Traveling To Alabama, A Baseball Game, & Mardi Gras! (MS-AL) “DAY 230” – 2/19/11

February 20, 2011 - 7:21 pm - (MS-AL) “DAY 230” - Week 34-ish - State 31

If you read yesterday’s post then you know I slept in my car last night (4th or 5th time this trip).  I know it sounds bad but I got a pretty good night’s sleep all things considered.  So when I got up at 8 am, I had a decision to make.

What To Do?

Even though I have only spent 5 full days in Mississippi, I feel as if I had done enough to move on.  There are a few reasons for this. 1.) I have nowhere to stay tonight (again) here in Biloxi. 2.) I’ve done everything I could already as my days are repeating themselves.

3.) And lastly, I almost thought about staying because Almost McGraw was playing tonight (for free) but you know what they say... almost only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and women.  It doesn’t count when it comes to country music and Tim McGraw! LOL 😉

An Auto Repair Shop Before Traveling

Before I left for Mobile, Alabama, I stopped at an Auto Repair shop to get the Rooster Mobile checked out because it has been running different and making some noises. (I don’t know much about cars but it’s just not running the same.)

After finding out that nothing was wrong (or to wrong, I know something is different), I was off to Mobile with somewhat of a clear head about my car.  I still have my doubts about it being completely OK.

Traveling From Biloxi To Mobile
Anyway, the good thing about this ride other than the gulf-side scenery was the drive was only an hour long.  The problem... I have nowhere to stay and nowhere to go once I get there.  I know there isn’t any casinos because when you search the area, they tell you to go to Biloxi (where I just was).

Calling My Friend Pat

Pat is a good friend of mine from Florida (via N.J.) and when I’m traveling to my next city, I sometimes call him for help in searching for things for me to do when I get there.

After talking to Pat, he told me there is a South Alabama Jaguars baseball game today at 2 pm (Alabama time - Central).  Nice!  Baseball’s back and it’s only February 19.  (It was there 2nd home game of the year as they played Friday night).

Now that I had something to do when I got there, I now had to find a place to stay for the night.  I still had over 30 miles left in ride at this point and it was only noon, so I had time to figure some stuff out before I got into Mobile.

Arriving In Alabama
I pulled into Alabama around 12:30 pm and as soon I saw a Mobile, AL sign, I pulled of the highway to find a place to stay. (After staying in my car last night, I couldn’t wait to get into a shower and a place to put my things.)

Motel 6
Instead of wheeling and dealing (although I did get a senior citizens rate), I just checked into the first Motel 6 I saw ($42 after tax and internet card). (I already know they have the best rates of any somewhat decent Motel, so that’s why I stopped there).

By the time I was all settled into my room, it was after 1 pm, so I got on my Yankee jersey and headed out to my first baseball game of the 2011! 🙂

F.Y.I. - It is 70+ degrees out with a light breeze.  A absolutely perfect day for a baseball game.  Mobile’s weather in February is perfect if this is a normal February day! 🙂

South Alabama University
My GPS didn’t have the address for Stanky Field (where the Jaguars Play), so I just drove to the University and figured it out from there.  When I arrived on campus, the first thing I saw was the basketball arena (Mitchell Center).

The Arena itself wasn’t bad (from the outside), but the statue of the Jaguar they had was awesome as it stood right in front of the Center. (It looked real pissed off too!)

I'm Close To The Baseball Field
A few minutes of searching later, I found my way toward Stanky Field.  Actually, the first field I found was the women’s softball field but luckily for me, the men’s stadium was right next to it (about 100 yards past it).

Getting A Parking Spot
The stadium was packed and there wasn’t a real premium on parking, but none-the-less, I talked my way into the media parking area so I didn’t have to walk to far.  Hey, I am media by now. 🙂

Finding A Ticket

As I approached the stadium, I could tell getting a ticket from somebody wasn’t gonna happen because there just wasn’t that many people there to ask or randomly meet.

I knew I had to get in another way, so I walked up to the ticket booth and explained to them my story.  After a few minutes of talking with the people inside the booth, I was handed a comped ticket for the game today.  Thank you guys and girl! 🙂

Entering The Stadium

Now that I had a ticket, it was time to enter my first college baseball game for the year. Woo hoo!  Like I said, it is a perfect day out, so I’m more than excited to sit down, relax, and watch our nation’s favorite pasttime... Baseball! 🙂

Finding My Seat
The stadium holds 4,500 people and with only 1,000 in attendance... you could basically sit anywhere you want.  After walking around the stadium and taking a few good pictures from different angles of the ballpark, I choose to sit in the stands down the 1st baseline.

I don’t know why I choose there to sit but it didn’t matter anyway as I moved around throughout the game.  None-the-less, for the first 3 innings this is where I was.

Meeting UT- MartinPlayers
During the 4th inning, I walked down toward the right field line to take a picture of Louis Gonzales’ (Gonzo’s) photo and number on the outfield wall (next to it was also Eddie Stanky).  The two of them were the only one’s honored with-in the field itself.

Anyway, while I was near the field taking some pictures, I started talking with two Shyhawks catchers (Jordan Stokes, Hunter Britcliffe).  They were real nice kids and as I was about to leave to head back to my seat, I took a picture of them.  Thanks guys and good luck this year!

The Rest Of The Stadium’s Appeal
Other than the pictures on the outfield wall of Gonzo and Stanky, there were some other pictures on the outside hallways of all the All-Americans that have played for them over the years. (Some real good players have played here, Juan Pierre, Marlon Anderson, David Freese, Jon Lieber, and Gonzo just to name a few.)

Then, just a few feet from where that was, was another picture of all the players that have played in the MLB over the years.  The guys I just named were obviously on both of them.

The last thing I’ll mention is all the Sun Belt Championships they have won over the years.  They had a lot of championships in the early 2000’s but have tailed off since.  Still, this must be a solid program.

Tailgating For A NY Minute
As I was walking around the outside of the stadium, I decided to leave for a minute so I could get a water bottle from my ride.  As I was walking to my Rooster mobile, I noticed a guy grilling some food behind a car in the parking lot.

With nothing else to do, I walked over and introduced myself.  The guy’s name was Vic and after talking with him for a few minutes, he offered me a beer, chicken leg, and a taste of some jalapeno deer sausage.  Thanks Vic!  It all hit the spot! 🙂

Back To The Game
When I got back into the game, it was the 6th inning and UT was up 3-1.  Since I had never been to a S. Alabama baseball game and I don’t really follow the Sun Belt conference, I didn’t know who was good or bad.  I could only judge them on what I saw today.

So, with that said, the Jaguars seemed like a fundamentally sound team but they just didn’t seem to be clicking on all cylinders.  They couldn’t get a rally going and only #33 was stroking the ball well (even thought they were outs, he hit the ball hard).

Watching the Final 3 Innings
During the final 3 innings, I met and talked serious baseball with a young kid (12-ish) who happened to also be a Yankee fan! (We are everywhere!) 🙂  This kid knew his stuff as he too thought we (the Yankee’s) were in need of some pitching help.

So, I reassured him that Burnett would be better and somebody who we don’t even know yet would emerge (somebody always does.)

Anyway, by the time the bottom of the 9th arrived and the Jaguars were still down 3-1, I decided to leave early and get back to my room for a much needed nap!  This is only the 2nd game I have left early and the other was because my friend wanted to go.

I mention this because I wound up leaving a great comeback as the Jag’s came back to win 4-3 in the bottom of the 9th.  F.Y.I. - I didn’t know this until Sunday afternoon when I went back to Stanky Field for the 3rd and final game of the series.  Ahhh!  I left a great game!

Back To Motel 6
I got back to the Motel around 5 pm and with-in seconds... I was passed out on the bed.  I was so tired from half-assed car sleep that I didn’t wake up for 2 hours.  It was now 7 pm on Saturday night, so I searched the area (online) for something to do.

Mobile Is The Birthplace Of Mardi Gras

As I was told all day long and in every internet search I did, Mobile, Alabama is the birthplace of Mardi Gras.  What they say is, this is where it originated many many years ago.

Knowing this, I was now headed into downtown Mobile where the Mardi Gras parade is held every year.  The people I have talked to said it was a crazy party, but I have been to the real (fake) Mardi Gras in New Orleans and if it’s half of that... it should be insane! 🙂

Heading To Downtown Mobile
The drive from where I was to downtown was only about 15 minutes (not bad) and after paying $5 for parking (it killed me), I was only a few blocks from the parade and party.

The Mardi Gras Parade
It didn’t take me more than a few minutes to realize this was a much more family friendly Mardi Gras than the one I attended in New Orleans.  I knew this because I didn’t see any Boobies or anybody wildly drunk acting a fool.  This isn’t a bad thing but it isn’t the Mardi Gras I know. 😉

Other Differences
The other differences weren’t as big as the ones I just mentioned but here they are anyway.  In Mobile, they not only throw beads at the people in the crowd from the floats, but they also throw huge stuffed animals (small ones too) as well moon pies by the box full!

F.Y.I. - I know they throw Marshmellow pies because out of nowhere I caught a box that was thrown at my head from somebody in the float! LOL 🙂

Other than the items that the crowd was thrown from the numerous floats that passed by, the parade also had a lot of traveling DJ floats that I don’t remember seeing when I was in the “Big Easy”.

And lastly... I’ll say it again... THERE WERE NO BOOBIES BEING SHOWN AROUND FOR BEADS!  Now, the truth is, I’m well beyond seeing random titties everywhere but it’s such a wild scene to see otherwise normal people flashing for .10 cent beads that it’s truly unexplainable. 😉  It is a unreal phenomenon.

More About Mobile’s Parade
The parade they had here was awesome in it’s own right as the floats were top notch.  Each one was cooler than the next and even though I got here late-ish, I still saw at least 5 (probably more) floats pass by while throwing things into the crowd.

Also, there were numerous bands that played and marched, a bunch of people on horses riding around, and even a car that said Hill Billy on the side.  I’m not in New Jersey anymore! 😉

Anyway, it was close to 9 pm when the parade ended.  You knew it ended because a firetruck and police car tailed the last float while flashing their lights to signal it was the end.

Hitting The Bar Area For The Real Mardi Party (Or So I Thought)
When the parade ended, I talked with a few people there about where everybody was going next.  What I was told by everybody was that a street a few blocks down is where the Mardi Gras party continued.  Nice!  I’m there!

The problem for me at least was that I was expecting a New Orleans Mardi Gras where you can’t even walk down the street without bumping into a million people.  Well... this was nothing like that as it was just a shade busier than what I’d think a normal Saturday night would look like. (Left: N.O.)

Deciding What To Do

Even though it was early for a Saturday night (10 pm), I just couldn’t justify spending $8 a mixed drink for the entire evening when the scene just wasn’t that crazy.  Actually, it was kinda boring.

So, after dilly dallying around the bar scene for another 30 minutes looking for a reason to stay, I couldn’t find one, so I left for the night and headed back to my room at the Motel 6.

Calling It A Night
Even though it was early for a Saturday, I was tired from well... everything!  Today, I had already woken up in my car in Mississippi, drove to Alabama, saw a baseball, and participated in a Mardi Gras parade.

I think that’s enough for one day, so I laid in bed, watched TV, and fell asleep sometime around 1 am.  Tomorrow, I plan on going back to see the 3rd and final game of South Alabama vs. UT-Martin series.  And, I have nowhere to stay again.

Thanks for reading!

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  1. DAD says:

    College baseball is nice, but it’s only a tune up for next week and beyond when you hit Florida.
    Go Yankees Go !!!!!!!!

  2. Big R says:

    great read as always Rooster!
    You should do a post about your favorite stadiums. That’d be freaking cool! Love it. Keep up the good work!

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