Rays Road Trip Day One

So I shut down my Twitter client so I would just focus on writing this post. I tell you, Twitter has ruined my blogging haha! I want to capture as many memories as possible from this trip so I’m just going to write. I can pretty much guarantee that this post will be long. (Yep, WordPress tells me it’s 3,600 words. Whoa!) My hope is to write about the first day today before the Rays game at one and then write about the second day tomorrow. Let’s see how I do.

So for those who don’t know, B and Jayden and I set out on Tuesday August 6 for Phoenix, AZ to attend the two Rays games against the Diamondbacks. B got us a really nice room at a brand new hotel in downtown Phoenix right near the park and the hotel was pet friendly with complimentary dog bowls. When B read me the description of the hotel my eyes lit up. I was a little leery of dealing with other dogs but if the place was pet friendly, there would be a nice and easy relieving area, right? Ha!

B got a fantastic deal on the room. He’s really gotten good at road trips on the cheap, using hotels.com. The closer it got to the trip the more excited I started to feel but I made myself keep on an even keel so I wouldn’t get exhausted before we even left. Added to the mix was the possibility that we’d be going on the field for batting practice before the Wednesday game. What? I know. I got a message about it from David Price’s lady, Tiffany, a few days before the trip. David Price wanted to get me on field passes. Oh. Em. Gee. I felt the excitement bubbling up inside me at the possibility, images began dancing in my head of walking with Jayden on the grass, could we walk the bases? Could I get an idea of how big the field is? I started thinking about meeting the guys, getting a hug from David Price so I could tell how tall he is, telling Evan Longoria all about how he gave me baseball, was all this going to happen? Whoa there, slow down, stop it girly. Stay even. Deep breath. No highs ok? Don’t start with the expectations. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst right? Yes, even for fun things. So I tried putting that out of my mind. I told my friend Manda on Twitter and of course I told B and Carol but that was it.

So anyway, I had been checking the weather in Phoenix. Not for the impact on the games since Chase Field has a retractable roof, but for me. I was happy to read that it would be dry there. It had been somewhat humid here and I know I know those of you who live in humid climates think I’m nuts but I live in the desert because it’s dry most of the time so when you add a little moisture, I feel it.

We left here about noon on Tuesday and I was reading Twitter on my phone. David Price was tweeting a lot about food, making me laugh. Then Sarah Maddon, who I really hoped to meet who lives in Phoenix, tweeted about rain and Jaime Edmondson, Evan Longoria’s lady, tweeted about rain and I was like what? No! It’s supposed to be dry! Sure enough, we soon encountered wet freeway the closer we got to Phoenix. Bullocks. I heard rain on the windshield. Normally I love rain, however when I have to leave the house and go out in humidity, it’s a problem. Oh well, brush it off.

We hit a little bit of traffic going into Phoenix but not major traffic jams, miracle. B let me know when we drove passed Chase and I said hi to the Rays though it was like 2pm so they probably weren’t there yet. B found the hotel and it looked like it was valet only. He drove around looking for a lot but nope, valet only. Ok so valet is nice right? But when you’ve been in the car for two hours, you want to get out and stretch and leisurely move. At least I do haha. Nope! You have to get out and get your stuff right away. I’m not used to valet anything. I’m a small town girl haha! There was also kinda loud music playing. Not your normal stuffy hotel music either. So I couldn’t hear very well. We were downtown too so there was traffic noise right there, traffic and music and I just told Jayden to find B and I went on auto pilot. Somehow we got inside. B was checking in and I asked about the relieving area when suddenly there was another dog in the lobby so I was controlling Jayden and explaining that he couldn’t say hi and then B was done checking in and I asked him if he heard where the relieving area was because I hadn’t.

I had made sure we got a room near the elevator so I wouldn’t have to walk Jayden too far down halls in the morning when he had to pee. We were on the sixth floor. Holy plush carpet Batman! We went up to the room so I could use the human relieving area then we went back out to relieve Jayden. Remember how I thought a pet friendly hotel would have a convenient relieving area? Ha!

We’re walking and I’m like, “are you sure this is where they said to go?” There’s traffic and we cross a street and I’m like what? And it’s humid and I’m covered in sweat and then we’re going up some steps and I’m like, “seriouslY?” I hear a fountain and B said yes, the grass by the fountain and then there’s grass. Wow. Alrighty then.

We get back to the room and there’s time to relax before we need to head to the field. I need coffee desperately. B starts looking for the coffee maker. Hmmm. Actually you know what? He looked for it before we took Jayden out. There was no coffee maker in the room. Are you kidding me? I asked when we took Jayden out and the concierge lady said she’d send one up. They have coffee on the second floor in the morning too. I also requested dog bowls. So when we got back to the room we had the dog bowls and a coffee maker. I collapsed on the couch thing next to the bed and begged B to start a pot of coffee. I’m imagining those little pots in most hotel rooms right? Wrong. B isn’t a coffee drinker but because of me, he knows how to brew boring old coffee in boring old makers. I hear him making questioning sounds and I’m like, it should just be a little packet of coffee like a tea bag. He hands it to me. Oh! This is a K cup! Uh oh. I don’t know how to use a Keurig. I know what they are but I’ve never used one. So B reads the instructions and gets it figured out and brews me a cup. A cup. For me. The coffeeholic. Ha! There were two K cups. Two cups of coffee. I had to save the other one for morning. Oh my. But, the one cup was ok for right then and there.

I think I tweeted some then, Jayden drank water, we relaxed. I turned on my Verizon hot spot since the hotel didn’t have free internet. It was getting closer to game time and I was getting more and more excited. I changed into my Rays shirt and hat and we got ready to go. We were just going to walk from the hotel. The description on the website said it was a seven to ten minute walk. Not bad and B said it wasn’t far. Ha!

{Pause writing to drink coffee}

Ok, where was I? Short walk, right. I fed Jayden and we set out, pausing at the relieving area. It was so humid right there because of the grass and the fountain so I was drenched in sweat before we even really began the walk. Thank goodness for the cloud cover! It really was a gorgeous late afternoon for a walk except for the humidity. Rain had really cooled things down nicely.

We walked and walked and walked. And walked. And then walked. Jayden wasn’t happy. There were surfaces he didn’t like. I wasn’t really ok physically which added to his discomfort so the walk wasn’t fun but we finally made it. We’re here? Finally? The Rays are here! yay!

We got the tickets I had ordered over the phone. I asked the will call girl about what would happen if I got field passes and she said if they were there tomorrow, they’d be at window one. Naturally I focused on her saying “if”.

We walked not very far inside before B found our section. It was blissfully cool inside Chase Field. I had bought accessible seats on the phone but B said, “this is supposed to be accessible?” I asked if there was an usher and one magically appeared. She looked at the tickets and explained that she would get us chairs. Our seats were indeed accessible! We got cushy folding chairs right where wheelchairs would go. We just positioned the chairs behind a row of seats so we had drink holders and everything. The usher closed a rope behind us and we settled in. Jayden had tons of room and the seats were great. We were on the first base line behind the Rays dugout and up a few levels. We hadn’t needed stairs or an elevator. We had been to Chase for a game back in 2009 when the DBacks played the Angels and back then they didn’t have nearly as much accessible seating as they do now.

So anyway, I put Jayden’s mat down but he immediately plopped his belly down on the cool concrete, resting just his head on the mat. He passed out. It was blissful to take my backpack off! I learned from the game in Colorado, which I haven’t even written about here oops, and brought my own radio. It’s the radio I got when I was first blind, before I had any iThings and digital audio books. It’s an AM/FM CD player, like you’d have in your office. We had to get batteries for it, batteries! How archaic! It took C batteries. I didn’t even know there was such a thing haha. The radio got good reception as long as I held it on my lap. Unfortunately I couldn’t listen to my guys, Dave Wills and Andy Freed. If only the At Bat app wasn’t two minutes behind. Oh well, luxury problem. I had a radio and that was all that mattered.

Are we to game time yet? I will turn this blog right around and go back home.

I had given our seat info to some friend son Twitter, something I also learned from Colorado. Before we left the hotel, I tweeted Dave Wills and asked him the best way to make sure we met since we missed each other in Colorado. He said to tweet him when we got there so I asked Manda to tweet him my seat location. I snapped a pic of the field and tweeted it to let my friends know we’d made it. B was hungry but the heat and humidity had zapped my appetite. I knew I needed to eat something so he got me some nachos and then went off to find food fore himself. I munched on nachos and listened to the sounds of the park, music playing, fans talking,, laughter, calls from the beer guy. The game wasn’t quite close to starting. I was just taking it all in. You can feel the enormity of Chase Field. It was just as impressive as it was the first time I was there in ’09 only more so now that my Rays were there. Joe Maddon was there! Evan Longoria was there! Wil Myers was there! David Price was there! Jim Hickey and Tom Foley and Fernando Rodney and Jose Lobaton and Jake McGee and Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist and and and!!!!

“Ro?”

Did I just hear Ro? I had just shoved a nacho in my mouth. The din around me and the sound of my chewing was playing tricks on me.

“Ro?”

I know that voice!!!! I turned around in my seat, waved, pointed at my mouth and the nachos.

“It is her!”

I set the nachos on B’s empty chair and stood laughing and shouting about my mouth being full. It was Dave Wills and Andy Freed!!!! Right there!!! the men I listen to every single day, the men who taught me baseball, the men I so wanted to meet! They were right there!

I hugged them both and jumped up and down and they met Jayden and we chatted and I said they needed a park like this in Florida and they said a bit smaller and we chatted and I can’t even remember about what exactly. It was so comfortable because they weren’t strangers to me at all. I know them, probably better than they realize. When you listen to someone talk on the radio for at least three hours for at least 162 games, you learn about them. Especially Dave and Andy because they are great friends so they chat on air and you really get to know them. And here they were! I was just so happy, probably the happiest I remember feeling in a very long time. B got back with his food and I introduced them and they razzed him about wearing a DBacks shirt and then they had to go to work and they said they’d come by the next day too and I whispered about the possible on field passes and said, “shhh I don’t know if it has to be on the down low” and they laughed and we hugged again and they were gone. Wow! Ok, I’m good, let’s go back to the hotel. We got up and left. Just kidding!

Oh, one thing that really impressed me about Andy Freed was he just came out and asked how I went blind. I love that! Just get it out there when you’re curious. I can’t remember which one asked me how long I’d had Jayden but I ended up explaining that he was raised for a year before his training and Andy Freed said he knows someone who raises puppies and I asked if it was for Southeastern Guide Dogs there in Florida and it was. It was just kinda cool to have that link with him. Puppy raisers rock!

So wow, the game part of this post is probably going to be the shortest part. It was so awesome to be able to cheer loudly for my guys and ring my cowbell. Coors Field in Colorado had banned cowbells. Maybe that’s why I haven’t written about that game. I didn’t really get to be a fan there. Anyway, I got to ring my bell and cheer and listen to the DBacks radio guys describe the action and B was there and Jayden was there and my Rays were right down there on the field and yay! I heard the crack of the bat in person and yay!

Ok so Jeremy Hellickson is a slooooow pitcher this season. It’s bad enough listening at home on the radio but it’s kinda torture at the park when he’s pitching and taking so long between pitches. I just knew Dave and Andy would be talking about how his defenders were on the field way too long and getting bored and the DBacks radio guys were definitely taking jabs at Helli and how slow he pitched. He did get a hit though! I Honestly don’t even remember a whole lot about the game itself. I was oh for one coming into the game since the Rays lost the one game I went to in Colorado so I was hoping for a win. I cheered and rang my cowbell when good stuff happened and I heard other cowbells and it was awesome to add mine to the chorus.

At one point, Evan Longoria was batting. I had my headphones on in both ears, keeping track of what happened. Then the crowd got loud for really the first time and completely drowned out the radio in my ears. I figured since the crowd had gotten loud, something good happened for the DBacks so I sat back and waited for it to quiet down. B shouted, “you were awfully quiet, why didn’t you cheer?”

“The crowd got loud, I couldn’t hear the radio, I figured they got him out.”

“Longoria hit a home run!”

Crap. Evan Longoria hit a home run at a game I was at and I didn’t even cheer because I didn’t know it had happened.

I said that to B and then said, “well, that’ll make a funny story for the blog.”

When I read Twitter that night after the game, there were so many tweets about Evan Longoria hitting a home run and how excited I must have been. All I could do was shake my head and chuckle. It was a valuable lesson. I kept my finger on the volume wheel after that so when the crowd got loud, I could turn up the volume.

When the DBacks fans did cheer for something good, I could tell the difference then. Unfortunately, the DBacks fans got to cheer the whole rest of the game since they won it. I was now oh for two. Bullocks.

We stayed until the last out. Even though my guys had lost, it had been such a fun night! I packed up and we waited for the crowd to dissipate some before heading out.

{Pause writing to drink coffee}

Just had a quick thought, in twenty years I can say I was at a game during Wil Myers’ rookie season, a game in which I didn’t know Evan Longoria hit a home run. Who else can say that?

I stopped at the ladies room and the female DBacks fans were all nice to me. Classy fans, they really are. I was so impressed with the way the park cheered for Ryan Roberts, who is now a Ray but who used to be a DBack. It was just a great experience all around.

As we were heading out I heard my name. It was Sarah Maddon! Yay!!! I was so hoping to meet her after talking to her on Twitter quite a bit this season. She’s tiny! I only know that because we hugged, not because I did that blind movie thing where the blind person feels up everyone they meet. I got to meet her husband too. We only chatted briefly and then the rest of her party were leaving so we parted ways. I had the biggest grin as we walked out! I got to meet three of the people I hoped to meet! yay!

It was a completely different world outside the park than it had been when we walked in. There was a saxophone player somewhere nearby playing Take Me Out to the Ball Game. I sang along, a bounce in my step. There was music everywhere! Musicians on street corners, musicians in bars, music everywhere! There were people walking on the sidewalks, milling around outside bars, smoking cigarettes, talking and laughing. It was like we had been transported to a big city. Oh wait, that’s because we had haha!

We stopped and relieved Jayden before going back up to the room. Ah, quiet. I tweeted some and read all my mentions. My Rays Twitter Family had been very active and it made me smile to read all the messages. I love them so much!

I decided to shower that night because we had to check out the next day at noon. The shower was bizarre! Imagine a normal stand up shower with two sliding glass doors. It was like that, only with one door and it didn’t slide. It was where the shower head was and the other side was completely open. My uncle has an open shower like that but his is a big thing, this was just crazy haha. And it’s drafty hahaha!

It took me a long time to fall asleep and I didn’t sleep well. It had been such an incredible day and perhaps the latte I’d had in the seventh inning contributed to the sleep issue but man it was good. I had also been a little chilly in the air conditioned park.

The bed was extremely comfortable though I was confused at first. I always turn down the comforter and fall asleep with just the sheet. When I went to turn down the comforter I grabbed sheet. Huh? Turned out they made the bed with a sheet, the comforter, and another sheet, like a duvet cover that doesn’t close. Interesting. Haha! The room was swanky indeed. I was almost bummed we were only staying one night.

I think I’ve pretty much captured all of the first day. My arms are pretty sore now haha! Time to go through and edit and see if anything else comes to mind. Coffee first. 😉

Finished editing and Jayden asked to go outside and I checked the time. Whoa! Gotta love the writing induced time warp!

7 Comments

Filed under accessibility, apple Inc, baseball, blind tips, coffeeholic, desert life, Doggy Diaries, dogs, evan longoria, fellowship, gratitude, humor as coping skill, Jayden, jayden quirks, music, puppy raisers, relieving, spoons, twitter me this, weather, working dog, wow

7 Responses to Rays Road Trip Day One

  1. Bill aka PT

    Hey Ro, I loved reading your story! So many details that I’ve never had to deal with. Having a dog to take care of makes things more complicated, as does having to have a radio. I wonder whether having a friend tell you the play by play might work better?

    One tip about hotels. You can ask them for stuff! If you don’t have enough coffee pods, ask them to bring more, they will, no charge! Or you can ask the ladies who are cleaning up the rooms. Oh and at some places you can ask for a mini fridge. Point is, they’ll do a lot of stuff for you if you ask.

    My favorite part was reading about the people you met, Dave, Andy, Sarah. If you come to Tampa Bay you’ll be swamped! You might not be able to stand it.

    It’s so cool that you did this, and wrote about it. You’re quite a lady.

  2. Ro

    I thought about asking for more of the K cups, but we weren’t going to be in the room very long and they had mentioned the free brewed coffee on the second floor, so I was just going to drink that the next morning. Usually when I travel I bring Starbucks instant coffee but I didn’t this trip since it was only one morning. There was a mini fridge but it was full of alcohol haha! I forgot to write about that part. I mean this hotel was fancy fancy pants. There’s another coffee story in the next post so stay tuned. ;

    Oh, and when B and I went to the game back in ’09, he did as much describing as possible but the readio is just better. I do wish that they could figure out how to Get At Bat to line up with the live broadcast since that’s a nice little device haha.
    Ro recently posted..Rays Road Trip Day OneMy Profile

  3. Blind Bandit

    Loved reading this entry. I’m totally with you on MLB needing to improve that delay with the at bat audio. Glad you had a great time and I’m looking forward to reading part 2.

  4. Ok, so I am so jealous! Your visits to Rays games have been better than my 1 to the Rangers game in 2011! ha! This sounds like a lot of fun, and I really want to read day 2, so don’t be like me and forget about it! 🙂

  5. I’m so glad you had a good time. Bet you were totally buzzing. I bet Jayden enjoyed it too.

    You still have to write about the sandiago trip. Or part of it lol. I hate when you forget to blog. xx
    torie recently posted..Snow Patrol At Tennants VitalMy Profile

  6. Ro

    Yeah, I hate it when I don’t blog too haha! Ok, I’m resolving to finish writing about the trips. I’ll give myself a deadline. Hmmm, ok, must be caught up on trips and book posts by next Sunday. Not this Sunday, next Sunday. Yes. Haha!
    Ro recently posted..Rays Road Trip Day OneMy Profile

  7. Uh oh now i’ve put on the pressure lol. I love reading your blogs. xx
    torie recently posted..A Night AwayMy Profile

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