Thursday, August 4, 2005

Take me out to the ballgame

I'm not a fan of baseball, but last night we were part of the cheering Toledo fan pack.

Toledo, August 3: After breakfast in Pittsburgh we had a 3 hour drive to Toledo, Ohio. There's not much to this city, it's like an overgrown small town. The small part we saw was composed of ancient brick buildings, most of them empty and all of them needing TLC.
We drove in around 1 p.m. and went straight to Tony Packo's for lunch where we ate the spiciest food we've had in a while. Jonathon had his standard Mac&cheese which might seem a sacrilege in a place as famous for hot dogs as Packo's, but he wouldn't have made it far with any of the normal toppings. Nicholas and Rebecca did have plain hot dogs, but what fun is that? Katherine chose the chilimac (chili and toppings on a pile of mini dumplings) but she didn't eat more than a few bites. I guess it was't quite as impressive an experience for our family as it should have been.
I admit I took a photo of the M*A*S*H crew photo, surrounded by signed hot dog buns. I didn't quite -get- the signed buns... but someone thought it was cool and now there are hundreds of them lining the walls.
The Hampton Inns and Suites is right near the Michigan border and our room is fabulous. The kids have room to run around and I honestly think it's bigger than Jeff's apartment, complete with kitchen area and separate toilet and sink areas. It's really comfortable for us. We checked in a few minutes before our room was ready and went across the street to Meijer to buy some forgotten items to pass the time. Rebecca treated herself and siblings to the best deal in the U.S., the penny ride. For a penny, they rode a mechanical horse for a minute. For the adults we saw an even better deal in the parking lot, a sign for a TARTA shuttle to Mudhens games. At the hotel we looked it up on-line (the front desk didn't have a clue) and for $1/person or $2/5 people there's a shuttle for ever Mudhens game. Even better, yesterday was Ozone Day or something, so the shuttle was free. OK, so it was only $3 we saved, but everything counts... that's the cost of postcards or yet another keychain. Katherine collects keychains. You can imagine what her collection looks like already.
Back at the hotel, everyone changed into swimsuits and went to the pool. The kids burnt energy for an hour with Sharks&Minnows. You should see Nicholas, he can swim half the length of one of these hotel pools and tries to do somersaults and swim to the bottom. Once we're in Togo, he'll turn into a fish. Katherine and Rebecca's strokes have gone to pot, but we'll fix that later. Jonathon is still a fraidy cat.
Washed and dried, we took the shuttle to the game, checked out all the food options and took our seats in the front row along the 3rd base line. The game was a blast, ending in a nailbiter top of the 9th with a score of 9-8 Mudhens. I've never been to a small hometown game and wasn't expecting to have such a great time. The kids enjoyed themselves thoroughly with yelling, doing the chicken dance and primarily trying to catch baseballs. Jonathon set up his hat on the wall in front of us and assured me he was ready when a ball came down. It would land right in his hat. We had two near catches, one to the right and one to the left, but no real chance of catching our own. We bought one in the gift shop instead.
We ate huge nacho grandes, gyros, pepsis and ice creams while we sat for three hours and yelled ourselves hoarse. 1st base line: MUD! 3rd base line: HENS! And boy did we encourage the Braves Pena to strike out. Every time he did, a random row in the stadium would get free ice cream.
Yeah. I guess you could say we had fun.
Chuckles: Nicholas really wanted to root for the Braves. They were, afterall, the Rich Men Braves. The music would periodically start "We Will, We Will Rock You" and the screen would show King Kong or dinosaurs from old B movies stomping their feet. Every time, Jonathon would search Fifths Third Field to see where the monsters were stomping. We could see the dancing Mudhens, why not King Kong?

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