January 15th, 2017?!
How did that happen?! It’s been over 3 years since my last set of entries – What happened?! I guess it came down to a combination of being too damn busy, while at the same time just having too much fun!
You can’t say the last 3 years haven’t been busy! I’ve changed careers, which was long overdue btw, which has enabled me to travel more with and without the family. From an everyday standpoint, if I’m not slammed with work, we’re slammed with Megan’s softball schedule.
So what’s new, you might ask?
We kicked off 2014 in the frigid cold air of a Super Bowl Victory Parade! It was a magical year for the Seahawks, and whether the girls remember it or not, we were there!
Traffic into Seattle was projected to be the worst ever, so we showed up with plenty of time to catch a ferry out of Bremerton. Or did we? The passenger line to the ferry was lined up for blocks. There was no way we were all fitting, and they were making announcements confirming it, leading to an increasingly audible grumbling up and down the line. The frustration was palpable – But I had an idea! One thing the ferry doesn’t count? How many people are in the cars! I took the girls to the line of cars waiting to board and knocked on the first window of a car with kids in it and were in like Flynn. (Genius? Yes!)
Seattle was a madhouse. Megan was able to stand on a planter by the YMCA and Maddy sat on my shoulders, for a very, very long time. Towards the end of the parade her legs were numb and she had to come down. (Much to the relief of my shoulders.) Marshawn Lynch threw Skittles to/at the crowd. They were frozen solid, so it was like being shot by a pellet gun. Cover your face, kids!
2014 was also the year I kept my “All 30” alive with a family trip to New York!
New York was pure magic. We took the girls through the city and to the Lion King on Broadway. We ate New York Pizza (Original Joe’s was the best) and hit the Statue of Liberty. I’d planned ahead and bought crown passes, which was awesome. It was surreal seeing the statue’s face inside, Lady Liberty’s blank stare completely inverted.
Citi Field was good, and the girl’s first experience at Shake Shack was tasty.
We played tourists on the double deck bus, and got separated on the subway. Yikes, that was something else. On our way to Yankee Stadium we rushed to get on the subway, but the door closed before Megan or I could get on. Amy looked panicked. I made a large “X” with my arms mouthing ‘next stop’ and we hoped for the best. After what seemed like the longest wait ever, Megan and I got on the next train, where Amy and Maddy were waiting for us at the next stop. (With a little help from a rider on the train that told her to get off.)
It was a temporary stress that may have scarred Maddy for life. I don’t think she left my side the rest of the trip!
I’d written to the Yankees a few months earlier to see if I could set something up. The trip was special since it renewed my all 30 parks, while coordinating approximately with my 40th birthday. They were nice enough to setup a private Stadium tour, upgraded our seats, and had gift bags for the girls, which included new Yankees caps that the girls wore proudly on the subway back to the city. It was a classy gesture, which I greatly appreciated.
Sadly, the Stadium itself is relatively impersonal and ‘cold’. It’s pretty, but absolutely cavernous. I’ll be curious to see if my opinion changes at my next visit.
I was also lucky enough to keep my solo trip tradition alive with the girls. (Does 2 years in a row count as tradition? Works for me!) We took (another) drive to California with our sights on Sacramento since we didn’t see it the year before. Sacramento was scorching hot, in the hundred and teens, before cooling off to a balmy mid-90’s at game time. I was happy I’d realized how stupid a day game would have been. Needless to say there was a lot of ice cream and lemonade that trip. Add Sacramento to the list of fireworks stadiums.
We hit San Jose too, but left that game early since the kids were absolutely beat. The kids were starving (food selection at the minor-ist of minor league parks is usually pretty slim,) so we hit “A Slice Of New York” for a slice of pizza or as Megan said “More like two slices of New York, this place is go-ood!”
We stopped at the Sacramento Zoo, Great America, and my favorite, the Winchester Mystery House.
I think the Mystery House may have been a highlight for the girls too.
It was another smooth trip in the books and zero aspirin!
I kicked off 2015 on the East Coast. A red eye flight and a nap in my car later, and I was enjoying a game in New Hampshire.
Cooperstown was next on the list. I’d waited to see the Hall of Fame on purpose. I wanted to have all of the parks in first.
I really enjoyed the Hall and spent two days there, with a quick evening detour to Rochester for a Red Wings game. (MILB, not hockey.) My Cooperstown hotel was so ‘retro’ (ie, not remodeled,) that they still had actual keys for the doors.
From Cooperstown it was back to Boston to grab my friend Ted. Well, not Boston, that was later in the week. Albany, NY. But whatever. Ted and I made our way through Vermont to watch a few games in Portland, Maine, down through Pawtucket, Rhode Island, before finishing the trip in Boston for Red Sox/Yankees.
I had my first lobster roll, which I compared to eating a sandwich filled with tongues. We saw the saddest (and scariest) ‘Department Store’ on the planet in Pawtucket and met a former report M Charles Bakst, who has interviewed Presidents.
It was Ted’s first time in Boston, so we hit the Freedom Trail and other sites before the game. Fenway is still my favorite park by far, so the chance to see Red Sox/Yankees there was a dream come true. I sat on the Green Monster for Game 2. (I asked Amy if she wanted to know how much the tickets were. Her response? NOPE. Probably a good call.)
By Summer I took the girls down to Reno (by way of our 3rd year through California in a row). It was a quick trip, but it was still fun.
Then by October I was back on the East Coast again – For the World Series.
At some point you get tired of waiting for the home team to make it (or even make it to the friggin’ playoffs for that matter). I got to that point in 2015.
I’d had a great year in Real Estate, so talking Amy into letting me go didn’t take a ton of work. It felt awesome to be in the city again. New York is a favorite place for me.
The World Series was a ton of fun, and so was being in New York during Halloween. I walked in The Village Halloween Parade, went to a hockey game in New Jersey, and saw Book of Mormon on Broadway.
How do you top a 2015 where you spent over a week on the East Coast in April, a summer trip with the girls, and an October at the World Series? You don’t, because work was just too busy!
2016 was a ‘down year’ for solo baseball travel, but was still fun as a whole. The bulk of the year moved quickly, and by August, one concussion and one less appendix later, Megan was ready for her softball catcher’s camp… in, you guessed it, California.
Megan had a fantastic camp and we used the few days after to have a good time. Maddy came too, so I kept her occupied at the zoo, where she finally got to see a sloth, and a bouncy park. After the camp it was off to Dodger Stadium (we hit Angels Stadium the day before her camp), Knotts Berry Farm, Universal Studios, and Disneyland.
The highlight of the trip was definitely Universal. I’d bought VIP tour passes which gave us not only a VIP tour, but unlimited front of the line passes and a full buffet. More importantly though, it gave us the Bates Motel.
The Bates Motel was a surreal opportunity! I was able to stand on the doorstep of the Bates House. The film history made at that house… WOW. Harry Potter World and a frothy ‘Butter Beer’ were hits with the girls.
I’m not sure if we could have fit anything more in those packed, but very fun, days
Which brings us to present day, and the start of my week as a Major Leaguer at Red Sox Fantasy Camp.