Having had my ticket to see the Twins play the Pirates stolen before we left town made things interesting, as far as getting into McKechnie Field (“Southern Home of the Pirates”) goes. StubHub, who supposedly guarantee the tickets we bought in December of 2008, and which were stolen 6 days before we left town, was worthless as far as getting me a re-printed ticket.
We didn’t make it to Disney World’s “Port Orleans” resort until midnight (after a flight delay in Chicago), and after checking in a beer would have been nice – but the bars close at midnight so we were mere minutes too late. Never mind. After having been up since 5 am, just having a waiting bed was awfully nice.
Mrs. Ombud was eager for Disney the next morning, so off she went while I dealt with shuttle buses to car rental (“it just left 15 minutes ago, the next one is an hour after the last”), and the queue at Disney Care Care Center, but I was in a zippy little Toyota Yaris shortly after 10 am, and headed east to Tampa, then south to Bradenton.
Negotiating the freeways and highway 41 to Bradenton without a navigator was a little bit flying by the seat of my pants (or at least driving that way), and the radio has lots and lots more country and western and Jesus here than it does back home. Even the “classic rock” station played a song whose refrain was (I’m not making this up) “Ah’m gonna kick sum body’s ass.” The rest of it had to do with how they better leave him alone, or he’d have to be sent home, because “Ah’m gonna kick sum buddy’s ass.”
There isn’t much one can add to that.
But I made it to Bradenton and paid a church $5 to let me park in their lot (and if a car isn’t safe there, where would it be?) and threw myself on the mercy of the staff at the Pirates’ ticket window. Where I was deferred up the chain twice, ultimately to a pleasant if exasperated manager, who looked at the print-outs of my emails and ticket confirmations and had some choice words for StubHub, which words I heartily agreed with, before this very decent man gave me a ticket out of his own pocket. Not as nice as the one I had, but I was in the park.
I don’t have my photo cropping software here, but after we get to a Disney business center, with internet access, I’ll try to upload an image or two from the park.
[here] Okay — the pic’s will have to wait.
As far as the game itself, it was great to see my crew. I’ll spare you the analysis for this season’s prospects, but will mention that I met a wonderful retired gent from my alma mater, a wiry well-traveled Minnesotan with whom I had great fun comparing notes, as well as a pair of gruff, voluble, good-natured Canadian snowbirds who gave me invaluable advice for finding my way out of town and back to the freeways. Not that I didn’t get quite turned around and briefly lost, if still well-oriented. I did. But at least I wasn’t stuck in post-game traffic, and made it back to Disney in reasonable time to meet the missus for dinner.
All in all, very relaxing, and I could feel much workplace and travel tension melt away. Oh, and ex-Twin Craig Monroe, now playing for Pittsburgh, hit three home runs off our ace, Scott Baker, in a 6-4 Pirates victory.
But never mind. It’s just spring training, our boys hit well even if they only plated four runs, it was a sunny day, and the park had a good beer and tasty ballpark food. I could get quite used to this.
We don’t yet have internet access in our room, and we have to pay by the hour here, so I’m going to make this brief, but I’ll try to check in again before we leave. Cheers!