Royalty Tours USA

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Stadium Journey Magazine - The Best Stadiums of 2012

Besides all the sporting events I see live, I maintain a sports travel blog which is now three years old. Furthermore, I occasionally contribute when time allows to the website, Stadium Journey, which reviews all the different sports venues around North America and the rest of the world. I must honestly say they do a tremendous job preparing people for their dream journey they hope to take some day.

Besides their informative website, they've branched out by offering sports fans' another way to educate themselves through their own monthly magazine which comes in an electronic edition and/or a hard copy version. Each issue has a different theme.

With that being said, their first edition of 2013 is the January issue which goes into detail about the best stadiums of 2012. They ranked their top 101.

In this day and age, more and more casual fans attend sporting events than ever before. That trend will continue to grow as time goes on. As a result, the total experience of attending an event these days is their top priority.

With that being said, Stadium Journey did their research and they came up with a list of venues that people who want to get the most out of their visit to a city and/or sporting event should consider going to.

As for me, I read the magazine which I found interesting and educational because quite amazingly I've only been to 52 of the 101 they ranked. They cover all different sports which include some that I don't follow such as auto racing, soccer and rugby. In addition, they included some venues from other parts of the world that I haven't visited yet. By reading their latest issue, I realize I have plenty of venues to add to my own to do list.

With that being said, I strongly suggest if you're a sports fan, that you should pick up a copy of this issue so you can see what places you need to go to.

By doing so, you'll have a good idea of what to expect if and when you decide to take your dream journey.

For all the details on how to get your copy, click on the link below:

http://www.stadiumjourney.com/magazine

Trust me you won't regret making the investment. We all have different interests and priorities in life. You make the call on what best fits your needs and wants. It's your life, live it to the fullest and enjoy the journey where ever it takes you.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman










Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Royalty sees a hockey/basketball doubleheader on Martin Luther King Day!

Prince at Sovereign Center
On the day we remembered the man behind the Civil Rights movement, the King & I and our pal Vincent Ascanio spent the day watching hockey and basketball.

After I spent another night with my parents in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, I went to Super 8 and I picked up the King & Vincent. We drove to Reading, PA aka Baseball town and we stopped off at First Energy Stadium which is the home of the newly named Reading Fightin Phils of the Eastern League to show Vincent the ballpark which we think is one of the best in the minor leagues.

We wound up going to Zabala's Sports Diner for breakfast which was located right across the street from the ballpark in right field. We had a very nice meal there which consisted of bacon, eggs, home fries and toast for $2.25 each. What a deal that was.

After we ate, we drove to downtown Reading to the Sovereign Center, home of the Reading Royals. We got to see a rematch of the teams we saw play there Saturday night. I'm referring to the Elmira Jackals who were visiting the Royals again for a special holiday matinee affair.

As for the game we saw, the Royals scored first late in the first period to take a 1-0 lead. A minute and two seconds later the Jackals tied it up at one with just 26 seconds to go in the period. In the second period, the Royals went back ahead midway through the period to take a 2-1 lead. In the third period, the Jackals score four unanswered goals including an empty netter with 2:15 to go to beat the Royals this time, 5-2 in front of a crowd of 4,253 which was slightly smaller then the one they had Saturday night..

Prince at Wells Fargo Center
After the game, we drove to Philadelphia for game two of our two sport doubleheader as we saw the Philadelphia 76ers host the San Antonio Spurs at the Wells Fargo Center.

Before the game, we stopped off at the Oregon Diner for a great pre game meal since our pal Vincent wanted to see it for himself. He had trouble finishing the two massive breaded pork chops he ordered. With that being said, he was a very satisfied customer. As for me, I had the broiled fillet of flounder that was stuffed with crab meat again. It was delicious. When we were done, we drove over to the sports complex area and I parked the car.

We proceeded to walk over to the Wells Fargo Center. Upon arrival, we headed inside to our seats in section 221A that our pal Frankie Centola arranged to get for us. Shortly thereafter, we were joined by our buddy Andrew Van Cleve and his new born son Micah. It was great to see him again.

As for the game we saw, the Spurs led the 76ers, 25-17 after the first quarter. They extended their lead to 14, 49-35 at halftime. In the third quarter, the 76ers cut the lead in half to seven, 71-64 after three quarters. In the fourth quarter, the 76ers ran out of gas as they fell short in their comeback attempt as they lost, 90-85 in front of a crowd of 15,346. I was surprised they didn't have a bigger crowd on hand. I guess since the 76ers have been struggling lately, people decided to stay home.

After the game, we drove back home as the holiday weekend getaway came to a close.

Stay tuned for the rest of my w/o 1/21 in review.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman











Royalty goes to Hershey, Pennsylvania for AHL Outdoor Classic at Hersheypark Stadium!

Live action  from AHL Outdoor Classic at Hersheypark Stadium
Back in August 2012 when the American Hockey League schedule came out, they announced that in celebration of the Hershey Bears 75th Anniversary season, they were going to play an outdoor game at Hersheypark Stadium on January 20th. With that being said, I marked my calendar to make sure I would be there. It wasn't an easy decision to make since that was going to be the same weekend the NFL would be playing its Championship games. It turned out the games were being played in Atlanta and Foxboro this time. Since I was in Foxboro last year for the game, I didn't mind passing up the opportunity to go there again this year. After all, it's impossible to be everywhere at the same time.

With 7 Championship games seen live including three straight AFC ones, it was time to do something different & unique. With that being said, I was also able to visit my parents while I was in the area since they live nearby in Lancaster, PA.

After I spent some time with them Sunday morning, I drove to Super 8 and I picked up the King and our pal Vincent Ascanio. We wound up going to Cracker Barrel which was nearby to have breakfast. I must say this was the worst one I've ever been to. Normally they have great food and service. This time that wasn't the case. As they say, everybody has a bad day from time to time. On this day, apparently it was their turn.

After we ate, we went to Walmart to do some shopping since we had some time to kill because we arranged to meet up with some of our buddies from New York City who were driving to Hershey for the 5PM game as well. In fact, our pal Larry Peim was able to round up tickets for us on e-bay below face value which worked out well for all of us. He arranged to meet the person who had the tickets at Chocolate World which is right next door to the Stadium at 3PM.

We wound up meeting Larry along with our pals Michael Abrams and Rob Pierlewski aka Pittsburgh Rob as we call him at 2PM at Fuddruckers which is within a mile or two of the Chocolate capital. We decided to join them for a light lunch since we weren't going to eat dinner until after the game. It turned out to be a wise choice.

After we ate we followed each other over to the stadium and we parked next to each other.

We walked over and Larry met up with the person who had the tickets for us. The seats were towards the top of the building which gave us a better view of the action. It worked out well as we were able to see the action from a decent vantage point all things considered. I want to personally thank Larry for looking out for all of us.

As for the match up we saw, the Hershey Bears who are affiliated with the Washington Capitals were playing the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins who are the farm club for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
They announced a crowd of 17,311 which was allegedly a sell out but I did notice a section across the ice from us that had some empty benches. The crowd consisted of fans of both teams as well as hockey fans in general.

In all fairness to the people who braved the elements, the temperature did drop from the upper 40's into the mid 30's as the day & game wore on. The wind was gusting early then it calmed down for the most part as the game and night went on.

All things considered, they had a nice festive turnout for this unique event. Over the years, Hershey has been known for its loyal fan base and on this day it showed the area's passion for the sport.

As for the game we saw, it started slow as both teams felt each other out. Thus the first period was a scoreless one. In the second period, the Bears finally broke through with 4:20 left to play as their leading scorer Tomas Kundratek blasted a one timer from the slot that flew over the glove of Penguins goaltender Jeff Zatkoff to give the Bears a 1-0 lead. In the third period, the Penguins evened the score as Riley Holzapfel found the net to tie the game at one with 12:13 to go. The game wound up going into overtime. It ended in sudden death as the Penguins' Paul Thompson got the game winner on a breakaway 1:19 into the extra session which gave the Penguins a 2-1 victory.

After the game, the fans were treated to a fireworks show which was very impressive to say the least.
Regardless of the outcome, it turned out to be a great day of hockey outdoors.

After the game, we all headed to our cars and we followed each other out. We all decided to drive to Allentown, PA where our pal Michael Abrams recommended having dinner at the Starlite Diner which was located off of exit 49A on I-78. It wound up being a terrific decision. We got to have a full course meal before we all headed our separate ways. They went back to NYC and we went back to Lancaster to spend the night. In addition, we got to watch the end of the football game as the Ravens beat the Patriots to play the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. I want to thank Michael for the suggestion. It was a great way to cap off a memorable day.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman














Sunday, January 27, 2013

Royalty schedule w/o 1/28

Here's the game plan:

Monday January 28th Magic at Nets 7:30PM

Thursday January 31st Islanders at Devils 7PM

Friday February 1st Bulls at Nets 7:30PM

Saturday February 2nd Cincinnati Bearcats at Seton Hall Pirates 11AM

                                     Robert Morris Colonials at LIU Blackbirds 3PM

                                     Kings at Knicks 7:30PM

Sunday February 3rd Devils at Islanders 3PM

Check back to see how it played out.

Hope all my readers and followers have a great week.

As always, if you need assistance don't hesitate to ask.

Stay tuned for the rest of my MLK weekend getaway as well as my w/o 1/21 in review.

I still hope to do my 2012 year in review if & when I can find the time to do so. If I can't, you can always check out the different posts I did throughout the year. The same goes for 2010 & 2011 as the third anniversary of my blog is fast approaching on February 3rd which happens to be Super Bowl Sunday this year when the Ravens play the 49ers in New Orleans.

If you like to tweet you can follow me on Twitter too. @royaltytoursusa

Furthermore, we can hook up on Facebook and/or Four Square as well.

With all the ways to communicate these days, we should always be in touch.

Remember team work makes the dream work.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Royalty goes to Newark, Delaware & Reading, Pennsylvania for a basketball/hockey doubleheader!

Prince at Bob Carpenter Center - Home of Delaware Blue Hens
Saturday morning I went to Avis and I rented a Chevy Cruze for Martin Luther King weekend.

After I got the car I went home and I picked up the King in Astoria. We then went into Manhattan and we picked up our pal Vincent Ascanio who joined us for the weekend getaway.

We drove to Newark, Delaware which is between Philadelphia and Baltimore. We went to the Bob Carpenter Center, which is the home of the University of Delaware Blue Hens. They were playing a college basketball game against the Northeastern Huskies.

As for the game we saw, the Huskies dominated the Blue Hens right throughout the game. They lead at halftime, 45-33. They extended their lead to as much as 17 early in the second half. The Blue Hens made a comeback but they fell short and they lost, 74-70.

Prince at Sovereign Center - Home of Reading Royals

After the game, we got back into the car and we drove 60 miles mainly on local state roads to downtown Reading, Pennsylvania where we went to the Sovereign Center, which is the home of the Reading Royals of the ECHL.

We parked the car on the street. We were only a few blocks away from the arena. We saw an Italian restaurant called the Italian Garden across the street so we decided to go in and we had dinner. We got a large freshly made pepperoni pie and a two liter bottle of Coke for a whopping $13.78. It was a royal deal and more importantly the pizza tasted really good.

After we ate, we walked over to the box office at the arena where we were planning to buy some tickets for the game. In a matter of seconds, a guy who was standing nearby gave us three free tickets. We were in the right place at the right time. We proceeded to go inside and watch the game between the visiting Elmira Jackals and the hometown Reading Royals.

As for the game we saw, the Royals scored first to take a 1-0 lead. The Jackals answered back later in the period to tie the game at one. Late in the period, the Royals regained the lead, 2-1. In the second period, the Royals added two more goals to extend their lead to 4-1. In the third period, they scored two more to put the game away as they beat the Jackals, 6-1 in front of an announced crowd of 4,513. In years past, the Royals used to draw more people.

After the game, we drove to Lancaster, Pennsylvania where I went to see my parents who live there. Since they didn't have room for all three of us, I arranged to get the King and Vincent a room at Super 8 which was right nearby. I dropped them off there and I picked them up in the morning.

Stay tuned for the special post I'm going to do about the way we spent our Sunday.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman










Saturday, January 26, 2013

Royalty w/o 1/14 in review

Prince at Barclays Center
Monday after work I came home for some much needed rest and blog catch up since they were no local games in the area.

Tuesday after work I went to downtown Brooklyn to the Barclays Center to see the Nets take on the Toronto Raptors. Before I went into the arena, I stopped off at McDonald's in the Atlantic Center Mall which is across the street for my pre game meal. I had a McRib. It was really good. When I was done, I walked back to the arena and I went inside. I met up with the King by our seats in section 230 row 13 and we watched the game together.

As for the game we saw, the Nets and the Raptors were tied at 27 after the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Nets went ahead as they led at halftime, 54-50. In the third quarter, the Nets added to their lead as they out scored the Raptors 29-26 to take a 83-76 lead after three quarters. In the fourth quarter, both teams scored 30 points as the Nets held off the Raptors to emerge victorious, 113-106.

Brook Lopez led all scorers with 22 points and he grabbed 9 rebounds while his teammate Deron Williams had 21 points and he dished out 7 assists. Joe Johnson also added 21 points and handed 5 assists to lead a balanced attack.

Wednesday night after work I came home and I did my laundry after I made dinner.

Thursday night after work I met up with my pal Larry Peim in upper Manhattan near the George Washington Bridge. I also met the King and our friends Frank Anichiarico and Phil Butleman there as well. He drove us all to the Stratis Arena at Rothman Center in Hackensack, NJ which is the home of the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights. On this night, they were playing the LIU Blackbirds. Upon arrival we met up with our pal Bert Shoobs who does the public address announcing for the Knights. It was great to see him again.

As for the game we saw, the Blackbirds led the Knights after the first half, 36-35. In the second half, the Knights went on a 13-2 run to take a 48-38 lead. The Blackbirds came all the way back to force overtime as Brandon Thompson hit a three pointer at the buzzer to tie the game at 75. In the extra session, the Blackbirds out scored the Knights, 10-6 to win 79-75 before a sparse gathering of an announced crowd of 317. It should be the King did a head count and he came up with a total of around 200 people.

For the Blackbirds, they got 30 points and 16 rebounds from senior forward Jamal Olasewere while guard C.J. Garner added 23 points to carry them to the comeback win.

As for the Knights, Melquan Bolding scored a team high 22 points in the losing effort.

Friday night after work I went back to downtown Brooklyn to the Barclays Center. This time I saw the Nets host the Atlanta Hawks. Once again I stopped off at McDonald's for dinner. After I got done, I met up with my pal Phil Butleman outside the arena. We went inside together. After we got in, I told him I wanted to go to see the radio announcer for the Hawks before the game started. I'm referring to the legendary Steve Holman who has done Hawk games for the last 28 years. In matter of fact, on Wednesday night in Atlanta he called his 2,000th consecutive Hawk game. Ironically it was also against the Nets. This night was game number 2,001 for him. I also got to say a quick hello to him before he went on the air. He's a really nice guy and it was an absolute pleasure to see him again.

In addition, I got to see Tim Capstraw and Chris Carrino, the radio voices of the Brooklyn Nets. I got to speak to them as well. While I was doing so, I got to introduce myself to a young man who hopes to get into broadcasting himself some day. His name was Matt Cohen. It was nice to have the opportunity to meet and greet him too. I wished him luck and we exchanged contact information.

As for the game we saw, the Hawks and Nets played dead even for the first three quarters. The game was tied at 29 after the first quarter, 49 at halftime and at 75 after three quarters. In the fourth quarter, the Nets finally broke through as they out scored the Hawks, 20-15 to win the game, 94-89. It should be noted that Josh Smith of the Hawks threw down a monstrous highlight reel jam with his left hand late in the game to get the Hawks with a point but the Nets held them off and escaped with the victory in front of a sellout crowd of 17,732.

Stay tuned for some special posts that I'm going to do regarding the weekend getaway the King and I took over the Martin Luther King weekend.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman













Thursday, January 24, 2013

Royalty joins USRT as they make their official visit to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn!

The King, Peter Farrell, me & Andrew Kulyk 
Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell from Buffalo, the Ultimate Sports Road Trip aka USRT finally got to plant their flag at the Barclays Center on Sunday night January 13th. By doing so, they can claim that they've been to every current venue in all four major sports again like the King & I.

It was a privilege & honor to be there with these guys. As a result, that's why I didn't go to Foxboro that day to see the Patriots play the Texans in the AFC Divisional Playoff. I wanted to be with them for their special moment.

As an added bonus, it turned out to be Russian night as the Nets hosted the Indiana Pacers. With that being said, it was a festive night in more ways than one. Someone in the crowd of 16,499 won an in house contest. As a result, that fan won two round trip tickets to Russia.

As for the USRT take on the Barclays Center, they said it will be interesting to see how their ranking of the venue turns out as a whole. They said they liked the glitzy outside of the arena but they didn't care for the darkness on the inside. They were blown away by the extensive food selections but they didn't care for the security force who were on guard throughout the building which makes you feel like a prisoner.

For their official visit recap and ranking, check out their website. It should be posted soon.

As for the game we saw, the Nets led 27-21 after the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Pacers came roaring back like the Knicks did earlier in the day as they out scored the Nets, 28-19 to take a 49-46 lead at halftime. In the third quarter, the Pacers extended their lead to six, 75-69. In the fourth quarter, the Nets turned it up a notch as they stormed back and they cruised past the Pacers as they went on to win, 97-86.

Once again USRT karma worked its magic as the Knicks and the Nets won on the same day sending the natives home happy.

Speaking of going home, Andrew & Peter had to exit abruptly as well because they had to get back to Buffalo so Peter could get to work bright and early Monday morning.

Before they departed, they thanked the King and I for making their latest visit to the Big Apple exceptional. We were grateful for their kind words. That's what royal treatment is all about.

As always, it was an absolute pleasure to see them again.

We look forward to crossing paths with them again down the road.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman














Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Junior's Restaurant

Junior's Restaurant
Living in the five boroughs of New York City certainly has its advantages as long as you have money to burn.

Manhattan is known for its Broadway shows and numerous legendary eateries.

Brooklyn is known for Coney Island which is the home of the original Nathan's Famous hot dogs.

Since the Buffalo Boys have already experienced that, I decided the perfect place to go on the way to the Barclays Center was Junior's Restaurant, which is located at Flatbush Ave. Extension at DeKalb Ave. in Brooklyn. They have an extensive menu of food offerings such as New York deli sandwiches, steakburgers, seafood entrees, barbecue and broiled steak. Furthermore, make sure you save some room for their famous cheesecake which the Buffalo Boys did. Needless to say, they were very satisfied customers. They couldn't praise me enough for making such a perfect choice for them.

If and when you visit NYC, make sure you stop off at Junior's and see for yourself exactly when I'm talking about.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Royalty meets up with Kurt Smith, Author of Ballpark E-Guides at Oregon Diner in Philadelphia!

Broiled fillet of flounder stuffed with crab meat
After the King & I unexpectedly saw a college basketball game at LaSalle, we met up with Kurt Smith, author of Ballpark E-Guides who joined us for dinner at the Oregon Diner later than originally planned. Thankfully Kurt was very cooperative so we got to meet up again.

Ironically Kurt has lived his whole life near Philadelphia in South Jersey. Quite amazingly he said he never went to the Oregon Diner which is located within walking distance of the Sports Complex at 302 Oregon Avenue at 3rd Street.

Kurt is a big fan of my blog. He saw the special post that I did about this diner. He said to me I'm going to have to meet you there some day. That day finally arrived.

Kurt & I decided to take full advantage of their incredible $9.99 specials which are available 24 hours 7 days a week. Kurt & I always look for value on our purchases. I told him you can't go wrong.

With that being said, we both got the same entree which was broiled fillet of flounder with stuffed crab meat. It also came with soup or salad and two sides all for a mere $9.99. As Kurt said and I quote when he was done eating, "it was terrific, great value."

As I always say when I give people advice, I will never steer you wrong. This meal once again proved my point.

I want to personally thank Kurt for joining us. It was great to see him again. This time we got to catch up in person. Back in October, Kurt asked me to do an e-mail interview with him about my love for sports travel. In case you missed it, here's that special post.

I look forward to seeing Kurt more often during baseball season. He said he hopes to make a few road trips this year so he can do some more ballpark e-guides. I hope he does, that way he can continue to make some much needed money and at the same time, baseball fans and travelers can benefit from his tight wad tips.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Royalty meets up with USRT as they invade NYC to see the Knicks at Transformed Madison Square Garden!

Andrew Kulyk, me, the King & Peter Farrell at MSG 
After I returned the car I rented for the day from Avis Sunday morning, I took public transportation to midtown Manhattan & Madison Square Garden where I met up with the King and our fellow roadtripping buddies from Buffalo, Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell aka USRT who were visiting NYC. They decided when the NBA schedule came out back in late July, that Sunday January 13th would be the day they returned to NYC to see some NBA basketball.

The Knicks were hosting the New Orleans Hornets at Noon and the Brooklyn Nets were playing the Indiana Pacers at the Barclays Center at 6PM.

With that being said, I arranged to accommodate these guys so their latest visit would be as painless as possible. As it turned out, it was.

These guys have seen the Knicks play nine times together over the years and quite amazingly their record was 0-9 in those games. As this day got closer, I was hoping that the Knicks would find a way to win for these guys.

With that being said, all good things and in this case bad things have to come to an end I said to myself. Please let this be that day.

Before the game even started, these guys were raving about the transformation of the World's Most Famous Arena which is done with phase two now. There is still one more phase to go. That will occur after the basketball season is over.

As for the game we saw, the Knicks fell behind early, 29-22 after the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Knicks roared back as they out scored the Hornets, 27-12 to take a 49-41 lead at halftime. In the third quarter, the Hornets sliced into the deficit as they trailed by only five, 71-66. In the fourth quarter, the Knicks pulled away as they went on to defeat the Hornets by a score of 100-87.

With that being said, the USRT curse was lifted. These guys finally saw the Knicks win a game together. The King & I were so happy for them.

After the game, we all went on the subway to go to Brooklyn. On the way there, we got off the Q train we were on at DeKalb Avenue which is one stop from the Barclays Center. It should be noted it's also a ten minute walk from there as well.

The main reason we got off there was because we went to have dinner at a Brooklyn institution. I'm referring to Junior's Restaurant. Stay tuned for the special post I'm going to do about that.

In addition, I'm going to write a special post about the USRT's official visit to the Barlclays Center.

Please stay tuned for all the details.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman















Royalty sees an unexpected basketball doubleheader in Philadelphia!

Michael Spatz & I
As I wrote on my schedule for the w/o 1/7, I was planning to see just the 76ers play the Houston Rockets on Saturday, January 12th. The main reason for that was the King & I were hoping to go to pay our respects to one of the old time baseball fans that we knew. Our friend John Oriole as we called him had passed away in early December. We were informed that there was going to be a Memorial service for him in North Philadelphia that morning. Unfortunately I couldn't rent a car from Avis until 9AM that day. I did my best to drive to the funeral home in hopes of getting there for it anyway. Much to our chagrin, it didn't work out. Before we even got there, the service was over. Our friend Frankie Centola who was there kept calling to let us know what was going on.

John was a good man. He loved the game of baseball but he hated how much it had changed from when he grew up. As a result, John never stepped foot in Citizens Bank Park not even one time. He was from the Philadelphia area but he always hated the Phillies. He was a big Oriole fan back in the 60's & 70's when they had great teams and we're a real joy to watch at old Memorial Stadium. Their starting pitchers went nine innings almost every time out. In addition, home runs were rare to see not like they are today. That was the main reason he never went to a game at Citizens Bank Park. He said it was too easy to hit a home run there. That totally turned him off from going there. It's a shame that we lost him. He was only 62. He will be missed.

When I was at the car rental, I got a call from our friend Manny Morales who was wondering why we weren't going to see a college basketball game during the day. He told me LaSalle was home at 2PM. In addition, our pal Andrew Van Cleve text me & he said he was going there too. Once our original plan didn't work out we altered it with plan B. With that being said, we wound up driving to Tom Gola Arena which is the home of the University of LaSalle Explorers. They were playing the University of Richmond Spiders that day.

With that being said, we wound up seeing an unexpected basketball game that afternoon. Furthermore, we got to meet up with Andrew who couldn't make the 76er game that night. We made the best of the situation. It turned out to be a great day for us after all.

As for the game we saw, the LaSalle Explorers beat the visiting Richmond Spiders rather easily, 71-59 before an announced crowd of 2,282. That figure was about right for the people who showed up and they were into the game right throughout.

After the game, we went to meet up with Kurt Smith, the author of Ballpark E-Guides, for dinner. Stay tuned for the special post that I'm going to do regarding that.

After we ate, the King & I went over to the Wells Fargo Center to see the 76ers play the Rockets like we originally planned to do.

During the week, I got in touch with Michael Spatz, who covers the Mid-Atlantic region for Stadium Journey which does reviews of all the different venues around the country and the world. Michael told me he was going to the 76er game and he was going to do an updated review for the website. With that being said, I told him I would love to meet & greet him at the game.

We had exchanged contact information and we got in touch when we were at the arena. He told me he got a complimentary ticket from the 76ers in section 103 downstairs. As for me, I was sitting with the King in section 221A. We got hooked by our friend Frankie Centola who has season tickets there. I asked Michael if he could come upstairs at halftime so we could meet up. I told him I would come down but they will give me a hard time because I didn't have a ticket for downstairs. With that being said, Michael told me he'll gladly come up. True to his word, he did. I was very grateful and I told him so. He wound up watching the rest of the game with me.

Michael & I spoke and we watched the game together. He was taking notes and I was scoring the game. I gave him some helpful hints so he can enhance the reviews he writes. He's done a great job so far and I told him to keep up the good work. I hope to see him again at another game in the near future.

As for the game we saw, the 76ers beat the Rockets, 107-100. Jrue Holiday of the 76ers scored a game high 30 points and he handed out 9 assists to lead the way. As for the Rockets, James Harden scored 29 points and 9 rebounds while former Knick Jeremy Lin had a rough night as the 76ers bottled him up throughout the game. He scored only 7 points on just 2 for 13 shooting in the losing effort.

After the game, the King & I drove back home to NYC.

Stay tuned for the special post I'm going to do regarding a very special and memorable visit to NYC by our fellow roadtripper buddies from Buffalo, Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell that Sunday.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman













Gio Gonzalez Day in his hometown of Hialeah, Florida!

After bouncing around the major leagues from one organization to another, Gio Gonzalez has found his new home in our Nation's Capitol with the Washington Nationals.

Last week he received the Warren Spahn Award for being the best lefty pitcher in the major leagues in Oklahoma City. Now back in his hometown of Hialeah, Florida he is and will always be the toast of the town.

For more details, click on the link below.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dc-sports-bog/wp/2013/01/22/gio-gonzalez-to-be-honored-by-hialeah-city-council/    

It's an honor for such a super humble human being. I'm so happy for him. I've had the fortune of meeting Gio on a number of occasions so I know what a special person he truly is just from talking to him.

I want to wish Gio only the best for many more years to come on and off the baseball diamond. We need more good people like him in this world and things would be so much different.

Thank you for reading & following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman


Monday, January 21, 2013

Royalty schedule w/o 1/21

Here's the game plan:

Monday January 21st Elmira Jackals at Reading Royals 1:05PM

                                 Spurs at 76ers 7PM

Tuesday January 22nd Flyers at Devils 7:30PM Home Opener

Thursday January 24th LIU Blackbirds at St. Francis (NY) Terriers 7PM

Friday January 25th Capitals at Devils 7PM

Saturday January 26th Georgia State Panthers at Drexel Dragons 12 Noon

                                   Knicks at 76ers 7PM

Sunday January 27th Seton Hall Pirates at St. John's Red Storm (MSG) 12 Noon

Hawks at Knicks 6:30PM

Check back to see how it turned out.

Hope all my readers and followers have a great week.

As always, if you need assistance don't hesitate to ask.

Stay tuned for the rest of my w/o 1/7 in review as well as my w/o 1/14 in review. In addition, I'm going to do some special posts that will go into detail about the special people I came in contact with along the way. Furthermore, I plan to do my 2012 year in review when I can find the time to do so. Please bear with me as I try my best to play catch up. I'm sorry for falling so far behind. I've been extremely busy lately.

If you like to tweet you can follow me on Twitter too. @royaltytoursusa

Furthermore, we can hook up on Facebook and/or Four Square as well.

With all the ways to communicate these days, we should always be in touch.

Remember team work makes the dream work.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Royalty w/o 1/7 in review

Prince at Rose Hill Gym
Monday morning I went to Avis to return the car I rented for the weekend then I went to work.

After work I went to Charley's Subs for my pre game meal at Penn Station. After I ate, I went upstairs to Madison Square Garden to see the Knicks take on their division rival, the Boston Celtics who were playing without All-Star Rajan Rondo who was serving a one game suspension.

As for the game I saw, it was tightly contested right through out. The Celtics led by one, 22-21 after the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Knicks out scored the Celtics by four to take a three point lead, 56-53 at halftime. In the third quarter, the Celtics regained the lead as they out scored the Knicks by seven to lead 76-72 after three quarters. In the fourth quarter, things got interesting. With 9 minutes to go in the game, things got feisty between the Knicks' Carmelo Anthony and the Celtics' Kevin Garnett. They exchanged words & they were both called for technical fouls. Apparently Carmelo Anthony had too much to say and he wound up getting suspended for a game as a result. After the game, he allegedly went to look for Garnett by the team bus. As for the rest of the game, cooler heads prevailed for the Celtics as they wound up beating the Knicks, 102-96. Paul Pierce led the way as he scored a team high 23 points which included a few clutch shots down the stretch to help preserve the victory for the Celtics. As for the Knicks, J.R. Smith added a game high 24 points in the losing effort much to the chagrin of the sellout crowd at the Garden.

Tuesday night after work I came home made dinner and then I did my laundry.

Wednesday night after work I took a ride up to the Bronx to see some college basketball at Fordham, that's where my pal Greg Venuto went to school.

Before I walked over to the campus, I stopped off at Pronto Pizza which is right across the street from the Metro North station and the campus & I had some pizza for dinner.

Shortly after I walked into historic Rose Hill gym which is the oldest in Division 1, I ran into my pal, former Knicks radio announcer and Fordham alum John Andariese who was also in attendance. John graduated from Fordham back in the day. It was nice to see him again. I used to see him all the time when I went to Madison Square Garden to see the Knicks play. John recently retired from doing the Knicks. With that being said, it hasn't been the same when I go to see the Knicks play.

When I finally went to my seat behind the basket I was joined by the King. It should be noted our friends Manny Morales and Pat Gorman were among the faithful on hand to watch the Fordham Rams host the Duquesne Dukes too. They were part of an announced crowd of 1,232. When the game began the gym was empty but it gradually filled in. I don't think they had more than a thousand people there though. As for the game we saw, the Rams beat the Dukes, 82-75 in their first conference game of the season.

After the game, the King and I joined Manny Morales who was hungry at Checkers for a post game meal before we headed to subway to go home.

Thursday night after work I went to downtown Brooklyn to see college basketball at the Wellness Center aka the WRAC which is the home of the Long Island University Blackbirds.

Before the game I went to McDonald's for my pre game meal.

After I ate, I walked over to the WRAC. Upon arrival, I was greeted by many familiar faces we had the King, Frank Anichiarico, Phil Butleman, Larry Peim, an LIU alum I might add, Michael Abrams and David Sack amongst us.

As for the game we saw, the Blackbirds were playing the Wagner Seahawks. It turned out to be a historic night as the Blackbirds had their 31 game on campus home winning streak snapped as the Seahawks shot them down, 86-75 before an announced attendance of 1,129. With the loss, the Blackbirds fell to 0-3 in the Northeast Conference and 5-10 overall while the Seahawks improved their record to 9-5 and 3-0 in the conference.

Friday night after work I went back to downtown Brooklyn but this time I went to the Barclays Center to see the Nets battle the Phoenix Suns.

Before the game I went to Subway for dinner at the Atlantic Center Mall across the street.

After I ate, I went into the arena. I went up to my seat and I met up with the King.

As for the game we saw, the Nets fell behind after the first quarter, 25-21. They continued to trail at halftime, 53-46. In the second half, the Nets woke up as they out scored the Suns, 53-26 to blow them out of the building, 99-79.

Stay tuned for some special posts that I'm going to do that will recap another memorable weekend I had. Please bear with me as I try to find the time to write about it. Trust me it will be worth the wait.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman






















Thursday, January 17, 2013

Royalty acknowledges Ray Lewis, the last Original Raven!

Ray Lewis #52
When I was in Baltimore on January 6th, I saw Ray Lewis play his last home game for the Ravens against the Indianapolis Colts. Days before the game, Ray said and I quote "this is my last ride". He decided that his playing days are now over.

When the Ravens were about to take the knee for the last time, they made Ray Lewis an eligible receiver so he can take part in the last play of the game. It was a touching moment for the Raven faithful. In addition, they had a tribute to #52 on the video boards after the game. Furthermore, he took a victory lap around the stands to acknowledge the crowd. It was quite a send off to say the least. I could have left the game early and raced over to FedEx Field like some did to see the Redskins play the Seahawks but I wanted to see the whole game start to finish. Special players like Ray Lewis are few and far between. There was no need to leave early. It should be noted that the majority of the crowd stayed in their seats.

Ray Lewis will always be remembered as one of the greatest linebackers to wear an NFL uniform. It's only a matter of time before he gets the call from Canton for his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame which recognizes players for their on field accomplishments.

As for off the field incidents, say what you may about Ray. I'm not here to judge what may have happened. Everybody is entitled to their opinion, good, bad or indifferent.

As for me, I'm writing this because I respect athletic greatness. In my eyes, Ray Lewis was an incredible football player and inspirational leader. Ray is known for motivating the fans when he's introduced to the crowd when the Ravens take the field. He does a dance and he fires up everybody in the building before he runs out to greet the rest of his teammates.

The main reason I really like Ray is for the fact he has been a Raven from day one when the Ravens drafted him from the University of Miami back in 1996.

Ray Lewis is to Baltimore what Cal Ripken Jr. was to the Orioles, a legend who played his whole career for the same team. Like many things these days, loyalty is no longer a top priority for people. It's sad but true.

I've only been fortunate to attend one Super Bowl live in my life. That was Super Bowl XXXV on January 26, 2001 in Tampa, Florida at Raymond James Stadium when the Baltimore Ravens beat the New York Giants, 34-7. Ray Lewis was named the MVP of that game. He has anchored the defense which has made numerous playoff appearances since then. It would be fitting if he and his teammates can return to the Super Bowl again in New Orleans on February 3rd. If so, it will be a memorable way for him to say farewell to the game of football. If not, he has nothing to be ashamed of.

The only thing is his way right now is the New England Patriots as his Ravens get ready for an AFC Championship game rematch on Sunday night in Foxboro.

Win or lose, Ray Lewis will always be remembered for his exploits on the field of play.

Thank you Ray for all the memories you gave us football fans over the last 17 years you played. You will be missed.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman












Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Royalty sees playoff football in Baltimore as Ravens host Colts in AFC Wild Card Game!

Shannon, Nib & I
After the King & I had breakfast at Eichenkranz Restaurant, we drove within walking distance of M & T Bank Stadium & we parked the car on the street for free. We proceeded to walk over to the stadium.

We had tickets in advance because I decided to get them on Ticketmaster when they went on sale just before I went away to end 2012. With that being said, we were able to go right into the stadium without a hassle. After what I went through in Detroit, I'm glad I didn't have to waste my time outside trying to find tickets again. As it turned out, I "Lucked" out in more ways than one. It turned out that the Ravens wound up playing the Indianapolis Colts. It was Andrew Luck's first playoff game. In addition, a few days before the game, original Raven and inspirational team leader, Ray Lewis announced this was going to be his "last ride." With that being said, I knew tickets would be harder to come by.

This was going to be my 27th and final NFL game of the season regardless. I just wanted to see one playoff game to keep my streak of seeing at least one playoff game every year since 1997 alive. Mission accomplished. As for the King, it was his 20th NFL game of the season.

Upon entry, I headed right upstairs to section 500 row 32 which is the last row right at mid field. I wanted to see a guy named Harry "Nib"Pirrung who I met at a Raven game back on October 30, 2011 when I saw the Arizona Cardinals there. Nib has he's called was there with his daughter Shannon. It should be noted Nib has been at every Raven home game since they moved to Baltimore back in 1996. He loves his Ravens. Since we initially met, this was my fourth Raven game there since. Every time I've been there, I've made sure that I've seen Nib. The man is a fixture and he's a good guy. I'm so glad we've met. Once people came for the seats around him, I walked down to row 21 in section 500 and I "lucked" out again as I wound up finding an empty seat on the aisle where I was able to watch & score the game. With that being said, I gave myself a royal upgrade. I sat at mid field instead of the end zone where was my seat was located. The King decided to go to his seat. While I was getting ready for the game, I got in touch with our pal, Andrew Van Cleve who came on Amtrak from Philadelphia for the game. There were no seats available where I was sitting so he decided to stand below my section instead. He wound up having a great view of the game.
Speaking of the game, it started slow and sloppy. As a result, both teams failed to score in the first quarter despite a costly fumble by running back Ray Rice of the Ravens.

In second quarter, the Ravens got a 23 yard field goal from rookie kicker Justin Tucker with 11:18 left until halftime to take a 3-0 lead. With 2:25 left in the half, the Colts got even as veteran kicker Adam Vinatieri kicked a 47 yard field goal to tie the game at three. The Ravens roared back as they capped off a six play sixty three yard drive to regain the lead, 10-3 as fullback Vonta Leach ran in from two yards out with 50 seconds left. The Colts made good use of the remaining time as they converted a third and long which put them in position to attempt another field goal to slice into the lead as time expired in the half. Adam Vinatieri capitalized on the opportunity as he boomed a 52 yarder to make it a 10-6 game as the teams headed into the locker room.

In the third quarter, the Ravens extended their lead to 17-6 with 8:26 left as quarterback Joe Flacco connected with tight end Dennis Pitta on a 20 yard touchdown pass. With 40 seconds to go, the Colts added another field goal to get within eight at 17-9 as Adam Vinatieri booted one through from 26 yards out.

In the fourth quarter, the Ravens finished the scoring as wide receiver Anquan Boldin caught a 18 yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco with 9:14 left to secure the win for the Ravens, 24-9. The Colts and Andrew ran out of "Luck" on this day.

As for the Ravens earned a trip to Denver as Ray Lewis' "last ride" continued on the road in the Mile High City against Peyton Manning and the Broncos.

Stay tuned for the special post I'm going to do about Ray Lewis and his legendary football playing career.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman










Royalty gets a double dosage of Eichenkranz Restaurant in Baltimore!

Me & Rose
After spending the night at Super 8 in York, PA, the King and I got up early and we drove to Baltimore to see the Ravens play the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Wild Card game that afternoon at 1PM. I'll be doing a few special posts regarding that. Stay tuned for them.

In the meantime, I want to relive the great meals we had that day. Ironically we had breakfast and dinner at the same place. We arranged to meet up with our good friends, Peter & Carmen Agnew who live in Baltimore. They always want us to visit them. I always try my best to squeeze them into my busy schedule. With that being said, we wound up seeing them twice in the same day.

Normally we go to Eichenkranz Restaurant for breakfast which is a great way to start a day. As for breakfast, my girlfriend Rose who works as a waitress there was so happy to see me. I had my usual royal breakfast of bacon and eggs which comes with home fries along with toast plus I had an order of pancakes. I like to have the best of all worlds whenever possible. After we all enjoyed our breakfast, we discussed possible dinner plans after the game. I was hoping we could go to Looney's Pub but with the Redskins playing at 4:30PM, Peter said and I agreed it would be way to crowded to go there. With that being said, we needed a plan B. Since the King is such a picky eater finding a place can be difficult. Peter mentioned about going to a Chinese buffet. I told him that's no good. Another place we've been to with them, Matthew's Pizza, Peter also said will be too crowded.

I was thinking to myself, why not just come back here and eat. It probably won't be crowded. That way we can sit, relax and enjoy each other's company some more. I proceeded to ask for their dinner menu so I could glance it over to see if it would suffice for all of us. I noticed they had a number of different choices including their specialty, German entrees such as brats and other sausages. With that being said, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to try it out for dinner. It's very rare for me to ever go to the same restaurant twice in the same day. Honestly this could have been a first in my life. Sometimes doing something twice really is nice.

Rose the waitress wet my appetite for dinner when I asked her opinion on the different options on the menu. She told me the broiled stuffed fillet of flounder is really good. When we returned that's what I ordered. She was right, it was delicious. She was there again because she told us in the morning she had a baby shower to go to upstairs. So I really got an added treat. I got to see her again. She made my day and my night.
In addition, we also brought another special guest with us. Our pal Andrew Van Cleve who we met at the Raven game joined us because I arranged to give him a ride home to Philadelphia. He took Amtrak to Baltimore and we took him back.

As a result, Andrew got to meet Peter & Carmen and he had a nice dinner too.

After we finished eating we said our goodbyes and we headed home. We wound up dropping Andrew off around 8:30PM then the King & I continued back to Astoria, NY where we live. We got back at 11PM. All in all, it turned out to be worth our while.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman








Monday, January 14, 2013

Royalty w/o 12/31 in review

Prince at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, PA
If you're a regular reader and/or follower, you know what happened on Monday New Year's Eve and Tuesday New Year's Day.

As for the rest of the week, here's how it went:

Wednesday before I went back to work I returned the Dodge Avenger I rented for four days from Avis. I wound up driving 1,901 miles safely. 1,195 miles to finish 2012 with 17,745. The other 706 miles counted for 2013. After work I went home and I did my laundry. No rest for the weary I might add.

Thursday night after work I went to Charley's Subs for dinner before I went upstairs to Madison Square Garden to see the Knicks play the San Antonio Spurs who were playing their fourth game in five nights.
As for the game I saw, the Spurs looked like they were sleep walking throughout most of the game. As a result, they managed to lose to the Knicks, 100-83. The Knicks got them at the right time. The schedule makers weren't kind to the Spurs. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker wound up playing half the game and they both only scored 11 points. I was looking forward to seeing a great game. I didn't know at the time the Spurs were coming in exhausted.

As for the Knicks, they took total advantage as they sent the sellout crowd home happy after opening 2013 with a loss to the Trailblazers on New Year's night. Carmelo Anthony led the way scoring 23 points while J.R. Smith added 20 as the Knicks beat the tired Spurs.

Friday night after work, I went to Jersey City, NJ to see St. Peter's basketball as the Peacocks hosted the Manhattan Jaspers at the Yanitelli Center. I stopped off at McDonald's for a pre game meal before I walked over to the gym from Journal Square where the Path train drops you off in Jersey City. When I got to the gym, I was joined by the King and our pal Manny Morales.

As for the game we saw, it was a tight one right throughout. The Jaspers wound up coming away with a 55-53 decision as they held off the Peacocks to emerge victorious much to the delight of our pal Bryan Gilligan who went to college there. Unfortunately he couldn't join us but he was there in spirit nonetheless.
As for the announced crowd of 984, which was probably half of that, the Peacock fans were sent home unhappy.

Saturday morning I went back to Avis to rent another car for the weekend. This time I got a Hyundai Elantra which is great on gas. It's gets close to 35 miles per gallon.

I went back home to pick up the King and we went to Wilkes-Barre,PA to see a minor league hockey game at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza which is the home of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League. They were playing the Worcester Sharks.

Since we got to the area very early, we wound up going shopping at Walmart which is one of the many stores in the huge shopping area that's right up the road from the arena. After we went shopping, we had a nice dinner at Logan's Roadhouse which was practically next to Walmart. After we enjoyed a hearty dinner, we then drove over to the arena.

When we got inside, we decided to sit near center ice in the second level since the crowd was a lot smaller than in years past. They announced a crowd of 5,884 which was a little more than half full. Back in the day, they would sell out with no problem on a Saturday night. Amongst them was our pal Alvin Pachter. He was there with people who invited him to go with them. With that being said, he came over during the game and he spent some time with us. It was nice to see him again. As always, we enjoyed his company.

It should be noted they installed a new scoreboard this season which is a nice addition to this arena. Too bad they don't draw crowds like they used to.

As for the game we saw, the hometown Penguins got a rare win. They've been playing horrible lately Alvin said. On this night, they looked a winning team as they shutout the visiting Worcester Sharks, 3-0.

After the game, the King and I drove a few hours to York, PA where we spent the night at Super 8.

Stay tuned for some special posts that will recap the memorable day we had in Baltimore that Sunday.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman






















Revised 2012-2013 NHL Schedule


To all my readers and followers,

The lockout is over. NHL hockey is finally back.

With that being said, the revised 2012-2013 NHL schedule has been released.

Please see the link below for all the details:

http://www.nhl.com/ice/page.htm?id=85750&navid=DL|NHL|home

Just click on your favorite team's logo.

**Please note times are listed as EASTERN TIME so if you live in a different time zone please take that into account**

If you need any assistance don't hesitate to ask or consult me that's why this blog is here.

If I can make a difference in your life I will, all I ask for is a fair opportunity to do so.

Stay tuned for my upcoming hockey road trips as well as other creative ones that others may be interested in taking.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Royalty schedule w/o 1/14

Here's the game plan:

Tuesday January 15th Raptors at Nets 7:30PM

Thursday January 17th LIU Blackbirds at FDU Knights 7PM

Friday January 18th Hawks at Nets 7:30PM

Saturday January 19th Northeastern Huskies at Delaware Blue Hens 2PM

                                   Elmira Jackals at Reading Royals 7:05PM

Sunday January 20th Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at Hershey Bears 5:05PM AHL Outdoor Classic at HersheyPark Stadium

Check back to see how it played out.

Hope all my readers and followers have a great week.

As always, if you need assistance don't hesitate to ask.

Stay tuned for the rest of my w/o 12/31 in review as well as my w/o 1/7 in review. In addition, I'm going to do some special posts that will go into detail about the special people I came in contact with along the way. Furthermore, I plan to do my 2012 year in review when I can find the time to do so. Please bear with me as I try my best to play catch up. I'm sorry for falling so far behind. I've been extremely busy lately.

If you like to tweet you can follow me on Twitter too. @royaltytoursusa

Furthermore, we can hook up on Facebook and/or Four Square as well.

With all the ways to communicate these days, we should always be in touch.

Remember team work makes the dream work.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Royalty sees outdoor hockey on New Year's Day in Williamsport, Pennsylvania to start 2013!

Prince at Historic Bowman Field
Domish & I stayed at Super 8 in Mansfield, Ohio. We got a good night sleep and we had breakfast at Cracker Barrel again. It was right by the hotel so it was hard to pass up the opportunity to start 2013 off right.

After having another amazing meal, Domish & I headed towards Williamsport, Pennsylvania where we were going to see some outdoor hockey as the Williamsport Outlaws were hosting the 1,000 Islands Privateers at 5:05PM in a Federal Hockey League game at historic Bowman Field which is the home of the Williamsport Crosscutters of the NY-Penn League for baseball.

Originally I was planning to drive back to NYC to see the Knicks play the Portland Trailblazers at 7:30PM until Domish told me about this hockey game. So I did some research before I made my decision. I thought it made sense so I decided to take him up on the idea. Since I know how much he loves hockey, I wanted to accommodate his needs & wants. Thus I alternated my game plan. Domish is a team player. He was kind enough to keep me company at a few basketball games so it was only right for me to cater to him even if it was on short notice.

With that being said, I got to see an outdoor hockey game again on New Year's Day. Thanks to the NHL lockout, the Winter Classic was cancelled. So I did the next best thing and I found an alternative instead.
As for the game we saw, the start of it was delayed because the ice wasn't resurfaced properly after the players warmed up. As a result, the game didn't start until 5:31PM. Thankfully they got the ice fixed and we got to enjoy some hockey on a cold chilly early evening. The temperature was in the mid 20's. We dressed for the occasion so we weren't that uncomfortable.

Williamsport opened the scoring 4:39 into the first period as Chris Leveille put the biscuit in the basket to give the Outlaws a 1-0 lead. The Privateers evened the score at one 8:16 into the opening period. The Outlaws regained the lead 2-1 when they got a power play goal from Matt Smyth. The Privateers got even again with 1:34 left to make it a 2-2 game.

In the second period, the Outlaws scored in the first and last minute of the period to take a 4-2 lead as Trevor Karasiewicz scored 52 seconds in and Chris Leveille added his second of the game with just 14 seconds to go.

In the third period, the Privateers got back within a goal just 1:07 into the period as Kris McCarthy found the net to make it a 4-3 game. Unfortunately for the Privateers, they couldn't force overtime. The Outlaws added an empty net goal with 42 seconds left to preserve the victory, 5-3 in front of an announced crowd of 790 which was a bit of an exaggeration. There were probably a few hundred hearty souls in the building who decided to brave the elements.

It should be noted Domish got to say hello to defenseman Nick Williams who plays for the 1,000 Islands Privateers. He ironically met his parents before he went to Joe Louis Arena on Sunday to see the Great Lakes Invitational Tournament. Domish went to the Lafayette Coney Island restaurant before the game where he started talking to these people. Nick said his parents told him. After the game, Domish & I saw him together as he headed back to the locker room. What a small world.

After the game, Domish & I wound up meeting a special guest who's a huge fan of my blog and my sports travels.

Stay tuned for the special post that I'm going to do about our get together.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman











Saturday, January 12, 2013

Royalty races back to Fort Wayne, Indiana to see some ECHL hockey to close out 2012!

Prince at Allen  County War Memorial Coliseum
Domish and I left the Pacer game in downtown Indianapolis with 1:04 left in the game with the Pacers ahead, 82-79. We then raced the clock to get back to Fort Wayne which was 130 miles away to see a minor league hockey game. Domish was kind enough to join me for the basketball game even though he's not a big fan of the sport. Since the King couldn't make the trip, he decided to keep me company.

We got into the car at 5:40PM and off we went. We had to dodge some light snow, wet pavements and some local traffic lights until we finally got to I-69 which goes right to Fort Wayne. When I finally got on the interstate, I was able to make up some time we lost trying to get there. For the most part, the speed limit was 70 so I was able to take advantage and go faster in stretches where conditions allowed me to do so. I knew getting to the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum which is the home of the Fort Wayne Komets was going to be difficult given the time constraints. I did the very best I could to get there as fast as I could. We had to drive a few miles from I-69 to get to the arena. That didn't help the cause either. In addition, paying to park was our only option. It was only $4 so it wasn't too terrible to do so even if it was only minor league. I wound up parking the car in the parking lot at 7:38PM. I told Domish to go ahead and I'll meet him inside. I gathered my belongings and walked over to the arena.

When I was going up the escalator to the 600 level yes you read that right, I heard the roar of the crowd as a goal was scored. I saw it on a TV monitor as I was making my way up to the top of the building. The game was tied at one with 13:39 to go in the first period between the hometown Komets and the visiting Toledo Walleye.

After getting my myself together after a stressful drive, I relaxed and watched the rest of the game. My body was so sore. It should be noted this was my 344th and final sporting event of the 2012 calendar year.
As for the rest of the game we saw, it turned out to be a wild high scoring affair. Shortly after I sat down the puck was in the net again as the Walleye scored to regain the lead 2-1 with 13:05 left in the first period. With 9:21 to go in the period, the Komets evened the score again at two. That's how the period ended.

In the second period, the visiting Walleye scored three unanswered goals to take a 5-2 lead during a 4:45 stretch in the middle of the period. The Komets got one back late with 2:17 left to make it 5-3 after two periods.

In the third period, the Walleye scored to make it 6-3 with 11:08 to go. The Komets scored 59 seconds later to make it 6-4. After that, the Walleye added three more unanswered goals to put the game away as they left Fort Wayne with a 9-4 victory to close out 2012 on a high note.

As for the crowd there were 10,103 on hand. We could tell people in Fort Wayne really love their hockey and it showed throughout the night as they were into the game. It should be noted that when the Komets scored a goal, the fans reacted by saying and I quote "he shoots, he scores." That was a nice touch.
After the game, Domish and I were hungry so we stopped off at Steak N Shake for a late dinner before we got back on the highway. I enjoyed a double steakburger and a shake while he had chili and a shake. It was Domish's first time there. He was impressed with my suggestion. I'm glad he enjoyed his meal.

After we ate, we wound up going shopping at Walmart which was in the shopping center next door. Domish wanted to bring home some Skyline Chili he said so we went in and he got some. I got to bring some goodies as well so it was a very worth while way to end the 2012 calendar year.

We drove to Mansfield, Ohio where spent the night at Super 8. We were near the Indiana/Ohio as we brought in 2013 driving through on US 30 which was a nice deserted road which made for an easy drive for me.

Stay tuned for the special post I'm going to do that will recap how we started 2013.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman












Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Royalty goes to Indianapolis again to see the Pacers play the Memphis Grizzlies!

View of new scoreboard from club level
After getting a good night sleep, Domish and I went to Cracker Barrel again for breakfast to start the last day of 2012 off right.

After we ate, we stopped at the Allen War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana to pick up tickets for the minor hockey game that night we were planning to see as the Fort Wayne Komets were hosting the Toledo Walleye in an ECHL battle at 7:30PM. We knew we were going to get there near game time so we wanted to have our tickets so we could go right inside without wasting more time when we arrived.

After we bought the tickets, we drove 130 miles to Indianapolis to see the Pacers play the Memphis Grizzlies in an afternoon game that started at 3PM local time. I knew I was cutting it close to possibly see the whole game. With that being said, I wisely bought some cheap tickets on Stub Hub so I could have a hard ticket stub for my collection just in case we had to bolt out early so we could get back to Fort Wayne as soon as possible.

As we approached the vicinity of Indianapolis, it started snowing lightly. Thankfully it wasn't really sticking to the ground. We wound up parking for $5 in a parking lot that was right near Bankers Life Fieldhouse formerly known as Conseco Fieldhouse which is the home of the Indiana Pacers. We dodged the snow flakes as we walked over to the arena around 2:15PM. Once we got into the arena, I went over to the radio broadcast booth which was located on the club level. Quite amazingly, I got to that area with relative ease. I was in a state of shock. I know people in the Midwest are a lot nicer than most parts of the country but I was still somewhat surprised that I didn't get a hard time like I usually do in other parts of the country.
I went to the visiting side where I patiently waited to see my pal Eric Hasseltine who does the play by play on the radio for the Grizzlies. While I waited for him, I got to talk to former NBA player and part time color commentator Elliot Perry who ironically took a picture of Eric and I at Madison Square Garden a few years ago. He did indeed remember me. Shortly thereafter, Eric showed up. We spoke briefly. He said to come back at halftime since he had to get ready to call the game. With that being said, I decided since it didn't look like they were going to have a huge crowd, I decided to sit near them. I lucked out big time as I turned out to be right. They announced a crowd of 14,979. As a result, I got to see the game from a great vantage point. I originally told Domish I would meet him upstairs where our seats were. I wrote him and I told him to come down to join me. He said he was content staying upstairs. So I stayed where I was and I enjoyed the game. I was very impressed with the huge scoreboard they installed before the season started.

As for the game we saw, the Pacers and Grizzlies we're tied at 19 after the first quarter. The Grizzlies went ahead 41-38 at the half.

During the intermission, fans who were selected from the crowd were hypnotized as part of the in house entertainment while the players were in their respective locker rooms.

I wound up seeing Eric Hasseltine and Elliot Perry aka "Socks" as we spoke about the first halftime which I thought was a horrible display of basketball. The shooting overall was awful. I told Elliot he should go out there and play. He told me he can't, his knees are shot. He was a 47% career shooter. He was humble about it, he said he shot a lot of lay ups. I remember him having a nice outside shot. Furthermore, I told him I hope the Grizzlies pull away and blow out the Pacers. He was in total agreement with me. I wanted to see the Grizzlies win and I knew I may have to leave early so that would have been a perfect scenario.

As for Eric, we got to catch since I saw him in the middle of November at the FedEx Forum when the King and I were in Memphis. He's been enjoying the good start the Grizzlies have gotten off to. For his sake, I hope they can keep it up. I told them I'll see them again when they come to NYC at the end of February. The Grizzlies play the Nets at the Barclays Center and the end of March when the Grizzlies play the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

I want to personally thank Eric and Elliot for taking some of their precious time to talk with me. They appreciated my continued support for the Grizzlies who I've taken a liking to back in December 2006 when I first met Eric. He's such a great guy. He's been working for the Grizzlies since they moved to Memphis back in 2001.

As for the second half of the game, the Grizzlies padded their lead to double figures but they slacked off at the end of the third quarter which allowed the Pacers to get within seven, 67-60 after three quarters. I sensed the Grizzlies were in trouble. In the fourth quarter, the Pacers continued their comeback much to my chagrin. As the game wore on, the Pacers took the lead. I knew Domish who's a big hockey fan wanted to leave so with 1:04 left in the game and a time out was called we decided it was time to go. The Pacers led, 82-79 at that time. The Pacers wound up beating the Grizzlies, 88-83. I felt bad for Eric and Elliot as the Grizzlies let this one get away.

Stay tuned for the special post that I'm going to do that will recap our return to Fort Wayne as time was running out on 2012.

Thank you for reading and following.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman












Royalty goes to Auburn Hills to see the Pistons after Lions football!

Prince at the Palace of Auburn Hills
After I had dinner with Paul Swaney, I arranged to meet up with my pal Domish who went to see college hockey at the Joe as they call it in Motown while we were watching football and eating. I walked back to the car after I said goodbye to Paul. I sent Domish a text and he said to meet him by the Greektown Casino which wasn't far from Ford Field. He took the People Mover which is the monorail that moves people around the downtown area of Detroit. I picked up around 6:25PM. We proceeded to drive out to Auburn Hills which is a suburb that's 30 miles north of downtown on I-75. We got off the exit that goes to The Palace of Auburn Hills which is the home of the Detroit Pistons. We had to park in the parking lot for $10 because there's no other option out there. After I parked the car, Domish and I parked towards the box office. Domish said a friend of his told him tickets should be $10 to get in. We were going to get on line when I heard somebody say and I quote "anybody need two tickets." I walked over to that person and I said I do. The guy handed me two free tickets for the game. Too bad Paul Swaney couldn't join us to see how easy it was to get tickets. It took literally a few seconds. Timing is everything. This time I was in the right place at the right time. Unlike at Ford Field, where I couldn't even get a reasonable offer to buy a ticket for the longest time. What a contrasting experience it was.

After we got the tickets we went inside to walk around and then we went upstairs near center court and we sat down and enjoyed the game as the Pistons were hosting the Milwaukee Bucks. The place wasn't too crowded. They announced a crowd of 14,219. It should be noted they have a special promotion on Sundays for families so that helped to enhance the actual attendance figure. The arena does hold over 22,000 and they used to sell out often in back in the day especially during the Bad Boys era when they won their championships. Those days, tickets were nearly impossible to come by. Nowadays they beg people to show up. We still got to see a professional basketball game for free.

As for the game we saw, the Pistons raced out to an early 13-0 lead. They wound up leading, 30-23 after the first quarter as the Bucks staged a comeback to get back into the game. At halftime, the Pistons got the lead back up to ten, 55-45. In the third quarter, the Bucks sliced the lead back to seven, 78-71. In the fourth quarter, the Pistons did their best to try and give the game away. The Bucks took a two point late but in the Pistons came back and they wound up beating the Bucks, 96-94. It turned out to be an entertaining game.

The Pistons got 20 points from Tayshaun Prince who led the way as four other players scored in double figures to help the Pistons escape with the win after blowing a big early lead.

As for the Bucks, they got a game high 30 points from guard Monta Ellis and forward Ersan Ilyasova came off the bench to finish with 24 points in the losing effort.

After the game, we drove to Coldwater, Michigan which is about 12 miles from the Indiana border and we spent the night at Super 8.

Stay tuned as I recap the way we spent the last day of 2012.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman







Monday, January 7, 2013

Royalty meets up with Paul Swaney of Stadium Journey in Detroit!

Me & Paul Swaney, co-founder of Stadium Journey 
After Domish and I left Cleveland Saturday night, we drove to Rossford, Ohio which is just south of Toledo. We spent the night there at Knights Inn.

By doing so we were within an hour from Detroit, Michigan we had a big day of events lined up.

On the way there, we stopped off for breakfast at Cracker Barrel in Monroe, Michigan which was halfway to Motown. We had a tremendous breakfast that started a very memorable day for us.

When we were done, we got back in the car and we drove to downtown Detroit which is located off of I-75. I was going to Ford Field to see the Detroit Lions play the Chicago Bears while Domish was going to Joe Louis Arena to see a college hockey game. He saw Michigan play Michigan State in the third place game of the Great Lakes Invitational Tournament. He got a general admission ticket at the box office for $10.

Before the game, he went to get something to eat at Lafayette Coney Island, which is known for their coney dogs. While he was there, he spoke to a few people. Ironically they turned out to be the parents of Nick Williams who plays hockey in the FHL for the 1,000 Islands Privateers.

We parked the car on the street within walking distance of Ford Field and we walked over to Brush and Adams Street which is right between Comerica Park and Ford Field. Upon arrival, we met up with Paul Swaney, co-founder of Stadium Journey, which is the website that reviews sports venues all over the country and the world. I'm happy to say I'm a special correspondent for his site.

Last year when the NHL decided they were going to have their next Winter Classic in Ann Arbor, Michigan at the Big House which is the home of the Michigan Wolverines on New Year's Day, I planned to go. Ironically that's now where Paul Swaney calls home these days. Paul grew up in Traverse City, Michigan. He then moved to Chicago. Now he resides in Ann Arbor. As time went on, I looked forward to finally meeting Paul who I was introduced to by my pal Andrew Van Cleve back in May 2010 via e-mail. Paul and I have been in constant contact since on a friendly basis as well as on business related ideas and future plans for his site.

When the NHL decided to lock out and ultimately they cancelled the Winter Classic, I told Paul I was coming to Detroit anyway. I wanted to meet him so that was top priority for making this trip. When I was in Chicago a few times over the past few years, Paul was away so we never got to meet up. With that being said, I was determined to do so this time. I told him regardless I was coming and true to my word I made it happen.

We wound up meeting up at 11:45AM. We shook hands and gave each other some much deserved love. Shortly thereafter, I had some business to take care of. Paul decided to join me for the Lion game. He told me he was counting on me to get us tickets for a reasonable price. As the game day got closer, I thought for sure it wasn't going to be that tough of a ticket. Well I was in for a rude awakening. Despite the Lions being so bad this season, they were playing the Chicago Bears who started the season 7-1. They came to Detroit with a 9-6 record and they needed to win plus they needed other teams to lose in order for them to make the playoffs. With that being said, I thought getting in wouldn't be that difficult. Unfortunately I knew a good number of Bear fans would show up but I still thought we could get in without a problem. As the clock ticked, people kept walking by. I asked furiously if anybody had any extra tickets. One guy had a handicapped seat early on for $81 which was face value. I told him no because I didn't want to spend that much since I didn't think this game was worth it. Little did I know, it was going to be such a hassle. Much to my chagrin, other people were looking for $100 a ticket as time went on. It was frustrating to say the least. Finally around 12:45PM, I saw someone who had an extra ticket. I told them I'll give them $20 for it. Thankfully they took it. It wound up having a $35 face value. One down, one to go. I thought I would find another person with an extra ticket before the game started. Unfortunately, I wasn't so lucky. I was really upset because I very rarely get into a game late unless I get stuck in a traffic jam. Time went on, less and less people were coming towards the gate to enter the stadium. Luckily around 1:15PM, three people came along and they had an extra ticket. It had a $55 face value on it. I reluctantly told them I'll give them $40 for it because Paul said he was willing to pay that much for a ticket. I would have offered them less for it but a scalper was trying to get it too after I made the initial contact with them. I wanted to get inside so badly. Thankfully they took the $40 and we headed in. Paul went in first with his camera. He got in relatively easily. As for me, I was given a very hard time by a lady who was working security at the gate. She gave me hell after all the aggravation I had just to find a few tickets to get in. This was the last thing I needed. I vowed to never come back to Ford Field. I was that upset on how she treated me.

Finally I caught up with Paul and we went to find seats together so we can sit and watch the rest of the game. The Lions just scored to make it 3-0 on a 44 yard field goal by Jason Hanson with 5:54 left in the first quarter which capped off a nine play 65 yard drive as we got into the building.

As for seats, Paul & I wound up finding some empty ones in the last row of the lower level in the end zone despite the fact the stadium was pretty packed. After I finished blowing off steam from the horrible experience I had, I was finally able to sit and relax. After a false start, Paul and I got to enjoy the game and each other's company. He told me he was glad I got everything off my chest. I was really upset. I thought that was very nice of him. I knew from our constant contact he was truly a kind and caring human being. I'm happy to say I was right.

As for the rest of the game we saw, the Bears scored 20 unanswered points before the Lions added a touchdown with 12 seconds to go before halftime which cut the Bears' lead to 20-10 at the intermission. In the third quarter, the Lions got within three at 20-17 with 6:31 to go. The Bears extended their lead to 23-17 with 1:49 left as kicker Olindo Mare booted a 28 yard field goal. He split the uprights again with 10:47 to go in the fourth quarter to make it 26-17. The Lions gave the Bears a scare as they caught a 9 yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Brian Robiskie from quarterback Matthew Stafford with 6:55 left in the game.

Fortunately for the Bears, they held off the Lions for the 26-24 victory. Unfortunately they didn't get the necessary help they needed from other teams as they wound up out of the playoffs.

After the game, Paul and I went to R.U.B. BBQ Pub which is located a few blocks away from Ford Field for a post game meal. We both ordered a half a rack of  mouthwatering St. Louis ribs. In addition, we had some great side dishes as well. Paul went with their jalapeno cornbread and macaroni & cheese while I chose cole slaw and broccoli.  It turned out to be an excellent dining choice. I strongly suggest if you like southern style food that you give them a try if and when you happen to be in Motown.

Stay tuned for another special post that will recap the next leg of the getaway.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman