We pulled into Huntersville, NC about 1:30 today, having left Jacksonville at 6:00 a.m. and having enjoyed a wonderful visit with the McClearys. After lunch, we set out to find a ballpark or an empty field on which to play so that we could add North Carolina to the list of states in which we’ve tossed around the old horsehide. As I mentioned yesterday, Huntersville is the birthplace of Hoyt Wilhelm, and we had a sense that there must be something around here somewhere named for the former Oriole. Therefore, we went down an exit, made a left, made a right, generally heading towards the local community college. We found the Huntersville Athletic Complex, which of course, contained a statue of a young ballplayer beneath which was a plaque detailing Wilhelm’s career. The entire baseball area was dedicated to Wilhelm. Let’s just say that we can find ’em like those guys who can find water underground with a divining rod. We played on one of the two synthetic turf baseball fields and furthermore, when we counted up the baseballs at the end of the day, it turns out we found another one of those, too.
As you may imagine we discuss a variety of topics during our many hours in the car and we have reached a very important and insightful conclusion regarding performance enhancing drugs. They should be mandatory for all ballplayers 55 and over.
Perhaps our most poignant moment of the trip occurred this morning at a McDonald’s south of Savannah. In walked a boy perhaps four years old in his Oriole shorts and Nick Markakis tee-shirt. Dad was attired in his Oriole gear, while Grandpa most notably wore a proud smile. I was in one of my Oriole shirts and naturally, we got to talking. They were headed down to Spring Training as we were heading home. After one more day of travel tomorrow, home is where we’ll be spending tomorrow night. The closer we get to it, the more it tugs at us.