Better late than never--a recap of the trip to Atlanta to see the Red Sox take on their natural enemies, the Atlanta Braves!
Beth picked me up Friday afternoon from a Sox-fan-filled flight at the airport. We were too early to check in, so we headed to the ESPN Zone for lunch, where they promptly escorted us down to the first row of seating in front of the GIANT screen TV (FIFA World Cup, Netherlands v. Ivory Coast). The seating? Big comfy leather armchairs with swivel tray tables! Only disappointment was that there was no early baseball... and no draft beer. None. (Well, they did have Guinness, but in the heat it would have killed me.) I guess the combination of World Cup and NBA finals did them in the night before! In any case, we were well fortified for our trek to the MARTA and the subsequent battle with their new "Breeze" cards (they are anything but!). The Braves do run a good shuttle bus system out to the park, even if you have to traverse the Underground Atlanta shopping mall to get there. I was surprised by how much the Ted looked like Citizens' Bank Park in Philly to me. We got good spots along the wall for BP and snagged Papelbon's autograph (I was glad I'd brought a photo!). Tomahawk Ale proved to be a decent draft (I'd checked out the locations of stands with draft beer before the trip!). An excellent start by young Jon Lester earned him his first win and Papelbon's 21st save.
Saturday we headed right back to the park again, where we took up pretty much the same BP spots and were treated to the Sharpie stylings of Papelbon again. (This time I had him sign my visor!) Our seats were in the left field side of the outfield, which while not Mannyville on that particular day did give us an excellent view of Gabe on his first game back.
Youk hit a home run just a couple rows ahead of us in the first inning. The heat and sun were pretty intense--I can't say I was sorry that the Sunday game had been switched to a night game! We departed after another good win badly in need of a good shower. Had dinner at the conveniently located brewpub near our hotel, and thus fortified, hopped the "Free Bus" that pulled up outside (full disclosure: Beth did ask where it was going first). Hopped the MARTA downtown, where we Sox-hunted fruitlessly but did enjoy the scented moisturizer at the Ritz...
Sunday we headed to the Flying Biscuit for breakfast, sadly not realizing until it was too late that we should have put a better name on the waiting list. ("Papelbon, party of two!") I highly recommend it. Lots of healthy/organic choices; I probably managed one of the least healthy with an omelet with chicken sausage, spinach, mushrooms, pasta and cheddar cheese. And a biscuit, of course! Then we walked a bit in Centennial Park waiting for our entry time to the Georgia Aquarium, which was well worth the trip. Nicely laid out with manageable exhibits. Beth and I had a "safe touch experience" with stingrays (and were actually singled out by the docent for our "safe touch" technique!).
Back to our usual spot for BP, where Beth had yet another late realization--just after we yelled "Let's go Red Sox!" for the benefit of the ESPN cameras, she realized we should have yelled "You're with me, leather!" Meanwhile, Papelbon accepted some good-natured ribbing about getting busted doing the tomahawk chop Friday night...
Sunday night's game was the best. Sox looked ready to take it early, but the Braves fought back this time--and so did their fans. It was kind of a relief to realize that they did actually know how to cheer! ;) But in a battle of the enthusiastic fans, there's just no going up against Red Sox Nation, Traveling Corp! My arms actually hurt from clapping in the eighth...)
Another highlight of the game was the blooper reel. At Fenway this is all baseball bloopers, but at the Ted it was more like a recap of messy or painful disasters. A toddler waist deep in a toilet, someone falling off a trampoline, someone riding a bike into a tree, Mike Remlinger pitching. Oh, no--he was just next up out of the pen, and it was just a hilariously bad segue. ;)
Monday morning we had time for one more attraction, so we headed to the Cyclorama--cheesy and fun at the same time! (Of course, after the Red Sox swept the Braves, I did feel a little bad listening to the recounting of Sherman and the invading northerners! I suppose at least we didn't kill anyone...!)
One serious regret--we didn't find the tourist-type publications in the hotel until we'd been there for a while, and so we didn't discover the Atlanta Segway Tours until it was too late. I am now resolved to check each and every city I visit to see if they have Segway tours! We actually saw what we now think was one of these tours in Centennial Park.
Beth managed to continue her winning streak from last summer of games attended, running an enviable 9 for 9. Can't wait till she's here at the end of July!