Friday, August 10, 2007

Baseball Trip Day Five

Day five had leaving Columbia and heading north for Durham, NC to see the Bulls (made famous in the movie Bull Durham) play. First can our bout of excitement followed by a quest.

Just north of Kannapolis, NC on I-85 while traveling in heavy traffic at a fairly high rate of speed the left rear tire on my car exploded. I suspect that I hit some debris of some kind that damaged the tire but have no idea what it could have been. There was a very short period of high adrenaline until I successfully pulled the car off the roadway onto the median (being in the left lane this was easier than the shoulder). The tire was shredded and the tread was off the tire completely and wrapped around the axle. We did not take any photos but kind of wish we had now. Changing the tire was straight forward and we were able to continue to travel but since the spare is a dough nut, I knew that I needed a new tire right away. The next town north along I-85 was China Grove. There were two local tire shops in the town. The first did not have a functioning air compressor, seemingly a necessity for a tire shop, and the other did not have a tire to fit my car. Now I drive a Mercury Sable which is functionally identical to the Ford Taurus which was the move commonly sold vehicle during the 90's. There are thousands upon thousands of these cars on the road, but now tires. Feeling somewhat frustrated at the lack of success at our first two attempts, we stopped at an Auto Zone (which do not sell tires) for directions to some where that we could get a tire. Directions were given, though they were ultimately unsuccessful as I never saw the shop they directed me to. We did drive down a highway towards Kannapolis and Concord in our search for a tire. We did see a Meineke tire shop and stopped there thinking that for sure a national chain store like that would have what we needed, only to be disappointed once again. We were able to get directions to another shop called Tire King that in the end did have a wide variety of tires in the correct size and it was able to replace my destroyed tire and get us back on the Interstate in less than an hour. All in all though, the quest for the tire took about 2 and one half hours and a fair amount of frustration before success was achieved.

Then it was on to Durham for more baseball. We once again were ready for AAA baseball. I did order seats ahead of time for this game worrying that a Friday night game might sell out. We had seats three rows off the field down the left field line. It was a little different view than what we had had in all the other games. The game itself was not very exciting as the Bulls destroyed the Clippers 11 to 2. There was one very exciting moment though. With men on first and second one of the Clippers players was seemingly hit by a pitch and went down hard. He laid on the ground for several minutes while the trainers came out to check him over. The two runners on base moved up to second and third. All seemed clear until the batter stoop up, at which point the home plate umpire announced that the ball had hit the bat before it struck the batter and thus is was a foul ball. The batter went ape shit and tried to physically attack the umpire. Several of his coaches and team mates had to carry him from the field. Needless to say the Clippers Manager was also ejected as he spent several minutes discussing a number of topics with the umpire that I am sure included his eyesight, mental acuity and parentage in addition to the merits of the call. In the end the umpire won the argument, as they always do, but it was interesting for a few moments there.


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