When I left Miller Park after the game, it was an easy trip back to the hotel on the complimentary shuttle provided by Mo’s Irish Pub. I ran into Adam from the UK again and he told me he enjoyed the game, although we did not have much of an opportunity to chat more extensively. I would have liked to hear more about his perspective on the ball park.

I opted not to go into Mo’s and to go back to the hotel since I am still catching up on my posts, and the next day meant a return train ride to Chicago. When I got to my room at the Hilton Garden Inn, I had a pleasant surprise awaiting me. The registration clerk who had been so helpful when I checked-in sent up a plate of fruit and cookies along with the note below

 

Fruit, cookies and a nice note from the staff at the Hilton Garden Inn - Milwaukee

Fruit, cookies and a nice note from the staff at the Hilton Garden Inn – Milwaukee

One of the reasons I like to stay at Hilton properties is that they tend to show guests (particularly their Gold and Platinum Honors members) such extra courtesies. If you’ve ever been a “road warrior”, you can readily appreciate how this extra effort means a lot. I don’t eat a lot of sweets, but the extra jolt of sugar helped me stay up long enough to do some catching-up on my blog posts and then I turned in.

After breakfast, I walked back to the Milwaukee train station to await my train for the 90-minute return ride to Chicago. As I approached the waiting area – to my surprise – were a guy and 2 kids dressed in Phillies/ Eagles gear. They were the same group I had seen briefly at Miller Park the prior evening but had not been able to meet. I went up and greeted them saying: “It’s great to see some other Phillies fans. I noticed you guys at the game last night but could not connect with you then.”

Scott Levy and his two sons, Jack (13) and Luke (11) had indeed been at the game the previous night. I was not sure if they were transplanted Philly folks who now lived in the mid-west or whether they were simply visiting like me. It turned out they were in the latter category.

Scott Levy with his sons Jack and Luke. Awesome Phillies fans.

Scott Levy with his sons Jack and Luke. Awesome Phillies fans.

Scott and his guys are die-hard Philly sports fans and each year they try to hit the road for at least a few Phillies or Eagles pre-season games. Scott grew up in Northeast Philly but now lives in northern NJ 0 in Glen Rock – not too far from Joe and Rali. He commutes into NY for work when he’s not traveling, which he does a fair amount. He works on client assignments of varying durations with start-ups or early stage companies providing general management, revenue-generation or operational leadership. He is a “fix-it and run-it right” expert. More importantly, however, I sense that he is a great Dad to Jack and Luke.

While I did not pry or get into the particulars which are none of my business, he did share that he and the boys Mom divorced and they co-parent these two extremely bright and well-behaved young men. It must be a struggle to share custody and all the responsibilities to make sure kids get through their busy schedules with school, sports and other extra-curricular activities, but my sense is that for Scott this is “Job 1”. His guys are articulate, sociable and well-mannered – behaving the way we all would want our own kids to when in public. It’s no wonder that he’s taken them to several ball parks across the country already – normally to root on the Phils when they visit other opponents. He also shared photos of them in London and Paris and it looks like they have a blast together.

This trio travels light – each with only a mid-sized backpack (including Scott) and they’ve been able to digitize all of their tickets and travel documents making them a paperless trio of travelers. I was amazed to learn that they just moved to a new home just the prior week – and still made this trip notwithstanding boxes being unpacked, and a long punch list of items for the contractor who undertook their renovations have not yet completed.

They were heading back to Chicago to see the Phillies at the Chicago White Sox that evening – as was I – and staying for the game the following night (when I was off to my next stop in Minneapolis). Scott told me they normally get to the park as soon as the gates open and the boys try to shag home run balls in the outfield seats. They also have the social skills to charm some of the big-leaguers into tossing up a ball to them every now and then (and we know how much that makes a kid’s day). Since they were not yet unpacked from their move, they only found one older glove to bring on this trip – and they remembered that literally as they were nearly out the door before leaving on this trip. Their usual mitts were somewhere in those unpacked moving boxes. So here they were, two brothers sharing a glove to indulge in their normal pre-game ritual. It appeared to be working, they each left Miller Park with a souvenir ball the night before and I was sure they’d get a pair that evening prior to the Phils game at US Cellular Field.

Both Scott and the boys had lots of questions about my baseball journey and all of them quizzed me on various ball parks and what were the coolest things I’d seen. I showed them some photos from my phone and provided them the URL to check out my website. By the time we pulled into Union Station, I think Jack had already read several of the posts. And, since I was talking with Scott, across the aisle from where the boys were sitting, I passed them my “Ultimate Baseball Road Trip” book so they could check out some of the write-ups on various parks themselves. I will send the book to Jack and Luke once I finish this road trip since they will have more use for it going forward than I will.

Scott shared with me that it is really challenging for the three of them to see all the ballparks but they are certainly trying. Since they normally can only travel like this when the boys are out of school and their own baseball schedules keep them from traveling much until their respective seasons are completed, it’s hard for them to do major road trips until August.

Scott and I talked about various destinations they still want to visit – like Colorado, Seattle, Arizona and the 2 ball parks in Texas – and I shared my “lessons learned” regarding logistical realities and tips on these particular destinations. Since it’s only a matter of a few years before these 2 guys are drawn to other interests, Scott knows he is “on the clock” to make the most of these next few years with his sons. Somehow, however, I suspect the three of them will want to stick together since it is so blatantly obvious that they genuinely enjoy each other and their time together—and doing it as Phillies fans in “hostile territory” does not phase them one bit.

I hope they read this post and keep in touch. It’s good to meet Phillies fans anywhere. It’s awesome to meet fans as great as these 3 when you least expect it…

Go Phillies…