Thursday, August 10, 2017
I'm going to write about both stops,but with other things to write about (death of Glen Campbell and tonight's Indians trade for Jay Bruce) might delay the Salem part or maybe shorten it a bit...
Fred Landucci drove Mike Oravec and I straight down I-81 to Bristol VA/TN for the visit to Boyce Cox Field and the Bristol Pirates of the Appalachian League.
I had visited Bristol on three occasions and had been inside to take pictures,but never for a game.
This trip would not only move Bristol to the game list,but would complete my ballpark list for the state of Virginia.
Bristol is a town that really is two towns that is one and I know how that sounds.
Bristol is divided right down the middle of town (remember the Geico commercials?) with half in Tennessee and the other in Virginia.
Boyce Cox Field is on the Virginia side and therefore finished Virginia for me rather than being another park in Tennessee.
We got into town early with the intent of returning to the Mad Greek restaurant,which is located on the Tennessee side of the line.
You might remember our Mad Greek stop last year and this was easily the place we wanted to eat in Bristol.
I ordered a small pizza and it was delicious!
I even passed on any sides in order to keep room for a small piece of cheesecake.
I'm not a huge dessert fan normally,but I do like cheesecake every once in a while and the dessert case looked very good.
I'm a big Mad Greek fan and if you are in the area-stop by,you won't regret it!!
We then decided to check out the Bristol Motor Speedway since it was so close.
Bristol was my favorite track to watch a race when I was a follower of NASCAR and I had wanted to see just what it looked like inside.
I was just amazed at the massive size of the structure built around the half mile track!
Words really cannot describe it and that is with the track virtually empty!
I can only imagine the noise when the track is filled with fans!
It still had the lines painted on the field for the setup for last season's game inside the BMS between Tennessee and Virginia Tech on the infield too!
I do have a live NASCAR race on my sports bucket list,but I'd rather do the smaller two circuits with less fans and fewer people though if I was ever going to go to one.
Bristol does have a truck race next Wednesday and I'm off work,but I'd rather add Charlotte to my collection of parks to finish North Carolina off...
After a stop at the Sullivan County Sheriff Department for a picture for Fred's wife Linda (the Sheriff dept,was the backdrop from a reality show that the Landucci's watched) and a stop at a Food City for some Yee Haw beer for the absent Michael and we were on our way to Boyce Cox Field for the Bristol Pirates and the Danville Braves.
I didn't have many cards for Danville,mainly a top 100 for 17 year old Venezuelan Kevin Maitan,who had just been promoted to Danville a few days after Mike and I's visit to Danville last month.
I had a few cards from other people for Maitan and other than a few cards for former Tiger and Danville batting coach Barbaro Garbey,I had nothing for them.
I did the visiting side while Mike did the home Pirates side,which seemed to have a little better access than for the visitors.
We were allowed to enter the park early by the Bristol general manager,who hit it off with Fred last season,so I was at the only place that had marginal access,a small area far down the left field line.
After several attempts to call to Maitan were ignored,I was feeling pretty down as it was right around this time (I was able to find wifi from somewhere in the area) that I heard about Glen Campbell,combined with my lack of luck with the pen-I was feeling pretty low.
Then a fellow came over and began to talk to me.
He seemed like a nice guy,who happened to be dressed as a Pirate,but turned out to be their mascot "Pete the Pirate"
"Pete" (real name Dwayne) talked with me for a few minutes about baseball,graphing et and made me take my mind off things.
Pete asked me who I needed,I told him the number and to my surprise,Pete walked down to the field and asked Maitan to sign my top 100 (and a baseball for the recently arrived Fred)!
I watched from a distance as Maitan signed it and made the Bristol portion of the day a success!
Thanks for everything,Pete and I will remember your kindness and help!
After I snapped a picture of Pete and Fred for the blog,I went over to the Pirates side,where Mike had gotten a few players and Pirates pitching coach (and former closer) Joel Hanrahan as well..
We watched a bit and before leaving town for Salem,we had a quick dinner across the street from the ballpark at Krystal,where I was able to have a great Grape Icee....
We were off to Salem and part two of the day will be coming soon.
I'm just not sure what I want to write about next,but I'll have a post coming tomorrow on either Salem or Glen Campbell and I'll have a post on the Indians addition of Jay Bruce from the Mets....