Friday, June 6, 2014

Fifty Shades of...Baseball?

THB with the history of the stadiums poster

Don't miss pics of THB's t-shirt collection at end of post

Top picks:
(3) AT&T (Gigantes): Among the vast majority of fans, especially from outside the Bay Area, this park is ranked #1, and for good reason: it’s fabulous, so many positives. Only downsides: long ramps to seats or when exiting park and an out of town scoreboard that is angled such that only someone in the Giants dugout can see the scores clearly.
(1) Fenway Park (Red Sox): the tour of the ballpark is worth doing even if you’re going to the game later or have seen a game here already. They hold a lottery for tickets on top of the Green Monster:see if you can win!
(1) Camden Yards (Orioles): see the park that started it all for the fans (after too many years of combo baseball-football bowls), an exciting spot for baseball with lots of great seats
(3) Wrigley Field (Cubs): make sure you stand on Waveland Avenue for a few moments, listen to Steve Goodman’s song A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request, try not to get seats in the lower deck that are way under the overhang of the second deck, if you sit in the bleachers expect a30s something dating scene. Anywhere in the park: lots of beer consumed.

Highly recommended (mostly because of the in-your-seat experience):
(3) Progressive Field (Indians): used to be Jacobs Field, aka The Jake
After it was Jacobs Field

(1) Coors Field (Rockies): try the upscale yuppie brewskies, watch the runs pile up (mostly because of the huge outfield and fast infield, not so much for all the homers)
(1) Minute Maid Park (formerly Enron, Astros)*:sit in the Crawford Boxes, short porch in left field; they didn’t allow you to bring in food the last time THB was here (only ballpark in America with this rule?)
(1) Millers Park (Brewers)*: great tailgating scene
(3) Tokyodome (Giants): indoors; there’s nothing like a Japanese baseball game even if the stadium itself is lousy.

Recommended (definitely worth a visit):
(3) PNC Park (Pirates): picturesque on the river, 1992 last year Pirates had a winning record
Shot from across the river

(1) Citizens Bank Park (Phillies): a sea of red
Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank at night

(3) Comerica Park (Tigers): look for Harvey when you go

Comerica Park
(1) Busch Stadium (Cardinals): even the standing room is a plus
(3) Petco Park (Padres): eclectic layout,enjoy pizza on the grass in dead center; stay at the Omni and walk right from hotel into the ballpark!
(1) Safeco Field (Mariners)*: watch out,upper deck along first base in sun until very late during summer nights,
(1) Rangers Ballpark: another eclectic layout, they need fans under 2nd deck overhang in right field
(3) Chase Field (Dbacks)*: swimming pool beyond fence in right center field
(1) National Park (Nats): a bit bigger in feel than these other parks
(1) Turner Field (Braves): Historic site of the 1996 Olympics, great sight lines
Turner Field

Neutral: Something of value, not enough to actively encourage
(1) Great America (Reds): upgrade if you like to see homers, area around downtown park was dead
(3) Angel Stadium of Anaheim: at least they don’t play football here anymore
(3) Rogers Centre (Blue Jays)*
(1) Kauffmann Stadium (Royals)
(3) Marlins Park (Miami)*
Marlins Park giveaway
Marlins Park from the freeway

Not Recommended, time to start over (yes, some of these just got built):
(3) O.Co Coliseum (A’s); fans? We don’t care about no stinkin’ fans. Really, we DO NOT CARE about the fans.

(1) Citi Field (Mets): unbelievable what Wilpons built with Madoff’s money, the worst! Airplanes, wind tunnels, five decks, lousy sight lines, oh my! Excellent pastrami sandwiches though you have to get their early because it takes 10 minutes to make your sandwich.
Best ballpark sandwich you can still get (Montreal now gone)

(3) US Cellular (White Sox): the last of the parks built before Camden, narrow sections with people walking up and down and obstructing your view of the game, nothing of interest to the field, seats not all that close to the field
(1) Tropicana Field (Rays): Indoors all the time, which is a plus because of weather, rest is pretty awful for baseball; on other hand, watching 80 year olds dancing in sequins to Sinatra songs,priceless
(3) Dodger Stadium: go for the weather, the park itself is too big, and Dodger dogs are awful (now)
(1) Yankee Stadium: big, too far from the field, boiling concrete in summer, monuments in center, all same comments for new ball park
Could be old Yankee Stadium or new; either way, awful

Still to come:
(1) Target Field (Twins): rained out in one attempt to go to a game

In the Something Else category, parks now gone:
Metrodome: indoors, too loud, horrible sight lines, built for football, garbage bag for right field, probably the worst stadium THB ever visited (and that was a night when Nolan Ryan was pitching)
Metrodome when roof had collapsed

Candlestick: so many things wrong and then you actually got to your seats
Dolphin Stadium: so lonely, oh so lonely,I’m so lonely even the concession stands are closed

*Retractable roof

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Day 3: Atlanta to E-ville

Day 3: Atlanta to E-ville

HFOTD: in 2012, Atlanta finished 25 games ahead of Miami in the NL East

Today, the Braves are only 1.5 games ahead before the game today

Weather: Hot and sunny

How convenient! United (days ago) delayed our flight home by an hour and thus allows THB and LB to get in a full day game in Atlanta.  

First, THB walks the hood (Grant Park) and has a decaf au lait. Grant Park is not named after US Grant (it's the South, remember). 
Around the corner from Social Goat

THB has a decaf au lait at 7:20am

What's a cyclorama?

Just in case dogs can read, there's a lower level sign

Not Grant or US Grant; Talbot

TT was staying at Miami Courtyard Marriott, we saw them at breakfast

Our rental car, odometer says 30k, it is really 130k
Back to take a very refreshing shower (this is bringing back memories of the 96 O's, where a shower and a lot of cold liquid was required when we got back from a day and a night of watching the games). Breakfast at the main house: fruit and yogurt, pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, coffee, included, $185 with taxes. A great bargain...and the proprietor, Kristy, gives us the history of the area and how she and her husband ended up in a huge restored Victorian with goats, turkeys, turtles, and chickens.

Rest up and head to Turner Field for a day game. Good news: THB got seats under the overhang of 2nd deck, looking this time down 3rd base line. Announced attendance of 26K, more like 15K in real bodies. Brisket sandwich (overpriced sat $13) and large diet code for THB, LB goes for a veggie dog (not good, per the ingester). In meantime, Mariners shackle woebegone Braves for second day in a row, final of 2-0. You could make a case that the top 3 pitchers in AL are all from Japan: Tanaka, Darvish and Iwakuma (we see Hisashi-san today and he doesn't throw hard and pounds the strike zone). 

From the game we have easy transition to the airport where we return one dog of a car: Ford Fiesta. The return person confirms: they are awful cars. Smooth flight home, made even smoother by LB loading us up with tuna sandwich and salad (both good) beforehand and for $8 LB watches the A's crush the Yankees again.

More murals, and we park for $5 again

Moved north of original 96 location

THB's overpriced sandwich, nowhere near as good as at AT&T

View of O flame from section 205

Braves have won a lot of titles!

The one in red

The guys next to us needed 3 seats, one for a giant cooler rollerbag