If anyone is keeping up with our travels through this blog, you’ll know we’ve been pretty much silent for quite a few months. Except for a couple of entries spaced a distance apart, we have been very neglectful of our blog. But it’s a new year—opening day has come and gone, and we’re full into a new season. And we’ve rededicated ourselves to entertaining our fans! So we’d like to go back to when we were first starting this blog and revisit the idea of things to keep in mind when doing these baseball trips.
Beyond the idea of good planning, there are some things that the baseball traveler needs to know, or take into consideration while on the trip. Thus, this entry serves as a reminder (or an introduction) to some of those considerations, like navigating and/or negotiating while in the car. These are some of the things that will make a trip much more enjoyable. And usually, it’s all about treating each other with politeness, something many of us have forgotten.
Navigating, Notetaking and Those Pesky Negotiations
With the advent of GPS devices, the task of navigating has taken a back seat, sort of speak. Yet, you can’t always trust those new-fangled machines, as our grandparents might say. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to take a map along and have your traveling companion (if you’ve got one) keep an eye on just what road you’re really on. When driving the back roads, especially back, back roads, there ‘s always a greater chance of being off the GPS grid. (However, we have found it ever more difficult to find paper maps. Gas stations used to be the main purveyors, but no longer. You can still get them at AAA and many bookstores. But the day is coming, sadly, that we see them going away. How much fun is it to watch someone else try to refold those car-sized maps, anyway?)
The navigator also becomes the notetaker, since it is easier to take notes when not driving. Many of you will not end up writing about your adventures, but it’s still a good idea to keep track of where you’ve been so you can at least remember what you took pictures of. Otherwise, those slideshows will be nothing more than pretty pictures of “I-don’t-know-where-that-is” subjects.
Negotiations between the driver and navigator (and other traveling companions if there are any) are, likewise, vital in the success of any baseball trip. “Should we stop here?” “What do you want for lunch?” “Isn’t that a pretty place? Let’s take pictures!” “No, don’t turn that way!” “We’re not stopping!” Yes, the simplest of trips can get tense when the travelers don’t agree. To begin, people should know who they are comfortable with on a trip. If you know you can’t travel with a person, then you certainly don’t want to embark on a long car trip with them. Imagine being locked up for hours at a time with your nemesis. Cage-fighting has nothing on that match-up in the car! But, even with your dearest friend, or with your true love, travel can be tense and polite negotiations are the answer. Remember, the other person is probably as sick of you as you are of them. Take a deep breath, relax for a few minutes and start over. Of course, by that time you’ve probably missed your turn and will have to back-track. But you’re with your loved one(s) and are on a baseball adventure! What’s better than that?
Avoid Those Sketchy Roads
Navigator, this one’s for you: avoid any roads that look too faulty because they may get you killed, or worse—late for the game. Roads that go straight up over mountains, roads that end “up a tree,” roads that are jammed 24/7, roads that dead-end in a body of water, these roads will cause no end of trouble. Some of them are enticing with the unknown, but be very careful. They can take you far out of your way, get you lost in dangerous places or simply make you so frustrated, you just want to go home. A good idea to try to avoid some hassles is again to visit your local AAA either online or in person to find out about hazards, construction, or general problems with roadways. Remember all the problems some GPS or electronic maps have had with getting people to where they DON’T want to go. Again, that paper map can be a good backup.
Season-Ticket Holders as Community
Once you’ve made it to the game, usually one of the best aspects of a baseball game is the community that has been built by the season ticket holders. Many of them are congregated in certain areas of the ball park where they make up their own “neighborhood,” and like a neighborhood, they all know one another, if not by name, at least by sight. They exchange pleasantries and often ask how the children are, or how the job is going, or share the latest gossip, just as if they are talking over the back fence in their yards. If you are lucky enough to get seats in one of these areas, it is often a very rewarding experience. These fans, for the most part, are usually very friendly and welcome you into their neighborhood. We have learned about the backgrounds of the players, about the history of the park, the best places to eat in town, the must-see local sights and on and on. Yes, there has been the occasional unfriendly neighborhood, but out of the many, many ballparks we’ve visited, only a small handful have not left us feeling welcome. So if you really want to learn the 411 of the area, ask for seats amongst the season ticket holders.