July 4th Weekend, Pt. 1–Minute Maid Park

We got away from home at about 10am this morning, which was pretty close to what we wanted. We grabbed a drink from Sonic for the road, and headed toward I-45 in Dallas. We stopped in Corsicana at the DQ for lunch at about noon. That was pretty good, and we all had a Blizzard afterward. We hit the road again, but stopped shortly after, in a little place, for gas.
We got to Houston between 3 and 4pm. We found the hotel pretty easily, thanks to the miracle of GPS, went ahead and did the valet parking, and checked into our room. We are in The Magnolia, in downtown, about 5 blocks from Minute Maid Park. The place is crawling with Red Sox fans!! Hah! We didn’t have much time to waste, so we got our Red Sox jerseys on (I have a Varitek home jersey, and Christi has an Ellsbury road jersey–before he changed his number to 2), and went back downstairs. We were prepared to walk to the Park, when a guy asked us if we wanted a ride. So we got into a hotel shuttle, and he took us most of the way to the park. We walked the last block to the park.
Seriously, Minute Maid Park looks NOTHING like a baseball stadium. It looked like we were going into either an office building or a mall. The inside kind of looked like a mall, too. Our seats were all the way around the stadium, though. I think it was farther to our seats than it was back to the hotel. Hahaha… We sat right behind the bullpen, but it was the Lastros bullpen. Apparently, the visitors bullpen is over behind left field, kind of inside. Weird. It was comfortable inside the Juice Box II, but after tonight, I have decided that indoor baseball is, well, just WRONG. I’m sorry. I did like watching in the air conditioning, but there is just something wrong about it. Minute Maid Park has the loudest sound system I have ever heard in a MLB park, and that’s not a compliment. It was painfully loud at times. And the announcer? Really? Was that a real person? He sounded like James Earl Jones trying to sound like Patrick Warburton on steroids. Really, it was a bit much. (By the way, I absolutely love both of those guys.)
The Red Sox got things off to a great start in the first, getting a run and the bases loaded before they ever got an out. Then Salty hit into a double play, which scored a run. They led 3-0 after the top of the first. Miller got off to a rough start, though, and the Lastros scored a run in the bottom of the first.
Miller settled down, though, and didn’t let them score for a while. In fact, nobody scored for three innings. But in the top of the 4th, the Sox scored again when Ellsbury doubled and then Pedroia doubled him in. The Laser Show was in great effect tonight, as Pedey went 3 for 5. Houston scored in the bottom of the sixth when Hunter Pence homered into the left field stands. Now, I have to give them props. Their home run celebration is somewhat better than the Rangers. While I like the music from “The Natural” and the fireworks at Rangers Ballpark, the Lastros have this train that moves, then they have this animated stuff on the scoreboard, but the best part? The first thing we hear out of the PA system is Roger Daltrey’s “YEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!” from “Don’t Get Fooled Again.” It’s the greatest scream in all of rock-n-roll. I thought I was about to see Horatio Caine but his sunglasses on. That was it for the 6th, though.
Both teams scored in the 7th, as new kid Navarro popped one pretty close to Pence’s spot in left field. And the beauty of it was that a Red Sox fan caught it! So no throwing that one back, right? In the bottom of the 7th, Aceves came in to pitch. He struggled, and it got really tense. He loaded the bases, and Bard was brought in. Bard walked in a run, but then got Carlos Lee to ground out.
So it’s 5-3. Top of the 8th. I leaned over and said to Christi, “8 runs.” I was off by 4. The Sox scored 4 runs in the top of the 8th, capped off by a MONSTER home run by Darnell McDonald that, I swear, went out the open windows of the Park and into the street. I’m not sure about that, but it sure liked like it. So after that, the Sox led 9-3. Bobby Jenks came in for the bottom of the 8th. I was scared. We prayed really hard and he got them, three up, three down. It was truly a miracle.
The Sox scored one more time in the top of the 9th on a single by Youk after a double by Gonzo (who also had a great night). Dan Wheeler came in to close out the game. He messed around a bit and allowed one run, but the Sox win 10-4. It was a great game.
They had fireworks afterward, but we couldn’t see them from where we sat. We thought to go ahead and leave the Park, figuring out that if we exited right by our seats, we would be only a block from the street that went back to our hotel, and a block closer to the hotel than where we entered the stadium. The only problem was, when we went out, they were shooting off the fireworks RIGHT NEXT TO THE BALLPARK!! Steph kind of freaked out over the noise, so we got the lady at the door to let us back in. She was very nice. The guy there brought us a chair, and Steph sat in it while Christi held her hands over Steph’s ears for the duration of the fireworks. The music for the fireworks was WAY too loud!! Really. As I said…that was the loudest PA system I have ever heard, and it really didn’t need to be that loud. Something about the shape of the stadium made the noise reverberate even more, too. But it ended, and we walked back to the hotel.
There was a little cafe right at the entrance to the hotel, and it was still open, so we got some sodas and cookies and came back up to the room.
It was a great night, and we had a great time.
Tomorrow, we will partake of the free breakfast buffet (assuming we wake up in time), check out and head to Galveston for the rest of our weekend.

TTFN, y’all!!

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