NLB’s All-Star Adventure!

As some of you guys might know, I had quite the adventure last week when I left the Dominican Republic at 6am, arrived in KC at 3:30pm and went straight to Kauffman Stadium for the 2012 All Star Game… with no ticket.  Well, among other things, I ended up getting a “cheap” ticket from Matt Cain’s agent whom I sat with most for most of the game.  Lots of you ask how I get all these interviews (a combination of connections and hustle), so if you see a Matt Cain interview in the future you’ll know how it happened!

Part of the story is below. You can read the entire story at http://mlbeef.com/2012/07/13/how-i-showed-up-to-the-all-star-game-last-minute-and-scored-a-cheap-ticket-from-matt-cains-agent/.  It was good enough for ESPN Radio in Cincinnati to bring me on last Friday to talk about it, so I thought I’d share it with you all, too.  Our usual content that aims to make you better baseball players, parents, and coaches will continue soon.  Here’s a bit of entertainment just to mix it up.

We pick up midway through last Tuesday, July 10, 2012…

12:30pm:  In the Chicago Airport trying to work through the plan of getting into the All-Star Game.  I had heard that standing room tickets were going for over $325, upper deck for over $400, and field box tickets were over $1,000.  Budget-wise, I didn’t want to spend over $200.  I realized that it was a long shot to find even a standing-room-only ticket for that, but crazier things have happened to me (like getting free Yankee’s playoff tickets from a random dude, for example).

The plan at this point was this:

  • Get dropped off at Kauffman.
  • Walk around and maybe meet some friendly KC folks tailgating in the parking lot.
  • See if anyone has any extra tickets.
  • If that doesn’t work, head over to the front of the stadium and see if anyone would be looking to sell tickets at the last minute for a discounted rate.

I’ve learned that when trying to get big tickets last minute, you gotta just go mingle with the people and see what happens.  My philosophy is this – There are always opportunities to get reasonably priced tickets from somebody, you just don’t know who that person is.  If you go hang out and talk to enough people, there’s always a chance you might find the right fan or desperate scalper.  This has gotten me into numerous MLB playoff games (including last year’s World Series), a Yanks vs. Red Sox game, NCAA Final Four, Bowl Games and a handful of other big baseball games.

12:45pm:

Wife:  My family thinks it’s kind of weird that you want them to just drop you off at the stadium without a ticket and without a way to get home.  Plus, if you can’t find a ticket, there aren’t any bars or restaurants within walking distance from the stadium.

Franco:  If I can’t find tickets, I can just make friends with some RV tailgaters whom I’m sure will have a TV hooked up to watch the game.  Not a horrible worst-case scenario.  What is my ticket budget?

Wife:  I trust you.

Now for any husbands out there, you know that “I trust you” is a very loaded answer!  Will she understand when I buy a $2,000 seat behind home plate?  I decide that $200 is what I can reasonably justify (FYI – I have $400 cash on me).  With all that being said, she could have said $50.  I love my wife.

1:15pm:  Looking for lunch in the Chi-Town airport and praying for a Chipotle… Closest thing I can find is Burrito Beach that is set up like a Chipotle. It’ll have to do.  I get it to go so I can eat it on the next flight.

Ticket scalping tip – Never expect a scalper to have change.  Always have enough 20s, 10s, and 5s to pay exact prices.  I paid for my eight-dollar burrito with a $100 dollar bill, then had them break one of the twenties into a ten and two fives.  Now I’m set and ready to go.

1:45pm:  Finally on our last flight to KC.  The burrito is average at best.  I decide to keep Chipotle as my #1 food priority.

3:30pm:  We land in KC and now I’m fully pumped for the game.  We grab our bags and then head outside where my mother-in-law is waiting.

3:35pm:

The M-in-Law wants to play 20 questions:

Are we still dropping you off at the stadium? (Yes)

Do you have tickets? (No)

Are you meeting friends there? (No, my two KC buddies couldn’t make it)

Wouldn’t you rather watch the game on a projection screen at the zoo? (Tempting, but no thanks)

You know that the cheapest standing room only tickets are $350 right? (I do now)

Our neighbor just bought Field Box tickets for $1,400. How are you going to find a ticket? (Not sure)

If you don’t find a ticket, then what are you going to do? (Find a TV in an RV)

How are you planning on getting home? (Not sure yet)

She has some good questions, but I appreciate my wife jumping in before I have to defend against the zoo option again.

Wife:  Mom. This is what Dave does.  He just goes to baseball stadiums and figures things out.  Like last year at the World Series.  Let’s just let him have his baseball night.

3:53pm:  One of my best friends, Matt Toy (who I call PrimeTime), sends me a text, “U still looking for All Star tix?  I have a few friends going to the game and can ask if they have extras.”  I let him know that I’m still looking and any help would be greatly appreciated.

3:55pm-ish:  It’s now officially decided that I’m getting dropped off at Kauffman.  Now starts probably the most ridiculous part of the evening… The drop-off.

The drop-off scenario is kind of tricky when the car you’re in doesn’t want to park in the stadium.  The goal becomes to get as close to the stadium as possible without getting into a point of no return.  Luckily time is on our side, with 3 hours until first pitch.  The road that you turn off to head into the stadium has no stopped traffic.  There are plenty of cars on the road, but traffic is moving.

We are driving down the street with the stadium on our left, approaching the left turn that we would take into the parking lot if we were planning on parking.

Me: Just pull off on the right side of the road up here and I’ll walk.  This is as close as we’re going to get… right here is good… right where those two cars just pulled off…

M-in-Law zooms past my desired drop off. 

M-in-Law:  I want to get you closer than that

It’s too late to argue. Now our lane now looks like we’re about to get back on the freeway if we continue straight.

Wife:  Mom, you gotta make a U-Turn here!

M-in-Law:  I can’t!

Wife:  Yes you can!!

M-In-Law and Wife as the car is making a fast-and-furious-type U-turn that may or may not have been legal: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

We aren’t close to hitting any other cars, but both of them are literally screaming until we are straight again… I consider opening my door and jumping out.

Me: Okay, just pull over and let me out here… Don’t turn right up there into the stadium… Once you go in, you won’t be able to get back out… Seriously, you don’t want to turn in here… Don’t go in here!

M-In-Law (As if I had specifically asked her to turn into the stadium):  I’ll just pull in and then turn around.

Me:  There’s no turn around!  All lanes are one way coming into the stadium!

She turns in.

Now we’re in those 50 yards of road before cars have to pay for parking.  She goes down half way and stops.  I can’t get out of the car soon enough.  I want to explain why this was such a horrible decision, but it’s no use now.  I say goodbye and close my door with absolutely no idea how they are going to get out.

I feel like a middle school kid whose mom drops him off at the movie theater to meet his friends, only she pulls down the wrong way of the one-way drop off lane, then hops two wheels up on the curve as she comes to a stop.  All the while, she stops traffic and causes a scene… I’m debating whether I’d rather be that middle school kid… back to the moment.

Other people are watching now.  There are six lanes, all with sporadic cars coming in each.  The first attempt to turn around results in a horn honk from a car and a my M-in-Law slamming on her breaks.  Then she gets across 2 lanes and has to stop horizontal to let a few cars in Lane 3 get by. Meanwhile she’s holding up cars in Lane 1 and 2…

I feel like turning away and never looking back, but I can’t help but watch.  She almost side swipes someone in Lane 5 before getting to the empty Lane 6 which she must have assumed was her safe lane out… wrong.  As she’s picking up speed and coming up to the street, a Ford truck turns in, both hit their breaks, and then they come to a full stop facing each other.

4:15pm:  At this point I’ve seen enough.  I can’t stinking watch any more of this.  I turn towards the stadium, take a deep breath.  Not sure where to go, so I just start walking.

4:17pm:  I’m wearing a Miami of Ohio baseball hat.  Practically the first tailgate I walk by has Miami of Ohio corn hole boards set up.

4:22pm:  Sipping on a silver bullet and eating baseball-shaped cookies with my new best friends who (like me) graduated from Miami.  The fact that I’d never met them before had no bearing on their hospitality… The “drop-off catastrophe” is a distant memory.

4:27pm: PrimeTime calls.

PrimeTime: Hey dude. I have good news and bad news. Good news is that I found you a ticket. Bad news is that it’s $270 (Matt knows that’s a lot of money to me).

Me: Cool man. Where are the seats?

PrimeTime: Actually you’d be sitting with Matt Cain’s agent (yes the Matt Cain who was the starting pitcher for the National League All Star Team) in the Field Box section.  I don’t know where they exactly are, but I’m sure their good 

Me: So the $270 is face value? 

PrimeTime: Yep.

I think about it for a second, but at the end of the day there is no way I’m saying no to this deal. A last minute Field Box ticket for face value from the agent for the NL’s starting pitcher tonight… Seems too good to be true.  I call Landon Williams (Matt Cain’s agent) and he answers.  This is really happening.  In less than 20 minutes after being dropped off I have a ticket locked up and am good to go.

You can read the rest of the story at http://mlbeef.com/2012/07/13/how-i-showed-up-to-the-all-star-game-last-minute-and-scored-a-cheap-ticket-from-matt-cains-agent/

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