Sep 25, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Houston Astros center fielder Brandon Barnes (2) catches a fly ball during the game against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

A Baseball Road Trip with FanSided & Chevrolet: Game One

Chevrolet elected to give a group of writers and fans a unique opportunity to head out on a baseball road trip, entirely on their dime. They reached out to us here at FanSided about the opportunity – offering up tickets, accommodations, gas, and the use of a brand new 2014 Chevrolet Cruze to get from one park to the next – so it seemed like a no-brainer to open the opportunity up to the talented group of MLB writers here at the network.

Chris Greene – one of our Co-editors at Redbird Rants, our St. Louis Cardinals team site – jumped at the opportunity and will be chronicling his adventures for us here, at Call to the Pen. Chris has already introduced himself and kicked off the journey, so he’s checking in with another installment here today:

So my first day was long. It started with a two hour drive to the airport to catch an 8 a.m. flight (which works out to about a 4 a.m. wake up call). That said, I was very excited about the whole thing, the hotel was super nice, the car was awesome, and I got to watch baseball! All told, not a bad day at all.

I’m going to start out by telling you a little bit about my thoughts at the game first, and then turn to the car and the rest of the trip.

The Texas Rangers won easily 7-3 thanks to a 5-run fourth inning. The Astros’ Dallas Keuchel  actually managed to hold on to a no-hitter for a little while, but gave up his first hit with two outs in the fourth inning. Which was interesting, because the Rangers scored their first run in the third inning without the benefit of a hit.

My real hope for the game (having no actual stake in the game, and little love for either team as a Cardinals fan) was that the Keuchel would no hit the Rangers and lose the game because of bad defense anyway. That would have made a fun story.

But it didn’t happen that way, and the Rangers ran away with the game, putting up 7 hits over the course of the game and knocking Keuchel out of the game in the sixth.

I had two overall thoughts on the game. The first was that when Ian Kinsler hits a ball, it goes forever. The ball just flies off of his bat. Man. The guy can hit.

My other thought pertained to the Astros right fielder, L.J. Hoes. He initially caught my attention when he kept Kinsler from going first to third on a base hit from Andrus with a strong throw. I know that Kinsler’s fast, and although he didn’t have any real reason to push his luck at that point in the game, it also surprised me that he didn’t try on a hit to right. But I feared that perhaps Hoes didn’t have a bat to go along with his arm, but he’s hitting .275 in 163 at-bats this year. Not too bad at all, and his minor league numbers look similar, so perhaps he he can consistently hit at that level. Hoes also has some speed, with 7 stolen bases and only 1 caught stealing thus far.  In short, he seems to be a pretty decent player (although he had some trouble keeping up with fastballs). I’m not ready to pass final judgement, but I’ll keep an eye on him in the next game.

Now, I’ll tell you about the car. The 2014 Chevy Cruze is a diesel, and it is stunningly quiet. In the cab, you can’t hear the engine at all, which is pretty nice. Additionally, it’s getting about 42 mpg while I’m doing 75 on the highway. I don’t like paying for gas, and it’s not looking like I’ll have to. After the drive to Houston (200+ miles), I still have about 3 quarters of a tank.

The Cruze also has all of the technological features that you could ever want. I’ve started the car with my phone, controlled my iPhone from the steering wheel, and looked up movies right on the home screen. As a technological geek, it’s been nice having everything work together.

My only problem with the car actually has nothing to do with the car at all, but rather with On Star. After the game, driving back to the hotel was a nightmare due to the traffic, and I knew it would be. What I didn’t know was that the police would shut down the road I was supposed to take and reroute all of the traffic. Rather than providing an alternate route, On Star told me to pull a “safe and legal” U-turn and get on the closed road again. I ultimately made it, but I couldn’t help thinking that if Google was in charge of the navigation, I would have been immediately asked if I wanted to avoid event traffic and would have been rerouted out of the entire mess. It’s admittedly a very small complaint, but it was frustrating in a city I didn’t know with heavy traffic.

Anyway, those are my thoughts for the day! You’ll hear from me again after I see one of Mariano Rivera’s last three games. Go Mo!

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