Friday, May 20, 2016
We were able to eat at some pretty good places in the Music City and I'll get into those as we go on.
We woke up and were treated to a terrific breakfast buffet at the Henpeck Village Market,which has the motif of an old country store with a fabulous buffet.
It was terrific and if I'm ever in Franklin (a Nashville suburb) again,I'd be sure to check Henpeck out again!
There is so much to be said for southern cooking done without the chain restaurant food and we had a great lunch too at the Row,but first a trip to the ballpark for some pre-game graphing.
It wasn't a total success,but we did get some Nashville Sounds players coming in such as Max Muncy,former Pirate farmhand Andrew Lambo,who delivered the line of the day during postgame,Joe Wendle (always nice going back to his days with the Indians) and Dillon Overton,who was especially cool in chatting with us a bit.
Fresno and their Grizzlies came in on two shuttle buses,but we left before the second of the two showed up.
We did get Colin Moran to sign one card (Moran was just promoted to Houston on Wednesday) as it seemed that most of the Fresno players that we needed were on bus two.
We were then off to the Row for lunch.
The Row is near downtown Nashville,but not in the middle of the tourist area and looks like a retro "run down" joint,but on the inside is anything but.
The country music motif is in evidence here as each booth honors a different country music star on the wall with a huge picture and biography.
The Row features barbeque (although it isn't just B-Q) and I ordered a pulled B-Q turkey sandwich with fries.
I was very thirsty after being outside and guzzled several sodas (Thank goodness that they were diet Cokes) and the meal was excellent.
Nashville is in their second season at First Tennessee Park and it is a great park.
The stadium has a wide concourse and on a night that was a sellout,that was a huge help.
The team store was one of the best that I've ever been to and I bought Cherie and Rachel each a Nashville Sounds shirt and a program for Doug Hopkins.
The stadium has great sightlines and of course a newer version of the famous guitar scoreboard from their previous home at Greer Stadium.
This version is bright and more high-tech than the famous one and I love stuff like this inside stadiums.
I wish more stadiums would have such features unique to their area and history!
Pre-game graphing was tough with a sellout crowd.
I did get a few guys with the best being Matt Olson of the Sounds,who signed his 2015 top 100.
Olson was a bigger deal than I thought when we were told afterward that he rarely signs.
Those top 100's are always important,but even more so when you only get one shot at getting them finished.
I also was able to get one of Renato Nunez of the Sounds and Chad Pinder as well.
Nunez was reported to be not so bad as a signer,but Pinder was noted as being occasionally tough.
Derreck got blown off by former Hagerstown Sun Jake Smolinski when he asked if he would sign,Derreck was met with a sneer and "not right now" with the unspoken term being not at all.
Derreck tried again for Smolinski off the field from warmups and was met with a barely discernible head shake no.
I spent much of the game talking to a family in front of us that told me that it was their first Sounds games and that the father was a high school friend of Dan Uggla,the former big league second baseman that rehabbed with the Suns last season.
The game was nothing special (a Sounds win) that saw Derreck's new friend Jake Smolinski homer,but the best part was the racing country music legends.
Johnny Cash,George Jones and Reba McIntyre were a fun and interesting touch that again brought a local flavor.
Imagine that compared to a beer can,wine glass and beer bottle.....
We did manage to get a few guys off the field from Fresno-Matt Duffy (3/3),Andrew Aplin (2/2) and Nolan Fontana (1/3) before going to the back of the stadium to try to do some more post-game.
I met local graphers Shane and Bryce there and they were involved in the line of the night as they asked the aforementioned Andrew Lambo to sign.
As they tried to get to their cards quickly (On this trip,I knew the feeling) Lambo said "fellows the shot clock is on in this situation" and walked away.
The Fresno shuttle went inside the stadium and few made the walk down to us.
Tony Kemp (since called up to Houston) did,but I didn't have cards for him and Jonathan Singleton was a pleasant surprise in signing three cards for me.
The rest didn't bother including former Hagerstown Sun Eury Perez,so that was about it for the Grizzlies.
I did get a few more Sounds including fast moving pitcher Daniel Mengden,who signed three cards and Rangel Ravelo on his heritage card before we left.
We left through the craziness of downtown and saw all the craziness of the tourist section in Nashville,but the funny part was after we took a wrong turn on the way back.
We went to turn around and was in a parking lot with a large sign that said something motel and touted its rate-three hours for twenty eight dollars!
We said it was the type of place that was so slimy that we should have had condoms for our tires!
The even better part was the two vehicles on our bumper waiting to turn into the motel!!
All and all-I really enjoyed Nashville,the park and its surroundings and added some pretty good stories to the bank too.
I'll try to be back later with a look at the Cavaliers win and maybe tomorrow with the final day in Chattanooga and in Sevierville for the Tennessee Smokies!