300 FOLLOWERS

It might not seem like much, but I have hit another milestone in my blogging journey.

300 FOLLOWERS!

All I can say is thank you and God Bless all of you for going on this blogging journey with me.

When I started my blog I really didn’t think that ANYONE would be interested in what to do in a city after you’ve gone to that baseball , hockey , football , and basketball game .

They wanted to know what to see in a city but I didn’t think anybody would care about my trips to a sporting event, what goes in my suitcase when I travel, why my blog is called 30 Plus Teams 30 Plus Dreams and definately why I call myself the Sports Diva.

Boy was I wrong.

Some of you do care and you follow every post that I put on my blog .

300 plus followers to be exact.

For that, I thank you and hope that you continue to follow me and enjoy reading my posts.

I will try to give the best that I can as long as the good Lord allows me to continue writing, travelling, attending sporting events, giving you monthly travel quotes, and yeah, telling you what’s in my suitcase.

Thank you all again .

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A VISIT TO BYWARD MARKET

If you happen to visit Canada’s capital, Ottawa, besides seeing the Parliament Building , take a visit to Byward Market .

It’s been around since 1928 but refurbished in 1978.

It reminded my friend and I of two places that we both have seen a lot .

Chelsea Market in New York City and Faneuil Hall in Boston .

There’s stores, bars, restaurants and the area surrounding the market is the home of the Prime Minister and the United States embassy.

Yes it’s that close to Parliament Hill .

Byward Market is in Downtown Ottawa and the area around it has all sorts of stalls.

Even though the weather wasn’t great, there were snow showers, my friend and I explored the area.

The smell of Christmas trees and wreaths, as well as the bakery where my friend brought some gluten free cupcakes smelled so heavenly.

There was even a small store in the neighborhood that was like the store Big Lots here in the United States.

Of course we had to check it out and shop again .

Don’t judge me,okay?

We didn’t eat that other Canadian delicacy , Beaver Tails, which is pastry in the shape of a beaver’s tail.

We did check out a chocolate and candy shop and my friend just had to buy 2 candy apples, one of which she had wrapped so that she could bring it back to the United States.

After we left Byward Market , it was time to go back to the hotel and rest up a little but.

After all, this was a 30 Plus Teams Tour we were on.

We had a hockey game at the Canadian Tire Centre to go to that night.

SPORTS DIVA’S GUIDE TO GETTING CHEAP SPORTS TICKETS

Many thanks to blogger Itinerary Planner for suggesting a post like this.

(Check out her blog, Travel Itinerary for tips even if you aren’t doing a 30 Plus Teams Tour . )

You’re going to either Dallas, Houston , Los Angeles , Miami, or even Tampa – St. Pete for a little rest and relaxation , right?

ABSOLUTELY!

But this is a 30 Plus Teams Tour , remember, so you’ll be going to a sporting event whether it be a baseball , hockey, football or basketball game .

It might be your favorite team that you’re going to see, or a team that you really don’t like, but you want to see a game anyway .

Or it could be a team or sport that you know nothing about , but you want to take in everything in the city.

Besides, all the travel guidebooks about the United States and Canada all say that this is something you should do when visiting both countries, so why not?

Set some money aside and join in the fun at a game.

This is where the Sports Diva comes in.

I’m going to give you some tips for getting to a game on “the cheap”.

I should tell you that as much as I love to watch football and some of the stadiums are on my bucket list , attending an American football game, aka the NFL , can be VERY expensive , depending on the team.

A lot of fans either get their tickets from other fans who don’t go to the game or the majority of them are seasons ticket holders and there’s no way in hell they’re giving up those seats, unless the team is really bad or moves to another city, which seems to happen a lot in the National Football League.

I rarely go to the football games, because as much as I love football, the Sports Diva isn’t mortgaging the house for the most popular sport in the United States .

Instead, I’m going to tell you about the three sports whose games I attend the most, baseball, basketball and hockey.

Let’s say you’re in New York City , and you want to attend a New York Knicks basketball game.

Sounds good, but don’t even think that you’re going to get a cheap seat right on the basketball court so that you can yell and scream at Kevin Durant and Steph Curry, along with the rest of the Golden State Warriors .

That’s not going to happen in any basketball arena no matter if you’re in New York City to see the Knicks or if you’re in Memphis to watch the Grizzlies .

We’re talking cheap tickets, not blow your budget on your trip.

You have other things to do while on your 30 Plus Teams Tour .

You want tickets at a reasonable price .

Depending on the team, you can get tickets from the team’s own website, from NBA tickets.com, or a third seller .

I happen to use a site called VividSeats.com, but there are others.

I use VividSeats.com for hockey and baseball tickets also.

Don’t worry if you think these tickets are fake, they’re very legitimate and they’re the seats that ticket holders don’t want .

If you’re from another country, keep in mind that you might not be able to use some of the websites that I mention, so your best bet is to just go onto the team’s own website.

You want to attend a hockey game while you’re in town?

Depending on the city or team, tickets are fairly inexpensive.

If you happen to be in a city like Toronto , Montreal , or New York City , hockey tickets are some of the most expensive due to corporations buying up tickets and giving them to clients, who spend most of the game on their phones and not watching the game.

They hardly have a clue who any of the players are.

If you happen to go to a game, you can spot these “fugazy fans” a mile away .

They’re the ones in the suits or the team apparel that they just bought from the team’s store a few hours before the game started and they and the person they brought to the game with them , are taking selfies like they’re the newest hot model.

But I digress , and I’ll talk more about these posers passing as fans in another blog post.

When I go to a hockey game, I get my tickets in a couple of different ways.

You can go on the NHL ticket exchange, the team’s own website or have a friend that’s a season ticket holder.

That last option only works if you know someone in the city that you’re going to visit.

As with basketball , don’t get it twisted.

For some unknown reason, people who go to a hockey game either want to sit directly behind the glass or next to or behind the benches of either team.

These aren’t cheap seats, no matter how good or bad the team is.

The whole purpose of going to a game is to do it as cheaply as possible .

Sitting right behind the glass just isn’t it.

While I’m throwing out tips, let me give you a real important tip on seeing a hockey game on the cheap.

The higher up you sit, the more action you’ll be able to see, and believe me, this is a sport where you don’t want to miss ANY action.

If it’s too expensive to see a NewYork Rangers hockey game at Madison Square Garden , you’re in luck.

The New York and New Jersey area have two other hockey teams.

One plays in Brooklyn at the Barclay’s Center and the other one plays at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey .

Tickets for both of these teams are very inexpensive and the good news is that you can get to both of these arenas by public transportation if you happen to be anywhere in the New York City area.

The last sport, baseball, is the cheapest of all, no matter what stadium you watch it in.

You can sit in the bleachers, behind home plate, behind the dugouts, where the teams come out of, and the nosebleed seats.

You can even do standing room, which isn’t as bad as its sounds, and you’ll be able to see EVERYTHING.

For baseball, there are several different ways to get cheap seats if you want to see a game.

You can go to the team’s own website of course, a third party, and MLB.com.

(That stands for Major League Baseball . )

There’s another way as well.

Depending on the team, you can walk right up to the window at the stadium either the day of the game, or on a “do nothing in town” day and buy your tickets.

It’s hard to do this with any other sport but baseball, and who knows, you might be at a game where it’s “giveaway day”.

You might leave the game with a team scarf, hat, jacket or a bobblehead of the team mascot or a current or former player .

One word of warning though, and this applies to all three sports.

Beware of people approaching you and asking if you either need or are selling tickets.

Just say no and keep it moving.

These people are scalpers and by and large the tickets they’re trying to sell you are bogus.

You want cheap but don’t take it to the point where you’ll get embarrassed or in jail.

Scalping is illegal in most of the United States .

Do your homework before you leave.

Check the team’s schedule to make sure that they’re going to be in town.

If you have friends that live in the city that you’re going to, ask them if they want to go to the game too.

If so, send the money or give it to them at the game.

I dont need to tell you how many times I’ve done this.

Another thing you could do if you happen to have friends in the city is get a big group together and get a suite at the arena or stadium.

That might sound great, but do you really want to see the game in a place where you have unlimited food and drinks or do you want to be where the action is , near the other fans?

I can see many of you saying , “I’ll take unlimited food and drink for 1,000, Alex.”

Also in some of these cases, you won’t get a paper ticket.

It’s all mobile now so have your phone ready because it’s going to be scanned by ushers as you enter the building .

Don’t worry if the name on the ticket isn’t yours.

It’s the name of the person who sold the ticket.

Here are some of the websites to use:

MLB.Com

Ticketmaster.com

VividSeats.com

NBA tickets.com

SeatGeek.com

NFL.com – Good luck finding an inexpensive football ticket. If you find a seat for less than $100, depending on the team, go for it.

NHL Ticket Exchange is part of Ticketmaster, so let’s say you’re doing a 30 Plus Teams Tour of Vancouver , Canada and you want to see a game up there .

Go on your mobile device and plug in NHL Ticket Exchange Vancouver Canucks and it will bring you right there.

Whew!

Sorry that this post was so long and I want to thank Itinerary Planner for suggesting it.

Leave me a comment in the comment section if you want more ideas about seeing a game cheaply.

As usual , thank you so much for liking and supporting my blog .

I’M JO JO AND I’M A SPORTS ADDICT

Fellow blogger, Bill Fonda, from Bill’s Writing Place, which I suggest you check out, wrote a post in his blog titled “Sports is a drug”.

Now if you know me or even if you just know me by my blog, my crazy love of sports should tell you that I just had to read this post.

Of course I’m going to put in my two cents because after all, on Instagram I’m known as “Puck Princess 62″, but most people know me as ‘The Sports Diva”.

Bill is right.

Sports are a drug, just as much as alcohol, cocaine, and gambling are.

Ironically , many of us do gamble on sports, and we even have , “fantasy teams” that we bet on.

Sports can be just as dangerous as those other addictions .

Many soccer fans may remember that during the World Cup, the tragic story of Colombia soccer player Escobar, who was killed when he returned to his country by a “fan”.

His “crime”?

He scored the winning goal- for the other team.

That’s right, he put the ball into his own net by mistake.

Many fans don’t go to that extreme, thank God .

It seems to happen a lot in soccer.

Can we say “soccer hooligans “?

The United States isn’t immune from this addiction , and I always tell people who don’t live in the country about the three things that you really don’t discuss with Americans .

Politics Religion , and Sports .

For some reason, sports seems to make us act differently than we normally do.

What happens to people,men and women, whenever a sporting event comes on, no matter what the sport is?

The most mild mannered people seem to turn into raving lunatics.

Since we’re confessing here, I am one of those people who act as crazy as hell when a sporting event comes on.

I rarely get angry at anything or anyone, but let there be a game on.

I will swear like a sailor , using all sorts of curse words that my parents and the nuns at school certainly didn’t teach me.

I will yell and scream loudly at the tv or radio, calling the players, managers , and referees every name except the names that their mamas gave them.

I will even call into the radio sports talk shows and give my opinion also.

I’m not the only one who’s gone to a game in person and acted the fool.

I know my limits though.

I’m not going to go start a fight with ushers, security or fans so that I can get thrown out.

I’m addicted to sports but not that addicted.

Besides, I paid good money for these seats and my brand new team jersey that I bought just for this game to get thrown out.

Like an addict looking for the next fix or drink , sports have made us dependent on it as well.

Many of us count down the days until the season starts up again, and we look at the team’s schedule so that we can plan trips accordingly .

Been there, done that. How do you think 30 Plus Teams , 30 Plus Dreams started?

Some sports fans even name their children and or pets after their favorite player.

I even have named my stuffed animals and electronic gadgets after my favorite baseball , football , or hockey player.

Don’t judge me , okay?

There’s no intervention for being a “sports addict” or even if one likes sports just a little too much.

What does one do if their significant other is so into sports that nothing else really matters?

If you’ve been married a long or even short period of time, sorry divorce is not an option .

Please don’t get to the point where you have to offer an ultimatum .

“It’s you either like the Golden State Warriors or me. CHOOSE!”

Don’t do it, pardon the pun, but you’re going to lose that bet almost every time.

Try to accept that your boyfriend or girlfriend really does like sports and it really isn’t the end of the world if they like sports and you don’t.

Get upset if the family funds seem to be used for gambling on sports, a lot.

Then it’s ‘Houston, we have a problem ‘

Learn to tolerate your sports nut if they turn into someone that you don’t recognize when a boxing match comes on.

If all else fails, it’s not the end of the world .

Move on and maybe find another person who isn’t a sports nut.

Yeah, good luck with that .

TAKING IN A PITTSBURGH PENGUINS HOCKEY GAME

T

he final stop on my 30 Plus Teams Tour of Pittsburgh was, what else?

Attending a sporting event.

This time because baseball season hadn’t started, and the football team, the Steelers had finished their season, I decided to see the team that just happens to be the defending hockey champions , the Pittsburgh Penguins .

It was the day after my birthday, the hotel is right next door, why not go?

No actually this is a 30 Plus Teams Tour and one the first things you do on a 30 Plus Teams Tour is check to see what teams are playing when you’ll be in the city.

I checked the schedule for the Penguins, found out that they would be playing the San Jose Sharks and called up a girlfriend who lived in the city and got us tickets for the game.

Penguins tickets are always hard to get because of the popularity of the team so I was really lucky to get these.

Word of advice from the Sports Diva, if you think tickets are too expensive on the team’s own website, try one of the second party dealers like Stub Hub, NBA ticket exchange, NHL Ticket exchange or even Vivid Seats .

Don’t worry if the name on the ticket isn’t yours.

More than likely, it’s a season ticket holder who for some reason or another doesn’t want to or can’t attend the game.

The night of game there was a lot of snow, and it was 25 degrees, but since my hotel was right next door, no worries .

As I was just getting over being sick you’d better believe that I was dressed warmly, even though I still was dressed like the sports team apparel fashionista that I am .

This arena used to be known as the Consol Energy Arena, but as with most sports arenas these days, when a company goes out of business and a new company takes over, they have the right to change the name of the arena to whatever they want , no matter how really silly the name sounds.

The arena is now known as the Pittsburgh Paints Arena , and our seats are in the 200 section.

That may seem high, but compared to other hockey arenas in the United States and Canada , it really isn’t .

We can see the ice, the flags of the United States and Canada and the five championship banners hanging from the rafters.

What you can’t see from your seat on the ice, just look up at the big scoreboard.

You’ll see everything there , including graffics urging you to make some noise .

As a New Yorker, I find this kind of funny.

You don’t need to tell us to get loud or make some noise at a sporting event or any where else.

It’s in the DNA, I guess.

I had been to a Penguins game a few times but this time I really noticed just how reserved and quiet the fans were.

The team does have a mascot, Iceburgh, who gets the fans hyped up with his antics and drum beating, and of course , fans scream out every once and awhile , “Let’s Go Pens!”

But once again, it wasn’t with the excitement and passion that I’ve heard at other arenas, like New Jersey, Philadelphia and Boston, let alone in Toronto at a Blue Jays baseball game .

Could it be that because the team has been doing well thst Penguins fans have been really spoiled by their team?

I don’t know .

I had a good time at the game as the Penguins won, but it didn’t feel like a sports atmosphere.

It felt more like being at a boring concert with people sitting on their hands waiting for something to happen .

Sorry Pittsburgh , I expected better from you when taking in Pittsburgh Penguins hockey game .

RIDING THE LIGHT RAIL IN PITTSBURGH

It’s not really a subway like you’d find in New York , it’s a light rail like you find in other cities.

Given that the unofficial colors of the city are black and yellow , I expected the two train lines to be the same colors.

They aren’t .

They’re the Blue and Red lines.

The transportation department in Pittsburgh is called the Port Authority of Pittsburgh , but for some reason they call it “The T”.

The light rail doesn’t run all night, but here’s the best part if you happen to be in Downtown Pittsburgh and let’s say you want to go to either a Pittsburgh Pirates , Penguins, or Steelers game.

Unless you start at Station Square, you pay nothing .

It’s free.

If you get on at Station Square, you have to dish out $2.75.

The stations are very clearly marked not only with a grey letter T on it, but with the name of the train station.

If you get lost or need some transit info, some one dressed in a yellow jacket will help you .

The trains have only two cars but there seems to be seats for everyone .

They’re clean and there are signs everywhere to tell you what’s allowed and what isn’t .

You get a nice view of the city and the surrounding area as well.

This is a good way to sightsee as well.

You can’t be free no matter how hard you try.

Let’s say you want to play the slots while you’re in town.

The Rivers Casino is in the same neighborhood as Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers football team.

You get off at the train station, Allegheny, and there’s the casino almost across the street.

Are you going to see the Pirates play at PNC Park or the Penguins at PPG Arena? (of course you are. This is a 30 Plus Teams Tour of Pittsburgh after all.)

The light rail can get you to both places , just get off at the North Shore and Steel Plaza train stations and walk.

The light rail is a good way to get around the city, and in some cases you didn’t have to pay a thing.