May 18th, 2012

5-17-12 (@ Houston)

Thursday I got up around 9:00 am and I took advantage of Holiday Inn’s breakfast. I had a bowl of Frosted Flakes, a glass of orange juice, a cinnamon roll, an omelet, and a banana. I also took an apple to snack on before I left for the day. I didn’t really have plans for the day, but I passed Discovery Green the day before, and figured I could spend some time there before the game. I got there around 1:20, and spent a good hour walking around and taking pictures. What is Discovery Green? I’ll let this explain it.

If you click on the picture you’ll get a larger image, but if you don’t feel like doing that, this is what it says:

In 2004, the citizens of Houston learned that valued green space in front of the George R. Brown Convention Center was being sold by its private owners. Mayor Bill White and a group of philanthropists who had long worked to preserve this green space quickly joined together to purchase the property, add it to land already owned by the city, and create a twelve-acre park. Mayor White and City Council then conveyed the cite to the Houston Downtown Park Corporation and also charged the Discovery Green Conservancy with the planning, design, development and ongoing management of an urban park of the highest quality for both Houstonians and visitors to enjoy. With a design infused by the dreams and ideas of Houstonians, Discovery Green is dedicated to our community’s open spirit, the creativity of our citizens, the beauty of our natural heritage, and our city’s commitment to responsible stewardship of our natural environment.

It’s a nice park and I took a bunch of photos. The first four, going clockwise from top left:

1) The signage for the garden inside the park.

2) A giant one person circular bench, yes, that’s a seat there in the middle.

3) The view from the seat in photo number two. As you can see there’s another circular seat across from the one I was sitting in.

4) A water feature that’s located past the seat seen in photo number three.

There were lots of plants and flowers within the park, and some are below. They each don’t need a description. So you can look at them in whatever order you please. My personal favorite, and possibly my favorite of the day, is the one in the top left.

There was also stuff you could do while at the park. Going clockwise from top left:

1) Picnic tables where park-goers can eat.

2) This is looking out at the lawn from the Anheuser-Busch Stage, where concerts take place.

3) Kids can play in the water streams, they shoot skyward at various times.

4) The structure in the middle has water coming down from the ring at the top. I considered taking my clothes off and running around underneath it because it was hot and I was sweating, but I didn’t. I think a night in jail might lower my pitches seen percentage too much, so I didn’t want to risk it. There’s also a jungle gym on the left for kids.

There was also some art pieces. The upper left picture is of a structure that I just thought was a piece of artwork, but as you can see from the lower left picture, it has a door. If you look closely at the top left picture you can see some tiny windows, so I’m not quite sure what it’s used for, but I’m intrigued. The picture on the right is a piece that’s on display along the Avenida de las Americas, the street that runs right in front of the George R. Brown Convention Center.

After I was done at Discovery Green, I walked downtown and got a sub at Jimmy John’s for lunch. I don’t know what it was, but it just didn’t taste right. They may have not been using the freshest ingredients, but the sub left something to be desired. Jimmy John’s is on main street, and the metro rial system runs right down the middle of said street. There’s even a part where the track runs over some water, as seen below. It seems like a very quiet and comfortable ride. You can see one of the trains in the distance on the track on the right.

I went back to the hotel to get ready for the game, and I got a start on uploading all the pictures I took from Discovery Green. I left my room around 5:15, and made it to ticket window 30 to pick up my ticket by 5:30. The guy at the window said the visiting team tickets weren’t there yet, so I decided to walk around the exterior of the park to kill the time. There were things to note, and going clockwise from top left:

1) The support for the roof track down the first base side.

2) The back of the stadium, and on the right is the roof support and track for the left field side. When the roof is open the supports and windows that are visible in picture #3 would be right up close to the end of that track in photo #2. The 1st base side track is much higher, because there aren’t windows that move like they do on the left field side.

3) The centerfield entrance. On the right you can see all the windows that I was talking about. If you read yesterday’s post you can see that these panels are right behind the train track in left field.

4) KBR plaza. You can see an infielder turning a double play at second base, and a first basemen awaiting the throw. To make it even more accurate they should have a ball magically suspended in the air somewhere between the two bases.

There were two last things that I thought were interesting. On the left you have a statue of somebody, but I’m not sure who. There’s no plaque, and the only visible text is “Stewart E. Stevenson” on the anvil. A google search with that name and “Astros” doesn’t bring up anything that connects the two, so it’s a mystery right now (for me anyways). On the right is baseball stitching that separates segments of sidewalk. They have this going all around the exterior of the ballpark, and I didn’t make the observation until my second day at the stadium. The ones that I had seen up to this point weren’t as obvious as the one below, so I’ll cut myself a little bit of slack, but not much.

I went back to the will call window, got my ticket, and got inside just before six. I walked around on the field level until the Brewers finished taking batting practice, then headed to the upper deck to get game photo number 38 taken. I had an usher take the picture, and she was very patient with me, and she made some adjustments to get a picture I was satisfied with.

I went back downstairs and got my dinner before the game started. I had seen this place the night before, and on Thursday I figured it was time to have a salad at a major league stadium. I’m not sure if other parks have these, but I don’t recall any in the parks that I’ve been to so far (and that’s 17 current stadiums dating back to 2006). Going clockwise from top left:

1) The Green Fork concession stand from a distance, if you look closely you can see that the choice of greens are Romaine, Spinach, and Iceburg.

2) The vegetable choices, and there were a lot.

3) The protein choices, which cost an additional $4.

4) My $12 salad. I had a mixture of romaine and spinach, and I added mushrooms, bacon, egg, green pepper, cucumber, almonds, grilled chicken, and light ranch. To be honest, I wasn’t impressed, I really think it was because of the chicken, I’m not sure if they use leftovers from the day before, but it certainly seemed that way.

There wasn’t too much to cheer about during the game, for both teams really. The Astros scored four runs in the fourth inning, and that was it. The Brewers had a lot of opportunities to get off the schneid, but they failed to do so. They had the bases loaded in the third inning with only one out and Braun coming up. Braun popped out in foul territory on the first pitch and Ramirez grounded out weakly to third. In the fifth the Brewers had runners on second and third with two outs and Braun at the plate, but a groundout on the second pitch put on end to the scoring chance. It was that kind of night, not a blowout by any means, but still disheartening. Final Score: Astros 4 – Brewers 0. A 1-3 record on a two city road trip doesn’t feel the greatest, but things can’t continue to go this bad (or at least that’s what I’ll keep telling myself).

My flight leaves at 11:00 am from Houston on Friday, and I have a layover in St. Louis. I’m supposed to arrive in Milwaukee at 4:30 pm. I could’ve scheduled an earlier arrival, and I’ll be kicking myself if this itinerary backfires. If all goes as planned I should be to Miller Park no later than 6:00 pm for the first game with the Twins.

Personal Stats:


Time inside Minute Maid Park: 4 hours 9 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 4 hours 38 minutes
Sausages: 0
Pitches Missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (281/281)
Current streak of pitches seen: 460


Time inside stadiums: 155 hours 3 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 183 hours 11 minutes
Miles driven: 2,888.1
Miles riding in car but not driving: 690.5
Public Transit miles: 232.1
Flight Miles: 7,519
Total distance traveled: 11,329.6 miles
Sausages: 25 (9 Polish, 7 Hot Dogs, 3 Bratwurst, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Corndog, Chicken Apple Sausage)
Pitches missed: 28
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,317 (5/9 – 5/14)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.75% (11,209/11,237)
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