Saturday, June 25, 2016

Day 2: Frisco Roughriders. Top Notch Top Gun, Bluelight Beer, and Educating the Youth.

We woke up in Jackson, MS (not Michigan, Ben) and hit the road (by which we mean I-20...just I-20) pretty early for Dallas, TX (still not Michigan, Ben). First we grabbed some biscuits with tomato gravy for breakfast at a local farmer's market. It tasted like a light pizza sauce but I'm sure it was mostly butter, so despite the fruit in the name it was probably as bad for us as everything else we've eaten thus far.

The next moment of any merit happened between Monroe and Shreveport, LA when we sped past a sign noting "In the beginning, God created." Then, for more information we were instructed to dial 1-855-FOR-TRUTH. So naturally we did, and oh baby we were not disappointed. We declined to ask any questions of their spiritual counselors, but we did listen to three pre-recorded explanations from their collection of 10 billboards, including the one we saw. We were cautioned heavily against lust, because lust drags men to hell. No mention of women, though, so finally some good news for them!

We hit Shreveport around lunchtime and we noticed the city has no fewer than 8 Whataburgers, a local-regional burger chain in Texas and elsewhere. We'd never been, and Texans are inordinately proud of this place (not as bad as Californians and In-N-Out, but still), so we hit one for lunch. It was actually quite good! The fries are like McDonald's but crispier, and the burger was reminiscent of a Whopper but with mustard, which added a nice tang. Two out of two Journeymen agree that Texans' pride in Whataburger is, in fact, merited.

On the way out we decided to indulge our inner rebels and check out "Fort Humbug", which is basically a replica of a fake cannon made out of a burned log that the "clever Confederates" used to fool a bunch of "dumb Yankees" into steering clear. It was pretty awesome.

Heh, dumb Yankees. That's a LOG, y'all.

Then we hit the road west again. When we crossed into Texas the first thing we saw was mile marker 632. Well, sheeeeit. And that's not even the whole state.

Then we got into Dallas in the heart of Friday afternoon rush hour. So that was fun. But we made the game well ahead of first pitch for reasons that will become apparent below in our game recap!

Day 1: Mississippi Braves. Pearl, MS. Here's to the Braves of Mississippi!

So, a disclaimer before the main post.  We really enjoyed the game.  Miss Braves put on a good show, have a nice park, and there were at least a few unique highlights.  We actually recommend this park if you’re in the area.  But we’re going to be… unkind toward the state that houses them.  Eh, we’re men rapidly approaching the end of their 20s whose hobby includes counting urinals.  Don’t listen to us.

Scrappiness Ho!  To kick off our 5th adventure in minor league baseball, we got up, got dressed, got a stop sign ticket, got breakfast, got on the highway and headed west, young man.  Our end goal being the Mississippi Braves Jacksonville Suns game in Pearl, MS.  To fill up the time, we avoided Birmingham (more on that at the end of the trip) and embraced our pagan side by paying tribute to the Sibyl Temple in Vestavia Hills, AL.  Apparently an old Birmingham mayor was obsessed with Roman architecture and built his estate like a grand Roman temple.  All that remains is this temple to a sibyl, a prophetic priestess, the most famous of whom foolishly wished for immortality, but not eternal youth.
"Sibyl, what do you want?"  "I wish to die."

Zach's best impression of a Vestal Virgin

Our Alabama adventures concluded in Tuscaloosa, where we found what was recommended to be an excellent backwoods rib joint: Dreamland.  There were signed dollar bills all over the place, it was facing a set of mobile homes on one front and a church on the other, and it rather famously sold ribs and not much else, all signs of a winner.  It had great sauce and the sides were tasty, but the ribs themselves were… whelming.  For a place that had so much character, we kinda had better expectations for the food.  Oh well…

We entered Mississippi with a thunk.  Because the road quality from Alabama to Mississippi takes quite a dive, literally.
And they have cities named "Chunky".  No joke needed.

As for our experience in the ironically named Hospitality State, we felt it could be summed up only in 1960’s rebel ballad format.

Here’s to the drivers of Mississippi
You sit still on the highway when we want our speed to surge
Amidst all the construction you never want to merge
You and all your fellows should in one place converge
So all that’s good and beautiful can from your sins be purged

Here’s to the vending machines of Mississippi
Your candy bars should not be melted before they’re in my mouth
You should know air conditioning because you’re in the South
And furthermore your Pepsi makes us want to just drive out(h)
And because this is a baseball blog, I’ll mention Nate McLouth

Here’s to the forests of Mississippi
You advertise a scenic route with vistas, views, and more
Your streets are oddly labeled and make our tires sore
You’re filled up more with farms than with the nature we adore
We gave you half an hour, but you gave us a chore

Here’s to the minigolf of Mississippi
You open in the evening and only have white balls
The holes are all aloft so the putting never falls
And sometimes there are two holes inside the lowered walls
This was so unconventional.  How do you have the gall?

Here’s to the blog you’ve torn out the heart of
Mississippi find yourself another journey to be part of

Measure twice, cut once.  Or in Mississippi, put holes wherever you want. 

It was even hard to get directions around Jackson, because Google always wanted to give us the locations and weather of Jackson, Michigan.  As if it was saying, "You don't really mean Mississippi, do you?"  But enough whining.  After checking into a hotel in Jackson, we did some errands and headed to the game.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

SJ V Intro: Go West, Scrappy Journeymen

It's 8 million degrees outside and Ben has entered his annual childless phase, so it's as good a time as any for our 5th annual MiLB roadtrip.

Our original plan was to go exotic and drive down to MEH-HEE-CO, but once we realized we couldn't actually speed from the border to Mexico City in a Corolla without stopping for gas in the middle of cartel territory we decided to just drive west instead.

Scheduled highlights include TOP GUN NIGHT in Frisco, Texas; an Albuquerque Isotopes game; seeing the new Independence Day in Roswell, NM; and a college summer league home run derby in Denver (SO SCRAPPY...or because it's only dingers does that make them GLOREE BOYZ?). But of course these highlights are, as usual, subject to change due to journeyman or team incompetence or, like, wildfires.

Also, because we're old and cranky and set in our ways now (GRIZZLED SEASONED VETERANS) we're not planning to change our metrics from last year. We will, however, be adding a Player Tracking feature where we (randomishly) pick a player to keep an eye on in the future since we've accumulated quite a cadre of players who are (not coincidentally) elevated after being featured on this blog (Brandon Poulson, Xander Bogaerts, Mallex Smith, Cheslor Cuthbert, and Socrates Brito). 

Will any team step up and dethrone our favorite stops of St. Paul or Humboldt County, CA? Will we find ANY team as GRITTY as the replacement-level PawSox? Only one way to find out...

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Day 10.2: Potomac Nationals, Woodbridge, VA. Buff-a-Rine? Buff-a-YEAH!

***NOTE: Apparently I wrote this and then never published it last year because I am a MOE-RON. So here it is, to whet your whistle ahead of this year's trip, which kicks off Thursday in Pearl, Mississippi***

As noted in our previous post, we tragically had to leave the 35-hit affair at the Bowie Baysox to ensure we made it over to the Potomac Nationals, on the other side of D.C., well before first pitch at 6:05pm. Why so early, you ask? Read on, and ye shall find what ye seeketh.