Fort Wayne – August 2018 – Tipcaps Baseball

Our day ended by watching a few innings of minor league baseball. The Fort Wayne Tincaps are a low minor leagues farm team for the San Diego Padres.

The name alludes to ‘Johnny Appleseed’, aka John Chapman. Born in Massachusetts Johnny Appleseed spent much of his life travelling the midwest planting orchards. The legend, perpetuated by a Disney movie, was that he wore a tin pot on his head for a cap.

Since he spent his last days in Fort Wayne, they adopted this look for their mascot.

The stadium itself, as with all stadiums in America, sold it’s naming rights to a local hospital and has commercialization throughout – including the Toyota Picnic area.

Since I like symmetry in photos, this was perfect (before the people arrived).

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Another baseball tradition that has been taken to extremes is the first pitch. Historically for important games a celebrity or politician would throw out the first pitch from the stands. Over the last 30 years it has become tradition to do it from the field.

Now instead of being a special event they do it every game, and end up with 8 ‘first pitches’ like this one.

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We were honored to be in the presence of Wonder Woman – at least that is what her shirt says.

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There actually was a game.

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But it was more fun checking out the crowd, including these two young ladies who managed to stand right next to the sign that says no standing.

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The crowd was fairly passive all game, despite some close plays.

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In the early years of baseball the stadiums were built into tight city lots, so they were asymmetrical. Starting in the 1950s they built them all the same with perfect symmetry, but after 1990 everyone wanted the ‘retro’ look and went back to quirky setups, even though they had the space to build a consistent field.

Baseball is the only sport where the playing field differs at each stadium (although obviously the infield is the same everywhere).

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Sunset , clouds and stadium lights – the ultimate in photo lighting.

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Pittsburgh – July 2018 – Views of the City

A weekend in Pittsburgh always gives us a chance to check out the sights – some familiar, some new.

First up – the historic Gulf Tower in the morning sun.

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The Strip District (the neighborhood got it’s name because it is a small ‘strip’ of land along the Allegheny River). Once industrial, then vacant, this area is going through a rebirth – including the refurbished Cork Factory – now apartments.

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A great ‘new-old’ sign on a building on Penn Avenue. In this part of the world ‘pop’ is what soda is known as.

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Artwork along the Allegheny. Note the houses on the high bluff across the river – Pittsburgh is a very hilly city.

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Instead of replacing the tracks they just filled them in with mulch to make a path.

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The view down Smallman Street towards downtown Pittsburgh.

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Our final stop in the Strip was a hipster flea market.

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The best views of the Point, Downtown and the Rivers are from West End Overlook.

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From here you get views of the entire valley.

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The pleasure boats were out on this Sunday morning.

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The bright morning sun made the photography challenging.

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A beautiful day for baseball.

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Where the give away for the the fans were fedora hats!

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Columbus – June 2018 – Hot Baseball

It’s literally 100 degrees (38c) and humid so what should we do, go to a baseball game. So some decisions are dumber than others, but we lasted about 2 hours and gave up (although we found seats in the shade).

It did provide enough time for some views of the game and the crowd.

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After some casual stretching.

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It was time to play.

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Dad is a great role model for the  little ones – what most people consider an insensitive hat and a shirt asking for beer with the baby on his lap – sitting in the sun on this hot day. The kid of the left’s face says it all.

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Swing and a miss.

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The play was sketchy at times, there were 4 credited errors in the first 3 innings.

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Although there were some good plays too.

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An Indianapolis player launched a massive home run into the bleachers, which the guy in the pink shirt clearly does not want to catch.

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Nor do the stunned little kids (or anyone around them)

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Jake the Wonder dog brought drinks to the umpires.

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While the manager is trying to figure out how to get through to his pitcher.

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What brings the crowd to their feet – free t shirt toss!

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Why is it when a pitcher is doing so poorly he gets pulled, yet they always pat them on the butt?

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The players look at the fans taking cover from a foul ball wondering why.

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Finally the 4th inning was over and we gave up and went to the air conditioned car.

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Chicago – May 2017 – Scenes from around Wrigley Field

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With a hotel in Wrigleyville, and a game scheduled, it was the perfect time to wander around the neighborhood while the crowd gathered. Without tickets, and being much too cold for late May, I skipped the game to focus on the outside scenes.

Th Addison El stop.

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Knock off T Shirts across the street from the stadium grounds.

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Pay homage to Cubs great Billy Williams.

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Security was out in full force.

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Some San Francisco Giants fans hanging out in front of the fire station.

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Need a Cubs shirt?

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Riding in style.

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With parking a premium, the flaggers go all out to attract attention. His 10′ high PARKING sign was mounted in his backpack. Many are jammed under the El tracks, and throughout small lots in the neighborhood. Most cost $40 for a 3 hour game.

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Columbus – April 2017 – Minor League Baseball

The Columbus Clippers are a AAA minor league team for the Cleveland Indians. As one of the larger cities in minor league baseball they tend to draw well, but on this warm, windy Sunday the crowd was somewhat sparse.

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Still it was a beautiful day for baseball, and the action was exciting.

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As with all minor league games the in between innings promotions were amusing – this one was a ‘human Wendy’s hamburger’ build.

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The obligatory T-shirt toss.

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As AAA players they are almost to the big leagues. The skill level was quite good, although there were a few mistakes in the play.

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Pittsburgh- June 2016 – Weekend in the ‘Burgh

A quick weekend road trip to Pittsburgh was in store in late June, primarily to go to a Pittsburgh Pirates game. But first up was a stop at the University of Pittsburgh, specifically taking a self guided tour of the Cathedral of Learning. Built in the late 1920s, and finished in 1934, it is the tallest educational building in the Western hemisphere at 535 feet high, built in a gothic style.

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As you enter the building you come into the lobby, a massive 3 story high room. Around the perimeter of the first floor, and third floor are 30 Nationality Rooms designed by the various ethnic groups (mostly European) from throughout Pittsburgh.

When we arrived we immediately went to the 42nd floor, where we could look out small windows to the north, south and east, providing vistas across much of Pittsburgh, but unfortunately not a complete downtown view. Prior to the construction of Three Rivers Stadium on the north side in 1970 the Pirates played at Forbes Field, which was just to the south of the campus. A very famous photo shows fans watching the 1960 World Series from this vantage point.

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Returning back to the ground level we received a key from the attendant and wandered in and out of the various Nationality rooms for about an hour. Most of the rooms had a religious feel to them, but the furniture and artwork was very interesting, and dramatically different from room to room.

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We left Pitt to head downtown to park the car at our hotel, a Hilton Garden Inn near Market Square. Once downtown we found that numerous streets were closed or re-routed, or had changed course since I regularly drove them. Eventually we did make it to the hotel and into the garage. The Hilton Garden Inn had recently opened, and our room on the 10th floor had a decent view of the surrounding buildings.

We dropped the bags off and headed out on foot to find a couple of the Roadside America attractions previously missed. The one I really wanted to find most was the Lawrence Welk bubble making machine supposedly at the William Penn Hotel, a classic old hotel. The difference in the look and feel of the new, contemporary hotel we were staying and the William Penn were striking, but all we wanted was a bubble machine. After asking a couple of the workers we finally found a maintenance man who was familiar with it. He took us to an area that had a small museum of the hotel, and we look, and looked again, still not finding it. Finally I  went back upstairs where I found a display underneath a stairway that contained the famous bubble making machine.

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After a lengthy walk out to the Strip District and back down Penn Avenue through a jazz festival we headed to the game. A full house, beautiful weather and an exciting Pittsburgh Pirates game made for a great evening. The return trip the next day was uneventful with no interesting side trips.

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