Monday, September 16, 2013

Ohio - Part 2 (Cleveland and Cincinnati)

(written by J)

The drive from Sandusky to Cleveland is roughly an hour.  So considering we were driving out of the Cedar Point parking lot at approximately 5:45PM, we could possibly make it in time to the Indians game.  There was one slight complication though – the Browns' first preseason game was also scheduled for Thursday night.  Progressive Field (Indians) and First Energy Stadium (Browns) are both easily accessible from the same main street through downtown, East 9th Street.  Imagine 90,000 plus people using the same route at the same time to get to either of the two sporting events.  I was concerned that we would miss a good chunk of the game sitting in traffic.  Amazingly, we found parking relatively close by and entered the stadium just at the Indians were batting in the bottom of the 1st inning.

The Indians had already lost the first 3 games of this series with the Tigers so expectations that the Tribe would prevail were not very high.  At least I didn’t get my hopes up.  It was 6-0 Tigers in the 3rd inning, 8-1 Tigers in the 4th, and 10-1 Tigers in the 5th.  Oh well, it is always fun to go to a Major League Baseball game even if your team gets stomped. 

You never know what you will see at the old ball game but there is usually something memorable.  For example after 8 innings, the Indians had rallied back to within 10-2.  To start the 9th inning, the Indians had changed pitchers again.  This time, I noticed something different.  The pitcher warming up had a number in the single digits (#9) which is very unusual in MLB.  One of the reserve outfielders had come on to pitch the 9th.  Naturally, he pitched a 1-2-3 inning to the delight of the remaining Indian fans in attendance.  After the 10-3 loss, we headed to our hotel in the suburbs to check in.  I was concerned that they might give away our room because we arrived after 11PM.  Checking in late was probably the best thing to do.  When I opened the door to our room, I saw a couch and a kitchen.  I was like, “Where are the beds?”  They were in the other room because we ended up with a 2 room suite!

The next day (Friday) was a very enjoyable, relaxing day.  We started the day by visiting The Christmas Story House and Museum near downtown.  The holiday classic which is on for 24 straight hours on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day was actually filmed in Cleveland even though it is set in Indiana.  We were in the house where the movie was filmed. 

It was very cool and very hands on.  You could touch anything you wanted to in the museum.  I got to pick up the dad’s “prize”, H opened the kitchen cabinet door where Randy was hiding when he was scared that his dad would kill Ralphie, Z sat on the toilet in the bathroom where Ralphie decoded Little Orphan Annie’s disappointing and commercial secret message, and B and A took turns dropping the dad’s Christmas present towards my midsection. 

The kids have never seen the movie before due to some questionable language so while they enjoyed it, they didn’t really get the full effect.  We are going to let them watch this Christmas Eve so they can look back and say, “Hey, I remember that.”

That evening, we spent quality time with my aunts, uncles, and cousins on my mom’s side.  Pretty much, the entire side of my mom’s family resides in the Cleveland area.  Unfortunately, we had not seen any of them in 5 years.  And because it had been that long, they had never meet A before.  It was a glorious evening where all of the adults just sat around outside chatting, reminiscing, sharing fun stories about everything going on in our lives while the kids had a blast playing.  During the making s'mores on the campfire portion of the evening, Z decided to use his stick to set a patch of grass on fire which H quickly doused.  It had been too long since we saw everyone and unfortunately, the night went by too quickly.  But hopefully, we can get everyone back together before another 5 years pass.

Saturday morning we drove down to Cincinnati, the final destination on this year’s vacation.  My dad’s side of the family all live in the Cincinnati area.  The past 2 years we visited them and had a wonderful time.  They are always so welcoming when we visit.  They always ask what we want to do and rearrange their schedules to accommodate us.  The one thing that I really wanted to do this year was go to a Reds game.  They were on the road the last 2 years we were up there so that wasn’t an option.  This year, they were at home so my cousin and his wife arranged getting 17 tickets for the whole gang to go to the Saturday night Reds-Padres clash.  Not only that, but they got our kids Reds T-shirts to wear to the game.  How cool is that!  Great American Ballpark where the Reds play is a launching pad.  Balls are always leaving the yard in highlights it seems.  So I was looking forward to a high scoring affair.  Also the Reds are good and the Padres are not so I figured the Reds would prevail.  I was wrong on both accounts.  The final score was Padres 3, Reds 1.  Once again though, it was a great evening at the ballpark.  Our seats were near home plate on the first base side and we had great views of the Ohio River behind the stadium.  We saw some riverboats and even a couple barges traverse the river as we watched the game. 

The one thing I will remember from this game is that the Reds 3rd basemen had a night to forget.  He committed 3 errors and also hit into a double play.  I felt bad for him because it wasn’t like he wasn’t trying.  He was trying and it just wasn’t working for him on that evening.  I must point out one final thing about Great American Ballpark.  One of their food items is nachos covered with cheese and jalapenos.  So what’s the big deal about that?  They put the nachos in a full sized Reds batting helmet.  Imagine trying to eat your head size in nachos.  Even worse, imagine putting on that batting helmet after eating said nachos.  Ewwwww!

On our last day of the trip (Sunday), we had a nice, fun time with everyone at the swimming pool for 4 plus hours and then at Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner.  The best part about spending time with relatives is just chilling and spending time with those relatives.  And Sunday was just that.  It was the perfect way to finish up this vacation.  Hopefully we see them again really soon as well.

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