"I've always liked Atlanta. And not just for the strip clubs." - Jon Stewart
I woke up Sunday morning around 6:00, to the world's loudest alarm clock. So I've been told by others who have heard it. And since it normally takes me a good ten minutes to even hear the alarm, I'm sure my neighbors love me. I had almost forgotten there even was a 6 AM. Been awhile since I'd seen it.
It's quite remarkable how much easier it is to wake up for a road trip than it is to wake up for work. I was excited. A trip to Atlanta to see my beloved Reds. A nice drive. A city I don't visit very often anymore. And baseball. Axl arrived shortly after 7. We were on the road by 7:30.
I wore a Reds t-shirt and cap, cargo shorts, and flip-flops. I put an extra pair of flip-flops in the back of the car, because I'm always afraid of blowing out a pair and having to walk barefooted thru a restaurant in some sort of Mentos commercial gone bad. Or worse, what if I had to pee? Public restroom. Me with only one shoe? That is a germophobic nightmare. I'd have to lop off my foot.
We made it to Atlanta in about three hours. Highlights of the drive included a train of five or six police cars lined up single file along an interstate on-ramp, taking off one-by-one like airplanes on a runway to chase down speeding cars. Because we all know, one of the most serious threats to society today is speeding. And besides that, the best time to catch someone speeding or drinking and driving would be Sunday morning around 10:00 AM.
Another highlight was when we reached the part of I-20 that is so bumpy and in such bad condition, it was making the CD player in my car skip unrelentingly. That's a fun ten miles.
Upon arriving, I paid $12 to park. It was around this time that I decided an excellent investment for my retirement would be to purchase a large parking lot. We walked to the stadium and purchased tickets. Our seats were down the left field line, fourteen rows up. Not bad. And we wound up sitting around a lot of Reds fans.
To me, Turner Field is rather boring. There's no view of the city skyline beyond the outfield wall. No view of anything really. It's fairly symmetric. Not a lot of history. Nothing distinguishing about it. It was part of the Olympic stadium built for the '96 Summer Games. The rest of the Olympic stadium was torn down and turned into parking.
Still, there's nothing like a day at the ballpark. College football is, and will probably always be, my favorite sport. But there's something about a summer day or night at the old ballgame. Eating a hot dog. Hoping to catch a homerun or foul ball. The seventh inning stretch. Seeing kids standing by the fence, hoping to get an autograph from some big league player. A game seemingly as old as time.
The Reds lost the game 8-3. Our best chance came when we put two runners on, down 6-3, bringing the tying run to the plate, and Griffey pinch hitting. But alas, there was no joy in Boneville, as mighty Griffey struck out. That's OK. Another great thing about baseball, there's almost always tomorrow. 162 games a year.
After the game, we headed downtown. We ate and watched the end of the World Cup at some Irish pub. A waitress with cute glasses and a tongue ring gave me excellent directions back to the interstate. She had a sort of a if-we-were-in-college-and-studying-late-at-night-we'd-probably-end-up-making-out vibe.
We got home a little after 8:00. The drive home was nice. I didn't even mind the ten miles of bumpiness on the way back. As we were about four songs into Axl's Steve Winwood greatest hits CD, and I was well past my Winwood limit, when the player started skipping.
As Axl took out the CD, I was certain there must indeed be higher love.
"Some people call me Maurice, cos I speak the pompatus of love..."