Twins Baseball Game: Saying Goodbye to the Metrodome

Saying Goodbye to the Metrodome
Saying Goodbye to the Metrodome

I attend 1 to 3 baseball games every season. Maybe it’s because I always say if the twins go to round 2 of the playoffs or make the world series…(hmm that hasn’t happened recently) or maybe it’s the overpriced beer (now that’s a legitimate reason for not attending many games). The games that I do attend I usually end up people watching to see what other crazies are at the stadium. So when a few friends from Iowa called me up at the last minute and said they had tickets to the Twins / Red Sox game, I was excited to get my first and maybe only twins baseball game in for this year. Additionally, it is the last season of the metrodome so I thought it’d be a great opportunity to snap some photos as well.

We arrived at the stadium about 20 minutes before the game started. What I didn’t remember was that it was Hormel “dollar dog” night and that getting to our seats might be a pain. If I had remembered this small detail, I would have walked outside the stadium to the gates nearest our seats, instead we walked in Gate H and slowly moved towards our seats along the first base line. Fighting through the people waiting in line for the dollar dogs took almost 15 minutes. Now judging from these lines, someone might have thought…”Wow the ball park is full tonite!”…However, once I got to my seat, I began to snap a few photos and observed the many empty seats.

This to me indicates either the horrible inefficiency of the stadium concession stands or poor stadium design in moving large numbers of people. Go and ahead and see below for yourself the large number of seats that are unoccupied…

View of the Stadium from the first base side
View of the Stadium from the first base side

Besides watching the game and getting photos of some of the more well known players like Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, David Ortiz, and Jason Vartiek, I started looking around the stadium and noticed the signs like the “Count down to outdoor baseball” or “Count down to real grass stains”…I’ve included a few of those sign photos in the post. I thought they were interesting and gave the fans something to look forward and things to think about when the new outdoor ball park is opened next year!

The number of home games left this season
The number of home games left this season
A reference to fact there's no retractable roof at the new stadium...April and September/October baseball could get mightly cold!
A reference to fact there's no retractable roof at the new stadium...April and September/October baseball could get mightly cold!
More of the countdown signs
More of the countdown signs

Seeing these signs had me thinking. First, they did decrease the countdown number from 53 to 52 somewhere in the 6th or 7th inning. I actually wanted to get a picture of the sign changing and somehow missed the number decreasing. Second, I can’t believe they had already played 28 home games. The baseball season is long, but it seems to be going by quickly.

The next sign of “Countdown to CH-CH-CH-CHHHHH” had me thinking….”Which idiot vetoed the retractable roof?!?!” Apparently the retractable roof would have added a couple of hundred million dollars to the cost of the new stadium and the reliability of retractable roofs are suspect. To those people, I say it should have been added. After living in Minnesota for the past 4.5 years, I know for a fact it doesn’t start warming up until at least the first week in May. The question that remains to be answered is “Will Minnesotans go to the ballpark in the cold weather?”. My guess is that if its playoff baseball (think October), the stadium will be packed and of course this coming April it will be packed because people want to see the new park, but what about in future April months after the park is opened? I guess it will depend on how good the team is perceived to be.

The next countdown signs are for grass stains, starry nights, and skyline sunsets. Its hard to believe that they played baseball on astro turf for so long. There have reports that playing on the astro turf is harder on players’ bodies. Plus really, it isn’t a baseball game without the potential to get the uniform dirty. The starry nights and skyline sunsets…this is talking about the location of the new stadium in downtown Minneapolis. I think this will be great to see and experience once the weather is warm during the summer months of baseball. I think people will appreciate this because they’ve had nothing to see other than the ceiling of the Metrodome since the twins have been playing baseball.

While I was taking in the signs around the stadium, I was also observing the people seated around me. I was surprised at the amount of red sox fans at the game. It was funny though, the people to my immediate right were die hard twins fans and I could tell based on how they were “cheering” against the red sox. Then there were the people seated in front of me. They seemed like they didn’t even want to be at the game. I guess if you don’t want to be there, why are you showing up? People like that confuse me.

In the end, the twins won 4-2. I got to watch a few well known players hit and play baseball and experience a game in the last season of the Metrodome. The Metrodome doesn’t have quite the history that was associated with old Yankees stadium (which I attended a game there last year), but it is still nice to say that I saw a game in the last season of indoor baseball. I am looking forward to trying out the new stadium and seeing how outdoor baseball works in the state of Minnesota. You can follow the progress of the new stadium and find out more information here.

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Seize the day and Pursue your Goals

Today, I received the unfortunate news that a friend and former colleague of mine at PwC died suddenly this past weekend.  I admit that this friend was not one of my closer friends, but when I worked at the firm, I would talk to this person nearly every day and even after I left the firm in January 2009, I still occassionally kept in contact.  My friend was only 5 years older than me. The news of this tragic event of someone 33 years old unexpectedly passing away gave me a moment to pause and reflect about things that matter.

To put it in perspective, this person never had the chance to “enjoy” their retirment savings or even most of their frequent flyer and hotel points. This person never had the opportunity not to experience what it was like to not have to work 5 days a week for 40+ hours at a time. Most importantly, this person never had the chance to pursue their goals and dreams to the fullest extent possible.

Putting this event in perspective, I had a few thoughts. Our culture is one that encourages people to work for 40-45 years and then retire and live out the rest of their lives. I have already decided that I don’t want to wait until retirement to do certain things. I have come to the realization that the activities that I am willing and want to do now as a 28 year old could be very different than what I am willing to do at 65. This is why I am doing my best to pursue my goals today instead of waiting until after I am retired to see, explore, and experience difference parts of the world….and I’m willing to do what it takes now to pursue those goals.

If you have certain goals, aspirations, and dreams, I encourage you to seize the day and  immediately pursue them. Even if it is one small step at a time. At least you will be trying to get there. You never know when your time on this earth will be up.

Good luck in the pursuit of your goals.

Its Been Awhile since I’ve Posted (Sorry for the long Post)

Its been awhile since I have posted to tumblr, since then….

1) the markets crashed to 6500 and subsequently returned to about 8000. Originally, I wanted to buy as much as I could afford with the Dow below 7000. With the Dow at 8000, stocks are still relatively cheap and I think there are some true winners.  With that in mind, I am going to put another 1,000$ in the market. I know in the grand scheme of things this isn’t alot, but at least it is something. When I make the stock purchase, I’ll post the stock I decided to buy. I have several companies in mind, but would like to put the whole $1,000 dollars towards one stock instead of splitting it up among 3-4 different companies. I don’t plan on cashing these investments out for about 2-3 years. Whew…now that I have talked about the market a little bit, I can move on to the next topic 😉

2) Round the world trip / Travel update. I am continuing to save for a round the world trip that I hope will last 6-12 months. I am partially hoping that some of my stock purchases pan out to help fund this trip as well. My goals are to be free from student loan debt before I go on the trip and be able to travel comfortably. I’d like to get above 10,000$ in cash saved up for the trip this year. I still have a ways to go to get there, but there is still alot of time left in the year. Ideally, the trip will be in 2-3 years. (I’d really like to make it a 30th birthday present to myself, but I don’t think I’ll be ready to make that happen) Realistically, I will probably be planning my trip for 4 years from now.  My strategy is to purchase the actual ticket using a combination of points and miles. This will probably empty out my various points accounts, but I see this as well worth it. I believe I will have enough points to get a round the world trip award ticket in business class. If not, I guess I can survive coach class as well :). I am also looking at revising my itinerary based on which individual countries I am able to visit before the big trip itself.

The other thing that I am considering is partially working my way around the world. This would extend the trip, but it could also help reduce the costs at the same time.

This year my big trip is to China. I will spend 2 weeks between Beijing, Shanghai, and Xian. When I take my RTW trip, I will be able to cut out these cities from the itinerary and  go to different places such as Hong Kong :).  I have started thinking about next year’s trip, but so far have been all over the place ranging from different parts of Africa to more of Asia. It’s very hard to make a decision when there’s so many places that I’ve never been to! Alot of the decision making will be a factor of cost. It’s easier to go to more expensive places while you’re still employed.

3) Job Update. My job is still going very well. I have been working on a very important process improvement for my team. I spent a week out in Cypress, California putting finishing touches on process flows and coming to agreement with my colleague on how the revised process should function. We will be presenting our proposed improvements this week and will hopefully be well received.

4) Technology Update. I recently sold my desktop computer, LCD, and computer speakers. I just didn’t have a need for a desktop anymore, plus the speakers were nice but overkill. The next thing I need to sell is my Laser Printer as I don’t have a need for this anymore. I hope to get 30-40$ for it.  I still have my T61 laptop as my primary computer. In the Fall, I’ll take a look at either a new T series laptop or Apple macbook. I am trying to determine my requirements and hope that significant updates to my T61 materialize between now and the Fall. If I go the macbook route, I’ll keep the T61. I want to have at least one PC in my possession! I’m also shopping for a digital SLR camera. I am leaning strongly towards the Canon XSi. I would like to purchase it before my trip to China in August.

5) Liabilities Update. In February, I was able to pay off my car. It’s really nice to have no car payment. I hope this will drive my insurance rates down even further. Currently, my vehicle has about 108,000 miles on it of which I have put about 25,000 miles. My intent is to continue to drive it until at least 200,000+ miles, then make a decision about a different car. I continue to make payments on 2 outstanding students loans – one with Wellsfargo and one on my consolidated federal loans. While the interest rates are very low, I don’t want to keep making money payments especially if I am traveling. I anticipate paying the wellsfargo loans off within the next six months.

That’s about it for all the updates right now. I will try to do better about posting and sharing interesting links. I am finally getting re-motivated (again).

Thanks for stopping by.

Where have I been?!?!

My apologies for the lack of posts and sharing of articles. I haven’t been feeling the greatest the past 4-5 days. The only way I can describe this is that I’ve been really tired when I have returned home from work. I feel alot better tonite and tomorrow I’ll be returning to the gym.

Other cool things that I have been working on….

1) Chinese class…it’s going well, but I need to spend some time catching up on the audio. It certainly hasn’t helped that I haven’t had energy for anything the past 4-5 days.

2) I bought new running shoes! Asics again. In my almost 4 years of running, I’ve stuck with the Asics brand. Asic shoes have been very good to me and more importantly my feet. I certainly appreciate the gel soled shoes. These will be the shoes that get me through marathon training and the Grandma’s marathon.

3) Speaking of running, I still haven’t had any beer since I kicked off training. Its been good, but I am looking forward to having some at the finish line.

4) Closed 3 credit cards. Opened (attempting to open) 1 new one. Will hopefully expand on this topic in a different post.

Things in progress –

1) I want to move the site to the wordpress platform. tumblr is too hard to maintain and I don’t have alot of time to customize it to where I’d like the site to be. In addition I am going to purchase a domain name as well.

2) I am in the middle of paying off my car loan and using my tax returns to pay off most of another student loan. Additionally, I am going to build another 2,000$ in liquidity.

3) I am looking at two major purchases this year – a digital SLR and an Apple Macbook. After I complete the terms of item #2, I’ll make one purchase. Then probably towards the end of the year, I’ll make the second purchase. Or maybe if I am crazy, I’ll make the purchase at the same time 🙂

That’s all for now. I promise to be better about posting. Off to sleep now.

Tim

Busy Busy Busy

I just wanted to write a quick update on the last two weeks or so. So far, I have survived the first 2 weeks of my job. It is quite interesting. I am enjoying being in corporate america for once. Things are alot slower paced. Sometimes that is a good thing and other times I wish the pace would pick up.

I have survived the first week of my marathon training. I did runs of 3, 5, and 8 miles. The training program I am using is from runnersworld and is 16 weeks long. Since the race isn’t for 20 weeks, I plan on doing the first 4 weeks of running and then starting over on the training program. This will help me get my mileage up and in the right mindset.

Another change that I’ve done with my running is that I have started to listen to music. For the 3.5 years that I’ve been running, I can count on my hand the number of times that I ran with an MP3 player and earphones. So this has been a nice change for me – although I still feel there are benefits to running without any sort of music/distraction.

Also – a quick update on my chinese language classes…So far its been going very well. The language is pretty difficult to master because of the different tones, the many meanings of words, and the fact that a direct english translation isn’t always possible. With this in mind, I am enjoying the class and just need to put a little more effort into listening to the audio a little earlier than 30-40 mins before class 🙂

Finally, I am going to share more articles that I stumble on in my google reader or the random ones that my friends send me. I apologize for the lack of article posting!

More to come this week…I’d like to write a more indepth post on my chinese classes especially the cultural aspects I am learning and also do a posting about my trip to India.

Have a great evening.