Tuesday, November 20, 2018

A Very YOLO Trip: Pittsburgh

Yeah, I know, it's been four months between updates. I'm horrible. I'm STILL recapping a trip I took in April. Okay, time to get back on board this blog train and start posting again. I'm not even gonna make any excuses. Just bear with me. Maybe I'll get another post up this week, maybe it will take me another four months. Who knows? But, for now, enjoy day two of the awesome road trip I took with my friend Lisa earlier this year. :) It's been four months, so if you want a recap of day one, go here.

Despite a late night the night before, we were up bright and early and were on the road by 7am the next day. We had tickets for a tour of PNC Park at 3:45 that afternoon, so we were sort of on a time limit to make the drive from Baltimore to Pittsburgh. We did have a few planned stops along the way, so we made sure we started the day early.

Our first quick stop was in West Virginia in the town of Berkeley Springs. The only reason for this stop was so I could cross West Virginia off my states to visit list. Yup, we took a fifteen minute detour just so I could get THIS photo.

The "Welcome to West Virginia" sign was not in a place where we could stop and take a photo. A little further down the road, we saw this sign, and it was good enough for me. It had WV on it, that's all I needed. 

We were back on the road and took a slight detour to the town of Stoystown, PA. This is where the Flight 93 Memorial is located. I wanted to pay my respects to those who lost their lives on 9/11. The memorial was very somber but respectful. The Visitor's Center was closed, but we did walk down the path to the Memorial Plaza at Crash Site and took time to read the Wall of Names. There were flowers and wreaths by some of the names. To me, it was a very moving experience to be there. It was hard to walk through with dry eyes.

Our next stop was in Latrobe, PA, which was the hometown of Mister Rogers. I read online that there was a Mister Rogers exhibit on the campus of Saint Vincent College, and since I'm a big fan of Mister Rogers, we had to stop by. I will not confirm or deny that I possibly teared up a little bit in the exhibit. The exhibit included many items that belonged to Mister Rogers (sweaters and tennis shoes), as well as props from Mister Rogers Neighborhood. The trolley, Daniel's Clock, and many of the puppets from the Land of Make Believe were there. I will not confirm or deny that I was excited to have my photo taken by them (just humor me).

We had to hurry from Latrobe to get to Pittsburgh in time for our tour of PNC Park. I have to say that PNC Park is by far my favorite ballpark that I've visited (so far). The view was wonderful, and the history of the Pirates was fascinating. 

Once again, we were on a small tour, but I really like that better. The tour guides were great and so informative. We were on a "pre-game" tour, which meant we got to see the Pirates batting practice. It also meant that we were able to get the giveaway item ahead of time (instead of worrying about getting back in line). We got autographs and photos with some Pirates players after batting practice, which is always fun. I'm a big fan of getting photos and Lisa is a big fan of getting autographs, so it worked out great for both of us!

The giveaway item the night we were at the game was a Pirates umbrella. If you remember one of my trips last year, I went to Minneapolis with Lisa and our friend Michelle to a Twins game, and we got Twins "Purple Rain" umbrellas (recap here). I seem to be collecting MLB umbrellas now. Oh, remember that they gave out umbrellas at the game. This will factor in later on in my recap.

We found out during the tour that the Pirates were honoring a man named Phil Coyne before the game that night. He had been a Pirates usher for 81 years. Yes, 81 years, that's not a typo. It was his 100th birthday and they were holding a ceremony in his honor. He had retired the year before. They said he probably would have worked another season, but he took a bad fall last winter, and the doctor told him not to work anymore. Anyway, until that day, we didn't know that Phil existed, but we became instant fans. Cooperstown even sent a notice that they are going to put Phil's badge and shirt on permanent display in the Hall of Fame. He was adorable.

The game was a lot of fun. We sat in the upper deck, mainly to have a few of the skyline and Clemente Bridge. 

Isn't it beautiful?
The game was fun. Like I said, I LOVED PNC Park. There was a group of guys sitting on the row in front of us at a "Bachelor Party". They were... interesting but they weren't annoying or rude. We enjoyed talking to them and had great conversations. Once again, we had people impressed that two females were on a baseball trip (really people, it's the 21st century- girls can like sports). 

Remember how we got giveaway umbrellas before the game? Well, during the game, it started to rain. Hey- that's okay, I thought. I have an umbrella to use. Less than 30 seconds after opening the umbrella, a not-so-nice usher came over and snapped at me to close it. He was like, you can't have umbrellas in the ballpark. Really dude, because the ballpark gave it to me when I came in the gate. He said that I could have it, I just couldn't open it. EVEN IF IT WAS RAINING? I asked. He said he could eject me from the ballpark just for opening it. I thought he was kidding so I laughed. He wasn't kidding. He made a point to pull out his handy-dandy usher notebook and pointed to the rule listed. Sure enough, no open umbrellas allowed. So, in all my years of attending MLB games, I'm almost ejected for opening an umbrella. Go figure. Oh well, it made for a good laugh after the fact. You would think they might have mentioned to us when they gave us the umbrella "hey, don't open it, even if it starts raining." What's really funny is that there was no one behind me, so it wasn't like I was blocking anyone's view. Ah, Pittsburgh.

So, throughout the game, our new friends tried to convince us to go out with them afterward, but we politely declined. Several times. The game went to extra innings after the Pirates tied it up in the bottom of the 9th. Our new friends wimped out in the top of the 10th, but we stayed until the bottom of the 11th when the Pirates won on a walk-off hit. We got to see them Raise the Jolly Roger-which is their victory flag. I know, I wasn't sure what it meant when I first heard the phrase either.

We were only on day two of our trip and had already accomplished SO MUCH
We were exhausted as we were leaving PNC Park, but it had been a great day so we didn't even care. We decided to walk around and take photos of some of the statues outside the ballpark. We were in a hurry to get to our tour on time earlier that we didn't walk around the outside. We joked with each other, wondering what time Phil left (because the man is 100 years old, surely he left in like the 6th or 7th inning). We turned a corner, and who do we see waltzing out of the gate- PHIL. Looking like he had more energy than the two of us combined. I possibly grabbed Lisa's arm and mouthed "IT'S PHIL!" He was adorable and I had to have a photo with him. I went up to him and politely said hello and happy birthday. I asked if I could trouble him for a photo, and he said it was no trouble. He's obviously used to being a star. HE. WAS. A. PEACH. 

Me and Phil. Trip. Made. 
Once again we hadn't checked in to the hotel before the game, so it was well after midnight before we got to our room. Another long, exhausting day, but we didn't care. We were looking forward to day three!

I hope to give you the next update in LESS THAN FOUR MONTHS, but I refuse to make promises at this point. :)

Quick 40 THROUGH 40 update: 
2. See a game at six different ballparks on my MLB Ballparks To Visit list- this trip made ballpark #5
4. Visit three states on my States To Visit list- WV made state #3!