Jun 8, 2023

Driving Two Hours Through The Apocalypse For Pizza

Butler Pike - Conshohocken, PA
This was the longest road trip that I've ever taken for two slices of pizza, but in fairness to Conshohocken Pizza on the Butler Pike, it was pretty damn good.

Dad and I had tickets to see last night's game between the Phillies and the Tigers.  The game was intended to kick off with a tribute to Tigers designated hitter and future first ballot Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera.  This is Cabrera's final season in baseball.  In addition to being the first Triple Crown winner since 1967 and one of only three players in history with 3,000 hits and 500 home runs (the other two being Hank Aaron and Willie Mays), the 20 year veteran has the distinction of being the last active player who has played a game at Veterans Stadium.

Unfortunately, smoke from the Canadian wildfires has covered much of the northeast with an grey or orange haze that they say is unhealthy to breathe for extended periods of time.  I'm still a bit unclear on what "unhealthy" means in this context.  Obviously it's not good, but lots of things are unhealthy and I'd like to know how big of a risk this is.  Is it as bad as eating a Big Mac, or smoking a pack of cigarettes, or shooting up heroin?  I'm not sure where this falls on the fast food to hard drugs scale, but I am pretty sure that it's a good idea to avoid doing anything that could cause you to breathe heavily outside, so I expected that last night's game was going to be cancelled.

My house is about 100 miles from Citizens Bank Park.  I can make it there in two hours if conditions are perfect and I speed down the turnpike, but it usually ends up being closer to three hours with traffic on the Schuylkill Expressway.  The gates opened at 4:30, and a performance by Jawn Of The Dead was scheduled for around the same time on Ashburn Alley, so we had to leave at around 1:30 if we wanted to be sure to get there in time for the show.

I called the Phillies ticket office just after noon yesterday and was assured that the game was still being played as of right now, and if they were going to postpone due to air quality that the decision would be made before 1:00 pm and I'd be notified on the app that held my tickets.  I also checked their website and found that there was no plans to cancel the game.

We arrived at the ballpark at around 4:00 pm and nothing seemed out of the ordinary with the exception of the haze in the air.  To be honest, it looked nothing like the dark orange skylines that I've seen on the news.  It just looked foggy; not much different than a day when you'd expect that a thunderstorm may be coming.  There were fans lined up at every gate and all the things you'd expect to find at the ballpark a half hour before the gates open up to let people in.  The Phillies announced their starting lineup, and both Scott Lauber of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Matt Gelb of The Athletic reported just over a half hour before the ballpark was scheduled to open that manager Rob Thomson confirmed that the game was being played.  So, we had a little time to kill before the gates opened at 4:30 so we headed across the street for a couple of beers before the game.

The news came while we were on our way back to the ballpark.

It's a bummer that the game was cancelled, but I get it.  There's a serious issue with the air quality in Philadelphia right now, and playing an MLB game in this is not worth the risk.  So, why would I even drive down to the ballpark if I felt this way?  Because if I didn't and they played the game anyway, I would have just wasted the tickets.  They don't refund your money or exchange your tickets if the game is played and you don't show up.

My problem is not with the fact that the game was cancelled, but with the timing.  The issue with the air quality was known well in advance, but they kept saying that they were still going to play the game.  Hell, the manager of the team confirmed it 40 minutes before the game was cancelled.  Ticket holders were put in the position to either risk wasting the tickets if the game was on, or risk wasting their gas (and PTO time) going to the ballpark for a game that is cancelled.  They could have easily made this announcement at noon, but they chose not to.

Fox 29 Philadelphia were on the scene to report about the postponement of the game, and my status as King of the B-Roll is as strong as ever.  At least they didn't catch me eating this time.

We did grab some food, and that's where this comes full circle to Conshohocken Pizza.  We both had the Cheesesteak Pizza, and it was the best pizza that I remember having in a long time.  I'm not sure if it's worth a two hour drive through an atmosphere that's being described as hazardous by every media outlet in the country, but it's pretty damn good nevertheless.

If you find yourself in Conshohocken at a time when the area isn't being talked about in apocalyptic terms, I highly recommend stopping in for a slice and a Coke... and if that's not a review worthy of printing on the cover of their next menu, I don't know what is.