Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Hitting the Road-Erie

The weekend's final day and stadium saw Doug Hopkins and I travel to Erie Pa.for the AA affiliate of the Detroit Tigers-the Erie Seawolves as they hosted the Richmond Flying Squirrels.

Doug and I got to Erie a bit earlier than expected and as a result had to find a place to eat and kill a little bit of time.
Erie wasn't quite what I expected and we had a rough time finding a place open to eat,but were excited to find the Plymouth Tavern nearby (within a few blocks walk of the park).
The Plymouth Tavern was rated as one of two places that we considered to eat before leaving Erie,so we were quite pleased to have the chance to eat at both places.
We walked through the Erie downtown and passed all of these closed places (Sunday) before hitting the Plymouth,which opened at 11:00 (11:30) only to be told that they weren't opening because "they needed to clean",
One would think that could have been finished before opening,but hey,it's not my business!

Finally,with few choices,we returned to Dominick's,which was a less than inviting place when we rode by earlier and was a reluctant choice this time.
A 24 hour place that brought to mind an old time small neighborhood watering hole,I was pleasantly surprised with the meal (Reuben on wheat and small fries) and the service was good too.
Dominick's had recently been closed (I found out why later) for smoke damage as the building next door had burned down and been bulldozed,which answered the questions we had when walking by,

Parking around Jerry Uht (pronounced Girry Uhhtt by the locals) park was less than plentiful and we pulled in across the street and showed the minor league pass to the fellow running the lot.
The pass has always been accepted by parking lots,so Doug didn't anticipate any issues and when he said "we're from minor league baseball" the attendant said "that's great,but the parking is still four dollars".
He was quite impressed....

Entered Jerry Uht and was quite impressed with the quirky twenty year old park.
The park resembles the stadiums of the early 20th century as it clearly was shoved into the city lot and not a more symmetrical field.
A homer to left smacks off the Erie arena where a arena league,junior hockey and minor league basketball team plays and right field has a huge net to knock down homers from hitting the street.
Upon entering the stadium,a very helpful Usher named Bob,welcomed me to the park,asked what I was there for and sat me right beside the dugout for autographs.
Later,Bob came back with a program and roster for me and thanked me for coming to Jerry Uht.
Contrast that with the Hagerstown Suns,who could care if I was there or not and it was clear that Seawolves fans are well taken care of by their employees...

The teams enter the field from a center field gate and can be difficult to graph as they come in on an angle.
Even in the prime position that I was in,I still didn't do that great,although I did get Christian Arroyo on his top 100 for my set.
Jerry Utt also has these incredible half upper deck seats on the first base side that are really a throwback to places like Tiger Stadium as they hang almost into the field of play-just terrific.

It's not perfect though,it reminds me of a nice New York/Penn league park,which it was originally built for and the remainder of the other seating was nothing special.
It didn't have a lot of food booths and the team shop was very small,although I did score a very neat Eastern League media guide that is small and compact enough to travel with me to games in the briefcase for the rest of the season.

We knew where we were going to eat,but we did take a while to find it,but once finding Sara's,it was well worth it!
Doug and I each ordered a delicious Chicago Beef sandwich and I skipped fries because the desserts looked so good.
Instead,I was so filled after the sandwich that I reluctantly did not order any dessert.
The place was packed and yet the service was blazing fast.
With Sara's,a water park a little up the road and Lake Erie right across a stone road, This might be a future stop for a weekend sometime!

Doug and I still had a five hour ride ahead of us and it went reasonably quickly.
I really had a great time on this road trip and thanks to Doug Hopkins for having me.
I have had two great trips this season and hopefully another one is on tap shortly!

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