Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Country Wide Ballpark Review
Having just returned from a action packed weekend in our nation's capital and having just visited yet another baseball cathedral, I find myself going over the different ballparks that I have been to in my life. Some I enjoyed very much so, some I thought were awful. Here is my list of my favorite ballparks that I have been to so far in my life. Obviously there are going to be different factors that weigh in to the experience (seats, people around you, prices, teams playing, whether or not you are 21, etc.) so try to keep those things in mind when reading my list. Anyway here goes;
1. Wrigley Field- Wrigley Field is by far the best baseball experience that I have had in my life. I was able to go to Wrigley last summer after Wesley Mareo (aka Tameo) and I hauled ass across the country. The day prior Tameo and I had driven for about 20 hours from Denver to Wolcott, Iowa, getting in at about 2am and not feeling so enthused. Our room smelled like poop and smoke, and didn't have any air conditioning. Nevertheless, we continued our intrepid adventure to Chicago a mere four hours later in order to get to the Windy City by game time. We got to Wrigley by game time and our tiresome journey the day before was immediately forgotten. A few Old Styles and a hot dog or two later I was feeling great. The Wrigley Field experience was really amazing. The tickets were reasonably priced, the fans were friendly, the stadium was awesome and the area around Wrigley very fun. Dan Plesac singing "Take me out to the ball game" was the cherry on top of the whipped cream bikini. The Wrigley Field experience was by far the best time I've ever had at a baseball game.
2. Coors Field- On an earlier intrepid adventure across the country with Tameo, Josef Scar, and Bo Fitz, we were lucky enough to be able to catch a Rockies game at Coors Field. Though I wasn't 21 at the time, I still managed to have much fun at the game. For starters, the tickets for the game were only 7 dollars and were in the second deck in the outfield. Not bad. Also, there was lots to do for a baseball fan. I got my picture taken with my head replacing the immortal Larry Walker's in a cutout, I struck out Derek Jeter with some 73 mph heat at an interactive pitching game and I enjoyed heckling the Padres relievers from high above the bullpen. Also, as the sun went down over right field, it made for some pretty awesome views. Anything to distract from the ball game I guess. Some years later I would go back to visit Denver and drink many beers in the "Historic Ballpark District" (Coors field having been built in 1996) of downtown Denver outside the stadium. I also enjoyed this. In all Coors Field and the Blake Street area are pretty sweet.
3. Oakland Coliseum- Again I have young Tameo to thank for the chance to visit another ballpark. My experience at the Coliseum was awesome. In three days I got to watch three A's/Red Sox games from the "Diamond Level" right behind home plate, the right field grandstand, and from a Luxury Box. Each one was pretty sweet. This was when the A's and Sox were both pretty good too so the games were all pretty intense. One of the best parts of the experience was in the Diamond Level. We got to park where the players parked, allowing me to see what I thought was Barry Zito's minivan. It looked like this but with a big A's decal on the hood. I'm almost certain it was his. We also got to see the players as they walked in and out of the locker rooms. So awesome. Also, a Barry Zito curveball looks pretty sweet from right behind home plate. The only way this experience could have been better is if I was over 21. Beers in the luxury box would have been money. A+ experience nonetheless though.
4. Veteran's Stadium- I know what you're thinking, but hear me out. Veteran's Stadium holds a special place in my heart as it was the first baseball stadium I ever went to. We're talking back in the 80s here. Before the Braves were even good. In all though, I thought the stadium was fine. Tons of parking, you could get tickets for free (no joke, packages of Phillies Franks came with a voucher for a free ticket), they always had sweet giveaways because the team was lousy, and you got to watch the Phillies. Doesn't get much better than that. Some memorable moments I had at the Vet: lost my first tooth eating a hot dog, watching fireworks from the field on July 4th, getting pictures with the players on the field, windbreaker give away day, going to the last Phillies game ever at the Vet. In a way, my youth imploded with that stadium.
5. Citizen's Bank Park- The Bank is pretty sweet too. There is not a bad seat in the stadium, there is plenty of tailgating room outside, the food is great, you can heckle the visiting relievers and again you get to watch the Phillies. My memories of "The Bank" were also made more fun by the actions of one Ryan Firkser, so that is neat. My only complaint about Citizen's Bank Park is that some of the people that go to the games are not very nice. They are called Philadelphians.
6. Ballpark at Arlington- Back in the late 90s I lived in Dallas, Texas for a summer and got the chance to go to a Rangers/Red Sox game. Somehow, my uncle was able to score first row seats behind the Rangers dugout. This definitely swayed my opinion of this stadium. The food there was great (Lemon chill = delicious), the stadium was pretty cool and I got to witness Nomar hit a grand slam. I think Mo Vaughn had a home run too as the Sox won something like 18-1. Pretty sweet. Texas is awesome.
7. Shea Stadium- I think I am one of the only people that thought Shea Stadium wasn't a shithole. It might seem even harder to believe after I let you know that every game I have gone to there has been rained shortened, and I also received a $25 fine for drinking in the parking lot there once. But I thought that the stadium got the job done. It wasn't great, but it allowed a good view of the action, space for tailgating (as long as the beer is in cups mind you, otherwise it leads to fights somehow according to the guy who wrote us up), and some good baseball. At Shea I was able to witness what I am sure was, and always will be the last complete game for both Tom Glavine and Anthony Reyes. That one will definitely be an Aflac trivia question somewhere down the line. Boo ya.
8. Nationals Park- I still probably haven't had time to digest my Nationals Park experience, but it wasn't great in my opinion. Part of it probably had to do with the fact that it was oppressively hot. Another part of it probably had to do with the fact that it was the Nats vs. the Orioles and the game went to 12 innings (kill me). But the stadium just lacked anything really great in my opinion. There were fireworks after the game, but I couldn't even see them from the side of the stadium I was on. Everything was also pretty pricy, a no no for bad teams. There was a cool bar across the street from left field called "The Bullpen" though, and the tickets were only $20 for the game. Also, the President's race was fun to watch. I wish Teddy would have won though. All in all, an average experience. Time may change my opinion on that.
9. Fenway Park- Believe it or not, I'm not wild about Fenway. Sure there is cool shit like the Green Monster seats or some of the club seats (EMC and State Street), but I will be dead in the cold cold ground before I ever sit there. I usually have to wedge my ass into a wooden seat facing the outfield or suffer on a bleacher seat. Moreover, EVERYTHING is expensive at Fenway. Beer, food, tickets, you name it. Still though, I would never turn down a chance to go to Fenway. Also, the area surrounding is pretty awesome and the people there are like me.
10. Yankee Stadium (old)- I freaking hated this place. I think I went 4 times in my life (3 of which were Red Sox games) and never had a great experience there. The Bronx is an awful place for a stadium, everything was comparable with Fenway price-wise and the people were NOT like me. I very much did not enjoy having insults hurled at me by 15 year old Latinas on my way into the park. You might think that it was so bad only because I like the Red Sox. To that I say "nay". I went to a Yankees/ Blue Jays game as an impartial baseball fan and had a horrible time. Sitting in the no beer, no exit bleachers made me want to die. Hearing the voices of Vinny and Tony Z. from Queens shouting behind me only made it worse. I do have 3 good memories from Yankee Stadium though; heckling Vernon Wells when he was on my fantasy team, getting a Dodgers hat at the team store, and Dave Rattner yelling in the parking structure that Pat Lyons hates black people. Yep, feared for my life there.
Honorable Mention- Rosenblatt Stadium- Very cool place. A short pit stop during the 20 hour cruise from Denver to Chicago by way of Wolcott, Iowa. Me and Mareo each scored a free ticket and were able to moved down to the first row behind home plate for the Memphis Redbirds/ Omaha Royals game. Tons of cool stuff to do and see, and entertainment between innings. Also, you can't go wrong having a guy named Brett Bigler with a porn stache on your team. We also went bowling somewhere in Iowa afterwards. Great fun