Last summer was pretty eventful for me. I graduated from Marquette University. I managed to convince my bosses here at OnMilwaukee.com that I was competent enough to be employed. And, perhaps the most significant for me personally, I started making a living doing what I always dreamed: reviewing movies, the good, the bad and the "Grown Ups 2."
It was surely a busy summer between moving and interning and job hunting and occasionally sleeping â€“ eating was off the table. But oddly enough, something was missing, one of my fondest family rituals. Something had fallen through the cracks.
Lost in all the hubbub was the Mueller boysâ€™ annual baseball trip.
Ever since 2003, my dad and I pick a part of the country with a hefty supply of baseball and sightseeing, pack up and head off, prepared to get a week full of good eats, great games and even greater memories.
Except for last year. With my employment status, housing, money and overall future still a question mark, taking even just a week off from the post-grad hustle seemed out of the question. So the baseball trip was sadly shelved.Â
I missed the less-than-exotic sights of cities like Erie, Pa., and Springfield, Mo. I missed scoring incredible games as the warm summer sun gracefully melted into cool night, lit by the stars and the lights of a ballpark. I missed eating like Guy Fieri â€“ but with even less concern for my arteries. And, most of my all, I missed laughing, joking and talking sports â€“ and just life in general â€“ with my dad.
But be gone, feelings of bittersweet nostalgia and gloomy regret! The baseball trip is back. This time, the journey â€“ set for a month from today â€“ takes us to Texas for five games in Dallas with the Texas Rangers, followed by a visit to San Antonio to see the Missions, the cityâ€™s AA minor league affiliate for the San Diego Padres.
Of course, weâ€™ll get a taste of more than simply baseball and ballpark franks. Weâ€™ll sample some of the regionâ€™s delicious barbeque and see if it can hold a candle to our past stops in Kansas City and Nashville. Weâ€™ll check out Jerryland. Weâ€™ll remember the Alamo.
Most importantly, weâ€™ll make a stop at Dealey Plaza. My dad is a massive Kennedy nerd. A careful look in our basement will reveal not only a model miniature of the Kennedy death car, but also a mini-model of the car behind the Kennedy death car. Heâ€™s always been interested in presidents, how they took on the most important job in the country and how they helped shape the present and future, but Kennedy has always fascinated him the most. How he lived, how he died (donâ€™t bother with the conspiracy nonsense; the Mueller house is a Oswalt/lone gunman house) and how his legacy formed. So itâ€™ll be great to be able to bring him to such an important historical location, watch him geek out and share in that experience.
That's the plan, but the best moments â€“ the ones we still laugh about to this day â€“ often come out of nowhere. Stories involving rickety Pittsburgh bridges, sketchy Detroit streets, oversexed moviegoers in Kansas City and mascots of all shapes and sizes in cities across this great, baseball-rich land.
Oh yeah, and then thereâ€™s the baseball, which will be awesome no matter what. Itâ€™s always a rush to see a new stadium, see how they do things and, of course, watch the game â€“ all next to the best sports fan I know, the one who made me into the sports-loving fiend that I am.
The trip has certainly changed a lot over the years. Minor league teams soon got mixed in with the major league locales (both are awesome, and though they may be the minor leagues, the baseball is still professional). The ladies of the Mueller clan have managed to talk themselves into coming along on a few trips â€“ including the Dallas portion of this upcoming expedition.Â Our respective careers have evolved as well. Work never sleeps, meaning laptops are now necessities for packing. I blogged on our last trip; Iâ€™ll almost certainly do the same again here.
Perhaps the biggest change is the dweeby little kid that napped and read books through the long drives between cities soon grew up, evolving into a young (still dweeby) man able to take the wheel himself and now even knock back a beer â€“ or five â€“ with his old man.
Time changes everything, but the core of the baseball trip still stays the same: A man and his kid on the road, seeing the country, watching the greatest game on Earth and laughing, bonding and chatting about life â€“ and everything that small four-letter word encompasses. Last summer may have required a detour, but the road still winds on with no end in sight, paved with only the finest grass-grown diamonds.
Next stop: Texas.Â
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Matt Mueller
Published Nov. 25, 2015
Last night, Marvel revealed the first trailer - and footage overall - of next summer's "Captain America: Civil War" on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," and Marvel, take my money right now please.
Published Nov. 24, 2015
Google has found little ways to have fun with search - and not just by drawing its name in funny, entertaining ways based on the day. Its latest nifty secret comes from a galaxy far, far away.
Published Nov. 24, 2015
I've got chills; they're multiplying, thanks to my recent discovery of "Grease Live," a live musical and sure-to-be hate-watch event Fox is putting on next year starring Julianne Hough and Vanessa Hudgens.
Published Nov. 21, 2015
After the Packers' loss Sunday afternoon, people took to the Internet to rage. And that's totally fine and legitimate. But some of it left me sadder than Mason Crosby's kick. So here are some quick guidelines that we can hopefully follow for next Sunday to make Packer Nation a little more worthy of pride.
Published Nov. 19, 2015
For most people, bad exercise tapes and other '80s excrement would seem weird. But for Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett ... well, it's still weird. But they love it, and for over a decade, they've been curating these VHS kings of kookiness for their touring Found Footage Festival.
Published Nov. 18, 2015
After a doubtlessly thorough investigation, People Magazine has made its annual dismount from Mount Sinai - via "Jimmy Kimmel Live" last night - to declare the sexiest man alive in 2015: David Beckham.
Published Nov. 17, 2015
This morning, GQ published an interview between former Grantland head and future HBO sports talking head Bill Simmons and President Obama, and one part - concerning what sports figure the current president views himself as - will catch Packer Nation's ear.
Published Nov. 15, 2015
Perhaps my first staycation experience - in Tosa of all places - would give me a new glimpse of an old, familiar neighborhood. It didn't, but there are reasons people seek out a suburban hotel, especially this time of year.
Published Nov. 14, 2015
A man's visit to Milwaukee took a sour turn recently when he claims he discovered offensive messages hidden in a sculpture in Shorewood. The supposed messages can be found on the statue's left leg.
Published Nov. 12, 2015
"Family Feud" arrives this month to audition families for a chance to answer potentially awkward questions with potentially even more awkward responses, likely embarrass yourself on national TV and maybe cash, too.