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Turning The NL West Blue: Recapping Drei’s Journey’s Through The Yards of The NL West

It’s a baseball fan’s dream to venture to all 30 MLB parks. Along the way, some minor league yards and an international yard or two may be on the list. As for me, I still got a ways to go before I hit up all 30. But prior to this season, I made it a personal goal to catch a Dodger game in all NL West yards all in the same season. 20190831_203851

Though I wasn’t the best good luck charm on the road this season, the Dodgers have more than held their own as they prepare themselves for a 7th straight NL West title and another deep October run. 

The journey through the NL West was an exciting one. Each yard and city has it’s own story. And of course, each yard has it’s own personality. 

I’ve always believed that the best yards in baseball reside here in the NL West. Putting aside my personal biases toward our beloved Chavez Ravine, how do the rest of the yards in the NL West stack up with Drei?

4. Chase Field: Arizona DiamondBacks, Visited 8/31/2019

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Of the 5 yards in the NL West, this is easily my least favorite. Having said that, there still some redeeming factors that make Chase Field enjoyable, such as the Friday’s Front Row Bar & Grill above left field and it’s patio that gives fans an opportunity to dine with friends and family while taking in a ballgame. 

20190831_144900Kid n Drei pregaming at Friday’s before the Dodgers-DBacks game, 8/31/2019

The retractable roof is a nice convenience from the scorching desert weather and on that rare occasion when the yard is filled, as it was on this evening as a Chase Field record crowd of over 50,000 we’re on hand (You can thank us Dodgers fans for bumping up those numbers…), the atmosphere can be electric. 

Aesthetically, this is decidedly the least attractive of the other 4. Though the roof is a nice convenience, when closed, you get the feel of watching a game inside a huge airport hangar. Or as my former supervisor who now resides in Phoenix once told me, it has the excitement of going to Costco.  

Though established in 1998, just 2 years before Oracle Park, The Snakes are looking for new digs. Though Chase Field is only 21 years in existence, we’re in the era of the disposable ballpark. 20190831_164542

So Chase Field may not rank so highly among ballpark travelers and baseball fans. It’s main signature feature is a pool that in only available to private groups. But after only 21 years is a new yard really necessary?

3. Coors Field: Colorado Rockies, Visited 6/29-30

20190629_190615My favorite mascot among division rivals, Dinger! 

If there’s one thing Dinger and I have in common, it’s our disdain toward that Seal up in San Francisco. 

Of the other 3, it’s very easy to put the remaining NL West trio in any order. Coors Field, opened for business in 1995 is the 3rd oldest yard in the Senior Circuit behind Wrigley Field and Dodger Stadium. Not bad company to be with for a yard soon approaching it’s 25th year. 

20190630_134510Coors Field. Established 1995

Opened for business 3 years after Oriole Park in Baltimore, Coors Field opened it’s gates at the height of the 90’s retro yard craze. I’ve often stated that the term retro is often overused. However, with Coors Field, the elements within the yard justify it’s status, or at least it’s exterior, blending in with the continuously developing LoDo neighborhood… 

20190629_132632Greetings From LoDo, Blue Dog !!!

With the Rockies in playoff contention at the time of our visit, Coors Field was filled to capacity during the 2 games we came. Coming off of last year’s playoff appearance after finishing one game behind The Blue, there was a buzz felt throughout the weekend. The Blue would split the two games that my buddy Josh and I attended. 

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Recent changes to Coors Field was the elimination of outfield upper deck seats behind right field, replaced with The Rooftop. 20190629_184028It’s a great social spot for the casual fan and a great way to get in the yard on the cheap. But if you come to ACTUALLY watch the game, get yourself a seat, even if you land one on the Purple Row. 20190630_115454

The landscape beyond CF add’s to Coors Fields charm, surrounded by local natural rocks and greenery complimented by a water display. 20190629_171610Hey Blue Dog! You sure like traveling with Drei !!!

If you should be so daring, do try the Rocky Mountain Oysters at least once. 20190629_194540Taste’s like chicken!!!

If that’s not enough, try out the Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout at nearby Wynkoop Brewery. 

20190629_222430This Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout got a good deep malty touch…

20190630_170552See you made a new friend Blue Dog!!!

2. Petco Park: San Diego Padres, Visited 5/5/201920190505_135226

Opened in 2004 Petco Park definitely screams San Diego, with it’s exposed white beams and it’s navy blue seats. With all the so-called retro yards opened in the 90’s, Petco bucked the trend sans the Western Metal Supply Co. Building

20190609_114704Western Metal Supply Co. Building, from the outside…

Daytrips to San Diego are a regular occurrence for the Dodger Blue Faithful as many a Dodger Blue clad fan makes the trek down I-5. Next to Coors Field, Petco may have the best neighborhood vibe of the yards here in the west, with it’s location right next to the Gaslamp. 

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2019050595164509.jpgThe Garv. First number ever retired by the Padres. Of course it took a Dodger to accomplish this feat…

And finally, again putting all biases aside and to the dismay of some…

1.  Oracle Park: San Francisco Giants, Visited 5/1/201920190501_175946

Soon to be in it’s 20th year, Oracle Park is now under it’s 4th name. In spite of certain locals of all ages, including some old enough to be my grandfather, personally wishing me ill will, I really enjoy Oracle and The City. 

Though The Blue would fall on a Buster Posey walk-off, on a personal note, my record over the years at Pac Bell/SBC/AT&T/Oracle Park is 10-9. 20180428_083809.jpgThe Portwalk…

Oracle Park is one of those yards if your visiting for the first time you’ll want to arrive early to check out the various viewing points. Before setting foot inside Oracle take a stroll along the portwalk. Check out the distant views of the bay and the kayaker’s setting up shop along McCovey Cove. 20180428_141225.jpgCody Bellinger has already deposited one to The Cove. It’s only a matter of time Joc drop’s one in…

If you end up in Oracle’s upper reaches, don’t see it as a bad thing. Next to PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Oracle has one of the big’s most distant picturesque views with The Bay as the backdrop…20180428_145237.jpg

 

As for the food, if you really wanted to you could spend the whole game on a food run. On this night, I went with the 40 clove garlic chicken sandwich and garlic fries. 20190501_181902Mints optional…

So there’s my wrap around the NL West. I can now say I’ve chased The Blue in every NL West yard in one season. Here’s more from my visits to Oracle ParkPetco ParkCoors Field Day 1Coors Field Day 2 and Chase Field

 

As if I didn’t have enough, I also had a chance to catch The Blue in Charm City, Baltimore. Charm City report coming soon…

 

 

 

 

Cruising The N.L. West: Kid n Drei’s Desert Invasion and The Pantone 294 Experience, 8/31/2019

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The day started off really early. With a 4 AM  meetup time at Union Station, I catch the last Red Line train of the day at just before 2:30 from the North Hollywood Station. Arriving at Union Station just before 3, with an hour to kill I head to that classic American late night diner across the street from Union Station’s east end, Denny’s.

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Shortly before our 5 AM departure with some of the other fans traveling with Pantone 294. It would be a mix of veterans and newbies. A total of five buses would bus us to Phoenix, 2 of them out of Pomona. After checking in with our bus leader we depart just outside of Olvera Street a little after 5. A little groggy, I’m just glad we’re on our way.

After a brief stop in Pomona for the other Pantoners we make our way along I-10 en route to The Valley of The Sun…

20190831_051640Kid Marlz all comfy with his neck rest…

After almost 4 hours on the road we make a pit stop at Carls Jr. in Blythe, just short of the CA-AZ border. 

20190831_094722Bus 1. The one bus with the 294 logo…

20190831_094500Waiting to get back on the bus. We would take a group photo before continuing on to Phoenix…

As we left Blythe the mood on the bus is a bit livelier now with everyone fully awake, with music blasting and keeping us entertained. The fans sitting around us we’re really friendly, sharing some of their brews with us. As I said earlier, our bus was a good mix of newbies and us first-timers. 

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One more rest stop before we hit up Phoenix. 

20190831_115701Some in-state fun facts…

As we got closer to Phoenix approximately 30 minutes away we play have some games and trivia. One of the games was to see who could do the best impression of anything or anyone of choice. I could not help but do my best Vin Scully impression…”IT’S TIME FOR DODGER BASEBALL !!!”. Along with answering correctly who managed the ’59 and ’53 Champs (Walter Alston), I would win this water bottle and flag…

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Through raffles some lucky fans in all the buses would win a chance to be on the field prior to the national anthem.

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Shortly after 1PM, we have finally arrived. Most of the traveling bunch would head over to Game Seven Grill next to the yard. Game Seven Grill would be to huge and impersonal for Kid and I, confirming the 2-Star reviews on Yelp so we decide to head over to Friday’s Front Row Sports Grill inside Chase Field. But before we do some pregame dining, I decide to take Kid to the lower viewing area of Friday’s, which has a patio above the left field as well that fans can access through the restaurant…

20190831_134221Greetings from AZ!!! From Kid n Drei

20190831_144900Lunchtime at The Yard…

We would be seated next to the open garage door window that gave us a great view of the field, giving us a chance to watch both the Snakes and The Blue take BP. Those seats turn into gameday table seating for a charge. There are outdoor patio tables that seat 4 as well, above left field and inside the yard. Those would be a great experience with 3 of your buddies, dinner and a game…

20190831_144750Another yard hit up by our Blue Dog…

The food at Friday’s is your typical bar food, nothing spectacular but at this particular one your mostly here for the experience of dining inside a MLB ballpark. My android of course knew where we we’re because as soon as Kid and I we’re done ordering, as I was posting on IG I see an offer for a buy one get one free entree, which our waitress gladly honored…

To be fair, I can see why Pantone 294 would choose Game Seven Grill as their pregame meeting spot with it’s 2 floors and all that space to accommodate all their traveling fans.  Friday’s would not have been able to accommodate all the traveling Patoner’s, though some would do their pregame dining there as well…

The 20-Year Experience

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Celebrating their 20 year existence in 2018, the DBacks have a nice little beyond the left field concourse highlighting some of the teams memorable moments, highlighted by their 2001 World Series triumph over the Yankees…

20190831_164542Pregame view from atop the left field line….

20190831_174305The view from our seats in right field. With all the Blue provided in our section by the travelling Pantone 294 group you’d think this was a Dodgers home game…

OK. In many ways, this felt like a Dodger home game, with a strong contingent of Blue throughout the yard. 20190831_201130Blue Dog trying to lead the Pantoner’s to a 9th inning rally for The Blue

Unfortunately, the rally would fall one run short. For the 3rd straight game The Blue would surrender a 3-run lead to The Snakes. This time, it would be with Kid K starting. Kenley Jansen would appear in the home 8th and quickly surrender a solo shot. Usually when talking about Kershaw and Jansen in the same sentence that would be enough to send bad thoughts to opposing hitters. That has not been the case as of late. Can these two find their old stroke back before October?

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So I wasn’t exactly a good luck charm on the road this year for The Blue. But hey, I set out what I wanted to do this year and check out The Blue in each NL West yard. Petco Park in San Diego is the one I’ve frequented the most, of course, with SD being the closest to L.A. 

It would be my first time back to Chase Field since 2003 when it was known as Bank One Ballpark, aka, The BOB. It would be Kid Marlz first trip to Chase Field…

The DBacks have let it known they want a new yard. Though Chase Field has only been in operation since 1998, the Local 9 have been in a battle with Maricopa County with the current condition of their new yard. True, the Chase Field experience may resemble being inside an oversized airplane hangar, or as one of my former supervisors who now resides in Phoenix describes the atmosphere, ” A day at Costco”, Chase Field at least to the naked eye hardly seems outdated. Of course, we’re talking in the era of “disposable yards”…

 20190831_204426Kid kickin’ it by the pool after the game. Drei was so tempted to toss him in…

The Traveling Fleeces

20190831_204522Blue Fleece 2004

20190831_204539Blue Fleece 2012

One of my goals also is to bring the Blue Fleeces to as many yards possible. Both these fleece’s have ventured to each NL West yard! More on the fleeces later…

It was quite a venture with Kid and the Pantone 294 group. Ironically there we’rent too many shenanigans this time around with Kid N Drei (That might be a first…We gettin’ old Kid?)

This would be our first time traveling with the Pantone 294 group. If you enjoy being among a group of rabid Dodgers fans traveling with the Pantoner’s should be on your list of Dodger road-trip to-do’s. Everyone is really united as one with a mix of regulars and first-timers, partying up and offering drinks while keeping everything under control. The one thing I was hoping to see at the game and be under was it’s travelling flag. Several regulars told me stadiums we’re no longer permitting the flag inside their yards…

20190831_215952Waiting on our ride…

It’s been quite a day. If any of you have ever done a Vegas or casino turnaround, think of this as a Dodger baseball version of one. It was a great time had by all wearing the Dodger Pantone 294 Blue. We would also be a part of Chase Field history, as on this night, August 31, 2019, a record crowd of 50,180 would be on hand, many of course wearing the Dodger Blue, a fact not lost among the locals…

20190831_214335HEY KID! You’re hair gets longer and longer each time I see you, which isn’t so often these days. That’s what happens when you get older folks…Savor the good times you have with your close one’s…

20190831_214453Blue Dog seems to like your long hair Kid…

20190831_230611Kid’s beat, and no Beatz from Kid…Time to head home to L.A. 

The route to Phoenix along I-10 really isn’t so scenic. But it’s a direct one. One of these days I do hope to travel along the old Mother Road along old Route 66. 

Well Kid, you’ve seen the Dodger Blue on the road through with Drei through 4 of 5 NL West yards. If all goes to plan, we’ll hit up Colorado some time down the road, something Drei did earlier this year. 

It’s been quite a year cruising the NL West, giving each rival yard a Touch of Blue. Gonna recap my visit to each yard soon….

20190831_213127Another NL West yard out of the way…Just a Rocky Mountain yard away from you to complete the NL West Blue Invasion, Kid…’Til the Next Episode

 

 

Notes On a Scorecard: 6/1, Walkin’ Off With The Fresh Prince of Chavez Ravine Against Philly

It’s been awhile since I’ve done Notes On a Scorecard. What a month of June it was keeping score at the yard. Even the one non-Dodger game I would go would be a history-maker. I’ve tried over the years to save my cards mostly because well who knows what memorable or historic moment may come of it. On this first night of June, the Dodgers would take on Philly in the second of a three game set. 

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On this night the Phillies would throw an “Opener” at us with Jose Alvarez taking the hill. I haven’t seen “openers” enough to really give an opinion. Thank god the Dodgers boast a deep rotation.

Kid K would go a solid 7 while striking out 6. However, Julio Arias would quickly surrender a 2-run lead in the visiting 8th on a 2-run shot to Bryce Harper. 

Arias would settle down, and in the home 9th, against Philly, Will Smith, no, not Will Smith from West Philadelphia, Will Smith the call-up from OKC, would do this…

This would be Will Smith’s first ever walk-off in any level and his first career MLB 4-bagger, against, of course, Philadelphia. Hollywood script huh? Rookie named Will Smith hits his first ever walk-off and first MLB 4-bagger against Philly. Hollywood can’t even script that…

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On another note from this first day of June, look at the batters in front and behind him. Some future magic ahead with those 3 rookies?

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Cruising The N.L. West, Day Two: Strolling Through LoDo and The Series Finale, Dodgers vs. Rockies 6/30

Leading Off…

20190630_103852So true in baseball…

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Just a little over 20 minutes before 11AM local time on this last day of June. It’s been a humid weekend in the Mile High City, so far the clouds have stayed away. Prior to the series finale I decide to take a stroll throughout the area surrounding the ballpark. 

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What does this neon artwork look like when lit at night?

e9f2August ’06

It’s still early. How ’bout we grab some breakfast?

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Located about a block from the yard, it’s nice to see Kachina uses ingredients both local and Cali made…

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The Blue Corn Waffles sound good…

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I was expecting the waffles to have more of the blue corn texture as described. But that whiskey maple syrup…What a kick. Syrup also can be served to kids but without the whiskey…Back to my pregame stroll…

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Above are pictures of the construction that will eventually become a mixed use entertainment complex across the street from Coors Field. 

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Views from outside the yard on 20th street…

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With the number of brick buildings surrounding the area Coors Field certainly blends in well with the surrounding neighborhood of LoDo. 

20190630_113921The Starting Nine for Colorado…

20190630_114858Greetings From One Mile High…

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Gettin’ that Mile High feeling…

Speaking of One Mile High…

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This now marks the ninth yard past and present our traveling blue fleece has entered. 

The Purple Row

As you may know by now, the Purple Row in the upper reaches of Coors Field, Row 20 to be exact, marks the sport where fans are exactly one mile above sea level…

20190630_115454Back at it one mile high with Blue Dog

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20190630_115156Hey, Blue Dog’s buddy, Bailey decided to join him a mile high…

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If I should ever make it back to the Mile High City maybe one day I’ll ask for a seat in the purple row…Off to The Rooftop

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On the way to The Rooftop we pass through Carlos Gonzalez’s accomplishment. We hear you love L.A. Carlos…

Pregame view from The Rooftop. The day started off so hot and humid you could actually smell the wood along the drink rail. If it was any hotter i’d be able to cook some wood-smoked salmon…

Behind the Batter’s Backdrop

20190630_123849So tempted to pull a piece of that ivy along the backdrop…

20190630_123951Home plate of the visitors bullpen. That’s gotta be one of the most scenic bullpens in the bigs. Gotta wonder how many warmup pitches have skipped away onto that pool of water. How many dingers have landed there as well…

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Our view from our seats. With this yard’s homer friendly reputation does a Cody Bellinger 4-bagger land our way today? Notice the clouds starting to come in compared to the earlier clear skies…

20190630_131025Opening intro for the Rockies. Our pic featuring Charlie Blackmon…

JP to lead things off for us. I get a feeling he’s gonna have a big day today…

20190630_132230Gettin’ my facetime with Cody Bellinger. 

One of the notable changes to Coors aside from the addition of The Rooftop is their scoreboard and it’s unique “Rocky Mountain-like” shape. Without a doubt one of the best boards in the league when it comes to it’s unique quality…Another side note on this last day of Sunday…Earlier it was sunny, now, first pitch, still hot at 92 degrees but now we have a cloud cover…

Ballpark Blueprints…

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When walking the concourse behind the center field batters backdrop you’ll notice this mural depicting the cattle life of the Rocky Mountains up to the construction and opening of Coors Field in 1995…

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View from the LF corner. For still being one of the biggest yards in the MLB, Coors Field feels surprisingly intimate…

20190630_155518Cody at the dish, top 6th. The visiting 6th would see the Blue put up a 6 spot over the Rockies. The three 6’s would not be kind to the home nine…

20190630_161353After feasting and drinking on Rocky Mountain Oysters this time I kept it simple…The Denver Dog…

20190630_165958JP with a big day as I predicted earlier. One of the key contributors to that big 6th…

20190630_170018Josh sure enjoyed that 6th…Now your weather update…76 degrees and cloudy. A 16 degree drop in just under 4 hours…

20190630_170552Well look who decided to join Blue Dog…In spite of the Blue about to salvage the final game of four and their 13th in their last 15 over Colorado, Dinger holds no ill-feelings…

After a little over 4 hours, the Blue finally comes away victorious…

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And I finally see a road win…

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FINALLY !!! A WIN ON THE ROAD FOR DREI !!!

20190630_171723Brought the other Blue Fleece on the road. This is the first time this Blue has left California. Our newfound Dodger buddy Dion, visiting from Wyoming, helped me hold up Blue Fleece II as we battled the Rocky Mountain winds…

20190630_171952My first “real” road trip with Josh in almost 10 years (SF and SD don’t count…). Our last road trip? Albuquerque, 2010, when ABQ was the Dodgers AAA affiliate. Today’s ABQ affiliate? Of course, the Colorado Rockies…

Closing Time…

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It was an enjoyable weekend in the Mile High City. The locals we’re very hospitable. It was great to get out on the road again with my buddy Josh after almost 10 years. Of course, the older you get the harder it is to do everything you set out to do. Heck, I haven’t even been to a game with Kid Marlz this season (Stay tuned…)

Now the third oldest yard in the NL behind only Wrigley Field and Dodger Stadium, Coors Field won’t be going away anytime soon. Even with the changes both in and outside the yard, Coors Field, though does not have that new-stadium feel anymore, still maintains that retro/mid 90s feel if you will. Even with the recent improvements, there isn’t much in the way to distract you from the game. Aesthetically, Coors Field blends in well with the surrounding neighborhood…

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One of my baseball traveling goals was to catch the Dodgers in every NL West yard. One of my other goals was to do it in the same season as well. I’ve accomplished one of the two so far with Chase Field left to go. Along the way during this trip we crossed paths with other Dodgers fans. No surprise there since Dodgers fans always travel well. We even crossed paths with a bride and her besties as they celebrate one last baseball trip together before she ties the knot…(That’s quite a future hubby she got there letting her travel with her besties to see her Dodgers…)

It’s still my goal to hit up all 30. I’ve hit up 16 of the current 30 along with 7 past yards (8 if you count me setting foot inside The Kingdome…)

20190630_174530Time to head home Blue…

20190630_185847Boy the weather sure can change rapidly here…Being we’re one state away from Oz perhaps I should click my heals a few times to get us home…

Extra Innings…Drei’s Tale

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Kickin’ it with Dinger, August ’06…I need to revisit my good ol’ Jurassic buddy…

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Whassup Dinger ! You still enjoy chomping on Surf and Turf? You know, seal from the waters of McCovey Cove and your favorite…Rocky Mountain Oysters !!!

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Happy 100th, Sons of Westwood

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Leading off, I want to put it out there that I never attended UCLA. That was a childhood dream of mine when my uncle influenced me to cheer for all things Blue and Gold OK, I also had an attachment to the retro Joe and Josephine Bruins. 

As my high school days started to dwindle I knew I wasn’t going to be an undergrad at UCLA, at least not right away. Heck, I would have been happy just to be accepted to any major university after completing JC at Pasadena City College. 

Most of my memories of UCLA are tied to athletics of course. Over the years i’ve often been asked why I have such enthusiasm for a school I never attended. I always answer back, if attending said college is a requirement for showing support there’d be plenty of empty seats at The Coliseum on Saturday  afternoons.

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It was at UCLA where a Dodger named Jackie Robinson would be a four-sport letterman Prior to going to UCLA Jackie would attend the JC I’d attend, PCC. 

This past week would be filled with celebrations from Westwood throughout Los Angeles. A spectacular light show with Royce Hall as the backdrop would help start off the week-long celebrations. The show would display many of the school’s accomplishments and contributions. 

20190518_210712(0)Tom Bradley. L.A’s first and only African-American mayor to date…

20190518_210449The Wizard of Westwood…John Wooden

And of course, Dodgers fans favorite Son of Westwood, also celebrating 100 years…

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Of the many highlights throughout the week we’re the various photo ops throughout Westwood and L.A., with another celebration at Grand Park, where the one time big man on campus, Lew Alcindor, better known today as Kareem Abdul Jabar would address the crowd.

As photo’s of me we’re being taken both on campus and at Grand Park I would quip to the person taking my photo that I had to act like I was doing an 8-Clap. As onlookers saw what I was doing, some decided to join me as well, be it the 100th anniversary themed photo booth or the Grand Park fountain that was lit in, Blue and Gold

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20190522_2057408-clap in front of City Hall !!!

As stated earlier, most of my personal favorite memories from the Sons of Westwood are from athletics. Be it the countless 8-claps I’ve done, from The Rose Bowl to Westwood, along the coast from The Bay Area to Seattle and even in enemy territory from Fig and Jefferson to The Coliseum. The Victory Bell. Ringing the bell never gets old…

FB_IMG_1558070563242The Bell is home !!! 

Those are just some of my favorite UCLA moments. I’ll be sharing more and more of my favorite UCLA themed moments along the way. As stated earlier, most will be from the athletic field. Here’s a classic from 1992, when J.J. Stokes broke loose against SC. It was my first SC-UCLA game post-high school. At the time, my dad was attending grad school there and I used his ID to sit in the student section. Prior to the 1992 season I often told myself “I’ll be doing this with my own ID in two years…” If only I was more motivated…Oh well… Happy 100th UCLA !!! Enjoy this trip back in time, especially the 4th Quarter !!!

Cruising The N.L. West, San Diego 5/5

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Just four days after cruising The Bay we head down south to San Diego for this Sunday afternoon Cinco De Mayo matchup against the Padres. With the Dodgers holding the top spot in the NL West and the Padres also off to a good start all three games at Petco Park would sell out. After winning the first two the Dodgers would come into the series finale with a chance at a sweep. 

Of the five NL West venues aside from Dodger Stadium, Petco Park is my most ventured. With San Diego being 2 hours south of L.A., a trip to America’s Finest City always makes for a great Sunday day trip, especially when traveling by rail. 

20190505_095855San Clemente

20190505_102129Almost there…

20190505_113740We’re Heeeeeere !!!

Petco Park, opened in 2004 is now in it’s 15th season of operation. As for the Padres, 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of their MLB existance…

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In their 50 years as an MLB franchise in San Diego the  Friars have won five NL West crowns and 2 pennants, their first coming in 1984…

20190505_123127Steve Garvey’s bat from Game Four of the 1984 NLCS. Of course it would take a Dodger to lead the Friars to their first World Series appearance…

Steve Garvey would be the first Padre to have his number retired, a topic that has some Friars followers divided

20190505_133000Today’s ballpark eat’s…Single Bacon Cheeseburger from Hodad’s

The Friars would jump out to a 4-0 lead. However the Dodgers would rally for five runs on the strength of a 3-run jack by Max Muncy and a 2-run shot be Chris Taylor to give The Blue a 5-4 lead heading to the home ninth. 

With the bases loaded and two-out. Two strikes from a series sweep, Hunter Renfroe would come off the bench for the Friars and deliver a game-winning Grand Slam for the Friars. That would be the second two-out walk-off I would witness in less than a week. Ugh !!!

20190505_1546432 2-out walk-off losses. Ugh ! Hopefully I’ll bring better luck to Colorado come late June…

2019050595164509.jpgThe Blue needs to retire the Garv’s number already…

Time to head over to Basic Bar for a blood orange IPA or two and a Mashed/4-Maggio pie…

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After my previous experience with potato on a pizza I was a little hesitant to want to try the Mashed, the side with the basil. I’m happy to tell you this time my experience was much better, with the mash being a perfect compliment to the mozzarella and bacon. 

The area around Petco Park has really developed over the years with more dining options popping up around the ballpark. 

OK, time to head back to L.A. But before we do…

20190505_195458.jpgPaying respects to two Padres HOF’ers, Tony Gwynn and Trevor Hoffman…

20190519_160250.jpgCruising the Gaslamp with Josh…

Extra Innings…Petco Blue Out

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L.A. to The Bay…3/22-24The Road to The Final Four

The evening prior to making my way to San Jose for the NCAA March Madness Regionals, I would take in a Kings game at Staples Center against, of course, the San Jose Sharks. With the SAP Center being occupied for the upcoming weekend for the NCAA Regional’s the Sharks would be on the road. Though the Kings have had a rough year on the ice, they would still come out on top on this Thursday evening on a night we’d receive a miniature Wayne Gretzky statue…

20190321_191051This one’s JUST a little larger than our mini statue…

On this night our lovable Lion King of a mascot, Bailey, couldn’t help but poke fun at our NoCal rivals…

After seeing a rare Kings win, I decide to take in some late night bites at a historic 24-hour L.A. institution, The Pantry…

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20190321_231316I can never go wrong with the Ham Steak & Eggs…

Allright, time to head to LAX and TRY, I mean, TRY to get some shut-eye before a Friday Morning 7AM departure…

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20190322_065126Little Bailey decided to tag along for this road trip…

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Our featured mural for this trip, painted sometime in the mid to late 2000’s with the image of Joe Thornton of the Sharks and  HP Pavillion, now the SAP Center. There was recent talk of this iconic mural going away to perhaps make way for (more) Google Transit developmentan already sore topic to residents in San FranciscoIf visiting San Jose anytime soon, you may want to capture a pic of this mural before it potentially goes away…

20190322_101922SAP Center, home of the San Jose Sharks and host of the NCAA Mens Basketball Regionals

20190322_102024Little Bailey having a great time trolling the streets outside the SAP Center…

Here for my first ever March Madness assignment for Stadium Journey the day would start off early as the first of four games for the day would match the 13th seed UC Irvine Anteaters against the 4th seed Kansas State Wildcats. 

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There’s a reason why they call this March Madness. Schools that you least expect to make in impact end up coming out of nowhere and making a name for themselves. The first game would see UC Irvine pull off the first upset of the day. The win by the Anteaters would be the first ever tournament win for UCI to the delight of many in the building. Though UCI did bring a good contingent up from SoCal, the building was decidedly pulling for the underdog, as most venues in the early rounds tend to do…

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The second of four for the day would pit the Pac-12 against the Big-10 as the 12th seed Oregon Ducks would take on the 5th seed Wisconsin Badgers. Any college basketball fan will tell you that 12th seeds have a long history of pulling off first round upsets and the Oregon Ducks, who struggled early in the season but finished strong and we’re one of the hottest teams entering the tournament. 

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As you can see Wisconsin was no match for Oregon as the Ducks would dominate Wisconsin, making them the second team to pull of an upset on this day. On a side note, though Oregon was a 12th seed, it really wasn’t much of an upset as mentioned earlier they we’re one of the hottest teams coming into the tournament and 12 seeds have a history of pulling off first round upsets. But an upset is just that….

20190322_154454Deforest Buckner, defensive tackle for the 49ERS showing support for his alma mater…

20190322_154624Had I known I would cross paths with DeFo I’d have donned my Niner hat. DeFo was very gracious taking pics with the Oregon and Niner Faithful…

20190322_144127Time to do a hard push to set up for games 3 and 4. Do your business before the “under four” timeout…

20190322_104308Time to help myself to a couple cupcakes provided to the media. That’s quite a display. I’m tempted to want to chomp on that chocolate replica trophy…

20190322_155117Counting down the minutes to tip-off between the 12th seed Liberty University Flames and the 5th seed Mississippi State Bulldogs

In spite of  Liberty U being one of those lower seed schools that could carry your heartwarming March Madness story-line, not everyone was crazy about jumping on Liberty U’s Cinderella bandwagon

Nonetheless, Liberty U would make their own March Madness history by knocking off Mississippi State and becoming the third double-seed team at the SAP Center. With one more game to go talk started swirling around the building of a complete 4-game sweep by double digit seeded teams. With their victory, Liberty U, like UCI earlier would win their first ever NCAA March Madness game. 

20190322_184924Liberty U players celebrating with their fans after their first NCAA tourney victory…

One more game to go on this Friday, this time between the 4th seed Virginia Tech Hokies and the 13th seed St. Louis Billikens. Can St. Louis pull off the sweep?

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Not quite. A cold start by the Billikens would lead to their demise as Virginia Tech would escape the barrage of upsets…

20190322_213305Counting down the final seconds…

20190322_21350020190322_213634End of Day One. Time to get some rest…

The first day of action would provide plenty of excitement. According to sources, the SAP Center would be the 7th venue to produce 3 double-seed first round winners. Had St. Louis U been able to pull off the sweep, the SAP Center would have been only the second venue to pull off a 4-game first-round sweep by double-seed teams. Hey, 3 of 4 isn’t bad, 2 of the 3 winning their first tourney game ever and the 12th seed Oregon, well, could they really be considered a Cinderella? 

Saturday, 3/23. Media Day

FB_IMG_1553531656115Interviewing UCI Guard Max Hazzard, the grandson of former UCLA Bruin Walt Hazzard. Max would hit a buzzer beating trey at the end of their first half battle with Kansas State that would send the ‘Eaters into the locker tied at 30 at the half… (Pic credit UCI Mens Basketball)

The day between rounds would give the media a chance to catch up with the players and coaches of the first round victors. 

20190323_144355Oregon Ducks forward and Bay Area native Kenny Wooten (Check out his tat…). Kenny Wooten is not to be confused with another legendary Kenny from UO, Kenny Wheaton

After the day’s media sessions, I would head over to the Hayes Mansion where a pep rally would be held for UC Irvine. (Hey, I gotta show my support for our states only team in the tourney. Besides, who doesn’t like a good Cinderella story?)

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20190323_190011Hey, I’m in Northern California. Why not indulge in some of their finest wine and cheese selections?

Sunday, March 22

20190324_120534Lil’ Bailey sure having a great time “trolling” the streets of San Jose…

20190324_120617We’re doing the best we can to stay out of any mischief before the Sunday games…

20190324_121653The second of two games. The game I wanted to watch but couldn’t because I had to catch my flight out of San Jose. The tipoff for that second game would be later than I expected…

20190324_124544.jpgWith some time to kill before the first game I decide to stroll the concourse and check out the plaques displayed along the San Jose Sports HOF. Here is one for former MLB Commissioner Peter Ueberroth, who played an instrumental role in landing L.A. the 1984 Olympics…

20190324_125742Throughout the 80’s the 49ERS teams we’re often labled a “finesse” team. If that was the case, Ronnie Lott never got that memo…

20190324_125224The man who started a Dynasty…R.I.P. Dwight Clark

 

As for the first game of Sunday between Liberty U and Virginia Tech the Hokies would end Liberty U’s dream of moving on to the Sweet 16. The final day of games in San Jose would not produce the dramatics that Friday’s games did as Oregon, in spite of a frantic 2nd half rally by UCI, would be too much for the Anteaters as they would punch their ticket to the Sweet 16…

20190324_171013Lil’ Bailey and Blue we’re on their best behavior during the weekend, even receiving some love from the UCI folks and surprisingly some of the locals as well (They must’ve been A’s fans…)

It was a fun weekend in San Jose. It was fun hearing stories from the visiting fans and reporters particularly those from Kansas and Virginia talking about seeing the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time. That must’ve been some hella-hyphy sight for our visitors (Yup, we just used the Bay-Area slang once again…)

The SAP Center is tied with the Honda Center in Anaheim as the 4th oldest NHL venue. Like the Honda Center, it has that early 90’s feel but like the OC venue, don’t expect it to go anywhere anytime soon…

20190324_170717It was HELLA fun, San Jose! Next stop…The Sweet 16 and Elite 8…Anaheim !!!

20190323_191250ZOT ZOT !!!

20190323_19130320190323_191414It was a great run by UCI…

So that was my weekend in The Bay. Here’s some other bits from my Stadium Journey piece

20190323_191755Kicking it with Peter the Anteater. It was a fun run, stay hungry Pete !!!

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