The Appalachian league tour continues with a trip to Johnson City for an eleven AM morning game featuring the Burlington Royals vs the homestanding Cardinals in a battle between the two division leaders in the league.
I was pulled out of bed early in the morning (6 AM) with a paper for checkout-This was annoying because we weren't checking out until the following morning.
Not a great start to the day and it really was just a dumb mistake on the part of the hotel.
I had been to Johnson City before on the trip with Ryan and Battlin' Bob and the first thing that you noticed from the previous visit was the absence of the hill in right field.
The hill was so large (much larger than the left field incline at the Muni) that it was the main feature of the playing field-Now,unless you knew ahead of time,one would never know that hill ever existed...
This was one of those wonderful kids days,but school had already returned in Johnson City and the kids were pretty well behaved as they were entertained by a police officers show that featured attack dogs.
Those are usually fun to watch with the dog attacking the poor guy in the padded suit!
I liked the grandstand at Johnson City,but that's where most of the kids were,so we avoided that area,although we did stop long enough to get a picture and stop at their small walkup team shop to get the lovely Cherie a shirt from the Cardinals.
I try to get the ladies shirts from my various travels and Cherie had Johnson City on the top of her list.
As we walked around the stadium,we stumbled upon a local favorite drink-Dr.Enuf.
I had never heard of Dr.Enuf and Fred treated all of us to a bottle of this concoction.
It was OK,nothing that I would buy cases to bring home,but something that I wouldn't be against trying on a area return.
I'd say it tasted like a Sprite and Mountain Dew mix...
We finally sat under an umbrella down the left field line in their version of a beer garden.
Normally,I would avoid those areas like the plague,but on a morning game,it was basically abandoned,so it was a good fit on this day.
Johnson City has zero access for the visiting teams for autographs,but you can get some players down the line for the home Cardinals.
Johnson City did not make a team set this season,so I only had cards for one player-Bryce Denton,the Cardinals second rounder in 2015.
Denton was very nice in signing and chatted a bit about the Appy league and how the travel usually worked.
Wish I could say the same for pitching coach Cale Johnson,who blew Fred off with one card and no other graphers around.
I guess in the Appy league,one way to look at it is that you are seldom asked,so people just are caught off guard.
I wouldn't agree,but that could be one way of looking at it.
Fred and I watched the game,while Michael took advantage of the beer proximity to sample the local beers.
I know how Michael feels as I like to do that with local drinks (like Dr,Enuf) and sometimes potato chips,so when Michael sampled Cardinal red ale (a beer sold only at the park) and Yee Haw-I knew where he was coming from.
Michael would then disappear to meet Miss Johnson City,but I'll keep that story and the involvement of Doug Hopkins private.
After Michael (and Doug) got their pictures signed,we decided to leave the game since the heat was in full force and the game was 7-0 Burlington and went to lunch before returning to our hotel for some regeneration time before our evening.
We selected the top place on TripAdvisor in the Firehouse.
The Firehouse is supposedly inside a former Firehouse (hence the name) and specializes in barbecue.
When you travel south,the barbecue places should be at least stopped at once and with all of us in the mood for it,it was an easy call.
I ordered the three of us some nachos to snack on and they were quite good.
I don't recall what Fred and Michael ordered,but I had the pulled chicken with fries and I found them to be very good.
I liked the atmosphere,which was homey enough without the cramped feel that so many of these places tend to have.
The facility was quite large,so that was a considerable help.
If you are in the Johnson City area,you could do far worse than the Firehouse,if you are a barbecue fan,,
We then went back to the hotel for a few hours before our next trip to Elizabethton-home of the Twins and what would prove to be an added bonus for Michael.
That will be the next installment of the series....