Monday, May 23, 2011

Game 49 Thread: May 23 @ Astros, 5p

Clayton Kershaw (5-3, 3.09) vs. Bud Norris (2-3, 3.93).

In the last 15 years, I've had jobs which have required a lot of travel, domestic and international. And there was one time where I had to go on a business trip from Los Angeles to Austin, Texas, by myself. Since the time zones are against you, I remember flying out early that morning, the day before the meeting, and landing in Austin some time that afternoon. I remember shuttling to the rental car station and throwing my carry-on in the trunk of some mid-sized unremarkable car.

And then, instead of checking in at my hotel, I drove for three hours to catch a game at Minute Maid Park.

Mind you, the route between Austin and Houston, on US-290, is far from scenic. With small towns like Elgin, Carmine, Brenham, Hempstead, and Prairie View along the way, it's a pretty desolate slog. The radio couldn't really keep me company, since I wasn't much of a country music fan. So I armed myself with some Coke and fritos, and I forged onward, singularly focused on picking off another MLB stadium in my quest.

Minute Maid Park was a pretty cool stadium, I might add. On the night I was there, the retractable roof was closed (Texas is one humid state!), and the temperature inside was pleasant and comfortable.

Watching games on television, the most obvious oddity is that crazy hill in center field; some might also notice the train on the rails above left and center field (which activates on Astros home runs). However, besides that, there are some other quirks that make Minute Maid Park a neat reflection of the Houston community. For example, the price of a barrel of oil was signaled one of the ribbon scoreboards:

...and in center field, there's an old-style oil pump that tracks the Astros home runs hit at the ballpark:

Anyway, it was well worth the trip to see a game, even with the long drive through the pitch-black night back to Austin that evening. I was pretty tired for that business meeting the following day. But I did bag a pretty sweet adidas t-shirt (pictured at top). And, unlike the 2011 Dodgers with RISP, you gotta take advantage of opportunities when you've got 'em.

photos: oil commodities swiped from here; oil pump photo swiped from here. Someday, I'll scan in my own pictures, but for now this is what I've got.

155 comments:

Jason said...

Furcal - SS
Miles - 2B
Loney - 1B
Kemp - CF
Gibbons - RF
Sands - LF
Navarro - C
Mitchell - 3B
Kershaw - P

Jason said...

Sax, how many Stadiums (Stadia?) have you been to at this point?

rbnlaw said...

I miss Enron Field; The Smartest Park in the League.

Josh S. said...

The fact that the first three initials of this lineup spell out FML seems pretty appropriate.

Josh S. said...

I've never been to a single stadium outside of Dodger Stadium and the Big A. I am Le Sad.

The next time I visit my dad in Jersey during the summer, I'm gonna try to hit up Yankee Stadium, CitiField, and Citizens Bank Park all in the same trip.

QuadSevens said...

Sounds like a pretty cool trip to make on the company dime.

MR.F said...

http://emojuanuribe.com/

MR.F said...

LOLOLOLOL

Who in their right mind would bat Loney 3rd?

Oh what, it's not a joke?

(cries)

Fred's Brim said...

I made it Minute Maid Park on a business trip as well. My job was in downtown Houston which is a strange place after 5pm, kind of a ghost town. The stadium is in the northeast corner of the downtown area and there was even less going on there. They have a bar or two next to the stadium for gameday fun, but they don't seem like they would get much action outside of the hour or two before and after games. The rest of the area was weedy urban lots used for parking because nobody wants to build a real building there.

Paul said...

I have no faith we can beat a 17-30 team with our ace on the mound.

I don't think that is a good sign.

Mr. LA Sports Czar said...

If we lose this series to the Astros, there is no hope.

DelinO said...

Funny thing is, I did the exact same thing. The Family DeShields and I had a wedding in Austin, which naturally turned into an Austin/Houston Astros trip.

I thought I might be fated to never see a game there... I dated a girl in Austin/Dallas for almost two years, and every time I was there the Astros were not.

Minute Maid Park, or whatever it's called by the end of this post, was well worth the trip.

DelinO said...

And Jason - having been in the car with Sax for a couple of those baseball road trips - I've got eight ball parks left to see.

Including cities I've been to in the past, which is kind of annoying, but what can you do. I've gotta get to them all by age "____"

Mr. LA Sports Czar said...

Ken Lay thinks the Astros stink, and Ken Lay is a rotting corpse in a pine box.

Jason said...

@Delino, I hear you on the past stadiums. I was talking to someone this morning about the trips I'm taking this year which led to counting up what's left. I've been to 19 stadiums, 4 of which no longer exist. I will hit either 2 or 3 more before this season is up.

I think I've traveled to different stadiums in about every way that is practical-ish: planes, trains, cars, boat, bike and walking. I'll figure out something impractical when I see the Dodgers in Cincinnati next week. Maybe roller skates.

Still have to hit both in Texas, though. Maybe I should figure out some way of getting to one of them on horseback.

Jason said...

Today is the 9th anniversary of Shawn Green's 4-HR and still-record, 19 total base day.

Looking at Dodger history is infinitely more appealing than the Dodger present and future at this point.

(cries)

Mr. LA Sports Czar said...

Bisontennial!

Steve Sax said...

Big HR for Kempster

Steve Sax said...

@Jason: 24 current. And that includes the two new ones in NYC (which I "lost").

Steve Sax said...

In fact, I've seen a game in every single stadium with a game today

Steve Sax said...

Kemp HR

Then men on first and second with none out

Dioner flies to right. Men at corners with one out.

Steve Sax said...

Jack Cust just got his first HR of the year for Seattle, scoring Ichiro

Dusty Baker said...

"Today is the 9th anniversary of Shawn Green's 4-HR and still-record, 19 total base day."

My god, we didn't have that much offense In the entire WhiSox stand.

Dusty Baker said...

What is the shittiest baseball stadium anyone has ever visited, and why?

(Not why did you visit it, but why was it shitty)

Mine was Candlestick, because the Gnats played there.

Ps-wash yer hair, Timmeh!

MR.F said...

Phone Company Park, because I was verbally abused there.

Dusty Baker said...

@Mr F

Did you (cry)?

MR.F said...

Jeebus Matt Kemp is a beast! Specifically, a Bison.

Jason said...

Shittiest (and still open): Tropicana Field. Like watching a game inside a crappy tent. Wrigley was a dump as well but gets a pass due to the sheer amount of beer consumed on the premises.

Shittiest overall: Veterans Stadium. Cookie cutter "design" with horrible turf and the Phillies. On the plus side, I visited on 5/26/1988. Steve Sax led off the game with a HR and the Dodgers came back with 3 in the 9th to win 10-8. Also, Lasorda stole the Phanatic's ATV before the game started.

I am now slightly freaked out that the 23rd anniversary of that game (and last Dodgers' world championship) is coming up in a couple of days.

(cries)

MR.F said...

I was with some Dodger fans so we kept each other strong.

But I'm still mentally scarred =/.

karina said...

Epale everyone!

I'm afraid to comment on the score, I don't want another loss

Josh S. said...

Cripes, it seems like we get doubled off at first every game now.

Steve Sax said...

Interleague play, I hardly knew ye

Steve Sax said...

Leadoff double for Bill Kids in the Hall

Neeebs said...

@DB (5:38pm)

Does North Hollywood Little League Field count?

Steve Sax said...

well, that's not good.

1-1. none out in B3

karina said...

if the Dodgers lose, it's totally my fault

Mr. LA Sports Czar said...

I just realized I've had my avatar for over a month. That has to be some kind of a record.

bodyelectric84 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fred's Brim said...

I'll take some of the blame too, karina. I ruined Clayton's no-hitter

Fred's Brim said...

Gibbons is no good

Steve Sax said...

Today's Dodgers badges:

Jerry Sands - single
Rafael Furcal - double
Jamey Carroll - double

karina said...

at least White Bread walks

karina said...

Sax, have you collected any badges today?

Steve Sax said...

I already have Carroll but could use the other two.

Steve Sax said...

@karina, sorry to be unclear: I got Carroll on a prior game.

I haven't gotten any badges today as far as I can tell

Mr. LA Sports Czar said...

Wow, this team is terrible.

Steve Sax said...

hey, that was kemp's 100th career home run!

Fred's Brim said...

The park I liked the least was Three Rivers, with Riverfront coming in a close second. The "stink" of concrete and plastic was almost nearly unbearable

Atlanta - my roommate from college was from there but for some reason, we never made it for a game. I don't know if I will ever be back
Tampa - will probably never get there
Minnesota - the week I was there, the Twinkies were not
Comiskey - have some friends there, have nearly gotten this one a couple of times. It seems like only the Cubs get to play on weekends in Chicago
Arizona - my uncle lives there. I should be able to get there at some point.
Washington - Just waiting for the Dodgers to play there on a weekend

Been to the Old but not to the New:
San Francisco
Cincinnati
St Louis
Detroit - I really liked Tiger Stadium, won't care if I miss the new one

karina said...

after this series, gnome comes back.

#nevergivingup

Fred's Brim said...

Wouldn't Bill have made a good left fielder for us?

yeah probably not

karina said...

Bill Hall double badge

:(

Dusty Baker said...

Oriole Park at Camden Yard - went there a ton when it first opened and I lived in DC. One could get hammered on the Os train from Union Station and stumble right into the stadium. I really like that Yard. And that train.

Old Comiskey: shite but old and therefore cool.

New Comiskey: shite and boring. Plus they were having one of those take your dog to the park day and the barking was extremely annoying,

Metrodome: saw two WS games here when Twins played Shards. Rooted for Twins of course. Awful place to have a baseball game.

Big A: talk about White Bread.

Nationals Park: love this place. Go all the time I can when I'm working in DC.

Old Busch: full of Cardinals fans, therefore...

Wrigley: dump, as was expressed earlier, but can't hate this place. Lots of good times had there over the years and I drank a lot of beer there as well.

Petco: can't hate. Plus it's always half full of Dodgers fans.

Chavez Ravine: never offer half-priced beer.

Fred's Brim said...

nice work, Kid K

Dusty Baker said...

FUCK YOU BLOGGER!!!

Fred's Brim said...

^^^ that first list (starting with Atlanta) is of the parks I haven't been to

Fred's Brim said...

8-game hitting streak? for real?

boooolshit

Fred's Brim said...

9-game hitting streak

still boolshit

Mr. LA Sports Czar said...

Lucky bastard, that Loney.

Fred's Brim said...

why are you smiling, James?

karina said...

I don't really understand you guys, Loney doesn't hit, you complain, he's in the middle of a hitting streak and you complain too. Why can't you think he's improving?

Fred's Brim said...

@karina, I am feeling very negative right now, and you can't take that away from me

Mr. LA Sports Czar said...

Because Loney hit a ball ten feet in front of him.

Steve Sax said...

Jonathan Lucroy badge (single, MIL), badge #121

Mr. LA Sports Czar said...

I was a fool to think Coach Dave Miller would stop tweeting.

Spank said...

I have unleashed two thought provoking posts answering Dusty's stadia question that did not see the ray of light thanks to human and blog error. Therefore I will just say that Jack Murphy Stadium sucks.

Thank you.

Dusty Baker said...

@Spanky

See my previous comment re Blogger. Suffice it ton say I spent one and a half minutes typing that post on baseball stadia and about 16 minutes trying to actually post the masterful insight.

Again I say: FUCK BLOGGER.

We need a switch.

Fred's Brim said...

I still say it doesn't make sense that Blogger is a Google property, and it's been that way for years. They obviously haven't put much effort into improving it. I am guessing it makes plenty of money how it is and they see no reason to try to make it better

Fred's Brim said...

how about some 2-out lightning?

Fred's Brim said...

stupid Navarro and his stupid double

Fred's Brim said...

rip one, Dre

Mr. LA Sports Czar said...

HAH!

Fred's Brim said...

wow, they are as bad as us!

Fred's Brim said...

Shuddup, Lyons. It's barely the seventh inning. You too, Collins

Fred's Brim said...

The blue ball shirts in OKC look like empty seats

Fred's Brim said...

it's good to see them smiling

MR.F said...

Nice work, Dre!

When you diss Dre, you diss yourself!

Fred's Brim said...

jeez - they are playing this like it's the 9th!

Fred's Brim said...

It's OK though - our bullpen is lockdown

Fred's Brim said...

Brian Bogusevic? Didn't he commit warcrimes in the Balkans during the 90s?

Fred's Brim said...

Nice defense, NBA Western Conference

Fred's Brim said...

Has Kevin Durant slimmed down this season?

Fred's Brim said...

he overplayed to make it look cool

karina said...

I'd wish I could have a conversation wit you, Fred's Brim, but I don't follow the NBA

MR.F said...

I'm at work so I can't comment on Durant's weight.

karina said...

and the Bison steals second, two outs, though

MR.F said...

Bison Speed!

Mr. LA Sports Czar said...

Durant's got twiggy arms. He's got to be the only small forward in the NBA without muscle.

Mr. LA Sports Czar said...

That being said, he could still kick my ass.

Dusty Baker said...

"Didn't he commit warcrimes in the Balkans during the 90s?"

Heh. It was there for the taking, wasn't it?

Dusty Baker said...

90

Dusty Baker said...

[Don't read the following, Karina]

Go Rear just has nothing tonight. Or any night. We are going to blow this lead.

Steve Sax said...

hey, party people!

I came back and we are actually #winning

Against a 17-win team, no less!

MR.F said...

Guerrier does not have closer material...

karina said...

@Dusty no, we are not.

Steve Sax said...

@Fred's Brim 6:17p: I had been to old Tiger Stadium as well, and I actually really like Comerica. In fact I'm going back there this year...

Steve Sax said...

@Dusty 6.33p: Of the ones you've mentioned, I only haven't been to Nationals Park. I need to go with you, methinks.

Full-price beer, right?

Mr. LA Sports Czar said...

Matt Guerrier has allowed a run in four of his 24 appearances.

Dusty Baker said...

So Karina is an optimist but doesn't follow directions closely. ;-)

Alex Cora said...

Asian girl red blouse behind home plate = distraction.

Josh S. said...

Did the first base ump move Lee to left so he wouldn't have to hear him bitch anymore?

Josh S. said...

Doubled off first...AGAIN.

Josh S. said...

Not much you could do about that one, though.

Dusty Baker said...

@Sax

Nationals Park has full priced beer, but they do have a wide range of beer options.

I have to say Angels Stadium does, too. When I was there the other day, as I think I noted in the GT, I had a Guinness draught and a Sapporo the same way. Reasonably priced, as well. They even have these little faux pubs set up serving as stylized beer stands.

Side note: noted that the field level at our Yard now offers PBR on tap. Long line of hipsters waiting for it when I walked by.

Dusty Baker said...

@AC

Eagle eye! Thx for the tip.

karina said...

as a straight woman, I have to say Asian girls are hot.

c'mon Jansen!

DelinO said...

DelinO here. What'd I miss?

DelinO said...

FINISH HIM

DelinO said...

(trying to convince son to let me switch from 20th screening of The Incredibles to the game)

Orel said...

"as a straight woman, I have to say Asian girls are hot."

I like where this is going

MR.F said...

I concur!

MR.F said...

Gah what's happening?

DelinO said...

Minute Maid Park sure looks pretty on MLB GAMEDAY.

MR.F said...

Oh. Walk.

MR.F said...

Oh. Walk.

DelinO said...

Bourn Ultimatum

Dusty Baker said...

As someone who is married to an Asian woman, I can easily get myself into some hot water with any comments, so I'm going to back slowly away from this theme.

karina said...

*blushes*

so, let's try to win this game...

*blushes more*

Orel said...

Sorry, Clayton.

Mr. LA Sports Czar said...

Blerg.

DelinO said...

"Can I put on the baseball game"
"NO. Incredibles"
"Can we watch the Dodgers"
"No. Incredibles"

Paul said...

Fuckin horrible.

DelinO said...

In play, run...
What happened...
what happened...

DelinO said...

Oh.

Paul said...

I don't even care if I post in the wrong game thread my curses work in all of them.

DelinO said...

Jansen's off my Hanukah list.
And is even beneath my horrible fantasy team as a waiver pick up.

Which means I'll likely grab him anyway

karina said...

let's see the positive side: we are not losing, even if we were one strike away from winning

*cries*

DelinO said...

There we go.

Fernie V said...

I hate Houston

karina said...

@DelinO I chose Jansen in the draft, dropped him ages ago.

DelinO said...

My three month old in the next room's crying.

At least one of us got to watch the game

Dusty Baker said...

@Delino

Spring for a second TV.

Or beat your kids into submission. Recommend a drop elbow move.

Paul said...

Do we have anyone or just let Jansen throw his arm off.

Steve Sax said...

weeeeell, this is what you call "not good"

Mr. LA Sports Czar said...

We. Suck. Balls.

DelinO said...

@karina
I'm in a keeper league of very intense East Coast types. They've been doing it since the rotisserie chickens were still alive and clucking.

I all sorts of suck in the league.

Steve Sax said...

@Orel 8:05p: I like where you like this is going

Steve Sax said...

I do not like where this game is going

Neeebs said...

*cries*

DelinO said...

To quote Alec Baldwin in State and Main... after leaving a horrible car crash...

"Well, that happened"

Dusty Baker said...

On the positive side: Yankmes lost.

Fernie V said...

FUCK, who's the dumb ass that made the call to ignore the runners.

DelinO said...

Guess my son was looking out for his old man.

Steve Sax said...

Orel, which one of us gets this crappy pgt?

Dusty Baker said...

@Delino re kid in the next room crying

So the kid was watching the game?

Steve Sax said...

Red Sox lose too, so that's good

DelinO said...

Meanwhile, Mr Incredible just picked up his car in anger. I can relate.

Steve Sax said...

Bronson Arroyo gave up 9 ER in 2.2 IP, so that's cool

Dusty Baker said...

Can't the MFPGT just be:

(cries)

then we can rant away in that space.

karina said...

I feel emotionally abused by the Dodgers but I can't get out of this relationship.

DelinO said...

@Dusty... many elbows are dropped on the boys... only way they learn.

And we've got a TV for each of us... but Daddy's got to watch Incredibles with the little man. No free pass.

Luckily, I've got him into all the things any healthy little guy needs...

Star Wars
Superhero Movies
Field of Dreams (not sure why... he loves it)
Pixar
Mr. Fox
Real Genius (the popcorn scene)

karina said...

@DelinO I feel your pain, I kinda suck too, even my brother and his Giants picks are ahead of me but give some time, I'm determined to finish in the top 3.

DelinO said...

@Sax - thanks for the update.

Guess who's on my fantasy team.
It rhymes with A-A-Hole

Fernie V said...

STP wrap up song on fox was cool

Orel said...

PGT up.

Fernie V said...

When did we switch roles with the royals.