Saturday, July 19, 2014

Day Last: Sonoma Stompers. Beer Batters, Tennis Ball Wine, and a Red Bull

Sorry for the delay in getting this one out.  We have all returned to our normal lives:  Zach has finished his twelve allotted days of sentience and returned to his job as a mannequin at the Lenox Macy's for the rest of the year.  Ben continues to sit in his typewriter repair shop Mon-Sat 10-6 just knowing that when he gets a customer they will be so grateful.  And Pat... well this is a family blog so let's just say he does something with computers.

After an uneventful morning, our heroes set back out the same path as yesterday, bound for Sonoma, home of the Stompers.  Many thanks, however, to Andrew and Lexi for driving us there.  For the past twelve days, we had either been in traffic or driving along vast quantities of nature, so our knees were a little weary.  It was also remarkable to see someone drive in San Francisco who actually knows what he's doing.  In time we might get used to it, but for now we are still perplexed and daunted by the "roads that temporarily become stairs."

After the game, we visited the HopMonk Beer Garden in Sonoma where we tasted many tasty beverages.  Surprisingly, throughout the entire course of the trip, despite driving through some of the most famous wine country in the, uh, country, none of us had a single sip of wine.

Anyway, The Game:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Day 11, Healdsburg Prune Packers: Beef Tongue, Prunes, and Cheeseburgers as a Palette Cleanser

After getting in at 1230 last night and finally retiring around 2a, we decided against the 11am game in Healdsburg...besides, we'd had enough morning ball already with Rancho Cucamonga. Fortunately for us, this was the first game of a double-header with the second starting at 230p. Somewhat more reasonable.

So we pretty much woke up and then walked down a mountain to get a galaxy-famous Mission burrito (so named because, well, they're burritos on Mission Street in the Mission District of San Francisco. Mission.). Taqueria Can-Cun is our go to, but you really can't go wrong most places.

After being filled with burritos and prior to walking back up the mountain, Zach decided it would be a great idea to fill the Journeymen with soda at The Fizzary, an "urban menagerie of soda" that is pretty much the most San Franciscan thing ever except the cashier wasn't wearing Google Glass. Anyway, Zach got a weird Mexican lime soda and paid his penance immediately by having it spray all over him when he tried to pop off the screw top. 

He then paid further penance by being drafted to walk up the mountain and bring the car back down for two other, clearly less Scrappy Journeymen who shall remain nameless. Pat and Ben. Cough.

The night was taken up with a trip to a bar called Zeitgeist per friend-of-the-Journeymen Ashley's recommendation, which featured the Revenge From Mars pinball machine (so a circa 1998 Zeitgeist, we guess?). It also featured a solid palette cleanser of a cheeseburger to end the day; as a sidenote, this is the only bar where I've ever ordered a cheeseburger and gotten it medium rare by default, but whatever it came quick and wasn't poison. But what did the cheeseburger cleanse, you might ask? Well friends, let's get to the game, shall we?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Day 10, Modesto Nuts: The Transcendent, Mindbending Beauty of Our Planet; Belching; and Testicle Jokes

After yesterday's Lancaster game we braced ourselves for the most (self-imposed) brutal day of driving of the trip. We drove 1.5 hours to Bakersfield for the night, then got up and out the door by 8am to head west to the coast. We wanted to drive the most scenic portion of Highway 1 up the coast through Big Sur before swinging all the way back inland for a night game in Modesto. It was a 4 hour investment; the groups calling this insane versus well-worth it are probably split cleanly along the lines of those who have been to Big Sur or not. For the uninitiated, it's mountains that end by dropping right off into the ocean.

On the way up we were trying to remember which vista it was where Zach had stopped before to see some elephant seals gathering on the beach. Conveniently, there was a sign for the Elephant Seal Vista.

Zach's spirit animal: sleep most of the day, occasionally belligerent around others for no apparent reason, communicates entirely in belches. They sound disturbingly like Rick from Rick and Morty.

We then drove up into the mountains and clouds and careened around the treacherous and descriptively-named Coastal Cliffs Highway. We made a few stops along the way for particularly beautiful views.

Our first vista stop at Ragged Point on the Sky Deck. This is a pretty good indication of what you get at Big Sur: cliffs going right into the sea.

Between this and our next picture we stopped to do a brief portion of the Cruickshank Trail, which starts at the side of the road and switchbacks straight up a huge mountain. Zach did the whole trail earlier another trip, but your journeymen were a combination and lazy and hurried. You know what, let's go with hurried.

Our third stop: McWay Falls. It's a waterfall that drops right into the ocean. Zach's favorite view in the whole park. Pat wasn't 100% convinced this was real life and not CGI.

After this was burned it for Modesto and the Modesto Nuts, arriving perfectly just a few minutes before first pitch. After the game we had to burn another 1.5 hours that turned into 2.5 hours thanks to post-game traffic (!!), two distinct simultaneous accidents immediately ahead of us on the highway, and a modest 60% reduction in lanes on the Bay Bridge. We did finally arrive in SF to stay with our new gracious hosts and latest Friends of the Journeymen Whether They Like It Or Not, Lexi and Andrew. Anyway, onward to the game!

Day 9. Lancaster Jethawks: Our heroes get lost in a castle and get blown away in a hanger.

After one of our first relaxing mornings of the trip, the team grabbed Pat’s contractually obligated 3rd burrito in two days.  Confident that the air quality would be just fine, we all climbed back into the car for a three hour jaunt back up to Lancaster.

Before baseballing, we stopped at Mulligan’s Family Fun Center for a round of mini-golf.  The name proved to be accurate as a cumbersome loop-the-loop caused consternation amongst our heroes.  More frustrating were a pair of castles and windmills that ate our balls completely, forcing us to skip them and think creatively on how to actually reach 18 holes.  Anyway, Ben lost and had to buy Zach’s ticket to the Jethawks.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Day 8. Rancho Cucamonga Quakes: The Young, The Old, and the Earlybird Special

On Wednesday we set out to do something no Journeyman has ever done: watch baseball in person before 11am local time. We knew this would require certain sacrifices: namely, getting up before 8am to drive 2 hours from San Diego. It was “day camp day” at Rancho Cucamonga, and game time was 10:35am. Not without trepidation, your three Journeymen and our gracious (but, in his own way, despicable) host JC piled into the Journeymobile 2.0 and set out for the Rancho. After negotiating substantial but manageable LA-region traffic, we pulled into the parking lot of LoanMart Field behind approximately 47 white buses.

These buses were full of, as you may have inferred, day campers. The crowd for this game was about 90% youngsters in color-coded T-shirts indicating which day camp or summer program they were enrolled in, and their associated counselors, chaperones, minders, and other ostensibly responsible adults. As a result we felt somewhat out of place, and there was, on occasion, a hellish cacophony of screaming. But still, there was baseball to watch.

After the game we decided we needed some old people to offset those campers, so we went gambling. The Sycuan tribe was not as generous as they were last time. Though Zach did see an 8-card bust in blackjack, which paid out at 250:1 as a side bet on the blackjack tables. One guy walked away with $2,500 on that one hand. Ridiculous. On to the highlights:

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Day 7, Resting: Just Like God.

So your Scrappy Journeymen took a page out of God's book and rested on our 7th day. While we had originally planned to go to the Los Angeles Angels night game, we decided we'd rather check out Joshua Tree National Park and then get down to San Diego at a decent time of night to say hi to friend-of-the-Journeymen Jick rather than watch Baseball-by-Disney.

So that's exactly what we did. We went to Joshua Tree, and it was - as advertised - pretty wild and alien. We did 3 miles of hikes, and in the July desert heat that was quite enough for us.

 The spice must flow.
 Pat imagines himself as the first man on whatever the hell godforsaken planet this is.
 Well, damn. Naturally, a dam. Iiiiin the desert. Which, to be fair, wasn't a desert back when this was built.
 That's your garden-variety dam right there.
 And now something cattle used to drink from.

We also encountered some rather strange symbols on our trip. No, not the Native American Petroglyphs.

That dark line in the distance? The San Andreas Fault. As if the fucking BEE WARNING wasn't enough.

Then we drove down to San Diego, got some sushi, bought some good booze and played Illuminati. THE END.

Come back tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Day 6. Inland Empire 66ers: Embrace the Void.

It turns out California is long, and we decided it would be smart to drive most of it in a 28-hour period.   From Eureka to San Bernardino (San Ber'Dino to its friends). So there's not much to report pre-game today. We drove, and it was boring...

...then we drove some more, and it was marginally less boring...

...then we stopped for a burger at In-n-Out. Then we slid into San Bernardino with about 45 minutes before the game.

So why do this? Because we had to throw out the first pitch in Arcata on the 6th, but we built our entire trip - beginning and ending in San Francisco - around being outside L.A. right in the middle for the Inland Empire 66ers' unique Nothing Night promotion. From the website: "Welcome to Nothing Night where all fans who enter the game will witness a ballgame in its purest form without all the glitz and glamor of modern day stadiums. Admission and parking is FREE for the night so bring out the family to enjoy a simple night at the ballpark."

So in keeping with the night's minimalist theme, onward to the game.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Day 5. Humboldt Crabs. The Journeymen get Wood, Crabs, and Sheep.

So we rose bright and early from our desert hovel to drive 3 hours through windy mountains to Arcata, CA, home of the Humboldt Crabs.  We encountered several small towns like Del Loma (pop, 36), as well as a few Bigfoot themed restaurants.  We hope they serve Bigfoot.  In both meanings of the term.  We came upon the JC Dump and the Burnt Rich Dump and a couple of stretches of highway sponsored by Families Against Meth.  But mostly we saw 100 miles of trees and hills.  We would say that we pity the school bus drivers and mailmen that have to service these communities, but frankly the drive is gorgeous and there are worse ways to spend a workday than surrounded by this.

No snarky caption this time.  Damn.

Eventually we arrived in Arcata and, after doing a double take at the Tsunami Zone signs around town, ambled up to Arcata Ball Park.  More on that later.

After the game, we took a drive down California 101 and the Avenue of the Giants to see some redwoods.  Our pictures really can’t do justice to the vertigo you feel looking up at them, and the complete change of tone as you enter the dark shady grove out of the perpetual California sun.  We left just as a tour bus pulled up too, so the ancient tree gods must have smiled on us.

I'll give you three sheep for this wood.

Pat and Zach posing around the glory hole.  Whoops, no these are redwood roots.

To round off the day, we made sure to eat dinner at, wait for it… CARL’S JR!!  Well, not everything we do can be iconic.  But Ben would like it known that two nights after being decimated at Uno, he pulled off a sneaky backdoor victory in Settlers of Catan.  My Knights will march your Draw 4’s into the ground!

Day 4. Redding Colt .45s: Glory Holes, Groupies, and HOLY CRAP THIS IS A DESERT

After that grinder of a doubleheader and a close-fought (well, except for Ben, who got crushed) impromptu Uno tournament at our new friend-of-the-Journeymen Mike's place (thanks, Mike! And Anna for hooking us up with Mike!), we grabbed a few hours shuteye planning for a nice leisurely morning before jaunting 20 minutes down the road to Oakland for the Walnut Creek Crawdads day game.

Instead, Zach did what he does so well and audibled away all their carefully crafted plans. Instead of a 20-minute jaunt down to Oakland, we decided on a 3-hour jaunt up I-5 to Redding, CA for the Redding Colt .45s that night (members of the same collegiate summer league as Walnut Creek). The night game would leave us some time for a nice hike in the nearby and tastefully-named Whiskeytown Lake National Recreation Area, we thought.

We booked a hotel in Redding and, upon arriving there, Zach went nside and asked the check-in clerk about good places to hike around there. Her response was a look of abject horror. "You want to go hiking? In this weather?" she asked, dumbfounded. We considered for a moment and decided well, yeah, we guess it felt a little warm on the way in, but it's been so nice out! It was 69 like three hours ago. We then checked the weather and discovered a decidedly fierier reading of 105. Oh, right. Inland California is chaparral and desert.

That said, 105 dry heat in northern inland Cali is nothing next to even 93 and humid in Atlanta. Very tolerable heat, even in the sun. There were some people by the beer tents at the game later complaining about the 5% humidity that day (to be fair, by game time it had risen 20% to 6%). Oh to hell with these desert-dwellers.

Bowed but not defeated (what are we if not scrappy, after all?) we swung by the 7/11, grabbed the 3 largest water bottles they had, and spun out for Whiskeytown Lake. Our first stop on the circuit around this beautiful piece of carefully-engineered-and-dredged-for-power-generation-and-irrigation nature? Well, none other than the Glory Hole.

Pat and Zach posing around the Glory Hole. SHUT UP, it's a 260-foot deep spillway that acts as a last-minute desperation place through which to blast your liquid into a willing receptacle that can handle the load when you can't take it anymore without cresting over the edge. Penis.

"Stay Alive by Staying Out." Truer words ne'er were written.

We then drove an at-times ill-advised 5.5 miles over a "well-manicured" (the ranger's term, not ours) dirt road in our rented Corolla before seeing a big-ass hydroelectric power station and needing to zip back toward Redding. Where we watched a baseball game. Which is what you're ostensibly here to read about. So here we go!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Day 3 Part 2. San Jose Giants: Failing to pay the Troll Toll, Cramming into the Mayflower, and Watching Comcast Explode

A few disclaimers before we really dive into the San Jose Giants review.  We are not judging this place and this team fairly.  We arrived a little cranky from a rushed exit from San Rafael, wrestled with the lack of transparency regarding how rental cars pay tolls on the Golden Gate, made a detour back to the airport to get Pat insured on said rental car, and had to pay more for parking than we expected.  Furthermore, it was a holiday, so the park was absolutely jam packed, leading to more lines and a generally claustrophobic atmosphere.  Suffice it to say, certain stars just weren’t aligned for this game and us.  We will never (really) criticize someone for how they want to enjoy a baseball game, nor can we really argue with a business model that operates at capacity and apparently keeps people happy the way that San Jose did.

This was our view for most of the game.  Do you see a game?

All that having been said, though, the Scrappy Journeymen have been to full ballparks before.  We have driven multiple hours to get to games before.  We have gone to 20 games over 21 days.  We have endured weather delays and cancellations, and nearly been killed at least three times.  And the San Jose Giants may have been the least entertaining experience that I (Ben) have had on these trips.

Here’s the thing.  When you go to a ballgame, one hopes that the ballgame is the main attraction.  We love attractions and goofy not-necessarily-baseball gimmickry, but that should serve to either enhance the central focus (the game) or provide a pleasant distraction for those too young or disinterested to entertain themselves on the side.  As we walked in through the wall of people, there were numerous bouncy castles and carnival games lining the asphalt.  We chose a direction to walk and eventually came to a couple of sit down restaurant/bars.  The field was barely visible over the table umbrellas and it took us a couple of moments to recognize which direction the field was oriented.  When we finally reached our seats in bleachers along the right field line, it was already 1-0 and nobody in our very densely packed section had any idea how the first run had been scored.  The announcer couldn’t be heard, the Stockton players names were not put up on the Tron, and there was essentially no way to follow the games progress.  A later lap confirmed that the sit down places have music instead of radio broadcasts, the field is invisible from anywhere but the seats, the announcer is inaudible anywhere but the grandstand.  The game was secondary, another attraction in the 4th of July festival held at Municipal Stadium in San Jose.

Anyway, on to ...

Day 3 Part 1. San Rafael Pacifics: Old Timers, Young Interns, and Putting Our Feet up on the Couch

On Friday we set out to become the Vallejo Admirals' first ever groupies. The Pacific Association has all of four teams, so it was perhaps not surprising that San Rafael was hosting Vallejo when we went to see them. San Rafael is in their third season, and the extra year of work actually showed. More on that in the highlights.

Friday’s promotion was a “vintage baseball” game, so we had high hopes. And boy did they ever deliver.

Only one umpire (“the Sir”), standing off to the side of the batter, in a three-piece suit and a bowler hat, smoking a cigar. A cigar! We could smell it from the grandstand. The stadium is non-smoking in 2014, but this is 1884!

We arrived partway through the first inning of a full seven inning game of vintage baseball between the San Francisco Pacifics and the Bay Area Vintage Baseball All-Stars, part of an honest-to-God vintage baseball league (because San Francisco). We were all very impressed with the level of detail, from the pillbox caps and barely-more-than-a-plain-leather-glove gloves, to the 7-ball walks and batter’s-choice high-or-low strike zones, to the terminology of “hurlers,” "strikers", and “pilfered bases.” It was, as they say, a hoot.

As baseball, it was not a bad game. The dead balls kept most of the action in the infield, and the fielders made some fine plays, particularly given they were barely wearing gloves. A bit more offense developed in the later innings, we saw multiple lead changes, and the bottom of the final inning started with the All-Stars leading 6-5. The Pacifics rallied and “Cha-Cha” Ackerly delivered a walk-off single to win the game. The BAVBB has their own entertaining write-up as well. If you look carefully your journeymen can be seen in the background of the official photo.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Day 2. MLB: By Our Powers Combined, and Stepping Out of Our League

This will be a blissfully short post for all of you, for today was our least-scrappy day of the trip. While in the Bay Area we felt we had to take advantage to see one of the supposedly-nicest (SF Giants, AT&T Park) and the unarguably-crappiest (Oakland A's, Coliseum) stadiums in MLB. None of us had been to either of these before.

First up, SF Giants:

The game: They got killed. It's Zach's fault for having M. Bumgarner on his fantasy team. Sorry, Giants fans.
Zach spent most of the day trolling Giants fans, primarily by wearing his same-color-schemed Orioles cap.

The stadium: It was quite pretty. We had some sweet lower level seats courtesy of some Friends of the Journeymen (thanks, Lexi and Andrew!), though we spent a good amount of time enjoying the views from the outfield by the Cove and in the upper deck with a better view across the bay into (scenic?) Oakland. The views were indeed spectacular, and all the exposed brick gives the stadium an old-school but still very clean feel. The breeze from off the Bay and just standing in the outfield watching the kayakers was definitely a unique experience we all enjoyed.

We forgot to take a picture of the Cove itself, or any of the spectacular views. Enjoy the outfield.

We all agreed, though, that at least our section of the lower level in right field had too shallow a grade. You were staring at the back of people's heads all the time. The upper deck was not like this, and Ben reports that other parts of the lower bowl weren't, so perhaps it's just that area with a design flaw. But it definitely detracted from the view.

The food options were excellent, unique, and plentiful. Because of lines we didn't have time to sample everything we wanted (crab sandwich on SF sourdough), but we got some Gilroy Garlic Fries (Gilroy is apparently the Garlic Capital of some geographic entity) and Zach had a hot link corn dog that was...well, a spicy corn dog, so awesome. This was also the first and only stadium where we saw Chinese food being sold; makes sense, SF.

Second up, Oakland A's:

The game: The As dominated, because of course they did. This despite Zach having Yoenis Cespedes on his team (so naturally he went 0-for-4). Bonus points for Sean Doolittle - who is dating one of Pat's high school friends - notching the save. Negative points for Pat not remembering this connection in time to score us free seats.

But the coolest thing: most of the game was played UNDER PROTEST from the A's! WARNING: BASEBALL-LIKE SUBSTANCE FOLLOWS. SKIP TO THE NEXT PARAGRAPH IF YOU ARE UNINTERESTED. This is the second game in 3 years Zach has found himself at that was played under protest (a pretty rare occurrence). The first was the 252' infield fly in Atlanta for the one-game playoff with St. Louis. This time was an interesting play: bases loaded, 1 out, Toronto batting. Batter hits a ground ball to 1B, who semi-tags the runner going to 2nd. 2nd base ump does not signal him out, and in fact signaled him safe. 1B throws home, gets the force at HP but the catcher did not tag the runner. This is important because Toronto challenged that their own runner going to 2nd was actually out, making the play at home not a force and resulting in the run scoring and runners at 1st and 3rd with 2 outs. This challenge was upheld by an umpiring crew in NYC. This made the Oakland manager livid, and he filed an official protest stating that the umps on site should have discretion to interpret whether the runner at home should have been out (the ball arrived home when the runner was still several feet away, and the Oakland catcher could have easily applied the tag). Anyway, it was total chaos and therefore awesome.

The stadium: Speaking of not getting free seats, Oakland is surprisingly expensive. As crappy as the Coliseum is, we have to remember this is the Bay Area and tonight being near a holiday was a pretty popular game. Parking was $20 (and complete anarchy...nobody directing traffic, weaving in and out around tailgaters to find a spot) and the cheapest tickets were $28. The $28 tickets had a "possible obstruction", which we assumed was a column but turned out to be the foul poll. We really should've bought those tickets. Instead we were up a little higher on the plaza level, where we suffered quite the draft that kept our beers - and us - chilled all game long.

Yes, that's your Scrappy Journeymen. In hoodies. In July. Welcome to the Bay Area - this is every night game.

Oh boy, but the stadium. It is crapTASTIC. I should clarify that when we say craptastic, we mean that in an endearing way. This is your old high school stadium - or the St. Paul Saints - blown up to a much larger scale. Exposed concrete, TROUGHS IN THE MEN'S ROOMS (!!!!) (yes, we know Wrigley has them, too), cramped walkways cluttered with concession was pretty awesome.

The dugouts DON'T HAVE FENCES. The players are completely exposed. If you see one picture convincing you how craptastic the Coliseum is, make it this one.

Speaking of the concession stands, we could not find a really unique Oakland-y food to try, but then again we're not certain that exists. It was mostly your basic ballpark fare, nothing that interesting, so Ben and Zach opted for the most horrifying instead.

The appropriately-named Diablo Dog: fried onion strings, "bacon", and nacho "cheese." We're still alive, but why?

The crowd was spirited, however, waving flags and head-banging away as Doolittle came up to shut the door. We had a great time and Zach, at least, would probably own season tickets if his life ever collapsed to the point that he found himself living in Oakland.

The outfield is where it's at. We'll go there next time.

Next up it's Amurrika Day and your heroes will find themselves watching vintage baseball in San Rafael, followed by fireworks in San Jose. Brace yourselves for the two-parter, tomorrow at whenever-the-hell-we-feel-like-posting.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Day 1. Vallejo Admirals: Paying the Toll Troll, Wearing Hoodies in Oakland, and Calling for an Ejection

As we pulled back from the gate in Atlanta, the pilot announced we were having mechanical difficulties. This, oddly, did not send the Southwest plane full of passengers into a fit. Ben and I, being the degenerate gamblers we (at least I?) are (am?), set an over-under on our delay at 2 hours. Ben took the over so "either way I would win." He's learning. Turns out, though, it was 15 minutes, so actually Zach won.

So, we get to SF in about 5 hours. And it takes us approximately another 5 hours to get from SF to our lunch destination in Oakland. Holy frozen shitballs, Bay Area, your traffic SUCKS. And this is coming from two guys born in Atlanta. Also, you have a lot of tolls. And they're in one direction over bridges. You're weird.

 Just the most Oakland sign ever. This payphone will not dial pagers and will not accept incoming calls. Please do not use for drug deals.

Anyway, we finally had lunch at an awesome Chinese place (Shandong) in Oakland, per our man Alan's recommendation. We also recommend it. Get the Shandong *insert meat here*...delicious spicy gingery sauce. Then we hit a BevMo (for the uninitiated, if Costco were a liquor store) for the first time in our apparently miserable and unfulfilling lives, though we did not take advantage of their nickel wine deals. 

Then, it was off to Vallejo!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Scrappy Journeymen 33 1/3: Now With 50% More Journeymen

Despite – or is it rather to spite? - everyone's best wishes, your Journeymen are back for a third season. After the crippling Scrappy Local 712 strike of 2013 that ensued when Ben and Zach couldn't negotiate sufficient vacation days from their employers, we're back and raring to go in 2014 with a brand new Season 3: West Coast Edition(TM).

The Local 712 has been working feverishly to recruit new members to its ranks, and we are happy to report an increase in membership of 50%! We blame California for this. Anyway, please welcome our newest coattail-rider and hanger-on, Pat “Dr. Funk” Lange. Say hi to the people, Pat!

Here's Pat either providing his best Malort face or expressing remorse over his decision to join us.

Because we don't like Pat and will seek to freeze him out wherever possible, Ben and Zach have revised their Carefully Reviewed And Peer-tested for the Pacific Year (CRAPPY) metrics for season 3, with the following categories:

  1. Beer: Same as years past, points awarded for quality and cheapness, with bonus points for price differentials between crappy and good beer. Our cheapness scale will not change for rising prices because the Fed shouldn't be concerned about inflation, and neither are we.
  2. Most Caloric Concession Item: most caloric single order, 1 point per 200 calories. Because this state is full of Godless, crunchy hippies, we will be awarding bonus points for the widest and/or most hilarious gap between high-calorie and healthy food available at each park.
  3. Crowd: Same as years past, points awarded for size, enthusiasm, and characters, with fair adjustments for weekday vs. weekend and holidays.
  4. Funniest Name: We could not be more upset that the Hawaiian teams no longer play in the Pacific Association, but we won't let that stop us.
  5. Men's Rooms: We're guessing the only troughs we find will be at our Major League stop in the Oakland Coliseum, but a man can dream. Otherwise scoring as in past seasons.
  6. Promotions: Same as years past. We're particularly looking forward to “Vintage Baseball” in San Rafael and “Nothing Night” at the Inland Empire 66ers in San Bernardino.
  7. Biggest Celebrity: NEW FOR CALIFORNIA! This whole state is crawling with famous people, right? Sliding scale from local newsperson up to actual celebrity. Bonus points if your Scrappy Journeymen are, in fact, the biggest celebrities. Double bonus points if it's O.J. Simpson.
  8. California Bingo: NEW FOR CALIFORNIA! 2 points for identifying each of the following in the park, 1 bonus point for each of these found in the same person:
      -White guy dreds
      -Google glass-wearer
      -Tie dye
      -Board-person (skate, surf, or other)
      -Ostentatiously liberal thing (gay couple with a kid, wooden shoes, etc.)
      -Valley Girl; bonus points if she will, in fact, gag on a spoon for us
Of note from season 2, our mascot pointings will now be rolled into general bonus points.

After landing in San Francisco our first stop will be tonight in Vallejo, California for the Vallejo Admirals independent professional baseball club. We'll report more soon. Stay Scrappy, everyone!

Oh, and a HUGE THANKS to our friend (alright, acquaintance?) Alan, the Official Roof Provider for the Scrappy Journeymen from July 2, 2014 all the way through July 3, 2014.