Two Guys & a Map
The Lost In Cleveland Tour
August 15 - Boston Red Sox vs. Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Stadium
August 16 - Baltimore Orioles vs. Milwaukee Brewers, County Stadium
August 17 - Philadelphia Phillies vs. Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field
August 18 - Toronto Blue Jays vs. Detroit Tigers, Tiger Stadium
"We may be lost but we're making good time." - Yogi Berra
We had such a good time on our two day tour of Chicago ballparks in 1990 that we decided to do it again the next year. DC's sister-in-law, Marty Gibbons lives in Cleveland so a combination family visit / ballpark trip was planned. Dave flew into Cleveland and met up with DC, Lisa and their kids. That night DC and Dave headed out for Cleveland Stadium. Marty had given us directions but we somehow managed to get ourselves lost and in a not-so-great looking part of town. We were getting a little worried but then Dave said, "Hey, we're two guys with a map! We can do anything!"
So now we had a theme - these excursions have been known as Two Guys & a Map ever since; we even have t-shirts. We were able to find Cleveland Stadium, the so called "Mistake By The Lake." The place was gigantic. This was before the team became a contender and attendance was terrible. Our seats were down the right field line but we felt free to move around since there were only about 6,000 people in a place that held about 80,000. We ended up sitting right behind home plate. Albert Belle hit a home run and continued to hit a home run each and every time Dave saw him play - which could have been great for Dave since he is an Orioles fan and attends several games each year at Camden Yards. But after he signed with the Orioles, Belle hit a home run the first time Dave saw him and none since then.
We woke up the next morning to headlines in the newspaper reporting the coup attempt against Gorbachev. Dave left the Cohn/Gibbons clan in Cleveland and went on to Chicago and Milwaukee by himself. County Stadium in Milwaukee is a great old ballpark - it is actually very similar in a lot of respects to Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, the predecessor of Camden Yards. There is a party atmosphere at County Stadium unlike any other ballpark - concession stands were set up in the parking lot, people were tailgating, there was even a bathroom which opened up into the parking lot up until game time. The Orioles blew a lead and lost but it was still a good time.
Wrigley was well, Wrigley. There was a book written a few years back called Fenway Franks To Dodger Dogs by a man who spent a summer going to every major league ball park and rating them in various categories. At each stop he also wrote a little human interest story. His Wrigley Field story was about a friend of his sister, a former Peace Corp worker, who now makes his living selling peanuts outside of Cubs games. Dave was walking towards the gate when he spotted a peanut vendor with a Peace Corps badge and struck up a conversation. It was him. He said, "Not many people recognize me from that book." (For more detail on Wrigley Field, see 1998 - The Two Guys & a Mapholder Classic Ballparks Tour)
The next day Dave and DC drove from Cleveland to Detroit. It's a very easy drive and Tiger Stadium was right off the highway just as you enter Detroit from the south. The game was a gem - Detroit and Toronto were in a close pennant race and all hell broke loose in the first inning. Devon White hit Bill Gullikson's first pitch of the game for a home run. Roberto Alomar hit Bill Gullikson's second pitch of the game for a home run. Bill Gullikson's third pitch of the game hit Joe Carter in the head, nearly starting a brawl. The Blue Jays finished scoring by the second pitch of the game but they went on to win 2-1.Tiger Stadium was a wonderful place to see a ball game - if you were in the upper deck. It was built in 1912 - in fact it opened the same day as Fenway Park. Unlike most ball parks which have a set-back upper deck, Tiger Stadium's upper deck covers almost the entire lower deck. Because of this, it was virtually impossible to sit in the lower deck and not be behind a pole. But the upper deck was a treat - there were no luxury boxes forming a middle deck so if you were sitting near the front, you were right on top of the action. We sat behind home plate and could hear the players and home plate umpire talking to each other.