We flew to Pittsburgh, hired a car, and drove to Cincinnati. Upon arrival, we were advised by our hotel, which we had booked and paid for in full in advance in JANUARY, that they cancelled our reservation and they refused to help us out. Not very welcoming. We stayed one nice in a literal roach motel in Kentucky before finding more tolerable lodgings in Mason, Ohio. We picked downtown hotels so we could just walk to and from the ballparks and enjoy the proximity of everything, and be able to go for a nap or something in the afternoon if we wanted. Mason was fine, but just a bit too far out so once we were in Cincinnati were were basically stuck. Had good food, spent a lot of time in Newport, Kentucky, and saw one game at Great American Ballpark.
We were supposed to see two, but the weather being foul, the first game against the Cubs on 29 September started about 17 hours late because of rain and because we were in Mason...well...I watched the game on the television in the hotel under blankets I was so chilled to the bone. We had freakin' sweet seats for that game too. For the game on the 30th, I was excited to see Jon Lester pitch. He pitched well and I even got to see that unicorn: a Lester hit while at bat! See other young Cubs stars like Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber, and Kris Bryant was very awesome.
|Our seats for the rain-delayed game were awesome|
|The next night we were here. Nice park.|
On 1 October we drove to Cleveland happy to visit the mistake on the lake. My knowledge of these cities was scant, but this YouTube video was my only impression of Cleveland so I was nervous. I do have to say this tourism video makes me unreasonably happy.
Windy. What a miserable place this city is. Relentless wind. We saw the 1 October game with the Minnesota Twins visiting the Indiana. I forked out good money to be in the second row behind the Twins dugout and we had a nice game, cold weather notwithstanding. My biggest childhood dream came true. We gained access to the park during batting practice, explaining to the sympathetic center field gate agent off Feller Square it was our first time in the park. We looked around their "Heritage Park" before milling around the concourse there watching the end of Twins batting practice. I noticed a lefty got solid wood on the ball and tracked the arc of it: it was coming right at us. The ball cleared the center field wall, bounced off the steps in section 101 and seemingly re-lauched towards us. I watched it bounce and then took off racing in the direction it was travelling and snared it with my glove. It was only a batting practice ball; but I feel like that was probably a game ball the night before or something. Had a nice celebratory beer afterwards but my wife wouldn't let me bring it to bed.
|Yours truly with his ball|
|Stunning close up view for 1/320th the price |
of seeing a game at Fenway Park
|Joe Mauer on deck|
|A play at first base|
After one miserable night's sleep dealing with hotel concierge and the pimp, we gleefully drove to Pittsburgh were, for shits, I did walking directions from our hotel to PNC Park: 49 feet. We loved Pittsburgh.The food, the fans, the ballpark. We sat in three different seats for the three games against the Reds. Friday night we sat behind Andrew McCutchen in center field; Saturday night we were behind the Pirates dugout on the third base line; and Sunday afternoon we were on the first base line but out towards right field. I've been to a lot of games in many cities and I can say hands down there are no baseball fans quite like Pittsburgh Pirates baseball fans. It's such a great environment. I'm sure it wasn't always like this, and that fielding a competitive team has much to do with it.
|Everyday's like Sunday...|
More Pictures: The Reds Hall of Fame and Museum:
With the rain pouring we visited the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum which was really wonderful. The Wall of Balls was cool; the wall of baseball cards was cooler, and seeing World Series trophies the coolest. And who doesn't love a Bo Diaz jersey?
More of Pittsburgh:
What prompted this post is that tomorrow I'll be back in Pittsburgh for a conference (actually outside of Pittsburgh) but I'm flying in Friday so that I can see that night's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. I really never thought I'd be back so soon. To be honest, when I found out about the conference the first thing I did was check to see if the Pirates were home. This did influence my decision to attend. I'll also soon be seeing the Reds visit the Washington Nationals.
Thanks for stopping by!