Making Chicken Salad

A coach I once knew told me you me, “you can’t make chicken salad out of chicken shit” and I’m fairly certain in most cases that is true. However, my trip to Colorado might be the exception to that rule.

I flew to Denver on Tuesday evening, after finishing up an event at work. I was super excited because not only was this whirlwind trip including knocking Coors Field off my stadium list, but I would be getting to do it with my cousins, who I don’t get to see as nearly as often as I would like. The Colorado contingent of LeMasters were gracious enough to pick me up from the airport even though my flight got in at 10pm, let me crash with them Tuesday night, and take me to the game Wednesday afternoon. Did I mention my host cousin Ryan and his wife Emily have 3 children under the age of 5? So you can see, this hospitality was quite nice, given that with the birth of their third child, Nicky, they switched their coverage from a man to a zone defense.

I got into Denver and it was a little chilly but no big deal. Ryan, Em and I stayed up til about 1 in the morning catching and talking, swapping stories. It was awesome. When I woke up Wednesday morning, I saw white. White rooftops, white grass….white freaking snow. Yes, snow. In May. After I picked up my jaw off of the floor, Ryan and I did a little research and realized not only was the game delayed, it was flat out postponed! Boo.

So we went to Plan B, which included taking the kids to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to check out a Pirates exhibit. We met up with my other cousin Dayna and my Uncle Nick and cruised around the museum. Despite not having any baseball in my life yesterday, it was a fairly solid Plan B. I don’t know what I enjoyed more: the museum itself or watching Ryan’s kids looking at all the exhibits and asking questions about them. Thank you to Dayna, who brought her camera and took the following pictures. As you can see, clearly we are related because of the fancy edited frames and tints to the photos, thus making them look like scrapbook pages already.

After dinner, at about 6:30, Uncle Nick took me to the airport where I was scheduled to leave at 8:10. At approximately 9:30, when I should have been somewhere over Nevada, I was still in the terminal, staring at the amassing snow that was piling up on planes and runways alike. I decided it was then that I would investigate what it would take to switch my flight to the following day. When I had called Southwest earlier in the morning, upon learning of the fate of the game, they had wanted 200 more dollars. You see why I was at the airport, giving up a chance to watch David Wright play.

However, this very nice gate agent told me she would be happy to switch my flight to the following evening for free! Why, yes! Yes I would like to make that change! I had Thursday off…why not?!?

Not wanting to impose on my family any more than I had (and especially not at 9:30 at night) I set out to get accommodations. Fast-forward to this morning, when I headed downtown in search for a cup of coffee. I landed at the Westin lobby, lured by the Starbucks logo that hung outside and the hope of free WiFi, and as I was doctoring up my coffee, a guy across the lobby (who looked somewhat familiar, but from where I couldn’t place) called out and pointed to the letters on my UCSD sweatshirt, giving me the thumbs up. I finished up my coffee swirling and he waved me over. I asked if he was a fellow Triton and while he wasn’t, he did grow up in San Diego. He was sitting with another guy, and they introduced themselves as Dave Roberts and Aaron Harang, both members of the Padres organization with Roberts the first base coach and Harang a pitcher. Solid baseball people are just my kinda people.

We continued chatting and the Giants former #10 asked me what brought me to Denver. Ha! What brought me to Denver you ask? Why, something that surely the two professionals could appreciate. I gave them the short story about how I was trying to sneak in a trip to Denver, to get that stadium off my list and we chatted back and forth about our baseball backgrounds (mine was short, albeit unique compared to the other two). Of course work came up and when I mentioned I worked for a winery, Dave brought up his wine label (appropriately named “Red Stitch”) that is from fruit grown in Coombsville.

I had to say, this was beginning to shape up into a fairly solid bonus day.

The two, who were supposed to play golf but got rained out, where waiting on another buddy before they were going to head out to breakfast. They tried to figure out if they had any connections that could get me into Coors Field if the game did in fact get rained out (again). We ended up chatting for about 20 minutes or so before they headed out and I made plans to make my way to the field but I appreciated their time and it was fun talking with them, so at this point I was thinking to myself, there was still hope for this day…

…to be continued (at Coors Field)