4-13-12 (@ Atlanta)

Friday started off with a 4:00 am alarm. I had done all of my packing the night before this time, and was pretty much ready to go when I got up. I tiptoed around Alex’s apartment trying not to wake my gracious hosts. After leaving Alex’s apartment I walked the half mile up to the Logan Square L-Train stop, and caught the 5:08 train to O’hare. I got through the security checkpoint rather quickly, even though I went with the pat down instead of going through the body scanner. I could care less if they see what I’m working with, but if I can limit the amount of radiation I receive, I’ll do it every time. I know the amount of radiation you get from a body scanner is equivalent to what you get after only ten minutes on a flight, but still.

I know things are more expensive in airports; my Egg Mcmuffin, hash brown, and orange was $5.66, while at a normal McDonald’s it probably would’ve been $4.50 or so. That comes out to a 25% airport tax if you will. I was not, however, expecting to pay $2.66 for two bananas at a Starbucks. Banana prices vary widely, but at Woodman’s in Madison I think they’re 39 cents a pound. Any way you look at it is over six times retail. I would’ve shopped around, but I was tired, and just wanted my daily potassium fix.

The flight went smoothly, and I had chosen a window seat as usual. I like to be able to rest my head on the cabin wall, and not have to worry about my knees getting rammed by the flight attendants. As we were boarding the captain said it was going to be a very full flight, so I was expecting one or two empty seats. If that was the case then I got lucky, because there was no one in the middle seat of my row, beautiful. I was picked up at the airport by Annette, who also lived in the same dorm as Alex and I freshman year: Kronshage Gilman House ’05-’06! I dubbed our group of friends G-Unit, I’m not sure that ever caught on though. I probably hadn’t talked to Annette in over three years, but she was my contact in Atlanta, and was ecstatic to be hosting me on such an awesome mission.

The Atlanta airport is south of the city, and Annette and Dave, her boyfriend, live northeast of downtown. It’s about a 23 mile drive but with Atlanta traffic, you never know how long it’s going to take. 10:00 am traffic was good though, and it took about 25 minutes. Annette lives with Dave and a roommate, Amanda. Below you have their house, the couch I’ll be sleeping on, their two dogs acting like cats, and the dogs intrigued by my camera. Boscoe, the light brown one, is part Basenji part chihuahua, and likely something else. Jozy is a pit bull lab mix, or so they think.

Annette and Dave are both in Pharmacy school at Mercer, Dave is in his third year, Annette in her second. The undergraduate campus is in Macon, Georgia, but the graduate and professional campus is in Atlanta. Annette had some things to get done at school, so I tagged along. We came back to the house, picked up Dave and Kate, another pharmacy student, and went to lunch at Houston’s. Annette and Dave’s roommate, Amanda, is a general manager at the Houston’s we went to in Buckhead, a neighborhood in Atlanta. The food was delicious, and is pictured below. On the lower left is Kate’s meal, which was an Ahi Tuna Salad. On the upper left is Annette’s lunch, which was a veggie burger with… drumroll…… BACON. She’s not a vegetarian and she said she just really likes the veggie burger, and bacon. Dave’s lunch is the Thai Steak Salad, pictured in the top right. I had an amazing Chicken sandwich with arugula, tomato, onion, and slaw. I like coleslaw so much that I also got it as my side instead of fries.

After lunch we headed back to Annette and Dave’s, and got ready for the game. The game was at 7:35, and we left the house at 3:40. We went to the MARTA (Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority), and caught the train to downtown. The train doesn’t run right to Turner Field, and they offer a free shuttle from the train stop that starts about an hour before the game. Since we got there around 4:20, it wasn’t running yet, and we just walked to Turner Field. We passed the Capitol building on the way.

We got to Turner Field around 4:35, with the goal in mind of getting my game number 8 picture taken in front of the home plate entrance. We found out that there was no entrance located near home plate, because there are no parking lots on that side of the stadium. We wound up walking completely around the monstrosity that is Turner Field, and got the picture in front of the Turner Field sign, which is near left field.

I wanted to get my ticket for the game, which the Brewers were providing, and went to the will call window. I found out, however, that there is a separate media will call window on the other side of the stadium, which we had walked past on our trek around Turner Field. Dave wanted to get tailgating, so we parted ways, but Annette and I went back to the discrete will call window. It wasn’t labeled as will call, and just had Media gate above the gate where you can enter after picking up your tickets. The Brewers had guaranteed that I could get my tickets an hour before the game, but said they will be available before then a lot of the time. Of course, at 5:15 they were not yet available, and Annette and I walked all the way back around the stadium to the parking lot where the tailgate was.

They were cooking brats and burgers and I prepared what I thought was brat and took a bite. What do you know, another Italian. I don’t know how people can like Italian sausages with all that fennel, but to each his own. I did eat it though, as I am not disgusted by it, it just isn’t my sausage of choice. Dave’s friends had the gas grill sitting on the tailgate of a truck, which seemed like a safe and logical place. A parking attendant came over and instructed us to remove the grill from the tailgate, and place it here:

I don’t know if the best place for a grill is on very dry grass, and next to flammable pine needles. I don’t know why they wouldn’t have told us to put it on the blacktop. Any thoughts? We drank some beers, ate some food, and played some washers. I feel like there is a lot more luck involved in washers than there is with corn hole (bags for you non-traditionalists). There were seven of us and a good time was had by all. I asked a Braves fan if she would kindly take a picture for us and she obliged.

Left to right you have Dave and Annette (my hosts), Kyndall, Bill, myself, Katie, and Steven. Kyndall, Bill and Stephen are all classmates of Dave’s, and Katie is married to Stephen. Stephen had a sweet magnetic koozie that is strong enough to hold a full beer!!!

I left the tailgate at 7:05, because I had to go back to the media will call window on the opposite side of the stadium to get my ticket, which would now be available. I made it inside and to my seat just in time for the national anthem, which created a pretty nice photo opportunity.

AMERICA!!!

They also had a flyover, which was not satisfying at all. For some reason they came in a lot higher than other flyovers I’ve witnessed, and the result was not very loud.

The Crew got off to a decent start and had a 3-2 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth. That’s when the Braves blew the game open with a six spot. The Brewers battled back and wound up tying it after two in the sixth and three in the seventh. Corey Hart is playing great right now and hit another home run, making it four on the year (on pace for 81!!! right….). K-Rod struggled in the eighth and gave up the two runs, which proved to be the difference. It was nice how they battled back and it’s promising that the Brewers picked up 13 hits and 8 runs, but when you give up 10, it really doesn’t matter. Giving up 18 runs in two games is not the formula for winning games.

We took the extremely crowded shuttle back to the MARTA station, jumped on the gold line, and made our way back north. We got back to Annette and Dave’s at 12:20 AM and I was exhausted after my 19 hour day, thus the late post. I’m leaving for today’s game in 10 minutes, and sitting in the outfield with my hosts this time, but I told them no distractions. I didn’t miss a single pitch yesterday, so hopefully I can keep it going.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Turner Field: 3 hours 51 minutes
Time on Turner Field grounds: 6 hours 40 minutes
Miles riding in car but not driving: 46.7
Public Transit Miles: 36.6
Flight Miles: 600
Sausages: 1 (Italian, not by choice)
Pitches missed: 0 (That’s more like it)
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (319/319)

Season:

Time inside stadiums: 32 hours 10 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 45 hours 03 minutes
Miles driven: 292.3
Miles riding in car but not driving: 184.8
Public Transit miles: 79
Flight Miles: 600
Sausages: 9 (2 Italian, Bratwurst, Cheddarwurst, Polish, 2 Hot Dogs, Bison Dog, Corndog)
Pitches missed: 6
Longest streak of pitches seen: ~ 1,050 (4/6 – 4/10)
Current streak of pitches seen: 327
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.75% (2,407/2,413)
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