to see a baseball game even if it was indoors. We arrived within walking distance of the Alamodome around Noon. We proceeded to drive around the vicinity to see if we could find a place to park for free. After riding around a short time, we achieved our goal. We passed a number of parking areas that were charging $20 to park. Thankfully we lucked out on the street.

After we parked the car, we walked over to the Northwest gate area and we wound up meeting up with our pal Steve Fekete aka the Padre Punk. Steve was already in San Antonio because he flew in from his home in Anaheim, California earlier in the week so he could see a slew of sporting events all week long in the Lone Star State.

Derek Holland delivers first pitch at Alamodome
As always it was great to see him again. We all got tickets outside and then we proceeded to inside to see the game and the first pitch which was delivered by Derek Holland of the Rangers at 1:07PM local time.

Ironically the last time the King and I went to the Alamodome was back on April 3,1999 when the Spurs played the Clippers while they were waiting for their new arena to be built. Quite amazingly, it was part of Easter weekend that year too. After that game, we drove back to Dallas so we could catch a flight to Monterrey, Mexico Sunday morning where the King & I started the baseball season as the San Diego Padres opened up playing the Colorado Rockies who had the late Darryl Kile on the mound that night. Unfortunately we didn't know Bryan or Steve at the time. We also flew back to Dallas that Monday morning so we could go to Arlington to see the Texas Rangers play the Detroit Tigers on Opening Day. By doing so, we saw the first National League and first American League game of the season. That was a very memorable weekend to say the least.

This time around was memorable as well. You'll see how it unfolded as I continue to write a few more special posts that will sum it up.

As for the game we saw in San Antonio, the Rangers wound up beating the Padres much to Steve's chagrin, 5-2. Like Steve said it doesn't count, it's exhibition. Third baseman Jeff Baker gave the Rangers an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning with a two run double to right center. The Rangers extended their lead to 5-0 in the fourth inning when second baseman Leury Garcia hit a three run home run to right field which was only 285 feet away down the line due to the configuration of the building. Outside of that, the dimensions were very major league like. The Padres broke the shutout in the top of the fifth inning when lead off hitter Chris Denorfia hit a solo home run to right center with two out to make it a 5-1 game. He also lead off the eighth inning with a solo shot this time to right to round out the scoring in front of an impressive crowd of 40,569 which was slightly more than the 34,000 plus they announced Friday night for the first game. With that being said, this Big League weekend idea turned out to be a huge success.

Stay tuned for the next segment of our excursion as we drove another 100 miles to see a minor league hockey game in Cedar Park, Texas.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

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