Eight States; Seven Days; Six Games; Five Ballparks;
Four Museums; Three Shirts; Two Ships and One Autograph
Dan Cohn, DC's son turned 12 in the summer of 1998. DC decided he was now old enough to bring on a Two Guys trip as The Mapholder. This changed our planning a bit - for the first time
we did not go to a ballpark we had never been to. We decided that since we had Dan with us, this trip would concentrate on classic old ballparks, those great old yards that won't be around much
Our original plan was to go to all the remaining major league parks built before 1950 - Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium and Tiger Stadium. A day at The Baseball Hall of Fame in
Cooperstown was in our plans too but home game scheduling and logistics made this plan impossible. DC and Dan are Yankee fans and had both been to Yankee Stadium numerous times so we dropped
the New York portion of the itinerary. Even so, it turned out to be our most ambitious trip yet. Over the course of seven days we each traveled through eight different states: Massachusetts,
New Hampshire, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Maryland and our states of origin (Virginia for Dave, Vermont for the Cohns).
Dave flew into Boston on the afternoon of July 23. As the flight was approaching Logan Airport, he looked out the window and saw what appeared to be an 18th Century era frigate sailing
through the waters near Boston Harbor. It turned out to be the
U.S.S. Constitution ("Old Ironsides"), one of the most famous Naval
vessels of all time, sailing back to its home berth after a couple of years of repairs in a shipyard. This was the first time she had
sailed under her own power in more than 100 years. The Cohns saw the Constitution too, as they drove to the airport.
We had lunch with DC's friend Hope, with whom we were going to stay that night. Then it was off to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts for a couple of hours. While we were in the museum the
skies opened up and it poured. At that point no game on a Two Guys trip had ever been rained out and our luck held - it stopped raining a couple of hours before game time and they played as
Fenway is, of course one of the great ballparks of all time. It opened up on April 20, 1912. When the original Comiskey Park was replaced in 1992, Fenway and Tiger Stadium (which opened the same day) became the oldest ballparks still in use. Fenway is the antithesis of the multi-purpose stadiums that most teams now call home. It has a wildly un-symetrical field designed to fit the plot of land the ballpark sits on, one of the few hand operated scoreboards still in use and the famous Green Monster standing 37 feet high in left field. It's a wonderful old place.
Hope lives about 45 minutes from Fenway and we had to get up very early the next day for our flight to Chicago so we left at the seventh inning stretch. When we left the Bosox were way behind
but they battled back and eventually won the game in extra innings.
The next day the alarm clock rang at 4:00 AM and we were off to New Hampshire to catch a flight to Chicago. One of the reasons we are able to pull off these trips is the inexpensive
fares offered by Southwest Airlines at the time ("The Official Airline of Two Guys & a Map"). They made it possible to fly for a reasonable price, allowing us to cover much greater
distances than we could if we drove.
Who's on first?
Once we arrived in Chicago, we changed into The Two Guys & a Mapholder Tour '98 t-shirts. DC had baseball jerseys made up - each of us was one of Lou Costello's teammates from the
famous Abbott and Costello "Who's On First" routine. We headed over to The Sears Tower and went up to the observation deck. Chicago is a great looking city and we had a spectacular view of
it from up there. Then it was off to Wrigley Field.
If you've read many of the accounts of the various Two Guys trips, you've probably noticed that we almost always make a stop at Wrigley Field. There are a number of reasons for this -
the practical one is that Southwest Airlines has very inexpensive fares to Chicago from our part of the country. The real reason is that Wrigley Field is the most wonderful place on Earth
to see a ballgame. Baseball should be played in the city, not in the middle of a parking lot outside of town. There's no other feeling like the one you get when you take the train to the
ballpark, walk through all the action on the city streets surrounding it, then head on in, walk out from the concourse through a portal to the first sight of that big patch of green grass in
the middle of all the cement... and there's no better place to get that feeling than Wrigley Field, with the ivy covered walls, The Bleacher Bums and the people on the roofs of the houses on
Sheffield and Waveland Avenues.
It is the absolute best.
We walked into Wrigley Field seventeen hours after we had left Fenway Park. 1998 was, of course the year of Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire. Sosa had jumped into
the race by smacking 20 home runs during the month of June and he was the subject of mass adoration in Wrigley Field. Sammy didn't hit any round trippers with Two Guys & a Mapholder in
Because of an earlier rainout, the Cubs and Mets were playing a doubleheader on July 24. The Mets swept it. The lowlight of the day for the Cubbies was when Lance Johnson slid into
third base and raised his hand to call time out. Unfortunately, he raised the hand he was holding the bag with and the Mets third baseman still had the ball. Johnson was tagged out, ending
a Cubs rally. During this game a man came up to us and said, "Anybody with shirts like that have got to be big baseball fans! I know you understand what it means to be at Wrigley Field -
could you take a picture of me?" He was from Texas, in Chicago on business and had made sure he got out to Wrigley. DC took his picture and sent it to him later.
When Yankee Stadium and Cooperstown were dropped from the itinerary, we decided to spend an extra day in Chicago. Dan wanted to see the Shedd Aquarium so we headed over there the next morning
where, among other things, we saw a fish that looks like Richard Nixon. Then it was off to Wrigley again for our fourth game of the trip. The Cubs managed to pull this one out.
Right after the Cubs game, we rented a car and made the 90 mile drive to Milwaukee for our second game of the day and fifth in 50 hours. The Brewers new home was being built right next to
County Stadium so this would be our last visit to that nice old place. It's not on par with Fenway Park or Wrigley Field, but County Stadium has a distinctive charm of it's own. The Brewers
won the game on a Jeremy Burnitz home run in the bottom of the ninth inning - very exciting.
The Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame
The next day (Sunday) we flew to Cleveland. We weren't able to get tickets to an Indians game - they sold out virtually every seat for the entire year before the season began. But we had a
place to stay there and it was within easy driving distance of Detroit.
We went downtown Monday morning. DC and Dave became friends while working in a record store and both are big music fans so The Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame was a must-see. This was not Dan's
favorite part of the trip - The Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame doesn't induct anyone until twenty-five years have passed since they made their first recording so there isn't much there to interest a
twelve year old. But he was a trouper and put up with us going "Hey, look at this!" without complaining too much.
We made it up to him by going to the new Science Center afterwards - it's a great place for both kids and adults. All of the exhibits are hands-on demonstrations of scientific principles.
They also have an IMAX theatre with a movie screen that is six stories high. We saw a film about an expedition to climb Mt. Everest.
Tuesday morning we took a tour of Jacobs Field - gotta get that baseball fix in each city, even if we don't go to a game! Afterwards we toured the U.S.S. Cod, a World War II submarine
which is tied up at the waterfront. Then it was off to Detroit. We had hoped to torture Dan some more by dragging him to The Motown Museum but a terrible traffic jam just outside the city
prevented us from getting there in time.
Because of that, we got to Tiger Stadium very early. The Tigers were playing the Orioles. 1998 was the season in which Cal Ripken ended his consecutive games played streak. For the last few
years before this he was the object of intense attention wherever the Orioles played and Detroit was no different. We were standing near the Orioles dugout during batting practice and there was a
huge mob of people waiting to get Cal's autograph. Many of them were kids but there were a lot of adults too. Some of the adults were there with a bag of things to get autographed - pictures,
magazines, scorecards, gloves etc. It was kind of offensive. It's one thing to ask someone to autograph a program, it's another to ask for multiple autographs with the idea of selling them later.
Dan was in the second row of seats behind a crowd of the adults, waiting patiently. The crush of people was making Dave claustrophobic so he made his way up to the concourse level to call Bobbi.
While he was on the phone with her, DC and Dan walked up with Cal Ripken's autograph! Dan had very politely asked him to autograph a program and he did! Cal had made a point of reaching past
some adults to sign for Dan.
Then the game started. The Tigers got a grand slam and scored five runs in the first inning. Not a good start for Dave's team. We moved around a bit, sitting in different sections.
We found ourselves sitting with Orioles fans twice, similar to the experience we had in Milwaukee two years earlier. The O's came back to win, thanks to Detroit's poor pitching and some clutch
hitting by Eric Davis and Lenny Webster for a nice finish to our trip. (For more detail on Tiger Stadium, see
1991 - The Lost In
We drove back to Cleveland right after the Tigers game. The next day we flew to Baltimore. Dave got off there while the Cohns went on to Manchester, NH, where we had left their car when we
flew to Chicago.
Next up - The Two Guys & a Map Y2K Southern Tour.
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