Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Goats Plus

I was eager last year to see the home opener of the Hartford Yard Goats' inaugural season. Construction delays and litigation, however, resulted in the team playing its entire first season on the road; there was no home opener.

In their sophomore year, Melvin worked out an itinerary of Goats plus teams I have seen but he has not, plus time for him to accomplish some work.

Dunkin Donuts Park, eight months before opening day
image courtesy of Google through Creative Commons license


I picked Melvin up at LGA and we drove to the centerpiece of the itinerary, a day game in Hartford. Left hanging by a friend, we bought two of the last three tickets but found fine seats (multiple, we moved around) with the day campers and company groups who bought more tickets than they needed. For lunch, Melvin and both had a "Bear Attack" from Bear's Smokehouse Barbecue; cornbread topped with mac and cheese and meat.

With a final score of 12-8, several players obviously had a great day. Mike Yastrzemski, grandson of Carl, went four-for-five and scored twice for Bowie. Two of Drew Weeks' three hits left the park—he scored all four times he came up—and Josh Fuentes had a five-RBI day for the victorious cabrito.

perhaps not the 1922 Hartford Senators

In this strange age of "alternative facts," perhaps this doesn't bear mentioning, but a tangent: Near the Pleasant Street entrance to the stadium, a mural-sized photograph labeled with "Lou Gehrig" and "Champions Eastern League 1922" is displayed. I don't fault the team for invoking the city's baseball heritage, which goes all the way back to the National Association. However, if the notations are to be believed, this is the 1923 squad.

Gehrig played for the Hartford Senators in 1921, 1923 and 1924. The Iron Horse played for Columbia University in 1922, which he attended on a football scholarship. Further, the Senators finished sixth in 1922, while they did lead the Eastern League in 1923. A footnote: Olympian and multi-sport athlete Jim Thorpe did play on the '22 Senators, his final year in professional baseball.

Following the game, we toured sites in southeast Connecticut:

Hartford Circus Fire Memorial
car wash menagerie, Cornwall
Wild Bill's Nostalgia Center, Middletown

Wild Bill's nostalgic homage to the Yugo

Meriden traffic tower
white clam pizza at Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, New Haven
and, as the sun set to great effect, St. Margaret's Shrine

memorial to the Our Lady of La Vang Marian apparition


Melvin worked. I took the day off but still stopped by the office, where we met before heading to Staten Island. We grabbed supper at Fork and Grooves not knowing better empaƱadas could be had at the ballpark. My niece and her boyfriend met us there and we all watched the visiting Hudson Valley Renegades clobber the Yankees, 9-2.

Katie and Peter, on the ferry going home


Melvin worked in the morning. I picked him up at his dazzling hotel and we left for New Jersey.

"Martian Landing Site" monument, Grover's Mills
Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton

"Dorion" (1986), Bruce Beasley

Papa's Tomato Pies, Trenton
Trenton Thunder 1, New Hampshire Fisher Cats 5
There was no scoring after the third inning. Contributing to the Cats' win were Sean Reid-Foley's 12 K's over 6.2 innings and a Ryan McBroom two-run dinger in the first.
In route to our hotel near PHL, we bought a growler of Victory Hop Devil Nitro from The Taproom & Grill, Haddon Township.


Melvin started the day on a conference panel in Philly. I bought a red bucket for 99 cents and filled it with ice, a poor man's cooler for the Hop Devil. Our chores done, we crossed back over the Delaware River and visited:

Joseph Laux's garden, Deptford Township

reportedly inspired by Disney movies, which you can sorta see once you know

Nitro Girl (formerly a Uniroyal Gal), Blackwood
statue covered lawn, Paulsboro
unplanned, Carolina Blue for lunch, Mantua
"Knowledge is Power;" Rowan University, Glassboro
from a distance, the in-progress reproduction of the Palace of Depression, Vineland

image courtesy of the Boston Public Library, CC BY-SA 2.0

Futuro House (shell), Greenwich
Aberdeen IronBirds 2, Vermont Lake Monsters 11
It was Star Wars night, which has really gotten to be a thing at baseball games. Five Monsters had multi-hit games in the win. And following the announcement of the groups in attendance, "Welcome Baseball Byways" was displayed on the scoreboard. Wasn't that sweet?
It was a full and rewarding day. Ready for a nightcap, we returned to our hotel to find the beer, which we had kept iced for a day, was flat. We did a little research on the interweb and learned, of course it is. Simply put, "The same technology that creates the beautiful head and fantastic creaminess ... is the very reason [you] can't take it home in a growler," wrote a Chicago Foodie. I emailed The Taproom & Grill to gripe and this might surprise you, I did not get a reply.


brunch at The Dutch; "Pennsport" (It all just used to be South Philly.)
cursory visit to Philadelphia's Magic Gardens

practicalities amidst the whimsey

Philadelphia Phillies 6, Milwaukee Brewers 3, with Rich and Rose

I dropped Melvin off at PHL and drove home to Brooklyn. Melvin's flight was rescheduled repeatedly until it was canceled altogether. He rented a car, drove to EWR and arrived at ORD at dawn on

Monday, July 24.

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