By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
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Today we are talking about young International Phenom pitchers. I picked 5 former and current pitchers that hailed from other places other than the USA to concentrate the story on.
The 5 baseball players all flashed onto the scene as young pitchers, 3 of them dominating their peers from the get go.
Eric Gagne, the 5th member of this study, only started to dominate when the Los Angeles Dodgers sent him to the bullpen.
Speaking of the Los Angeles Dodgers, three of these five pitchers were both with the club when they started out. It is a credit to their scouting staff.
There is a reason why no other team has turned out more ‘Rookie of the Year’ players in the last 30 years than the Dodgers.
Hideo Nomo’s No – Hitter Game
Wednesday July.03, 2013
Updated January.05, 2014
By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
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We have talked a ton about Billy Beane‘s genius way on the website. The Website founder ‘Jonathan Hacohen’ was one of the first baseball writers to uncover the new Beane strategy last year.
I further studied some of his brilliant work – by figuring out the current roster tree for all of the current team last November. I was able to pick up a lot more patterns from his work as a GM.
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By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
It is no secret to anyone out there that I predicted the California Freeway Series for the Fall Classic this year. At the 10 % clip of the regular season, I am not going to confuse anyone with the Amazing Kreskin.
I still have faith that the LA Angels will start tearing it up soon. plus the Dodgers will begin to play to their own water level.
Both clubs have amassed too much talent to be wallowing in the bowels of mediocrity for too long.
I thought entered my brain this morning as I worked. One of the many things I am able to do working at nights is think about the game of baseball
Don Mattingly Post Game comments on Carlos Quentin:
Mike Scioscia speaks on Jered Weaver and Josh Hamilton:
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What significance does a number carry? Obviously we know that a number carries a value of an item or items. They can hold a positive or negative connotation depending on what the number is referring to.
If you are talking about a bank account or an amount of money, the higher the number, the better. If you are dealing with a number of people who want to cause you physical harm, the lower the number the better.
What significance does the number 42 have for you? It can carry many meanings. 42 hours in your individual work week. 42 miles to the gallon that your vehicle gets. 42 miles that you will be walking after your car ran out of gas because you only got 40 miles to the gallon and not the 42 that you thought.
What does 42 mean in the world of baseball? 42 Home Runs in a contract year and you will probably be making 42 million dollars on your next contract. 42 Doubles is a good season.
42 wins by a team in a season is terrible but 42 wins in a row, and they are setting records. Perhaps the most significant use of the number 42 in the baseball realm was by a young 28-year-old Second Baseman named Jackie Robinson.
Movie Trailer for 42:
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By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
Last year at this time, I was embarking on an all 30 MLB Park Trip in just 20 Calendar Days. I was attempting to best my own World Record of 30 MLB Parks in 24 Calendar Days in 2009. I managed to put forth a 30 – 23 Record Streak, plus than celebrate with attending another 6 games the next week. You can read about that here.
I initially planned to do a similar trip this year – however I decided to invest my baseball time and money into this website instead. It is a choice I have wondered about for the last 4 months.
Last Sunday I boarded a flight from Seattle to Oakland – and then proceeded to hit Oakland, San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles. The whole purpose of the trip was to witness the Season Opener at Dodger Stadium on April Fools Day.
Dodger Stadium Opening Ceremonies:
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Wednesday April 3, 2013
By Kyle Holland (MLB Reports Writer): Follow @TheKHolland13
When the Minnesota Twins left the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in 2010 they had great intentions. The ball getting lost in the ceiling would be gone and the Baggie in Left Field would no longer play a factor.
They moved to a beautiful new home, still in Minnesota, going by the name of Target Field. Like all stadiums when they were first built, it is one of the nicest looking stadiums in the MLB.
There is only one problem with the new field. It is outside. In Minnesota. You are not going to get the nice weather like you would in Florida or Los Angeles. And having games there this early in the season can sometimes make it incredibly cold during the first couple weeks of the new campaign.
Time Lapse of Target Field Being Built:
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From the Editor’s Desk ***There will be no highlights,captions or additional statistics in this article. Some of the articles we have are of the seriously opinionated angle that doesn’t warrant these peripheral things to a post.****
By Brooke Robinson (Rangers Correspondent): Follow @bka_9
Baseball fans in Texas were heartbroken in December when the news broke of OF Josh Hamilton signing with the rival Angels. Many had grown to love his personality and ability on and off the field, even buying Hamilton jerseys when he signed with his new team. The Slugger had given several good seasons to the fans in Arlington, however bitter it did end. So you could imagine the turmoil in Texas after his interview February 17 with comments regarding the Dallas/Fort Worth area and its fans. In an interview with CBS, Hamilton gave a few choice words about the area not being a “true baseball town” and that the fans there were “spoiled, quickly”. You would have thought Nolan Ryan left for the Yankees.
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Saturday, January.05, 2013
Josh Jones (Angels Correspondent): Follow @joshjones4
Look-back at last year: 2012 was a year, much like this upcoming season, with expectations as high as the sky moon. The Halos stole future Hall-of-Famer Albert Pujols and Texas ace C.J. Wilson from their respective 2011 World Series teams and looked to have a strong rotation headed by the trio of Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Wilson. The team fought its way to a 89-73 record, missing the playoffs by a mere four games despite having more wins than the eventual AL Champion Detroit Tigers (Yes, I’m still bitter).
This year, Arte Moreno and the Angels front office decided once again to go big-fish hunting, giving outfielder Josh Hamilton a 5-Year Deal worth $125 Million. Hamilton gave the Angels quite a logjam in the outfield and Designated-Hitter, leading to the trade that sent designated-hitter Kendrys Morales to the Seattle Mariners in return for Jered Weaver’s college teammate and fellow innings-eater Jason Vargas. You can read a post a fellow writer here at the MLB Reports wrote about that very trade here . Angels General Manager Jerry DiPoto also poured some money into the bullpen and back-end of the rotation, signing hurlers Ryan Madson, Sean Burnett and Joe Blanton. .
Albert Pujols Highlights from 2012- Parental Guidance is Advised for watching the video:
Thursday, November 22nd, 2013
Alex Mednick (Baseball Writer and Analyst)
Since the Blue Jays and Marlins blockbuster trade, there has been a lot of discussion about Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle. Jose Reyes is going to have an amazing presence at the top of the lineup, getting on base, steal bases and playing beautiful shortstop on the left side of the infield with Brett Lawrie for the Blue Jays ground ball pitchers. Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle immediately make the Blue Jays rotation a top rotation in all of baseball by being inserted in. Effectively, they got two top of the line starters to create an elite rotation that makes them serious contenders.
Thursday, October 4th, 2012
Alex Mednick (Baseball Analyst and Writer):
With the last games of the 2012 regular season being officially completed yesterday I get the same feeling I do every season…it’s a sickening pain in my stomach, that makes me want to hibernate and not wake up until April comes around. For baseball lovers, we are all very familiar with this feeling. We find solace in the fact that with the exception of the month of November, we can still follow baseball transactions all year-long. Furthermore, we cannot get too upset; baseball isn’t really over. In fact, some might argue that it is just beginning!
The boys of summer play all those games in the summer heat for one reason. The grueling 162 game schedule sees many ups and many downs, and all of these challenges are met with a firm resolve: to do whatever it takes to get to the postseason. October is the time when the weather turns cold, and ball players become unshaven warriors duking it out to be the victorious few who have the honor to take a championship ring home this offseason. Read the rest of this entry
Friday September 7th, 2012
Bernie Olshansky: The Red Sox are in a state of disrepair. They just traded two of the key players who were supposed to carry them to several postseasons in the future, and a pitcher who had the stuff to regain his status as the ace of the staff. Not to mention the team also has a manager who does not relate well to players. The Red Sox went from first to worst in the span of about a year. Why?
It all started going wrong in September of last year. The Red Sox started a skid and then information came out that some of the pitchers were drinking beer and eating fried chicken in the clubhouse during games in which they were not pitching during the pennant chase. The Red Sox had a horrible month and ended up falling out of playoff contention as the Orioles walked off on them in game 162 and Evan Longoria subsequently hit a walk off homer versus the Yankees to clinch a playoff spot for the Rays. Terry Francona, the manager who broke the Curse of the Bambino and won two World Series, was fired and general manager Theo Epstein was rumored to be leaving. Owners John Henry, Tom Werner, and Larry Lucchino promised that a collapse like this would not happen the next year. The good news: Red Sox fans will not have to worry about a collapse like last years’ now. The bad news: the Red Sox have been out of contention for almost the whole year. Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Nick Punto have been traded, and it looks like Boston will be rebuilding for at least the next couple of years. Chaos in Boston is an understatement.
Friday August 31st, 2012
Bernie Olshansky: The Los Angeles Dodgers have gone all out this year, trading for Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton, and four former Red Sox players in one big swap: Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, Nick Punto, and a game-changer in Adrian Gonzalez. Right now, the Dodgers are what one would call “stacked”. They have stars at many of their positions and have added key pieces to their pitching staff. Fans of any team dream of this. But, these acquisitions came with a heavy, heavy cost.
The Dodgers went after underperforming stars that weren’t living up to their large contracts. Hanley Ramirez had failed to rebound like the Marlins expected this year, so the Dodgers got him for a low price on the condition that they would take on the rest of his contract. Money is not too much of an issue for the Dodgers under new ownership, and it is evident. The second—and even more impressive—move that the Dodgers made involved the Red Sox. Carl Crawford had been an absolute bust for Boston. He has not played a full season after signing a major contract two years ago, and recently shut his season down to get Tommy John Surgery. Adrian Gonzalez had a good year for the Red Sox in 2011, but started off this year slowly and didn’t produce the way the Sox hoped. Josh Beckett has also been awful this year, posting over a five ERA.
Saturday July 28th, 2012
Bernie Olshansky: Zack Greinke has just been traded to the Angels. It looks as if the A.L. West is turning into the A.L. East with the Rangers being the Yankees and the Angels becoming the Red Sox. Coming off two straight losses in the World Series, the Rangers signed regarded Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish in the offseason, who has worked out very well for them this year. The Angels got off to a rough start after signing Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, but turned their season around with the call-up of Mike Trout. With Colby Lewis needing Tommy John surgery, the Rangers are in need of another arm. Unfortunately for Rangers, the Angels just traded for one of the few quality pitchers left on the market. Zack Greinke is an ace and could turn out to be the difference maker in the A.L. West. Read the rest of this entry
Friday July 27th, 2012
Bernie Olshansky: After acquiring shortstop/third baseman Hanley Ramirez from the Marlins, the Dodgers got exponentially better. With Hanley, the Dodgers gained an offensive force on the left side of the infield. With two solid pitchers, the Dodgers are good team, but a third would take them to the next level. There are several options out there:
Cliff Lee, Phillies
Signed through 2015, Lee will be a long-term option that could cost a premium. Fortunately for the Dodgers, money isn’t too much of a factor now with the new ownership. The left-handed Lee would fit well possibly as the number-three starter after Chad Billingsley to rotate left/right/left with Clayton Kershaw at the top of the rotation. The Phillies might trade Lee this year due to his out-of-character 1-6 record with a 3.95 ERA. Signing Cliff Lee could potentially put at risk the ability to re-sign Clayton Kershaw, since Kershaw’s two-year $19 million contract expires after next year. The Dodgers would be busy paying Lee the last three and a half years of his five-year $120 million contract, so Kershaw might have to settle for a little bit less (even with the new ownership) or sign with another team—the last thing the Dodgers would want. Acquiring Cliff Lee will be highly unlikely for this reason, plus the fact that the Phillies might want to hold onto their 2nd/3rd ace. Read the rest of this entry
An Interview With Yankee Stadium and Travel Expert Gary Herman: Anniversary of Jeter’s 3000th Hit Game
Tuesday July.10, 2012
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- Few of us ever get to see the amount of sports live at venues we would like to on a yearly basis. Our guest today Gary Herman has seen nearly 3900 pro baseball games lifetime and has seen an average of 350 sporting events a season overall for the last 16 years. That is quite mind boggling to try and fathom in your head. So in this interview, you will start to understand how Gary methodically plans his events, how he is a long-time season ticket holder for both the New York Yankees and the Mets. I assure you, there are not too many people that know much more than Gary when it comes to the city of New York’s sporting venues and sports travel across North America. After the interview, feel free to visit Gary at his blog site. He writes detailed articles about his weekly experiences at all of the sporting events and how he plans to attend them. I had a chance to interview Gary a while back.
I have known Gary for 3 years online and met him recently in New York. While we haven’t always seen eye to eye on many things, I respect the mans ability to attend games and make it a passion of his. We are both striving towards similar goals in bringing sports travel to the fore front of the social media. The reason why MLB Baseball has the best fans in the world are because of people like Gary Herman. So I am posting this interview 3 months after I originally was going to. I want to let everyone know in the baseball realms that Gary and I were able to put our differences aside and combine our knowledge-as to help the general ballpark chasers out in succeeding towards their own goals. I look forward to working on more projects in the future with Gary and Royalty Tours. Between the both of us, there are some serious travel tips that an aspiring chaser can ascertain. Just on a side note here: Gary introduced me to a mutual friend of ours-who warned me of a traffic situation unfolding while I was in transit on Day 2 of my Guinness World Record Chase in Los Angeles. Had I not received that tip, I would have missed a flight and travel dominoes would have ensued to epic proportions. Thank you to Steve Fekete!! and to Gary for introducing us!
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-At first glance at the LA Dodgers you will see a team that leads the Major League with a 32-17 record heading into action tonight. Matt Kemp has missed the last two weeks of action and yet the team still continues to put up wins. Before his injury, Kemp was playing like an MVP candidate and Andre Ethier has racked up 43 RBI to the lead the National League. Clayton Kershaw has been his usual dominant self. Key pitching contributions from Chris Capuano (7-1) and Ted Lilly (5-1) have paced the club in the pitching department, where they rank 2nd in a lot of categories amongst pitching staffs in the NL and the Majors.
Don Mattingly has battled several injuries, a team of platoon players, a lowered payroll due to the impending ownership changes en route to this record. It is clear why the Dodgers are winning ball games, Mattingly is making good managerial decision at the key times. When you look at how the current club is configured, you would see there is great baseball pedigree in the stable. There are 4 sons of ex major league ball players on the roster: Scott Van Slyke (son of Andy), Tony Gwynn Jr. (son of Tony Sr.), Dee Gordon (son of Tom) and Jerry Hairston Jr (son of Jerry Sr.) These guys are hardly trailblazing their way to Cooperstown anytime soon, however they play good fundamental baseball having grown up in Major League clubhouses. (On a side note, I would pay good money to see a father son game with these boys versus their fathers.) Read the rest of this entry
Its Travel Blog Friday:
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-Renting cars in all 27 MLB cities is an expensive proposition. Some of the bigger cities can charge from $50-$90 per weekday for just your run of the mill economy car. Throughout my travels in the last 5 years I have discovered many new ways to combat such prices. Earlier this year, I stumbled upon the latest nugget that I will share for you here. Air Miles is a Canadian reward that people have been collecting up here since 1991. It is designated with many of sponsors in order to collect Miles to redeem them for various redemptions. Most of the time these rewards are personalized to the cardholder themselves. I found a rare exception.
I learned that Canadians can transfer Air Miles, (in exchange for car rental redemptions towards USA Residents in any of the USA Airports.) Not only that, but the Canadian cardholder doesn’t even need be present as part of the rental. The rates are start at 230 Air Miles for an economy car, 250 Air Miles for a compact and 310 for a Full-Size Car. The only state that the rental rates are cheaper belong in Florida where the economy car rental goes for only 175 Air Miles for an economy car, 200 for a compact rental and 250 for Full-Size Car. The daily rate of the car rental in each airport is covered, the only thing that you would be responsible for are the taxes. I will give you an example. I rented a car in San Francisco Airport that carried a daily rate of $49.99, but was about $77 after taxes. I used 230 Air Miles to redeem for the free day, all that was left was about $27 in taxes once the redemption was made. Read the rest of this entry
Wednesday May 9th, 2012
Sam Evans: Today’s two franchises haven’t been able to find a consistent pitcher to close out games this year, and it has resulted in sub .500 starts for both teams. The Cub’s headed into this year with their closer since 2009, Carlos Marmol, expected to have another season closing out games for their team. Jordan Walden, the twenty-four year old who closed out thirty-two games for the Angels last year, was named the Angels’ closer early in Spring Training. Now, only about thirty games into the season, and both of these pitchers have lost their jobs. Both teams secretly want their former closers to regain the job, but neither pitcher has had a successful year so far. Let’s look at what went wrong for these two pitchers and who took their place.
Carlos Marmol has always had the potential to be one of the best closer’s in the history of the game. His repertoire features a 93 MPH fastball, a changeup that he throws at around 86 MPH, and one of the best pitches in the game, his slider which is anywhere from 80-83 MPH. These pitches, the slider in particular, have led Marmol to record some the highest strikeout rates the game has ever seen. In 2010, Marmol’s 16 K/9 set a MLB record for a single-season (for pitchers with more than fifty innings pitched). However, Marmol has always had one thing holding him back from being the best closer in the league, walks.
In 2010, Marmol walked fifty-two in seventy-seven innings. In 2011, he walked forty-eight in seventy-five innings. In 2011, Dan Haren threw 238 innings and only walked thirty-three batters. Marmol has never seemed to realize that if he would let hitters put the ball into play, he would become a much better pitcher. Especially late in ballgames, walking insane amounts of hitters isn’t going to help you close games, no matter how much movement your pitches have. Read the rest of this entry
Original Print of the book was June 2011
Book Excerpt writeup By Chuck Booth
“This was the first of two visits to PNC Park during streak chases of 2008. This date was on July.7/2008. The events that happened right after this game caused me to restart the Guinness Streak on July.08/2008. A little diversion from a closure in the Lincoln Tunnel heading towards LGA cost me a flight from New York to Dallas. Hmmm.. I have not had a lot of luck in flying to Dallas have I?”
Game #7 Day #6
It was not my first time to see the Pirates play at ‘PNC’, the previous year I watched a doubleheader featuring Barry Bonds last games to be played in Pittsburgh—for awhile I was thought he might pass Hank Aaron for the all time Homer list for the games I was attending. Barry had surpassed Aaron a week earlier but I was still glad to see him in the starting lineup. Now I was back less than a year later.
I was ready to rebound from the day before. I drove 340 miles from my brother’s house in New Jersey—to arrive in Pittsburgh with lots of time to spare.
I parked in a business building across the “Roberto Clemente Bridge.” PNC Park is very convenient for parking, as they close off most of the bridges directly nearest to the ballpark. The park looks immaculate from the bridges and especially in reverse from the park where you can see the bridges.
Pittsburgh is a blue collar town but it a beautiful city downtown. The crowd was not bustling that night. There were 13,223 fans for the game and half that many were there when I arrived.
There may not be a better new ballpark when it comes to respecting the history of their team. There are statutes for just about any significant member ever associated with Pirates. There is a great amount of history of the World Series Runs of 1971 and 1979. The area my ticket was in was the left field bleachers section for a $9 price. Quite simply it is the best value in the majors considering it is general seating. You are right on top of the left fielder.
I made it over to “Greentree Pizza”—located just behind the huge scoreboard. I was staving so I ordered the large fourteen inch Pepperoni Pizza. It is made on a light thin crust and is one of the best singular foods in the majors.
Around the park, people were texting each other on their cell phones as the Pittsburgh Pirates display between every inning on their scoreboards. This is a fun thing to do—and very fan interactive.
They have two mascots that are running around the empty park. ‘The Pirate,’ (who will steal your food if you are not looking and/or opposing team ball caps that fans wear) and ‘The Parrot,’ (who is a lot more kid friendly and usually can be found occupying seats in the empty lower bowl.). I was pleasantly surprised that the ushers were so nice to me when I told them about my record streak. The lady talked to me for thirty minutes about the ballpark and even asked if I had time for a tour while in the city, she said she could call her boss if I wished. I politely declined as I had a long drive back to New York City. It was then I realized I actually needed a quick game.
It was one of the plane fares bought before the trip started and impossible to change because it was too costly. I would have about six hours to drive back to New York for a five and a half hour drive. There was not much wiggle room.
One of the coolest things about the PNC Park-is the size of left field center scoreboard. They play a four minute introduction at the start of the game that shows years of Pirate highlights and it always pumps me up. Then there is a segment where a cartoon pirate is away at sea with his crew and they come across the opposite team boat. A 3 minute battle ensues with the Pirates crew eventually taking ownership of the other boat. The pirate laughs and then it is game time.
The scenery is beautiful with the backdrop. The big green fence in right-center field has ‘Pirates’ perfectly hedged in shrubs. The only thing that is kind of weird is you can’t walk in the general area entirely across the outfield sectors. The seat’s in right field are in the 3rd level and is quite a shot from home plate to hit a home run. It is even a better sight at night with the bright lights of all the bridges illuminating the park. If only the franchise was in better shape.
The food courts are impressive for the limited amount of people attending. They are quick with the vendors—and have some of the longest serving staff of any in the majors.
In the left field bleachers there is a sit in restaurant that features live performances out on the patio deck including ‘mariachi band’s’ and groups that sing ‘a cappella.’ There is not much going on downtown directly around the park inside of the bridges that does not pertain to the ball game.
That night began sunny but soon clouds over giving me the worry of a rain out. The Houston Astros ran out to a 3-0 lead on a towering homer by Carlos Lee. The Pirates responded with a 4 run bottom of first. The inning took about forty-minutes and I was in time trouble again.
Fast forward to the 4th inning and it was 10-7 Pittsburgh—and we were already nearing 9:15 PM. I was sweating the game big time. If I left about 10:30 PM—I would be in massive trouble. I had done the drive from Pittsburgh to New York a few times before so I had some confidence to make good time.
It is a scheduling nightmare the certain Monday and Thursday baseball games on the condensed nights of the MLB when you are chasing this record.
There were not too many other nights I could see the Pirates playing. Again I was thinking about the July.9th restart option.
I was happy to see a quick 5th and 6th inning. The only thing that made me happier then that—was the game went the last 5 innings—only with one hit, and no runs after 17 runs in the 1st four innings. The last 5 innings only elapsed 40 more minutes in time.
I thanked the ushers for signing my logbook and ran out of the southwest corner near the ‘Clemente Bridge.’ I was happy at this moment it was Pittsburgh—as the crowd was smaller to navigate back to the highway. I had 7 hours in order to make it there for an hour before my flight.
I had prepaid the parking fare in the business garage, and was horrified to see the PT Cruiser I had rented the previous week in New York had now been keyed by someone. I was relieved that I had added the extra insurance to the car rental-which I usually forego however, because of the New York City garage experience the last time I had been to New York—I took the insurance.
This was still a concern. The car rental place would certainly want to discuss this. Just like some other rentals the scratches were not too visible and for a minute I thought they had been there the whole time. The scratches were on the passenger side so I had not seen that area much in the week. I pressed on.
I was revving on adrenaline as the time and miles wore away. I stopped at the edge of NJ State to stop for gas. All I had to do was go through the Lincoln Tunnel merge onto the ‘FDR’—in order to merge onto the 495-S Long Island Expressway. It was just after 4:40 AM-when I was headed for the tunnel.
“You have got be friggin kiddin me!!!! I yelled as I approached the tunnel which was closed for construction. I was at a loss for what was next. I knew the FDR would take me to the bridge I needed to take over. I then remembered the “Holland Tunnel” would work. I starting making way in that direction as panic set in. It was only starting to become daylight. At 5:00 AM-I made it to ‘Times Sqaure.’ I then finally made it to the FDR before merging onto the 495—and was on the Brooklyn-Queens-Expressway within reason.
Then the fun began. LGA is an airport dropped into a rural neighborhood. I made it to the airport okay—the problem was the car rental place was up the street. I arrived into ‘Thrifty Car Rental’ at 5:25 AM-with the flight leaving at six sharp I had a chance at that point.
I was on the shuttle bus awaiting the driver to leave for the airport which would have taken about 5 minutes—maybe another 10 minutes for early morning security and then I would have 10 minutes to run to the gate. The shuttle was away.
“Yes, I am going to make it,” I pronounced—it would be the closest miss yet. The shuttle driver had informed me that there was not much of a lineup for people traveling without checked baggage. The sun popped out and all of a sudden I loved New York City. Despite a small detour, I had overcome it by feeling out my way through it like I did as a courier back home.
A knock on the loading window stopped the shuttle bus smooth–and a grey haired, tall lanky old man with glasses came on the bus and pointed in my direction. “There is damage to your Cruiser. We need you to fill out an accident report.”
“Sir, I have full insurance and have a plane to catch, there is no time. I will be back this way next week watching a baseball game at Shea Stadium can I fill it out then?”
“Son, I could get in serious trouble for that. If you hurry there is another shuttle leaving in 5 minutes.”
I knew if I left the shuttle I would miss my flight. The only saving grace was that ‘Air Tran Airways’ are nice enough to their travelers—by letting them fly stand by on remaining flights to their original destination should they miss their flight. It was a stand-by option good for one day only. I knew there were two more flights to Dallas that day—both had a lengthy stop over in Atlanta. The first flight arrived in Dallas at 3:30 PM. I had designated that flight the first time I was going to book the flight. I then mistakenly thought the drive from Pittsburgh was only 5.5 hours-like it was from my brother’s house to PNC Park. I had the two confused in my final booking of the flight!
I opted for the earlier flight because I would arrive in Dallas at 11:00 AM-and could check into the Motel 6 right away to catch up sleep.
I filled out the accident report and made the next shuttle to LGA. Like I was a possessed addict chasing an addiction I ran to the ticket window at ‘Air Tran’. It was 5:45 AM. The system had already shut me out of the flight. I ran to the window were a mid-40’s gentleman was typing a keyboard and looking at me running at the same time.
“Flight to DFW right?” he questioned, he knew the answer.
“Yeah, I thought that you could print out the tickets up to 10 minutes before?” I answered, somehow gaining a glimmer of hope that he could radio ahead, stop the plane until I got there. I heard stories growing up of this happening.
“Actually you need to be in the boarding area 10 minutes prior to gates closing-we cut off the boarding passes 20 minutes before sorry.”
“Ah, man.” I was pissed, I half-wanted to race back to the car rental facility and drag the manager out into the street and beat him to a pulp. “How does the next flight look to Dallas?”
“Lemme check that for you.” The man typed quickly as he could, a man who was late for the same flight I was—came in line to be helped next. “The flight is oversold and there are 7 people on the waiting list ahead of you.”
If there is one thing I know is waiting for stand-by on flights. My step-mom had worked in the airline industry for 25 years. I was able to fly whenever I wanted, wherever I wanted provided there were available seats. 7 seats was a lot for a 9:00 AM Flight. It would have been different if it was the flight I had just missed. I had to try it. New York traffic had swallowed me up that morning, maybe it would swallow up others. “Print me the pass, I will try.”
“You never know sir you might also get a family that does not want to fly separately. You are a single traveler so you have a better chance than others.”
I grabbed my new boarding pass and headed trough security, and pressed onward to the gate. There was not much open for breakfast so I was happy to have polished off that huge pizza in Pittsburgh the night before. I needed to call the airlines to see if I could arrange other travel arrangements to Dallas.
I searched for the internet at ‘LGA’ which was non-existent at that time. I called every airline up. It was going to be $600 or $700. Day of flight’s prices sky rocket on same day sales. My plan was simple now. I would see if I made the next flight before another decision was to be made. I called Visa in the meantime and I was appalled to see that I had little credit left with all of the pre-authorizations against the car and hotel rentals. I was awaiting a payment to go through as well. I had $450 left. I was stuck. Not only was I in danger of missing my game in Texas—but my streak reset needed to start over in San Diego the next day.
It was a lost cause at ‘LGA’ and I left the airport at 10:00 AM-by boarding what I thought was a charter bus in between ‘LGA’ and “JFK.” I wanted to be at JFK incase I was stranded-since there were more amenities and late night domestic flights. At 10:30 AM-the charter bus let me off downtown in Manhattan.
“Wait a second I purchased a bus-ride all the way to JFK.” I said to a heavy set German fellow.
“You boarded the wrong bus.” The man replied.
“No I didn’t.” I was right–the man had forgotten to switch the template on the bus signage based on what I had seen back at ‘LGA’- he had deceived me.
“I paid for a ticket to JFK, and that is what your sign said. I know you are going to try to stiff me,” I was being rude back to the rude New York people now, “so why don’t you tell me how I get to JFK, it has been a brutal morning.”
The man radioed a bus a block away, “hold the bus for a minute, I need to drop a passenger for you to take to JFK, I made a mistake, no charges either.” The man actually smiled and nodded at me. I was relieved but knew that New Yorkers were good at nearly breaking you and then surprising you with doing the right thing.
I made it to JFK at noon in the hot heat, it was approaching 90F. I was still not ahead of the game. Like LGA-JFK did not have internet accessible terminals anywhere. I was running out of options. I called my buddy Dan Dion.
Dan Dion and his brother Justin had given me the time off delivering newspapers for the trip. I had known them both for eight years. Justin was doing one of my routes for me while I was away. I had to forfeit the second route because of the timing, but was promised a different route when I returned in August.
Dan was in Langley, British Colombia, and was in front of his computer.
“Dude, It’s me, missed my flight to Dallas because of an idiot car rental worker and a bridge closed for construction, I need your help, are you online?”
“Ya, I am online right how. Where are you?”
“I am on the Air-Tram at JFK circling the gates and don’t know where to go because I don’t have a plane ticket yet, I need you to go to the site www.kayak.com.”
“Man, I am glad you are home. Okay click on the flights icon and then enter JFK letter into the: ‘from part’-and ‘SAN’ letters in the: ‘to’ part, and don’t forget to make this a one-way flight.”
“How is it in the big crapple?” Dan was laughing and typing at the same time.
“Dude, this is a brutal city sometimes, good thing I always had the reset option, knew I was probably going to need it after that Philly/New York doubleheader miss anyway.” Some girl left here tote-bag on the seat next to me and I was going to hand it in.
Some old man freaked out on me saying I was stealing it. All this was happening while awaiting results.
“Cheapest flight is $545.”
“Not good, okay try LAX from JFK, I need to return there tomorrow night anyway so it will work for a car rental.” The man scoffed a look of disgust at me again. If I was not on a good will ambassador tour I would have sworn at him for his ignorance.
A few seconds elapsed, “Dude, I got an American Airlines flight leaving at eight your time arriving at just after eleven in LA-price is $160.”
“That is awesome, book that dude, click on it for me and I will give my credit card number to buy it-and then you can give me the confirmation code, then I will need to hit Budget Car Rental’s site next.”
Dan helped me for the next fifteen minutes and I was now going somewhere again. I had several hours before the flight to kill. I was fortunate enough to have the reset option. The new attempt was still 30-26 days. I had a grueling stretch of 4 doubleheader attempts in 5 days: SD Padres-Los Angeles Dodgers, followed by a Detroit Tigers-Cleveland Indians attempt; followed by Chicago Cubs/Milwaukee Brewers; then Toronto isolated by itself before a Washington Nationals/New York Mets attempt to hit the all-star break.
If all were hit all games I would be at 9 games in 5 days, even with the 3 day penalty for the all-star break I would have a chance on the other side of it. I arrived in LAX without a hitch.
I had just enough credit on my visa to rent the car and I had $150 cash. I knew there was lots of deposit money coming off by the next night at midnight eastern time. I had to make it the next 24 hours with the money I had. There was $30 for parking/probably $20 for gas and $100 left for food and shelter. I drove to San Diego right away. I tried the Motel 6-but no there was no vacancy. I wish I would have known about the hostel downtown then. I decided to keep all my money. I had an idea to shower at a ‘YMCA’ in the morning. Besides I had to spend money on batteries for the digital camera-plus I needed some health and beauty aids.
I ate 7-Eleven food for dinner and drove around San Diego for a few hours before resting at a ‘Rite-Aid.’ I slept for a few hours and finally it was open. A homeless man was outside and needed some money bad to eat. I only had $60 left after the drugstore but decided to give him $5. He was so thankful. I talked to him about my day in New York City. He informed me that my day was about to change for the better. After I drove away somehow I finally believed it.
***Thank you to our Lead Baseball Writer- Chuck Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports. To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Chuck Booth, you can follow Chuck on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and you can also follow Chuck’s website for his Guinness Book of World Record Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 days click here or on the 30 MLB Parks in 23 days GWR tracker at the Reports click here. To Purchase or read about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book, ” please click here ***
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