I arrive at National an hour before my plane departs. No problem. Not so easy for my friend Josh whose flight out of Newark got cancelled. He also had the tickets to the Cardianls/Mets game that he and Rich were going to go see. Rich was the third member of the party. So they got there, and I had them leave me a key at the desk. We stayed at the Hilton by the Ballpark. We were on the 24th (of 25th) floor and had a view of the ballpark. Anyways, I took the subway (MetroLink...or Metro, how simple for someone from DC) to the ballpark and got out and saw everyone leaving. Thought it a bit odd the game was already letting out since from everyone I had talked to, they said a baseball game should last at least 2.5 hours. I got up to the room and saw that the game was still going. People just left early. So I took a nap before I had to meet up with the guys. They called me after the game was over and I went to go meet them at a bar. Then, we were back at the hotel and decided to meet up with some other folks Josh knows. We walked from Hilton at the Ballpark to the Sheraton by the ScottTrade Center. And we saw nothing. No people. No lit buildings. No fast food. Nothing. We were hungry and couldn't find food at 11pm in what is supposed to be a city. So then we wandered northwards to Washington Ave where a woman at the airport told me had some bars. During the walk, someone screamed out of a cab at us. It was Beeeej who had our 4th ticket. He was just getting into town and was staying at a Hampton Inn. We barely found bars and they weren't really serving food. Here we met up with Adam of College Hockey News. One of the worst kept secrets in college hockey land is that Adam, as a member of the media, is one of us...a fanatical Cornell hockey fan. He also did not see anyone while wandering the streets. We got a bite to eat and wandered back to the hotel.
I got up and went to the gym. Yay me! We then met up with Beeeej and got some food at a grill. But first we found a liquor store so that we could get some rum to sneak into the game. The rum was divided out into 2 bottles and they did confiscate one. They didn't take the other only because they didn't see it. Game one was Michigan State vs. Maine. We were cheering for Michigan State who seemed to be the lesser of the two evils. The game was over and we had a hour and a half to kill so we decided to wander back to the liquor store for more rum. Well, the next one we found, a Maine fan put it best as "Is this a vending machine?" We were in a check cashing shop that also sold liquor. The liquor was on shelves behind glass so you could look to see what they had. Then you had to ask the woman for it. Pay her through the bullet proof glass. Then, she passed you the bottle through the pass through under the counter where the outer door had to be shut completely before the door to the inner section could be opened. Note, the first liquor store we were at was the front of a restaurant, and we weren't sure if we could walk up and pick up a bottle or not. So, after getting more rum, we had dinner at a pizza place next door that also sold liquor by the bottle. Ya, this place is getting weird. Back to the rink for North Dakota vs. Boston College. This is the game that most of the college hockey world tends to view as having to pick between the lesser of the two evils. I was hoping for the roof to collapse or for the fires of hell to swallow up both teams. North Dakota (NoDak) is in the middle of the NCAA offensive name/logo controversy. They are the "Fighting Sioux" and along with the state have taken the NCAA to court. Note that the Sioux tribes actually are offended by the use. BC...well, their fans are obnoxious and their team is a bunch of goons. Some of whom I still have negative visceral reactions to when I see their names...this would be dating back to about the 2003 season when we played them to 2 OTs in the regional finals to advance to the Frozen Four. So there. We tried to cheer for BC, if only because eastern teams must stick together. But they had a girl in the pep band who annoyed all the neutral fans. During a BC penalty kill, when the puck was in the BC zone, they'd all start screaming for continuous noise. This one girl screams in a high pitched voice and it was so annoying that we all started to cheer for NoDak to score just so she would shut up. Not just us but the neutral fans around us as well. BC wins, good bye western evil. We (Josh, Rich, Beeeej, and I) are all very "hydrated", but Josh more so than the rest of us cuz he got another Pepsi to add some "water" to. Off to a blues bar with an amazing woman singing. I had some real water and slowed it down a bit since my stomach was starting to get a bit queasy. Enjoyed the music. that woman could sing. Josh left earlier and sent Rich a txt message saying that he peed on Busch Stadium. We were not supposed to let him pee on national monuments (which he did the last time he was in St. Louis) but Busch Statdium is not a national monument, and were in the bar. Rich and I made it back to the hotel room about an hour later and only found out the next day that Josh had thrown up in the bathroom when he got back.
We got up and went to the Arch. If you're in St. Louis, of course you have to do the tourist thing and to the top of the Arch. The ride up is interesting. The space at the top is small. And I'm afraid of heights. It was interesting and I ended up sitting in a corner, completely disoriented. It was nice to be back on solid ground. I did take some good pictures. After that it was time to tour Anheuser Busch. Last year, Rich toured the Miller brewery in Milwaukee, WI during the off day. Apparently, last year, this year and next year comnposes the trifecta of American brewery tours. Next year is Denver where there is Coors. We speculated that this may have been an odd sense of humor on the site selection committee. College hockey fans like beer. They were out of tickets by the time we got there but we were able to go standby on a tour. We got to see the Clydesdale horses and walked through some parts of the factory. The factory reminds me of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. The smell outside was horrible. It was unappetizing. They did show us a room where they aged the beer. That room smelled amazing. I wanted beer. I wanted to drink beer while I was in that room. The tour ended in the hospitality room where we could each sample 2 beers on tap. Well, actually, the first thing we were told was that the bus for the NoDak fans who were with the tour group was leaving in 5 minutes so they needed to hurry up. The rest of us looked around, saw how many empty tables there would be, and cheered on the inside. We got our first samples and I was reminded that while the vats of aging beer smelled really good, I don't like beer. We all got something different and each tried everything but the guys ended up drinking my beers. They've had me try beer in the past that I could tolerate, but not the large commercialized stuff.
I'll pick up here tomorrow cuz I really want to go to sleep now. I did get some knitting done here and there.