Ballparks are full of history. They each have thier own distinct features, The bricks and ivy in Wrigley, monument park and the mystique of Yankee stadium, the warehouse at Camden, the green monster at Fenway, and more, but when you go to a park its more than to see the game, its to take in the environment. As much as I dislike it, part of going to Turner is listening to the fans do that tommohawk chant. I also enjoy seeing the statues or plaques of players who have contributed to all that history.

Each ballpark also gives you a different perspective of the game. What might be a HR at one park is just a fly ball in another. The site lines, angles and views of a game vary from park to park, even if your sitting in the same general area. Also the in game extras , like the mascot races, or singing the stretch at Wrigley, Sweet Caroline at Fenway, or the 7th inning God Bless America at Yankee stadium.

Another great thing about parks is visiting the local bar near the stadium. Harry Carays and Murphy's in Chicago, Pickles in Baltimore, Hockeytown Cafe in Detroit, Hooters in Anaheim, Rock Bottom Brewery in Denver (and Cinci), Harpoon Brewery in Boston, and Billys sports bar in the Bronx.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Turner Field, 2012

I typically hit a few Braves games each year so I will just update this post with all games from 2012 as they happen.

Marlins 9/25
This is the last home stand of Chipper Jones career as a Brave. At least regular season. It was Kris Medlen pitching so I didn't expect a lot of offense from the Marlins. They did manage to take a lead into the 9th after some kid on the Marlins hit his second home run off Medlen for a 3-2 lead. Chipper lead off the bottom of the 9th with a double. Freeman came up and the first pitch was wild and Chipper moved up to 3rd. It was set up for the tying run to score. Freeman decided to put an end to it. 2 run shot to dead center and the Braves won 4-3, and clinched a playoff spot as well. The game was kind of slow, but the end more than made up for it.
I will try to make at least one Braves playoff game, depending how far they go.

Dodgers 8/18
Ben Sheets return from oblivion has hit a bump in the road. He was pretty impressive his first few games, but tonight he gave up back to back to back dingers in the 2nd inning and a 3 run shot in the 6th. I don't believe I have ever been to a game in which there was 3 back to back homers. I will have to look that one up. It was Hanley Ramirez that hit the first of the 3 HR and the 3 run shot also. He is pretty familiar with this team and park from his days with the Marlins.  It rained before the game. but it started on time and no rain during the game. We got lucky and there was a big group that had a bunch of extra seats in the RF bleachers, and got them for $5 each. They were going for around $45 at the gate.

Cubs 7/3
After the Cubs took game 1 in this series and they already took 2 of 3 from the Braves at home earlier in the season, I felt pretty good about our chances. Even though Chris Volstad was pitching,who had been horrible so far this year, there was some hope. And through 5 innings he looked pretty good. And the Cubs were up 3-1. Then it all broke loose. The Braves rallied for 5 in the 5th and 4 in the 6th and next thing I knew it was 10-3 Braves. Well, that's the life of a Cubs fan. I still had a great time. I got lower level seats 20 rows from the field right behind the on deck circle on the first base side. The best thing was they were FREE, I won them from work.

Turner Field

Here's a pic of Darwin Barney, Cubs 2nd baseman, hitting a shot up the 3rd base line. Chipper Jones made an amazing play and throw to get him. Today Chipper was added to the All-star team in his final season, and he went 5 for 5 with 3 singles, 2 doubles, 4 RBI, a SB and that great play. I know you Mets fans can't wait for him to retire, but he has killed the Cubs over the years too. The guy is a sure fire HOF'er, and I have learned over the last couple years to enjoy, and respect, him a bit more, even though I have a dislike for the Braves. 

Turner Field Darwin Barney

Nationals 6/29
This is the first game I have been to at Turner this year. I am going again in a few days when the Cubs are here too. I was not planning to go to this game so I didn't have my camera. I did take 1 pic with the iphone.

The Nationals won 5-4. Atlanta was being shut down until they put up 2 in the 6th and the rookie, Simmons hit a 2 run shot in the 7th to tie it. Mike Morse hit a solo shot for the Nats in the top of the 8th, on the first pitch, for what ended up being the winning run.

So when the TBB were in Atlanta this year, they talked about the Hoochie Coochie song at Turner. Well I had to get a small clip to put on here so those of you that haven't been there can get a feel. The song is actually "Chattahoochie" by Alan Jackson.

They also sing "Thank god I'm a country boy" by John Denver after the 7th inning stretch. 
Yes folks, Atlanta is in the deep south!!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Angel Stadium, 2012

Angel Stadium

This was our 5th and final game of our 5 park trip. All 5 parks in Cali in 5 days. We passed Angel Stadium on I-5 on the way up to to Dodger Stadium. We could see the "big A"  and the stadium from the highway. We had 3 other games to got to first but were pumped to come back, and it didn't disappoint.
This was #22 on my list of all the ballparks. 19 current and 3 retired. 

The outside is very sharp. The big A is awesome, but the home plate entrance is really cool. It has baseball bats coming off the wall holding up the canopy. Lots of red color with the banners and the 2 huge Angel hats.

Anaheim Angels

Here is Chris posin' on the Angels baseball in front of the hat. 

They even put the size inside the rim of the hat. 

Angels Stadium

The inside of the park is gorgeous too. We got inside and cruised around to take pics and they were everywhere. The rocks in center field is a waterfall on the backside. We had upper deck seats here but you can see the game while walking through the lower concourse, like Turner field, because it is wide open. 

We moved to the the top behind home plate for some pics, and realized that it wasn't breezy there at all.  We decided to hang there for the game, they were very good seats. Just because it is mid June in So Cal, doesn't mean it is not cold. 63 and 10 mph wind is pretty cool at night, especially when drinking Shocktop. $10 for a 24 oz beer is a pretty good price too. Shawn would be proud of me, because I typically stick to basic beer, like Bud light or Miller lite. Stepping out and drinking that was out of my league. It was very good though. 

So after missing the perfect game in SF by one day, we kept talking about how E Santana had a no-no under his belt, but chances were very slim of something like that happening. After 3 innings it was 2-0 Angels on a 2 run shot by Mark Trumbo.

After 6 innings, still 2-0, but 18 up and 18 down for Santana. After looking at the D-Backs lineup, they didn't have many good hitters left after the top of the order. He made it through the first 2 in the 6th until Justin Upton finally got to him. A ground ball just to the left of 2nd base. That is all he would give up the rest of the game. A 1 hit shutout and SO close to perfection. Well it was still great and a heck of a game to wrap this trip up. Final 2-0 Angels. 

Here are the Mickey Mouse statues from when the all-star game was here in 2010. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Oakland Coliseum, 2012

Oakland Coliseum

This was the 4th of 5 parks on our 2012 trip. First things first, I know the current name of this stadium is Coliseum, but I am calling it what it is. The Oakland Coliseum. Now, onto more important stuff. 

The outside of this place is nothing to see at all. Not even worth a pic. It is just a few concrete walls and the back side of stands. Once inside it is a little better. They do cover up the seats on the upper level with the A's logo and retired #'s. They obviously don't use that space for baseball, so it's cool what they do with it. 
The rest of the outfield is pretty blah, for a baseball park. The park is built more for football than baseball, but hopefully they will get a new park soon, wether it be in Oakland or San Jose. 

Oakland Coliseum

The scoreboards are located above the foul lines on top of the stadium. Again, for football purpose. Not that bad of a scoreboard, but dull compared to most MLB parks. 

Oakland Coliseum

The mascot came out before the game dressed in a rock n roll get up. I guess the game was sponsored by the movie "rock of ages" because the fireworks were played to the soundtrack after the game. 

Oakland Athletics Mascot

The game was a pretty good one. Chris was wanting a high scoring game and got one. At least the A's scored a lot. The A's had a 5 run first and ended up winning 10-2 over the Padres. I was surprised not to see that many Padres fans. I guess 8 hours away is kind of like being in another state. The A's fans were really into the game and their team, even though they don't have that great a team right now. Nice to see. 

I got some pretty good action shots. Check out the one below with the ball coming off the bat. 

Oakland Coliseum

The food and beer here were pretty cheap compared to most ballparks. But its $17 to park in that HUGE parking lot. You can get a full sized plastic souvenir helmet filled with popcorn for $6, pretty cool. I didn't want an A's helmet though so I didn't get it. They need to have Cubbie helmets with popcorn. 

As I said earlier, the fireworks show was played to the "Rock of ages" soundtrack. It was a good fireworks show. I have yet to see a bad one at a MLB park. Here is the last bit of the fireworks show. I have a better video, but it is longer and the blog will not let me load it. 

Overall we had a great time at this park, and really enjoyed the game. It is definitely not one of the top parks, but it wont be used much longer, hopefully, so I am glad I hit it. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

AT&T Park, 2012

This was game 3 of our 5 game trip in 2012. I was here in 09' for a tour of the park, but a game is a whole lot better. This was the only day game of our trip, and it was a gorgeous day. A bit cloudy, nothing unusual in SF, but sunny and comfortable. I love day games, but parks have a totally different feel at night. Its a hard choice, but I love them both.  

The stadium was pretty full and it was buzzing because of Matt Cain's perfect game the night before. Apparently so were some of the SF players, since hardly any regulars started. The after game party was probably pretty good on Wednesday. 

We had seats in the bleachers just below the coke bottle and glove. We also moved around the park a bit. I was looking forward to getting some pics of the structures and they came out pretty sweet. 

Here is a pic of the RF wall from our seats, we also hung over there for an couple of innings during after getting our food. I wanted to try the garlic fries and the crab sandwich. We ran across the fries first, and decided to just get the fries so I would have room for later. Well, they give you a huge portion, and I ate them all not leaving room for the crab sandwich later. Oh well. They were delish! Gotta try them if you go. 

We walked around the stadium looking to take pics of the statues. I found them all, except Willie McCovey's. I didn't know it was there when I was in SF last time and couldn't find it now. I asked when I got inside and found out it was across McCovey's cove. We cruised over there after the game, and I finally got it!!

Juan Marichal

Willie Mays

Orlando Cepeda

Willie McCovey

So here are some game pics. The first is from our seats in the bleachers. Awesome views from all places in the park. Thats Chris trying to get his mug in the first pic. I figured the least I could do is give him his wish. The next 2 pics are from the Levi's Landing in RF. 

I love it when ballparks have a place to let people watch the game from while standing up. When you like to move around the park, there is better opportunities to do so when you can see the game from multiple places. 

So we talked about the fact that no team has ever thrown 2 no hitters in a row, so maybe we could see history. Well Zito ended that quick by giving up a single on the first pitch. 
Then in the 2nd inning, Zito walked 3 straight batters and then gave up a grand slam on the next pitch. It kind of reminded me of the movie Major League. It ended up being a 6-3 win by the Astros. It was a good game though, and the crowd was lively. 

As we approached the bay area that morning the traffic was terrible. So after finding some radio reports on it, it seems the BART (train) station across the bay bridge caught on fire and was shut down for the day. That alone caused enough of a problem to cause a major backup. Well then the US Open was in SF too. The radio was saying that this was the worst gridlock in the history of SF. But, I made the game on time, so whats 3 hours sitting on a bridge. No big deal!

Heres a little video I shot from our seats in the bleachers with my IPhone. 

We also hit SF the next morning before the A's game and hit Fishermans wharf, the cable cars, Union square, and a few other things. There is alot you can do in a day there because its all so close. We didn't get to go to Alcatraz because it was sold out for the next 5 days. I had seen all of this stuff, but Chris really wanted to sit on a toilet in the cell at Alcatraz. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dodger Stadium, 2012

Dodger Stadium

This was the 2nd of our 5 game trip in 2012. This is a classic stadium, in the sense of the history and the age of it. I, like most, probably remember the Gibson home run more than anything, but a lot has happened here. 

 It has a nice view from behind home plate. It is just mountains but still a pretty nice view. The outside of the park is pretty basic. Lots of foliage around the park that covers a lot of it up, but what you can see is basic. 

Dodger Stadium

Once inside the park, we headed to the upper deck for some pics, and right behind home plate is the sign with the Dodgers logo on it. One thing I didn't like here is they do not let you move around the park to take pictures. When so many people are doing trips like this, why wouldn't parks let people move around to see the park. I understand not letting people try to sneak better seats, but all parks deal with that issue and still let you roam the park if you want. 

Dodger Stadium

The scoreboard here is kind of outdated, but still nice. It has a classic look and fits the park well, but with the new ownership, I wouldn't be surprised to see it updated. They could keep the same look and update the boards, they did it in KC and it came out great.

So on the way to the stadium, Chris says to me, "Do you think the cup will be there?" Well, since the Kings just won the Stanley Cup, and both LA teams were gonna be there, kinda like when the Blackhawks won a couple of years ago they did it at Wrigley. Well thats what happened . It was pretty cool too. They got pics with the teams and all lined up and threw a  first pitch to all the dodger players at the same time. 

Dodger Stadium Stanley Cup
So on to the game. It was a pitchers game. 2-1 win by the Halos. 2 solo shots by the Angels. But the most interesting thing to happen that night was during the 7th inning I heard on the monitor in the concourse that Matt Cain was perfect through 7. So I was keeping up with that while watching the last few innings here. He ended up pitching the Perfect game, and we were headed up there the next day. 1 day away from seeing a perfect game. Bummer. 
So, now about the biggest negative here. The parking situation. The parking lot does not open until 2 hours before a game. NOT a minute earlier. There were people pulling in to the entrance and told to turn around and come back. The roads all approaching the park were lined on the sides with cars waiting to get in. Then even with that, once you get in and park, which is only $10 by the way, the stadium doesn't open until 1 1/2 hours before the game.  For most I guess its ok, but when you want to look around, kinda sucks. 

Dodger Stadium

We didn't eat at the stadium. I was planning on it, but when we couldn't get into the parking lot and was told to come back at 5:10, no earlier, we went to eat to pass time and, well we were hungry. I guess its their loss, cause Chris eats like a horse. 

Hollywood sign

So we got to LA real early that day since it was only 2 hours from SD. So I figured why not check some stuff out. Without a plan, we just made our way around and went up the mountain with the best view of the HOLLYWOOD sign. What a ride. It was tight and curvy, I wish I had my MINI! 

After seeing that, we went down to Hollywood Blvd and walked around the walk of fame or whatever it is. It was pretty cool and passed the time. Chris was hoping to see a famous person, but no such luck. No biggie.

Sunset boulevard

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Petco Park, 2012

Petco Park

This was the 1st of 5 parks on our 2012 trip. I couldn't work out a game here on this trip, but we did tour the park. I will hit it for a game someday, since Chris is based in SD. This park has a really nice exterior. It is a beige stone that matches the mountains in the area.

It has a lot on tropical trees around the park, which gives it that So Cal feel. It is in a downtown area, that was rundown before the park was built, but now is prime area. 

Petco Park

The warehouse inside, which is a cool feature in the park, was there and abandoned when they bought the property, and they built the park around it and re-built the inside to make it work for baseball. 

Petco Park

Just to the right of the warehouse is the scoreboard, which is pretty nice. It was not running since there was no game, but it is sweet anyway. 

Petco Park Scoreboard

It seems like they used a lot of ideas from other parks and incorporated their own feel to make it work there, which I think is pretty smart. The view through the outfield into the downtown area is really cool. The sitelines seem excellent from anywhere in the park.  There was a concert that night and they were setting up for it, so I wasn't able to get a shot of the full field without the stage in it, so I will have to get it next time. There is a "park in the park" also, behind the batters eye in center field, which is similar to what minor league teams do. It is GA tickets to hang in there for the game. The Tony Gwynn statue is in that area, and it was shut down due to the concert, but I did my best to get a pic from far away. 

Tony Gwynn Statue

Heres the retired #'s on top of the batters eye, with the cityscape in the background. 

Petco Park

I did get to see some other cool Padres Memorabilia in the park though.

These were all time Padres set up in lockers. Ray Kroc is actually the McDonalds owner who when the Padres were for sale way back, and someone buying them wanted to move them out of the state, he outbid them to keep them in SD. Neat piece of history. 

Petco Park

One thing I love about most downtown ballparks is they are usually surrounded with lots of pubs and sports bars to hang before a game. There were lots here. We walked around after the tour and grabbed some grub. There is also a little walking bridge across the street from the stadium which is prime for taking some pics.