Back from vacation and boy was it a good one

I’m back from one of the best weeks I have ever spent in recent memory. If you read my blog entry from last week you would know that I was on vacation in Florida with my family. It was a great break from reality filled with baseball, great Cuban food, white sandy beaches and a boatload of Disney magic. So jump in and hold on tight ya’ll are going to help me relive my seven days in the Sunshine State.

outside stadium.jpgOur main priority of the trip was to visit Sun Life Stadium. Now who in their right mind would make it a priority to go to Sun Life Stadium for a baseball game? The Peaslees! For the past 10 or so years we plan our family vacations around baseball games. We plan to hit each ballpark around the Major Leagues. Sun Life was number 25 in terms of team’s home ballparks we have seen games in. We just need both New Yorks, Toronto and Seatle and we have hit all 30!

 

We arrived at the stadium at 5:30 right as the gates opened for the 7pm start of the Marlins and Nationals. Stephen Strasburg was on the mound for the Nats and my little brother Zach proudly wore his number 37 Strasburg t-shirt. Parking was not an issue outside the stadium as it was completely empty. It was nice that we somewhat had priority parking as the lot surrounding the stadium was the only place to park for the game and all that is really ever needed.

family.jpgThere is completely no atmosphere building up to the game outside the stadium. The only fun spot was this huge inflatable of Billy the Marlin. In my opinion the second best mascot in the MLB, behind Pittsburgh’s Pirate Parrot of course. We walked up to the ticket booth and purchased a great deal. Upper level behind the plate tickets, four hot dogs and four pops for 68 bucks. Not too shabby. It was a decent promotion on a gloomy Friday night.

Once entering we were greeted by the sound of salsa music.

music at start.jpgQuite different than the tradional soft rock you typically hear at PNC Park. From here on out we realized we were in for the most unique baseball experience we have ever experience. Is that a good thing? Maybe, but it this case not really.

 

escalator.jpgSun Life Stadium is a huge structure. After all it has been home to numerous college bowl games, the Super Bowl and of course the Miami Dolphins. Our seats were right behind home plate buuuuut in the nosebleeds in the 400 level. This escalator escorted us to the tip top of Miami. If you have a serious case of vertigo I recommend splurging on lower level seats.

Once at the top the seats really were not that bad.

sun life.jpgAs you can see we had a great view perched from our seats. A great view of brightly colored orange seats. A group of business men behind us remarked on how great these seats were. Must have been their first baseball game and they surely have never been to PNC Park. As I told my dad it is a crime baseball is played here.

Since we did make it to the game early, while batting practice was still going on Zach and I
ball.jpg ventured to the outfield in an area called the “Fish Tank” in hopes of retrieving a ball. Because he was wearing his Nationals gear, reliever Joel Peralta tossed a ball up to Zach.

The crowd in th eoutfield had to be the most uneducated group of baseball fans ever. It really was a reflection on the whole crowd at Sun Life that night. These “fans” could care less about the game and are only there for the extra circular activities. And there are a bunch. I will compliment the fans on being the quickest to start a wave, however it happened in the 2nd inning. I hate the wave but these fans ate it up as it went around the park at least a dozen times.

fiesta fridays.jpgIt was a Fiesta Friday! Complete with mariachi bands roaming the outfield stands, four DJ’s spinning tracks on the concourse and a grape soda chugging contest. It was the most random assortment of events I have ever seen at a baseball game. But the crowd ate it up. Everyone on their feet was dancing, screaming and enjoying the culture. It was the most diverse crowd I have ever been involved with at a game. To accomodate the very large Hispanic crowd the PA anouncer announced the batters and lineups and most announcements in English as well as Spanish, first time I have ever heard that at a baseball game. Florida also adorned their “Los Marlins” jerseys.

I did meet a new friend on the concourse level at Sun Life Stadium.
Thumbnail image for pirates guy.jpg

He looked friendly as we walked towards each other and I simply asked if he was a Pirates fan with my hand extended ready to shake his hand. He looked at perplexed and gave me a stern “No!” Taken aback I said “why the jersey?” In a loud booming voice he goes, “I’m a CLEMENTE fan. I do not like the Pirates anymore.” I told him I still am a Pirates fan, which gave him a good laugh and he reluctantly snapped this photo with me.   

Stephen Strasburg earned the win for the Nats. He was shaky to start but still managed seven strikeouts in six innings. The crowd was over 20,000 for the first time since Opening Day one fan told us. In 2012 the Marlins will be awarded one of the most beautiful ballparks in baseball. They waste no time in marketing it. Pictures are plastered all over publications, outfield walls and even in the background of the scoreboard when players are up to bat.

It was a unique experience at the game. I enjoyed myself and really would like to go back when the new stadium is opened. It is needed, baseball should never be played in an outdoor barn like that. But quite frankly the fans and citizens of Miami do not deserve it.

Outside the park there is some even more crazy stuff going on.Artwork like this decorates the
art.jpg walls of the gates all around the stadium. Like what the heck is it? What does it mean? Nobody could answer my pressing questions.

Thumbnail image for pirate flag.jpgI was most happy with the Marlins when I saw this flying at the main gates of the stadium. The Pirate flag was a perfect segway to the second half of our vacation in Disney World.

We milled around all four parks and had a great time as children at heart. My favorite ride at the Magic Kingdom is of course Pirates of the Caribbean. I do like the movies and the musical score as it is often played at PNC Park. After riding the ride multiple times my brother and I had a heyday in the giftshop.

dreads.jpgRocking our Jack Sparow dreads, more like Andrew McCutchen in our book. We looked the part of true Pirates whether we be of the Carribean or Pittsburgh.

rtjr.jpg

Hey, Hey!

Raise the Jolly Roger!

Since I haven’t been home with my family all summer this week was definitely welcomed and the perfect opportunity to bond and catch up. It was unforgettable with memories I will carry on forever.

 

 

famdisney.jpgI am now ready to make my way back to PNC Park to see my Bucs take on the Padres. In my hiatus the Pirates have been hot, red hot. Everyone is hitting the ball putting up almost 50 runs since the All-Star break. This here is the future of the Pirates and it seems to be shaping up beautifully.

 

11 Comments

I loved reading about your vacation adventures! Nice pics too, especially the one of you and the Clemente fan! Sounds like a grouchy guy. lol. Welcome back.

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Matt!
I love reading about your vacations! Ran into my friend Steve at Dodger STadium and he said he was going on vacation. I then asked (I already knew the answer) “Is it Baseball related?” to which he answered “Is there anything else?.” Love reading your adventures!
Emma
http://crzblue.mlblogs.com

The Clemente fan was funny, glad you got to enjoy Disney after seeing the ‘what shall we call it this week’ stadium. Vacations are meant to be when you can truly be a kid all the time…

-peter

Phillies Outside

Yeah, the Pirates have been doing great! Lastings Milledge is a beast in the outfield–I watched a game the other night where he saved several runs with hustle, athleticism and outfielding skills.

Matt,
You are so right about a non-vibe outside Sun Life before a Marlins game. Used to think it was because of the high humidity and temps, but maybe it is more of the people wanting to find a quick cold beverage and a cool place to stand or sit.
But they do hold a great Friday night bowl of fun and music. Of course I still have my Marlins vuvuzela/Air Horn to remember them by…..
As for Disney, there is a reason they call it the happiest place on earth…The only frown is in your wallet at the end of the day.
Glad you had an great trip, and hopefully you will get to Safeco Field…It is my favorite MLB park.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

i’m glad you had a great time on vacation! Hmm that encounter with the uh Clemente fan was a bit interesting… yet he did get a photo with you so that’s cool haha

Nice pirate gear hehehe

http://mimi.mlblogs.com

Absolutely outstanding! And the fact you guys plan vacations around games is great. You have a great family my friend. Only a couple more parks to go and you’ll have been to them all; outstanding.
mike
http://thebrooklnytrolleyblogger.mlblogs.com/

I LOVE Miami :O) And that is an awesome stadium…been there for both Dolphins and Marlins games. It is not great for baseball though, thats for sure. And many of the fans are clueless. I can’t wait until the new stadium is done…one more excuse for me to go to Miami!

Jenn
http://philliesphollowers.mlblogs.com/

Awesome, Matt. This is what baseball is all about… road trippin’ and havin’ a blast.
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/
http://mtrredstatebluestate.com

Seems the Pirates had solved their offensive problems just in time for you to leave. Its a shame you couldn’t see the spankings they put on the Brewers.
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