Royalty Tours USA

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Royalty meets up with the extended Van Cleve family at Citizens Bank Park too!

After spending the first eight innings with the Carruba family, I shifted gears and I made some time to catch up with the Van Cleve family who were also at the Phillie game against the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park.

It was extra special this time because the Van Cleve family had a recent addition since their second son was born on August 22nd. A month later the baby was at his first Major League baseball game. It should be noted he saw his first ever baseball game, a minor league one in Wilmington, Delaware over Labor Day weekend.

I'm so happy for these special people. I'm blessed to have them in my life. What a lovely family they are. I only wish them the very best life has to offer.

I met up with them on the first base side of the lower level right behind section 120. We watched the last inning together there before we headed out of the ballpark. I took them back home. We luckily got to the car just before the sky opened up. I got to give the baby his first royal ride. What a thrill it was for me. I went extra slow especially with the horrible weather and more importantly because of the very precious cargo I had aboard.

Once we got to their house, the Van Cleves dodged the rain drops and they got the kids inside safe and sound. I went looking for a parking spot. It took a while but luckily I was able to find a tight one right across from their place when someone finally went out. I lucked out big time.

Since Mommy was tied up with the kids, Daddy and I went out together to the South Street Diner and we had dinner. We got to catch up as well.

When we were done, we came back to their house and I was showed around the new digs.

As always, it was an absolute pleasure to see them.

Beforehand this day was a difficult decision for me to make. When it was all said and done, I knew I made the right choice all along.

I had a blast thanks to the all the people I spent the day and night with.

Stay tuned as my incredible weekend continued on Sunday when I went down to Washington DC and then to Baltimore, Maryland for a NFL doubleheader as it turned out.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Royalty meets up with up and coming roadtrippers at Citizens Bank Park!

Me with the Carruba family, Kristy, Rich and Dylan 
Saturday morning I went out to Avis to pick up a car for the busy weekend I had planned out.

My first stop was Philadelphia where I was going to see the Phillies play the Atlanta Braves in the late afternoon thanks to Fox who decided about 10 days prior to take the game so it started at 4:05PM. Since they did I was put in a difficult position. I already had tickets for the Mets and Yankees who were both home that day at 1:10PM & 1:05PM respectively. I was hoping the Phillie game stayed at 7:05PM. Much to my chagrin it didn't. As a professional, I adjusted accordingly. I decided to take the easy way out if you will.
To make matters worse, the Washington Nationals were also home at 1:05PM that day and my boy Gio Gonzalez was pitching and he if won it would have been his 20th win of the season. As bad as I wanted to go there, I told a lady named Kristy Carruba who I worked with years ago that I would go to the Phillie game instead. She said she had an extra ticket so I told her I'll take it and the price was right so it hard to pass up the opportunity to do so. She was going to Citizens Bank Park with her husband Rich and their eleven year old son Dylan. Kristy arranged for me to meet Rich during the week so I could get the ticket in advance. By doing so, I was able to meet them at the seats upon arrival. We wound up seating in the Hall of Fame level by third base.

They got down there early so they could see the City of Brotherly Love and the ballpark. They were impressed with the ballpark. I personally love going there myself.

Kristy and I were able to catch up and I got to meet Dylan who's a big sports fan for the first time. They're good people and they're big fans of royalty. They read and follow my blog whenever they have time to do so. For that, I'm very grateful.

I got to give them an overview of all the different games and places I've been to over the years. They were dazed and amazed by my accomplishments. As I like to say, hard work pays off in everything you do in life. This is my passion so it's easy to do it with relative ease. I have a rock solid foundation in place that I've built upon over the years.

As for Kristy, she's a big TV watcher. Hence she has her own blog that she started which is called "Watching Way Too Much." If you like watching TV, I strongly suggest you take a look at it and follow along.

Kristy takes her TV watching to the extreme that I take my sports travel to. As for TV, I rarely watch but thanks to Kristy's blog I'm always kept in the loop of what's on TV these days.

As for the game we saw, the Phillies had their ace pitcher Roy Halladay starting. He's had an off year mainly due to an injury he suffered early in the season that caused him to miss some time. With him on the mound, I expected to see a good performance. Unfortunately, Roy didn't have it. He got lit up early and often on this day.

Michael Bourn who came up with the Phillies is now on the Braves. He lead off the game with a walk which is rare for Halladay. It was a bad sign. He got thrown out attempting to steal by Halladay though. It was quite a rundown he got in but he was finally tagged out. Martin Prado the next batter got a single. After a fielder's choice by Jason Heyward, Chipper Jones who's on his farewell tour got a hit. Freddie Freeman followed by hitting a three run homer to give the Braves a 3-0 lead. After the Phillies didn't score in their half of the first inning, the Braves went back to work as they chased Roy Halladay who couldn't get out of the second inning. The Braves added four more runs to take a 7-0 lead after an inning and a half. It was highlighted by Jason Heyward who hit a three run double. For good measure, Chipper Jones added a run scoring double to round out the scoring.

The Phillies broke the shutout in the third inning as they scored a run. In the fourth inning, history was made as Ryan Howard hit a solo homer to cut the deficit to 7-2. More importantly it was his 300th Major League home run.

The Braves added another run late in the eighth inning to sink the Phillies, 8-2. In the process, they put a damper on the Phillies' slim playoff hopes.

I want to personally thank Kristy, Rich and Dylan for their company as well as for the ticket for the game. I had a great time being with them. I look forward to doing it again at a ballpark and/or arena in the future.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Royalty w/o 9/17 in review

Michael Abrams, Brian Cashman, Rich Zimmerman & I
Monday after work I went out to Citi Field to see the Mets host the Philadelphia Phillies. Since I had money remaining on a gift card I decided to eat at the ballpark. Upon arrival I was greeted by my pal and big fan of royalty, Sam Citron. We exchanged pleasantries and then I proceeded into the ballpark.

I decided to take a walk out to the center field area where the best food selection is. I saw the line for Shake Shack was extremely long as usual so I ruled that out. I went next door to Blue Smoke where nobody was on line. I got their Kansas City spare ribs and fries. It was a smart choice as those ribs are to die for. After I finished eating, I went up to my usual perch in section 516 where I met up with the King, Vincent Ascanio, Bryan Gilligan and Charlie O'Reilly.

As for the game we saw, we had a marquee match up between Cliff Lee of the Phillies who's pitched well but his record doesn't indicate it and R.A. Dickey, possible Cy Young Award winner for the Mets.

The Phillies got a run early in the first inning off Dickey to lead 1-0. Jimmy Rollins lead off and strikeout but he got to first base on a passed ball. He went to second on a throwing error by Dickey who tried to pick him off. He went to third on a ground ball out and he scored on a sacrifice fly. That's a perfect example of playing the game of baseball the right way. The Phillies turned a negative into a positive by hustling and making things happen. As a result, it set the tone as Cliff Lee hurled eight beautiful innings allowing just one run. He walked one and he struck out ten as the Phillies got a few more runs off Dickey thanks to homers by Jimmy Rollins and Domonic Brown. The Phillies beat the Mets, 3-1.

Tuesday night after work I was going to go back to Citi Field to see the Mets even though the Yankees were also home. Thanks to mother nature, neither game was played. Instead I went home and I got an unexpected night of rest. It was nice to have some time to relax after another busy day at work.

Wednesday night after work I went back to Citi Field to see the Mets play the Phillies. The Yankees were playing a day/night doubleheader to make up for the game that got rained out Tuesday night in the Bronx.
I got to see Sam again when I went in. Like he says it's always a pleasure. It certainly is. I went upstairs and I ate a few slices of pizza at Two Boots which is located on the food court near our seats on the Promenade level. It was really good and filling.

As for the game we saw, the Mets and Phillies battled it out again as Cole Hamels of the Phillies and rookie Matt Harvey who was making his last appearance of the season for the Mets hooked up. Jimmy Rollins lead off the game with a homer to give the Phillies the early 1-0 lead. The Mets got even in the third as Daniel Murphy drove in the equalizer. The Mets took the lead in the sixth inning when David Wright hit a homer to make it 2-1. Cole Hamels was pulled after six innings allowing two runs while he walked one and struck out ten.

Matt Harvey pitched better as he went seven innings giving up just the lead off homer. He showed promise for 2013 and beyond. I hope he does indeed pan out for the Mets.

Since this is modern times, the game came down to the battle of the bullpens. The Phillies survived a scare in the eighth as the Mets loaded the bases with one out looking for some insurance. Andres Torres hit into a costly inning ending double play. The Mets got a scoreless eighth inning from Bobby Parnell. In the ninth, Josh Edgin was summoned to close out the game. He struck out the first two batters with no problem. He proceeded to walk Chase Utley in front of Ryan Howard. That was the beginning of the end for the Mets as the Phillies awoke from the dead as Ryan Howard blasted a home run to right field to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead. The Mets got a single with one out but they couldn't get him in as the Phillies still had a pulse.

Thursday night after work I decided to stick to my original plan of going to the Yankee game after work. The Mets decided to make up the game that got rained out on Tuesday that night to spite the Phillies. The Phillies got the last laugh as they scored eight runs in the first inning on their way to a 16-1 whipping of the Mets. The King went there because he has a streak of not missing a game at Citi Field. He's only missed one since the ballpark opened back in 2009.

As for me, I'm always true to my word. I got an invitation from the Yankees the week before to take part in a pre game social that was for season ticket holders. I was able to choose Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday night. So I told them I'll come Thursday night knowing the Mets weren't going to be home. I put the King is as my guest. He didn't make it. It was no big deal. But I felt obligated to show up since I committed myself already. That's just the way I am. I don't make promises I can't keep barring an unforeseen emergency.

I wound up going to the picnic area out by the left field gate where the social was taking place when I got off the subway. I wound up seeing a few friends, Michael Abrams and Richard Zimmerman who were taking part as well. We spoke and then we noticed Yankee General Manager Brian Cashman who was standing nearby. He was there talking to the fans who had questions they wanted to ask him. We approached him and he spoke to us. It was a really cool experience. When we were done he took a picture with all of us. With that being said, I'm glad I stuck with my decision.

When we were done, we had some hot dogs, hamburgers and ice cream that were there for us to take. It turned out to be a nice social gathering for the Yankee season ticket holders.

Once we finished we all went up to our seats in section 420B and we were joined by our pal Larry Peim who at also at the game.

As for the game we saw, it started fast but it dragged on. The Yankees were playing the Blue Jays. The Blue Jays lead 2-0 heading into the bottom of the third inning when Ichiro Suzuki hit a homer to slice the lead in half at 2-1. Phil Hughes who started for the Yankees struck out nine batters in the first four innings. In the third inning, he hit a few batters including Moises Sierra that allowed a run to score. He benefited as the Yankees scored a touchdown if you will in the bottom of the fourth inning. Nick Swisher hit a grand slam to cap the scoring after Ichiro Suzuki hit a two run double and Derek Jeter delivered a run scoring single. Hughes made it through five innings after he gave up a two run homer to Moises Sierra who he previously hit. Apparently it was payback time. In the end, Phil Hughes got the win and the last laugh. The Yankees got those two runs back in their half of the fifth inning to extend their lead to 10-4. After a few innings of scoreless relief by Derek Lowe, Cory Wade came on and he got roughed up for three runs in the eighth inning. With that being said, a save situation was created. Rafael Soriano was too overworked to benefit so David Robertson got the chance to close it out instead. He did so by striking out the three batters he faced as he preserved the 10-7 victory for the Yankees. I might add it took a mere 3 hours and 41 minutes to play. In that regard, I wish I wasn't there. It's the nature of the game of baseball. You never know how long a game's going to go from one to the next. Some are better than others. Time wise this was a bad one.
Friday night after work I went back to Citi Field to see the Mets play the Marlins. It was nice to see Sam again when I went in.

I went up to my perch and met up with the usual die hards that we know. We got a special visit from a follower of my blog, Fredy Sanchez who introduced me to his friend Ramiro. He said he enjoys reading about my adventures on my blog. I told him I greatly appreciate that..

As for the game we saw, the Mets fresh off their embarrassing loss to the Phillies the night before, had their hitting shoes on early on this night. They scored early and often as they got three runs in the first inning and two more in the second to take a 5-0 lead. They made it hold up as they went on to defeat the Marlins, 7-3.
After the game, the King, Bryan Gilligan and I went to celebrate at Donovan's Pub where we had a post game dinner and drinks. We wound up meeting our pal Frank Anichiarico there as well. It was a great way to start the weekend.

Speaking of the weekend, stay tuned for the recap of the memorable weekend I enjoyed. Please bear with me as I find time to write it. There will be a number of special posts.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Friday, September 28, 2012

Prince sees a thriller at MetLife Stadium with more royal company!

Giants and Buccaneers at MetLife Stadium
On Sunday September 16th, I decided to pass up the Yankee game against the Rays in the Bronx. I wasn't alone. My pal, Rich Wolber aka Staten Island Rich did the same. We arranged to meet up outside MetLife Stadium instead to see the Giants play the other team from the Tampa area, the Buccaneers as they were also in town to play football.

Rich and I didn't have tickets but we were able to round up a few outside. I wound up paying $40 for a ticket and I helped him get one for $50. We both paid a lot less than the face value. With that being said, we did real good.

We wound up sitting in section 146 on the lower level which is in corner of the end zone which gave us some great views of the action. In addition, we had a giant screen behind us which keep us abreast of all the other games that were being played at the same time. I felt like I was at a sports bar. It was amazing to be able to watch a live game and when we went to a commercial break I got to see the other action from around the league.

As for the game we saw, the Giants won the field goal battle in the first quarter as they lead 6-3. In the second quarter, the Buccaneers took the lead as they scored two touchdowns to go up, 17-6. The Giants answered back as Eli Manning found Hakeem Nicks for a touchdown to slice into the lead as they made it 17-13. Just before the half ended, Manning threw an interception and to add insult to injury thanks to shoddy tackling, Eric Wright of the Buccaneers ran it back 60 yards to extend the Buccaneers' lead to 24-13 at the half.

In the third quarter, the Buccaneers tacked three more thanks to a 52 yard field goal by Connor Barth to go up by a score of 27-13. The Giants added a few field goals to cut the deficit to eight points at 27-19 early in the fourth quarter.

With the game coming to a close, it was time for Eli Manning to step up and work his fourth quarter magic. He didn't disappoint the crowd as he hit Victor Cruz on a bomb that covered 80 yards that got the Giants within two with 6:48 left in the fourth quarter. With that being said, they decided to go for the tie. Andre Brown who was having a monster day due to an injury to Ahmad Bradshaw took over the spotlight as he ran in the two point conversion to tie the game at 27. As a result, the crowd at MetLife Stadium erupted.
A few minutes later with 3:59 left in the fourth quarter, Manning hit Martellus Bennett for a 33 yard touchdown pass that gave the Giants the lead, 34-27. The Buccaneers weren't done yet. Josh Freeman awoke from the dead as he connected with wide receiver Mike Williams who made a great over the shoulder catch in the corner of the end zone that we were sitting in. What a view we had of it. That tied the game up at 34 with 1:58 left in regulation.

Rich and I were thinking about a possible overtime. Eli Manning and the Giants had other ideas. They got the ball back and they marched down the field again. This time they found the end zone again after Andre Brown purposely went down at the two yard line so they could kill more time. The next play Andre Brown ran in for the go ahead score to give the Giants a 41-34 lead. That's the way it ended but it appeared from my point of view that the Buccaneers got screwed on an apparent great catch by Mike Williams again. This time he made what looked like an amazing catch at the Giants' 16 yard line. He got hit hard by Antrel Rolle who knocked the ball loose while he was out of bounds. In my eyes, it was a catch and fumble out of bounds. They reviewed and they claimed he didn't have control of the ball and he lost it so it was ruled an incomplete pass. I was furious with the decision being an astute football fan. The next play Josh Freeman threw an interception which preserved the victory for the Giants. The Buccaneers blew the lead so they didn't deserve to win but it seemed like a bad call to me. What a game we saw despite that so called non catch.

With five seconds to go, Rich and I raced out of the Stadium so we could catch the bus back to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan. By doing so, I got home in no time for a change.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Prince takes in a local two sport doubleheader with royal company!

Columbia wins, 10-9!
On Saturday September 15th, I woke up early so I could do my laundry before I continued my busy day.
Once I got done, I came back home fast and I went back out to see a local two sport doubleheader.

I wound up taking the subway up to Upper Manhattan where I met up with Vincent Ascanio who ironically was on the same train as me but he was in a different car. We met on the platform as we were both going to see a college football game at Robert K. Kraft Field at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium, which is the home of the Columbia Lions in the Ivy League. They were playing the Red Foxes of Marist on this day. We were joined by our pal and royal follower, Manny Morales who was in the house. This was his kind of game. It was a battle between two bad teams. He lives for these kind of match ups.

As for the game we saw, it lived up to billing. This was the Lions' first game of the season. Marist already had played two games which they wound up splitting.

Marist drew first blood in this one as their kicker and punter Jason Myers kicked a 28 yard field goal with 3:26 left in the first quarter to take the early lead, 3-0. It stayed that way until the third quarter. With 9:53 left in the third, Marcorus Garrett, the running back for the Lions who had a busy day carrying the ball thirty times for 115 yards, found the end zone as he ran in the game's first touchdown from a yard out to give the Lions a 7-3 lead. The Lions got the ball back quickly as they forced Marist to punt from deep in their own territory. The Lions caught a huge break when Red Foxes' Jason Myers took a low snap and his knee hit the ground while he was trying to kick. As a result, the Lions took over at the Red Foxes' 4 yard line. Marist wound up minimizing the damage as they were fortunate to give up just a field goal that extended the Lions' lead to 10-3 with 8:14 left in the third quarter. With 6:30 left in the fourth quarter, Marist scored a touchdown to make the score 10-9 with the extra point pending. Luckily for us they failed to get it because Jason Myers had the kick blocked. So the score remained 10-9 Lions. We didn't need the game to go into overtime so in that regard it was nice to see it end by that same score. It was the Lions' first win of the season.

As for Vincent, Manny and I we all raced out of the Stadium so we could get to the Bronx for game two of the day at Yankee Stadium. We all got on the subway and we made it there barely on time as the MTA did their best to derail our game plan.

As for the Yankee game we saw, they were playing the Tampa Bay Rays again. This time the Yankees beat the Rays as Ivan Nova pitched well for six innings allowing just two runs. Big Game James Shields gave up back to back homers in the second inning to Curtis Granderson who hit a two run homer which was followed by a blast by Eduardo Nunez which gave the Yankees an early 3-0 lead. They tacked on another run off Shields in the fifth inning as Captain Clutch delivered a big two out hit to help the Yankees hold off the Rays, 5-3.

After the game, I went home to have dinner and I was able to rest and relax the rest of the night.

Stay tuned for the special post that will recap the way I spent my Sunday afternoon.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Royalty meets up with a roadtripping family at Yankee Stadium!

Roberto & Sofia Coquis and I in the Great Hall
Back on Friday September 14th, I was heading to the elevator to leave work to go up to the Bronx. Just before I got on the elevator, I saw I had a direct message on Twitter. So I opened it up. It was from a guy named Roberto Coquis who has the Twitter handle @30BallparksBaby. He lives in the Washington DC area. He wrote me and he asked me if I was going to the Yankee game. I was in a state of shock. I responded instantly and I said yes. It was really funny because Roberto and I have gone back and forth for a year or so trying to meet up in person. As it turned out, we finally did by accident if you will. We exchanged phone numbers and we texted and called each other along the way. I was so excited when I found out we were going to meet up once and for all. Roberto wasn't alone. He came up to NYC because his wife Judy was here on business. In addition, Roberto brought their adorable three and a half year old daughter Sofia with him.

Once I got off the subway by Yankee Stadium I called him and I left him a voice mail that I was in the area. I went over to the Court Deli Restaurant and I picked up a Corned Beef sandwich for dinner. After that, I walked back towards the Stadium. I got a call from Roberto he said he was going to a cash machine to get money. He didn't have tickets yet he said. I wound up getting him a pair near McDonald's moments later for $20. They were located out in left field on the main level. They had a $55 face value on them. With that being said, I did good. He said his daughter Sofia didn't need a ticket so it worked out really well for them. What a way to meet and greet. His wife Judy was amazed from hearing about my extensive sports travels. After we spoke briefly outside the Stadium, we all went inside together.

I told them they can come with me to where I sit in the grandstand section 420B which is right behind home plate. It worked out well as we all got to sit together and watch the game. As a result, we continued to tell stories from our past travels.

As for Roberto, Judy and Sofia, they all went to all 30 Major League Ballparks together in 2009 hence that's why Roberto has that Twitter handle. They said they need to go to Target Field in Minnesota which opened in 2010.

They did go to the New Marlins Park earlier this year for the Opening game on April 4th with the St. Louis Cardinals. Judy happens to be from the Miami area so she still has family there so it was very convenient for them to go there.

They said they hope to go to Minnesota next year. This was their first visit to the New Yankee Stadium since their big trip in 2009 when the New Stadium opened.

I want to thank Roberto for contacting me because he made my night. The King had rented a car from Avis for a week so he could drive to Baltimore that Thursday then he went to Chicago and Milwaukee for the weekend where he met up with our friend Bryan Gilligan who flew out there himself. In addition, he got to pick up a few more games that way and he saw the Mets play at Miller Park a few times. He also saw three more games at Wrigley Field too which is always worth going out of the way for.

He sold his Yankee ticket to our pal Vincent Ascanio who was at the game with me. I introduced him to Roberto, Judy and Sofia.

As for the game we saw, the Yankees were hosting division foe, the Tampa Bay Rays. I was looking forward to the game since David Price was starting for the Rays and CC Sabathia was going for the Yankees. With that being said, I knew I had a chance to see a well pitched game. That was before I find out I was going to have some unexpected company.

As for the match up, these two guys locked up in a good pitchers' duel for awhile but the Rays' David Price got the better of it this time around. He allowed two runs over seven innings while CC got touched up for four runs in six and two thirds innings. The Yankees trailed 5-2 going to the bottom of the eighth inning when Alex Rodriguez aka A-Rod delivered a two run homer to get the Yankees back within one at 5-4. In the top of the ninth inning, shortstop Eduardo Nunez made a costly error which lead to an insurance run as the Rays held off the Yankees, 6-4.

It should be noted that we witnessed history again in the Bronx as Derek Jeter got an infield single to second base in the fifth inning. With that hit, he moved into tenth place on the all-time hits list with 3,284 passing the legendary Willie Mays in the process. Ironically he wound up striking out swinging to end the game. Timing is everything.

All and all, it turned out to be a very memorable night in more ways than one.

With that being said, I want to personally thank Roberto, Judy and Sofia for adding to the experience. I truly had a great time with these special people. I hope we can do it again sooner than later.

Stay tuned as I continue to play catch up from that weekend as well as for my w/o 9/17 in review. It's been a September to remember for me that's for sure.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Monday, September 24, 2012

Royalty schedule w/o 9/24

Here's the game plan:

Monday September 24th Pirates at Mets 7:10PM

Tuesday September 25th Pirates at Mets 7:10PM

Wednesday September 26th Pirates at Mets 7:10PM

Saturday September 29th Reds at Pirates 7:05PM

Sunday September 30th Red Sox at Orioles 1:35PM

                                     Giants at Eagles 8:20PM

Check back to see how it played out.

Hope all my readers and followers have a great week.

As always, if you need assistance don't hesitate to ask.

Stay tuned for my w/o 9/17 in review.

In addition, I'll be doing special posts that will recap the nice local weekend I had the week before and this past one which was an instant classic when I have some spare time. Please bear with me. I need to play catch up. It will be worth the wait.

If you like to tweet you can follow me on Twitter too. @royaltytoursusa

Furthermore, we can hook up on Facebook and/or Four Square as well.

With all the ways to communicate these days, we should always be in touch.

Remember team work makes the dream work.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Royalty meets up with NL Cy Young Candidate Gio Gonzalez again and again at Citi Field!

Me and Gio Gonzalez at Citi Field on 9/11
I got to see Gio Gonzalez pitch again at Citi Field on Monday September 10th for the Washington Nationals as he managed to get through six innings to earn another victory. He struggled with his control on this night. He walked five and he struck out six. The weather may have been a factor since it was very windy.

Thankfully he got the run support he needed to beat the Mets, 5-1. To his credit, he did work himself out of some jams to keep his team in the game so with that being said he deserved the win. It was his major league leading 19th I might add. The way he's pitched throughout the season has him in the running for a possible Cy Young award in the National League. If he finishes strong, I think he could beat the Mets' R.A. Dickey for the honor. We'll wait and see how the rest of the season plays out first. I like the Mets' and R.A. Dickey but it's hard to overlook Gio and what he's done in his first year in the National League with the Nationals.
After work Tuesday night on 9/11 no less I went straight to Citi Field to catch the end of batting practice. More importantly, I was looking to see Gio Gonzalez face to face. When I got to the field level, I looked around to see where Gio was. I spotted him by left field so I proceeded to walk down to get as close to him as I could. I yelled out his name and of course he acknowledged my presence.

When batting practice ended, the Nationals ran off the field to get ready for the game. The only one who came over to sign autographs for the bunch of people who were standing by me was Gio. He's truly one of a kind. I told these people to relax that Gio would come over once batting practice ended. Since I've been fortunate to see him numerous times in the past, I knew I would be right.

Gio came right to me and he shook my hand and we talked. I had him sign my scorebook a few times on the pages of the games I saw him win at Citi Field against the Mets on July 24th and September 10th. He also signed a few pictures of him and I that were taken back in April at Citi Field. He's such a special athlete and person in my eyes. I told him I speak from my heart. I don't lie.

While he continued signing autographs for other people I told him since we follow each other on Twitter that I noticed you had lunch with a former boss of mine if you will. You met up with Mitch Modell from Modell's Sporting Goods on Monday. I told him I used to work for them back in the day. He had nothing but great things to say about Mitch. I knew that was true from my experience of meeting him a number of times myself.
Before I said goodbye to Gio, I got to take another picture with him. Thanks to Gio I had more reason not to forgot this 9/11 in particular. Gio always gives me hope because I always think of his "stay positive" mind set which has taken him to another level in his life as a major league pitcher.

I told Gio I will try to look for him again on Wednesday night.

After work again I went right to Citi Field to see if indeed I could see Gio again.

It was like an instant replay for me as I was able to do so. When I left home in the morning, I got my USA Sports Weekly which was on the steps as I opened the door to go to work. I normally put it inside the door and I look at it later when I get a chance.

This time quite amazingly I noticed the cover had Gio on it. I was in disbelief. I instantly took it with me so I could try to get him to sign it. It referred to him as "Nationals Treasure". He's been that and more since they traded for him a few days before Christmas last December. In retrospect, they gave up a lot in order to get him. Accordingly to an article I saw on that Wednesday on just before the 2013 MLB schedule was released, they wrote how both teams have benefited from the trade between the Nationals and the Athletics. I hope and pray they somehow meet up in the World Series in October. That would be a fitting ending to this story line and season. Both teams have played better than expected in the short term since the trade.

As for seeing Gio again, I did indeed. I got his attention upon my arrival during batting practice and I waved the Sports Weekly at him proudly and I yelled out Cy Young.

After batting practice concluded, I saw Gio again. This time he signed the cover with his picture on it as well as a ticket stub I had from the July 24th game when I finally saw him win his first game in the major leagues in person. I saw a second one on Monday night. After being notorious for just missing him pitch by a day the last few years, my luck has changed for the better. I've now seen him four times live. Once last year and three times this year. He's 2-1 with one no decision.

During our conversation, I told him I saw on Twitter that he met former NBA player Kevin Willis. He said he's getting him some nice suits. I told Gio I remember when I met you in Sacramento and I said I was from NYC. You said you were never there. Now he said that he's been here so many times, it's like a second home. I told him you're always welcome here.

In addition, I gave him my contact information again and hopefully he'll contact me in the off season. If not, I plan to look for him again in April when baseball returns.

In the meantime, I will always continue to praise him on and off the field. Trust me he has earned a special place in my heart for many years to come. He deserves the accolades.

Stay tuned for the next installment of my amazing whereabouts. Please bear with me as I've fallen behind due to no spare time.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Royalty w/o 9/10 in review

Remembering 9/11/01 at Citi Field
Monday night after work I went straight to Citi Field to see the Mets host the first place Washington Nationals who were making their third and final trip to Queens this season.

I was all fired up knowing my boy Gio Gonzalez was scheduled to start the game for the Nationals.

Upon arrival I saw my pal Sam Citron, who was so happy to see me as usual. He was surprised I was so early. The King told me he wanted to use up some money he had on a gift card. With that being said, I was a benefactor. He told me to have dinner on him. So I wisely did. I wound up getting a Brooklyn Cheese Burger and that came with chips and sliced pickles. It was good. More importantly, the price was right.
After I finished eating I went upstairs to our section 516 where I was joined by the King, Frank Anichiarico, Bryan Gilligan, Mike Carroll aka Sabre Mike and Vincent Ascanio.

I was looking forward to seeing a great game since Gio was starting even though it was a rather windy and cool evening. As a result, I truly believe that it affected Gio who struggled badly with his control as he managed to get in and out of trouble for six innings. He wound up walking five while striking out six. He only give up one run in the process though. Gio got some help from his teammates namely Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond who each hit two run homers to give him margin for error as the Nationals beat the Mets, 5-1. With that being said, Gio enhanced his chances of winning the National League Cy Young Award which goes to the best pitcher in the league. He picked up his Major League leading 19th victory and his 50th against 28 defeats over the last three seasons and he still has some more starts before this season ends for him.

I'm so proud of Gio. I remember him being sent back to the minor leagues after he had a brief stint in the Major Leagues with the Oakland Athletics back in August and September 2008. In May 2009, I met him in person for the very first time while he was in Triple A in Sacramento. I've followed him closely even since. The rest as they say is history. If you're a regular reader of my blog, you know exactly what I mean.
Stay tuned for a special post that I'm going to do about Gio who I had the privilege and honor of seeing again and again at Citi Field before Tuesday and Wednesday's games. Trust me it will be worth the wait. This guy is an incredible human being to say the least.

Tuesday after work, I remembered that horrific day that people like myself in the Northeast had to deal with on this exact day eleven years ago. A day from hell is an understatement. Needless to say, it's my least favorite day of the year.

I treated it as any other day when I was at work. When I got to Citi Field, that changed. I decided to eat at the ballpark since I got there early on purpose so I could try and see Gio. Mission accomplished. When I got done, I went upstairs with the pulled pork sandwich I bought from Blue Smoke. It was delicious. The Mets had a pre game ceremony to remember this unforgettable day.

After the ceremony and National Anthem was played, it was business as usual on the field.

As for the game we saw, R.A. Dickey started for the Mets. He's in the running for the Cy Young award along with Gio. On this night, he pitched well allowing three runs over seven innings. Unfortunately for him the Mets couldn't score so he left the game on the short end of a 3-2 score. The Nationals added insurance runs in the ninth to put the game away as the Nationals won, 5-2.

Wednesday marked the day the 2013 MLB schedule was released. For those of us who live for baseball and planning ahead it was like a kid on Christmas morning.

After work I returned to Citi Field where I got to see Gio again before the game. As I said earlier, stay tuned for further details.

Since I got there early I ate at the ballpark again. This time I had Two Boots pizza which is what I had when we ate at the Caesars Club over the weekend. It was really good.

As for the game we saw, the Nationals were going for the sweep of the Mets who have been awful since the All-Star Break especially at home. The Mets continued their downward spiral as they failed to plate a run as the Nationals beat them again, 2-0. Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond like Monday night were the difference as they both homered again. This time they hit solo shots.

Thursday night after work I came home to relax and recharge my batteries so I could gear up for a busy and surprising start to the weekend that lied ahead of me.

Please stay tuned as I recap the amazing weekend I had as it turned out without leaving the local area. It promises to be a worth while read. Please bear with me as I try to find time to write it.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Royalty schedule w/o 9/17

Here's the game plan:

Monday September 17th Phillies at Mets 7:10PM

Tuesday September 18th Phillies at Mets 7:10PM

Wednesday September 19th Phillies at Mets 7:10PM

Thursday September 20th Blue Jays at Yankees 7:05PM

Friday September 21st Marlins at Mets 7:10PM

Saturday September 22nd Braves at Phillies 4:05PM

Sunday September 23rd Bengals at Redskins 1PM

Check back to see how it turned out.

Hope all my readers and followers have a great week.

As always, if you need assistance don't hesitate to ask.

Stay tuned for my w/o 9/10 in review.

In addition, I'll be doing a special post that will recap my latest encounter with Cy Young candidate Gio Gonzalez when I have some spare time. Please bear with me. It will be worth the wait.

If you like to tweet you can follow me on Twitter too. @royaltytoursusa

Furthermore, we can hook up on Facebook and/or Four Square as well.

With all the ways to communicate these days, we should always be in touch.

Remember team work makes the dream work.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Royalty is joined by USRT for Jets/Bills football on Curtis Martin Day at MetLife Stadium!

Curtis Martin Day #28 
When the NFL schedule came out back in April, I circled September 9th on my calendar to be at MetLife Stadium for the Jets Opener with division rival, the Buffalo Bills. Apparently I wasn't alone. Shortly thereafter, I was contacted by my pals from Buffalo. I'm referring to Andrew Kulyk and Peter Farrell aka USRT who also wanted to be there to see their Bills open the season.

When they informed me, I told them you're welcome here with open hands. Like Bob Barker used to say on the Price is Right, come on down.

I'm glad they did. Unfortunately they didn't get the outcome they were hoping for.

The Bills picked up Mario Williams as a free agent in the off season. On this day, he was non existent as the Jets shut him down all afternoon.

I felt bad for them. We met up before the game and we caught up on our recent travels. I told them I don't know who's going to win but I hope it's competitive. It turned out to be anything but.

For them, it was a disaster. For me, it was just what the doctor ordered.

As for the game we saw, the Jets shined bright for two and half quarters as they build a 41-7 lead. They slacked off the rest of the way knowing they had the game won. It turned out they did as they won, 48-28.
Mark Sanchez looked like the quarterback of the future we all hoped he would be. He played great thanks to his offensive line who give his great protection all day long. As a Jet fan, I hope this wasn't an aberration. Time will tell.

I got to enjoy the festivities on the field with my pals Larry Peim and Ira Lieberfarb aka Ira from Staten Island in section 312.

At halftime, the Jet organization honored a recent Hall of Famer as they retired the #28 jersey that was worn by Curtis Martin when he played for the Jets starting in the late 1990's. Curtis was a consummate professional and a class act on and off the field. He was a fan favorite. CM as he was called by my pal Jimmy Lieberfarb who's also Ira's Cousin always worked well in the PM. Curtis was a legendary football player and he finally got his just due. The speech he gave to the crowd was so touching. He told us how hard work pays off. He said he never made excuses for failing. He always planned to succeed and he certainly did in his football career. My most memorable moment was back on November 22, 1998 when I saw the Jets play the then Tennessee Oilers at Vanderbilt Stadium. The Jets won and Curtis Martin was the star of the game. He got interviewed after the game and when he was done he threw me his elbow pad. I was so elated. I loved watching Curtis run. He will always have a special place in my heart of hearts.

Thank you Curtis for all the memories you gave to me and the Jet organization.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Royalty says goodbye to Chipper Jones at Citi Field!

Congratulations, Chipper! 
After work Thursday night I finally went home to get some rest after running around the Midwest then to DC followed by seeing the Super Bowl Champions open the 2012 football season.

I needed to recharge the batteries because after all I'm just as human as everybody else. Even if I'm doing what I love to do, it's hard to find the energy sometimes to function without sufficient rest.

With that being said, I was able to gear up for another busy weekend I had planned.

After work on Friday I went out to Citi Field to see the Mets take on Chipper Jones and the Atlanta Braves. I stopped off at Taste of Dolly's to get some pizza before I arrived at the ballpark.

Upon arrival, I saw my pal Sam Citron who always welcomes me with a handshake and a royal greeting. He usually says something about my blog since he tells me how he reads it religiously every day when he has free time to do so. He loves the way I detail my whereabouts. He and others have motivated me to not only maintain my blog but I want to continue to go as in depth as possible so they can continue to enjoy following my adventures now and in the future.

I love to write and it makes me feel good when others compliment my writing style. For those of you in particular, I'm forever grateful. It truly means a lot to me. I took tremendous pride in my work.

After seeing Sam, I proceeded into the ballpark and I went up to my seat in section 516. I was joined by Ralph & Vincent Ascanio, Bryan Gilligan, Frank Anichiarico and of course the King.

Before the game started, the Mets decided to honor longtime Met killer and potential Hall of Famer Larry aka Chipper Jones who will be retiring when the season comes to a close. Chipper has spent his entire 19 year career with the Braves. The Mets gave him a painting of Shea Stadium. Chipper loved Shea so much that he named one of his kids after it.

It was a classy and touching moment to see Chipper honored. Unlike most Met fans, I like and praise Chipper for all he's done in the Major Leagues over the years even if he did lots of damage against the Mets. He's a consummate professional. He has earned my respect in that regard.

As for the game we saw, the Braves wound up beating the Mets, 3-0. Despite getting a quality start from Jonathon Niese who allowed just one run over six innings. The Mets failed to score so he could have thrown a shutout and it would have been wasted on this night. Jason Heyward hit a solo home run in the fourth inning which proved to be the difference on this night. For good measure, David Ross hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning to extend the lead and Dan Uggla rounded out the scoring with a solo homer in the ninth as the Braves did the Mets in. Unlike losses in the past, this one didn't hurt because the Mets are playing out the string and they appear to have given up a while ago. The first half of the season they showed surprising promise but since the All-Star break it's been all down hill.

After the game, Bryan, Frank as well as the King and I went to Donovan's Pub to have a post game meal.
Saturday morning after getting a good night sleep I was planning to do my laundry but since it suddenly started to rain so I decided to wait until it stopped to go out. By doing so, I had to rush to get to Citi Field for the start of the late afternoon game between the Mets and the Braves. The King and I were hoping the rain which was suppose to return around 7-8PM would stay away until we got the whole game in.

As for the game we saw, the Mets get torched early as starter Jeremy Hefner got lit up as he gave up five runs in just two and two thirds innings of work. The Braves went on to beat the Mets easily, 11-3. In between we had to sit through a rain delay of an hour and fifteen minutes after the game was already official. The King and I decided to go to the Caesars Club along with Ralph and Vincent Ascanio where we enjoyed some pizza as we stayed dry while the rain passed through. The game did resume but the rain didn't completely stop but thankfully they finished the game.

After the game, the King and I went home as we called it a night. We watched some late baseball games on TV before we went to sleep.

Stay tuned as I write a special post about my Sunday back at Met Life Stadium where I met up with some familiar roadtrippers.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Royalty officially starts the 2012 NFL season at MetLife Stadium watching the Super Bowl XLVI Champions play the Cowboys!

Opening Kickoff of the 2012 NFL Season
After returning from Washington DC early Wednesday morning, I got a few hours sleep before I went back to work.

After work, I decided to take a train ride out to MetLife Stadium in hopes of finding a reasonably priced ticket so I could go inside to see the game.

After seeing a record number of NFL games again in 2011, my withdrawal from football needed to end sooner than later.

With that being said, I managed to get a ticket outside the stadium. I checked Stub Hub before I left my office so I had an idea of what tickets were going for. I did see some in the corner of the end zone for $154 and others in the end zone for $195. Mind you that doesn't include the extra fees that they tack on.
Since I only needed a single ticket for myself, I thought I had a good chance of finding something that I could afford. Upon arrival I walked around the stadium. I wanted to position myself in front of a gate so if somebody happened to have an extra ticket they couldn't use, I was hoping to make a deal with them. I did notice some scalpers but I try to avoid them since they're trying to do the same as me. The only difference is they plan to resell any tickets they get and I just wanted to get one so I could see the game.

After a short time, I came across a few people who had an extra ticket. The first guy wanted $200. I told him that's too high. He asked me what I wanted to pay. I told him $100 so he walked away. Another guy came by shortly thereafter he had a ticket and he was demanding $150. I told him I'll give him $100. He said $150. So I let him walk away. Moments later, a guy heard me say I needed a ticket. He said he had two. I told him I just need one. He walked away and a few minutes later he came back and he offered me one of his tickets. I asked him what he wanted. He said $100 so I gladly reached into my pocket and gave him the money he asked for. We shook hands and I told him I'll see him up at the seat which wound up being in the end zone section 302 row 25 which was the second row from the top. I'm a professional fan so I adjust accordingly. In reality, I saw the game well. I was happy just to be there so the location on this night was acceptable given the magnitude of the event. After all, it was Opening Night for World Champion Giants.
It turned out that apparently the guy I bought the ticket from had other seats because he never came up and the seat next to me stayed empty so I had some extra room for myself which was perfect. So I paid slightly more than face value which was $85 and I had more room. In addition, I got a nice souvenir hard ticket stub not a lousy sheet of paper with a bar code. With that being said, it turned out to be a real bargain for me.

As for the game I saw, the World Champions looked sluggish. They didn't play well. Rookie David Wilson from Virginia Tech who I saw play in college a few years a go fumbled as the Giants were driving early in the game. That was a bad sign for them and it set the tone for the night. In addition, Victor Cruz who I also saw play in college at UMASS made a few catches early then he dropped three balls that were thrown his way.
As for the Cowboys, Tony Romo he had a great night as he threw for 307 yards. Running back DeMarco Murray finished the game with 131 yards rushing including a 48 yard run where he should have lost yardage but the Giants failed to wrap him up on numerous occasions. Furthermore, wide receiver Kevin Olgetree caught eight passes for 114 yards including two touchdowns to lead the Cowboys to a 24-17 victory.

As a football fan, I had a blast. I saw a relatively competitive game between two division rivals who don't like each other.

More importantly, I was happy for a few people I know because they're big Cowboy fans. I'm referring to Paul Derrick aka Sporting Puma and Steve Fekete aka the Padre Punk. They were there with me in spirit.

Overall, it turned out to be a royal night out for me.

Stay tuned as the rest of the week is recapped.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Royalty returns to Nationals Park after returning home from the Midwest!

View from Section 312
After arriving at LaGuardia Airport Tuesday morning on our flight from Milwaukee which got in 10 minutes early at 10:40AM Eastern time, the King went out to Avis in New Hyde Park to rent a car for three days. I went home to unpack. I also went shopping while I had some spare time to do so.

Our friend Al Linderman came by because he decided to go down to Washington DC with us to see the Nationals play the Chicago Cubs.

Once I got what I needed to get done, the King came home shortly thereafter. He came into the house fast to drop off his stuff and off we went towards DC.

On the way down we stopped off fast at Wawa's in Elkton, Maryland which is about 90 miles from DC. I got a made to order Chicken Cheesesteak Hoagie which served as my dinner. Before we left home, I got the King a sandwich so he had that as he continued driving to our Nation's Capitol after our brief pit stop. As for Al, eating isn't a priority for him. Unlike most of us, he thinks food is poison. To each is own.

The King managed to dodge some pockets of traffic on the way down. When we finally got by the ballpark he let Al and I out so we could go to the box office to get $5.00 tickets while he went to park the car. The guy at the window wouldn't sell us three of them because he said the other person needs to be present. Al and I get tickets for us and we went inside. I called the King and I told him to go to the box office and get one for himself. Shortly after we got inside the ballpark, he did.

We barely made the first pitch at 7:08PM. We wound up giving ourselves a royal upgrade as we sat in section 312 which is right behind home plate under the press box. It's a great view of the action.

Speaking of action, we had plenty on and off the field. On the field, the Nationals had their hitting shoes on early and often as they beat up Cubs' starting pitcher Chris Rusin. He lasted into the second inning but he didn't record an out before Cubs' manager Dale Sveum pulled him from the game. The Nationals lead 5-0 after two innings. They extended their to 8-1 after four. The Cubs made a slight comeback as Alfonso Soriano hit a two run triple and a solo home run to slice into the Nationals lead. The Nats turned up the power again as they tacked on some insurance runs to beat the Cubs, 11-5. In the process, they hit six home runs including two by Adam LaRoche. As for Bryce Harper, he didn't start this game. However he came in later and he doubled in his only plate appearance. Needless to say, the Nationals will be a team to be reckoned with in October. I hope it's their year.

I'm pulling for the Nationals for plenty of reasons. First and foremost, my boy Gio Gonzalez is at the head of that list. Secondly, I've been very fortunate to have been in contact with some great people who I've met and got to meet on this night who are from the DC area.

With that being said, the King and I got to see Nancy Broderick who we met by accident on August 18th when the Nationals played the Mets. That night she was at her 56th game. On this night, we saw her again. In fact, this game was number 66 for her. Like she told us the first time, she's enjoying her recent retirement by going to baseball games. We were an added inspiration to her life after work. It was nice to see her again.
In addition, I got a visit from a guy named David who I follow on Twitter. He's originally from England. The way he spoke to the King and I about the game of baseball it sounded like he grew up here in the United States. We were impressed with his extensive baseball knowledge. He's married and his wife is originally from Long Island and she's a Met fan. She obviously has been a very big influence on him. They have a few kids as well. He said his daughter is a huge Red Sox fan. His son is autistic. He said that they're planning to have a Miracle Field in Alexandria which will open in October. He hopes that Gio Gonzalez can make an appearance there. I want to personally thank him for coming up to visit us. It was a thrill to meet and greet him. I hope to see him again down the road. If you are on Twitter and you want to follow him please feel free to do so. His handle is @dcinwashington.

Furthermore, shortly after he left I got to meet up with Ben Fallon, a ballpark chaser who was with his friend Lee Galloway. Ben is originally from New Jersey he said. He now lives in Northern Virginia. He's a Yankee fan but he has adopted the Nationals as his other team. He also loves the Pittsburgh Steelers and he has season tickets for them. He travels to see different ballparks from time to time either when he's on business and/or for pleasure. He's also married with a young son. I want to personally thank him and Lee for coming up to see us. It means a lot to me to get to see people who share a similar interest to mine. That's what enjoying life to the fullest is all about.

Thanks to my blog I've directly and/or indirectly have met some amazing people. That trend will continue to grow as time goes on. These people are more examples of what can happen if you reach out and make an attempt to communicate with other fellow human beings.

Stay tuned as I continue to write more special posts instead of my usual week in review segment. It was a very eventful week which deserves extra attention to detail. Please bear with me as I try to find time to do so.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Royalty sees another doubleheader in Chicagoland on Labor Day!

View from Upper Deck at the "Cell"  
The King and I slept in St. Charles, Illinois at Super 8 which is located right near Geneva where the Kane County Cougars play. We did so because we had an afternoon game at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark Monday afternoon. It was last game of the season for the Cougars who were closing out their season with the Peoria Chiefs, the Cubs farm team.

Before we arrived at the ballpark for the 1PM start, we stopped off in downtown Geneva if you will. We wound up having breakfast at the Geneva Diner. It turned out to be a wise choice. We both decided to have something different. With that being said, the King and I had gyro and eggs. It was really good. I'm glad we can't across this place which first opened in 1921 as a lunch car.

After we got done eating we drove over to the ballpark to spend the afternoon watching the first of two baseball games we had planned. I was walking towards the box office and a person handed me a scratch off card that was good for two free tickets to a Kane County Cougar game. So I went up to the box office and I got us two tickets. I waited for the King who was lagging behind.

He finally caught up and we walked inside. We had plenty of time to spare so we could relax and get ready for more baseball. It was Fan Appreciation Day as season ticket holders were able to go on the field and get pictures and autographs of their favorite Cougars. It was a nice way to thank their fans who have backed them all year long.

As for the game we saw, the Cougars didn't perform well on the field. The game was scoreless after three innings. Then the Chiefs broke through. They scored a run in the fourth and they added four more in the fifth as catcher Yaniel Cabezas hit a three run homer. The next batter left fielder Oliver Zapata got hit by Cougars' starter Mike Giovenco who got ejected for doing so. Zapata proceeded to steal second and he went to third on a wild pitch. He then scored on a sacrifice fly to give the Chiefs a 5-0 lead. In the sixth inning, the Cougars' catcher Kenny Swab responded with a two run homer of his own to get the Cougars within three at 5-2. The Chiefs added another run in the ninth to extend their lead as they beat the Cougars in the season finale, 6-2.

After the game, the King and went back to the car and drove to U.S. Cellular Field which is on the South Side of Chicago. This was the first time we saw a game at the "Cell" since we were there for Game One of the 2005 World Series when the White Sox played the Houston Astros.

It should be noted we tried to go there on May 11, 2006 but we got rained out that night. We tried to get back but the schedule never worked out right for us. It used to be an annual tradition to go there. Thankfully we finally got to go back. This was the first time we were there since they completed their latest renovation of the ballpark which now has all dark green seats instead of the royal blue it had in years past.

It's not quite the same as going to the North Side but it will suffice for who are loyal to South Siders. Back in the day, we saw some games at Old Comiskey Park which gave Wrigley Field a run for the money.

Before we arrived at the ballpark, we went to a McDonald's for dinner. We then found a free parking spot in the neighborhood where there was no residential parking signs posted saying you can't park on 31st Street which worked out well for us. We walked over to the ballpark and we even got tickets right at the box office. The King noticed they had special Monday night pricing in effect. They wanted only $7 for seats in the upper deck. So we decided we'll get those. Unfortunately we couldn't go down to the lower level because you need to have a lower level ticket to do so. It was no big deal. We saw the game fine right behind home plate and nobody bothered us. It was nice and relaxing.

Before the game, the White Sox honored former player and coach, the late Kevin Hickey who passed away back on May 16th after fighting for his life before he succumbed to a diabetic coma. It was a sad and touching ceremony.

As for the game we saw, the White Sox jumped on the visiting Minnesota Twins early as Gordon Beckham hit a two run homer to give the Pale Hose a 2-0 lead. It stayed that way until the fifth when the Twins' Jamey Carroll hit a solo homer to pull the Twins within one at 2-1. In the seventh inning, Paul Konerko delivered a run scoring single to extend the White Sox lead to 3-1. It proved to be a big run as the Twins' Justin Morneau answered with a run scoring single to pull the Twins back to within a run at 3-2 in the top of the eighth. In the bottom half, Gordon Beckham added a run scoring single to round out the scoring as the White Sox held on to win, 4-2.

After the game, the King and I drove back to Milwaukee where we spent the night at Days Inn right by the airport because we had to catch an early flight home Tuesday morning.

Stay tuned for the rest of the week in review as the King and I continued to roll on.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

2013 Major League Baseball Schedule is Released!

Please see the link below for all the details.

If and when you need my expertise in planning your 2013 baseball road trips please feel free to contact me.

I plan to dissect the schedule to put together the most creative trip plans that the schedule allows.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman News Story - Gio deal turns fortunes of both Nats, A's

What a great story about my boy Gio Gonzalez. Click the link below for the details.

The A's radically remade their pitching staff with three major trades over the winter. The Nationals were happy to take advantage, shipping four prospects to Oakland in order to add high-upside but sometimes erratic lefty Gio Gonzalez. It's quite clear that neither side should have any regrets.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Royalty schedule w/o 9/10

Here's the game plan:

Monday September 10th Nationals at Mets 7:10PM

Tuesday September 11th Nationals at Mets 7:10PM

Wednesday September 12th Nationals at Mets 7:10PM

Friday September 14th Rays at Yankees 7:05PM

Saturday September 15th Marist at Columbia 12:30PM

                                        Rays at Yankees 4:05PM

Sunday September 16th Buccaneers at Giants 1PM

Check back to see how it played out.

Hope all my readers and followers have a great week.

As always, if you need assistance don't hesitate to ask.

Stay tuned for my w/o 9/3 in review.

In addition, I'll be doing a special post that will wrap up the rest of the Chicago/Milwaukee getaway when I have some spare time. Please bear with me. It will be worth the wait.

If you like to tweet you can follow me on Twitter too. @royaltytoursusa

Furthermore, we can hook up on Facebook and/or Four Square as well.

With all the ways to communicate these days, we should always be in touch.

Remember team work makes the dream work.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Royalty continues our Labor Day Weekend getaway by going to Wrigley Field and Kane County on Sunday!

Harry Canary doing Take Me Out To The Ballgame

After we got a good night sleep at Super 8 in Elk Grove Village, we went to the Pine Grove Family Restaurant in nearby Rosemont on our way to Wrigley Field to see the Cubs and Giants wrap up their three game set.

As for the Pine Grove, the King and I have gone there for the last 15-20 years when we make our annual visit to Chicagoland. That place still serves good food despite under going some renovations and ownership changes.

This time we had a hearty breakfast which set the tone for another great day in the Midwest.

After we finished eating, we drove to Wrigleyville and we found a parking spot on the street again.

Since we had our tickets for the game already, we were able to go right in. It worked out well we enjoyed one last visit to baseball heaven for this year.

As for the game we saw, the Giants and Cubs battled from start to finish. The Giants lead early, 3-0. The Cubs came roaring back as they took a 5-3 lead partly due to Alfonso Soriano who hit a three run homer. In the 6th inning, the Giants came back and they tied the game at five. It stayed that way until the ninth inning when the Cubs called on their closer Carlos Marmol to keep the game tied. He failed to do so. The Giants scored twice in the frame as two former Mets came through with big hits. I'm referring to Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro who both delivered run scoring singles to ultimately lead the Giants to a 7-5 victory on the North Side. With that being said, the Giants left Chicago taking two out of three from the baby bears. That was much to the delight of the many Giant fans who spent their weekend like we did at Wrigley Field.

After the game, we sadly said goodbye until next year. We proceeded to walk to the car and off to Kane County we went to see the Cougars play. Kane County is the home of the Midwest League Single A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. They play at Fifth Third Ballpark which is located in Geneva, Illinois. That's 40 miles West of Chicago. We took the impressive Lake Shore Drive which runs along Lake Erie and through the Loop which is how they refer to the downtown area in Chicago. We then got on I-290 to I-88 which is a toll road that goes out to Kane County. We dodged some traffic and we arrived in the parking lot at the ballpark around 6:10PM for the 6:30PM start.

They had a sold out crowd on hand and we needed tickets. Luckily as we got near the entrance to the ballpark, a few people had some extra tickets and they said we could have them. We were so grateful. We thanked them and we headed inside for our second game of the day.

We wound up getting more than we bargained for. We got free tickets to see the game plus we got some special added in house entertainment too. First of all, we had the pleasure of seeing Nancy Faust who played the organ at Old Comiskey Park back in the day as well as New Comiskey Park which is now called U.S. Cellular Field. The King and I used to visit her when we went to see the White Sox play from 1988-2005.

We told her many years ago we were from New York. She no longer does the White Sox games. She's been doing the Cougar games this year on Sundays from May on. We had no idea. What a pleasant surprise it was to see and hear her. We went over to say hello and she remembered that we're from New York. We both lit up like a Christmas tree. Her presence made our night.

We settled in seats right behind home plate and we enjoyed the game between the Kane County Cougars and the Peoria Chiefs who are the Cubs' farm club.

Shortly after the game started, we got to take in the Zooperstars who we've seen perform a number of times over the years at different minor league ballparks. We got to see a Michael Jordan impersonator swallow an umpire whole. He did so to the song "Eat It." I told some young kids next to us that they were in for a treat. They couldn't stop laughing. The same could be said for many others of all ages who obviously have never seen the act. In addition, Harry Canary was on hand and during the seventh inning stretch he did "Take Me Out To The Ballgame". It was fun to sing along to it.

As for the game we saw in between, the Cougars won, 5-4 in ten innings as Alex Llanos got the game winning hit.

After the game, we headed to the car to beat the traffic as many stayed in the ballpark to watch the post game fireworks they had. The King and I enjoyed the display on the way to the car. It was a very nice show.
Since we were hungry, we drove up the road to the Country House to have a post game meal. They're known for having the best burgers in Chicagoland. I remember having one in a past visit a few years ago. This time I decided to have salmon which was excellent along with an Old Style beer which is the local beer that's been served in Chicago since 1902. The King went with a Bison burger and he was a satisfied customer.

After we finished our meals, we took a ride to nearby Elgin, Illinois where we spent some time pressing our luck at the Grand Victoria Casino. We wound up killing some time and losing some money but we had a good time doing so.

When we decided enough was enough we went back to the hotel to get some sleep as the week came to a close.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Royalty does the Chicago/Milwaukee shuttle to start the Labor Day weekend Part 2!

Brewers win, 3-2 thanks to Corey Hart
After we spent the night sleeping at Super 8 by O'Hare Airport in Elk Grove Village, the King and I ate breakfast there too before we headed out to start our busy day. It worked out well as we got to choose from cereal, toast and waffles along with juice, milk, coffee and tea.

After we ate, we drove back to Wrigley Field to see the Cubs host the Giants in game two of their three game set.

We wound up parking the car on the street again in the neighborhood for free. On the way to Wrigley, we stopped off at Artemio's Bakery where bought a few cookies and they hit the spot.

Once we got to the ballpark, we had to look for tickets for the game since we only had tickets for Friday and Sunday's games. Originally this game was going to start at 3:05PM but Fox decided not to show this game because the Cubs were so bad. As a result, the game time was changed to 12:05PM. With that being said, the Brewers were home at 6:10PM so we decided to do the Chicago/Milwaukee shuttle again.

As for tickets, we wound up getting them outside. One cost us $10 and the other one we got the guy told me to go in with him so that was free. We split the cost so we each paid $5. I'm glad the Cubs have had a bad season. By doing so, we got tickets cheap and we got to go back to Milwaukee too. Another day and we got to see another doubleheader of baseball.

As for the game we saw, the Giants learned their lesson after they lost to the Cubs Friday afternoon. This time they jumped on the Cubs right off the bat as they scored four runs as catcher Hector Sanchez got hit by a pitch which drove in the first run. Then Xavier Nady followed with a bases clearing three run double. They added a run in the second inning to take a 5-0 lead. The Cubs broke the shutout in the third inning as David DeJesus hit a two run homer off Giants' starter Tim Lincecum, who's had an off year, went six and a third innings to earn the victory as the Giants won, 5-2. Ironically the game took three hours and nine minutes which was the same exact time of Friday's game. Since the game started 15 minutes earlier than Friday we had a little more time to get to Milwaukee.

We went back to the car and we headed back to Milwaukee on US 41. Since we had more time, we decided to stop off fast at Brown's Chicken in Gurnee, Illinois which was right on the side of the road in a small shopping center that was connected with a Citgo gas station. We wound up taking out some food and we ate it in the car as we continued to make our way back to Miller Park. We wound up taking 25 minutes to do so. That was longer than we expected but at least our food was made to order and it tasted really good.

I wound up parking the car in the same area as I did Friday night on the street. This time I parked at 5:50PM. We walked over and we still needed tickets for the game. This time I got a ticket for $10 and the King wound up getting one for free. Once again we paid only $5 each. We ran inside and we even got up to the upper deck in time for the first pitch. Another on time arrival. This was the 20th game I've seen at Miller Park. I've been there at least every year since it opened its doors in April 2001.

As for the game we saw, the Pirates' A.J. Burnett, a former Yankee pitched well as he held the Brewers without a hit for five and two third innings. He did allow a run to score on a wild pitch though. The Brewers finally got a hit and they eventually tied the game at two after the Pirates took a brief lead at 2-1. Jason Grilli came on in the bottom of the eighth inning. He managed to keep the game tied despite having to work around an error and an intentional walk. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Corey Hart of the Brewers ended the game with a game winning home run off the second pitch he saw from Pirates' closer Joel Hanrahan who took the loss as the Brewers won, 3-2 in dramatic fashion.

After the game, we drove back to the Super 8 in Elk Grove Village to spend the night again. On the way back, the King said he was hungry so we decided to stop off at Steak N Shake which was located at Gurnee Mills. We went in and we had some steakburger sliders to go along with a shake. It turned out to be a great decision.

Once we were done we drove back to the hotel and we got a good night sleep.

Stay tuned for the next installment as I continue to recap the rest of the getaway.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Royalty does the Chicago/Milwaukee shuttle to start the Labor Day weekend Part 1!

New Video Board at Wrigley Field
Friday morning the King and I went to Dollar Rent A Car to return the car I rented for the day to take him to Philadelphia after he officially finished his last day of work at the Post Office at Grand Central Station.

After we returned the car, we took the courtesy shuttle bus to LaGuardia airport which is right nearby. We got dropped off at the Central terminal where Air Tran Airways is located. We arrived there with plenty of time to catch our 7:25AM flight to Milwaukee.

You may be asking why did we fly into Milwaukee instead of Chicago since we were going to Wrigley Field first. Well when cost cutting is top priority you need to look at all your options to make them work out so it can be affordable, effective and efficient. Since I have so much experience from all the traveling I've done over the years I know driving an extra 80 miles or so each way won't hurt me especially when I can save some money in the process.

We usually fly into Chicago O'Hare airport but this time I decided that when I saw the additional cost of the flights coupled with renting of a car in Chicago compared to Milwaukee it was a no brainer to do it the royal way. We did this once before a few years back so I knew exactly when I needed to do to make it happen without a hassle.

As Chuck Booth, travel expert and Guinness Book of World Records holder of seeing all 30 current MLB ballparks in 23 days says and I quote "Milwaukee is the cheapest city to rent a car in." I remember that being the case the few times I've had to rent there in the past. I know when he reads this he's going to be proud of me. He does extensive research like me and he knows many tricks of the trade.

As for the King and I, we landed in Milwaukee nice and early thanks to Air Tran Airways for making sure we got our money's worth and then some. We saved some money flying there and we even got in early too. We landed at 8:35AM Central Time which was ten minutes before our expected arrival time. In addition, the airport in Milwaukee is nice and relaxing compared to Chicago O'Hare which is gigantic and very crowded all the time.

After we got ourselves together we walked over to Hertz to pick up the car I reserved. As a Club Gold member I had my name in lights on the board which was pretty cool. I wound up getting a small car, an Chevy Aveo which was perfect for this getaway since it was just the King and I. It looked like a matchbox car but it served it's purpose and that's all that matters.

We left the airport and we headed towards Chicago to go to Wrigley Field. Since we had a lot of time to kill we decided to avoid the tolls and the construction on I-94 so we stayed on US 41 when it split up with I-94 right near Six Flags in Gurnee, Illinois which is about halfway to Chicago from Milwaukee.

We stopped off at The Point Pancake House which is a great place to have breakfast and/or lunch since they only stay open from 6AM-3PM everyday. It should be noted that the sign outside said that they're excited to now offer gluten free pancakes. Being able to go there was an added bonus of flying into Milwaukee to start the journey.

As for me, I had my usual pork chops and made to order eggs breakfast along with pancakes and a cup of fruit. It was excellent.

After we finished eating we got back into the car and off to Wrigley Field aka baseball heaven we went. We arrived in Wrigleyville as they affectionately call it just before Noon Central Time. With the game starting at 1:20PM there we had plenty of time to get ready. We walked around the outside of the ballpark as well as the inside. The ballpark is one of a kind. This was my 75th game there. I've seen at least one there every year since 1988. I can't wait to go back next year again.

As for the game we saw, the Cubs played the San Francisco Giants who are battling for first place in the West division. As for the Cubs aka the lovable losers it's been a lost season. They started poorly and they never recovered.

The Cubs quite amazingly jumped out to a fast start as they lit up Giants starter Madison Bumgarner for five runs in four innings as they built up a 6-1 lead. The Giants made a comeback but they fell short as the Cubs held on for the victory, 6-4. Alfonso Soriano lead the way with a few hits including a home run and he drove in three runs to pace the baby bears on this day.

After the game, we went back to the car which was parked in the neighborhood on the street. We drove on the local streets as we angled towards US 41 and I-94 so we could go back to Milwaukee to see the Pittsburgh Pirates play the Brewers at Miller Park at 7:10PM.

We arrived at 6:52PM on the street which was within walking distance from Miller Park. We once again avoided paying to park.

The King and I walked over to hopefully get to the game on time. Since we didn't have tickets the challenge was really on. Upon arrival, I found someone who had an extra ticket he wanted $10 so I told him I'll give him $5 and thankfully he took it. A few minutes later, another guy had a sheet of paper and he wanted a beer inside. I called the King over. The guy told him just give me $5 so he did and we raced in just in time for the 7:10PM first pitch. We watched it from downstairs then we went up to the upper deck to our usual perch right behind home plate.

As for the game we saw, the Pirates who have been reeling lately continued their slide as the Brewers turned up the offense on them. In the bottom of the first inning, Corey Hart hit a two run home run to cap off a four run inning to set the tone for the rest of the evening as the Brewers cruised to an easy 9-3 decision. It should be noted that Pirates' starter and former Yankee Jeff Karstens left the game due to an injury.

When he got hurt it gave the King and I some time to get ourselves some brats which are a tradition in Milwaukee. They were so good.

Despite the lack of a competitive game on the field, the Brewer game experience can't be beat. Between the famous Sausage race they have, Bernie Brewer and roll out the barrel they entertain people of all ages.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Chicago/Milwaukee as well as the rest of this classic weekend getaway.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman