Sunday, July 17, 2011

Stinktown 4, Colorado 3 (unedited)

Chip was in Colorado today, watching his beloved Stinktown Brewers defeat the Colorado Rockies 4-3. It was two weeks after watching Stinktown lose to the Minnesota Twins here in God's Country. Chip came to the Twin Cities during Fourth of July weekend for a pair of Brewers games.

Chip has spent much of his vacation time the past several years traveling around the country, by himself, to see Major League Baseball games. Occasionally those games feature Stinktown, but not typically. Some years Chip goes to a game while traveling for work. Last year he was in Washington, D.C., the same weekend the Brewers were in Minnesota. I had tickets for a Twins/Brewers game that weekend, anticipating Chip would join me, but obviously that didn't happen. He was at Nationals Park at the exact same time I was watching the Twins and Brewers at Target Field. We often call each other when we're at a major league ballpark, and we had a brief phone conversation that day while watching our respective games.

Chip has been to a home game in every current major league city other than the Florida franchises, and I'm planning to attend games in those cities with him in 2012, when Miami opens its new stadium. In some cases Chip has been to home games at two different ballparks in several cities. I know he has been to home games at the old and new ballparks of the Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies. I'm sure I'm forgetting a city or two. I think he's up to 36 or 37 different ballparks that he has visited. Had the planets aligned slightly differently, perhaps he could claim to have been to three different stadiums for Minnesota Twins home games as I have, but he didn't make it to a Minnesota Twins game until he was in college.

Chip also makes a point to visit and tour the state capitals of states he travels to. Given there are 50 states, I can promise he's not as close as to finishing that tour as he is to finishing the ballpark tour.

Chip had been to Coors Field in Colorado previously, but he wanted to finally put his free Frontier Airlines flight to use, and it has been many years since he visited Colorado. He says it's the second best ballpark in the country, so he determined it was worth it to make a second trip to Coors country.

He flew to Colorado on Saturday and will return Wednesday night. There's no business tie-in to his trip, it's all vacation, and it's all on his dime, sans the free flight from Frontier.

In April I went to Las Vegas for five days, by myself. It was pure luck that my trip coincided with the end of a one-week vacation my Halloween friends took, and Monica booked a pair of layovers in Vegas during my week there, so I wasn't on my own the entire week. But I was prepared to be, and I wouldn't have cared.

Chip and I are both in our 40s. (He's about 11 months older than I am.) He has done it far more than I have, but we both have taken vacations on our own. I was fortunate to be able to take several vacations with my ex-girlfriend during our time together. (They didn't happen because either of us is rich, but that's another story for another day.)

Once again I'm faced with either finding a trip both Chip and I are interested in taking or flying the friendly skies on my own. I have friends who might be willing to travel to Vegas with me, so there's a chance I might book a trip to Vegas someday without having to travel on my own. But reality is setting in, there's no romantic trip to Paris, Niagara Falls or the Mexican Riviera in my future.

For some people, that's the hand life has dealt them, and they're fine with it. I'm going to have a hard time playing my cards.

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