Posts Tagged ‘Wrigley Field’

Ranking the MLB Stadiums…So Far

May 15, 2012

So you all know I’m a baseball nut. If you don’t, you’re not actually someone I’ve ever talked to. And the fact that you’re still reading this blog is slightly awkward, kind of cool and extremely flattering.

My love of the sport has taken me far and wide throughout this great country to watch baseball games in person. Because there is nothing better than watching a game LIVE in the atmosphere you can barely hear on TV.

So far, I’ve been to ten MLB stadiums. My quest to visit all 30 (as well as all 30 in one regular season…stay tuned for that!) is one-third over. But how do you choose the best one?

Here is my attempt at ranking the ten stadiums I’ve visited so far, based on overall experience, fan knowledge, ball park food options, surrounding attractions, and ball park beauty.

10. o.Co Coliseum – Oakland A’s

This was an easy one to rank last. I’ve been to the most games at this stadium, but only because the tickets are cheap and the A’s are my hometown team. The actual coliseum in itself is decrepit and there are rarely a good amount of fans at games. A’s fans are extremely passionate, but they don’t like to see a shitty team play at a shitty ball park. Understandable. Plus Oakland as a city sucks, and the beer at the stadium is far too expensive.

9. Tropicana Field – Tampa Bay Rays

I’m not going to lie – I expected a lot worse. I’d heard horror stories about the aging dome, and how it was the worst venue in professional sports. Sure, it’s not glamorous by any means, but there’s a certain charm to it. I’m all for the Rays tearing it down and getting a new stadium, but I’m glad I got to experience Tropicana as it is meant to be experienced.

8. AT&T Park – San Francisco Giants

The ball park itself is gorgeous and classy and the location is unbeatable (right up against the Bay for anybody who has been under a rock for the last 11 or 12 years). But, I get the impression that a lot of fans come to the stadium and pay outrageous prices more for the experience than the actual game. Plus, I don’t like getting crapped on by seagulls from the 7th inning on. That alone renders the expensive tickets meaningless.

7. Yankee Stadium – New York Yankees

I actually went to the original Yankee Stadium. I haven’t been to the new one, but I heard it’s similar with more, newer amenities. I absolutely LOVED the old stadium. It’s more than a shame that it’s been torn down. For any baseball junkie, going to Yankee Stadium is like the Mecca of fandom. It was a beautiful venue with intelligent fans and just so much rich history that it soaked right through my clothes into my soul. Wow that was cheesy. By the way, I sat in the right field bleachers, so for all I know, Babe Ruth had hit a home run into my lap 80 years prior.

6. Petco Park – San Diego Padres

This is another newly remodeled stadium in California that just blows me away. The difference between Petco and AT&T is that the Padres have built a stadium with less bells and whistles that still maintains a fun, friendly atmosphere. I love the touch of the building down the left field line and the grass seating behind right center. And the surrounding, downtown area there is hopping off the chain every night.

5. Safeco Field – Seattle Mariners

I may be spoiled with this one, because my roommate and I scored free, Diamond Level tickets (three rows behind home, access to the VIP club under the stands with free food and drink all game) in the game I went to. But the stadium itself is pristine. The architecture is amazing, and the closed roof makes it feel like a much tighter atmosphere. I’ll tell you one thing – if Seattle fans are starved for a championship, they sure don’t show it. They rock and roll no matter how awful their teams are.

4. Wrigley Field – Chicago Cubs

This is my most recent notch on the belt. I went to Chicago a couple of weeks ago and got to see my Dodgers beat the Cubs at the friendly confines of Wrigley. Let me tell you…it looks beautiful on TV. It’s twice as good in person. The bleachers on top of apartment buildings, the wide open, expansive seating throughout the stadium, the classic scoreboard and press box, the simple concessions, and of course the luscious ivy. Cubs fans are professional losers, but they do it with an old-style grace all their own.

3. Busch Stadium – St. Louis Cardinals

All I can say is WOW. One of the most properly designed baseball stadiums you’ll ever see. The field itself is perfect, and the grounds crew mowing a little arch into the outfield grass before every home game is a snazzy touch. I love the wall of fame with retired numbers beyond the center field wall, and you can’t beat the skyline in the gap between center and left field. The third version of Busch Stadium is very near perfection, though it could use a little surrounding nightlife for after the games.

2. Dodger Stadium – Los Angeles Dodgers

Surprised this wasn’t number one? Well, I am technically a journalist. So I try to be objective once in a while. I absolutely am in love with Dodger Stadium. It’s similar to Wrigley where the seats are a wide open expanse of sunny, comfortable chairs. But, they are newer than Wrigley and the renovations have been done perfectly so as to not mess with the historic charm of Chavez Ravine. The bleachers are an ancient, yet classic touch, and you get a beautiful view of downtown L.A., as the park is perched atop a hill overlooking every part of the city of angels. And…duh. Dodger Dogs!

1. Fenway Park – Boston Red Sox

Yes, it’s breaking down a little bit. Yes, it’s old. Yes, the batter’s eye in center field is poorly done. But this stadium combines the charm of Dodgers Stadium and Wrigley Field, with the aura of Yankee Stadium, with the night life of San Diego, with the beauty of AT&T or Busch. It really is a mish-mash of all the greatest aspects of each previous stadium on this list. I sat by Pesky’s Pole when I went and watched the Yankees beat them on a late home run from A-Rod. The Green Monster is a sight to behold, and the fan knowledge in Boston is top of the class.

There you have it. What’s your favorite stadium experience?? Comment below and let me know! Or you can always tweet me at @Jamblinman if you’d like. Thanks for reading. Until next time, watch out for seagulls.

Wrigley and Wrivalries

May 7, 2012

Like that impressive spelling? Let’s just call it klever. So this weekend I was in Chicago (that’s why Jam Shots took Saturday and Sunday off). Among bars, pizza, sightseeing and all that jazz, I went to the Dodgers vs. Cubs game at Wrigley Field.

This was a milestone for me. First of all, it was the tenth ball park I’ve visited. That puts me in double digits! Just 20 more to go. Besides Wrigley Field, I’ve gone to games in Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, New York (Yankees), Boston, Tampa Bay and St. Louis.

And let me tell you, Wrigley was one of the best so far. It’s a classic stadium with wide open seating, and one of the better post-game atmospheres. I guess if you’ve lost for 103 and a half years (and counting), every day better be a party.

Way to be optimistic, Cubs fans. Anyway, the game was absolutely fantastic, especially because the Dodgers won 5-1. There isn’t a ton to see at the actual stadium, but the bleacher boys in left field sure put on a drinking show, and I felt like I was sitting in a ball park for a game in the 1950’s.

And yes, the ivy is exceptionally luscious.

Now on to a little more baseball news. I hear there were a couple little tiffs? I’ll give my take on the two young guys and the two old guys feuding and who is in the wrong.

So apparently Chipper Jones, he of the 2012 victory lap, and 49-year-0ld Colorado staff ace Jamie Moyer (now that Jeremy Guthrie went down) are upset at each other. Apparently, Chipper cheated at shuffleboard the other day and Jamie is not happy about it.

Or something to that effect. More like Chipper was accused of stealing signs by Moyer. Well, I hate to break it to the old(er) man, but that’s part of the game. It’s not like he was in center field with binoculars, picking off the catcher’s signals. This is something everyone tries to do, and rarely succeeds at. When the runner IS successful, it’s often the catcher’s fault.Winner: Chipper

And then there are a couple of guys who don’t even combine to equal Moyer’s age. Cole Hamels beaned teen phenom Bryce Harper the other day, and then admitted he did it on purpose. He said it was “old school” and welcomed the rook to the bigs. Hamels wins this argument (five-game suspension resulting be damned) for multiple reasons.

First of all, he’s right. It IS old school. When a young kid like Harper comes up and displays over-swaggage, he is taught a lesson by opposing pitchers. Bud Selig is a huge, wet, sopping…nevermind. Because a five-game suspension hardly affects a starting pitcher. But suspending him anyway was just stupid. Two decades ago, it was accepted. No. Expected, for Harper to get beaned. I’m surprised it took that long. Winner: Hamels

Thanks for reading, and tune in again tomorrow! Follow me on Twitter @Jamblinman.

 

 

The Windy City

May 3, 2012

I really got the travel bug last summer when I went on Semester at Sea (to date, the greatest experience of my life!). I feel that after these past few weeks, I’ve now hit nearly every major city in America. Still missing are Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Miami and Dallas.

But today, I arrived in Chicago. I like it already, but I’ve yet to fully explore what it has to offer. As I told my girlfriend earlier, I’ve never met a place I didn’t fall in love with, whether that be for ten minutes or ten years.

Luckily for me, the Dodgers are coming into town to play the Cubs this weekend! So I’ll definitely be looking for tickets. Okay, so I sort of already did. A million times. WHY the hell are bleacher seats at Wrigley Field nearly $60?

Is it because it’s a Saturday afternoon? Doubtful, considering the same tickets on Sunday are under $25 a pop. Is it because the Cubs are winning so much? HAHAHAHA. No.

So, I’ve come to the only logical conclusion – that it’s because they are playing the epic, talented, first-place Los Angeles Dodgers. And yes, while I’ll probably pay the higher fees to see Matt Kemp shred Matt Garza in the Chicago wind, it’s still annoying.

Maybe I need to come home, where the A’s offer $2 tickets to anyone with a pulse. Granted, it’s a much worse baseball experience, but at least it’s easier on the wallet.

Check back in after the game to see what I thought of my experience in the legendary Wrigley Field bleachers!

Follow me on Twitter @Jamblinman!

Opening Day Predictions

April 4, 2012

Okay, okay. I know the A’s and Mariners played in Japan and the defending-champion Cardinals already defeated the Marlins at the new stadium earlier tonight. But a big slate of games is finally set for tomorrow, and I couldn’t be more excited. 

We’ve got seven games lined up for tomorrow, capped off with reigning Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw and my Dodger squaring off against the Padres in San Diego. Without further adieu, here are my predictions for tomorrow’s games:

Boston Red Sox at Detroit Tigers: This is the first of the great pitching matchups we’ll see over the first weekend of play, but it might just be the best one. Jon Lester will take the hill against last year’s Cy Young and MVP winner, Justin Verlander. Normally, I’d expect a pitcher’s duel, but Lester is a notorious slow starter, so look for a big game from Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder and the Tigers to take the home opener 5-2. (Side note: Jose Valverde will get his 51st straight save, creeping slowly towards the record of 84)

Atlanta Braves at New York Mets: I like this pitching matchup for a number of different reasons. First of all, I really enjoy watching Tommy Hanson pitch. If he’s healthy for Atlanta this year, it’s going to be huge for their playoff aspirations. But the real story here is Johan Santana’s return to the hill after a multitude of injuries have crippled the former Cy Young winner. I’m going to take my first upset, but don’t expect the Mets’ winning streak to last long. Give me the Mets 3-2.

Philadelphia Phillies at Pittsburgh Pirates: Another former ace takes the hill on Opening Day, hoping to rebound. Erik Bedard won’t have as much success as Johan does in New York, although I do expect an above average season out of the lefty in 2012. Roy Halladay is going to be too much for the young Pirates offense, and the Phils take it on the road 5-0.

Washington Nationals at Chicago Cubs: Raise your hand if you’re as excited to see Stephen Strasburg on the mound tomorrow as I am! He takes on the re-tooled Cubs and Ryan Dempster at Wrigley. And I’m sorry Cubbie fans, but the curse will continue, starting with an ugly loss at the hands of the Nats. I’m going to enjoy watching Strasburg go 8 innings with 10 strikeouts in a 7-1 win.

Toronto Blue Jays at Cleveland Indians: This might be the most underrated pitching matchup of the day. If you like young, up-and-coming stars on the bump, this is the game for you. Ricky Romero is my dark horse candidate for A.L. Cy Young this year, and Justin Masterson for Cleveland isn’t far behind. I think this is going to be the best pitching duel of the day. Toronto takes it 1-0 on a late solo homer by Jose Bautista.

Miami Marlins at Cincinnati Reds: One of the Marlins’ big free agent acquisitions is opening this series, and Mark Buerhle can certainly be trusted to give a quality outing. Johnny Cueto gets the ball for Cincy and two very strong offenses will have their respective hands full. Give me the wily veteran for the new-look Marlins’ first win in a 4-3 game.

Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres: You know this is the one I’ve been waiting to talk about. You’ve gotta like the young lefty Kershaw to start defending his Cy Young title with a pretty dominant win at Petco Park. I think the Dodgers put up a five spot on Edinson Volquez early and chase him from the game. I want to give the Padres a pity run to sound unbiased, but they just aren’t a good enough team to score against Kershaw. Final score: 6-0 Dodgers.

That’s all folks! Call in sick tomorrow, ditch school, and watch MLB Network all day to see my picks put into motion. Happy baseball! Peace.


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