I spent four years of my life in Washington while I went to college at Washington and Jefferson. Going back there always brings back memories of the time I spent there. I’d consider moving back to Washington when I’m ready to buy my next house someday.
But anyhow, I arrived about 5:30. This was pretty early because the Pirates tour bus wasn’t even there yet. I thought about going to one of my favorite restaurants, Old Mexico, but figured it’d be stupid to go solo. So, I walked to the Target next door and browsed around until 6PM or so.
Today was the kickoff of the Pirates 2010 Winter Caravan. I made the trip to Seven Springs with a couple fellow Pirates fans and got there just as folks were being let in.
Upon entering the room I was shocked by the amount of people that had crammed into this somewhat small convention hall. The autograph line snaked around the entire room and out the door.
I decided just to walk around and check things out. There wasn’t too much more to see. On one side of the room there was a ‘Chuck-a-Luck’ wheel, a Guitar Hero station, and a raffle for various (that you had to pay $2 per entry). On the opposite side of the room there were two more video game stations featuring a baseball game for Wii, a radio booth where Rocco Demaro set up, and a face painting station. On one side of the room was a stage for Pirates Deal or No Deal, and the autograph line on the other. In the middle there was a kiosk for season ticket sales.
That was about it.
I spun the wheel, which was being manned by Garrett Jones and Kevin Hart. I came away with a Pirates Reusable Grocery Bag. Garrett Jones and I are about the same exact size.
By the way, I read on Pirates.com the following earlier today:
PITTSBURGH — The Pirates kicked off the organization’s week-long Winter
Caravan with record-setting attendance at Sunday evening’s gathering at
Seven Springs Mountain Resort.
I think most folks were after Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones’ autographs. They’re a step up from last year’s signees.
I am now a season ticket holder for three different MLB teams.
I’ve been a full 81 game season ticket holder since November 2006 for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and will continue renewing my tickets as long as they have the early entrance perk for their season ticket holders.
Recently, I wrote about the possibility of becoming a partial season ticket holder for the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds as you may remember will welcome their season ticket holders into the park an extra 30 minutes early, just like at PNC Park and Camden Yards.
I decided that it would be well worth it to invest $81 for 13 games just for that perk alone.
I didn’t stop there.
As I compiled my master 2010 list of the games that I’d like to attend, I noticed that there were about 22 or so Cleveland Indians games listed at Progressive Field.
I started browsing the Indians’ site and decided that it would make sense to buy a 20 game plan. I chose the 20 game Flex plan and picked out 20 of the games that I planned on attending in 2010.
So, Western Pennsylvania may not be a great area to live to see winning baseball, but its a great place to see affordable baseball.
The big news today in baseball is that Mark McGwire has admitted to using steroids throughout his major league career.
McGwire went on the hit 583 career home runs, the eighth most all time. At the time of his retirement, McGwire was considered a possible unanimous pick for baseball’s Hall of Fame. Since he has been eligible for election, he has failed to ever garner more than 24% of the vote. (75% is needed to be enshrined)
Mark was recently hired as the hitting coach for the St Louis Cardinals and has decided to come clean so as not to be a distraction or burden to the team. Questions about his steroid use would’ve lingered throughout the season.
I’m glad McGwire apologized and came clean. I always had a sense that McGwire had done steroids along with Sosa, Bonds, and Palmeiro. At least McGwire never lied about taking steroids, or mysteriously forgot how to speak English when asked about his steroid use (Sosa).
Therefore, when McGwire and the Cardinals make their several trips to PNC Park this summer, I will not boo. I will not taunt. I will welcome McGwire back and cheer him.
From a ballhawking perspective, this is a fantastic thing. The Cardinals had an extreme opposite field approach last year and yielded very little home runs during batting practice. Hopefully Big Mac can get them to go long ball a little more often in batting practice.
As for his Hall of Fame bid, I don’t think McGwire will ever get into the Hall of Fame. He is forever tarnished. If I had a vote, even though I would want to vote for him, I couldn’t.
From those players who began their careers in the early 1990′s the only true sluggers that I would vote for when they would retire would be Jim Thome, Ken Griffey Jr, and Chipper Jones. Recently retired Frank Thomas would also get my vote.
McGwire is an admitted steroid user and may now become the litmus test for the steroid era. If he doesn’t get close to being inducted into the Hall of Fame, I don’t see how Barry Bonds, Manny Ramirez or Alex Rodriguez can get in.
The home run crown has lost it’s glitter. Some baseball purists refuse to recognize Bonds as the best home run hitter of all time. I just hope that Albert Pujols one day hits #763 to surpass Bonds so we have a true home run king of all time. And I hope McGwire is the first one to congratulate him at home plate when he does.
One of the more interesting things to do as a ballhawk or baseball fan in general is travel to a new stadium for the first time. There’s nothing quite like taking in a brand new stadium, especially from a ballhawking perspective.
I’m planning to visit at least two new stadiums for the first time in 2010. I figured since I have some time now in my evenings, that I would see how far it is to the various 29 other major league stadiums in terms of miles as well as drive time.
Without further delay, here’s the list (distances and drive times are from Google Maps):
The next five closest stadiums that I’ve never visited:
Comerica Park (Detroit) 4 hours 27 minutes
Rogers Center (Toronto) 5 hours 0 minutes
Yankee Stadium (New York) 6 hours 0 minutes
Citi Field (New York) 6 hours 9 minutes
US Cellular Field (Chicago) 7 hours 4 minutes
Of those five, Toronto shows up on my tentative schedule of possible games the most amount of times.
Anyone else planning any 2010 road trips?
There’s not much to write about during the offseason, so I’ll try to blog about any little thing that I can that is related to baseball.
I got the mail today and saw that there was a white envelope from the Pirates. Inside there were several papers.
The first was a letter from my season ticket representative that outlined several benefits for season ticket holders, such as early entrance to PirateFest, an opportunity to buy tickets before the general public, and the MVP Zone (a season ticket holder only area at PirateFest).
There was a small pamphlet also included with the following information:
(Can you spot the typo in the picture above?
No? Saturday January 30th 10:00 PM – 8:00 PM.
Someone’s going to get reprimanded for that one.)
Anyway… Apparently, the only day with early entrance for Season Ticket holders is Friday. Last year, we were also allowed in an hour early on Sunday.
Pirates in attendance at Piratefest will be Andrew McCutchen, Garrett Jones, Ryan Doumit, Zach Duke, Paul Maholm, Ross Ohlendorf, and ‘many more.’
Tickets will be $12 for adults and $4 for kids 14 and unders. If I’m not mistaken, it was $10 last year for adults.
That’s about it.