Thursday, April 12, 2012

Worst City in America?

But what about the clock tower? And the cool minor league baseball stadium if you can ever find it.

I was living in Chicago when Mobil Magazine (is that magazine still cooking?) gave Rockford, Illinois the title, ''worst city in the United States" tag. Wow! How about Newark New Jersey or Apopka, Florida? There has to be worse places, I thought. My friends and I drove through a neighborhood in Apopka a good 30 years ago and we never uttered a word. It was so poverty stricken we thought we had detoured off onto another planet.

Anyway, Brady's team had a tourney in Rockford this weekend and heck it wasn't so bad. It had some top 40 restaurants but I guess that's anywhere USA. What really bugged me was finding the home of the minor league team where Brady's team would be lucky enough to play.

My directions said turn left off of 90 and find it. And then at the exit, we saw a sign saying turn right. So, I followed the sign. And drove and drove and drove. I think we must have driven five miles. How in the heck do you hide a professional baseball field anyway? Well, these folks did.

Evidently, it was all of walking distance off the highway. I know they were pinching pennies in the Rockford government but all I asked was to see one more sign. Like, TURN LEFT HERE TO BASEBALL PARK. I would have gladly checked in with 10 bucks for that sign since I used $15 dollars of gas money driving through town looking for the place. I did hear folks saying I missed the run down section of Rockford but I guess that's a good thing.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Finding Sarasota by accident

As the story goes, my parents decided to make a break for it from the cold winters of Northern Virgina. I was finding out about girls and the Orioles were great and we moved away from it all and made a dash to Cape Coral, Florida. My first day of school presented me with a race riot. I was robbed of my lunch money. Did my parents check out the schools before sending me off to hell?
Mom understood and one day after work, she made a plan to drive to Orlando to find a school where her child wouldn't be killed.
But she pooped out. She drove as far as Sarasota and found a nice town. She got my Dad to move there and life returned to normal. At least the kids were friendly.
So that's my lead-in to the family trek to Sarasota this week. What a great place. We had a condo crawling distance to Turtle Beach. We saw the Orioles and Red Sox play spring training games. We ate at wonderful Sharkeys and the kids even survived a two-hour wait for dinner. We played catch for most of that time in a nearby field. We had one beach day on Siesta Key which has been picked as the top beach in the United States. See, if my Mom wasn't so tired that one day back when, the family wouldn't have ever found this gorgeous spot in America.