Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Day 39; Pro Player Stadium, Miami: September 16

I fell asleep last night trying to write my blog entry about 4 a.m., so when the wake up call comes at 8:30, I am far from ready. I do some work on the computer and rush off to the airport for my 10:50 Spirit Air flight to Ft. Lauderdale. I race like OJ Simpson in a Hertz commercial to get to the counter and am told my flight was changed to take off two hours earlier. They tell me the next flight is 9:30 at night. I hate Spirit Air. I walk over to Southwest and am able to get an 11:30 flight for a $132. I really hate Spirit. Every time I have ever flown Spirit, there is a problem. Do not fly Spirit unless getting annoyed and wanting to kill people is a hobby of yours. I settle in by the gate and somehow miss the boarding announcement. For the second time in three days, my name is called over the loudspeakers, "Timothy Smith, please report to gate 37. Your flight has boarded." After picking up a royal blue Chrysler Sebring, I make the short drive to Hollywood to meet Irma for a late lunch and Starbucks. Irma was the maid of honor at a wedding I filmed a few months back. I owe her at least a lunch and cup of coffee because I told her how good she looked once she put her make-up on while getting ready for the wedding. It did not come out of my mouth as it played out in my head, so needless to say I owe her a few more dinners to prove it. I program my GPS for Dan Marino BLVD and merge from Hollywood BLVD onto the Florida turnpike and somehow go through a toll booth without paying. It's a rental, though, and by the time Dollar figures out what happened I will have canceled my credit card that I used to get this car. I pay $10 to park at Pro Player Stadium about six and notice there are PLENTY of parking places. It probably won't be hard to find tickets but I still don't want to pay much. I see three guys walking in and figure a fourth bailed. "Do you guys have an extra?" I ask. They shake their head and continue on, but two minutes later they return. "You still need one?" one of them asks, handing me a ticket for free. Nice! I finally make it into the game in the bottom of the second and look at my ticket: Founders Club, first row! My free seat is in the first row behind the dugout- wow! I meet the guy next to me, Rich, and also Astro infielder, Jose Castillo, who is about 6 feet from me, "Can I get a ball Castillo? I've been to 25 parks in a month and haven't come close!" He looks at me and indicates he will get me one later.... It's already 5-1 Marlins but being in the first row makes watching an otherwise boring game reasonably fun. Highlights include meeting and posing for pictures with the Marlins cheerleaders, almost catching a ball thrown by a player into the stands (but not because I did not want to get harassed by people saying it was for a kid), being on TV in a close up taking to Rich, having my favorite Marlins girl throw a t-shirt to me in the 7th inning off the dugout after giving me a look that said, "stand up and I will throw this shirt right to you.", having security in front of the dugout badgering me for badgering Castillo all game for a ball and having Castillo finally give me a ball about two minutes before I leave in the top of the ninth inning! Rich tells me there is a sports reporter from the Miami Sun Sentinel sitting behind us so I chat with her before heading north to my friend Jason's condo in Hollywood. 25 down and 5 to go!

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