Sunday, July 20, 2014

We Like To Think We're Athletes

Once again, we've signed up for the Damon Runyon 5K at Yankee Stadium. The 5K benefits the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. If you've paid any attention at all to this blog over these last few years, you'd remember that cancer research is a very important cause to us. For starters, we co-founded a charity in our fathers' names called Fred K's Cancer. Both Freds were diagnosed with cancer - Fred #1 with testicular cancer and Fred #2 with oral cancer. Secondly, Serena's Mema and Mamadukes were both diagnosed with breast cancer. Each year, she and her family raise money for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer on their behalf.

Also, if you've been paying attention to our blog these last few years, you'd remember that we hate running. And exercise in general. Why would we do a 5K? Truthfully, we don't know what prompts us to register for all of these 5K's, but the best part about the Damon Runyon 5K (aside from the fact that you're raising money for something incredibly important) is that the course is Yankee Stadium. You get to run on the field. The actual field. Not a fake one. When you cross the finish line, there are energetic and enthusiastic volunteers waiting for you with medals. After you've received your medal, there are tables upon tables of the best goddamn post-race snacks EVER! This 5K has spoiled us. It's basically the reason why we had such a hissy fit at the All Star Game 5K last year because they didn't have bagels.

Here's the negative part of the 5K: stairs. You have no idea how many stairs the New York Yankees make you climb on game day until you have to run them all one day. The Yankees must not have gotten the memo that America has an obesity problem. As a whole, our nation does not enjoying exercise or healthy living. Why can't you give us more escalators? Or slides? Something simple. Each year, we overestimate our athletic prowess. As you can see here and here, each year, we make grandiose announcements about "training" and assume that the run will be easier. Each year, we sit on our fat, stupid asses and do nothing until the morning of the 5K. We don't even prepare on the morning of the race properly. We eat nothing and stop at Dunkin Donuts on the way to the race to buy large cups of coffee for the drive.

This year, we decided our shenanigans needed to end. One day, we'll drop dead if we continue to live dangerously. Our race is Sunday, August 3rd. We finally started "training" last weekend. We ran 1 mile to the high school near Serena's apartment, 2 laps around the track, 2 snaking laps of the bleachers, walked 1 lap on the track, and then ran the 1 mile back to the apartment. After which, we climbed into Lisa's car and drove to a nearby cafe for smoothies. Yesterday, we did our second training session. To our first session, we added a third bleacher lap and sandwiches with a lot of Italian meat on it to our smoothies. All we did was complain the entire time. Clearly, we're going to die on August 3rd.

If you haven't run this 5K before, you should. Especially if you're a baseball fan. If you HAVE run this 5K in the past, you should do so again. In both instances, you should run with us. A) you can be there to witness our death and then you can take over our blog and record our final moments. B) you'll get a sweet custom t-shirt made by us. In our kitchens. With an iron. C) we're always looking for strong, able bodies to carry us off to glory. If you're not local or physically can't run/walk a 5K due to injury, or are just lazy, you should donate to our team. See beginning of the blog as to why donations are so vital. If you need additional incentive, we'll make you a custom shirt and send it to you.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The TBB Finally Take On Star Wars Night

We need to preface this post with the following: if you think we're going to talk about the game, you've chosen the wrong blog to follow. We'll be blunt. The Mets won and there were some home runs.
Now that that's out of the way, let's focus on the important stuff: Star Wars. We arrived at the game nice and early to maximize quality time spent with our Star Wars characters. Unfortunately, we were there. A bunch of adorable kids in costumes were there. Their parents. A few creepy adults. There were no characters. There were no characters until 6:30. For a 7:10 game time. We started to think that the "costumed characters" the Mets' website had referred to were the costumed children. We assumed that it would be considered inappropriate to pose for photos with Baby Darth Vader, Baby Princess Leia, and Baby Boba Fett.

A Mets staff person emerged from a secret door and announced that the "characters were almost finished getting ready." Way to blow the magic, buddy. Why don't you just tell the children that Santa is just finishing up putting his beard on? Dummy.

Suddenly, we were standing there, minding our own business and trying not to look creepy as Lisa photographed the children, when this happened:

We could practically hear the Star Wars music playing in our heads (why the music wasn't actually playing is beyond us -- really, New York Mets, it's in the details). Either Lisa or Serena screamed, "Chewbacca!" We were so excited that we can't even remember who said it. What Lisa specifically remembers is Mr. Met's arrival. According to Lisa, Serena gripped the stair railing, did a tremendous backbend, and gaped. Lisa's been telling people that she wished she had photographed the moment. She vows that Serena looked like she'd just won the World Cup single-handed.
We met this lovely female stormtrooper that prompted Serena to question whether or not she could do this as a career option. Do you suppose stormtroopers get health benefits and 401(k) plans? If they don't, they're no better than a full-time bartender. For heaven's sakes, their work is dangerous! The rebels blew up the Death Star! Twice!
 Serena is clearly in her element here molesting Darth Vader.
 Chewbacca was in love with us. Truth be told, we loved him as well.
Since we always need something to bitch about, we are providing the New York Mets with a complete list of things they did well and things they need to work on for future Star Wars Nights. Don't think we won't be returning to ensure that these demands have been met. We'll be there and we'll be taking notes. If they have not been met to our satisfaction, we will kidnap TOWSNBN and we will force feed him ice cream until he vomits.

Things that you did well:
*We applaud you for the using the jumbotron effectively. Transforming the players into Star Wars characters was extremely enjoyable to see. Insert photo of David Yoda Wright:
*You had legit characters there. Well done. Especially considering that we initially assumed that the "costumed characters" in question were the children.
*It was super awesome that even though many adults dressed in costume, you really geared the costume contest to the kids. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up to that.
*Thank you for allowing everyone to bring in their fake weapons. Now that we know that this is permitted, we will be bringing our Han Solo blaster and Chewbacca crossbow with us.

Things that you need improvement on:
*The free giveaway bobblehead should be given to the first x amount of fans, not to some designated section of the stadium. The only reason we got this RIDICULOUS bobblehead (in which Travis D'Frenchman looks like Chico DeBarge) is that a very nice man gave us his unused voucher tickets.
*As we stated earlier, it's all in the details. You didn't have enough details. For example, St. Louis had Chewbacca throw out the first pitch. WTF? You should be honored to have someone with his clout throwing out the first pitch of your game. How did you mess this up? Players should've been forced to come to the plate to music from the saga instead of the usual, "choose your own adventure song." Granderson coming out to Will Smith? Hush. You will take the Imperial March and you will like it. Listen, we're professional theme party organizers. We specialize in the details. You provide the attendees and the money and we will give you a theme party that you will not forget.
*You gave out free t-shirts, which is GREAT, but considering this was "Star Wars Night," the shirt had nothing to do with the theme. You had an opportunity to insert the Death Star or Millennium Falcon into the NYC skyline. Fail.
*You did not advertise this epic night enough. The proof of this is the fact that a beer vendor didn't even know of the theme night. He asked, "Why is everyone wearing Star Wars gear?" Ummmm, because it's Star Wars Night. You ass. However, it's not his fault. It's your fault. You haven't given your employees the proper tools with which to succeed. Shame, shame, shame, you know your name.
*Having a character meet and greet was stellar, but it started off like a sh*t show. It was total mayhem for about 30 minutes before an intelligent staff person decided to make everyone get on line. From the start, just make us get on line. Human beings are essentially sheep. We need to be herded.
*For all things Star Wars related, the TBB are VIP's. We will accept complimentary tickets to future Star Wars Nights, as well as early, private access to the characters. Specifically Darth Vader and Chewbacca. Perhaps a free cheeseburger or two.

Here are some photos from the game to prove that we didn't just leave after meeting our new friends from a galaxy far, far away:

Our food (combination platter for $12.50):

View from our seats:


Monday, June 30, 2014

PNC Park

PNC Park
115 Federal Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15212

June 7, 2014
After spending the day at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and a pair of breweries, we took the quick subway ride from our hotel to the ballpark. Since taking the guided tour of the stadium the day before, we were completely smitten with the ballpark and super excited about watching a game (for more photos and behind the scenes action of PNC Park, check out our blog post from our guided tour). When we arrived at the stadium for the game, it was already really crowded, so we quickly snapped a selfie outside before heading in.
At the recommendation of our awesome tour guide, we purchased crab fries to share for $9.75 before going up to our seats. The stand is located in Pop's Plaza on the main level near left field. Our guide gave us a lot of suggestions, so we wanted to make sure we hit as many of those as possible while being cost effective. Hence, sharing meals. Nearby is a gluten free stand called Just4U Healthy Options.


Unfortunately, we ended up in the wrong section by mistake and since the game was starting and we didn't want to be "those" people that stand and block the entire game, we quickly slid into the nearest empty seats for the time being. We figured we'd finish the crab fries, get ourselves sorted out, and find our correct seats. In the meantime, Serena pulled out our trusty notebook to start taking notes about our stadium experience. As you can see in the picture, for the price, you get quite a lot of food. The fries had a delicious spicy kick to them. The only negative comment we had was that the fries came with a creepy cheese sauce that didn't taste good (see dish hanging off the side of the cup). So far, our lovely tour guide was batting 1.000 in the recommendation department.

It was brutally hot. The kind of hot that when you're sitting in a seat, you can't sit with your legs closed or your arms at your side because your limbs and body touching one another traps entirely too much heat. Despite the fact that we truly enjoyed the crab fries, the weather made it difficult to eat them. Sitting in front of us were three young chicks with a whole lot of hair. Listen, it's not a problem to have a shit ton of hair on top of your head. We're two chicks that have a shit ton of hair on our heads and there are a lot of individuals on this planet that would pay good money for that hair. Like Derek Jeter. Since we are among those with a lot of hair, we know just how sweaty and suffocating our hair can be on a humid, hot day like this one. Ladies and gentlemen with long, thick hair: suffer in vain no longer. We'd like to introduce you to the wonders of the ponytail and its many relatives: the bun, side bun, braid (single, French, pigtail, etc.), the updo. All of these hairstyles function to sweep the hair off of your neck, allowing what little breeze that's available to cool your skin.

Behold one of the girls in front of us:
As you can see, that's a lot of hair. During heat waves such as this, let go of ego. You must accept that that being pretty is not an option any longer. Only comfort. Your face is going to look moist and melty just like everyone else's and the only thing this look serves to do is trap sweat against your neck, shoulders, and back...and our legs. Our legs, which are situated behind you and actively dying each time your long locks rest on top of them. When you don't embrace the ponytail on days like this in crowded spaces, your hair suffocates our lower half and makes us dry heave.

Aside from the mass of hair sitting in front of us, the girls kept to themselves and didn't bother us, which is all we could ask for. While slowly munching on our crab fries, we dutifully took notes on the game's action as it unfolded before us so that we could reference later (for this very blog post). Serena entered a few details into her Ballpark Passport Trapper Keeper (after all this, Lisa forgot hers at home like a real a-hole).
PS - note the mass of hair sitting just in front of Serena.

Basically, all we were doing was minding our business when shit hit the fan. A girl that can only be described as a "chickenhead" arrived. Apparently she was a friend of the three wookies sitting in front of us. Without saying anything directly to us, she merely shouted, "SOMEONE is sitting in our seats. We have those four seats and these four seats." One of her wookies replied, "Okay, no big deal. No one is here yet. We can take care of it when everyone arrives." There was no placating the chickenhead. All she did was repeat herself loudly in her empty, bimbo voice over and over and over again. Truthfully, all she had to do was look at us and politely ask us to move. We were in the wrong and we had had no intention of remaining in those seats to begin with. We would've gladly moved without any confrontation at all. However, she didn't have the balls to confront us directly. Only passive aggressively, which is one of the most pathetic, useless traits a human being could possess. It's slightly worse than stupidity only because stupid people don't know any better. Passive aggressive people are just feeble a$$ f*cks and since we have the temperment of Vlad The Impaler, our reaction to her may not have been the most rational. 

Serena merely stared at the girl without wavering with the expression that Brother has referred to as, "The Look." If Serena had the same magical powers as Maleficent, she could probably commit murder simply by flashing The Look. Unfortunately, since Serena has yet to determine how to summon the forces of alternate universes for this purpose, she must settle for making people extremely uncomfortable with her stare. Lisa, on the other hand, was less subtle. Loudly, she declared, "what a dumb bitch." The wookies were suddenly very uncomfortable. They continued to try to calm down their chickenhead to no avail. Therefore, Serena continued to give The Look and Lisa continued to call the chickenhead a dumb bitch. Again, we can't stress enough that this is hardly considered rational behavior. We are adults with 401(k) plans and Serena is a 200-hour trained yoga instructor. Clearly, we know better, but that didn't stop us from being angry New Yorkers.

In order to not disturb the rest of the section, we waited until the close of the inning to pick up our stuff and relocate to our real seats. From several rows up, we could still hear her bubblehead voice bellyaching, so we snapped a photo of her following her 4,000th selfie with a friend:
 
Here's the view from our legit seats:



  

There are four #21's on the league scoreboard in right field. Each 21 represents one of Roberto Clemente's batting titles.


 

Our real seats turned out to be infinitely more pleasant than our borrowed ones. Thanks to the stadium's overhang, we had the comfort of mostly sitting in the shade.  Under no circumstances should you infer from that statement that we were "cool." It was still as hot and sweaty as a man's pair of underpants at the gym, BUT we were at least protected from the piercing death ray that was the sun.

During the 5th inning, we spotted the Pirate Parrot (stupidest name ever) in the lower level in right center field, mingling with fans. Since the tour guide advised us to sample a sandwich from the Primanti Brothers (a supposed local traditional fare) and it was around the time we typically eat our third lunch of the day, we figured that we'd meet Pirate Parrot and grab a sandwich while we were at it. The concourses, for some reason, were so packed with slow moving drunk people that by the time we bumped into Pirate Parrot, he'd already reached left field. We politely asked (we promise you that we asked politely. We swear that there wasn't a single ounce of rudeness in our request) one of his handlers if we could take a picture. The handler totally blew us off! We even repeated our question just in case he didn't hear us. He pushed by us and ignored us! We couldn't believe it! Everyone assumes that New Yorkers are the meanest, coldest, rudest people on the planet, yet we'd never been treated like that by a staff person at a Mets or Yankees game. 

Abandoning the idea of getting a photo with Pirate Parrot (he no longer seemed worth it), we walked the lower level back toward the first base side to see if we could find the Primanti stand. The concourse was complete and total chaos. We hadn't seen that many intoxicated, badly behaved people since the last Islanders/Rangers playoff game we attended at the Nassau Coliseum. To put things into perspective, hockey fans are insane. The Islanders/Rangers games (let alone a high stakes game like the playoffs) play host to insane hockey fans "on steroids." That's how sloppy these Pirates fans were. They put Islanders/Rangers fans to shame. It was terrifying.  The mass of drunken idiots moved at a glacial pace. Please. Be as drunk and stupid as you want, but pick up the f*cking pace. We reached the area behind home plate just as the pierogies lined up to race around the field's warning track. Since the crowd was hardly moving, we stepped aside to watch the race.



We could see the pierogies step into the stands via a gate in the wall near left field, so we tried hurrying through the crowd to meet them. Unfortunately, the drunky mcdrunkersons of the stadium were not on the same wavelength as we were. It took us 20 minutes to go 20 feet. By this time, we could see that the pierogies had already managed to make their way down most of the first baseline. They were closing in on their exit near home plate. We needed to make a break for it or else that would be it. Photo opp gone. We scooted down the steps of the closest section to cut them off at the pass. The pierogies and their handlers were faster. As we raced down the steps, each one was escorted to safety. The only pierogie left for us to take a picture with was the chick. We met her at the bottom of the steps at the same time. "Can we take a picture?" The handler scowled at us and pushed her charge past us. We were somewhat appalled by this. How obnoxious do you have to be that you can't even acknowledge us? If you don't have time for a picture, all you had to do is politely say so. Your mascot can't be polite on your behalf. It's a mascot. They can't f*cking talk!

Dejected, we trudged up the stairs to search for the stupid Primanti sandwich. It turned out that the stand is located near right field, logically not far from where we were, but it still took us 20 minutes to get there. Absurd. For $16.50, you can get the sandwich with a soda or for $17.25 with a beer. Unfortunately, the sandwich looks totally disgusting. According to the posted photo, tomato and cole slaw are among the toppings of the sandwich. The photo made Serena dry heave. We ditched the stand and decided to find the Rivertowne Brewing All Star Hall of Fame Club because it is the only place in the stadium where you can find "The Closer," a grilled cheese sandwich named for the Pirates' closer, Jason Grilli. The restaurant is located in the left field area, so we walked the outfield concourse to get there. Along the way, we spied an uneaten Primanti sandwich on the floor and we felt relieved that we decided to avoid it. It looked sad and pathetic and covered with white creaminess that immediately prompted dry heaving.

As we climbed the steps to the Club, we noticed that it would be a perfect location to get a picture of us with the Roberto Clemente Bridge in the background. A really sweet Brewers fan agreed to take our picture. As he lined up a shot, an idiot jumped into our picture and claimed that we were best friends for life. The Brewers fan asked if we knew him. Serena replied, "no, we don't spend a lot of time with a$$ clowns on purpose." He kindly offered to take another picture and then asked if we wanted him to delete the other one for us. Lisa replied, "No. Now that jerk is going on the blog." We present to you Mr. Jerk Face:
Here is the nicer photo:
The Club itself was mobbed. We couldn't figure out why. There was a game going on outside and no one cared. Everyone was plastered and focused on the television screens broadcasting the Belmont Stakes, which takes place on Long Island. Where we live. Why bother going to a baseball game at all then?

The Closer was nowhere to be found on the menu, but when we asked the waitress for it, she knew what we were talking about. The sandwich is $14 and comes with a side of potato chips. Serena substituted french fries for an extra $1. The sandwich itself boasts 9 different cheeses, but since it's only available at The Club, you have to sit at a table like you do in a restaurant. You can't take it to go. You have no choice but to watch the game during that time frame on a television, which totally sucks. According to the television, the Pirates were losing 8-3. What a nightmare.

We want to preface this next paragraph with the fact that we were REALLY looking forward to this sandwich. The sandwich has been ranked pretty high by ballpark foodies, our tour guide recommended it, and it has 9 cheeses on it. NINE! It's basically what heaven is SUPPOSED to look like. In heaven, you snuggle in a sandwich with 9 cheeses on it, bacon (unless you're a vegetarian, which is sad, but hey, it's YOUR heaven, so it should be all about what makes YOU tick), and either Taylor Kitsch or Kate Beckinsale. Or both. Depending on what sort of shit you're into. The sandwich that arrived was not heaven. It wasn't even hell. It was sadness served on bread. There was a weird, funky tasting lettuce on it that we ended up scraping off. Lisa Googled the ingredients of the sandwich and according to the portable internet machine, this was cabbage, which is strange because the both of us like cabbage and neither of us liked whatever the hell this was. We also ended up scraping off the bleu cheese because it tasted like bad fish. Eating this sandwich was one of the most depressing experiences in the history of our ballpark tours. What should've been an orgasmic feeling turned out to be a "failure to launch." By the end, we picked pieces of the sandwich apart and then settled for eating our potato chips/fries. *sigh*
We finally received our bill at the start of the 9th inning. Rather than leaving and potentially missing a late game comeback, we hung around The Club to see the outcome on television. Unfortunately, Brandon Kintzler shut the Pirates' offense down fairly quickly. The Brewers won with a final score of 9-3.

The "free giveaway" for that afternoon's game was a post-game Goo Goo Dolls concert, which sounded pretty awesome. We tried to focus on what a great time that would be as opposed to the shit show that we'd been experiencing all day.  From the restaurant, we headed back up to our seats to enjoy the concert. We managed to miss 50% of the game because of poor crowd control and sure enough, reaching our seats was delayed by the crowds as well. We couldn't figure out where these people were coming from. Was no one in their seats watching the game? Were the Pirates giving out free shots of Jameson? Why were so many people totally shit faced? Why were so many people not watching the game? Why was everyone betting on horses on Long Island? What memo did we miss? By the time we reached our seats, they'd already managed to set up a stage, march the band and their instruments out onto the aforementioned stage, herd a bunch of fans onto the field, and start the show. That's a lot of activity for us to miss. There is absolutely no reason it should take you that long to walk up a few ramps and find your stupid seats. What the hell?

If you follow us on Instagram (@travelingbbabes), you can catch a little video snippet of the show.


As soon as we got to our seats, we started to relax. The Goo Goo Dolls sounded great. The weather had cooled. There were less people in our section, probably because all of the idiots were still at the bar.

We were about 5 songs in when Lisa tapped out for the evening. The Goo Goo Dolls had just finished playing Iris, Lisa's favorite Goo Goo song, when a drunk a$$hat threw his full soda bottle from several rows up. The bottle landed on the stair next to Lisa's leg and exploded onto her and a 6 year old boy. There were no apologies. Merely drunk laughter. Lisa looked at Serena. The vein in her forehead throbbed. It was so huge, it had its own zip code. And security guard. "I'm done. We need to go," she said.

Before leaving the stadium entirely, we stopped off at the gift shop to get Serena's Trapper Keeper stamped. According the cashier, the stamp hadn't been used since May and she complained that it was annoying to change the date. Apparently, we'd inconvenienced her.
All in all, we wouldn't say that this was a worst stadium experience than our Philadelphia one, but we'd rank it pretty close to being that awful. Great ballpark. Terrible day.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

PNC Park Tour

We booked the 12 pm guided tour of PNC Park for only $10/each the day before our game. From our hotel, we took the subway to the North Side station. The best part of this subway ride is that it was only 10-15 minutes and FREE! That's right. Free. It cost us $0. Best transportation to a stadium to date.

As we waited for our tour to begin, guess who exited the stadium, having just finished the morning tour? Cat Osterman. We spotted her over 6 ft tall frame from a mile away. Naturally, like total creepers, we followed her into the gift shop. Then around the gift shop until we got the balls to ask her for a photo. Notice how we fit into her nook:
After perfecting our celebrity stalking skills, we had to run back to the stadium entrance for our tour. It began at the bronze statue of Ralph Kiner's hands: 
From Ralph's hands, we headed to Legacy Square, which is a portion of the park dedicated to the historical significance of the Pittsburgh Crawfords and the Homestead Greys, two of the local ball clubs from baseball's negro leagues. 
PS - that's our tour guide. He was epic. And adorable. 
Satchel Paige:
Josh Gibson:
The Pirates' batting cages were pretty bad ass. For starters, the pitching machine can be set to emulate the starting pitcher of the opposing team so that players can prep for the game to come. Secondly, the first batter to arrive at the cages gets to pick the music. Soooooo, if Andrew McCutchen loves getting down to 98 Degrees and he gets into the cages nice and early before the rest of his teammates, they're all stuck being "True to Their Heart." Aesthetically, the green turf inside the batting cage is from Forbes Field, the stadium that originally played home to the Pirates and Steelers. 

Since the tour took place too close to game time, we were unable to visit the Pirates' clubhouse, therefore our next stop was the field. This is the view from the Pirates' dugout: 
We always seem to take more attractive photos in other teams' dugouts.



The media room had the best view of the ballpark and the city skyline. 
In fact, when we chatted with Cat, she mentioned that the media room was one of her favorite stops on the tour because of the view.

If you're into playing pool, you can check out Keystone Corner. It's located near sections 227 and 228. It's one of those rare clubs at a ballpark that's open to everyone. 



Roberto Clemente's autograph hanging in the club:
We left the park excited to see a game the following day. The setting seemed intimate, like every seat in the house would offer a good view of the field. The tour guide gave us a lot of suggestions for places to eat, which is our favorite part about visiting other ballparks. 

Stay tuned for our post regarding our experience watching an actual game at PNC...and sadness.