Ahhh! Train Travel and Baseball!
Every April, I attend the NARP Spring Meeting in Washington, DC, and as soon as the dates are announced, I check the Red Sox schedule to see where they will be playing immediately before and after the NARP dates. This year, I struck gold.
This year our meetings begin on the 23rd of April and end on the 26th, and the Red Sox will play a three game series in Toronto on the 18th, 19th and 20th. And—I do believe in miracles!—two days after our meetings end, they will play the first of three games with the Chicago Cubs in Boston. Any baseball fan can tell you the significance of that series.
Not that I needed any, but the games in Toronto provided justification for yet another ride on VIA Rail’s premier train, The Canadian, from Vancouver to Toronto. This early in the year, the train only operates twice a week in each direction, but a Friday departure from Vancouver means a Tuesday morning arrival in Toronto with the first game of the series that very evening. Perfect timing!
As soon as the Blue Jays put their tickets on sale, I bought a seat to each of those games in Toronto.
In the meantime, I booked my travel arrangements: Hawaiian Airlines to Seattle and Amtrak to Vancouver . . . a “cabin for one” on VIA’s train #2 to Toronto . . . from there to New York City on the Maple Leaf . . . and an Acela the next day to Washington.
The morning after the end of the meetings, I’m back on Amtrak for the ride up to Boston. Following the Cub series, I booked the Lake Shore Limited to Chicago, connecting with the Empire Builder to Seattle.
From Seattle to Portland on the Coast Starlight—See? I really do go out of my way to ride in the Pacific Parlour Car—and Hawaiian Airlines back to Maui from there.
All that remained were the Sox-Cubs tickets. I checked the Red Sox website several times a day for weeks and finally, a few days ago, tickets for the Cubs’ series went on sale. I immediately clicked on the date for the first game and was greeted with a notice that said
CURRENTLY, NO TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE FOR THIS GAME.
PLEASE TRY BACK LATER.
The same notice popped up for the other two games.
Seriously? The Red Sox have no tickets to sell for what will be the three most popular games of the regular season? Of course, we all know who does have tickets: the legal scalpers . . . the ticket brokers like Ace Tickets, Stub Hub, and a half dozen others.
I was screwed, of course, because all my travel arrangements had been made. So I bit the bullet, went to Ace Tickets and bought three so-so seats, one for each game. The cost? Don’t ask. And if you have an intelligent guess, please do NOT share it with my wife.