Saturday, May 9, 2009

Baseball Museum 1: Play Ball Exhibit at Mesa Historical Museum

I briefly already posted about visiting the Play Ball Exhibit at Mesa Historical Museum in a post from my phone here. I mentioned our favorites, but it does not do the exhibit justice, so now that I have some more time as we drive back to Tucson I am posting a little more thorough of a review. Of course, more photos to come in the album that you can get to by clicking any of the photos above.

The Play Ball exhibit is an one room exhibit inside the Mesa Historical Museum. The exhibit focuses on the history of the Cactus League, but also has a tad more general history of baseball in Mesa. It technically does focus on the Cactus League as a whole, but really it mostly focuses on the Cactus League in Mesa with a lot of the space devoted to the Cubs and the history of them Spring Training in Mesa. Not that that is a bad thing, as I still consider myself a Cubs fan despite more recently being a Nats fan. However, it seems a tad misleading to come into the exhibit thinking it was going to be more about the whole Cactus League.

The exhibit starts out well rounded with a wall that is made to look like a wood fence with knotholes in it. When you peek inside each knothole you can see a photo of one of the current or past Cactus League ballparks. This is pretty much the only part of the exhibit that truly portrays the whole league.

The exhibit goes on to tell about the leagues history, but this is mostly done through just words and not much artifacts to go with it. Then it gets into the Cubs and their connection to Mesa and there is a decent amount of artifacts to go with that part including a clubhouse door from the Old Hohokam Park that is signed by Mark Grace. It makes sense the exhibit shifts to mostly focusing on Mesa since it is afterall Mesa's Historical Museum. Plus it is not like it entirely ignores the rest of the league. It just sort of over represents the Cubs and sort of downplays that the league once was a much more spread out thing, but I guess it kind of pulls it into the location that is now among the very central hub of the league in Phoenix.

Overall this exhibit was fun for all and I do think it does what it sets out to do, which is begin to display the history of the Cactus League. It certainly is not anywhere near all inclusive of the league, but there is hope as this really is supposed to be just the start with hopes for it being built into its own museum within 5 years. Plus having a Wii with a baseball only game (Backyard Baseball) definitely swayed Mik from being bored and playing his PSP to actually doing something at the museum.

Update 5/10/09: All photos I took at the museum can be viewed here or by clicking the photos in this post and viewing rest of album.

Game 1: Washington Nationals 2 @ Arizona Diamondbacks 1

The first game of the trip was a great one in my opinion, as my team won. Mik was a little disappointed, but he really got into the ninth inning when the Dbacks scored 1 run and had a shot of winning. He mostly played his DS and PSP during the game, but in the bottom of the 9th he shut it off and even said "This is exciting." That's the best I could hope for, especially after his close to annoying complaining of wanting to leave as early as the 7th mainly because the Dbacks were losing.

Honestly, I did not expect the Nats to win, as they have not been great this season and I think today's win makes it the first time this season they have won three in a row and they still are the worst team in baseball. I also expected it to be a hitter's game with lots of run, which seems to happen a lot when the Nats are involved in a game. Instead it was an interesting low run game, although I would not exactly call it a pitcher's duel with the Nats starting pitcher, Lannan, walking about one Dback an inning and a decent amount of hits from both teams. Nevertheless it was a fun game to watch and a great start to the trip.

The seats we had in section 105 were not too bad. The scoreboard was kind of hard to see, but not impossible. The one thing that annoyed me a little is the bar in front of the handicap seats that are right in the line of sight for watching the game if you are short. It really is a poor design thing in my opinion, especially for those in wheelchairs that cannot really stand up and try to get that out of their view when something really exciting happens. Unfortunately, that is pretty standard for handicap seating as far as I have experienced. Of course, Mik does not mind, as he mostly played his video games and actually found he could lean forward and get a good sight line below the bar. It is the only time I do not bug him for not sitting up straight. I kind of felt like this bar was a little higher than most other areas, though, because it never seemed to bug me as much. Or perhaps it is all the non-handicap seats I sat in last year at the Nats and got used to no people or bars in my sight line.

Besides the helmet sundae and Mik's meatball sandwich we had some other good food. I had a good veggie wrap and also had an interesting Green Apple Jolly Ranger Slushie. More on the food to hopefully come in the form of Mik's Food Review, which is a category I going to try to get Mik to consistently help post to or at least post the food scrapbook photos from this trip to.

Right now I am posting as we drive back to Tucson using the handy USB Internet thing for my laptop. It works pretty good, but not too great for trying to upload a bunch of photos, so I will get the rest of the photos from the game uploaded later. I will try to remember to update (here or a new post) when I do, but the photos will be uploaded in the album that can be seen if you click the photos in this post.

Now just 12 more days until the real road trip part of the trip begins. Today was just a small taste of the trip and I am totally excited for the actual trip begin. I sort of wish it was sooner, but then again there is still a lot I need to take care of at home before we hit the road for two and a half months.

Update 5/10/09: The photos I took at the ballpark and the game are now all uploaded here. They can also be seen in the album you get to by clicking the photos in the post.

Waiting for Game to Start

We got to Nats @ Dbacks game way early. We even got the gift shop shopping out of the way before they closed to prepare for opening for the game. I got a cool baseball that has a street map of Phoenix downtown marking where Chase Field is. Mik has probably 5 or more Dbacks mini bats in his collection already, but he found a black one on homestand special to add to the collection. They also had some World Baseball Classic 09 stuff on sale. I got two balls and Mik got a mini bat from that section. Lastly I got a cool Chase Field postcard that has spots on the back for putting the game info like final score. I am mailing that with a Take Me Out to the Ballgame stamp for my postmarked postcard collection.

The park finally opened at 3pm. On the way to our seats I got a helmet sundae. I am going to try to collect one from each team when we are at their ballpark. Mik already got a meatball sandwich, but we will probably have dinner later as we are still full from lunch at Sonic. Now we are waiting for the game to start. About another 30 minutes to go.

Go Nats!!!!!!

And from Mik: Go Dbacks!!!!!!!!!!!

Mik Plays Wii at Play Ball Exhibit at Mesa Historical Museum

The trip has begun with the day trip to the Phoenix area. First stop was the Mesa Historical Museum to see the Play Ball exhibit about the history of the Cactus League. Mik took his PSP in, which I allowed as long as he behaved. He soon put that down, though, because I pointed out that they had a Wii to play. He sat and played Backyard Baseball on the Wii while Dad and I looked at the exhibit and a few other exhibits at the museum.

The Wii was definitely Mik's favorite part. My favorite part was looking through knptholes in a fence at photos of Cactus League ballparks. Dad's favorite part was learning about Bill Veeck, Jr. and how Hi Corbett is where the Cactus League started.

After lunch at Sonic we are now on our way to the BOB (i.e. Chase Field) for the Nationals at Diamondbacks game. I will post more photos of the exhibit and all the rest of the days photos probably tomorrow. Perhaps an update or two from the ballpark today, too.

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, April 13, 2009

Countdown to Trip Begins: 26 Days

Today Mik asked how many days until May because once it is May he knew there was only 20 days left of school, which is the day before the true road trip part of the trip begins. He has officially begun to countdown to the trip. It is kind of funny that he is the one to start counting down the days because he has been an almost reluctant part of the trip. He was totally against it when we first proposed it last summer, but he has slowly come around to the idea and is definitely looking forward to completing his mini bat collection with bats from every team and hopefully adding some unique ones to go with his Dbacks World Series and Nationals Inaugural Game part of the collection. He is also excited to be trying the food at the different ballparks, especially pierogis at the Pittsburgh game on his birthday.

Anyways the countdown in Mik's definition begins today with 38 days until the trip begins. In my definition the trip begins with the Dbacks game on May 9, so only 26 days.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Official Itinerary for All the Ballparks Road Trip

I have finished creating the final draft of our itinerary for this summer now that we have all our lodging arrangements and are only missing Mets tickets because they still are not on sale for July. Have I mentioned the New York teams are annoying me to the point I am glad this year is their new stadiums and we do not have to go back anytime soon to visit a new stadium there. Below is the itinerary with the games and other sites we are taking in along the way.

Last Updated August 4, 2009 with links to the posts about things we have done and I have gotten the posts up about so far

All the Ballparks Itinerary

May 9, 2009: Mesa Historical Museum's Cactus League Exhibit and 5:10pm Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Washington Nationals

May 21, 2009: Driving Day

May 22, 2009: San Diego Automotive Museum, San Diego Hall of Champions, and 7:05pm San Diego Padres vs. Chicago Cubs

May 23, 2009: 7:10pm Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Los Angeles Angels

May 24, 2009: Dad's 50th Birthday, Disneyland, Dad gets in free due to 2009 birthday promotion

May 25, 2009: Los Angeles Union Station to try to see Disney's Christmas Carol Train Tour and 6:05pm Los Angeles Angels vs. Chicago White Sox

May 26, 2009: 7:05pm Oakland Athletics vs. Seattle Mariners

May 27, 2009: Jelly Belly Factory and 7:15pm San Francisco Giants vs. Atlanta Braves

May 28, 2009: Avenue of the Giants and Shrine Drive Thru Tree

May 29, 2009: Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

May 30, 2009: Driving Day

May 31, 2009: Seattle

June 1, 2009: Klondike Gold Rush National Park and 7:10pm Seattle Mariners vs. Baltimore Orioles

June 2, 2009: Driving Day

June 3, 2009: Roger Maris Museum

June 4, 2009: 12:10pm Minnesota Twins vs. Cleveland Indians, Dome Souvenirs Plus Baseball Museum, and Mall of America to See Home Plate and Seat of 520 Foot Home Run in Camp Snoopy Area

June 5, 2009: 7:11pm Chicago White Sox vs. Cleveland Indians

June 6, 2009: 6:15pm St. Louis Cardinals vs. Colorado Rockies

June 7, 2009: Driving Day

June 8, 2009: Chicago

June 9, 2009: 7:05pm Milwaukee Brewers vs. Colorado Rockies

June 10, 2009: Field of Dreams

June 11, 2009: Denver

June 12, 2009: Disney Christmas Carol Train Tour in Denver and 7:10pm Colorado Rockies vs. Seattle Mariners

June 13, 2009: Driving Day

June 14, 2009: 1:10pm Kansas City Royals vs. Cincinnati Reds and Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

June 15, 2009: Driving Day

June 16, 2009: Crosley Field, Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame, and 7:10pm Cincinnati Reds vs. Atlanta Braves

June 17, 2009: League Park and 7:05pm Cleveland Indians vs. Milwaukee Brewers

June 18, 2009: Driving Day

June 19, 2009: 1:20pm Chicago Cubs vs. Cleveland Indians

June 20, 2009: 4:05pm Detroit Tigers vs. Milwaukee Brewers and Tiger Stadium

June 21, 2009: Louisville Slugger Museum

June 22, 2009: Driving Day

June 23, 2009: Mik's 15th Birthday, West Field, Forbes Field, and 7:05pm Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cleveland Indians

June 24, 2009: Niagara Falls

June 25, 2009: Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site and Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum

June 26, 2009: Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

June 27, 2009: 1:07pm Toronto Blue Jays vs. Philadelphia Phillies

June 28, 2009: Driving Day

June 29, 2009: National Baseball Hall of Fame

June 30, 2009: Driving Day

July 1, 2009: Old Yankee Stadium and Yankee Museum and 7:05pm New York Yankees vs. Seattle Mariners

July 2, 2009: Driving Day

July 3, 2009: 7:10pm Boston Red Sox vs. Seattle Mariners

July 4, 2009: Drive through New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont

July 5, 2009: Huntington Avenue Grounds, McCoy Stadium, and Yogi Berra Museum

July 6, 2009: Morristown National Park

July 7, 2008: Shea Stadium and 7:10pm New York Mets vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

July 8, 2009: Liberty Bell, Play Ball A History of Baseball in Philadelphia at the Betsy Ross House, Veterans Stadium, and 7:05pm Philadelphia Phillies vs. Cincinnati Reds

July 9, 2009: Driving Day

July 10, 2009: Babe Ruth Museum, Sports Legend Museum, Geppi Entertainment Museum, and 7:05pm Baltimore Orioles vs. Toronto Blue Jays

July 11, 2009: Driving Day

July 12, 2009: Anderson, SC

July 13, 2009: Ty Cobb Museum

July 14, 2009: World of Coca Cola Museum, Georgia Aquarium, and Centennial Olympic Park

July 15, 2009: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

July 16, 2009: 7pm Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets and Unveiling of new Coca Cola Bottle at Turner Field

July 17, 2009: Atlanta Fulton County Stadium, 7:30pm Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets, Greg Maddux's Number 31 Retired (Note we added this game to the trip in early July 2009) and drive to D.C. area after number retiring ceremony

July 18, 2009: National Museum of American History and 7:05pm Washington Nationals vs. Chicago Cubs

July 19, 2009: Driving Day

July 20, 2009: Driving Day

July 21, 2009: Nolan Ryan Exhibit Center and 7:05pm Houston Astros vs. St. Louis Cardinals

July 22, 2009: 7:05pm Texas Rangers vs. Boston Red Sox

July 23, 2009: Rangers Ballpark at Arlington Tour and Legends of the Game Museum

July 24, 2009: Softball Amateur Museum

July 25, 2009: Driving Day, Beach, and Sand Ballpark

July 26, 2009: St. Petersburg

July 27, 2009: 7:08pm Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees and Ted Williams Museum/Hitters Hall of Fame inside Stadium

July 28, 2009: Driving Day

July 29, 2009: Lion Country Safari and 7:10pm Florida Marlins vs. Atlanta Braves

July 30, 2009: Driving Day

July 31, 2009: Arrive in Texas and Mom joins for end of trip

August 1, 2009: Texas

August 2, 2009: Texas

August 3, 2009: Driving Day and Arrive Home

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Only 2 More Games Left To Get Tickets For

The process of purchasing tickets for the trip is almost complete. We now have purchased tickets for 28 of the 30 games. For 27 of those 28 games we were able to get wheelchair and companion seats. The only team we had problems with was the Yankees. Not only do we not have wheelchair seats for that game, but we do not even have two seats next to each other. At least we did not have to StubHub it and Dad is still going to try the send a letter to get handicap tickets strategy that he heard was the process on some voice message when calling one of the Yankee ticket numbers he tried calling the day the Yankees tickets went on sale. Now the only games left are the Mets, which have not gone on sale yet, and the Padres, whose credit card processing was down this weekend.

Update on Yankees: We did eventually get a hold of their handicap department and got out tickets exchanged for three together in a handicap section. It seems like a very inefficient way to do it and they still come off as very disorganized, as they still had to do it through Ticketmaster, who said to us they were sold out of handicap seats. At least we do have handicap seats, though.