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September 1 - Los Angeles Dodgers vs. New York Mets, Citi Field
September 2 - Wilmington Blue Rocks vs. Brooklyn Cyclones, Maimonides Park

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Back in 2007, we realized that we could quickly and efficiently add a couple of ballparks to our Ballpark Scorecard by doing mini-tours (two or three games in a weekend). That year we did both Florida stadiums one weekend, then visited Chicago and Milwaukee later in the season. The next year we saw two games in New York on the same day in the last season of Shea Stadium and the original Yankee Stadium.

After our 2018 trip, COVID kept us off the road for four years. We finally got back out there in May of 2022 but were still itching for baseball in other towns (the fact that our hometown Washington Nationals were the worst team in baseball at that time contributed to our urge to see baseball away from home.)

There was another reason for us to hit the road again - 2022 was the first time since 2009 that there hadn't been a new inductee to the Two Guys and a Map Hall of Fame.   While we don't need to put someone in every time, we had the perfect candidate for inclusion. In 2019 DC's son, Dan ("The Mapholder" from our 1998 and 2000 tours) had married Alyssa. One of the toasts at their wedding came from two of her friends who were very thankful she had met Dan because she now had someone to talk baseball with other than them. Alyssa is a bleed-Dodger-blue, LA-born-and-bred diehard Dodger fan. (When we say Alyssa bleeds for the Dodgers, we mean it literally!)

She clearly had the credentials but in order to be a Hall of Famer, one has to cross paths with us on an official Two Guys trip. Dan and Alyssa live in Brooklyn. So, on a whim, we looked at the Mets schedule and saw that the Dodgers were going to be in town in less than two weeks! We weren't at all surprised to hear Dan and Alyssa already had tickets for the Mets-Dodgers game but we were able to get seats just a few rows from them. It's not an official Two Guys trip if we don't go to a ballpark we've never been to together - fortunately, the Mets High-A affiliate, the Brooklyn Cyclones were going to be home at the same time. So the Two Guys and a Map Kings 'n Queens Mini-Tour was on! (Brooklyn is in Kings County, the Mets play in Queens)


On Thursday September 1 we hit the road and drove up the Jersey Turnpike, arriving in Brooklyn a little after noon. Dan prepared lunch, which we ate on the rooftop of their building, and then Alyssa was formally inducted into the Two Guys and a Map Hall of Fame.

Then it was time for baseball! We rode the subway out to Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets. Shortly after boarding the 7 Train we met Dan and Alyssa's friends Qurban and Priya.

This was our second visit to Citi Field. We'd been there in 2009, the year it opened, and thought it was... okay. We liked it better this time but it's nowhere near as good as the ballparks in Pittsburgh, San Francisco and San Diego that opened in the same era. The Mets celebrate their own history but also try to tie themselves to the Brooklyn Dodgers. Citi Field's exterior is meant to evoke Ebbets Field but on a larger scale.

It was a beautiful day for a baseball game between the two best teams in the National League. Shortly after the game began, we noticed the person in front of us was wearing a Washington Nationals cap and struck up a conversation with her. It turns out she lived in Kensington, within a ten minute walk of DC's house. It's a small world!

Sadly, the Dodgers were not in peak form, wasting a good performance from Clayton Kershaw and losing by a score of 5 to 3. We did get to see Mets reliever Edwin Diaz's wildly popular signature entrance to Timmy Trumpet's 'Narco'.

We had been to several Dodgers-Nats games in Washington with Alyssa; this was the first time we'd ever seen the Dodgers lose in her presence but she took it in stride - when your team has a seventeen game lead in the division, you can shrug off the occasional loss.

Mets box

Hall of Fame

Welcome to the Hall, Alyssa!


Four friends

Qurban, Priya, Alyssa and Dan

Citi Field

Citi Field

Tom Seaver statue

With Tom Seaver outside Citi Field


The next morning the four of us took a walk with Dan and Alyssa's dog Athena and got genuine New York City bagels at Greenberg's. Dan and Alyssa both had to work that day so after breakfast we took off on our own.

When the idea for this trip was hatched just a couple of weeks earlier, we envisioned tying in the Brooklyn and Dodgers themes by going to the brand new Jackie Robinson Museum. But it was really brand new - it wouldn't be open to the public until the following week.

So we decided to take a walk from Brooklyn to Manhattan. When it opened in 1883, The Brooklyn Bridge was the first bridge spanning the East River. At the time it was the longest suspension bridge in the world and was named a National Historical Landmark in 1964. There are great views of the other bridges that cross the river and the Manhattan skyline from its pedestrian walkway.

We spent a few hours walking around in Chinatown and Little Italy before heading back to Dan and Alyssa's place.


Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

Walking to Manhattan

Lombardis

You gotta get pizza when you go to Little Italy!



The four of us headed for Coney Island, where the Brooklyn Cyclones play. The evening got off to a great start when instead of paying $27, we got a free spot on the street (with a masterful parking job by Dan - he was very proud of it). We got a tie-in with our Deep In The Heart of Texas Tour of just a few months earlier - the street we parked on was Mermaid Avenue, which is where Woody Guthrie lived for many years.

Coney Island is right on the beach of the Lower New York Bay which flows into the Atlantic Ocean. It has a big boardwalk filled with sand, alcohol, fried foods and hustlers galore.

And rides. Lots and lots and lots of amusement park rides including The Wonder Wheel, a ferris wheel that dates back to 1920. But by far the most famous ride at Coney Island is The Cyclone. It is the second steepest wooden roller coaster in the world, first opened in 1927 and, like the Brooklyn Bridge, is a National Historical Landmark.

Dan had been lobbying for us to ride The Cyclone since - well, pretty much since the moment that the Kings 'n Queens Tour was proposed. Neither of us was that thrilled with the idea but after we negotiated going on it before eating, rather than later in the evening as Dan wanted to, we agreed to ride The Cyclone.

Dave's typical response when faced with riding roller coasters has always been "I don't want to", "I don't want to", "I don't want to", [relents and goes], "that was GREAT!" This time was no different. We all had a blast on it (okay, Dan and Alyssa clearly had a better time than we did but despite how it looks in the picture, we really did enjoy the ride.)


The Cyclone

The Cyclone

Riding The Cyclone

Wheeeeeee!

Coney Island boardwalk

The Coney Island boardwalk







Then it was off to the ballgame. The team had come to Brooklyn from St. Catherines, Ontario in 2000, playing that season in Queens. In 2001 they moved into the stadium now called Maimonides Park. It's located at one end of the boardwalk, right by the water. A "name-the-team" contest resulted in the team being named in honor of it's nearby neighbor, The Cyclone.

Outside the park is a statue of Brooklyn Dodgers greats Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese, honoring the famous moment when Pee Wee draped his arm around Jackie's shoulders to show his solidarity with his African-American teammate.

The park's biggest plus is its location. Before the sun sets, you get a great view of the water over the right field wall. After the sun sets, the lights from the nearby amusement park rides make for a terrific backdrop in left field and center field. The one quibble would be the scoreboard. It shows the batter's name and number but no other information - no stats, not even the position they are playing in the game beyond "infield". You get the basics - the score, balls and strikes and outs - and that's about it. Other than that, it's a great little ballpark.

The Cyclones opponent this night was the Wilmington Blue Rocks, the High-A affiliate of our hometown Washington Nationals. Neither team showed much offense - we think it was not-so-great hitting more than good pitching - and the game was scoreless after nine innings.

Thanks to the extra-innings-start-with-a-runner-on-second rule that was currently in effect, the Blue Rocks managed to get a run over the plate and won the game 1-0 in a crisp 2-1/2 hours.



Jackie and Pee Wee

Two sets of friends




Cyclones box



Minor league ballparks are notorious for their wacky promotions.
On this particular night, the Cyclones had one go very wrong.



Maimonides Park

Outside Maimonides Park

Maimonides Park

Inside Maimonides Park



Boardwalk fireworks

Boardwalk fireworks

Boardwalk fireworks

Coney Island

Two Guys and our hosts

Thanks Dan and Alyssa (and Athena)!! Nice shirts!



After the game we hung around for the Friday night fireworks that they have during the summer. We wandered up and down the boardwalk for awhile and then called it a night.

The next morning we had Dan's famous "Egg McCohns" for breakfast and headed for home. This was a different kind of mini-tour for us - it was the first one where we'd spent the entire time with the same people and it couldn't have been nicer.

Dan and Alyssa have promised that they will root for the other's team any time except when they are playing each other. As of this writing, we aren't sure where we're headed in 2024 but that year Alyssa's Dodgers will be playing Dan's Yankees in New York. So there will be at the very least a Two Guys mini-tour that season, we don't want to miss witnessing that!


  Previous tour Two Guys and a Map Home Page Two Guys and a Map Tour List This is our most recent tour.
Two Guys and a Map Hall of Fame Two Guys and a Map Ballpark Scorecard Two Guys and a Map Cultural Landmarks

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