This story starts prematurely. About a week before I was due to leave for Colorado, the traveling jersey was delivered to me from Belgium with a lovely postcard. I was stunned. I was confused. Was I just supposed to let the jersey sit in its box for the next week? Of course not.
I contacted Dave and offered him a chance to wear the jersey until I left for Colorado. I should rephrase, I offered Dave a chance at magic and greatness. He turned me down due to his "busy schedule", because it makes a lot of sense for a teacher to be too busy at the end of June. Whatever, Dave. Whatever, everyone. If nobody else was going to take the jersey on a San Diego adventure, I was going to have to pull double-duty.
The plan was simple. There were games on both Saturday and Sunday during the weekend before my trip. I planned to go to each game and have as much fun as humanly possible before, during and after them. Darklighter graciously offered to pay my way (via an unused season ticket) for Saturday's game, and I purchased my ticket for Sunday's game while I waited to meet him downtown.
I met with Darklighter at Basic for some pre-game beer and pizza. The weather was perfect, morale was high, and the jersey fit like it had been custom-tailored just for me. Everything was going well until we sat in our seats and realized that "King Felix" was pitching against the Padres. Oh boy.
A few innings later, Darklighter realized that Mentor was looking for someone to give seat upgrades to. He decided to whore out the jersey and my sexy beard for a shot at free food and booze.
Since the jersey is magic and was destined to get on TV, his plan worked. Mr. Garfinkel (Tom, not Richard), handed me four tickets behind home plate (with five people standing around) and said to the group, "Now we find out who John's real friends are," before riding away on his tricycle.
These were the lucky ones (with Darklighter behind the camera). If you're wondering why I look so weird, I was trying to squeeze in for a photo that I apparently didn't need to squeeze into. Also, I'm generally weird looking.
We got to the seats and did celebratory shots of tequila. If you are a Time Warner, DISH or AT&T U-Verse subscriber, you've yet to see this.
TEQUILA! Did I mention that the booze is free in this section? The food too. When we sat down, our original order was something like "4 chipwiches, 4 shots of tequila, a glass of wine, a beer, a scotch on the rocks, more tequila, and chicken tenders with fries." Before the waiter (is that the right term for him? "Seat attendant" maybe?) returned, we had already fetched and eaten (free) gelato. YOLO.
My iPhone camera was apparently just as drunk as I was. Also, this is a good time to point out that (instead of the strike zone) these seats give you an amazing view of the umpire's butt. I was staring at it all night, mostly in hopes that I could somehow see through it so that I could complain about his strike zone.
My favorite thing about the seat upgrades might be the Sony Home Plate Club bar. It's cozy (not too big, not too little), the bartenders are all very good/funny, the patrons are all happy/drunk, and it stays open for an hour after the game in case you want to wait out the traffic (or stock up on free drinks). This is a picture of me enjoying my 3rd or 4th large scotch of the evening, wondering how the jersey let the hated Mariners win a game.
Immediately after this was taken, a woman at the bar broke out into a rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner. She got about halfway through before getting embarrassed and stopping, so the 20 or so people in the bar (GLBers included) sang/shouted the rest of the song together before celebrating the ending with patriotic high-fives.
Remember the plan? How I was going to go to Padres games on both Saturday and Sunday? Well, the free beer, tequila and scotch kind of ruined that plan. I spent Sunday listening to the radio call of the game from my bed while drinking water, taking Advil and trying not to throw up.
Future wearers beware: The jersey will not help you avoid a hangover.
The next time the jersey was to be unsheathed would be in Colorado, nearly a week later. I had a mini panic attack on the plane after thinking that I may have forgotten to pack the jersey, but there it was waiting for me in my luggage when I landed. Whew.
Day 1 was going to be Brewery Day. creanium and myself planned to hit upwards of four of five breweries over the course of the afternoon, starting with the Coors Brewery. I was actually excited for this, despite not being a huge fan of Coors. I had taken the tour at Stone, but I wanted to see what it was like to brew a lot more beer a lot faster. Also, I was assured that this would be a quick stop.
Crap damn crap. This line can burn in hell. We stood in it for about two hours waiting for the tour, all while the weather fluctuated between 90 degrees and sunny, and cold rain.
Spotting Padres fans in line became the only way to pass the time. There was another one behind us in line wearing a Trevor Hoffman shirt. The Rockies fans in line didn't seem pleased.
creanium snapped a picture of the jersey while I read the plaque. The plaque, in a nutshell, said "This big copper-looking thing was some old garbage that we found and thought was cool, so we restored it and now it's here."
I was actually surprised at the quality of beer at the Coors Brewery. After the (free) tour, we were given plenty of (free) beer. I was particularly fond of Batch 19 and Colorado Native. The latter is a beer made entirely from Colorado-born ingredients. The water, yeast, barley and hops all come from the state and the beer is only sold in-state. A beer from Colorado and for Colorado.
After sampling the best of Colorado's macrobrewery, we were running low on time. We decided to head north to Fort Collins and visit Odell, a favorite of creanium's, for what would be our last brewery of the day.
After fighting through traffic, I was excited for beer.
Halfway done. Things getting blurry again.
Feeling like a champion after drinking lots of really delicious beer. If you ever find yourself near Fort Collins, I highly recommend visiting this brewery. Their bar area is very casual, like your local bar, and their beer is fantastic.
On Saturday, I let creanium wear the jersey. As usual, it fit perfectly. Pictured above is creanium, the lady creanium and the baby creanium (inside of the lady creanium's belly).
This was taken as we waited for the shuttle bus from the parking lot to Coors Field. Yeah, it's a weird system, but I imagine those shuttle buses were a lot of fun for the hometown fans during the Rockies playoff run a few years ago.
If you are wearing a Kurt Vonnegut baseball jersey, I will take a picture of you. Those are the rules.
Back to baseball, because that's what you came here for. Notice how the stadium looks nearly sold-out? That made finding tickets somewhat adventurous, and it wasn't because the Rockies fans really wanted to see the Padres. There were post-game fireworks. People go crazy for fireworks.
Yasmani Grandal hit two HRs in his first major league start. Alexi Amarista hit a HR. The Padres won 8-4. I took this shot of creanium just as the final out was recorded. The jersey had gotten its mojo back.
Here it where I would've inserted a picture of us enjoying post-game drinks and food at Breckenridge Brewery (across the street from Coors Field) had we remembered to take a picture of it.
This was my breakfast on Sunday. A "pancake flight". From left to right: Red Velvet (with espresso syrup and cream cheese frosting), Pineapple Upside-Down, and Peanut Butter Cup. That one in the background that's already been destroyed was a Cinnamon Bun pancake that the waitress brought us because she liked us. That's bacon on the left.
This breakfast lies somewhere between heaven and torture (due to the sheer amount of food).
This is me riding the Light Rail after breakfast, on our way back to Coors Field. I couldn't move. I was trying very hard to stay awake. It was very hot.
Less fireworks means less people. A lot less. The Sunday afternoon crowd wasn't too rowdy, but that was at least half Kip Wells' fault. He shut the Rockies down for seven innings and let the bullpen finish it off for a 2-0 Padres victory.
A toast to the Padres for another victory. The beer being toasted was a Right Field Red, made by the Sandlot Brewery (which is inside of Coors Field). A very good beer indeed.
You didn't think we were done with the beer, did you? Before heading towards the Denver Airport, creanium and I made one last stop as the Wynkoop Brewery and tried a few of their samplers. I fell in love with a chile beer. We met a native San Diegan who had become a Rockies fan and we cursed his name. It was a fitting end to my trip.
I had a fantastic trip. Thank you, Colorado. Thank you, creanium (and wife and baby). Thank you, beer. Thank you, Dave Staton.
Sisterhood of the Traveling Jersey
The Sisterhood is Born
The First Steps
Spring Training Bound
With the Pad Squad
Welcome to Mexico
Braving the Beat Down
On to San Francisco
Going the Distance
All the way to Belgium
Beer and Baseball in Colorado