Bold Predictions for 2018

When you absolutely, positively, truly must have a list of New Year’s Resolutions, call them bold predictions.

Sounds fancier. Probably not.

What might I try to accomplish in the upcoming year? Let’s find out!

In 2018, I predict I will…

Continue reading “Bold Predictions for 2018”

Bold Predictions for 2017

2017 is here! New Year’s Resolutions sound so passé, so I do Bold Predictions. This is that.

But don’t get too worked up, predictions and resolutions amount to the same thing, right? No idea.

I like counting, so I liberally litter these predictions with numbers. Often ones I can’t even count to.

2016 was a year that lasted 366 days, and is now over. You can skip to the bottom to see how I did on my 2016 Bold Predictions…not too bad actually if you have low standards.

Last year I also tried to do more, more, more. This year I’ll just do. Let’s go.

 

In 2017, I predict I will…

…finish my Major League Baseball stadium quest that is years in the making! You heard me! Only two stadiums left! San Diego and Kansas City.

…hike over 304 total miles.

…read six books I own that I haven’t read. I have so many…

…hit up another Seattle Seahawks road game. Nashville? New York? San Francisco?

…do an adventure trip. Whitewater rafting? Island hopping? Trekking? Who’s in?

…start one new venture.

…organize, clean and get rid of stuff. On an epic scale.

…complete three home improvements.

…tear down walls.

…steal your dog to play with. Forget to give it back.

 

________________

Let’s look at how I fared from my 2016 list:

Success rate: 7.5/10

…visit two new baseball stadiums. Only four left! Result: Complete! I went to Denver for the Colorado Rockies (Coors Field) and Phoenix for the Arizona Diamondbacks (Chase Field).

…read 33 books (one more than last year); watch 101 movies (one more than last year). Result: Got there just under the wire! Read 33 books and watched 111 movies.

…visit two new countries (one more than last year). Result: Success! I went to both Honduras and India for the first time.

…run in at least four races (one more than last year). Result: Fail! I only ran one race, the Semper Fi 5K. I tried to run the Army Ten-Miler but had to travel for work. I did the One Day Hike (50K) for the fifth time, but that’s not running.

…find a reason to do something even crazier than the last time. Result: Last crazy time was whitewater rafting down the Zambezi River, so for this crazy time…let’s see…how about 4 nights/5 days backpacking in Colorado? A total of 43 miles with a 39-pound backpack while being stalked by a bear!

…hike over 250 total miles. (Last year I hiked 185) Result: I crushed it and hiked 358 miles! Easy.

…take no prisoners and give no shits. Result: Hard to quantify this, but I tend to give a shit, so 1/2 right only!

…pick a few musicians and go deep into their music catalog. Result: Nope! Did not do this.

…binge watch three new TV shows. Result: Indeed. In fact, I quadrupled my output and binged 12 new TV shows. See which ones here.

…play with two puppies. Result: This is a given. One of them was my niece’s new wiener dog, Jedi. He wants to come back to DC with me, I know it.

MLB Stadium #27: Minute Maid Park

My seemingly never-ending quest to see a baseball game in every Major League Baseball stadium continues.

I’ve visited 28 different stadiums* so far, just having executed a whirlwind Texas Two Step to Houston and Arlington.

Only five more stadiums to go.**

Now, let’s look at the 27th one I’ve visited. We went to two games.

Minute Maid Park (Houston, Texas) – Home of the Houston Astros

Highs

  • The stadium is right downtown. We stayed at Embassy Suites, a mere 10 minute walk, through a nice little city park affectionately dubbed Discovery Green.
  • In Center Field, for some reason there is a large bump or hill, called Tal’s Hill with a flag pole in the middle. It pisses outfielders off. I like quirks that make no sense. Good job, Houston, for showing us your bump.
  • They closed the retractable roof for the second game. So refreshingly cool inside, so hot outside.
  • St. Arnold’s Brewery, local to Houston, had a big stand selling their beers. Their beers were found everywhere in the stadium. All of which were wet and good.
  • We had a friendly grasshopper hanging out until the kids in front of us abused it too much and it hightailed it out of there.
  • The outside facade probably had a nice color scheme. If I were into that sort of thing.

Lows

  • I’m a Seattle Mariners fan. The Mariners lost both games we attended. Badly. They only missed the playoffs by one game. Just saying.
  • It is always hot and sweaty during the game. When the roof is open…like the first day…yikes! And this was September, so it’s not really the bad part of the year.
  • Not a lot of bars and restaurants nearby. You have a walk a bit.
  • I don’t think too many people go to see the Astros…and the people who were there were discussing the Houston Texans game.

Verdict: A solid stadium and worth a visit. Doesn’t do enough to be in the top 10 that I’ve been to, but there is nothing wrong with it and Astros’ fans (such as they exist), should take pride in it and attend more games!

Next: Globe Life Park in Arlington

* Mathletes take note: There are 30 MLB teams. I’ve been to two DIFFERENT stadiums for three teams (Seattle, Texas and Washington).

** Remaining: Kansas City, St. Louis, Colorado, Arizona, San Diego

Nice colors!
Nice colors!
Here we are
Here we are
Put it here
Put it here
Play ball!
Play ball!
Chikin iz Fare (nice Chick-fil-A)
Chikin iz Fare (nice Chick-fil-A)
Burgerz R Foul (oh Chick-fil-A)
Burgerz R Foul (oh Chick-fil-A)
A little something, something
A little something, something
No roof
No roof
With roof
With roof
Hey friend
Hey friend
Pump it up
Pump it up
Saint Arnold Brewery
Saint Arnold Brewery
Tal's Hill in centerfield
Tal’s Hill in centerfield
Tal's Hill - why now?
Tal’s Hill – why now?

Decision

In a recent post, Choices, I hypothesized two potential road trips I could take in September.

It’s time to reveal The Decision!

Dun dun dun…

I’m going to Houston and Dallas to see Minute Maid Park and Globe Life Stadium in Arlington!

I’ll also stop in for a Sounders game in Dallas.

Round trip from D.C. is a mere 3516 miles!

Along the way, I’ll stop at the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and a night in New Orleans. On the way back, I’ll probably stop off in Nashville.

Kuma is excited to ride shotgun. Somewhere in all this, we’ll eat good food, try new beers and listen to lots of music.

Map it!

Roadtripmap

On the road again. I just can’t wait to get on the road again.

75 for September/October: Sporting Events + Running

Football season is finally here!

Over the next couple months, I’ll be attending or watching or playing in a good number of sporting events. To make my monthly goal easier, I’ll just add all those up and call it awesome. Plus I’m still training for the Army 10-miler on October 12th, so I’m sure to run a heaping helping of miles.

September/October Goal: Watch, play in or attend enough sporting events and run enough miles so they total 75

Here are some of the ways I can top-up on sporting events:

  1. Play Fall flag football games
  2. Play Fall volleyball matches
  3. Run the Army 10-miler
  4. Attend University of Washington Football Watch Parties
  5. Attend Seattle Seahawks Watch Parties
  6. Attend two Seattle Mariners road games (in Houston)
  7. Attend one Texas Rangers game (in Arlington)
  8. Attend the October 6th Monday Night Football game: Seattle Seahawks @ Washington Football Club
  9. Attend one Seattle Sounders road game (in Dallas)

Get it!

___________________________________________________________

Now let’s look at how I did for my July goal…

July Goal: Complete enough projects in my apartment and run enough miles so they total 35

Final stats:

  • Run = 30.35 miles
  • Projects = 5

Total: 35.35

Result: Success

First off, I hurt my back in mid-July. Probably doing too many activities. So for one week, I didn’t run. Rather then scrap the goal, I just added an extra week into August. I make the rules.

I did not do nearly as many projects around my apartment as needed, but it was good to get the few I did do out-of-the-way.

List of projects:

  1. Took out the epic piles of recycling
  2. Sorted a year’s worth of restaurant cards and movies stubs
  3. Cleaned my book shelf and gave away a number of books
  4. Cleaned my living room, especially the table which had become a reckless pile
  5. Set up a iPod/iPhone speaker in my living room

___________________________________________________________

And how about my August goal?

August Goal: Watch zero TV shows

Boom clap! Success!

glowing-eye_original

Choices

My goal to see a game in every Major League Baseball stadium continues…

I have seven stadiums remaining.

I’m debating between two possible road trips this year in September.

What say you? Which should I pick?

Vote Now! Give ideas!

Option #1: Houston Astros/Texas Rangers

What I could do:

  1. See the Seattle Mariners play the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park a couple of times (Sept. 20-21)
  2. See the Texas Rangers play at Globe Life Park
  3. See the Seattle Sounders FC (soccer) play FC Dallas (Sept. 24)
  4. Eat Texas BBQ
  5. Check out some local breweries in Houston and Dallas (e.g. Saint Arnold Brewery)
  6. See the Johnson Space Center in Houston
  7. Spot a cowboy
  8. Stop in Nashville en route?
  9. Stop in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park en route?

 

Option #2: St. Louis Cardinals/Kansas City Royals

What I could do:

  1. See the St. Louis Cardinals play at Busch Stadium
  2. See the Kansas City Royals play at Kauffman Stadium
  3. See the St. Louis Rams (football) play on Sept. 21?
  4. Check out Schlafly Tap Room, Anheuser-Busch and other breweries in St. Louis
  5. Check out Boulevard Brewery and others in Kansas City
  6. Eat Kansas City BBQ
  7. Stop in Louisville en route?

 

Help me decide! Vote!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/baseballproject

baseball

 

Fenway Park

As the Boston Red Sox are in the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, let’s muse on my recent visit to Fenway Park in Boston.

My quest to see a game in all MLB stadiums continues. Only seven more to go (San Diego, Colorado, Arizona, St. Louis, Kansas City, Houston and Texas).

Fenway Park (Boston, Massachusetts) – Home of the Boston Red Sox

Highs

  • Right in the heart of the Fenway neighborhood and near the Back Bay neighborhood, it’s the perfect place to watch a game and find a drink after (say at….The Baseball Tavern or Yard House – with a mere 150 beers on tap).
  • Cozy is the word. Very quaint (capacity is 37,400) compared to most other parks.
  • Old school design with green everywhere. I like how the concession areas are loudly labeled with arrows so you don’t go astray. Clamoring ‘Beer and nuts’, ‘Cold Beer’, ‘Pizza’ and ‘Burgers and Fries’.
  • The Italian sausage was solid. The beer was wet and frothy.

Lows

  • Boston squeaked by the lowly Chicago White Sox, 4-3, after almost blowing a 4-0 lead.
  • The Green Monster (the name of the wall in left field) is iconic lexicon in baseball. But not that interesting…although it does date back to the original 1912 design. And it had a longer history as not green and known as ‘The Wall’.
  • Wally the Green Monster (official mascot) is unnecessary. Stop that.
  • The bleacher seats are like squeezing into a matchbox. The guy in front of me gesticulated his arm into my space to talk at someone nearby and knocked my beer, spilling 18.7% on my lap (I measured). Not complete disaster as I didn’t lose all my beer and I don’t care what I smell like.

Verdict: In the top 3 or 4 of all 26 stadiums I’ve visited. But not the best! I haven’t really tried to rank them all. Someday.

It’s a home run!

Welcome to Fenway!
Welcome to Fenway!

Go

View from the bleachers
View from the bleachers
Play ball
Play ball
Just follow the sign
Just follow the sign
It's about that time
It’s about that time
Stop that, Wally
Stop that, Wally
Green Monster
Green Monster

Next up: PNC Park

Marlins, A’s, Giants and Mets

In 2012, I visited four new Major League Baseball stadiums. My quest to see a game in all MLB stadiums is progressing nicely. Only nine more to go.

Here is the run-down.

Marlins Park (Miami, Florida) – Home of the Miami Marlins

Highs

  • The focus on local, Cuban food. Tasty.
  • The Bobblehead Museum was a different twist. Featuring many smiling, nodding players from each team.
  • We saw R.A. Dickey (Mets), the eventual NL Cy Young award winner, pitch and dominate the Marlins, 9-3.

Lows

  • Good grief, the Marlins’ new logo and art deco color scheme are the worst in sports (well, after the University of Oregon and some NBA teams).
  • As a stadium with a retractable roof (because it is so hot all the time), it is quite dark and the interior is not that interesting.
  • In the outfield is a mechanical jumping dolphin diorama that goes off when the Marlins hit a home run. They didn’t.

Verdict: As the newest MLB stadium, it is not very good.

O.co Coliseum (Oakland, California) – Home of the Oakland Athletics

Highs

  • I sat in a section with old-timer baseball fans reminiscing about this and that. Without sports commentators to listen to, this made for a good baseball history diversion.
  • The pulled pork nachos in a green helmet were solid.

Lows

  • This is in the middle of nowhere, south of Oakland. The only reason a visitor would go anywhere near is they are visiting every MLB ballpark.
  • The dreary, soul-less parking lots surrounding the stadium.
  • The old school stadium from the 1960’s.

Verdict: Somehow not as bad as I expected, but Oakland needs to raze this beast from the ’60’s and build a new stadium.

AT&T Park (San Francisco, California) – Home of the San Francisco Giants

Highs

  • The Giants were in the thick of the playoff race in late August, so the atmosphere was electric as they battled the Atlanta Braves for a 5-2 victory.
  • With the view of the surrounding San Francisco Bay and a crisp summer evening, it is not a bad way to spend the evening.
  • The stadium itself feels cozy and has a unique charm that other newer stadiums have tried to capture, but failed. I liked all the brick walls and the facade.
  • Getting to the stadium via street trolleys was interesting and you are literally downtown after the game with everywhere to go.

Lows

  • Not much really.

Verdict: Among the top 2-3 stadiums I’ve visited so far. Well worth the visit. Go.

Citi Field (New York, New Y0rk) – Home of the New York Mets

Highs

  • The inside has a bridge motif (after New York’s many bridges). There is one pedestrian bridge called Shea Bridge in the right outfield section that is meant to resemble Hell Gate Bridge and is a nice vantage point to catch some of the game. The inside also sort of reminded me of Safeco Field in Seattle (which is good).
  • They have a Shake Shack. The line was too long so I had Blue Smoke BBQ instead.
  • There is a Home Run Apple in centerfield. When the Mets hit a homerun it pops up in full red glory.
  • R.A. Dickey (him again?) pitched and won his 20th game which probably sealed his Cy Young victory.

Lows

  • The 7 train takes almost an hour to get there from Manhattan.
  • There is no bars or restaurants nearby to go to after the game (that I could see).
  • This was the last Mets game of the season. Since they were not good, there wasn’t much fan energy and many empty seats.

Verdict: I liked this stadium much better than Yankee Stadium. A good stadium but it takes a long time to get to.

Photo gallery

Bobblehead Museum at Marlins Park
Bobblehead Museum at Marlins Park
Seattle bobbleheads
Seattle bobbleheads
Ugly
Ugly
Homerun Dolphin
Homerun Dolphin
O.co Coliseum
O.co Coliseum
This little piggy
This little piggy
Nachos in a helment
Nachos in a helment

AT&T Park

AT&T Park
AT&T Park
View of the Bay
View of the Bay
AT&T Park 3
Willie Mays Gate
Citi Field - New York Mets
Citi Field – New York Mets
Citi Field
Citi Field
Home Run Apple
Home Run Apple

Reds, Tigers and Indians

Part 3 of 3

This, luckily for you, is the final entry in my road trip trilogy of terror. Finally, we get to the root cause of why I roadtripped to begin with…baseball! Hold on for a short treatise on the highs and lows of each Major League stadium I sauntered through like a deluded dignitary. I suggest you pause now to get a hotdog and a beer. If you pause long enough, you may even escape reading this.

Great American Ball Park (Cincinnati, Ohio) – Home of the Reds

Highs

  • A great view of the bridges spanning the Ohio River that link Cincy to Kentucky and the quaint town of Newport.
  • The Washington Nationals were in town and they won 5-4. Which doesn’t happen very often…
  • I inhaled a tiny Coney hotdog. It was satisfying for 4.5 seconds.

Lows

  • At the 4.6 second mark, I was still hungry.
  • The confusing number of mascots. One is almost too many, but four? Gapper (looks like a retarded, red Phillies Phanatic), Mr. Red (looks like a spastic baseball headed Mr. Met), Mr. Redlegs (a mustached baseball head, which tells you all you need to know) and Rosie Red (because otherwise there’d be too many dudes).

 

Comerica Park (Detroit, Michigan) – Home of the Tigers

Highs

  • Tigers! Everywhere there are tigers! To say that Detroit doesn’t like its team name is to fly in the face of numerous tiger statues and leering tiger heads looking down from every direction. Very impressive.
  • A ferris wheel and other rides for the kiddies.
  • The home team scored two runs in the bottom of the 9th inning to win in dramatic fashion.
  • First a torrential downpour, then a rain delay, and then the clearing of the infield tarp and then the crew drying and making the infield playable again. How often do you get to see that? Kinda cool.

Lows

  • A 45 minute rain delay, there is such a thing as waiting too long.
  • David Aardsma gave up two runs in the bottom of the 9th inning and the Seattle Mariners lost in traumatic fashion. (errrgg!!!!!!)
  • The Detroit skyline had the least interesting view of all the stadiums but it was smack dab in the middle of the city, in a relatively nice area.

 

Progressive Field (Cleveland, Ohio) – Home of the Indians

Highs

  • Ken Griffey Jr. (Seattle Mariners) hits a homerun!
  • The view of the city skyline is picturesque.
  • Heritage Park is the home of the Indian’s Hall of Fame, split into two sections; those players that are actually in the official Major League Baseball Hall of Fame (in Cooperstown, NY),and those that are only good enough to make the team’s Hall of Fame. It was historical.
  • A perfectly positioned food court and bar, behind center field, that allows one to enjoy the game, a brew and an italian sausage all at once. Brilliant.

Lows

  • Felix Hernandez pitches terribly and the Mariners lose again, 6-1.
  • There is a race during the game with the mascots Ketchup, Mustard and Onion. Original. Their kid-friendly mascot is Slider (which looks like Barney the Dinosaur on crack).
  • There was a cool looking cemetary across the street, so after the game I went out and strolled through like the locals. Then I became terribly lost, and could not remember the street I was parked on, nor the name of the parking garage. 30 minutes of random city exploring later, I roared out of the parking garage just as it started to rain. Booyah!

 

Verdict: Originally, I was going to give Comerica Park the edge as the best of the three (those tiger statues!), but Progressive Field (originally called Jacob’s Field until 2008) was among the first of the new wave of retro stadiums built, and it just grows on you the more you think about it.

Also see:

The Baseball Project

As I’ve told anyone that will listen (and even those that won’t), I have goal to see a baseball game in every Major League Ballpark in North America. Why? Because I can.

It’s not a goal I can do in a year or even two, but it will build over time. As long as I go to 3-4 new stadiums a year, I’ll be happy with the progress. And with 30 Major League Baseball teams out there waiting for my dollars to line their coffers, let’s call the task epic. Or crazy. Or random. But never impossible.

I’m still a bit away from accomplishing my goal. This year I’ll do a mini-road trip to three Mid-West cities (Cincinnati, Detroit and Cleveland) to add a few more to the list.

As this is a long-term goal, I’m going to create a new page on this blog called “The Baseball Project” (see along the top) to track progress. Mostly for my own amusement. Feel free to also be amused. Or bemused. Or confused.

So if anyone wants to organise a trip to one of the remaining cities for a game, or join me on one of my trips, I’m listening…

Play Ball!