Royalty Tours USA

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Royalty sees another ballpark chaser & a baseball doubleheader in the desert!

After the King, Duck & I left Dodger Stadium Tuesday night August 13th I drove 375 miles overnight to Phoenix, Arizona. We checked in to a Knights Inn at 4:30AM a few miles from Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. They were playing the Baltimore Orioles in an afternoon affair at 12:40PM. We got some sleep then we headed over to the ballpark. We parked the car for $6 in a parking lot after we circled the area trying to find a spot on the street for free. Since it was during the day, meters were in effect. We did get some exercise in the 107 degree dry heat which was good for us. We barely broke a sweat which was nice. Once we got to the ballpark we got some cheap tickets and we went inside. Since we didn't have time to have breakfast, so I decided to take advantage of the value menu at Chase Field. I got a hot dog, pretzel and a bottle of water to hold me over.

Josh Robbins & I at Chase Field
Once we got situated upstairs in section 317 which is just to the right of home plate, I met up with fellow ballpark chaser, Josh Robbins who was there. Josh is the Guinness Book of Records holder for seeing all 30 Major League Ballparks in 26 days by land. He accomplished that feat in 2008 when he decided to drive to all the ballparks. It should be noted that since then another ballpark chaser, Chuck Booth has set the record for doing all the ballparks in 23 days via other means of transportation in 2012. In other words, he took a car, a train, a bus and/or a plane to achieve his goal. Regardless I've now had the pleasure of meeting both of these guys in my travels. Life is full of different challenges. These guys decided that this was their way of getting to all the ballparks. I've seen them all in piece meal. Due to financial and time restrictions, I haven't been given an opportunity to attempt this kind of journey. Who knows maybe some day I will. Time will tell.
As for Josh, we got to talk during the game. It was great to meet him. He's originally from Upstate New York. He grew up in the Albany area. He now lives in Gilbert, Arizona which is 24 miles from Phoenix with his wife and their baby daughter. His wife stayed home and she watched the baby while Josh went to the game. I want to personally thank them both for allowing us to meet up. Josh said he was going back home in September for a wedding. He said he plans to see a Yankee game too. I told him where I sit so when he does we can meet up again.

As for the game we saw, it was a marquee pitching match up on paper as Patrick Corbin of the Diamondbacks and Chris Tillman of the Orioles started the game. They both got off to a rocky start before they settled down and pitched relatively well. As the game went on the Orioles were ahead, 4-3 in the ninth inning. Aaron Hill of the Diamondbacks got a single to tie it at four which sent the game into extra innings. The rattlesnakes are notorious this season for playing really long games. I saw them play three other ones this year including a 15 inning one at Citi Field on Fourth of July when I was getting ready to drive all the way to Milwaukee for the next night. This game wound up going 14 innings and it finally ended when Aaron Hill got another hit to win it, 5-4. It took 4 hours and 26 minutes to complete. As a result, we got to our next game in Tucson which is 116 miles away late.

We planned to go to Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium to see the Tucson Padres, the San Diego Padres Triple A affiliate who are moving to El Paso, Texas next year. They were hosting the Oklahoma City Redhawks, the Houston Astros' farm club at 7:05PM.

Prince has a ball in Tucson
We finally pulled into the parking lot around 7:30PM. We went to the box office and bought tickets for the game. We walked inside just in time to see Ben Francisco bat for the Padres who were trailing 4-0 at the time in the bottom of the second inning. It should be noted that the King & I met Ben Francisco back in July 2001 when we went to Alaska. We took a one day cruise and he and a few other players who were playing in the Alaskan League we're on the same ship as us. Ben played baseball at UCLA. In fact, in February 2002 we saw him play for UCLA in Hawaii. Since then, we've seen him play in Lexington, Kentucky in the minor leagues in July 2003 and a number of games in the major leagues when he played for the Indians, Phillies, Blue Jays, Astros, Rays & Yankees. Now he's back in the minor leagues trying to get back to the big show. For his sake, I hope someday he does. Unfortunately, he hasn't done too well with the Padres.
After Ben struck out, the next batter was Jonathan Galvez who hit a foul ball that caromed off the roof and it came down where I was standing. As a result, I lucked out into a souvenir.

As for the rest of the game we saw, the Padres fell further behind as they trailed 6-1. The King said the game was over. As the game played itself out, the Padres proved the King wrong. They wound up coming all the way back as they beat the Redhawks, 8-6 in the bottom of the ninth inning when Cody Decker hit a three run game winning home run to win it. We hated to miss the beginning of the game but we did get to see the end. As they say, it's not how you start, it's how you finish. With that being said, we made the best of the circumstances we were given.

After the game, we went to downtown Tucson and we checked in to Days Inn where we spent the night. Shortly thereafter, I took a ride up the road to get myself something to eat since I was starving. The King & Duck ate at the ballpark so they decided to stay in their room. I wound up going to a place called the Kettle Restaurant. I remember going to one of those near the Intercontinental airport in Houston in the past. The hotel had a brochure advertising it. It said they had a buffet for $8.99 so I decided to pass on Carl's Jr. which was a short walk from the hotel.

I wound up enjoying a good meal before I returned to the room to get a good night sleep.

Stay tuned for the next installment of this memorable journey.

Thank you for reading & following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

1 comment:

David Sack said...

Tell Vinny that seeing the end of a game is important.