The result of this past weekend’s meeting with the New York Red Bulls was utterly forgettable, but the trip itself was rife with memorable moments.
It all starts, of course, with the many tributes to the victims of last week’s Boston Marathon bombings. The New York Red Bulls deserve huge credit for putting together a touching pregame ceremony which included both teams walking out onto the field with Boston-sports favorite “Dirty Water” (by the Standells) playing over the Red Bull Arena sound system. It was pretty special.
But most special, by far, was the pregame march into the stadium. Groups of supporters from both clubs met at the top of Riverbend Drive and exchanged heartfelt messages of support before marching together toward Red Bull Arena, chanting and singing the entire way. It can’t fully do it justice, but we captured the march in this video.
Before Saturday’s emotional events in Harrison, N.J., I had the chance to get into New York City for a bit on Friday afternoon along with fellow Far Post podcaster (and yes, my boss), Jason Dalrymple. Because our hotel is located in New Jersey, this was actually the first time I ever had the chance to visit NYC while on a Revs trip, although I’ve been to the city many times before.
Considering we were on a road trip as the Revolution’s digital department, we figured it only made sense that our first stop was at the MLS Digital offices, where neither Jason nor I had ever been. It was great to see their office space in NYC, but even better to visit with the brains behind MLSSoccer.com.
From the MLS Digital offices we popped over to the next block to visit MLS headquarters, where we made the rounds with another set of league staffers whom we hadn’t seen in a while. The offices, I must say, are really impressive, especially for someone like me who geeks out at anything MLS related.
With a couple hours to kill between our visit to MLS and dinnertime, we made our way through Times Square – I get why it’s annoying to people who live in NYC, but it’s still cool to me – and weaved our way over to 30 Rock, where one of my closest friends, Matt, works for NBC Sports. He’d told us that if we wanted to stop by for a tour of the studios he’d be more than happy to be our guide, so we obliged.
After checking us in as guests, Matt brought us on a private tour, with stops in the studios for Saturday Night Live, Football Night in America and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Cool, right? It never hurts to know people.
I can tell you that every studio was way, way smaller than I expected, mostly because the building was originally built as radio studios. Camera tricks just make everything seem much larger on TV. Hopefully the pictures below convey the size.
All in all, our Road Trippin’ experience in New York City was a massive success, especially since we eventually made our way back to Jersey in one piece. Now to start brainstorming for Portland …
As we neared the end of a rainy stroll through Seattle last Friday afternoon, fellow road tripper Jeff Wroblewski declared that he had enjoyed his first glimpse of the Emerald City, but only wished he could’ve seen it in the sunshine.
“But why?” I asked. “This is Seattle in its natural state.”
For the all the jokes about the rain in Seattle, apparently there’s good reason. It did rain for a good portion of our three-day trip to the Pacific Northwest – including a downpour during Saturday afternoon’s game – but it couldn’t put a damper on our Road Trippin’ experience.
While I already had a pretty good idea what I wanted to see in Seattle – full disclosure, I’d been there twice before – I took to Twitter and asked the masses for suggestions. While I did receive a variety of tips (thanks, by the way), the consensus was clear. When in Seattle, go to Pike Place Market.
Everyone associates Pike Place with the fishmongers, which is understandable. There are quite a few and they’re easily the most entertaining (and most vocal) of the local merchants. But there’s so much more to Pike Place. There are endless amounts of stands selling fresh produce, specialty foods, flowers, art, jewelry, clothing … pretty much anything you could imagine.
I could’ve walked through Pike Place Market for hours, but I probably would’ve gone flat broke. Check out the quick video we put together of our stroll through Pike Place down below.
So people associate Seattle with rain and Pike Place. Oh, and Starbucks. We stopped by the first-ever Starbucks (right at one end of the marketplace) to catch a glimpse. I’m not a coffee drinker, but apparently a lot of other people are judging from the line stretching well outside the door. Of course, if all they really wanted was coffee they could’ve stopped by another Starbucks 50 feet down the road.
We had one last stop on our stroll – a skate shop called 35th North, which JWro wanted to check out – before making our way to Safeco Field for that evening’s baseball game between the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers. I’ll admit it was a bit cold to sit for three hours watching baseball, but it was still a fun experience, especially since Safeco’s state-of-the-art retractable roof had been deployed.
We likely won’t be back to Seattle for a while with the way the MLS schedule works, but I was satisfied with the recent journey. It’s a unique city which I’d recommend everybody visit … so long as you can stand a little bit of rain.
Kind words from one of the best:
Crew goalkeeper Matt Lampson also had some words of encouragement for Kevin, having dealt with cancer himself back in 2007.
From TheCrew.com: "In 2007, Crew goalkeeper Matt Lampson was fighting for his life after being diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin's lymphoma. Heading into his freshman year of college, Lampson beat cancer and overcame the physical toll extensive chemotherapy and radiation treatment had on his body to emerge as one of top goalies in the Big Ten while playing collegiately at Ohio State."
UPDATE: April 9, 9:30 a.m.
Here's some reaction from some of Kevin's current and former teammates, MLS teams and the US Soccer community. Truly something special.
The reaction to today's news on Revolution defender Kevin Alston has been nothing short of amazing. I think Jeff Lemieux said it best:
The outpouring of support from fans, players and media at #GetWellKA is already overwhelming. The soccer community is pretty special.
— Jeff Lemieux (@jeff_lemieux) April 8, 2013
Here's what you and many, many others across the soccer community have been saying on Twitter:
If you'd like to send a message directly to Kevin, you can email GetWellKevinAlston@gmail.com.
Revolution play-by-play announcer Brad Feldman and color analyst Jeff Causey break down the Revs' performance vs. FC Dallas on Saturday.
So it looks like we'll be recording on Tuesdays for the next few months (as most of your have already figured out) - but here's this week's podcast. Lots of bickering this week, don't say I didn't warn you!
Brad Feldman and Jeff Causey break down the Revs' 0-0 draw against Sporting KC.