Gameday Expert – Experience Baseball with a Pro

Wednesday September 14, 2011 at 12:12 AM | 3 Comments

"Ryan Vogelsong"

San Francisco Giants Major League Baseball Pitcher Ryan Vogelsong

Baseball is a bridge.

It connects generations.

It connects genders.

It connects cultures.

It connects us all, convened at the ball park, united with one goal—to cheer the home team to victory.

(Or, if we’re playing the Dodgers, two goals.  We don’t just want to beat them, we want them to look awful.)

Last week, my 11 year-old son, Eric, and I took the bridge to AT&T Park to watch the Giants play the Cubs.  (Technically, we rode Bart, but a Trans Bay Tube destroys the metaphor.)

Experience Gameday with an Expert

Through the services of Pete Rukavina of Gameday Expert, Eric and I had the unique and wonderful experience of attending the game with Bill Laskey, a pitcher for the Giants in the 1980’s.

If baseball is a bridge, stories are the bricks from which that bridge is built.  And Mr. Laskey has a slew of them.

Like the time he hit one out of the park against Tom Seaver.  Sort of.

Or the All-Star team he made, and didn’t.

My favorite story was the one he told about plunking a certain major leaguer in a Spring Training game.  In his first at bat, the guy hit a home run, and according to Laskey, “took about 20 minutes to get around the bases”.  So the next time he comes up, Laskey drilled him.

“You hit a guy in Spring Training?” I asked.

“We hit a lot of guys in Spring Training,” he told me.  And it made sense—you get your point across in a meaningless game.  Brilliant.

These are now stories I can share because he shared them with me.  He has these, and more, for you.

"SF Giants Bill Laskey"

Experience baseball with an expert; San Francisco Giants Pitcher Bill Laskey shares the game with Jeff and Eric Mooers

Stories from a baseball fan

I am a true baseball fan, and I consider myself a student of the game.  But this was special.  A chance to go behind the ropes, and ask a REAL major leaguer WHATEVER I wanted.  Laskey is a wonderful guy, and holds nothing back.  It is not easy to find an opportunity for a true fan to get an insider’s perspective.  Pete Rukavina has created just that with Gameday Expert.

It’s not a bad gig for Pete, either.  Imagine if attending games with major leaguers was your JOB.  That’s a pretty nice office, and pretty cool staff.  Pete was a perfect host.  He’s a huge fan.  He provided Eric and me with unique and thoughtful gifts.  And he has an app on his phone that showed the location of each pitch in real time.  So I got to tell the umpire he was a bum, again.  But this time I had evidence. He doesn’t usually attend the game with his clients, but we were lucky to have him there.

Laskey was fantastic with Eric.  At one point, Eric was texting his friend.  Usually I would not allow such atrocious ballpark behavior, but he was pretty excited, so I cut him some slack.

Laskey didn’t.  He grabbed the phone, and took the opportunity to send a text himself.

How many 6th graders have a text from a San Francisco Giant on their phones?

Oh, and we got to meet Orlando Cepeda.  Laskey saw him in the crowd and asked me if I thought Eric would like to meet him.

“Who cares?”  I yelled.  “The Baby Bull?  I want to meet him!”

So we were introduced to Orlando Cepeda.  It’s not what you know…..

Experience Gameday for yourself

I can’t promise that your Gameday Expert experience will be like ours.  In fact, I can promise it won’t.  That’s part of the beauty.

Bill Laskey was the perfect expert.  He played the game.  He’s still close to the Giants, and has been for 30 years.  He’s knowledgeable, and more important, he’s open to answer anything.

Gameday Expert is a great fit for a baseball fan who wants to take it to the next level.  Both Eric and I enjoyed it, because there was Bill Laskey, sitting between us—a bridge.

If You Go:

Pete Rukavina  408.832.1999 to book an event.

The cost for 3 is $1,500 and includes great seats and several giveaways.

But it really is, in a way, priceless.

What are your favorite things to do in San Francisco? If you are into social media, follow Gameday Expert on Twitter or friend them on Facebook.  For all things travel-related, follow travel expert Nancy D. Brown on Twitter.

This guest post was written by baseball fan Jeff Mooers.  Jeff was a guest of Pete Rukavina and Game Day Expert.

Related Post:

Things to Do in San Francisco, CA

Things to See and Do in Bend and Central Oregon

Friday September 9, 2011 at 12:12 AM | 3 Comments

"Deschutes River" "Central Oregon"

Kayak or canoe the Deschutes River in Central Oregon

Beer drinkers delight in Bend Ale Trail

Will your travels take you to Central Oregon? Visitors definitely won’t want to miss The Bend Ale Trail.  Bend probably has more microbreweries per capita than any other city in the state!

You can download the free app for iPhone or Droid, and get a passport from Visit Bend so you can make the rounds gathering stamps and beer samples. If you’d prefer not to meander on your own, and easy way to knock out four of the seven bend breweries in a fairly short time is with The Bend Brew Bus from Wanderlust Tours.

Wanderlust actually has a TON of really fabulous tours, ranging from caving to moonlight kayak and everything in between.

For visitors interested in trying mountain biking, the folks at CogWild offer great tours for riders ranging from first-timers to experienced cyclists.

Traveling with kids?

If you are traveling with kids, there is SO MUCH to do in Bend. I’ve mentioned before that my husband is from Oregon and I went to school at University of Oregon. There is plenty of activity to keep the kids busy from the Lava River Cave at Newberry National Volcanic Monument to whitewater rafting the Big Eddy Thriller. Kids can feed the fish at Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery in Camp Sherman or take pictures with eagles at the High Desert Museum.

Bend, Oregon eats

Velvet and Astro Lounge are two  “typically Bend” hotspots if you’re looking for a way to kick off an evening with good drinks and appetizers. The food is a little better at Astro, the service is better at Velvet. If you’re trying to hit happy hour, start at Astro. Theirs goes ‘til 7 p.m. and is particularly good.

Blacksmith feels a tiny bit more upscale, but still has a really cool feel and excellent drinks and apps. Good history, too.  High end Bend dining? Try Ariana Restaurant.

McMenamins at the old Saint Francis school is a neat place. Their soaking tub is pretty cool, and O’Kane’s at the back of the property offers a nice place to sit by the fire pits at the end of an evening and sip a local craft beer. There’s also Brother Jon’s, 10 Barrel Brewing Co. and Zydeco – get the house-smoked trout dip!

"trout fishing in Central Oregon"

Fish on in Central Oregon! Kyle Connolly reels in a 6 pound, 25 inch trout

If you want to squeeze in a nicer dinner, try 900 Wall.

Another AMAZING restaurant that’s a little outside the downtown area is Trattoria Sbandati. Still walkable from downtown, but a bit off the beaten path. Some of the best food in Bend, but the location is teeny-tiny, so you’ll need reservations.

Best bets for breakfast or lunch, close to downtown, Jackson’s Corner is a great local fave, as is Alpenglow. Ditto for Chow. All three specialize in locally-produced ingredients, super fresh, unique food. You might also like:

  • Bellatazza, downtown Bend
  • Thump, downtown Bend
  • Backporch, two locations in Bend
  • Nancy P’s Bakery
"horseback riding by Deschutes River"

Debi Smith of Seventh Mountain Resort Stables, horseback riding on the banks of the Deschutes River


Looking for a little spa time after all that outdoor exercise? Check out Anjou Spa in Bend or Shibui Spa at FivePine Lodge in Sisters, Oregon.

When you want to send a home made postcard  from Central Oregon, get your picture taken at Smith Rock State Park with the monkey face in the background. (You’ll know what I’m talking about when you see it.)

The Old Mill District in Bend offers great views and is the best place to watch or experience headliner and free summer concerts, in addition to annual sporting events!

Looking for a little exercise? Try the Upper Deschutes River Trail - also a good place to go fishing.

The Bend Bulletin is the local paper in town. Go Magazine is published on Friday’s. The Source Weekly is, well, the weekly newspaper.

There’s always something going on in Bend/Central Oregon.

  • 2011 USGA of Cyclocross – The Deschutes Brewery Cup – Bend, Oregon, December 10th and 11th, 2011
  • Munch n’ Music
  • Bend Farmer’s Market

Pole, Pedal, Paddle take place in the spring time, as does pond skimming at Mt. Bachelor (you gotta see it, to believe it.)

Visiting Bend in the summer? Join in on Downtown Bend’s Old Fashioned Fourth of July Pet Parade.

"world class golf in Central Oregon"

Did you know that Central Oregon is known for world-class golf? Thomas, four-years-old, from Portland, Oregon, takes a swing.

Did you know that Central Oregon is also known for world-class golf? Surrounded by the Cascades, most offer spectacular views, but the following are stunning gems in the fall:

  • Crosswater Club at Sunriver Resort
  • Aspen Lakes in Sisters
  • Crooked River Ranch
  • Black Butte Ranch

Come to Central Oregon for skiing, snowboarding and other snow-play at Mt. Bachelor in the winter.

What are your favorite things to do in Bend, Oregon?

Related Posts:

Things to See and Do in Sunriver, Oregon

Horseback Riding at Long Hollow Ranch, Sisters, Oregon

Thanks to Kristine and Visit Central Oregon and Tawna and Visit Bend for assistance with this post.  Photos and YouTube video by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown

Sea Pines Golf Resort, Los Osos, California Golf Review

Friday September 2, 2011 at 12:12 AM | 1 Comment

Sea Pines Golf Resort, Los Osos, Calfornia, golf,

Sea Pines Golf Resort Golf Course Review

Sea Pines Golf Resort – perfect for beginners

Sea Pines Golf Resort in Los Osos, California just outside of Morro Bay, is a neat, little tune up course and perfect for beginners. The par 31, nine hole course is a casual place to have a quick, laid back round with friends accompanied by a friendly, lenient pro-staff. The Sea Pines Golf Resort does a great job with all it has to offer, from deceptive greens, a forced carry and other water hazards, to picturesque views of Morro Rock and the Pacific Ocean. To have the opportunity to introduce your kids to golf on a modest little nine hole course in the central California sun is a chance you won’t  want to miss.

What are your favorite things to do in Los Osos, California?

If You Go:

Sea Pines Golf Resort 1.888.732.7463

1945 Solano Street
Los Osos, CA 93402


This review of Sea Pines Golf Resort is a guest post by Evan Brown. Evan is a high school student and avid golfer. Evan was a guest of Sea Pines Golf Resort.

Related Posts:

Best Things to Do in Cambria, California

Best Things to Do in San Luis Obispo, California

Photo courtesy of Sea Pines Golf Resort website.