Sunday, March 10, 2013

Along the Ohio

The 2013 Season Preview

Melvin started a new job last week, which is a good thing.  Please join me in sending him your congratulations.  However, he starts the job with an annual leave balance of 0:00 and a restriction against taking time off during his first three months.

Working within these limitations, Melvin devised a mid-season itinerary that will have us see five games in four days, but for him only two days vacation.  It is a trip we discuss every winter, a trip I always think of as "Along the Ohio" in tribute to the series of photographs of that name by Andrew Borowiec.

Jeffersonville, Indiana, towards Louisville, Kentucky

In contrast with Melvin, I have too much vacation.  In fact, starting this year I will "earn" ten percent more.  It takes a fair amount of planning for me to use all of my annual leave and to do so, I will be taking a couple baseball trips independent of Melvin.

The first of these will be next month, a solo trip to see the Tampa Bay Rays and six Florida State League teams.  This schedule was also designed to include as many games as possible while using a minimum of vacation.  In fulfillment of that goal, it includes double-headers on the first and last days of the circuit.  Starting on Wednesday, April 17, I will see,

4.17  Clearwater Threshers at 1:00, Lakeland Flying Tigers at 6:30
4.18  Daytona Cubs
4.19  Tampa Bay Rays
4.20  Bradenton Marauders
4.21  Dunedin Blue Jays at 1:00, Tampa Yankees at 5:00

When I travel independent of Melvin, I pick my destinations carefully when possible; places we have already been, franchises in their final year.  I am going to Florida alone in part because Melvin is convinced there is nothing to see.  "Could it be any more boring than Iowa?" I asked in an effort to persuade him.

"No, and I'm not going back there either," he replied.  I know I will not be seeing Hurricane World because it was never built.  I do hope to see some attractions that blow me away.

A couple months later I will tour half of the Red Sox organization, the parent club and its New York-Penn League and Triple-A affiliates.  Kevin, who joined me a couple years ago for the Quaker State Double Double-Header, has expressed interest in the trip over the last weekend in June.

6.28  Lowell Spinners
6.29  Boston Red Sox
6.30  Pawtucket Red Sox

A load of laundry later, I hit the road again for our destinations along the Ohio River.  Norton, who drove around the Southwest with Melvin and me in 2011, is coming along, as is Watson.  Norton and I will make a couple of stops before meeting Melvin and Watson in Louisville, one more after we leave them.

7.01  Hagerstown Suns
7.02  Lexington Legends
7.03  Louisville Bats
7.04  Cinncinati Reds at 1:10, Dayton Dragons at 7:00
7.05  Columbus Clippers
7.06  Evansville Otters
7.07  West Virgina Power

More progress was made on the Cincinnati subway than on Hurricane World, but we won't be seeing that either.  Only occasional tours are made of the abandoned project and the May 11 walk sponsored by the Cincinnati Museum Center is not only out of sync with our schedule, but sold out.  We have identified enough other attractions that we will have to pick and choose among them.

Photograph by Ronny Salerno from Queen City Discovery and used by permission; all rights reserved

At the end of July I will fly to Oregon to see my father and step-mother and that branch of the family.  Some or all of us will also see the Hillsboro Hops, formerly the Yakima Bears, and the Eugene Emeralds.

Melvin's new job includes travel and he is looking forward to possibly seeing the Oakland Athletics and San Diego Padres while on the road for work.  He may also come to New York and if he does, I hope we can take in a game at one the new stadiums, which he hasn't seen yet, or out on Staten Island.

Melvin decided not to renew his Cubs ticket plan but I am sure he will get to Wrigley Field sometime this summer.  My guess is he will skip the blustery early- and late-season games.  I seem to make it out to Flushing a couple times every year despite ownership's efforts to make that as unrewarding as possible.  Please note how I managed to not even mention the team by name.  Other opportunities may arise, but that is the preview three weeks before the start of the 2013 season.

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