Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Top 10 Highlights of the Trip

1. Hank Aaron and New Coca Cola Bottle Plugged In - He might have been way down on the field and it was the game we sat in the upper section at Turner Field, but it was still really cool and totally unexpected to see Hank Aaron in person. Of course, seeing the new Coca Cola Bottle plugged in/unveiled was also part of the top highlight of the trip. I would have liked to have gotten a chance to see the old Coca Cola bottle, but only being able to see the new one was cool since we saw it on the day it was unveiled.

2. Nationals Park Experience - Choosing between this being the top and Hank Aaron was a hard decision, but Hank Aaron won out by the tiniest margin possible. Of course, I could have told you at the beginning of the trip that going to Nationals Park was going to be one of my highlights, but I never expected it was going to be one of the top highlights because of a special experience at the game. It had already been to Nationals Park at least a dozen times before the trip because I had season tickets for the Opening Season of the park in 2008 and this is my favorite game experience ever at the park, although the Inaugural Game/Opening Day 2008 was almost as special. That game, though, Mom and I were one row from the top, and this game we sat in one of the most premium spots in the park, the PNC Diamond Club. Not only did we end up in a great place to enjoy the game, but we got some awesome goodies including a ball signed by Christian Guzman and a bat signed by Austin Kearns.

3. Maddux Number Retired - Yes, all of the top three things happened in a span of 3 days in July with this being in the middle of number 1 happening first and number 2 happening 3rd chronologically on the trip. We did not even plan on going to the game that Maddux number was retired at the Braves, but when I found out it was the day after the game we were already going to I edited the itinerary and we got tickets to go. We did not stay for the whole game, but it was the pre-game stuff that was what we went for. It was interesting to get our Braves Hall of Fame tickets signed by Dale Murphy before the game. Of course, seeing the ceremony and the unveiling of Maddux's retired number was the highlight of that game and an experience that does not happen all that often.

4. Randy Johnson's 299th Win - Okay, this one may seem like an odd highlight and really did not seem like it would be one at the time, but looking back it is just one of those things that is fun to say you saw. Sure, seeing his 300th would have been more historic, but hey that was him beating the Nats!!! This was him playing at home and beating the Braves.

Update 3/7/10: This highlight now seems even more historical with him retiring and only ending up with 303 wins, so we saw one of his last wins.

5. Ceremonial First Pitch at Red Sox Game - This was one of the most interesting first pitched we saw on the trip. The person that threw the ceremonial pitch in that game was Jeffery Donovan, who plays the Michael Weston in Burn Notice. The main reason was that it was not just a somebody, but it was a somebody we actually knew who he was. Mik really loved this highlight because Burn Notice is one of his favorite shows. I think the only show he likes more is NCIS or maybe some Japanese anime show.

6. Grand Slam - One of the main things we had really hoped to see on the trip was a Grand Slam. Finally in Game 27 at the Astros we got to see one when the Carlos Lee hit one for the Astros in the bottom of the 7th.

7. 9-2 Play - I vaguely think we saw two 9-2 plays on the trip, but do not feel like going through my scorebook to confirm that. Anyways the one that was the highlight was the one I remember for sure happening and I talked about the whole trip. The play was in the bottom of the 7th in Game 1 of the trip with the Nats Right Fielder Austin Kearns (I ended up with a bat signed by him as part of highlight 2!!!) throwing out Felipe Lopez at home on a forced out. It was just such an awesome and perfect play that really saved the game as a Nats win, as it kept the tying run from scoring. Oh, and it was a Nat throwing out a former Nat.

8. Active Career Home Run Leaders Hitting Homers in Same Game - Game 20 of the trip was an interesting match up with the two active career home run leaders (Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees and Ken Griffey Jr of the Mariners) playing against each other. That in itself is makes for a good game, but the highlight part is that they both hit homers in the game. Evener cooler is that they were both in the 6th inning. Ken Griffey, Jr. hit his 622nd in the top of the inning and Alex Rodriguez hit his 566th in the bottom of the inning.

9. Sand Ballpark - The day at the beach in St. Petersburg was one of the few that I think everyone truly enjoyed with Mik usually being the hold out on enjoying something. Creating our Sand Ballpark (i.e. what Dad dubbed Curly W Stadium) was in my opinion one of my best ideas of the trip. It turned out really cool and was a lot of fun to create. Of course, Mik enjoyed the opportunity to fill my sandals with sand while Dad and I finished the ballpark. Mom pointed out that this one photo even shows him doing that in the background.

10. Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame - The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame earned a spot on the highlight list beating out the Northside Twist Giant Soft Pretzel for the number 10 highlight of the trip. It totally is deserving of the highlight list because it was way more interesting and informative than Cooperstown. Sure it is a heck of a lot smaller, but it is jammed pack with as much as it can put on display and the one employee on duty not only knew a lot about the things on display, but had a general knowledge and passion for baseball that really helped make visiting the Hall of Fame special.