Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Day 38: Tropicana Field, Tampa; September 15
I know it's going to be a good day when I meet a woman on the elevator at 6 a.m. to share the cost of a cab to LaGuradia airport. I read the Post and Daily News on the flight- a welcome treat after over five weeks on the road- and we are on the ground in Tampa by 10:30. I have reserved a car at Dollar for the day and I feel like I am cheating on the Jeep as I sign the papers and take the keys for my brown Sonata. The AC feels so cool as I turn the ignition. The windows go right up and down- automatically! There is a panic button on the keychain- perfect for EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE since I can never find my car after an event. I try to suppress my lust for the Sonata as I drive to the beautiful Doubletree that I purchased for a mere $65 on hotwire.com. It's only 11:30, but they let me check in early. The room is huge and everything is very nice. I work most of the afternoon and then head to Tropicana Field in St Pete for the Red Sox & Devil Rays about 5:00. The Rays are in first over the Sox by one game so it's going to be quite a series. For the first half hour I am in the parking lot, I ONLY see Red Sox fans. This is weird. It gets weirder when I get inside the park that I notice a Ted FREAKING Williams museum. It is quite disconcerting to see a museum dedicated to the greatest player in Red Sox history IN THE STADIUM OF THE OPPOSING FREAKING TEAM! Other disconcerting things I notice are that Tampa has a TON of baseball and non-baseball related activities on the concourse. When a team is as as bad consistently as Tampa had been before this year, apparently you practically need an amusement park built into your stadium to be able to draw even the handful of fans you do get. I try to watch the game but the Sox launch an assault of homeruns and I get sick to my stomach. I leave in the fifth for Bern's Steakhouse- one of the world's best- where I meet some lovely young ladies sitting at the next table who are quite the comedians. After Berns, I head to a special Tampa exhibit designed to explain the intricacies of the 'Mons' who once inhabited Venus. It is quite the eye opener. I decide that I should most definitely have been an astrologist whose focus was exploring the many moons of Venus. Other highlights include being the front page story in the sports section of the St. Petersburg Times (pictured), getting my ass kicked in trivia by a 3 year old whose answer to every question is either 'Devil Rays' or 'Longoria' (pictured), running a red light by accident at full speed, trying unsuccessfully to order Minute Maid OJ at the concession stand, and telling a woman who sold me a pretzel she had a piece of fuzz on her chin and then us both realizing it is actually just her natural beard hair.