Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Presidential Pathways: #34, Dwight D. Eisenhower

Born: Oct. 14, 1890, in Denison, Texas (Visited: June 2010)
Died: March 28, 1969, in Washington, D.C.
Burial Place: Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library & Museum in Abilene, Kan.
Library & Museum: Abilene, Kan.


Eisenhower was born in a house near the railroad line where his father worked.

The Eisenhower home is now part of the Eisenhower Birthplace State Historic Site.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Presidential Pathways: #14, Franklin Pierce

Born: Nov. 23, 1804, in Hillsborough, N.H.
Died: Oct. 8, 1869, in Concord, N.H.
Burial Place: Old North Cemetery in Concord, N.H. (Visited: June 2007)

Burial Place

Pierce family grave.

The Pierce grave is located in the Minot enclosure.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Baseball Stadiums: MiLB Mascot Mania

A few weeks ago, I mentioned write a post about my experiences with Minor League Baseball mascots.  After taking some time to gather my photographs and put things into a spreadsheet, I can report that I have photographs with 22 MiLB team mascots over the past four seasons.

I've had my picture taken with mascots at almost all levels: Triple-A, Double-A, Class A Advanced, and Class A.  I do not have any pictures with me and mascots from Class A Short-Season or Rookie level teams.

My first photograph with a mascot happened by circumstance.  In 2011, I attended a Tacoma Rainiers game will in Seattle for the AAG Annual Meeting.  I don't remember the situation, but I was exploring the stadium when Rhubarb the Reindeer walked by, and I jumped on the chance to get my photo taken with him.

Me with Rhubarb the Reindeer.

Although I have been attending MiLB games since the early 1990s, I never sought out photo opportunities with mascots until 18 months ago.  I was teaching in the geography department at Oklahoma State University, and decided to add some life to my first day of class slides and incorporated photos of me with mascots.  If students guessed where I was based upon the picture they got a bonus point, and it helped me learn names with faces, too.

So the first time I did that, I included the my photo with Rhubabr and some others that I accumulated during the 2012 season.  In order, I got photos with the Arkansas Travelers mascot Shelly (put out to pasture since the team's rebranding in 2014), the Montgomery Biscuits mascot Big Mo, and the Memphis Redbirds mascot Rockey the Rockin' Redbird.

Me with Shelly at Dickey-Stephens Park.

Me with Big Mo at Riverwalk Stadium.

Me with Rockey the Rockin' Redbird.

During the Spring 2013 semester before I went to Los Angeles for the AAG Annual Meeting, I had a student ask if I was going to get my picture taken with any mascots at the games I planned to attend.  That's when something that started by happenstance turned into a hunt to get my picture with as many mascots as possible.

On that trip, I attended two Minor League games and got my picture with Tremor from the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and Thunder from the Lake Elsinore Storm.

Me with Tremor at LoanMart Field.

Me with Thunder at the Lake Elsinore Diamond.

During the summer, I visited the Dayton Dragons while in Cincinnati, Ohio, for the AP Human Geography Reading.  So I got my picture taken with all three of the team's mascots: dragons Gem and Heater, and Wink, an ogre.

Me with Gem and Heater during a rain delay at Fifth Third Field.

Me with Wink at Fifth Third Field.

Before my move from Oklahoma to Alabama, I did some sightseeing in in the Ozarks and got my picture taken with the both mascots for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, Strike and Sinker, and the Springfield Cardinals duo: Louie and Fetch.

Me with Strike at Arvest Ballpark.

Me with Sinker the Lake Creature at Arvest Ballpark.

Me with Louie at Hammons Field.

An extreme closeup of me with Fetch at Hammons Field.

During the 2014 season, I got nine pictures with mascots from eight teams.  The first three mascots I saw came during the AAG Annual Meeting in Tampa, Fla.  I got pictures with Phinley from the Clearwater Threshers, Marty from the Bradenton Marauders, and Blue from the Tampa Yankees.

Phinley try to eat me at Bright House Field.

Me with Marty at McKechnie Field.

Me with Blue at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

After the AP Human Geography Reading I made two stops on my way back south, and saw the Bowling Green Hot Rods and Nashville Sounds.  I got photos with both mascots from the Hot Rods, Axle the Bear and Roscoe the Grease Monkey, and I got a picture with the Sounds' mascot Ozzie.

Me with Axle the Bear at Bowling Green Ballpark.

Me with Roscoe the Grease Monkey at Bowling Green Ballpark.

Me with Ozzie at Herschel Greer Stadium.

In July, I went to a Gwinnett Braves game and got my photo with their mascot, Chopper.  I had been to a G-Braves game prior to this season, but did not get a picture with the groundhog.  So I made sure to my picture with him this time.

Me with Chopper at Coolray Field.

In early August, I made a trip through the Tennessee River Valley and visited the Chattanooga Lookouts and Huntsville Stars.  The primary purpose of the trip was a reunion with former Stars coworkers, as the team has been sold and is supposed to move to Biloxi for the 2015 season.  While I had been to a Lookouts game at AT&T Field many years ago, I had not blogged about my experience and wanted to be sure I got my photo with the Lookouts mascot Looie.  With the Stars set to move, I felt compelled to get my photo with Homer the Polecat.

Me with Looie at AT&T Field before I competed in musical chairs.

Me with Homer the Polecat at Joe W. Davis Stadium.

I have a few places in mind that I hope to visit in 2015, but it's too early to predict how much I may get to travel next season.  I know that I will be in the Chicago area in late April for the AAG Annual Meeting, but many Minor League teams have yet to release their 2015 schedules.  Closer to home, I'm hopeful that I can see the minor league teams in Georgia and Alabama that I have not visited yet, which would add four teams to my tally and theoretically six mascots to my picture collection.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Presidential Pathways: #27, William Howard Taft

Born: Sept. 15, 1857, in Cincinnati, Ohio
Died: March 8, 1930, in Washington, D.C.
Burial Place: Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. (Visited: April 2010)


The Taft family residence at 2038 Auburn Avenue, which is part of the William Howard Taft National Historic Site.

The room where William Howard Taft was born.
Burial Place

William Howard Taft was the first president buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

An obelisk marks the burial place of William Howard Taft and his wife Helen Herron Taft.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Baseball Stadiums: MLB Mascot Mayhem

In my last post I mentioned that I was going to write about my experience with baseball mascots.  While I don't have a lot of pictures with Major League Baseball mascots, I decided it would be easier to divide MLB mascots from Minor League Baseball mascots.

Over the past three years I've gone to more Minor League games than I have Major League games, so my collection of mascot photos leans heavily toward Minor League mascots.  I can also say from experience attending Major League games for over 25 years that MLB mascots are not as accessible as MiLB mascots.

So far, I only have pictures with three MLB mascots, and two are with the same team.

The first MLB mascots I got a picture with is now retired, as the Houston Astros changed their team colors, uniform, and sent Junction Jack off to retirement in 2013.  However, in 2011 I went to Houston to attend a Georgia State football game, and I went to an Astros game where I got my photograph with the rabbit.

Me with Junction Jack in a section of the Bullpen Box seats.

Since 2011, I have participated as a reader for the AP Human Geography exam.  The reading takes place in Cincinnati, Ohio, so I've gotten my photo taken with two of the Cincinnati Reds' mascots.

In 2012, I got a photo with my first Reds mascot: Rosie Red.  I was walking around the Fan Zone beyond right field.

Me with Rosie Red.

In 2013, I dined in the Riverfront Club with a bunch of fellow AP readers.  As it turned out Mr. Redlegs stopped by the club.  So I don't have an individual photo with him, but I do have a group picture with him.

A bunch of geographers with Mr. Redlegs.

It's not much of a collection, but it's a start.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Baseball Stadiums Update

As the Minor League Baseball regular season comes to a close with the Labor Day weekend and the Major League Baseball regular season concluding at the end of the month, it is only appropriate that I post an update about the stadiums I've visited this season.

I visited five new stadiums this season, re-visited five ballparks, and blogged about nine of them.

The stadiums I had never visited before are:

Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla. (home of the Clearwater Threshers)
McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Fla. (home of the Bradenton Marauders)
George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla. (home of the Tampa Yankees)
Regions Field in Birmingham, Ala. (home of the Birmingham Barons)
Bowling Green Ballpark in Bowling Green, Ky. (home of the Bowling Green Hot Rods)

The ballparks I've visited previously, but had not blogged about are:

Herschel Greer Stadium in Nashville, Tenn. (home of the Nashville Sounds)
Coolray Field in Lawrenceville, Ga. (home of the Gwinnett Braves)
AT&T Field in Chattanooga, Tenn. (home of the Chattanooga Lookouts)
Joe W. Davis Stadium in Huntsville, Ala. (home of the Huntsville Stars)

The lone park I visited, but did not blog about is:

Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio (home of the Cincinnati Reds)

Most of my visits were done in clusters as I made other trips.  I visited the three Florida stadiums while in Tampa for the AAG 2014 Annual Meeting.  I visited Bowling Green and Nashville while returning from Cincinnati, Ohio, after attending the AP Reading.  I visits AT&T Field and Joe W. Davis Stadium because I attended a reunion of former Huntsville Stars employees.  My excursions to Regions Field and Coolray Field were solo trips to visit with friends.

These trips now bring my tally to:
  • MLB = 20 (13 active)
  • AAA = 9 (8 active)
  • AA = 18 (14 active)
  • High A = 5 (5 active)
  • Low A = 4 (2 active)
  • Short-Season A = 6 (5 active)
  • Independent = 5 (4 active)
  • Spring Training = 10 (9 active)
Depending upon how you count Joe W. Davis Stadium in Huntsville, my count for active Double-A stadiums is 14 or 13.  As the Stars will play in this season's Southern League playoffs, the stadium is active as of this post.  Additionally, as the opening date of the team's new stadium in Biloxi, Miss., is up in the air it is possible the Stars franchise may play part of the 2015 season in Huntsville.  Until the team's move comes to fruition, I am going to count Joe W. Davis Stadium as an active facility.

As of this post, I have seen professional baseball games (including Spring Training) in 27 states, the District of Columbia, and one Canadian province (British Columbia).  I did not visit stadiums in new states this season, but attended games in six states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee).

As a geographer, my life isn't complete without a map.  So for those who want to see my stadium visits in a map, you can check out this active map I created using Google Maps.

In my quest to get a picture with as many Minor League mascots as possible, I probably should discuss the mascots I got pictures with this season.  However, I'm going to save that for another post when I can take the time to tally the photos I got during the 2014 season along with the mascots I got pictures with in previous years.