Pitchers & Catchers Report to Ft. Myers

Friday, June 22, 2007

Staying Classy In San Diego

I arrived in San Diego last night around 9:30 PM, with my friend Ken meeting me at the airport. It was a five-hour trip from JFK, and it went rather smoothly. This is my second trip to this beautiful California city, as I was here in 2004 for the wedding of my dear friends Peggy and Ken in August of that year.

I left my house around 3:30 PM yesterday, and got to the airport in about 35 minutes. I hadn't flown in almost two years, when I went to South Bend, Indiana to see Notre Dame's home opener in 2005. I found security at JFK to be even tighter than I remember it, and now they make everyone remove their shoes for inspection. As it was going on, all I could think of was, "Damn you to hell, Richard Reid!" (You may remember him as that jackass would-be terrorist who in 2001 tried to bring down an airplane with a bomb located in his shoe, but thankfully it was stopped before it ever happened.)

I waited around the airport for my flight, and I found a lounge that had the Yankees-Rockies game on. it was 2-2 in the fifth when I got there, and I wound up watching the game for two innings, and saw the Rockies take the lead, 4-2.

As I was watching the game, I also noticed something. I saw a number of folks waiting for the flight wearing either a Red Sox hat or shirt, or both. I got to talking to a woman from the Bronx who was a Sox fan, and she was amazed to see about a dozen or so Red Sox fans taking this flight. I was too, and it seemed like the designated "Red Sox fan" flight to San Diego from New York. But the Sox fans were quiet in the lounge, even as the Rockies took the lead in the game. (Saving up their energy for SD I guess.)

I took JetBlue to San Diego. They've always been a good airline, despite the mountain of bad publicity they got last winter. The flight was about 80% filled, and they provide nice amenities, like 40 TV channels, and especially all the ESPN channels. I followed the game in Colorado on ESPNews, and silently cheered when the Rockies pulled out a 4-3 win. 10 1/2 game lead as this plane takes off.

We stayed on the JFK tarmac for almost an hour due to the heavy traffic and approaching storm. (Fortunately we took off before the rain came.) I spent the hours watching things like "Seinfeld" and the College World Series game, and doing some writing and listening to music.

When I got to San Diego, I pulled out a Padres shirt I have from when I went to a Padres game at Petco three years ago, a Brian Giles shirt. When Ken picked me up, I told him, "This will be the only time this weekend I'll be wearing anything with the Padres on it!" I packed an assortment of Red Sox paraphernalia for the weekend. Tonight is "Retro Night" at Petco, and they will be remembering Tony Gwynn's Padre debut with both clubs wearing 1982 uniforms.Fortunately, Ken told me this in advance, so I packed an old Red Sox jersey I have from the early-to-mid 1980s.

Tonight I'll be meeting up at the park with my buddy Joe, who came out from New Jersey for the games with his wife, and then they will be going up to L.A. to see the Dodgers play. This afternoon I'll be going to the San Diego Sports Museum, which I hear is really nice, with a lot of exhibits of the local teams and legendary athletes from San Diego.

Ken and I are getting to Petco early, around 4:30, to catch batting practice and check out the stadium. I'll get a chance to see the Red Sox take BP, something I haven't seen for many years. And I can't wait to see Manny and Papi launch some pre-game bombs!

I'll have more either later tonight or tomorrow. Great matchup tonight, with Daisuke Matsuzaka pitching against Greg Maddux. Go Sox!

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