Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Crossing Things Off

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 
Opening Day 2014

My entire life has included baseball and I consider baseball to be a very important part of me. In fact, growing up my family and I traveled to MLB Baseball Stadiums around the US and Canada for our annual summer vacations. We have been doing this for as long as I can remember and even before that I am sure. Wherever we planned on going, if it turned out the team wasn't in... well, then we went somewhere else. This made for an incredible tour of the US in my youth and adolescent years and I only hope I can give my own kids this same type of experience. (More on this later...I am going to re-live my youth and plan out my kids youth!) 

But in all of my years of watching baseball and touring MLB baseball stadiums, I have never seen the New York Yankees LIVE on Opening Day. I have only been to Opening Day one other time and that was in 2012 right before my little Luke was born. This was Opening Day for the Astros and it was the weekend AFTER the rest of MLB teams had the "official" Opening Day so some might argue that I had never been to an "official" Opening Day game... UNTIL last night! 

In September of 2013 when Allison and I went to the Astros/ Yankees series at the close of the 2013 season, we learned the Astros would OPEN the 2014 season with the Yankees and this would include Opening Day. Naturally, Allison and I immediately committed to going to the game without knowing what would be going on at the time. We even had the "number of sleeps" counted until we got to go to Opening Day with the Yankees. 

Yesterday FINALLY arrived and Allison and I were ready. We were decked out head-to-toe with Yankee apparel and even purses. Of course, the lame Astros fans made fun of us but they did not know that we are TRUE Yankees fans and have been since, well, birth. Our only living Grandfather LOVED the Yankees and every time we would go and visit him he would have the Yankee game on and would be supporting his Yankees. He had Yankee hats and shirts he would wear and he even had a Yankee bear for us to play with when we would go and visit him. Living in Kansas his whole life, naturally my dad was a Royals fan but not Grandpa! He kept cheering for the Yankees through thick and thin. Sure they won over 15 Championships while he was cheering for them but several of those other seasons they were in dead last in the division and Grandpa was still cheering for them! He taught us that it does not matter if you win or lose... You still cheer for your team! My dad instilled this into as well during the John Blake years at OU too (Geez... those were BAD)! 

We got to the game and even outside of the stadium the prices were WAY higher than usual, especially for an Astros game. The parking lot I usually use which is a decent walk from Minute Maid Park is $15 but last night it was $40. I know that when the Yankees come to town everyone's prices skyrocket but this was insane. We ended up parking in an even further lot and had to cross under HWY 59 BUT it was only $20! When we got into the game we took in all the sights and sounds of Minute Maid Park and Opening Day including several pictures! 

We stopped at the Astros Team Store to get an Opening Series shirt and found awesome Derek Jeter Farewell Tours shirts too! It is so hard to believe he is really going to be finished this year (More on this later too). We spent a good 20 minutes in line wait to pay but despite my worrying, we made it to our seats by the time the Pre-game festivities began.

Oh yeah... Got me one of these! Love it! 

We witnessed the entire Yankee and Astros lineups take the field as well as Derek Jeter himself. In fact, we were able to see him in his FINAL Opening Day... Kinda sad and cool at the same time! Nolan Ryan and Craig Biggio were in attendance to throw and catch the ceremonial first pitch. In fact, even President George H. Bush and Mrs. Bush were there. Our seats were in a location for us to be able to see them and watch them the entire game too.

Nolan Ryan throwing the Ceremonial First Pitch to Craig Biggio...It was a little OFF! 

Jeter's 1st At-Bat for the 2014 season and his FINAL Season's 1st At-Bat!

Jeter's final At-Bat of the game... He got a HIT! Yay! 

For the first time while I have been there they had the Minute Maid Park roof open! This made me smile because I firmly believe baseball is not meant to be played indoors. But I do appreciate the AC in the 100+ temps of July and August but April 1st the roof open was PERFECT!

Baseball is NOT meant to be played indoors! 

The game was PACKED and CROWED, especially for an Astros game. I do not think it was officially SOLD OUT but I would bet it was within 2500 people from selling out if not less. This made for some very crowded seating and bathroom situations! Houston is not used to this type of crowd, obviously because they ended up running out of hot dog (HOT DOGS) in the 3rd inning! Honestly, it was kinda embarrassing! Also, in the 8th inning we were put up on the Jumbo Tron! This was also a first in all of our baseball years and experiences! 

In all of our travels and MLB baseball game watching, Allison and I had never seen the Yankees LIVE on Opening Day. I can now officially cross that one off my BUCKET LIST! (Disclaimer: "Witness Opening Day AT Yankee Stadium" is still on the list... HINT HINT, Honey!) The outcome of the game was not at all what we expected (Or anyone in Houston, apparently) but the game was GREAT. It was a great game of baseball and no matter what the outcome.. Allison and I will still cheer for our Yankees AND appreciate the game of baseball! Thank you Dad and Grandpa for raising us right! 

Thanks for a great night of Yankees Baseball Allison! I'm so glad we got to do this TOGETHER! I'm thinking no matter the opponent, we need to plan to attend Opening Day EVERY YEAR! Make plans NOW!  

I would not have wanted to share this with ANYONE ELSE! Love you, Allie! 
Good is Good... ALL THE TIME! 

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