While visiting a few Major League Baseball Parks in the process. [fimg=left]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/501/2012_Hyundai_SH.jpg[/fimg]Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - May 30, 2012 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid - $25,850 to start and a 35/40 mpgUS city/highway rating. When planning to visit with Chris (MaxxMPG) in NY City, I made a request to some friends at Hyundai to see if there was a Sonata available I could use while in the Big Apple. Another request was for a lunch meeting while I am in San Diego to see my son off to San Diego State in Mid June. One thing leads to another and I find out there is a Sonata Hybrid stranded on the East Coast that needs to find its way back safely home to Costa Mesa, CA. Hmmmm? A big rig hauling a car carrier can hold what, 7 or 8 mid-size cars? 6 mpg tops and you have 48 MPGe (equivalent). Hey wait a minute; 48 mpg is a minor league accomplishment in one of those. Hey Jim, how about we... I think you all know where this is going 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid The last time we spent some time behind the wheel of a Sonata Hybrid was during the 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Transcontinental Challenge. That drive was completed in a 2011 prototype and it ended up with a 60.x mpg result. This time we have a fully loaded red 2012 with all the fixins including leather, heated seats front and rear, leather-wrapped wheel & shift knob, auto-dimming rearview with compass, panoramic sunroof, 17-inch alloys, Navi with a rear backup camera, Infinity premium audio system, HD Radio with multicasting, SiriusXM, NavTraffic, NavWeather and Sports & Stocks, HVAC multi-mode button and chromed door sill plates. Say that in a single sentence without taking a breath! All the size (104 cu. ft. of interior volume), style (can you say fluidic ), safety (IIHS Top Safety Pick and 5-Stars on the NHTSA) and luxury (read above) that just so happens to sport a 40 mpgUS highway rating for under $26K to start. Ok, a wee bit more than that with the Ultimate Package added. 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Interior How can someone possibly endure living within these "friendly confines" for two plus weeks An All-American Road Trip – A Long Drive to Arrive Safely Home With a touch over two weeks to travel from NY City to LA, what could one possibly do while behind the wheel of one of the premiere highway cruisers available in all of North America? Visit a few National Parks? Possibly. Take in some historic landmarks? Sure, that would be nice. Instead why not visit a few Major League Ball Parks along the route? After all, this is an American road trip and what a better way to take a rest than from a seat within one of America’s big game ball parks while enjoying our "National Pastime" with a Hot Dog and soda in hand. While most would consider ordering tickets ahead of time, I am going to do it the old fashioned way. The Schedule Two weeks, 3,000 miles and 30 Major league ball clubs to choose from. Beginning in NY on June 1st and ending up in LA on the 17th, what fits? With a little sleuthing at mlb.com, the Yanks are not in town but the Mets are. Mets (28-22) face the Cards (27-23) at Citi field on June 1st with a 07:10 PM start so we’ll try that to catch that one first. Traveling down I-80 at a good clip should see me past Cleveland in approximately 8 hours. A few hours of sleep and… Hey, the Tribe (27-23) are playing the Twins (18-32) on Saturday night June 2nd at Progressive Field with an 07:15 PM start. Maybe we can catch that one too? Detroit is a bit out of the way up I-75 so maybe we’ll wait until we hit Chicago instead? The White Sox are hosting the Mariners on Sunday at Cellular Field but with a 02:10 PM start, I probably will not make it in time and the Cubs are on the road. The White Sox are at home against the Blue Jays later in the week so maybe we’ll catch one of those instead? The Cubs? Hey wait a minute; my hapless Cubs are in Milwaukee on the 6th and the 7th! As anyone that follows baseball knows, the Cubs have not won a World Series in over 100 years which is longer than that of any other major North American professional sports team. That includes baseball, football, basketball, hockey and probably basket weaving for all I know? A look back at 1945 and the year of the “Curse” -- At the close of World War II, the Cubs finished with 98W–56L record and were holding their own against Detroit in the World Series. The first three games of the 1945 World Series were played in Detroit, where the Cubs won two games, and the final four were played at Wrigley. In Game 4 of the Series, the Curse of the Billy Goat was allegedly laid upon the Cubs when P.K. Wrigley ejected Billy Sianis, who had come to Game 4 with two box seat tickets, one for him and one for his goat. They paraded around for a few innings, but Wrigley demanded the goat leave the park due to its unpleasant odor. Upon his ejection, Mr. Sianis uttered the famous words: [fimg=left]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/501/Cubs.jpg[/fimg]The Cubs lost Game 4, lost the Series, and have not been back since. It has been said that Sianis put a "curse" on the Cubs that has prevented them from playing in the World Series ever since. 1969 -- As a six year old (the Hyundai Motor Corporation was just two), I watched my hometown “Cubbies” on a 12” black and white most every afternoon only to see them implode against the mighty Mets at the end of the season. By Mid-August, the Cubs had an 8 1⁄2 game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals and by 9 1⁄2 over the New York Mets. With Jack Brickhouse calling the games, I can to this day still hear him call out most of the starting lineup including one of my favorite pitchers, “Fergie” Jenkins on the mound, Randy Hundley behind the plate, Ernie Banks at first, Glenn Beckert at Second, Don Kissinger at Short, Ron Santos on the "Hot" corner and Billy Williams in Left… With a lineup like that, how could they lose? “The Incident” -- In early September of that year, the Cubs were facing the Mets at Shea Stadium when someone released a black cat onto the field that walked behind the Cubs on-deck circle where captain Ron Santo was standing. Was this another curse? With their best season in decades and a very respectable 92W-70L record, the Cubs saw the "Amazin' Mets" blow them away by winning 39 of their last 50 games while the Cubs went 21 for 50 over that same very frustrating period. 1984 -- To put the 84’ season into perspective, the Cubs made their first postseason appearance since 1945 and we all know how that turned out I was watching the Cubs facing the Padre’s from a college bar while visiting friends at Kansas State. With the National league series tied up at 2 a piece, the Cubs started out well in the final and deciding game of the series. With a 3-0 lead and Rick Sutcliffe on the mound, one of the best purchasers in all of baseball at the time, disaster struck with yet another “incident” and one that brought much of the nation to its knees. Most outside of San Diego anyway??? Fast forward to the seventh inning and the Cubs are up 3-2. Carmelo Martínez led off the inning with a walk and was sacrificed to second by Garry Templeton. Where it all falls apart… Martínez scored when Tim Flannery hit an easy grounder towards first baseman Leon Durham. Durham put his glove down but not far enough and the ball gently rolled right between his legs. The rest is shall we say, history :ccry: 2003 -- Can a single fan ruin a major league teams season? The “incident” occurred during a playoff game when the Chicago Cubs were hosting the Florida Marlins at Wrigley. It was the eighth inning of Game 6 of the National League Championship Series. Chicago was ahead 3–0 and holding a 3 to 2 lead in the best of 7 series when several spectators attempted to catch a foul ball off the bat of Marlins' second baseman Luis Castillo. One of the fans, Steve Bartman, reached for the ball, deflecting it and disrupting a potential catch by Cubs outfielder Moisés Alou. If Alou had caught the ball, it would have been the second out in the inning, and the Cubs would have been just four outs away from winning the National League pennant. Instead, the Cubs ended up surrendering eight runs in the inning, giving up the lead. They went on to lose the game. When they were eliminated in the seventh game the next day, the "Steve Bartman incident" was blamed for the team’s downfall and ultimate season ending frustration for Cub fans the world over. 2007 and 2008? What’s to add as they lost the League Division Series in 3 straight both years. And this year? With a record of 17W and 32L nobody expects much but we’ll carry on with the hope that one day before we die, there may actually be a World Series Flag flying over the “Friendly Confines” called Wrigley Field. I digress and back to the road trip. Next Batter! How about the Brewers (21-28) hosting the Cubs (18-32) at Miller Park on Wednesday June 6th with a 08:10 PM start. I’ll hang out at home for a few days to catch up and then… Since we are on I-80, when do the Denver Rockies get into town? The Rockies (19-29) host the A's (22-29) at Coors Field on Wednesday June 13th with a 08:05 PM start. When the Sonata reaches the West Coast I see that LA is having a “sort of” Cross Town/Cross State Classic! Those are always fun as the A’s (22-29) are hosting the Dodgers (32-17) at the Coliseum on Tuesday June 19th with a 10:05 PM start. It’s a Long Drive … It’s Way Back … It’s a Home Run! The 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid’s long drive back home. Anyone else want to go out to the ball park? Feel free to join me as I hop park to park in the Sonata Hybrid while heading towards the California coast at > 48 mpg. A: Mets face the Cards at Citi field on June 1st with a 07:10 PM start B: Indians play the Twins at Progressive Field on Saturday June 2nd with a 07:15 PM start C: Brewers host the Cubs at Miller Park on Wednesday June 6th with a 08:10 PM start D: Rockies take on the A's at Coors Field on Wednesday June 13th with a 08:05 PM start E: A’s challenge the Dodgers at the Coliseum on Tuesday June 19th with a 10:05 PM start All times above are EST.