Monday, May 14, 2007

Back From The Road

The Mets went on the road last week. So did I. I went on a road trip with Kraut and Eric, visiting Atlanta, Birmingham, Tupelo, Memphis, St. Louis, and Kansas City. We attended games in Atlanta, St. Louis, and Kansas City. I know many of you probably went into serious avsmetsblog withdrawal over the last week or so, but rest assured that I am back and ready to continue sharing my thoughts with you going forward. I will start by giving you a brief recap of our trip and then get back to business.
So as an intro to the trip, it's important to know that in the week before, Eric and I decided that there was no need to check a bag. Kraut insisted he needed to. Well, we land in Atlanta and surprise, surprise, Kraut's bad didn't make it with our plane, so we had to wait an hour for the next flight, which had his bag. Dumbass. Turner Field has the most amazing scoreboard I have ever seen. It's huge, it's HD, it's awesome. Even though I was rooting against the Braves, I bought a foam tomahawk so that I could participate in the incessant tomahawk chops. This was part of a larger plan, whereby I bought one souvenir item in each state we visited. I also made sure to drink a beer and take a dump in every state that was fortunate enough to host us. One interesting thing I noticed about the fans in the stadium is that there were many people wearing Chipper Jones jerseys and quite a few wearing Jeff Franceour shirts but virtually nobody wearing anything Andruw Jones related, despite the fact that he is indisputably their best player and has been for quite a few years now. Perhaps it's because Chipper and Jeff belong to one race and Andruw belongs to another. Just throwing it out there. Otherwise, Atlanta was pretty unremarkable. We visited Centennial Park, which was built for the '96 Olympics, and MLK's house and grave, which was pretty cool, and CNN headquarters, where we were repeatedly lied to.
Our next stop was Talladega, home to the famous Talladega Speedway. Unfortunately, the Speedway itself was closed, so we were only able to take pictures from the outside. Overall, this stop on the trip was dangerous and inconvenient, but I do love Fig Newtons.
We proceeded to Birmingham, which didn't have much going on other than a park with a giant statue called "Vulcan" that you can climb to the top of and see the entire city from, which was pretty cool, except that you have to stand on a metal grate that you can see through the bottom of, so you think you're gonna die. We didn't though, which enabled us to continue to the next leg of our trip: Tupelo, Mississippi.
Tupelo is the birthplace of Elvis as well as the birthplace of "A lesson in Hashgacha Pratis," a hit video coming soon to a theater near you. Be on the lookout for it in the coming days. It is also home to a Civil War battlefield that is roughly the size of Danciger Quadrangle. Overall, Tupelo sucks. In the words of the woman in out hotel who gave us directions, "As you're driving through downtown, don't blink or you might miss it."
We arrived in Memphis that afternoon and went for a tour of Sun Studios, where many artists, including Elvis and Johnny Cash, recorded their 1st albums. The cool thing about this place was that it has been kept totally intact from those times, so you can actually stand exactly where Elvis stood and hold the microphone he used. While Kraut did some legitimate business work at a local Kinkos, Eric and I travelled across the Tennessee-Arkansas border to be yotzei another state. We visited a small town called Earle, Arkansas, which looks exactly how you would imagine every small town in America (not NY or LA- the shit in the middle) to look. We then returned to Memphis and visited Graceland, which was cool and creepy at the same time. I don't think I will ever get the Elvis thing. There is no doubt in my mind that Graceland is real avodah zara because the level of Elvis worship and glorification that exists there is absurd. We concluded our stay in Memphis by spending the night on Beale Street, which i absolutely loved. It runs like 4 blocks long and is closed off from traffic, Ben Yehuda style. The entire block is filled with bars, shops, and cafes, 8 or 9 of which had live bands playing on the Tuesday night we were there. Additionally, the FedEx Forum, where the Grizzlies play is on street level right off Beale, which probably makes it an awesome place to hang out here before or after a game.
We arrived in St. Louis that night in the pouring rain at an Econo Lodge that seemed like it was taken directly out of "Psycho." It was run down, the door to our room didn't close, and we got mysterious phone calls. In short, I am shocked we weren't murdered. This place didn't compare to any of the Comfort Inns (sorry Eric, Comforts Inn) that we stayed in, which were all very, very comfortable (cotton balls included.) St. Louis is a pretty uninteresting city. It has the Gateway Arch and it has a baseball stadium. That's pretty much it. You can see the Arch from the baseball stadium and you can see the baseball stadium from the Arch, so you can pretty much visit one and you're good to go. Busch Stadium is probably the nicest stadium I have attended a game in thus far. It's similar to Citizens Bank, just not as rigid and geometric and with a much better skyline view. It was also cool to be in a stadium that is sold out on a Thursday day game, but I guess that comes along with a new stadium and being the defending champs.
Our last stop was Kansas City, where we started by visiting the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri. It was actually quite interesting and surprisingly fair and balanced in their coverage of his presidency (for example, there was an entire exhibit devoted to historians to criticize his use of the bomb in Japan at the end of WWII.) We then went to the Royals-A's game at Kauffman Stadium, which was pretty nice and unique for an older stadium. The A's hit 6 homers and won 17-3. We somehow managed to grasp the life of a Royals fan by attending 1 game. God, what a miserable franchise. We went to visit the University of Kansas campus, to get credit for Kansas, but Kraut made us stop at the Garmin headquarters on the way because he thought this was funny for some reason. He owns one of their GPS units and is an investor in the company and somehow in his mind it would be funny to use the Garmin to visit Garmin or something like that. Kraut is a big idiot.
We flew back Friday morning, but this wasn't without adventure either. Our flight got delayed and they switched us to a flight in another terminal that was leaving shortly. When we got there, we were informed that Eric and I could go on this flight but Kraut couldn't because, you got it, there was no time to check a bag. Neis niglah right in front of our eyes.
Well, that was our trip. I hope you all enjoyed reading about it as much as we enjoyed going on it. There should be pictures on facebook with what I can only assume will be hilarious captions.
Hopefully, more later tonight or tomorrow, as we return to the Mets.
Season tally: 6 stadiums (Shea, Citizens Bank, RFK, Turner, Busch, Kauffman)


AniOhevMets said...

Did you vivsit Rickwood field in Birmingham? It's the oldest baseball stadium in the US.!-460276872!183214400!7001!-1&columnist=caple_jim&id=2545695

Av said...

Unfortunately we did not. Please tell me you just wikied that or something and that you didn't happen to know that offhand.