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 – 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 boys’ 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.
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 – but with even less concern for my arteries. And, most of my all, I missed laughing, joking and talking sports – and just life in general – with my dad.
But be gone, feelings of bittersweet nostalgia and gloomy regret! The baseball trip is back. This time, the journey – set for a month from today – 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 city’s AA minor league affiliate for the San Diego Padres.
Of course, we’ll get a taste of more than simply baseball and ballpark franks. We’ll sample some of the region’s delicious barbeque and see if it can hold a candle to our past stops in Kansas City and Nashville. We’ll check out Jerryland. We’ll remember the Alamo.
Most importantly, we’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. He’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 (don’t bother with the conspiracy nonsense; the Mueller house is a Oswalt/lone gunman house) and how his legacy formed. So it’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 – the ones we still laugh about to this day – 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 there’s the baseball, which will be awesome no matter what. It’s always a rush to see a new stadium, see how they do things and, of course, watch the game – 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 – including the Dallas portion of this upcoming expedition. Our respective careers have evolved as well. Work never sleeps, meaning laptops are now necessities for packing. I blogged on our last trip; I’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 – or five – 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 – 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.
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 Sept. 17, 2014
In 2010, Mark Clements arrived in Milwaukee and, in his first act as artistic director, brought something to the Milwaukee Rep's main stage that oddly it had never seen in its impressive history: a musical. Several years later, Clements has made it a bit of a tradition to feature a musical in the Rep's main house schedule. 2014 is no different and the Powerhouse opens up with "The Color Purple."
Published Sept. 15, 2014
The title of The War on Drugs' latest album is "Lost in the Dream," fitting for a record - and a moment in time - that utterly enveloped front man Adam Granduciel. The band is now taking the final product on the road, including a stop at The Pabst Theater on Sunday, Sept. 21. Before then, Granduciel chatted with OnMilwaukee.com about becoming a real band on the road, the process behind the album and the inner battles that went into it.
Published Sept. 14, 2014
It's hard to imagine there was much clamoring for a sequel to "Dolphin Tale." The first film was a modest early fall success back in 2011, but even then, the story of Winter the dolphin was already fairly thin dramatic material, serving as little more than a nice pleasant aside. Still, somebody thought it was a good idea to head back to the well, and surprisingly - judging from "Dolphin Tale 2" - that person wasn't wrong.
Published Sept. 12, 2014
The Brewers are desperately trying to pull themselves out of a devastating tailspin. Even when they win, they seem to lose - as evidenced by last night's Giancarlo Stanton debacle. Sounds like a good time to get baseball's favorite canine Hank the Dog back in the spotlight!
Published Sept. 10, 2014
The country-tinged rock duo of Phil Leavitt and Joie Calio worked together for years in the band Dada. 7Horse, however, marks a fairly new project for the guys. And there are certainly worse things to put on an early band's resume than being associated with an Oscar-nominated Scorsese film. OnMilwaukee.com got a chance to chat with Leavitt about the band's origins, its Milwaukee connection and getting the rare Scorsese Stamp of Approval.
Published Sept. 9, 2014
For fans of the late '90s, names like the Sugar Ray, "TRL," Surge and Chris Gaines will sound very familiar (OK, maybe not that last one). For local music fans around in the era, another name might sound a little familiar: The Buzzhorn.
Published Sept. 8, 2014
The good news? As with every year, the lineup of movies are the Milwaukee Film Festival is overflowing with terrific options. The bad news? Unfortunately, save for some kind of planetary revolution halt, divine intervention or new time machine development, there are only so many hours in the day. So here are some picks for the film festival selections you should definitely make the time to see.
Published Sept. 5, 2014
After slowly teasing its complete lineup for the past several weeks, the 2014 Milwaukee Film Festival finally revealed the entire cinematic buffet it's assembled for film fans - both hardcore and casual - this morning. And my friends, it looks absolutely delicious.
Published Sept. 4, 2014
Driving down Grange Avenue around the border of Hales Corners and Greendale, the two towns look like typical pleasant suburbs, with assorted shops, strip malls, small businesses and parks mixed in between the cozy subdivisions and homes. And then you come across Trimborn Farm, a seven-and-a-half-acre time machine back to the 1800s, providing a glimpse at the history of the two towns and the city of Milwaukee.
Published Sept. 3, 2014
The main draw of the Milwaukee Film Festival is right there in the title: the films. But every year, just off to the side of the main event, Milwaukee Film also wrangles together some really awesome people from the world of cinema, hands them a stage and pays fitting tribute to them. This year's lineup is no less spectacular, bringing in a diverse group of accomplished people in the business to share their film expertise and their love of movies.