Royalty Tours USA

Friday, May 30, 2014

Royalty sees a rare weekend of back to back baseball doubleheaders in NYC!‏

Due to some quirks in the Major League Baseball schedule, a rarity occurred over the last weekend of April. The Mets & Yankees were both home. Friday night the Mets played the Miami Marlins at Citi Field while the Yankees hosted the Angels at the same time. With that being said, the King & I wound up going to Citi Field to see the Mets play since we're Met fans.

Official stamp in my 25 Game MLB Pass-Port Book
As for the game we saw, the Mets lead 2-1 until the 8th inning when they got victimized by the long ball as the Marlins hit back to back homers after the first two batters, Giancarlo Stanton & Casey McGehee struck out. ‎Jarrod Saltamacchia & Garrett Jones did the damage to give the Marlins a 3-2 lead. The Mets rallied in the bottom of the ninth inning they had the tying run at second base with two out. They got even as Omar Quintanilla delivered a clutch run scoring single. After Eric Young Jr. doubled to put runners on second & third, former Yankee Curtis Granderson came through with the game winning single to right field to give the Mets a dramatic 4-3 victory. 

Saturday afternoon the King ‎& I went up to the Bronx to see the Yankees play the Angels at Yankee Stadium

Official stamp in my 25 Game Pass-port Book
As for the game we saw, the Angels got on the scoreboard first as Mike Trout hit a solo homer to right center field to give the Angels an early 1-0 lead. The Yankees came back in the bottom of the second inning. They loaded the bases thanks to a hit by pitch, an infield single ‎& a walk after Alfonso Soriano took a third strike for the first out. Then Kelly Johnson flew out to left field for the second out. With catcher John Ryan Murphy batting, Angels' starting pitcher Hector Santiago balked which tied the game at one. It also allowed the base runners to move up to second & third. Then John Ryan Murphy delivered a clutch two out two run single to right center field to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead. Jacoby Ellsbury grounded out to end the inning. In the top of the fourth inning, the Angels came back as they capitalized on an error & a double to tie the game at three. In the bottom of the fifth inning, John Ryan Murphy hit his first major league home run which wound up being the difference in the game as the Yankees beat the Angels, 4-3. Since Yankees' starting pitcher Vidal Nuno was unable to pitch five innings, he didn't qualify for the victory. As a result, Dellin Betances who pitched two innings of shutout ball in relief picked up his first major league win. 

Official stamp in my 25 Game MLB Pass-Port Book
After the game, the King ‎& I took the subway over to Citi Field for game two of this rare weekend doubleheader. When we got upstairs to the Royal Court in section 515, I got a special visit from a fellow ballpark chaser. I'm referring to Jeff Haines who came from Kansas to visit his daughter Marilyn who's going to graduate school here in NYC.  It was great to meet & greet Jeff who loves reading what I write. With that being said, I'm very grateful. 

Jeff Haines & I at Citi Field
As for the game we saw, the Mets jumped out to a 3-0 lead thanks to a sacrifice fly by David Wright & a two run homer by another former Yankee Bobby Abreu. The Marlins got one back in the second inning to make it 3-1. The Mets added a few more runs in the third inning thanks to a double by Lucas Duda to go up by a score of 5-1. The Marlins came back to take the lead, 6-5 as they scored five in the top of the sixth inning. The Mets benefited from a throwing error which allowed them to tie the game at six. It stayed that way until the tenth inning when the Marlins got a lead off game winning homer from Jarrod Saltamacchia to win it, 7-6.

Sunday afternoon the King & I returned to Citi Field for the finale of the three game series between ‎the Mets & the Marlins. 

Official stamp in my 25 Game MLB Pass-port Book
As for the game we saw, the Mets got a stellar start from Dillon Gee who wound up throwing eight shutout innings. The Mets rewarded him with four runs as they beat the Marlins, 4-0. By doing so, they won the series two games to one.

After the game, the King ‎& I went back to the Bronx for our second game of the day thanks to ESPN who decided to show the Yankees & Angels as their Sunday night game that night. As a result, we got to complete a rare weekend of baseball doubleheaders without having to leave the five boroughs. 

Official stamp in my 25 Game MLB Pass-Port Book
As for the game we saw, we got to see Masahiro Tanaka who started for the Yankees. He pitched well as he allowed two runs & he struck out eleven over ‎six & a third innings of work. He was a little wild as he walked four. He left the game trailing to 2-1. The Yankees got him off the hook when Mark Teixeira lead off the bottom of the seventh inning with a homer to tie the game at two. In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Yankees took advantage of a few walks, a passed ball & a wild pitch which scored the winning run as the Yankees beat the Angels, 3-2.

Stay tuned for another special post that will recap the return of Robinson Cano to the Bronx.

Thank you for reading ‎& following along. 

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Royalty sees another MLB doubleheader on Patriot's Day!‏

On Monday April 21st ‎, I took a vacation day from work so I could continue the tradition of seeing a baseball game at Fenway Park on Patriot's Day. By doing so, I was able to continue my personal streak of seeing at least one baseball game there every year since 1986 as well.  That day the World Champion Red Sox hosted the Baltimore Orioles.

The King, our friend Phil Butleman who stayed over with us  & I woke up very early that Monday morning. Thankfully our pal Bryan Gilligan came to the house to pick us up. ‎Bryan then drove us to Dollar Rent A Car by LaGuardia Airport. He dropped me off & I went inside to pick up a car for the day. I wound up renting a Hyundai Elantra. Bryan drove his car near Citi Field. I then drove over to where he parked & I picked them up. I drove us all to Boston. We did well until I got off the exit closest to Fenway Park on the Storrow Drive. That's when things took a turn for the worst. As a result, I wound up losing 45 minutes trying to get around the area. They closed streets due to the Boston Marathon. It was a nightmare trying to find my way of the mess. After circling around different neighborhoods, I finally found a parking spot on the street near Boston University where we usually park. It was 10:30AM when we finally started walking towards Fenway from where we parked the car. ‎As we got close to the ballpark, we had to go through a number of bag checks due to the heightened security after what happened last year. 

Before I went inside I stopped off at the Sausage Connection where I saw my pal Harry. I asked him where his mother was. He said it was too cold for her. I got myself a sausage then I went into the ballpark. 

Even though the King & I had standing room tickets we were still able to luck out after moving a few times in the area we like to sit when we go there. We wound up sitting in section 24 just to the left of the screen. It's such an amazing view of the action as you can see in the picture.
 
View from Section 24 at Fenway Park
As for the game we saw, the ‎Orioles broke a scoreless tie in the third inning as they batted around. They wound up scoring six to take a 6-0 lead. The Red Sox fought back as they sliced the lead in half as they got three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to make it a 6-3 game. They added another one in the seventh inning to make it 6-4. The Orioles were able to tack on an insurance run in the top of the eighth inning to go up, 7-4. The Red Sox scored again in the bottom of the eighth to cut the lead to 7-5. In the bottom of the ninth inning, they loaded the bases but they could only get one more run as they fell short, 7-6. 

After the game, we had to take an obstacle course to avoid the Boston Marathon that runs near Fenway & the surrounding area.  After we went through more bag checks we got to the other side of the street where we needed to be. We then finished walking to the car. Thankfully there wasn't a reoccurrence of last year. Even though, we didn't like the extra security measures, we made the best of the situation. When we got to the car, I drove us back to Citi Field where we went to see the Mets open a four game series with the St. Louis Cardinals. It was also the first Military Monday of the season. With that being said, the Mets wore special camouflage uniforms. We barely got to the game on time since coming back from Boston was no bargain because we had to deal with rush hour traffic.

View from field level at Citi Field
As for the game we saw, the Mets got six & two thirds innings of shutout ball from starter Jenrry Mejia who got just enough run support thanks to a run scoring single by David Wright in the third inning & another one from Travis d'Arnaud as the Mets went on to beat the Cardinals & starter Tyler Lyons, 2-0. 

After the game, Bryan drove the King & I back to Dollar Rent A Car so I could return the car. I wound up driving 442 miles safely. After that, he took us back home.

Stay tuned for another special post that will recap a rare NYC doubleheader weekend that we enjoyed.

Thank you for reading & following along. 

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Royalty sees a few MLB doubleheaders in NYC & Philadelphia in April!‏

The second week of the baseball season was highlighted by a pair of New York Yankees & Philadelphia Phillies back to back doubleheaders on April 12th & April 13th. 

On Saturday April 12th the Yankees played an afternoon game in the Bronx at Yankee Stadium when they hosted their arch rival the Boston Red Sox who are the reigning World Champions. That day the King ‎& I were joined by our pals Bryan Gilligan & William Frank Guthrie. 

View from section 420B row 7 at Yankee Stadium
As for the game we saw, the Yankees used the long ball as they hit five home runs to overpower the Red Sox, 7-4. 

After the game, Bryan drove all of us down to Philadelphia. We went ‎to Citizens Bank Park to see the Phillies host the Miami Marlins that night. It was a busy evening in the City of Brotherly Love as the Frozen Four was being played across the street at the Wells Fargo Center. With that being said, my pal & fellow roadtripper Andrew Van Cleve went there. He saw Union College which is located in NY State in Schenectady near Albany beat the University of Minnesota, 7-4.

As for the rest of us we went to see the baseball game. As for the game we saw, the Phillies had an early 4-1 lead after three innings. The Marlins tied the game at four thanks to their slugger Giancarlo Stanton who hit a solo homer in fifth inning & a two run homer in the seventh inning. ‎The game wound up going into extra innings as the Phillies prevailed when shortstop Jimmy Rollins ended the game in the tenth inning with a game winning homer with two out to give the Phillies a 5-4 victory.

Phillies win, 5-4!
After the game, Bryan drove me to Andrew Van Cleve's house where I spent the night. Bryan drove the King ‎& William Frank back home.  Andrew would have put them up too but they decided to go home instead.

As for me, I got to see his kids, Dylan & Micah aka the Ultimate Sports Brothers. I enjoyed seeing them again. I got a good night sleep then I walked to Citizens Bank Park to see the Phillies play the Marlins again that afternoon. Andrew decided to take Micah to see the Flyers play the Hurricanes later that afternoon instead. I thanked him for his his hospitality & I said goodbye to him & the kids. 
On my way to the game, I stopped off at Pat's King of Steaks for a signature Philly cheese steak that the City is known for. The line was long but it moved fast. When you go there, you have to know what you want otherwise they'll skip you. I ordered a cheese steak which I sat down & ate. When I got done, I finished walking over to Citizens Bank Park. 

Pat's King of Steaks
Philly cheese steak
I wound up meeting the King & Bryan inside the ballpark since they decided to go home then drive back down. 

View from section 319 at Citizens Bank Park
As for the game we saw, ‎the Phillies fell behind 2-0 & 3-1 before they were able to tie the game at three on a two run double by catcher Wil Nieves in the bottom of the fifth inning. They won the game, 4-3 thanks to a solo home run by Chase Utley in the bottom of the eighth inning.

After the game, Bryan drove the King ‎& I back to the Bronx for the series finale between the Yankees & the World Champion Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees won two of the first three.

Me, The King & Ken Liu
Once we got situated in our seats in section 420B row 7‎, shortly thereafter we got a visit from fellow roadtripper Ken Liu who lives in Los Angeles. He was in the Northeast because he was doing training for his new job in the Philadelphia area. It was great to see Ken again. The King & I initially met him when we went to Australia to open the season in late March. Ken decided to go in February. Since he's a Dodger fan it made sense for him to do so.

As for the game we saw, the Yankees fell behind 1-0 in the top of the second inning. They went ahead in the ‎bottom of the third thanks to a two run home run by Carlos Beltran. They tacked on another run in the bottom of the fourth to go up, 3-1. Mike Napoli of the Red Sox hit a solo homer in the top of the sixth but the Red Sox couldn't even the score as the Yankees held on to win the game, 3-2 as they took three out of the four games.

Stay tuned as I plan to do some more special posts about the other highlights from the month of April.

Thank you for reading ‎& following along.

Yours truly, 

Gary Herman

Friday, May 23, 2014

Royalty schedule w/o 5/26

Here's the game plan:

Monday, May 26th Pirates at Mets 1:10PM Memorial Day

Tuesday, May 27th Pirates at Mets 7:10PM

Friday, May 30th Twins at Yankees 7:05PM 

Saturday, May 31st Twins at Yankees 1:05PM

                                Portland Sea Dogs at Trenton Thunder 7:05PM

Sunday, June 1st Twins at Yankees 1:05PM  
         
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 as I plan to continue to write about the highlights of the start of the baseball season in April. Please bear with me as I try to find time to catch up. I keep falling further behind. Please be patient. It will be worth the wait.

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

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Royalty is on the road again over the first weekend in June!

Here's the game plan:

The King is renting a car from Dollar Rent A Car for the first week of June.

We'll be driving us out to Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Reading, Pennsylvania & Baltimore to see some major league & minor league baseball over the weekend before returning to NYC late Monday night.

Saturday June 7th Brewers at Pirates 4:05PM

Sunday, June 8th Phillies at Reds 1:10PM

Monday, June 9th Richmond Flying Squirrels at Reading Fightin Phils 9:35AM

                             Red Sox at Orioles 7:05PM
                
If you're interested in going on this exclusive getaway royalty style just let me know so I can arrange to have you join the King & I.

It's going to be a blast so why not come for a "royal" ride.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Royalty gets to see some fellow roadtrippers over Opening weekend of baseball at Citi Field!‏

Me, Eddie & the King in Sydney, Australia
After I got to jump for joy when Gio Gonzalez homered, the next day I went to get a cyst removed from my back. As a result, I'm glad he hit it before I had the surgery. What a way to enjoy myself before the pain set in. I went to the doctor during my lunch break at work that Thursday afternoon, April 3rd. Ironically the Mets played the finale of their opening series with the Nationals at that time. While my back was being treated, the King ‎& the rest of the royal court got to see my pal & fellow roadtripper Scott Bultman aka Woo Chamberlain as he calls himself. You can follow him on Twitter if you like. His handle is @EPLSB. He flew in from the Twin Cities that morning for the weekend. He landed at LaGuardia airport at 9:15AM. He came to visit us again. He got more than he bargained for that day. He was joined by his brother Eddie who came from Pennsylvania to spend the weekend with him here in NYC. His twitter handle is @EFQZ so you know. The King & I saw him when we officially opened the baseball season in Sydney, Australia. I was told when Eddie saw the King again at Citi Field he started yelling & I quote "Hey Casiano". The King was in his glory. His fan club was present & accounted for. In addition, they got to see him do his signature strikeout call. Furthermore, they got to meet a few other guys we know who come to games from time to time. I'm referring to Mike Jaffee aka Minor League Mike who usually attends the midweek afternoon games. He was there without his wife Sharon who was working. They've seen over 200 minor league ballparks together as well as almost all the major league ones. He spoke to Scott & Eddie during the game. Those guys also got to meet another guy who we know as Devil Bill. He's a big Devil fan hence the appropriate moniker. He also likes the Mets. It should be noted that he's made plenty of crazy road trips over the years for all different sports. He's a quiet type person who we always see by himself. I speak to him whenever I see him so I can see where he's been lately. When Scott & Eddie tried to strike up a conversation with him they couldn't get much of a response they told me.  

Devil Bill
As for the game they saw, the Nationals went on to sweep the Mets by a score of 8-2. It was a 3-2 game after six innings as the starters Tanner Roark of the Nationals & Zack Wheeler of the Mets pitched well to earn themselves quality starts. Once the bullpen took over the game, the Mets imploded as the combo of Scott Rice, Jeurys Familia & Carlos Torres combined to let the game get away. They allowed five runs, four in the seventh inning  & one in the eighth inning as the Mets record fell to 0-3 to start the season. 

Friday after work I was greeted in the lobby of my office by Scott ‎& Eddie who decided after they did some sightseeing during the day to meet me so we could go to Citi Field together. It was great to see them waiting for me. I did keep them waiting five minutes because I forgot my umbrella upstairs. Just in case I needed it, I went back to get it. After a false start, it was smooth sailing. We wound up taking the subway to Queens. We got off the 7 express train at Junction Boulevard so we could have a pre game meal first. I wound up meeting my Cousin Andy there as well as my pal Vincent Ascanio who happened to be on the same train as us. We all wound up splitting a pizza pie that Eddie treated us all to at Taste of Italy No. 2. I want to personally thank him for his kindness. 

After we finished eating, ‎we all got back on the 7 train & we went to Citi Field to see the Mets open a three game series with the Cincinnati Reds who making their one & only visit to Queens this season. However they do return in July to play the Yankees in the Bronx right after the All-Star Break. We all got to see my pal Sam Citron who greeted us royally at the Rotunda gate. Once we got inside I went to get my MLB passport book stamped then we all went upstairs to the Royal Court in section 515. We were joined by the King, Frank Anichiarico aka Duck, Bryan Gilligan & some other regulars including Danny Werba who we affectionately call Webber. Since the Knicks, Nets & Devils were playing some of the crew were missing that night. Regardless despite the cool weather it was an entertaining evening at the ballpark.

As for the game we saw, the Mets wound up getting their first win of the season. They went on to beat the Reds, 4-3. Jay Bruce of the Reds drove in the first run of the game with a run scoring single in the third inning off Mets' starter Jenrry Mejia who pitched six innings allowing just the one run. He did walk five & he kept the King busy by striking out eight.‎ He left with a 2-1 lead thanks to Lucas Duda who hit the first of his two home runs. A two run shot in the fourth inning. He did it again in the bottom of the sixth inning to give the Mets a 4-1 lead. The Reds cut the lead to one as Jay Bruce hit a two run blast in the top of the seventh inning. This time the Mets' bullpen managed to preserve the victory.

Vincent Ascanio, Me, Scott, Eddie, Howie Mars, Mike Jaffee & the King
Saturday afternoon the King & I returned to Citi Field for game two of the three game series between the Mets & the Reds. We were joined by Scott & Eddie again up in the Royal Court. Among those on hand were Mike Jaffee who came with his wife Sharon, a guy we know named Howie but we always call him by an infamous name of Howie Mars. He's a legend in his own rite. What's so unique about the people we know is you never know when they're going to show up. Some days are better than others when it comes to the size of the bunch. One thing's for certain, there's always comic relief.      

As for the game we saw, both starters pitched well. Dillon Gee pitched into the eighth inning before he was taken out. He wound up giving up three runs in seven & a third innings of work. His counterpart, Johnny Cueto of the Reds allowed two runs in seven innings. Despite leaving the game with the lead, he didn't get a decision because interim closer J.J. Hoover came on to close out the game. Four batters later pinch hitter now former Met Ike Davis hit a game winning grand slam as the Mets beat the Reds again, 6-3.


Sunday morning Scott headed back to the Midwest as he caught an early flight so he could get to Wrigley Field to see the Cubs play before he went back to the Twin Cities. Eddie also went back home. 

Blair Long & I at Citi Field
The King & I later that afternoon returned to Citi Field as the Mets looked to sweep the Reds. When we got up to the Royal Court in section 515 we were joined by another special guest. I'm talking about my pal Blair Long who I met at PNC Park last July when the Mets played the Pirates. That night he was joined by his wife Paula. This time he was by himself. I asked him about Paula. He said she was tired so she decided to stay home. He lives in Central New Jersey. He took public transportation to get to Citi Field. He has seen a variety of baseball games. He likes seeing both major & minor league games. ‎It was nice to see him again.

As for the game we saw, the Mets failed to break out the broom. They got shut down by Reds' starter Alfredo Simon who threw seven strong innings allowing one run. The Reds hung on to savage a game in the series by a 2-1 score. 

Stay tuned as I plan to do some special posts with more highlights from my month of April.

Thank you for reading ‎& following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Monday, May 19, 2014

Royalty sees Gio Gonzalez in the bullpen as he warmed up for his 1st start of 2014!‏

Washington Nationals starting lineup
Gio Gonzalez blowing on his hands before his pre game routine
On April 2nd, after work I went to Citi Field to see the Mets host the Washington Nationals. That night my pal Gio Gonzalez was making his first start of the season. With that being said, when I got to Citi Field I went right to the bullpen area so I could be in position to watch Gio get ready for his start. He came out ‎& he did his pre game routine. He had his headphones on while he did so. He stretched, he ran then he did some long tossing. When he got done, he took his headphones off & proceeded to walk into the bullpen so he could finish by warming up on the mound there. As he walked in, I got his attention. He acknowledged me. I gave him plenty of words of wisdom. As he wrote on the jersey that he gave me last September & I quote "To Gary "Best Damn "True" Fan any Baseball player could ever ask for!!" True to those words, I gave him the encouragement he deserves to be the best he can be. I was wearing the jersey proudly. When he got done warming up, he caught me off guard when he threw the ball he warmed up with towards me. Thankfully I saw it coming & I reach out with my bare hand & I caught it. I was so happy. He made my night. He then proceeded to walk back towards the dugout to get ready for the game to start. As for me, I went upstairs to the royal court up in section 515 where I met up with the King, Vincent Ascanio & the rest of the bunch who showed up that night. 

Gio Gonzalez warming up in the bullpen at Citi Field
Gio following on a warm up pitch
Gio talking to his hand & the ball 
Gio pausing between warm up pitches
What he wrote on the jersey he gave me
Ball I caught that Gio used to warm up with



As for the game we saw, Gio got off to a rough start as he gave up a lead off triple to Juan Lagares who eventually scored the game's first run when David Wright drove him in with a sacrifice fly to give the Mets a 1-0 lead. The Nationals went ahead 2-1 in the third inning when Adam LaRoche hit a two run homer. They tacked on a few more in the fifth inning when Ian Desmond hit a solo homer then my boy Gio Gonzalez surprisingly did the same. I couldn't believe it. He apparently couldn't either as he raced home from second base when he realized he did hit a home run. I wound up jumping for joy. The Nationals scored another run later on a wild pitch as they went on to beat the Mets again, 5-1. Gio wound up going six innings. He gave up four hits & just the one run while he walked one & he struck out six to earn his first win of the season. I couldn't have written a better script myself. What a memorable night it was.

Stay tuned as I'm going to write a special post about the first weekend of the season which included some special guests.

Thank you for reading & following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Royalty schedule w/o 5/19

Here's the game plan:

Tuesday, May 20th Dodgers at Mets 7:10M

Wednesday, May 21st Dodgers at Mets 7:10PM

Thursday, May 22nd Dodgers at Mets 7:10PM 

Friday, May 23rd Diamondbacks at Mets 7:10PM

Saturday, May 24th Diamondbacks at Mets 4:10PM

Sunday, May 25th Diamondbacks at Mets 1:10PM  
         
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 as I plan to continue to write about the highlights of the start of the baseball season in April. Please bear with me as I try to find time to catch up. I keep falling further behind. Please be patient. It will be worth the wait.

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

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Royalty goes to Opening Day at Citi Field to see the Mets host the Nationals!

Sam Citron Outside the Rotunda at Citi Field
After shaking off the effects of jet lag, the King & I went to Citi Field Monday March 31st to see the Mets start their 2014 season against the Washington Nationals. Since I wisely took the day off from work, I got to the ballpark when the gates opened. I got to see my pal Sam Citron when I got to the Rotunda. It was great to see him again. When I entered the ballpark, I was hoping to see batting practice but since the weather wasn't ideal, they didn't have any. I was hoping to see my pal Gio Gonzalez before the game but I waited & waited but he never came out. I was able hang around until game time since I knew the usher who watches over the special seats that are located between the tarp & the Nationals dugout. 

Me waiting to see Gio
When they announced the players in the special pre game ‎introductions I saw Gio from a distance. When they went back into the dugout, I yelled out to him. He acknowledged me by giving me a thumbs up before he headed into the clubhouse. It wasn't the same as getting a handshake but he did see me wearing the personalized jersey he gave me in the same spot back on 9/11 when the Nationals were in town last September.
 
Opening Day at Citi Field
Remembering Ralph Kiner 1922-2014
It should be noted that there was a special ceremony to remember former Mets broadcaster Ralph Kiner who passed away at age 91 during the off season. Ralph played ten years for the Pittsburgh Pirates‎ during his hall of fame career. He joined the Mets as a broadcaster when the team came into existence back in 1962. Ralph was always fun to listen to. He was notorious for botching up players' names when he was on the air. For example, he referred to the Late Gary Carter as Gary Cooper when he played for the Mets back in the mid 80's into the early 90's. Ralph also was known for having own post game show called Kiner's Korner where he interviewed players from the winning team after the game. Mets baseball won't be the same without hearing Ralph's voice. Thanks for the memories. In his honor, the Mets will be wearing a special patch all season. 

1st Pitch 1:13PM delivered by Mets' starter Dillon Gee
Since ‎the game was getting ready to start, I decided to watch the top of the first inning on the field level before I headed up to the royal court in section 516. When I finally got upstairs I got to see the usual people we know that go to see baseball games on a regular basis. They included Vincent Ascanio, Rich Wolber, Michael Abrams as well as some Mets season ticket holders who were back for another season. 

View from Royal Court in Section 516
As for the game we saw, the Mets started the season with a bang right off the bat after starter Dillon Gee retired the Nationals in the top of the first after allowing a single. The Mets got a clutch two out three run homer from left fielder Andrew Brown to take an early 3-0 lead against Nationals' ace pitcher, Stephen Strasburg. The Nationals responded as first baseman Adam LaRoche hit a two run homer to slice the Mets' lead to one at 3-2 in the second inning. The Mets tacked on another run as Eric Young Jr. hit a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2 after two innings. Stephen Strasburg settled down as he didn't give up any more runs. He left after going six innings while striking ten in the process. The Nationals got him off the hook when they scored twice in the seventh inning to tie the game at four. The Mets regained the lead, 5-4 in the bottom of the eighth inning when center fielder Juan Lagares lead off with a home run off former Yankee farmhand Tyler Clippard. The Nationals showed resiliency as they tied the game again at five as Denard Span drove a run with a two out double off Mets' closer Bobby Parnell. The game went into extra innings. The Nationals got a sacrifice fly from shortstop Ian Desmond to go back ahead, 6-5 in the top of the tenth inning. They got some insurance runs thanks to a three run homer by Anthony Rendon who made it, 9-5. The Mets made a comeback in the bottom of the tenth as they got a two out walk that was followed by a two run homer by David Wright to pull the Mets within two at 9-7 but reliever Jerry Blevins got Curtis Granderson to strike out looking to end the game. The Nationals picked up where they left off the second half of last season as they fought hard to earn the 9-7 victory.

After the game, the King, Vincent Ascanio & I took the subway to the World Trade Center where we got the Path train to go out to the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. We saw the Devils take on the Florida Panthers that night.

As for the game we saw, the Devils like the Mets got off to a fast start. They score three unanswered goals in the first half of the first period. The Panthers scored late to cut the lead to 3-1. In the second period, the Panthers made it 3-2. The Devils regained their two goal cushion as they found the net to go up, 4-2 but the Panthers came back to get within one again at 4-3 after two periods. Early in the third period, the Devils got a shorthanded goal to go up 5-3. Then they finally put the game away with another goal midway through the third period as they held off the persistent Panthers by a score of 6-3.

Stay tuned for a special post that I'm going to do about my pal Gio Gonzalez who started game two of the new baseball season. 

Thank you for reading ‎& following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Monday, May 12, 2014

Royalty returns home after going Down Under!‏

After the King & I woke up early Saturday morning on March 29th, we realized our amazing journey was almost over. After arriving in Sydney a week earlier after a long exhausting flight, we had a blast as you already know if you've followed along. With that being said, it was time to head back home. After all, all good things have to end eventually. With that in mind, we had to fly all the way home from Melbourne via Sydney & Los Angeles before we finally arrived back at JFK airport in NYC.

Here's the way it turned out for us. We checked out of the Easystay Motel in St. Kilda. We then walked up the block & we crossed the street & shortly thereafter our Airport Bus showed up to take us back to the airport. We wound up getting there around 7:10AM. We had just enough time to catch our flight on Virgin Australia Airlines that was scheduled to depart at 8AM local time. We arrived back in Sydney at 9:25AM. After having some time to walk around the terminal we caught our connecting flight on Delta Airlines to Los Angeles that left ‎at 11:20AM local time. We finally landed in Los Angeles early at 6:45AM Pacific Time Saturday morning. If your wondering how that's possible you have to take into account that Melbourne & Sydney, Australia are 14 hours ahead of us here on the East Coast in the States. In addition, we flew across the international dateline. By doing so, we gained the day we lost when we flew out there. Since we got in a little early we had to wait on the plane because we needed to go through Customs first. Unfortunately they didn't open until 7AM which turned out to be a disaster. 

Here I am at Melbourne Airport
Final Call for our flight from Sydney Australia
When the King ‎& I finally got through Customs we were told we needed to get checked in for our flight from Los Angeles to JFK in order to get through security to board the plane. That wound up giving me a reason to explode. I knew we were back in the States. When we went through Customs to depart Melbourne, the process was so organised. When we attempted to do the same in LA, it was a nightmare. As the clock ticked, I knew we had no chance of making our connecting flight that was suppose to depart at 8:30AM Pacific Time. As we went through a run around trying to find someone from Delta Airlines to help us, our original flight got delayed 20 minutes. That didn't make a difference. We still missed our flight. The King tried to calm me down. I was really upset because I had no idea when the next flight was leaving nor did I know that we would get on it. Finally a lady from Delta Airlines came to our aid. She took us to a representative who was able to rebook us on the next flight to JFK which wound up leaving at 1:30PM. In retrospect, things actually worked out for the best. If I knew what was going happen ahead of time I wouldn't have gotten so bend out of shape.  As a result, I got to relax by the gate area of our new flight until it was time to board. In the meantime, I was able to finally turn my phone back on. I sat down & I started charging it up. While doing so, I got to catch up on my e-mails, text messages & my social media activity. Thanks to modern technology, I was able to get in contact with a number of special people in my life. What seemed like a nightmare turned out to be a dream come true. In addition, when I heard the weather forecast for NYC was rain all day & night, I was more than happy to stay in LA longer. 

Here I am charging my phone at LAX Airport
We finally got back to JFK around 10PM Eastern Time safe & sound. With that being said, our journey was a success‎. We then picked up our baggage which was checked onto the flight we were supposed to be on. With that being said, our luggage arrived ahead of us. We then proceeded to take the Air Train to the subway in Jamaica as we made our way home. We dodged the rain drops as we walked from the subway station to our home. We walked into the house just before midnight. Home sweet home.

Here I am Outside the Barclays Center
After unpacking our bags, we went to sleep. That Sunday I did my laundry before the King & I shook off the effects of the jet lag as we took the subway to Brooklyn. We went to the Barclays Center to see the Nets play the Minnesota Timberwolves that night. The Nets beat the Wolves, 114-99. It was a game for three quarters then the Nets pulled away in the fourth quarter. The Nets were able to keep Kevin Love, the star forward for the Wolves, in check throughout the game. He finished with just 14 points & 9 rebounds. 

Stay tuned as I will do some special posts that we recap the Opening week of the baseball season here in the States.

Thank you for reading & following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Royalty schedule w/o 5/12

Here's the game plan:

Monday, May 12th Mets at Yankees 7:05PM

Tuesday, May 13th Mets at Yankees 7:05M

Wednesday, May 14th Yankees at Mets 7:10PM

Thursday, May 15th Yankees at Mets 7:10PM 

Friday, May 16th Pirates at Yankees 7:05PM

Saturday, May 17th Athletics at Indians 7:05PM

Sunday, May 18th Mets at Nationals 1:35PM  
         
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 as I plan to start writing about the highlights of the start of the baseball season in April. Please bear with me as I try to find time to catch up. I keep falling further behind. Please be patient. It will be worth the wait.

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

Friday, May 9, 2014

Royalty sees our first ever Rugby match in Melbourne, Australia!‏

When the King & I decided to go Down Under, we wanted to see more than just baseball there, sports wise that is. We also wanted to see a sport that was popular in Australia. They have Australian rules football & a few different kinds of rugby. We wound up going to a Super Rugby fixture. It's also known as Rugby Union. There's another kind that's called Rugby League. When I looked at the schedule this match was the best fit for us. In addition, the King told me he preferred to see that over footy if you will. He didn't realize how popular footy was in Melbourne. Since I didn't realize that they had nine AFL teams in Melbourne, I didn't know there was a game when we were going to be there. I was informed the week before by Paul Tyson who we met at the Light Brigade before game one of the MLB Opening Series at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Paul & his wife Sue came from Melbourne where they live to see the baseball game. He told us we need to see footy. 

However, we decided to stick with our original plan of going to the rugby match. When I was planning out the trip, I got in touch with a young man named Xavier Player who lives in Melbourne & he's a ballpark chaser too. He told me he's a member of the Melbourne Rebels. They were home against the Brumbies of Canberra which is the capital of Australia. I told him I plan to meet him when I go there. As it got closer, we arranged to met up. As it turned out, he wound up meeting the King & I at Young & Jackson Pub by Federation Square. When I was there I got in contact with him thanks to Ken Liu who had service on his phone. He wrote Xavier & he told him where were sitting. Shortly after 6PM, Xavier showed up with his Rebel hoodie ‎ & scarf on.  We all introduced ourselves. He lead the way once we left the Pub. We took a short walk over to AAMI Park where the Rebels play their home matches. Ken decided to join us. He wanted his lady friend Nat to go but she decided not to. Ken was willing to pay her way. She was concerned about getting home on her own. With that being said, we said goodbye to her & we went on our way to the match.
 
Outside of AAMI Park
AAMI Park
Melbourne Rebels & Brumbies
AAMI Park - home of Rugby League, Rugby Union & Football
I'm glad we met Xavier because he was very knowledgeable about the sport of rugby. To be perfectly honest, I only read up briefly about it online. When we arrived at the stadium, we went to the box office ‎& we purchased tickets for the game. We wound up going inside & we sat with Xavier who likes to sit in the end zone. 
 
My ticket for the match
View from where we sat at the fixture
It turned out to be a different experience for us. As the match went on, Xavier explained the rules to us. The match was comprised of two forty minute halves which like soccer are running time. ‎With that being said, the match would last around two hours.
 
As for the match we saw, the Rebels got off to a slow start. They fell behind, 7-0 as the Brumbies got a try which is worth five points ‎& a conversion which is good for two more points. The Rebels broke the shutout with a penalty goal which is worth three points to make it a 7-3 score. The Brumbies added a penalty goal of their own to go up, 10-3. The Rebels closed the gap again by adding another penalty goal to make it 10-6 at halftime. The Brumbies extended their lead to 17-6 early in the second half. All of a sudden, the Rebels roared back. They wound up of scoring 23 unanswered points as Jason Woodward was a one man show as he was responsible for majority of their points. He scored on six penalty  goals, he also had a try & two conversions as the Rebels held off the the Brumbies, 32-24. It was a great comeback for the home team who look sluggish for the first 50 minutes of the match. As the saying goes, it's not how you start, it's how you finish. The Rebels who haven't played well accordingly to Xavier in previous games  decided to wake up in the second half to emerge victorious. It was fun to be part of the celebration which culminated with the Rebels fight song after the match.
 
Live action opposite end from us
Live action right in front of us
Aftermath of a scrum
Rebels win, 32-24!
Afterwards, we all walked back to Federation Square together. When we got there, we said goodbye ‎& we all thanked Xavier for joining us & being such a good host & teacher. I hope our paths cross somewhere down the road. In the meantime, Xavier is going to graduate school in hopes of landing a decent paying job so he can pursue his dreams in life. I want to wish him only the very best.

As for the King, Ken & I we walked around with Ken who knew the area better than us since he was there for a few days. He wound up taking us to a tram that wound up getting within a few blocks from our motel in St. Kilda. ‎ 

When we finally got to the motel, we got our bags that were in the room we left them in earlier in the day. We checked in & we got the keys to the room. We proceeded to go to the room so we could get some sleep. We didn't get a whole lot because we had to get the Airport Bus back to the Airport so we could catch our flight eventually back home.

Stay tuned for a special post that will wrap up this memorable journey.

Thank you for reading & following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Royalty goes to Young & Jackson Pub in Melbourne, Australia!‏

After the King & I walked around  the Federation Square area in Melbourne we finally got to meet up with fellow ballpark chaser Ken Liu. Ken arrived in Melbourne a few days earlier after we initially met him in Sydney at the Light Brigade before game one of the MLB Opening Series at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Ken lives in Los Angeles & he's a Dodger fan. He decided sometime in February that he was also going to go Down Under. We wrote back & forth so we could arrange to meet up while we were going to be there. I knew he was going to Melbourne too because he e-mailed me his itinerary. He told me if we had time he wanted to meet up again there. With that being said, we did indeed. This time we met him at a pub called Young & Jackson which is known for its good beer. It's a hotel‎ and pub that was located on the corner of Swanston Street & Flinders Street. It was right across the street from Flinders Street station which made it easy to find. It's an iconic building which has been there since 1861. 

Young & Jackson
I got to use WIFI from time to time which allowed me to finalize plans with Ken so we could meet up there. Ken was at a casino during the day. He said he was meeting a friend ‎& he asked us if we wanted to join them. I told him that would be great. We planned to meet there at 4:30PM. We walked around the pub looking for him because I lost my WIFI connection at that time. The building consisted of three different floors. The ground floor which had a separate dining room along with a bar, the second floor had a bar &  the rooftop where they had a cider bar which was the first one in Australia. In other words, this place was massive. It was also mobbed with people which made it difficult to find Ken. After trying for 20 minutes or so, we finally found him. He was with a lady friend named Nat Kulynycz who he met in his previous world travels. Nat now lives in Melbourne but she's originally from Perth which is on the west coast of Australia. She said she moved there within the last year. She said she likes it there. 

Once we all got settled in, we decided to sit down at a table in the dining room so we could eat, drink ‎& talk to each other. The King & I ordered fish & chips since we were hungry. We didn't get to eat much during the day. We also tried a few different craft & micro brewed beers that they had there.  Ken & Nat also ordered food to go along with their drinks.

Xavier Player, Nat, Ken Liu, the King & I
When we were almost done, we got to meet up with a young man who lives there too. He's another ballpark chaser. His name is Xavier Player. I got in contact with him once I booked my flights to go Down Under. He told me lived in Melbourne. I told him I wanted to meet up with‎ him. He said he had a membership which is a season ticket to the Melbourne Rebels. The Rebels' are the local Rugby Union team that plays at AAMI Park. I told him that my friend the King & I plan to go to the rugby match while we were going to be there. He told me we could meet up by Federation Square around 6:30PM. The way it turned out he met us at the pub. By doing so, he got to meet Ken & Nat too.

Stay tuned for a special post that will go into detail about how the rugby match we saw went.

Thank you for reading ‎& following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Royalty goes to Melbourne, Australia!‏

Virgin Australia Airlines
Airport Bus
After the King & I spent the first six days of our visit Down Under in Sydney, we woke up at 4AM Friday morning, March 28th so we could take a cab which cost us $50 to go from our hotel to the airport. Mind you it wasn't a long ride & it was early in the morning with no traffic. With that being said, we arrived there with plenty of time to catch our flight on Virgin Australia Airlines to Melbourne. Our flight departed at 6:30AM & we arrived in Melbourne at 8:05AM. As for breakfast, we had a snack on the plane. Upon arrival, we wound up taking a shuttle called the Airport Bus to our hotel in the southeast suburb known as St. Kilda. It cost us $68 round trip to do so. As the dispatcher told me, it would cost that much to go one way by cab. It didn't doubt it. It turned out to be a brilliant decision. We got dropped off right by our motel where we were staying for the night since we were leaving Saturday morning to return home. It was called Easystay Motel. When we went to check in, it was too early so we did the paperwork & we had to leave our bags in a special room they had that was locked up until 2PM. The person who assisted us gave us directions on how to get to the CBD aka Central Business District. In order to get there, we needed to take a tram which was located in the middle of the street right in front of the motel. 

Easystay Motel in St. Kilda

Next Generation Tram
In order to get on the tram, we had to go to 7-11 which was practically next door. In fact, there were two of them. One was to the left of the motel ‎& the other one was to the right. We wound up going to the one to the left when we walked out of the motel. We went there because they sell a smart card which is called a myki card. It's the new ticketing system there & you need one in order to ride the tram, trains and/or buses aka Public Transport. It costs $6 for the card itself & it's good for four years they told us. In addition, we had to add money so we could ride around for the day. They have a cap aka top off if you will for the day so it wound up costing us $13 each. That way we didn't have to worry about transportation the rest of the day. 

Flinders Street Station
City Circle Tram
We proceeded to wait for the tram which came shortly thereafter. We wound up taking it to Federation Square which is the heart of the CBD. When we got off we walked around Flinders Street Station, which is Melbourne's railway station. It reminded me of Central Station in Sydney. Once we had a better understanding of the area, we decided to take a free tram ride that circled around the CBD. People got on ‎& off. It was very crowded as we went around. We rode around the City circle until we came across the stop for Etihad Stadium which is a retractable dome. It's an entertainment venue & it's one of the stadiums where the AFL is played. Five of the teams play their "home" games there. AFL is Australian Rules Football which they affectionately call footy. It's similar to American football but they have different rules & the players don't wear equipment to protect themselves. Melbourne has nine different teams in the AFL. 

Etihad Stadium
Me inside Etihad Stadium
We wound up walking around the outside of the venue. I was even able to get a peak inside. As I walked around I found an open door. I walked inside. I wound up taking an elevator up three or four floors. When I got out, I was on a luxury suite level. I saw someone who worked there so I asked him if I could take a look inside the seating area. He let me in a room & I was able to take a picture. I thanked him then I went back outside. As I walked around the exterior of the building I got to see the Victoria Harbour which was on one side of the venue. Just like in Sydney it was a beautiful view as you can.

Victoria Harbour
When I finally got done walking all the way around, I met up with the King who took a walk in a different direction. We waited for quite some time before we finally got back on the tram around the City circle. We decided to go back to the area by Federation Square. By doing so, I was able to get some WIFI which enabled me to get in contact with fellow ballpark chaser, Ken Liu who had spent five days in Sydney ‎& he now was in the midst of spending his last five days in Melbourne. He asked me if we wanted to meet up at 4:30PM. I told him we'll meet at a bar that was nearby. In the meantime, the King & I decided to stay in that area instead of going back to the motel to get our room. We decided we'll go back there later when it was time to get some sleep.

We wound up walking around the area so we could get a feel for Melbourne. Since we were only there for the day, we didn't get too see that much. Before we knew it was time to meet up with Ken.

Stay tuned for a special post that will go into detail about our meet up.

Thank you for reading ‎& following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman