Traveled to Houston yesterday to see the Yankees and Astros play their final game of the season. As usual used airline miles to make the trip in one day to avoid the hassles of baggage and overnight stays. Left Newark at 5:20 AM, was in Houston before 8, rented a car, and spent the morning visiting geographic highpoints (another hobby) in the area, Houston's highest natural elevation being an oxygen-deprived 280+ feet!

The game itself was 14 innings of mostly bad baseball between two bad teams who fielded even worse lineups than usual. It was all they could do to scratch out one run apiece until the Yanks finally woke up and scored four in the fourteenth inning. "Highlight" of the game was the Astros' breaking the all-time team record for strikeouts in a season, 1535, averaging an incredible almost 9 1/2 K's per game. Chris Carter picked up #212 for him, third only to Mark Reynolds and Adam Dunn. The 14 innings ties a personal record for me, and I wonder but am unable to find out the record for the most innings played in a final game of a season. Anyone know?

Announced attendance was over 40,000, and the crowd got noisiest when the Yanks were threatening. Rivera and Jeter jerseys were everywhere, as were folks from up north who had traveled to Houston hoping to see Mo's last game. There was also a large contingent of fans from Mexico, similarly decked out mostly in Yanks' jerseys. Pretty embarrassing to hear and see the majority of fans not rooting for the home team.

Minute Maid Park still looks great after its 14th season. No problem walking around the entire park at the main concourse level, and it's a lot of fun to watch the action from directly behind the seats in the outfield. I ended up spending the last few innings in the short porch seats in left field and got to watch Reynolds' homer sail overhead.

According to the Astros, there is "no public transportation to Minute Maid Park." Amazing and sad. The very nice metrorail does stop at Preston, about 1/2 mile from the ballpark, so maybe that counts. Besides the usual collection of parking lots, there is a lot of metered parking in the nearby downtown area. Since the meters only have to be fed Monday through Saturday, that means a lot of free street parking in an OK neighborhood is available for Sunday games.

This is my fourth long-distance (air travel used) baseball day trip, including Phoenix, Minneapolis, Miami, and Houston. I'll add my trip to Tokyo which included one overnight (airline skeds don't work for Tokyo "day" trips.) as a subset of the list. Will it be long before someone completes the day trip category for all the major league parks?

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