For Road Trips, Luggage Can Vary
One great thing (for women at least) about a road trip is that you can hang your clothing in zippered bags and lay them atop the luggage. Thus, nothing becomes wrinkled! Both Jill and I did that; it worked out great. At the time share, we just hung the bags in the closets. It also cuts way back on the number of suitcases. Also on a road trip such as we experienced, you can take more supplies for the condo...food items not perishable. Since we went on this trip in early May, we had to be prepared for cool nights, for rain, and for possible warm weather. The solution is to "layer". I made sure that I had a couple of sweaters, a spring jacket, a raincoat, umbrella, and good walking shoes. I have one of the bags with all the compartments for lotions, make-up, etc. I can hang it up in the bathroom of the condo or hotel room for easy access. On this particular trip, I took two cameras...my digital and my 35M with the capability of 3 different sized photos...I wanted some panoramics. Also, I took my Kodak Easy Share printer dock so each night I printed out the photos that I took that day. I keep the photos on the disk so I can download them to the computer for VT purposes, but I also like to keep my photo albums of each of my trips. I always take my prescriptions in the original containers, an extra pair of glasses (in case of breakage), novels for reading, my journal, extra walking shoes, hats for the sun, and addresses of special VT friends for sending post cards!
Don McBride Stadium
McBride Stadium, home of the independent Frontier League Richmond Roosters, is a great, quaint old ballpark with a lot of history. A fan of the old parks, I planned a visit on my way south to a wedding in North Carolina in June 2002. The stadium is named after a belated sports writer.
"History of Richmond Baseball"
Constructed as part of the New Deal-era WPA in 1936 and originally known as Municipal Stadium, the park has seen some great players pass through on their way to baseball fame. Hall of Famers Bob Feller, Satchel Paige, Jim Bunning (who pitched for the Richmond Tigers in 1950) played minor league or exhibition games here. But really it's the small town athmosphere that draws people, and the Roosters, who in 1995 brought professional baseball back to Richmond after a 45 year absence, have had great success in both on the field, winning the 2001 and 2002 Frontier League titles, and in drawing fans.
Professional baseball came to this stadium in 1946. First were the Richmond Roses, a class D affiliate of the old Boston Braves, who played in the Ohio State League, rechristened the Ohio-Indiana League in 1948. The Richmond club played unaffliated, independent ball in 1949 before serving as an affiliate to the Detroit Tigers in 1950 in 1951, the league's final year.
Over the course of those six seasons, the Richmond clubs racked up 400 wins to 410, never finishing higher than third place in league. Their best year was 1950, finishing at 80-53 behind star hurler and future Hall of Famer (and US Senator) Jim Bunning.
"McBride Stadium Today"
I loved this place, but a few downfalls need to be mentioned. Those used to the comfortable, new stadiums will probably find these rough edges annoying and uncomfortable rather than evocative of another, some might say "golden," era. The grandstand traps a lot of heat and there are only three entrances into it, so unless the wind is blowing from the outfield in, it gets stifilingly hot. There are ceiling fans, but they do very little to relieve the effects of hot and humid Indiana summers. A chain link fence protects those in the grandstand from errant foul balls but also impedes the view.
And then there's the bugs, lots of 'em. Fortunately none of the stinging variety were out during my visit.
My biggest complaint was with the concessions. While the usual ballpark fare is offered, and at reasonable prices, getting a beer here can be a challenge. Getting more than three is downright impossible. The beer shed (and I'm being literal here) is located far off in the left field berm and is staff by only one person, creating long lines. Also, there is a limit of three per customer per game and they keep track too. Creating a family atmosphere is one thing but what about us responsible folks who like to have a drink (or five) at the game!
Nonetheless, I had a great time here and I think it's a wonderful facility. The Frontier League has been great about utilizing the old parks, keeping admissions low and providing fans with a good time in a great setting. As you can see in this picture, the seats near the baselines have LOTS of legroom. In fact, I've never seen this much room at the newer, "more convienient" parks. But the biggest plus here is the feel: small-town, relaxed and a lot of fun.
McBride stadium appears to be in good shape and have a decent size, loyal following, so I imagine there will be professional baseball here for a good number of years to come.