Nothing screams U-S-A! the way baseball does. It’s America’s favorite pastime for a reason — an unparalleled history of legends, myths, rivalries, and the most perfect green grass on earth. That crack of the bat means spring has officially arrived!
Two good friends of mine, Matt and Jamie, are total baseball junkies.
Sometimes Every time they’re talking ball, I zone out from all the numbers and stats they rapid-fire at each other. If you need to know anything about the Major League, just ask one of them. They can and they will go on for hours. Matt had the best idea ever to do a road trip over the Memorial Day weekend to visit three different ball parks in three different states: Ohio, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Throw in a visit to the Louisville Slugger museum in Kentucky as a bonus and boom!–we had ourselves a classic American style road trip in the making! We packed our bags, grabbed our Big League Chew, brought along Matt’s dad Joe (another baseball nut, perhaps even more so than his son), his Ford Flex, and hit the road!
As we were driving, about a half hour in I started to feel woozy. I didn’t think of taking motion sickness pills beforehand, but fortunately the pack I brought is the same pack I had with me in Southeast Asia, in which I had some left over tablets nestled deep inside its pockets. The other guys were fine. It seems they weren’t cursed with what I tote as my own personal biggest traveling hindrance. Although just in case I didn’t have my tablets, another quick fix is food. Food solves most of my problems. We were all hankering hungry by the time we entered Kentucky, and Joe was wise enough to stop at the nearest Chick-fil-A, a fast food joint you can’t find in Michigan, that prides itself on its savory chicken sandwiches.
Afterwards, it was a short drive to the Louisville Slugger Museum, home of the world’s largest baseball bat!
This museum also serves as the factory where the Louisville Slugger bats are actually crafted. The baseball greats of the past and present had their bats custom-made in this facility. I grew up on my favorite movie of all time, The Sandlot, where the main characters idolized their hero, The Great
Bambi Bambino, Babe Ruth. I was keen to see the actual bat he used that smashed records!
Matt and Jamie were like kids in a toy store.
After playing with all the different types of bats in the main area, we were ushered into the factory part of the museum where we got a first-hand look into how the world-famous bats were made. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take any pictures of anything at this point, so I’ve got nothing to show for it. All you need to know is that a Louisville Slugger bat can be carved out of a variety of woods that include ash, hickory, maple, and even bamboo. Anything that can affect a bat’s weight, swing speed, and ball velocity can be shaped and sanded to a custom fit, as long as it complies to the MLB’s regulations. This factory can mass-produce hundreds of bats per year, if not more. It was pretty cool to see!
After touring the museum, we went up to The Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio to watch the Cincinnati Reds face the St. Louis Cardinals. This stadium was the best!
The Reds lost but it was still great to watch. Afterwards, we headed up to Indiana where we called it a night in hotel nearby. We woke up early the next day and headed to Chicago to the U.S. Cellular Field to watch the Chicago White Sox face the New York Yankees. This ballpark wasn’t as charming as Cincinnati’s, but it still had a uniqueness all to its own. It was also here that we watched Derek Jeter of the N.Y. Yankees play his final game at this particular stadium. Unfortunately for the White Sox, the Yankees were able to pull a victory!
We decided to stay the night in the city, since Chicago is one of the greatest cities in America after all. The four of us got our hotel right in downtown, and put on our fancy clothes (or steak-eating clothes as Joe liked to call it) and headed to Lawry’s. What was on the menu? Prime rib with some of Lawry’s famous seasoning! Throw in some beer and wine and we had ourselves one heck of a dinner!
After dinner, Matt, Jamie, and I went to a pub in the middle of the city. I can’t remember the name of it. Anyways, I updated them on this mostly unplanned trip I had coming up quick. Matt doesn’t think I’m gonna come back home. His guess is as good as mine though. I have no clue.
The next day, we made a beeline straight to Milwaukee, Wisconsin and headed to the Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers. They were playing against the Baltimore Orioles. But man, was it burning up outside! The sun was blasting so much heat, that we stood in the shade near the concession stands for most of the game instead of our seats. It was so hot that the Miller Park officials closed the roof of the stadium to block the sun. Thank heavens this stadium had a convertible roof!
This park wasn’t too shabby either. Everything was clean and it was easy to find your way around. I was digging the fan-shaped roof that closed in just ten minutes!
The Brewers lost against the Orioles in a very close game. In fact, each home team we visited on this road trip lost against their visiting opponent. What’s up with that? Regardless, this game capped off the end of the road trip and it was finally time to get home. We eventually made it back a little past midnight. Jamie said that during the total time we drove during the entire road trip, I was awake for maybe 20 minutes all together! It’s true, I fell asleep a lot during the drives but that was mostly to avoid any motion sickness. Plus, it’s pretty darn easy for me to fall asleep in any car! Big thanks to Joe Deane for driving most of the time, whereas I was able to relax the entire trip. We all had a great time!
Summer was approaching and my next big one is just on the horizon. I swear these past few months zipped by. As I write this, I have exactly one week until I depart on what’s sure to be another crazy, wild world adventure! As for the next post, I have to give you the scoop on some information about what’s to come.
Let’s just say that three lucky friends of mine are in for one heck of a surprise. Or more like NINE hecks of surprises. 😉