The most memorable part of this trip was probably meeting the last known surviving inmate to ever have served time at Alcatraz:
His name is Bill Baker and we spoke for a few minutes, he signed his book for me and we shook hands. It’s beyond me why I idolized this man so much. But I love history, I love crime documentaries and I’m always intrigued by the human mind as to why people do the things they do. I suppose that’s why I was so interested in meeting him even though I had no idea he would be doing a book signing on The Rock (as it’s informally called). My girlfriend and I, Alexandra decided to visit Alcatraz Island before we headed over to AT&T Park to watch the Giants play baseball. You can read that entry by clicking this link. We were both mesmerized and astonished at the sheer beauty and history that this place had to offer.
The other part of this trip that was truly interesting was the great escape. You may recall a movie with Clint Eastwood called Escape from Alcatraz made in 1979. Well, I saw the jail cell in which the three escapees escaped from first hand. Here’s a picture:
See the black hole on the back wall? That’s a vent that all three men crawled out of. They used small tools to literally chisel a hole big enough to crawl out of and climb out of the prison through the walls where the plumbing was. Then they crafted rubber floating devices and floated away from the island. No bodies were ever recovered so no one really knows if they made it or not. Some say sharks got them. Others say they died from rip currents or drowned. It was really interesting to see. Here’s a close up of the exact hole that they climbed out of:
What guts and determination it took to pull something like that off. Another factor in their escape was their ability to make fake heads (which were on display in the gift store) and place them in their beds which in turn bought them extra time to escape. The guards had no idea until they were long gone. Here’s what the bed looked like with a fake head in place:
And as you can see in the background the green colored vent has been removed off of the wall to show you just what was in place to make it look like the vent had not been tampered with. Of course, now-a-days our prison systems are much more elaborate and have less means available for prison escapes.
The island was massive. By the end of our self-guided tour, we were exhausted. We spent nearly all day trekking around on the three-tier island looking in every nook and cranny that we could find. A lot of the island was off limits due to repair or safety reasons and if I uploaded every picture we took of this massive place, I’d be posting pictures all day long and this blog entry would never end. It was awesome, though and I’m happy I went.
Here’s a few more pictures that we took:
The picture above is the old guards recreation quarters. This is where the guards have their dance parties, evening parties and everything else. The guards and prison staff, for the most part, lived on the island along with the inmates. During our tour on The Rock we also found out that some big names in crime history served their time here. Like Al Capone and James “Whitey” Bulger. Click this link for a full-list of all the “gangsters” that served some time on Alcatraz.
Here’s a picture of my lovely girlfriend, Alexandra:
Our final stop after Alcatraz was the infamous Ghirardelli chocolate factory. It wasn’t far from one of the marina’s and after we ate dinner where we had a gorgeous view of Alcatraz…
…we snapped a couple pictures of the entrance to the shop, went inside to get some chocolate and then headed back to our hotel.
What an amazing trip. Next up: The Cayman Islands!
Stay tuned, readers!
It has been forever since I last attended a baseball game in San Francisco. AT&T Park is one of the most interesting baseball stadiums I’ve seen so far in my journey to see all 30. The last time I came here I snagged a bunch of baseballs and took lots of photos. You can check out that entry by clicking this link.
Here’s a picture of me inside:
It was Hunter Pence bobble head night so I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to be able to snag a bunch of baseballs like last time. To my surprise I was literally the first one into the lower seating bowl and found one baseball sitting in the seats. I thought I saw two but I couldn’t find the second one. Moments later a stampede of fans started filling the rows and I then started to wander the stadium.
Here’s a picture of McCovey Dave:
Dave is a huge Giants fan and attends nearly every home game in his kayaker. He goes after home run baseballs that land in the cove out behind AT&T Park and he is pretty successful at it. He has multiple methods of catching the baseballs but the real trick is just being at the right place at the right time to catch them. If you follow Dave on Twitter you will learn so much about all the “splash hits” and all the players that have hit one into the drink. He’s seriously worth a follow on Twitter and if you’re a baseball nut/fan like him, I’m sure he will follow you back.
Before the game started I noticed something. Take a look at the next picture and look at the bottom left corner…
…they’re kind of hard to see but…are those medal detectors? There weren’t any at the front gates of the ballpark when I came through. I thought it was sort of odd. I heard about Major League Baseball putting them in every baseball stadium but I wasn’t entirely certain it was a true. I guess it is true. What a pain in the butt this is going to be. I wonder how strict security will be or what will happen? Will they make us take our shoes off or our belts? Maybe an official TSA pat down? I’m kind of curious of everyone’s opinion on this. If you’re a ballhawk, please take the extra time it takes to leave a comment and give your opinion; pros and cons of how this will help/hurt your chances of getting a baseball.
Stay tuned for my adventure on Alcatraz Island…
First of all I wanted to thank everyone for their donations so far. I’m very appreciative and so is the Red Cross and the Seattle-King Co. Humane Society. I’ve managed to bust the $50 dollar mark on my charity project for the Seattle Human Society and I couldn’t have done it without you guys. Also, MLB puts out a list of the top 50 blogs on their blog site and I ranked #36. That is amazing! So another big thank you to all that continue to read my blogs. Or just read it once and never came back. I’m appreciative of that too.
If you want to get involved in my charity projects you can. It’s not too late. In fact it’s never too late. If you want to pledge .01 a baseball or $1.00. It’s totally up to you. So far this year I’ve attended 28 games and I’ve snagged 67 baseballs. A lot has happened in those 28 games too. I’ve met Brad Ziegler, I played catch with Kevin Kouzmanoff, and I’ve met Zach Britton and Brian Matusz. I’ve also traveled to AT&T Park in San Francisco, the Oakland Coliseum, and Coors Field in Denver Colorado. Those three stadiums I have never been to before and I managed to snag a few baseballs at each of them. That brings my total up to nine stadiums and 164 lifetime baseballs. Anyway. Here’s the link if you want to get involved helping me raise money for my charity projects. I have two of them. You can go here and here. Also if you want to check out my Facebook page you can go here. Oh, and if you have a Twitter account make sure to follow me @MLBwayneMLB. Shall we get this watch party underway? I think so!
If you’re just now following my blogs I’ll give you a little bit of background. I gave Brad Ziegler some U.S Army wristbands for good luck back in April of this year. If you want to read about how it all went down just click here. Below you will see how he has been doing since then.
On 4/26 Brad pitched against the Angels of Anaheim. He pitched two and a third innings and struck out one batter.
On 4/27 Brad pitched against the Angels of Anaheim. He pitched one inning and recorded his first save of the season. Thats also his 19th save of his career.
On 5/01 Brad pitched against the Texas Rangers. He faced one batter and gave up one hit. The Athletics win, 7-2.
On 5/02 Brad pitched against the Texas Rangers and faced one batter which he ended up walking. The Athletics win, 5-4.
On 5/04 Brad pitched against the Cleveland Indians and faced one batter. He gave up one hit. The Athletics win, 3-1.
On 5/09 Brad pitched against the Texas Rangers and faced two batters. He gave up one hit and struck out one batter.
5/15 Brad pitched against the Chicago Whitesox and pitched an entire inning giving up only one hit.
5/16 Brad pitched against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and pitched an entire inning striking out one batter.
5/19 Brad pitched against the Minnesota Twins and pitched an entire inning giving up three hits, one run and striking out one batter. His ERA is now .66.
Here is his latest games he’s pitched in. Check it out.
5/20 Brad pitched against the San Francisco Giants and pitched an entire inning striking out two batters and walking one.
5/21 Brad pitched against the San Francisco Giants recording one out, giving up two hits and two runs.
5/24 Brad pitched against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim where he pitched an entire inning, striking out one batter.
5/27 Brad pitched against the Baltimore Orioles where he pitched two entire innings, gave up one hit, struck out one batter and recorded his first win of the season.
5/30 Brad pitched against the New York Yankees giving up two hits and one run in one inning of work.
5/31 Brad pitched against the New York Yankees again recording two outs, one hit and two strikeouts.
6/4 Brad pitched against the Boston Redsox where he gave up one hit, one run and struck out one batter.
6/5 Brad pitched against the Boston Redsox again only giving up one hit and working the entire inning.
In my humble opinion those Army wristbands are working. Some may disagree but as a relief pitcher, his ERA is 2.11 and he hasn’t given up any home runs. He’s got one save under his belt plus a win in 21.1 innings of work. Kudos.
News from the Atlanta Braves organization was heart-felt, and much needed. After Bobby Cox announced his retirement last season it was thought as a sure thing that Chipper Jones would be leaving as well. Entering his 19th season as the Braves third-basemen, Jones is well on his way to Srping Training. He had knee surgery, and has been steadily working on his swing to keep it sharp. He hasnt fielded any ground balls or ran any of the bases yet, and Chipper reports that the cold weather has kept him from getting in full day workouts but he is grateful for that. ” If you know me Im usually the guy that tries to do too much all of the time.” Jones said. ” The cold weather has kind of kept the reigns back, and I feel okay about that.” Jones has been in physical therapy but is confident that he will be ready by the time Spring Training starts.
Zack Greinke, and Shawn Marcum took some questions and answers from fans at the Brewers Fanfest over the weekend. When asked who they were in favor of to win the Superbowl, Greinke decided to play Devils Advocate and tell the fans he favored the Steelers to win. Greinke was nearly boo-ed off the stage but Bob Uecker interjected to save Greinke was total demonization. ” Hey, everyone. Calm down. He’s only been in town for like, 15 minutes!” Uecker laughed. Shawn Marcum took the other approach and decided to stick with the home town favorite. The Green Bay Packers.
Lou Piniella retired last season in August because of his mothers health reasons is back in baseball already. Piniella, 67, will try to reach an agreement with the Giants this year to become a special advisor for the front office of the organization. The Sanfrancisco Chronicle reported that Piniella will “consult in a variety of ways, whether its scouting or advising…well, whatever a baseball lifer of 48 years can provide.” The Giants have not confirmed or denied any details of the report.
Last season Cito Gaston took heavy criticism due to letting John Buck sit behind the plate for the majority of the season rather than put their rookie catcher J.P Arencibia in instead. Gaston wasnt all to blame though. When trying to sign Buck to a contract the Blue Jays owner Alex Anthopoulus promised John Buck that he would be the everyday backstop for the Jays. Since Anthopoulus is a man of his word thats exactly what happened. Not only did that help John Buck sign a three-year deal with the Florida Marlins for the start of the 2011 season worth $18 million dollars but it also didnt help prove that Arencibia was strong enough for the Majors. ” When John Buck was signed to a one-year deal, the promise was made to him that he was going to be the every day player from start to finish.” Anthopoulus said. “When we were competing to sign him, there were a few other teams out there that wanted him. That was what seperated us from some of the other teams.” Base strictly on performance, Buck was the Blue Jays best option for the 2010 season.
More ahead as Spring Training nears.
Pujols talks contract terms
Midwest blizzard damages Wrigley Field roof-Waveland Ave closed down due to heavy amounts of debris
Jovial Manny, Damon excited to join Tampa Bay Rays
Until next time baseball fans…