Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Sheltering Sky

This is part six of the Summer of '04 series, chronicling my first serious baseball road trip.

Thursday, June 17

It's a short drive to Cincinnati for a day game versus Texas. I'm wearing my Soriano Yankees shirt, but I'm most excited about Griffey, obviously. I chat with the parking attendant about the shift towards a more team-oriented approach in building teams. An example is the improvement of teams like the Mariners and Rangers after their stars left town. He gives me directions to I-71 for after the game.

One of the Mariners' former stars is the headline attraction at this game, but somehow I have a feeling that's not who we were really talking about, especially considering I was wearing a Yankees shirt.

I think that's Griffey under the 499 sign.

Great American Ball Park is nice, but all the new parks are starting to look alike at this point.

I think what I really meant to say is that it's getting harder to tell the difference between a good new stadium and a great one. But, I'm sure I'll have more to say on this subject at my next stop.

Griffey doesn't hit his 500th. In fact, he fans feebly in his final at bat versus Texas lefty specialist, Brian Shouse. The Reds stage a nice little late rally to come from behind and win. That makes three out of four home teams who have accomplished that on the trip so far.

I'm pretty sure that's Griffey at bat. I'm positive that it's future Hall of Famer Barry Larkin leading off third base. Well, positive that it's Larkin, that is...not necessarily positive that he'll eventually get his due.

After the game, I drive from Cincinnati to Pittsburgh and pick up Brian at the airport just before midnight. By the time we get to the hotel and get checked in, it's a little after 1am. Much to our delight, the clerk at the front desk tells us that bars are open until 2, so we head to an Oakland neighborhood bar called Panther Hollow Inn and down three Iron Cities each before last call.

What is the plural of Iron City, when you're referring to the actual product? It just doesn't look right to refer to them as "Iron Cities." I guess technically I should have just gone with "Iron City beers" or "bottles of Iron City," but I'm sticking with Iron Cities.

On Deck: Pittsburgh Town