Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Kyna's 30th Birthday Extravaganza:Pt 3~ Buy Me Some Peanuts and Crackerjacks

Sunday morning Chuck and I got up early yet again to go over to Steve's. Steve lives at a more central commuting location than Laura does, so we met up there a lot for things during the trip.

The three of us were making the 3 1/2 hour trip down to Tampa, Florida to catch a Major League Baseball game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cleveland Indians.

This was actually my idea. We were going to go see some minor league ball in Jacksonville, but when I checked the Rays website and found out they were playing Cleveland while we were down there, I begged Chuck to go. I'd never seen an MLB game before.

It didn't take much convincing on my part, as they're his favourite team. :)

Growing up in Canada, there wasn't much emphasis put on baseball. I didn't even see ANY emphasis really, until the Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series back to back in 1992-1993. I wasn't really a fan at all.

When I came to live here, Chuck started taking me to Kinston Indians minor league games. They're a farm team for Cleveland. I have such a fun time when we go. The atmosphere of a baseball game is awesome. It's fun chatting with the other fans, eating a hot dog, sipping a beer, and baseball can be exciting too if you know what's going on.

For me, any sport is fun to watch live.

We were planning on taking the rental car down to Tampa, but because we were sans rental car (and my ceiling upholstery was still hanging down like a used condom), Laura lent us her car for the trip. Chuck made Steve drive, which Steve was oh so thrilled about.

I enjoyed listening to Chuck and Steve chatter away, and enjoyed the drive to Tampa. This would be the farthest South I've ever travelled before. (Sad, I know).

I saw this hilarious billboard (twice) from my backseat perch. Click to enlarge. Men, make sure your legs are crossed.

I enjoyed looking at all the palm trees on the way down. I called these ones bearded palms. Chuck said it looked like they were wearing sweaters.

Sorry the quality sucks. That's what happens when you're taking pictures from a speeding car.

And we were speeding along. Can I take this opportunity again to say that Florida drivers are fucking nuts?

We had to drive through Orlando to get to Tampa. Orlando is the home of Disneyworld, a place which every other North American seems to have been but me. In fact, Steve @ The Rainforest Garden just spent his honeymoon there.

I was pretty satisfied with driving right past it. That place is freaking huge, by the way.

Thought this was neat, click the pic

I tried to divert them to take me to Sea World, but no dice.

"There are no dolphins in baseball!!"

We got into Tampa a little later than we wanted to. Steve wanted to get there early so we could tailgate.

If you are unfamiliar with the term 'tailgate', it's basically an American sporting event tradition.

You park your car in the parking lot of the field/stadium way before the game is to start. Some people drink beer. Some people bring little gas grills to cook on in the back of their trucks (hence the 'tailgate'). You can hang out and get happy before watching the game.

If this was ever allowed in Canada, please correct me, but I don't remember anyone doing this when I went to hockey and football games in Edmonton. Popping open a beer in a parking lot isn't legal there is it?? It still weirds me out when I see people tailgating here.

As many of the people were doing that morning. The baseball game was to start at 1:40. We weren't there that much ahead of time, so we made our way into Tropicana Field.

Tropicana Field is actually located in St. Petersburg, Florida. You have to drive on a bridge over the Old Tampa Bay.

There are signs warning you as you approach that long bridge, that it's your last chance to get gas for awhile. I thought that was hilarious. And practical.

If you're freaked out by going over huge-ass bridges? Fugeddabout going to Florida.

Tropicana Field is a covered field, which is unusual. The perks of this are that you don't get roasted in the baking Florida sun, and the game can't get rained out.

The cons are that the turf isn't real and the atmosphere feels a little off. But you know what? I'll take that over a colossal Florida sunburn anyday!

Pretty much everything in Florida is touristy, and the ball field was no exception.

Brightly painted...

...and you can even go upstairs and check out the giant aquarium that houses swimming rays. We didn't do this, but here's what they look like:

Also, like the touristy place it is, they charge you and arm and a leg (and we had to give them Chuck's left nut as well) for your snacks and beer.

$5 for a hot dog, and $9 for a beer. Chuck and Steve protested to the concession guy, like the crotchety middle-aged men that they are.

But guess what? They still bought them anyway.

Steve was incredulous that I kept getting ID'd. When we bought our second beers from the vendor that walks the stands during the game, he made a card-shaped gesture with his hands and pointed at me.

"What?? You're turning 30! You're getting carded? Ridiculous!" exclaimed Steve.

Chuck picked me up at the airport in Florida in 2005 when I flew down for Thanksgiving, and he brought Steve along with him to meet me.

After we left the airport, Chuck and Steve had to go into a gas station to get a couple of things. I stayed in the car.

Chuck told me he asked Steve what he thought about me. Steve's answer was "She doesn't have any wrinkles!"

Hilarious. Anyway, six years later I still don't have any wrinkles. Steve said he wanted to make a bet with the family about when I get my first wrinkle.

I told him he might be dead by then. :)

As we settled in, eating our snacks, I took some more pictures.

The starting pitcher for Cleveland

Chuck's pretty stoked, he hasn't been to an MLB game since the 70's

Steve hates having his picture taken, I forced him into this one. He can take comfort in the fact I look totally unflattering in it.

I posted this one already, but look at it again. In the foreground, you can see that there's an area by the field, where people can sit at tables, and have drinks and nicer food brought out to them. How practical is this? I wonder how many times a home run ball will slam into tables full of drinks and fancy salads? Weird. Anyway...

Oops, forgot the zoom was still on

That's better

There were a lot more Cleveland fans in the crowd than I thought there'd be. Our section was full of them.

Unfortunately, the Indians ended up having their asses handed to them by the Rays, 7-0. Chuck wasn't pleased. I was hoping to at least cheer for one run, but they didn't even get that.

But you know what? I still had an awesome time.

When we walked (Chuck sort of sulked) out of the field afterwards, it was still bright and sunny and hot as balls outside.

I promised my mum a picture of me hugging a palm tree while I was down there. And here it is. People walking by were laughing. I think I look damn cute.

On the ride home, I noticed from the backseat that we were kind of getting low on gas. Knowing how much men love a female backseat driver, I kept my mouth shut. I figured Steve had noticed and had it covered.

He finally says, "Shit. Looks like we need gas. And I wonder why the "Service Engine Soon" light is on?"

I looked over Steve's shoulder. The SES light had indeed just come on.

Chuck said, "Laura's car probably needs an oil change. That light'll come on if it does."

"We'll stop at the next station for gas. Hopefully there's one up here soon," said Steve.

About 10 minutes later, the car starts jerking.

"Uh oh..." said Steve.

"What the fuck?" said Chuck. "Steve, are you doing that?"

"No, man!" replied Steve. "I don't know what's going on...something's wrong..."

I have to hand it to Steve, he's pretty a convincing actor. But I had the advantage over Chuck in that I could see Steve's eyes in the rearview I didn't say a thing.

Steve kept Chuck freaking out a few seconds longer, and then revealed he was joking.

You should have seen Chuck's face. Classic.

Thank you to Steve for driving us all the way down there and back, and thank you to Laura for lending us the car to go down there with!

Stay tuned for Part 4, where we go on yet another excursion...I'm sure you're all chomping at the bit.


Is It Just Me? said...

Sounds like an awesome trip, Kyna!

I was interested in the description of "tailgating", as it means something completely different in UK English. People who tailgate on the motorway are those morons who drive so close behind you, you feel like opening the boot (aka trunk) so they can look inside! Then there are people who try tailgating when you're going through a door (say, at work) with a security code on it - you have to shut the door in their face and tell them to punch the code in themselves!

Ahh, the English language in all its various forms - how I love it!

Looking forward to the next instalment :)

Dawn x


I really really enjoy this, felt like a fly on the car window , and then, on your head(sorry) at the game. Love all the pictures.

More please,soon :)

Ali said...

Oh it sounds like you guys had a fabulous time... and it all sounds so exotic, I'd love to swap places for a day :)


Benjamin Vogt said...

I miss seeing my Twins in the Metrodome--no rain outs, no skeeters, no heat. But mostly no skeeters.

Tatiana said...

I wish we could tailgate here, if only for the two months when we're not channeling penguins. Sometimes CDN laws make me barf. Currently the local rabid fans are hockey-driven, given the Canucks and all. I kind of hate all sports equally, so it's all lost on me. Now, tailgaiting, that I'd be in to.