After hearing the horror stories about wait times at TSA checkpoints, I made sure to give myself plenty of time to get to airport in case I needed to spend 2 hours going through security. It wound up being closer to 2 minutes, and while I am not complaining about that, it means I have quite a bit of free time and little to do, so I might as well tie up some odds and ends with the travelogue and put a ribbon on this trip.
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First of all, I did pick up one additional souvenir to commemorate visiting all 30 parks. During the game, I heard something in the corner of my ear about being able to purchase game-used merchandise. I put out feelers to see what kind of price range they were talking about, kinda expecting that if I had to ask, I didn’t really want to know. I want to offer a super special thanks to Jim with the Reds Authentics shop for going above and beyond to find this for me, at exactly the price I was willing to pay:
Trends and stats
So, I am compiling this from memory and keeping track on the scratchpad from the hotel, so I don’t guarantee accuracy, but I do the best I can. Because Tampa Bay won and Cincy lost, that makes the (sometimes Devilish) Rays the most successful team I’ve seen in person, amassing a 4-0 record. Meanwhile, the win for Seattle on Sunday takes them out of the cellar and means that Atlanta and St. Louis are the only teams I’ve seen more than once who didn’t win a single game.
I have the feeling of being a bit of a bad luck charm recently, home teams are 16-14 overall, but the last MLB game I was personally in attendance for where the home team won was Milwaukee, back in May 2012. That’s a five-game losing streak. The longest winning streak is seven games, from August 2006 in Oakland to 2009 in—that’s right—Tampa Bay.
One more clue
I don’t need too many hints to tell me that Detroit loves their Tigers, but I got one anyway that I didn’t mention at the time. I touched briefly on the performance I stumbled upon with the DPD making a dance video. The officer who was organizing the event and addressing the public was not in uniform, but in the unofficial corporate “business casual” uniform of khakis and a polo. And what do Detroit Police wear on their business casual polo? Well, it’s the orange “Olde English” D of the Tigers followed by the letters “PD” in a more standard font.
I have now seen every team play a home game. Now notice that doesn’t mean I have been to every current MLB park. The Mets and Marlins have built new ballparks since I’ve been there, and I guess Atlanta and Texas are looking to open new parks soon. And for that matter, they’ve renovated Dodger Stadium so much it might as well be a new ballpark. So I do get people asking if I’m going to rush out to those places to see the new stadia. I’m not going to rule out the possibility, but it is not a priority. I wanted to see them all as a way to force myself to go to parts of the country I would not have any other reason to go to, and I’ve done that now.
There are other baseball-related things I’d like to see, the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, for example, or the College World Series in Omaha. Those hold more interest right now than going back to Miami or Atlanta.
Oh, and how could I forget?
I also wanted to make special mention of what was for me the most memorable celebrity first pitch of the tour (as in the only time I even noticed who threw the first pitch at a game). I was heartened to discover that Cincinnati is a town that takes the arts very seriously, and the Reds’ community fund is a major contributor to those efforts. Nonetheless, I was not just surprised, but texting-relatives-astonished to hear that Awadagin Pratt would be throwing the first ball.
In case you haven’t heard of him, he’s a concert pianist and apparently a major advocate for the performing arts in the Cincinnati area (thus the first pitch honors), but back home we know him as a long-time former resident of Albuquerque who still comes out about every other season to perform with the New Mexico Philharmonic.
I’m sure I’ll have more to say in the future, when I have had a chance to reflect on my trip, but right now they’re about to start boarding.