The beginning of the road trip series starts in Eastlake Ohio for the Lake County Captains and a return for Cleveland Sports Night.
I had originally planned on doing the game and then shooting down to Ashland to visit some family,but the hotel rates were outrageous due to the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction weekend,so I decided that the lovely Cherie and I would be driving out and then returning back to Hagerstown in the same day.
Lots of running,but kept things under a fiscal budget with the vacation just getting out of the starting gate.
I planned a simple trip,one that included a nice lunch at Pickle Bill's (you might remember that from last year) and that was enjoyable again.
I'm a big fan of Perch and Walleye (especially Walleye),so both of those being local fish that you aren't able to find as easily here makes Pickle Bill's a great place to dine before a Captains game as it is just maybe 10 or so minutes away from Classic Park.
However,on the way out,I stumbled on a perfect little shop for a quick bite that will keep you going,but not fill you up for the day in Cranberry PA.
When I drove Rachel to Avon for one of her video shoots,we stopped in at an Eat and Park in Cranberry (it's the Cranberry exit,although technically considered Marshall PA) and saw the Brighton Hot Dog Shoppe next door.
The menu is pretty basic and straight forward,but that likely keeps costs low,customers happy and keeps them flowing in and out the doors...
This time it fit the bill perfectly and extremely reasonable prices combined with a huge eating area might have cemented Brighton as a stop on Ohio trips for a while-If I continue to use the Pennsylvania Turnpike that is.
That thing gets more expensive each time that I use it!
After Pickle Bill's,we went to the park,which surprisingly opened sooner than we expected and lessened the line.
I love the way that Lake County handles their VIP giveaways.
Everyone's name is on a list with the amount of tickets that they purchased,you sign when you come in and that's it.
None of the going in and out 12 times and I mean that respectfully as some of my best friends do just that-I'm just not a fan of it.
Now,the bad part for the Captains,The VIP process wasn't really worth it.
Most of the guests were late and by the time that they were settled in,most of the public was streaming through the gates.
The guest roster wasn't as strong as last season,although I was excited to get one of my favorite all-time Browns in Hanford Dixon (who should be in the HOF!).
Had I not already had a Dixon helmet,I would have been more excited!
There were some interesting guests though.
Former NBA center Brad Sellers signed four cards for me and was the most talkative guest and former Olympic gold medalist and track world record holder Butch Reynolds signed a card to go with seeing the Larry O'Brien trophy in person.
Joe Charboneau showed up late and with driving home late and the line being long for him (since he was late),I decided to pass.
There was an added bonus with the visiting Dayton Dragons (Cincinnati Reds) in town with the Reds last two first round picks on the team.
Tyler Stephenson even had a top 100 and with the extra time,I decided to wait for the Dragons to come off the field.
Almost all of the Dragons warmup jerseys came without numbers,except one-Tyler Stephenson,who was very nice in signing three cards (top 100 and mine and Derreck Chupak's Midwest League prospect card,bought at the team store) and baseballs for the Landucci's.
Really nice player,wish I could say the same for the other first rounder Nick Senzel,who refused to sign and barely acknowledge the people asking.
I think you have read my work here long enough to know that I'm pretty understanding on this nutty hobby and I never have a problem with the "right to say no".
I do have a problem with how it is said and Senzel was pretty sharp with his denial later "I said MAYBE after the game and I'm thinking about the MAYBE part".
So I didn't get him for Fred and Michael,which I feel bad about because they do such a great job for me,but waiting another three hours for a maybe with a five hour drive home wasn't appealing to me.
We drove home right after the anthem and still stuffed from Pickle Bill's,we didn't stop on the way home to eat.
What a wonderful day.
I always enjoy spending time with the lovely Cherie and I like these trips that we make together.
It helps me keep things in perspective a bit and traveling with the number one person in my life is very nice indeed.
Back later tonight with the Browns trade of Barkevious Mingo to the Patriots and soon with another trip with the lovely Cherie for my first visit (and maybe last) to the West Virginia Black Bears of the New York/Penn league!!