Angels Game During Disneyland Half Weekend

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Another stadium marked off my 30 MLB park tour

Another stadium marked off my 30 MLB park tour

One of my non-running goals is to attend a baseball game at all 30 MLB stadiums.  This is not an original goal, but much like the 50 half marathons in 50 states goal, it is a great way to see the country.  Angels Stadium marked my fourth active MLB stadium to attend a game at, joining Turner Field, Busch Stadium (the third one), and Fenway Park.  I have also attended games at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium, the second Busch Stadium, and Riverfront Stadium, but those do not count on the 30 parks tour.

No ballgame is complete without a beer and a hot dog.

No ballgame is complete without a beer and a hot dog.

Going to an MLB game requires at least one beer and hot dog.  This trip lived up to this expectation, even if it was not the best meal to eat the night before a race.  Luckily it was before the 10K, and I did not overindulge in anything.

Panorama of Angels Stadium

Panorama of Angels Stadium

The game was between the top team teams in the AL West, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Oakland A’s.  The weeks prior to the game, it was looking like the game would potentially be for possession of first place in the division.  However, by August 29, the Angels had started to pull away in the division, but I was still able to watch two aces go at it.  Jon Lester was pitching for the A’s, and Jared Weaver for the Angels, and both pitched well.

Yes, this is a helmet full of nachos. No, I did not order these.

Yes, this is a helmet full of nachos. No, I did not order these.

The game ended 4-0 Angels, with home runs by Chris Iannetta and Albert Pujols.  Sadly, Mike Trout did not do anything SportsCenter worthy during the game, but it was still a good game.

T-Shirt giveaway from the game

T-Shirt giveaway from the game

Honestly, the stadium was better than I expected.  There were a ton of food options, and while the stadium is one of the older ones in the league, it holds up well.  The organization does it best to make the game day experience a fun one, and the fans were much more rabid than I was expecting. The helmet nachos were very popular, partially because at $16.50, they were a good value by ballpark standards.  I cannot imagine eating all of those nachos in one sitting.

With my fourth active stadium marked off the list, I have no clue which one will be next, but it probably will not be until next season that I will be able to travel to a new stadium.

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Wordless Wednesday: Disneyland Half Weekend Preview

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I leave for Anaheim in 9 days, and at the end of my 3 days there, I expect to experience as much goodness as the area can provide.  All of the following should be in my future:

Double Double goodness

Double Double goodness

High fiving Mickey at the finish line - this is such a great feeling

High fiving Mickey at the finish line – this is such a great feeling

Another stadium marked off my 30 MLB park tour

Another stadium marked off my 30 MLB park tour

2014 Disneyland Half Weekend Medals

2014 Disneyland Half Weekend Medals

One of these is hopefully in my future!

Disney Coast to Coast Medal

Motivation Monday

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Today’s Motivation Monday is going to be a two-for-one! April is about the perfect time to run, or at least here in Memphis it is.  It is not too hot, not too cold, and there are multiple races every weekend.  It is a great time of year to shoot for a PR as well as shake off some of the winter doldrums and make a conscience effort to get back into shape.  With that in mind, I present the following as the first bit of motivation:

It says it all

It says it all

The second motivational entry toady is a quote from the valiant Jackie Robinson.  Jackie Robinson, for those of you who don’t know, was the first African-American to ever play in MLB, breaking the color barrier on April, 15, 1947, when he started at first base (he played second base for the remainder of his career) for the Brooklyn Dodgers.  Robinson would go on to win the inaugural Rookie of the Year award, along with being the first ever African-American to win the MVP (1949), first to appear in an all-star game (1949 along with teammates Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe), first in the MLB Hall of Fame (1962), and first to be a network broadcast member (1965 with ABC).  The list of Robinson’s accolades and achievements would take hours to compile, as well would his numerous inspirational messages.  But, I will share with you what I feel is his greatest quote:

A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives – Jackie Robinson

Now, I know that there isn’t a direct correlation between running and that quote (except, maybe, running for charity), but it is still very inspiring, at least to me.

And I end with a shameless plug, if you haven’t already, please sign up for the inaugural Platinum Sombrero Virtual 5k taking place this July on a course near you!  Proceeds will be donated to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN.  More info can be found here, and a direct link to registration can be found here.

Play Ball!

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Today is Opening Day (yes, I know that the Astros and Rangers played last night, but that isn’t the same as today) for Major League Baseball and it should be a national holiday recognized all across the United States, since, you know, it is the National Pastime, and even Canada (or at least in Ontario).  Doing so would save many baseball fans like myself a sick or vacation day at work, and would help keep truancy down in schools, especially those in cities where games are taking place.   Everyone that knows me knows that baseball is my ultimate sports obsession, especially the Atlanta Braves, but even if that weren’t the case, today would still be special.  In my mind, Opening Day signifies the beginning of warmer weather.  It means the summer is rapidly approaching and the dreariness of the winter shall be left in the past.  I know some of these early games in Cleveland and Minneapolis don’t feel this way, but that is where I go mentally regardless.  Joe DiMaggio, aka Joltin’ Joe or the Yankee Clipper, summed up Opening Day rather well with the following quote:

You always get a special kick on Opening Day, no matter how many you go through. You look forward to it like a birthday party when you’re a kid. You think something wonderful is going to happen.

Taken from the Braves Facebook page

Taken from the Braves Facebook page

Opening Day is a day of ultimate enthusiasm.  It is the only day of the year you are guaranteed to proclaim that your team is in first place!   Even Cubs fans that tirelessly cheer “Maybe next year!” for take comfort in seeing their beloved Cubbies in first before some tragedy befalls them once again.  The small market teams in Pittsburgh, Miami (maybe not them thanks to their greedy owners), Tampa, and Kansas City are optimistic today.   Growing up a Braves fan in the 1980’s, I could not proclaim that very much, so I relish it whenever I can, even if the 1990’s did it’s best to spoil, yet humble me.

Pic from MLB's Facebook page

Pic from MLB’s Facebook page

I have only had the privilege of attending one Opening Day game in person in my lifetime (but I have called in sick to watch several others), and that was back on April 5, 2010.  That day also served as my first game at Turner Field (yes, I know that is a terrible admission for a rabid Braves fan).  I live in Memphis, which is Cardinals territory and most of my friends, and even my twin brother are Cardinal fans.  That being said, this was not my first Braves game.  I had attended numerous games at Fulton County Stadium, as well as catching the Braves on the road in Cincinnati and St. Louis over the years.  But I had never seen white home uniforms at Turner Field, so it was great to finally go to the current home of my beloved Braves.  It was a warm and sunny day, and hopes were high.  Despite not making the playoffs the previous season, the Braves had showed some life in 2009 that the 2010 squad was certainly going to build upon.  Highly touted and number one overall prospect Jason Heyward had launched baseballs all spring and won the job of starting right fielder on Opening Day, creating an electricity around the team.  And Heyward did not disappoint, launching a homerun in his first major league at bat!  The Braves thumped the Cubs that day 14 to 2, and contributed to the dismantling of Carlos Zambrano’s career.  Opening Day often sets a tone for the season, and it certainly did here with the Braves and Cubs.  Heyward went on to be an all star and nearly won the NL Rookie of the Year Award.  The Braves won 91 games and the National League Wild Card.  The Cubs lost 87 games and Zambrano was demoted to the bullpen for a portion of the season.  But before the rout on this day, Cubs fans could still hold their heads high and take solace in the fact that they were a first place team.

Hammerin' Hank Aaron throwing out the first pitch 4.5.10

Hammerin’ Hank Aaron throwing out the first pitch 4.5.10

Tonight, starting at approximately 6:10 CST, I will be parked on my couch, watching the Atlanta Braves battle the Philadelphia Phillies as if it is Game 7 of the World Series.  Susan will wish that the season to already be over, and my workout routine will have to be adjusted accordingly.

And three more great Opening Day quote for your enjoyment:

There is no sports event like Opening Day of baseball, the sense of beating back the forces of darkness and the National Football League. – George Vecsey, New York Times sports columnist

There’s nothing like Opening Day.  There’s nothing like the start of a new season.  I started playing baseball when I was seven years old and quite when I was forty, so it’s kind of in my blood. – George Brett, HOF 3B

It’s like Christmas except it’s warmer. – Pete Rose, MLB all-time hit king