Thursday, September 15, 2016

Road Trip-Bristol and Bluefield

The trip concluded in Bluefield WV/VA with Fred and Michael Landucci with a stop at Bowen Field.

However as is often the case on these trips,half the fun is in getting there and that was the case on this day for sure.

We left our hotel in Johnson City and began to trip to Bluefield,but of course there was lunch to be considered and on this one,we deferred to Fred and his choice was the Mad Greek in Bristol,Tennessee.
Michael and I found this amusing because the Johnson City Mad Greek was literally a walk across our hotel parking lot as we realized when we left the hotel.

I have to be honest-I wasn't really looking forward to the Mad Greek.
I'm not really an aficionado of Greek food,but most of the trip,I had some say in food and it was Fred's turn and time for your writer to be a good sport.
Well,your writer was wrong-extremely so as Fred was correct as the Mad Greek was tremendous!
Our waitress,Kristen was terrific and shared some answers that we had to some questions about the area.
I ordered myself a small pizza and the greatest thing about the Mad Greek is that they do something that no other pizza place that I have ever seen do-They charge for the pizza and toppings are unlimited!
In other words-a ten topping pizza costs the same as a cheese pizza! I love it!!
A very good pizza and when we return to Bristol next year,I hope we stop at the Mad Greek again.

One of Michael's questions was about Yee Haw beer,which he had developed a taste for and he wanted to bring some home,so we needed a supermarket and we found one in Food City.
We took some photos for the upcoming "Battle of Bristol" between Tennessee and Virginia Tech as the place was decorated for the game a month in advance.
Michael bought a six pack of bottles of the four various Yee Haw's (pilsner,ale,dunkel and eighty)
and reports that all were good,but he would rate the pilsner as his least favorite and we left,but here's the funny part.
When we parked the car,we parked right by a "Rock Star" van and Fred said when we left that I should take a picture of it-however when I looked at it,it looked deserted and nothing like a vehicle used for beverages.
After turning the Kindle on for the picture,I noticed a wi-fi from "FBI Surveillance" and a guy peeping out of the van.
Needless to say,no picture and we left to avoid answering questions about we took pictures of a van!
We passed a countdown clock for the game and the speedway itself.
When I was a NASCAR fan,Bristol was my favorite track and I loved the two races held there.
I've been by it twice and I hope to go inside sometime on a future visit....

Fred and Michael bought hats at every stop on the trip and wanted to add a Bristol Pirates hat to their collection,so we pulled up to Boyce Cox Field and as we saw locked gates,we turned and began walk back to the car when a voice asked "what do you want in there"? When I replied these gentlemen wanted to buy some hats,the response was "I believe I can help with that".
It turned out that our host was Bristol GM Mahlon Luttrell and he was happy to allow us to take a tour of the field and Fred and Michael got their hats with Fred getting a very cool green one with the Appalachian League logo on it as well.
I wish it would have fit me as I really liked it.
We talked to Mr.Luttrell for a bit and mentioned that we were going to Bluefield and Mr.Luttrell called the GM at Bluefield and mentioned that we were on our way there.

We arrived at Bluefield,which literally has the West Virginia/Virginia state line that runs through the field, and we were allowed into the facility early by the GM,who as noted had been tipped off about arrival, to watch batting practice.
There was only one problem,we were not allowed to ask for autographs,which was a bit of a pain,but not as bad as you would think.
However,before we started that,we tried to get some of the Pulaski Yankees getting off the bus and Fred's opinion of Blake Rutherford changed.
Players got off the bus and when it seemed like most were off the bus,Fred asked what looked to be Rutherford,if Blake was still on the bus or if he was Blake.
The response was that Rutherford was still on the bus.
Fred was dismayed to find out that the only few (four or five) players that walked off the bus were Hispanic and the player that told him that Rutherford was on the bus,was in fact Rutherford.
Fred's stance on Rutherford,so high just two nights earlier was now pretty low...

It was very neat being the only people in Bowen Field and watching batting practice and the autograph ban was not a issue-mainly because I have never been to a park with worse access than Bluefield.
I mean there is just nowhere to go for anyone.
If you are coming to Bluefield for autographs-be ready to use the parking lot because you just aren't going to have a chance inside the park.
This saddened me because Tim Raines was in town with Bluefield and I didn't have him on my Score sets.
Tough luck for me,despite some help by the assistant GM,who tried his best to help.

Bowen Field reminded me a lot of the Muni with another covered grandstand with backed seats.
Those seats comprise the vast majority of the seating area,so,if you don't like sitting behind the plate,you might not care for Bowen Field.
The view beyond the outfield was filled with trees and provided a beautiful and natural Batter's Eye.
Bluefield made a team set (which not all Appy teams do),but I didn't buy one as the Blue Jays don't hit our circuit until AA (Harrisburg or Altoona) and with the access being what it is,I decided to pass...

We left Bluefield for a pretty bad meal at the Princeton Applebees and we had over five hours to hit Hagerstown,which meant over six for Fred and Michael to get home.
It was a terrific trip and thanks to Michael and Fred for doing the trip with me...
We are already making plans to try to hit the other five Appy Parks
(Kingsport,Bristol,Greeneville,Danville and Burlington) for next season if the schedule bounces right...

Wrapping up the trip with my favorites with all things considered.
I liked them in this order: Pulaski,Johnson City,Princeton,Elizabethton and Bluefield...

Thanks for reading and I'll be back tonight with a planned podcast....

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