The road trip season and dream year of knocking off new ballparks continued with a trip to Syracuse,New York with Derreck Chupak and Doug Hopkins along with Brandon Diehl.
I had worked all night,which didn't really bother me because I wasn't driving,so even though I would be tired,I was able to doze a little when needed.
The drive up was pretty uneventful with just a few pit
stops for gas/snacks.
We arrived in Syracuse early per usual as the entire reason for the trip (for Derreck at least) was the Bryce Harper bobblehead,which came complete with a fireman hat,which looked ridiculous in my opinion,but was sponsored by someone involved with that industry.
Sitting in a hot parking lot didn't seem very appealing to Doug and I,so other than getting our tickets and a Chiefs staff member being kind enough to open the team store for us,we pretty much killed the time talking around the car,while Derreck and Brandon actually met some bobblehead traders for the first time.
I know how neat that is from personal experience,so I was happy for them,despite the time that needed to be ate away.
NBT Bank Stadium was opened in 1997 and it is a pretty ordinary AAA stadium.
It seems to be located in an industrial area of town and the outfield looks to have a lot of brush and a railroad track behind the wall.
Those tracks likely allowed the Chiefs to retain their name in this era of political correctness as they changed their logo from an Indian to a steam engine.
I got my voucher for the bobblehead that was redeemed elsewhere in the stadium (that's an awesome way of giving them out in my opinion) and gave it to Derreck.
I mean,really-what would I want with that thing?
Doug and I went down to the field level to attempt to do a little autographing,while Derreck and Brandon went around and gathered more firemen.
It was a little crowded and one dum-dum almost knocked me over from behind,but it wasn't that bad.
Triple-A graphing is never easy and I brought just a few cards and just one was important to me with shortstop Daniel Robertson having a needed top 100 for that set from 2015.
I did get that card done,so that made the trip a success.
I also got a heritage of Richie Shaffer (very nice),a Midwest top prospect of Casey Gillespie (not so much) and Jaff Decker signed three cards (very nice) for my graphing haul.
Best story-well traveled catcher J.P,Arencibia walks over,grapher calls him wrong name,J.P: "I've been around here so long and you still don't know who I am?" "I'm not signing for you" and he went out and stretched.
Upon returning,the same guy asked again and the response was the same "You guys called me the wrong name,so I'm not signing".
Doug and I climbed the steps and watched a bit and chatted with my friend Jason Christensen and his buddy Gary,
Jason was there when we arrived and we swapped a few cards earlier,but I was so tired,I didn't get to spend as much time as I would have liked with him.
We then left the stadium early (missing a no hitter by Syracuse's Justin Marks) in order to eat at a recommended site-Dinosaur Barbeque.
When we arrived though,the line was around the building and some of the block,so with a ride of five hours looming,we reluctantly decided to pass.
However,we did get a great meal at an old school A&W in Cortland New York that even surpassed my hometown favorite one as they had a small eat-in area and retained the affiliation with A&W itself!
I enjoyed a burger and coney with some great root beer and they even had miniature golf on site had we had time to play.
And the best bonus was the statue out front of the A&W Bear which I even took a picture with!
I slept a lot of the way home,so I don't have a ton else to add,but I enjoyed the trip to Syracuse more than being there.
That's not a knock against the Syracuse Chiefs or their stadium,it's more like the old saying that getting there is half the fun!
I always have a good time on road trips and I have a few more to go during the remainder of the season