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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Ballgames and Space Shuttles

The space shuttle Endeavor takes off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., May 16, 2011, as seen from the Max Brewer Bridge in Titusville.

See that picture right there? I have the Florida Marlins, the baseball scheduling gods and a friend's wedding shower to thank for that.

That's the space shuttle Endeavor taking off from Cape Canaveral May 16. My wife and I got to see it take off from nearby Titusville, fulfilling a childhood dream to see a shuttle take off. Before I was into baseball as a kid, I was into space.

And it's something I never would have seen, had it not been for the Marlins getting their agreement with the City of Miami for their new stadium, and the baseball schedulers getting the Cubs to Florida when they were.

This is the first opportunity I've had to recount our recent vacation. We spent May 14 to May 21 in The Sunshine State, packing all sorts of adventures into our short week there. For blog purposes, we hit hit three ball games, a Cubs-Marlins-Streaker game and two in the Florida State League.

A sign at Tutusville.

At the games, we saw three CMC set members at work, though I was unable to set up any interviews. I'll get some pictures and some accounts of those up sometime here.

But, for now, I'll just recount how we happened to be in Florida to see what is to be the second-to-last ever launch of a space shuttle.

The reason we were there was for the Marlins. They're building their new stadium there, set to open next year. That leaves this year as the last for the old stadium, Joe Robbie/Pro Player/Dolphins/Land Shark/Sun Life Stadium.

Now, the Marlins stadium is no baseball cathedral by any means, as I'll get into more in depth in a separate post. But it was home to two World Series winners and I'd even gotten to see one of those clinchers, the 2003 clincher at Yankee Stadium.

The walk to the Max Brewer Bridge in Titusville for the morning launch.

We'd done the same thing in 2009, planning a trip so we could see a game in the final year of the Metrodome.

We set up the Florida trip last winter. I'd never been to Florida, my wife had lived there for a couple years when she was young. I wanted to go in early April, but that was out. That's where the friend's wedding shower came in. My wife had to go to that.

Then I looked at the schedule. Well, the Cubs, my favorite team, were in Miami May 18 and 19. That was the obvious second choice. That was when we scheduled the trip.

It was only after we scheduled it, and purchased the plane tickets, that I remembered the shuttle. We were going to be in the neighborhood of Cape Canveral. When was the next launch? In April.

Had I thought of that, probably would have ditched the Cubs' series and scheduled it for that week. Good thing I didn't. A scheduling conflict, and a equipment failure, delayed the launch all the way to May 16. The exact week we'd be there.

The shadow of the space shuttle's trail as seen across the low-hanging clouds from Titusville.

It was awesome.

I did have to trade a trip to see the Rays in Tampa for the launch. But that was fine. We just picked up an extra Florida State League game, at Port St. Lucie.

For more information, especially for the last launch in July, check out I came across the site while researching our trip and it had everything to prepare us for what to expect.


  1. I saw the shuttle from space shuttle park... I am thinking about going back in july. Just to confirm these pictures were taken from the bridge? I think they are better than mine. If you were on the bridge, do you have any tips or suggestions?

  2. Yup, we were on the bridge. We ended up about midway up. Though we didn't realize it, had we gone up further, a stretch of the bridge has an island blocking the view.
    Anway, looks like I forgot to put up the coolest link.
    this is the link that helped us choose where to go and see what to expect. That site had everything. Good luck.