Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fourth of July Weekend

Could anything get more American than watching a baseball game and enjoying the celebratory fireworks in a baseball stadium on the Fourth of July? Sure, if I had eaten a hot dog at the game. I didn’t want to throw my status as vegetarian away though, so I opted for a bottle of water instead.

Baseball was clearly a main theme of this holiday weekend for me, but I must also include Applebee’s and Family into the mix. To start from the beginning, after the long run, I hung out at the pool with John and Thomas for a couple of hours before I retired back to my house to catch a quick nap before I got on the road. I woke up in frenzy around 4pm, where I frantically threw all my stuff in the back seat of my car, and headed for the mountains. I made a last minute to decision to drive to Garrett’s away game in Bristol, VA, even though I knew he would not be pitching. It was not too far out of the way, and I knew Garrett’s parents and sister would be there, so I could hang out with them.

After three hours in the car, my body was stiff and my bladder was ready to burst. I made it into the stadium to discover that the women’s bathroom was behind the away team’s dugout with no windows and only one toilet for a stadium that had over 3,000 attendees. It was a long wait. Finally, I reunited with Scott, Ann and Elyse, who had situated themselves directly behind the Greeneville Astros bullpen. For games in which Garrett does not pitch, it’s pretty amusing to observe what goes on in the bullpen, which, as far as I can tell, doesn’t include much more than gossiping.

These pitchers had decided to be savvy with their time in the bullpen by creating a coin drop. Only quarters are allowed; if a kid gets the quarter in the cup, they are awarded with a baseball. If a kid gets four quarters in the cup, they are awarded with a broken bat. Why anyone would want a broken bat, I am left dumbfounded, but I’m not a baseball fanatic like most kids in the mountains. The coin drop spreads by word of mouth because all the pitchers have to do is tell one kid to tell all of his friends and then a flock of kids surrounds the coin drop…and the cycle repeats itself. Anyways, this coin drop earns these poor minor leaguers anywhere from $10-$40 a game, and they will use the money to buy “snacks” for the end of the season. You can guess what they are going to buy.

Meanwhile, I busted out my paparazzi dSLR so that I could capture some memories of Garrett as a Greeneville Astro for the scrapbook that he will never make. Unfortunately, he seemed to avoid the camera like any normal boyfriend would do. Instead, his teammate Jack Frawley gave Elyse and I more attention as we stalked all of the players and even showed his pearly whites for the camera.
After the game, we stalked the bus so that we could say hi to Garrett and I snapped a couple of pictures of the family as you can see below. The real highlight of the weekend came on the Fourth of July home game in the Greeneville Astros complex, which happens to be much nicer than the Bristol Stadium. Elyse and I were under strict orders from two of Garrett’s teammates to win their special edition baseball hats back from the silent auction. These hats had the stars and stripes in honor of Veterans and you could sign your name to bid on the hats at a table. Since we wanted to be sure to win the hats, Elyse and I had to regularly stalk the table to make sure no one had outbid us. I got into a decent competition with another man with a last name of Bullock who wanted Garrett’s hat. One man even said to me in shock, “You are stealing from his DAD?!?!” and I reassured him that it was not his dad that was trying to win the hat and introduce him to Garrett’s real dad, who was essentially acting as my body guard. In the end, Elyse and I were successful in redeeming the hats, thanks to Ann for the cash, and earned a spot on the field at the end of the game.

In the picture below, you can tell that Elyse and I look like we fill the role of cleat chasers absolutely perfectly. To outsiders, we may look like we are eyeing the locker room for other potential suitors, but really we’re just the girlfriend and the sister. HA!

After the game in which they lost (the Astros went from being tied for the best record in the league to having a five game losing streak), we watched a fireworks show that was better than Charlotte’s 2009 show. It lasted approximately 21 minutes, which is exactly 9 minutes longer than Charlotte’s.

After two nights of eating out at Applebee’s because that’s the only restaurant in Greeneville, TN that is open past 11pm, I had become accustomed to blocking out Garrett’s 17 complaints about how unhealthy it was because it was getting too repetitive. Luckily, on the third night, we cooked a meal of chicken on the griddle and Garrett and I ate spinach plain out of the bag like it was full of potato chips.

In the end, while it was great to see the Bullock clan and hang with G's awesome friends, I was ready to get back in my normal schedule. Since all the games are at night, Garrett’s schedule features eating out late (past 11pm), going to bed past midnight, and sleeping in past 9am. Compare this to my schedule in which I wake up at 530am, run, work, eat at 630pm, and then sleep at 930pm.

Did I mention that Garrett seems totally happy? It was absolutely awesome to see him completely in his element, making the most of this opportunity.


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