Results tagged ‘ Road Trip ’

GOODBYE YANKEE STADIUM…

REMINDER: YOU CAN CLICK ON ANY PHOTO TO ENLARGE
 
The way thing are going for the New York Yankees, it appears this may be the first year since 1993 that they don’t qualify for the postseason.
 
During the Royals final appearance in “The House that Ruth Built,” I recorded some images from “The Stadium,” which opened in 1923 and was renovated in the mid-1970’s: 
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Thought I’d throw a Times Square picture on here, as it’s just so photogenic.  Very very busy on a Saturday night.  My cousin, John William and I found long lines just about everywhere.

 

 

 

 

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Down in the bowels of Yankee stadium.  I think I’ll go left.  The security guard saw me taking a photo of the sign and said “take it.”  I think he was kidding.  I think that might have gotten me in trouble, but I’m sure plenty of fans would like it as a memento.Splitt at Yankee Stadium.jpg 
 

 

 

Paul Splittorff pitched in this ballpark many times.  Split makes his way back toward the Royals dugout after one last visit to the monuments.All the Numbers.jpg
 

Of course the retired numbers and monuments will all be moved next door to the new $1.3 billion ballpark, but I thought I’d capture them in their original location before they’re uprooted.  A lot of numbers.  The only single digits that are not retired will be retired some day: 2 (Jeter) and 6 (Torre).Four Numbers.jpg
 

 

 

Hard to find four better players in the history of any franchise. Perhaps you’ve heard of Gehrig, Ruth, Dimaggio and Mantle?Two Numbers.jpg
 

 

Two former Kansas City Athletics have their numbers retired by the Yankees:  Billy Martin and Reggie Jackson.  Of course several of the others played minor league ball in KC prior to 1955.Photog Shots.jpg
 

 

A television photographer getting shots of the monuments…These used to be in play!  The playing dimensions were HUGE before the renovations.

 

 

 

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 George Herman Ruth.  Nuff said.

 

 

 

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Lou Gehrig and longtime Yankee Manager Miller Huggins.  Of the three men honored with the three most prominent plaques, Gehrig died at 37 Huggins at 50 and Ruth at 53.  But what greatness they achieved.

 

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Two great Yankee voices, Mel Allen, who broadcast their games for many years, and later was the narrator of “This Week in Baseball.”  And 97 year-old Bob Sheppard, “The Voice of Yankee Stadium” since 1951.  Sadly, Bob has been unable to attend games this year. 

 
 

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They honor 9/11 victims, playing “God Bless America,” during the 7th inning stretch of every game, not just on Sunday.  Those victims are memorialized in Monument Park too.

 

 

 
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Here’s something the media won’t miss.  The two elevators from the basement are separated by a five-foot thick brick wall.  In order to watch both elevators at once, you have to stand across the hall.  I have a feeling there won’t be a similar wall at the new place.  (Can I get a “Mr. Gorbachev, TEAR DOWN THIS WALL!”?)
 
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This is one of the PR offices right behind the press area, with a view of the field.  It looks like it could be George Costanza’s office.  No sleeping under the desk, people!  I smell calzones!  (Seinfeld references)Yankee Stadium Radio Booth.jpg
 

 

The 3-tiered, somewhat crampt, visiting radio booth.  Don Free is on Tier 2.Field at Yankee Stadium.jpg  
 

One final postcard image of Yankee Stadium.  Royals had some great memories there, some not-so-great memories there.  You may hate the Yankees.  But one thing with which you can’t argue:  much of the history of this game happened on that field.  As Mel Allen would have said “How about that!”
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A NEW DAY IN TAMPA BAY

A reminder: YOU CAN CLICK ON ANY PICTURE TO ENLARGE ON THIS BLOG.

The Royals played four with the red-hot Rays in St. Petersburg, and salvaged the final game in 11 innings.

It was my first vist to Tropicana Field and I saw an excited fan base, with the Rays owning the best record in baseball when the Royals rolled into town. 

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The Rays have a talented team and didn’t have a crowd of less than 16,000 for any game in the series.  It’s nice to see a team that has lost so much the last ten years create excitement (except for the fact that some of that excitement was generated by beating the Royals).Left Crowd.jpg 

 

 

The Rays have gone 13-1 with crowds of 30,000-plus.  Loverboy was in concert after the Saturday game.  The Devil Rays are no more.  A new color scheme, new nickname, a “new attitude” in Tampa Bay.Right Crowd.jpg

 

Just nice to see the seats filled.  It used to be 8000 or 9000 was the norm.  Of course when your team has only reached the 70 win mark one time since its inception, it makes it much more difficult to generate excitement.  Hard not to cheer for these guys (except when playing the Royals, of course).

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These are the “famous” Tropicana Field catwalks.  No cats spotted during the four-game series.  Many pop flies have deflected off of them over the years.  Of course, if the ball hits the catwalk over fair territory, it’s in play…Fireworks in Tampa.jpg

 

 

On the Fourth of July, the Royals played an early-evening game at the Trop…then we were able to catch the fireworks display over the St. Pete waterfront form the balcony of our hotel.Progress Energy Park.jpg

 

This is Progress Energy Park aka Al Lang Field, which has been the spring training of several teams, most notably the Cardinals from 1937 until 1997.  Now it’s losing the Rays, who are bolting for Port Charlotte next spring.  There was talk of building a new ballpark for the Rays on this site, but that has apparently been tabled for now.Waterfront.jpg

 

 

Downtown St. Pete has a very nice waterfront.  The marina by Progress Energy Park and the Royals hotel is home to the St. Petersburg Yacht Club.   St. Pete Beach, a few miles away, is also very nice.Rainbow.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, a win on the final day in St. Pete!  As the plane is about to take off, a rainbow is visible.  The pot of gold is not.

Old Home Week

I used to live and work in Baltimore, so the Royals trip there on the recent road trip was a lot of fun for me.  I had a chance to visit the gang at WBAL Radio, where I used to work, but I forgot to get pictures of  “the gang.”  Oh well…their website is www.wbal.com  so you can read all about them there. 

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Outside my 8th floor hotel room window, the window washer was doing his job.  Hanging from a suspension cable, and with a suction cup handle stuck to the window, he did his job.  How much would they have to pay you to do that job?  I’m not sure I could come up with a dollar figure that would get me out there.  First floor, fine.  Second floor, maybe.  Then I’m done.Inner Harbor.jpg

 

 

This is Baltimore’s signature Inner Harbor. It’s a beautiful area, always lots going on.  I’d rent one of those little boats WAY before I’d repel down a building to wash windows.

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Here are former Royal (and O’s TV analyst) Buck Martinez and Royals pitching coach Bob McClure.  They were teammates in both KC and Milwaukee.  Apparently they were reminiscing about some “nailbiters” they played in, back in the day.Boys & Steve.jpg

 

 

These are my stepsons, Enrique and Emilio.  Enrique will be 14 September 28th.  Emilio turns 12 July 16th.  Wonderful boys, and I’m very proud of them.  Great to see them in Baltimore!Babe Statue.jpg

 

 

On Eutaw (pronounced “Utah”) Street at the entrance to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, stands a large statue of a young Babe Ruth. Baltimoreans are very proud that the Babe was born and raised in Baltimore.  But they’re a bit conflicted, since he starred for the HATED Yankees.  This Statue has a flaw…behind his back, Babe is holding a righthanded glove (for his left hand).  He was, of course, lefthanded.Babe plaque.jpg

 

 

The Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum is just blocks away from the ballpark.  It’s worth the visit if you’re in the area.  The Babe actually lived in the apartment over his father’s saloon, which was located in what is now right field at Camden Yards.

 

 

 

Although a hotel has been built Oriole Park.jpgbehind left field, it’s still one of the most beautiful views in all of baseball.  Oriole Park at Camden Yards opened in 1992, but still looks brand new.  It was “the original” retropark, which changed all of sports, not just baseball.  New ballparks (Major League and minor league), football stadiums and basketball and hockey arenas have sprouted in almost every town, large and small, in America.  It all started here.Bromo Seltzer Tower.jpg

 

 

 

 

This is one of Baltimore’s major landmarks:  the Bromo Seltzer Tower.  Built in 1911, you used to see it from Oriole Park, but not anymore, thanks to the new hotel.

 

 
 

 

Chi-town

I type during the bumpy bus ride up Madison Avenue on our way to Yankee Stadium.  The road has been unkind to the Royals in recent weeks.  The trend continued in Chicago.  It was my 12th American League ballpark from which I’ve broadcast.  Yankee Stadium will be “lucky” 13.
 
A few Chi-town shots of interest:

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This monstrosity is a pickup truck  apparently belonging to White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle.  It is, to say the least, large.  Two separate 60-gallon gas tanks, one on either side, means it’s about 500 bucks to fill up.  Yikes!

A security guard stands alongside the truck for perspective. He stands 5 feet 10 inches.View from the Booth.jpg
 
 

Shot from our radio booth, as Denny and Bob are hoping to see a Royals victory.  Wednesday night was close, but no cigar.  15 innings, but another road loss.  As you can see, our view from the booth is a good one.Writers.jpg
 
Not as good for the writers.  Bob Dutton, from the KC Star (left) and Dave Holtzman (below him) watch from the press box (writers, etc. who aren’t actually broadcasting the game).  When the Sox redid their press box in 2007, the “regular press” got moved down the right field line.Plane.jpg  
 

 

 

 

While it’s impossible to make out based on this photo,  I thought it was worth putting on here.  That flashing light is a police/secret service escort for a plane that had just brought Barack Obama home to Chicago.  His plane had just landed as we were getting on our chartered flight headed for New York. 

Everything’s Big in Texas!

When the Royals recently visited Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, it was my tenth (out of 14) American League ballpark. It’s a very nice “yard,” but one word you would never use to describe it is “intimate.” It is very large, totally enclosed (with offices used by various local businesses stacked in the outfield).

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This park opened the same year as “The Jake” (now Progressive Field) in Cleveland, 1994. Still looks new.

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They modeled parts of this ballpark after other classic stadiums, including Tiger Stadium. The right field porch with the posts holding up the overhang is very similar to the Tigers’ former home.Offices.jpg

 

 

Troy Aikman used to have an office here. Plenty of offices in center field. Nice view out your window if you can afford the square footage.Trey in Texas.jpg

 

 

Trey Hillman grew up in the area, and it was old home week for him in Texas.Trey with Joel and Split.jpg

 

 

Of course, these are new friends: Joel Goldberg and Paul Splittorff on the field before the game.Bob Gibson Suite.jpg

 

 

There are seemingly a million luxury suites on more than one level wrapping around Rangers Ballpark. They are named after baseball Hall of Famers. This is the Bob Gibson Suite.Catfish Hunter.jpg

 

I couldn’t find a George Brett suite, so the closest KC tie I found on my quick look around, was the late, great Catfish Hunter, who spent his first three seasons as a Kansas City Athletic, before winning championships in Oakland and New York.Titanic.jpg

 

 

When you look at the levels of suites stacked on top of one another, the word “Titanic” immediately came to mind. Fortunately the media level is up closer to the top. No leaks were apparent, fortunately.

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Right next to the Ballpark is Six Flags over Texas…the amusement park predates the stadium by many years. And, yes, a baseball season is a roller coaster.

New Stadium.jpgA few blocks from the Rangers stadium, is another amusement park of sorts. Some of the locals call it “Jerry World.” That would be Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys. This incredibly large structure dwarfs the Cowboys’ current home, Texas Stadium. The Cowboys move into their new home in time for the 2009 season. They’ve already booked a Super Bowl. It will have a retractable roof, and hold more than 100,000 for events such as the Super Bowl and the Cotton Bowl, which will move from, well, the Cotton Bowl.

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I lived in Dallas for six years, including my years at Southern Methodist University. Great city. You can see the skyline from the Ballpark. The growth in the area since I left is truly unbelievable.horse head.jpg

This is the Rangers’ mascot…Ranger Captain. Ranger Captain was born in 2003. The name comes from the Texas Rangers Law Enforcement Agency. Captains were the leaders for that group. When Ranger Captain was born, he (?) was sworn in by the mayor of Arlington (“Put your hoof on the bible and repeat after me…..”). When I had laryngitis I was a little hoarse…but nothing like this…sorry…night game.jpg

 

 

A shot of the Rangers Ballpark at night. Although it was incredibly windy (see picture below of the umbrella going through the car windshield), we at least came to Texas before the 99 degrees and high humidity hits! (any day now…)

Siberian Express

As the West Coast trip started for the Royals, things changed.  Time zone, city, division, etc.  One thing that didn’t change….WEATHER!  45-ish degrees for both games at Safeco Field in Seattle.  Beautiful city, beautiful ballpark, freezing weather.  So the Siberian Express (aka the Royals’ season so far) went from Milwaukee to Detroit, to Minneapolis (where it really wasn’t THAT cold), to KC and on to Seattle. 

It’s a pretty park, but with raw, cold, rainy weather, the roof had to be closed.  It’s an open-air park, so the good news is you don’t have rain delays.  The bad news is you can be very cold.  The Royals split the two games, winning Monday, losing Tuesday.  The only stop in Seattle all year, unfortunately…because it’s a great place.  So in my limited, chilled day-and-a-half in Seattle, here are a few images:

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Down the street from our hotel…Puget Sound…

 

 

 

 

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Just to prove the sun was shining very briefly in our all-too-brief stay in Seattle…

 

 

 

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Starbucks…..What a shock!  A Starbucks!  We had one right across the street from the hotel….that’s true at every hotel here, by the way.

 

 

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Roof closing…..Hey…that roof saves a lot of games.  Here it was closing prior to Tuesday afternoon’s series finale…

 

 

 

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Ballpark shot….Looking forward to seeing a sunny open-roof day here next season….but nice to know you’ll always start on-time.  Beautiful park.

 

 

 

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April 15th was the 61st anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s Major League debut.  They etched his number on the infield dirt.  Trey Hillman, Luis Silverio, Jose Guillen and Joey Gathright all donned the number “42” in Jackie’s honor.

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