Saturday, August 29, 2009

I'm Calling It California

I need to finish up my west coast trip stories.  I guess they are more interesting than what is going on with the games of our Mets these days anyway.  Although I would have to say that winning today was pretty good, but...whatever.  The most exciting thing for me this season has been visiting the west coast parks.

I left you with my last story on my first night at Petco Park.  (See link here)  That was Friday of that four game series, when K-Rod blew what should have been a relatively easy save.  I missed the grand slam that solidified the Padres win that night.  But I had other things to attend to.  

Like driving up to Anaheim to see the Angels play the Rangers.  This is the ultra-70s mod sign that has the signature "A" with the Halo around it, signifying their game for the day.  I felt as though I was being transported to another period of baseball history.  One that seemed happy to embrace its past and its bright future.  

I have told many, and even in my round-up of the trip here, that out of the four California stadiums I have been to, I LOVED Angel Stadium.  I couldn't put my finger on it at first.  The team is certainly exciting to watch, with superstar Vlad Guerrero, up-and-comers like Chone Figgins, Kendry Morales and Erick Aybar, even Bobby Abreu has grown on me now that he's no longer a Yankee nor a Phil.  Even the trade of Scott Kazmir to the team the other day has been excited to see how they will fare.  

People also warned me about the "Southern California fan base," which struck me weird.  I thought the fans in San Diego were incredibly friendly, Los Angeles fans not THAT bad (then again, I went on a Saturday night so perhaps more fans showed up...not to mention the team is actually GOOD there now), and I found above all, the fans in Anaheim were knowledgeable, loyal and proud of their team.  So that was a plus too.

I also liked the whole old-stadium-with-newer-modifications.  I had spoken to an usher while walking around, and he said he guesstimated that the stadium was built in 1973 and had modifications made when Disney owned the team, late-90s, he told me. Like these Angel New Era Caps in the main entrance. 
Of course, once again,  the grand poobah of Mets blogging and baseball history in general, Greg from FAFIF told me that the stadium was built in 1966 (which makes sense, since they moved there in '66) and modifications were made in 1998.  Now, leave it to Greg also to bring up something else that struck a chord and made me realize why I liked it so much.  

He called Angel Stadium "Bizarro Shea."  And that's what struck me.  I had been pining away for Shea Stadium recently, and Angel Stadium brought that back.  If Shea Stadium didn't have toilets that backed up, better food, better weather, didn't smell bad and had actually been kept up conditionally, it would be Angel Stadium.  (and yes, I do still miss it)

So I got there maybe an hour before the game.  Since I had no emotional attachment to the game, and the outcome (at least not till I left anyway), I played purely the part of observer and walked around the stadium.  I like to get pictures of the "primary" entrance, which is typically behind home plate or center field, depending on what stadium you are at.  But I am glad that I entered the stadium through the main entrance, for I was able to see this.
As many of you are aware, forever-an-Angel Nick Adenhart was killed in a DUI accident several hours after his debut in April this year.  This memorial has Rally Monkeys, Angel Beanie Babies, Angel Caps, shirts, and other paraphernalia, notes to Adenhart.  I challenge anyone to not get teary-eyed seeing this, as it was possibly one of the most overwhelming gestures of love I have ever seen.  Just because it happened several months makes it no less tragic.  
Such a shame.

But as the saying goes, the show must go on, and I, as a fan, wanted to honor this fan base, and enjoy the game.  

But walking around the stadium, there were some great items, again running with the theme of honoring your team's history -- there were walls for the Angels Hall of Fame (where some dude named Nolan Ryan was a prominent player) 

and their "Wall of Fame" that gave you a picture of how many awards (CY Young, MVP, etc) have been won by team players.  
Again, I wonder why, WHY can't the Mets have something like this? I mean, wouldn't we love something like this accessible to the public?  Something to honor our past, besides a social studies-remembrance of a Rotunda? 

I digress. Back to the stadium tour. I was also impressed by the specialty food items and even bars. I'd like to have margarita bars at my stadium, although truth be told, I could see why they don't in New York. The weather isn't that good three out of the six months of baseball season, but...more items than beer should be available.  Like the SoCo Halocane (clever) and the Jack Daniels booth in waterfall centerfield area.


The obligatory Carl's Jr in the Angel Stadium Food Court...
But also places like Angelito's and Panda Express (which sprouts up like mini-malls in the suburbs in California, it seems).
Angelito's was in the center field area, where the waterfalls were...

I want a waterfall too!!  So funny, I've seen that thing a million times, watching Angels games, so it's definitely fun to see the kitschy stuff in person.

So I sat in an area called the "View" seats - which I guess would be comparable to the old Upper Deck at Shea or a little less Promenade-ish.


View from the seats:
Here's their version of the Pepsi Porch, the Budweiser Deck.

Their "K" corner is the "CPK Meter" (for California Pizza Kitchen -- of course, shameless promotion, but still cute).

I also liked walking around the concourse prior to the game. They played Train's song "Calling All Angels." I thought it was charming, but nothing can touch my love for hearing the old Meet the Mets song.  Nothin'.

But I mostly liked the fans. They all wore red it seemed, but I struck up a conversation with a fellow next to me who was from Texas, a Rangers fan, but living in LA. I don't admit to knowing much about AL baseball and especially their teams but I was impressed, especially with someone from Texas (where football reigns supreme) to care so deeply about the team. Remember I mentioned something about that dude, Nolan Ryan who was once an Angel? He's President of the Rangers now, and has changed the philosophy of the team it seems. They became less of an offensive threat and are focusing on defense and pitching. I'm a big fan of that myself. It would have been easy to become a Rangers fan at that point (since their representative sitting next to me was very cute and wearing a cowboy hat - ooh, HOT), but unlike Metsgrrl (who apparently loves the Arlington Ballpark) the jury is still out on that stadium for me since I have not been there.  Perhaps next year...

Anyway, back to the game.  The game was low-scoring and not much action, till of course right around the time I left to stock up on Rally Monkeys and more photos and had to leave.  I psyched myself out and gave myself almost TOO much time to get to Chavez Ravine.  I left around the 7th inning and had to check into my hotel.  
Here I am, outside the main entrance to Angel Stadium.  Which leads me to the inspiration for the title of this posting. 

As many of you Mets fans have seen, there are a contingent of shirts who refuse to acknowledge our new ballpark's corporate sponsor, and are intent on "calling it Shea." Hey, I have to say I've called it Shea many a time, without even realizing it. Old habits die hard. 

But here's the thing. Growing up, the Angels, to me, were the "California Angels." Anaheim Angels was also cool, since I mean, they DO represent the city of Anaheim, which is in and of itself a bustling (sort of) metropolis. Okay, okay, it's Disneyland, but still. I would expect a team in Orlando to call themselves "Orlando fill-in-the-blank" (Orlando Magic, for one). So Anaheim was apparently christened when Disney bought the team in the late 90s.

Their new owner, Arte Moreno, has made the team his own and got approval to name the team "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim."

Los Angeles Angels...of Anaheim. WTF? First off -- you're seriously going to call a team the ANGELS ANGELS. Not to mention, Anaheim is not even NEAR Los Angeles. Okay, fine, it is but Los Angeles is called Los Angeles for a reason...uh, it's the friggin county. Anaheim is Orange County. I know the Los Angeles Angels are an homage to the old Pacific Coast League team, but I can see why Dodger fans get pissed off about it. Los Angeles does not = Anaheim.

But I like California. And I like the Angels. So I will continue to honor them by their old name. California Angels.

I'm calling them California from here on out.

It was a beautiful day that day, and you know the old saying. Let's Play Two!

I had an hour-plus drive (about 35 miles) north to Chavez Ravine.

Say a prayer for Nick Adenhart, and call all your Angels.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Just Forfeit! The Gift That Keeps On Giving...

I should probably give credit where it is due.

Back in 1998, I attended a game at Camden Yards that went into extra innings. It was Orioles vs. Mariners. These were the days of Cal Ripken (my fave), Robbie Alomar (when he was good), Rafael Palmiero (when he was juicing and pointing at everyone else), and Brady Anderson (all of the above). Who was in the bullpen that day? None other than former Met hero, Jesse Orosco.

But I was amazed. I mean, I had no reason to hate on Jesse. But the Oriole fans who are normally complacent did. When he came into the game, the fan behind me started to yell something that I would recycle throughout the years to come.

"JUST FORFEIT!!!!!! JUST FORFEIT THE GAME!!!!!!"

I liked it immediately. I decided to take it as my own. Turns out I would have plenty of ammunition over the years. Two years ago, it was Scott Schoeneweis (which I do feel pretty bad about now, but fine). I used it the other night with Metsgrrl. She liked it so much that she Tweeted it yesterday, giving credit to me. I feel bad, because had I known this fan, I would have definitely given him credit.

But I recycled it myself yesterday. While I should have been waving the white flag with the rest of the Mets fanbase earlier in the season, I had until this point refused to give up the slightest bit of hope. Well, dear two readers, it's come to just that.

Four out of our four top star-every-day-players on the DL - Check.

All-star set-up man who used to be bullet proof closer has surgery, goes on DL, but should be shut down for season - Check.

Homegrown young pitcher who is supposed to answer our prayers strains hammy on a routine play, out for the season - Check.

Former enemy who quickly grows on Mets fan base misses game due to injury for first time in career - Check.

Another pitcher goes on DL. Did I mention he was out last season too? - Check.

The $36 million over three-years Million-dollar-arm ten-cent-head-case pitcher loses mind, again - Check.

Our former All-Star Closer waives no-trade clause, thereby eliminating any hope that we have to look forward to any young talent coming through from the Sox organization - Check.

Now our last hope, the reason we keep going to games gets scratched from his next start, and now we are talking about shutting him down. - Check.

Why not? I mean, this season is washed out anyway. Bring up the young guys. And let's look to 2010.

Has there ever been a team just forfeit the season? Cause honestly, I don't know if I can stand the E-list team playing. Sure, it's the D-team. But the E-team, just unbearable.

In the meantime, join us in drowning our sorrows at Two Boots Tavern for an Amazin' Tuesday tonight. I should be there, providing I don't blow out my knees or something. FORFEIT!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bobby Parnell...You Are Our Only Hope

Just when you think the Mets can't possibly lose any worse than fill-in-the-blank time...well...I believe I have seen it all, young Mets fans.

In fact, the only thing I have NOT seen is a no-hitter/perfect game while I've been in attendance, and well, I'm afraid to even see that because it will probably be AGAINST the Mets.

Frightening.

I was at today's shit-show.  And I can't believe I've been away from this site for almost two weeks.  But I think today's events warranted me to come up with some new material.

a.)  Oh Pea.  You are dead to me.  I never want to see you again.

2.) An unassisted triple play to end the game.  Uh, yeah.  I was confused when it happened but when I saw it plus had someone explain what happened, it made sense.  The irony?  I thought to myself at the beginning of the game that Oh Pea could have used one to get out of the first.  Um, yeah I really did think it.  Never said it out loud though so I don't have anyone to back me up.  Besides, Zoe would have told me Kinahura-Kinahura or something along those lines.

D.) I saw another inside the park jammie today by Angel Pagan.  The last supporting character I saw hit one was Damion Easley in Milwaukee in 2007.  I watched that one and had no idea he hit it.  The only redeeming factor on today's is that the Flying Pigfucker himself Shane Victorino was trying to get it called as a ground rule double.  HA HA HA HA HA HA.  I hate you Victorino.  (anytime I get to point and laugh at Victorino is always a good time)

But I mean, I took my own philosophy to heart this weekend.  See, either way I win, a la Kevin McReynolds.  They win, I drink.  They lose, I drink.  This weekend was just bonus points because it's the Phillies.  They beat the Phillies?  Ha ha ha!  The D-Mets list beat you!  Ha ha ha ha!  They lose?  Well, congrats Phillies, you want a cookie or something?  You beat the D-TEAM.  

The Mets could finish 161 games out of first place, and under .500 and I'm sure I'd find something to be positive about.  YEAH RIGHT.

In any case, I found Mets fans to not be as frighteningly positive as I've been.  Sure, I could be better myself.  But talking to other fans, it's like they haven't even watched a game.  If you check out Zoe's site, she put up a video of us talking to Mets fans.  Now, I had a few beers plus it was really hot out.  Uh, serious journalist I am NOT but I was trying to be.  Didn't do a hot job.  But the resounding feeling towards this team? 

They suck.

I mean, yes, if this was the team they put out on Opening Day, well sure, I would not have been predicting a 90-win and playoff run type of season myself.  But here's something to chew on.  If no one got hurt.  If there was no such thing as the DL, if there was no such thing as hamstring pulls, oblique muscle tears, hamstring pops, knee issues, psychological problems, I doubt many of us would be saying this team SUCKED.  In fact, they had the goods to I think go all the way this year.  Even with Oh Pea's brain farts, chances are, Jonathon Niese was ready to step up and you know, most of us really liked what we saw of him.

Fact is, Bobby Parnell is doing what Aaron Heilman should have been doing three years ago.  Starting after doing bullpen work.

The Curse of Nolan Ryan should have been exorcised this weekend with the 1969 Reunion.  

The Curse of Aaron Heilman is just beginning.

But the Philosophy of Kevin McReynolds is still holding true.  I get to drink no matter what.  Which by the way, I had a "fan" of mine come visit the other night, bringing beer.

It's nice to be the Queen of the Iron Triangle.  

****************************************
We don't even get a day off this week, and I still owe my two readers a round up from my West Coast trip to Angel and Dodger Stadium.  I think my misadventures work better than the Mets these days anyway.  Don't worry, I won't be a stranger this week.  

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sweet Home San Diego

About 10 years ago, when I was still a wee Lil Coop, I had a dream.  A dream involving San Diego.  I didn't know what it was about, who was in it or why I was even dreaming about that city.  I'd never even been further west than Philadelphia at the time, let alone on the west coast.  But I'd had such a vivid dream that I really felt like I belonged there.  So much so that when opportunities arose that I would move to the west coast (namely San Francisco), I was never that jazzed simply because it wasn't "home" to me.  It wasn't San Diego.

I also had a dream once upon a time that I would be a sports writer or working for a Major League Baseball team.  I once thought in this time period that I would work for the Padres (although my allegiance as many of you know goes straight to that damn team that plays in Flushing).

In any respect, I am happy those dreams didn't pan out exactly.  Cause I'll tell you this -- I did NOT like San Diego.  Perhaps I did it all wrong and since I didn't exactly deviate off-plan (except for Sunday when I had to book another hotel room since the one I originally booked was fuckin' scary - picture it: the apartment where Jules and Vince go to whack those guys who screwed Marsellus Wallace over -- I was staying in that building.  Not pretty), anyway let's just say San Diego didn't leave as indelible impression on me as it's northern counterpart, San Francisco (which leaves me lamenting not jumping at several opportunities I had back when to go there.  Bastards).

In any respect, let's start with Petco Park. As I mentioned in my post from the other day, Petco Park is my least favorite California baseball stadium.  I LOVED Telecom-Conglomerate-Name-Here Park in San Francisco in hindsight, absolutely adored the history of Dodger Stadium, and was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked Angel Stadium.  I can say that out of the 15 Major League stadiums I've been to (Shea, Yankee I, Yankee II, Shea II, Vet, Citizens Bank, Camden Yards, The Trop, Fenway, Wrigley, Miller, SBC/AT&T, Dodger, Angel, Petco), I liked Petco Park second from the last of 15 with #15 being Tropicana Field (if you ever have the opportunity to go there...don't).

I can't put my finger on it.  I guess it was a combination of things.  One was the size.  According to these fans (the jersey is from being the 500K rider on the SD Trolley and she won the jersey and some free rides for a year I think), the stadium seats around 42K.  I thought the stadium looked awfully big for that.  But then again, there is a lot of unused space (I'll get to that in a minute).

I thought the whole building-around-the-warehouse thing was very charming - actually, come to think of it, I really enjoyed the warehouse which was a San Diego Padre historical-time-line
and SD Baseball History "museum."  

I'm sure many of you wonder - how much history can a team that never won a World Series, has no no-hitters (like another team but at least we've won a WS or two), never had a player hit for the cycle, and has only been around 40 years (this is their 40th anniversary) exactly have?  Well, according to the exhibit, it wasn't just the Padres that played there.  In fact, I consider myself very knowledgeable about baseball history not just Mets/NY National League history, and I was amazed by the information in this exhibit.  I definitely give it a thumbs-up and something to look forward to visiting if you ever find yourself in the area.  Giving credence to the saying, "You learn something new every day."

Anyway, back to the seating.  There is a whole back area in the outfield/bleachers that almost looks like it could be your neighbor's backyard.  

If you didn't need a ticket to enter the complex, it would be a nice place to picnic.  There is a field where kids can play, similar to our "Kiddie Field" at Citi.
Apparently there is a Tony Gwynn statue back there that I completely missed (found out about it Sunday, but I was settled in and couldn't get a pic).  I guess my point is there is a lot of unused space.  Therefore, the seats are squished together and not very comfy (unlike CitiField's leg room).  Also, I saw this on Sunday, but their version of the "Excelsior" is called the "Toyota Terrace" and there seem to be fewer seats in that section as well.  

I sat in the right field bleacher section this night.  I had a good view of the Padres-vision...and of Jeff Francoeur's hiney.  I have to say, I don't know if it was the giant margarita I had before the game
or if he's washed himself of his nasty Brave stank...Frenchy has a nice tush.  

Not Brian Schneider quality.  But nice.  Moving right along...

Touching on the Padres history or lack thereof, it was "Hall of Fame" weekend.  Now, possibly my two favorite players growing up were Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn (and a big regret of mine is not going to Cooperstown to see them inducted in the HOF), and to me, nothing says "Padre" more than "Tony Gwynn."  In fact, besides Tony Gwynn, Dave Winfield went in as a Padre (which shocked the heck out of me -- I never thought of Winfield as a Padre).  But Rickey Henderson went into the Hall as an Oakland A, played a few years with the Padre.  The Coop forgot about this stint.  But they honored him with a "Rickey Henderson Night" and let him throw the first pitch.  That was pretty cool.  However, I don't think the fans much appreciated it.  I know I did -- I mean, come on, it's RICKEY HENDERSON.  Despite what you may think of him as a personality, he is a memorable character and certainly one of the greats.  But I still thought it was hilarious that the Padres had to reach for the stars to get a night like that right.  

Anyway, the game itself was kind of boring.  Sure, Oh Pea was pitching and I was in a new stadium.  But I wanted to walk around.  

I talked to a few of the ushers (I found West Coast ushers in general are very nice, willing to answer your questions, and if they don't know the answer, direct you to who might know).  
I thought this sign here about waiting till the completion of the at-bat to re-enter your seats.  Here's something West Coasters are better at, and that's baseball etiquette.  Fer sher.

I also met some random baseball fans as well who were doing a West Coast Park trip.  
They were from Northern Cal though -- starting off in Oakland, driving down to SD, and they were going to the Saturday game in Anaheim like I was.  However, they were going to hit Dodger Stadium on Sunday, while I was hitting it Saturday night.  We got a photo together, here.  
Don't worry, folks:  No boobs were harmed in the taking of this photo.  I don't understand how in this day and age being a female sports fan not to mention one who would travel cross-country for a team/sport surprises anyone.  Oh well.  I guess it is kind of cool.  But not because I'm a chick.  Because I'm devoted.  

During the 9th inning, I was getting antsy.  I wanted K-Rod to close out the game cleanly but it appeared that was not going to happen.  I had met some Mets fans (and Facebook buddies) earlier in the game, BradH and his girlfriend.  Funny thing was, we were staying at the same hotel and had gone over to the game together.  We were going to go back to the rooms together and practice the Buddy System.  
After Frankie gave up the tying run, I was tired.  I was bored.  And I needed to prepare myself to see not one but two games the next day with teams that actually had something to play for.  So I took off.  However, the cabs were only lined up on the other side of the stadium, so I had to take a walk.  I found myself on Tony Gwynn Blvd. How nice.  

It would be nice to have something like that at CitiField, recognizing a great from their past and not Jackie Robinson (who I have the highest respect for -- he just wasn't a Met).  When I talked to some of the ushers at Petco, and I complimented them on the set up of their stadium, (now while I wasn't exactly a "fan" of the stadium itself), I kept coming back to where CitiField failed in my eyes.  

I know and recognize it is still a work in progress.  And I heard that in the last road trip they were able to get some "Met-friendly" items up.  However, the San Diego Baseball History "museum" kept reminding me of the urgent need for something going over New York's National League baseball history (which is incredibly rich even prior to Brooklyn Dodger and New York Giants).  A timeline indicating significant Mets events.  Even when I go into details on my trip to Angel Stadium, there is so much acknowledgement of the team's past, while the Mets have none or very little at their own home.  See, if I had kids or nieces or nephews or whatever, I would think it would be so cool to have something like this to point out to them and be like -- Darryl Strawberry was drafted this day, or June 15, 1983, was the day Keith Hernandez was traded for Neil Allen and Rick Owenby.  Of course, I could just tell them this, but it would be such a trip to have an interactive station like that.  

And in other stadiums, teams SOLICIT opinions of their senior season ticket holders and mini-plan holders for input on the stadium.  How novel.

Oh, by the way, the Mets lost this game.  K-Rod managed to not record a K or an out at the very least.  On a rookie's first ever pinch-hit walk-off grand-slam.  Enough hyphens for ya?  Didn't-think-so.  But I was heading back to my room when it happened.  So I didn't see it.  

For I was going to Dizz-Knee-Land the next day. 

Stay Tuned for Part Three of the Great West Coop Trip -- in Bizarro Shea.  

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

How the West Was ONE

As many of you know, I took a little detour last weekend.  
To the west coast.  

The left coast.  

And the Mets have not had a good record out there as of late.  Can we say they've only one ONE game out of two road trips to Southern California, AND according to tonight's broadcast against the Diamondbacks, will only win one out of five.

I picked a helluva year to follow this team out to the West Coast.  I might have to brief some of my newer readers in that I've been a fan since I was seven.  When I was 11, the Mets were newly championed, and it was fun to follow them on road trips.  Mr. E and I talked about doing stadium tours, but it's hard, with our lives and trying to schedule trips.  The closest I've come in my adult life is in 2007, when Metsgrrl and I went to two games, two days, two stadiums (Mets vs. Milwaukee and Mets vs. Cubbies).  We had, as they would say, an awesome and unforgettable time.

But this time, I don't know if it is the general malaise of following the team this year, the economy, time contraints, etc etc, but all I know is as of two months ago, I was the only person who would commit to such a trip.  As of a month ago, I was the only person to commit.  And for this trip, I was the only one who would commit.  Hey, I can't blame anyone for not going.  I got a free flight and had it not been for that, I might have been wont to cancel the trip myself.  But I also realized a few things.

I'd always wanted to go to San Diego and even as recent as 2005, I was going to go but school prohibited me from doing so.  Furthermore, there are many more stadiums in the SoCal region to visit than just Petco Park.  

I looked at a schedule.  In a stroke of fate, baseball gods smiling on the Coop or whatever, the Angels were playing a 1 o'clock game in Anaheim.  The Dodgers were playing a 7 o'clock game at Chavez Ravine.

It, as they say, was on.

So this became a labor of love for the Coop, a dream that became a reality to not only follow my team on the road, but to declare that I was a baseball fan.  Enough of a fanatic, mind you, that I would do a road trip to a place I'd never been before, and would go by myself.  Sure, I knew some people out there.  But not well enough to drive several hours to take a trip.

Up until last weekend, I had only been to one west coast stadium (from Washington State to California, not counting Arizona...yet).  That stadium was Telecom-Conglomerate-Name-Goes-Here Park in San Francisco five years ago.  After this weekend was through, I'd have gone to four out of five California stadiums, and since I have no desire to visit Oakland Mausoleum, that leaves Safeco for me to visit.  Which I doubt I will get to in 2010 since the Mets probably will not be there.  But I will get there, you will count on it.  Perhaps I will get to Phoenix to visit Chase Field.  

So what were the lessons learned on this trip:

1.) Out of the four parks I've visited in California, Petco Park I liked the LEAST.  
That had nothing to do with K-Rod becoming BB-Rod and hit-Rod and Walk-off Rod and I-give-up-Rod.  Just very generic and not mind-blowing.  Let's put it this way -- I like CitiField a LOT more.  That's saying at LOT.

2.)  Dodger Stadium is odd.  Very eerie.  
Since I consider myself schooled on Brooklyn Dodger (and New York National League baseball) history, knowing this team has only played in this home since 1962 since leaving Brooklyn was a tad haunted to me.  And before you point this out, yes, I do realize they played at the Los Angeles Coliseum prior to Chavez Ravine.  But trust me, if you follow the history, it's weird.  I liked it though.  More on that in a few days when I can get around to processing this trip.

3.) I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked Angel Stadium.  It's an older stadium, built circa 1973 as the usher I asked about told me.  But when Disney bought it a few years ago, they made the stadium very nice.  See, if we had a major conglomerate who owned the Mets and not a faux-conglom in the Wilpons, maybe they'd have revamped Shea and it would be nicer like the A.

4.) The more stadiums I visit (in general), the more AT&T Park (which I visited back when it was still SBC Park) gets higher on my list of favorite stadiums.  I'd initially dismissed it as a rip-off of Camden Yards, but with a local charm by being on the bay.  I was wrong.  It's become a stadium I definitely want to get back to.

5.) Lastly, how did people survive without GPS?  Seriously this is the best invention ever, um, invented.  I'm sure I'd have never made it to the stadiums, and would probably be lost somewhere in Nevada had it not been for my Garmin.

So for those of you keeping track at home, my most recent vacation consisted of the following: me flying into San Diego, going to see the Mets play Friday night (loss), driving up to Anaheim the next day for a 1pm game (Angels vs Rangers), driving up to Los Angeles for a night game (LA vs Braves), and then back to San Diego Sunday for the get-away game.  

Four games.  Three days.  Two stadiums, two games, four teams, one day.  Three cities.  

One gal.  One car.  One GPS.  

The entire time, I really wanted someone to share this with.  But then I realized something.The Padres were playing Tony Gwynn's speech when they retired his number, about how he'd be there with his family, his team, the Padres organization...and everyone one of his fans.    

Like Jenny and Bubba were with Forrest Gump as he did his run, My Summer Family was there with me in spirit.  

This is something I've wanted to do, now...you're gonna hear about it!

I will be back tomorrow with my stories.  Night.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

I'm Still Living With Your Ghost

Wow.

I have abstained from posting for a few days. When I think that going to kickboxing and spin class will bring me more joy than a Mets game, that's not a good thing. But hey, I'm getting healthy so that's a benefit, right?

I had a few embryonic ideas of what I wanted to post in the last week, but just couldn't muster up the desire nor the words to actually facilitate posting. Read Dana Brand's posting from yesterday on his thoughts (note: this was before Luis Castillo took a spill in the DUGOUT after a routine groundout. Can't even HE, having an awesome season, get a break? Erm, not *literally* of course...). Dana basically puts into words exactly how I was feeling, even the Omar conondurum I was in last week (an unabashed prOmar supporter I've been, he REALLY pissed me off at his press conference. The first one, since he had several clean-up conferences afterwards).

Much like the Mets, I am just FRIED.

With big black boots and my old suitcase, well, it's almost time for a vacation (which I will get to in a minute). I need a mental break from sitting on my fat ass, watching the Mets on television with my laptop (and possibly a cat) sitting on me, simultaneously Tweeting (@Coopz22) or Facebooking my status or current thoughts on the Mets. I digress. I need a break. They need a break, although All-Star Break was supposed to be that brief respite, alas, it was not.

Now the news that Jose Reyes might be shut down for the season, I mean, it's just as well. I'd rather he come back in 2010 at 100% than 75% and risk further injury. I think most fans agree with that. As for Carlos Beltran, well, shut him down too while we're at it. If needs surgery, get it. Done.

Carlos Delgado and Billy Wagner will be back as Reinforce-Mets (a play on TWS-Danielle's "Replace-Mets"), simply to fulfill the last years of their contract. You know they will be playing elsewhere next year. (Hopefully, not on the Mets at least). But hey, if they come back and we can spoiler to some teams in the NL East, so be it. I'd like to see them finish in 3rd. The fact remains, the Replace-Mets and Reinforce-Mets can at least get them to .500.

For a team that was supposed to be a 90+ game winner in 2009, this stings. A LOT. Don't be fooled. I may joke about pickling my liver and going to games, and being a win-win situation if I don't see the Mets win, I can at least eat good food and get drunk at their games.

Cause what else does baseball do? It keeps us occupied in the summer, only to break our hearts when it ends.

One thing is for certain is this season will come to an end, regardless of how the Mets actually do. And you know, and I know that come December, we are ALL going to be salivating over Hot Stove reports, potential trades, free agents and the countdown to Pitchers and Catchers (and if you are really bold, Opening Day).

So I am enjoying it while it lasts. Baseball that is. Mets games I could honestly do without, but I do, because you know, they're my team and all.

So what's a gal to do? Go on vacation. To San Diego.

To follow the Mets. Although I tweaked my trip a bit to not just see the Mets, and plan to hit a double-header in SoCal. A 1 pm game in Anaheim, a 7 pm game in Los Angeles.

So much for relaxation.

But since I was a wee little Coop, I've been longing and dreaming of the West Coast...not to mention following the Mets and baseball in general out there. Whenever will I have an opportunity to visit three ballparks in a weekend? Especially since I am not planning any other West Coast trips for another few years (at least till the Mets find themselves at Safeco).

So stay tuned Summer Family-ites and Mets fans. I will be back with a full report of my time on the Pacific Coast.