My Journey Through The Gridiron Pac: From Berkeley to Pasadena

The 2019 College Bowl Season will be underway shortly. The Pac-12 will be sending 8 of their 12 teams bowling, with Pac-12 Champion Oregon representing the conference in this years Rose Bowl. 

I had the chance to visit 3 of the Pac’s football venues this past season for Stadium JourneyWith my journey’s taking me to Memorial Coliseum in Berkeley, the Memorial Coliseum in L.A. and The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, here are how the game day experience rankings came out, with a possible high of 5 stars. 

1. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum-USC Trojans  

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Recent renovations to The Grand Old Lady have improved the USC Football game day experience. SC fans remain a loyal and demanding bunch. Even with the enhancements The Coliseum maintains it’s historic National Landmark status. 

Score: 3.86 

2. The Rose Bowl-UCLA Bruins

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Another historic venue in the L.A. Area that reeks of many historic moments. With the team’s recent struggles The Rose Bowl’s scenic surroundings along with it’s history and mystique is what’s pushed the UCLA game day experience score higher than what it probably should be. 

Score: 3.57

3. Memorial Stadium-California Golden Bears

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Located within the campus confines, even if the stands aren’t always filled a game at Memorial Coliseum, another historic college venue has a true college feel, with street lined frat parties as you approach the stadium. On a clear day, views across the San Francisco Bay are visible along the stands atop the stadium’s east rim. 

Score: 3.43

There are several factors that are taken into account into the scores, 2 of them fan support and return on investment. To be fair, late kickoff times, as well as kickoff times undetermined until in some cases 6 days within gametime, along with the Pac-12 not being a national power, it should be no surprise that attendance, while down across the college football nation, has had a significant impact across Pac-12 venues

Click on each link above the pictures to find how I came to each score. 

20191130_195433.jpgUCLA vs. Cal, 11/30/2019 at The Rose Bowl. Plenty of good seats available !!!

Baseball and 9/11: Day Three, Charm City in One Day, Part Two…Back To The Yards 9/12

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Why Not? The Orioles theme of 1989, one year removed from their 54-108 season, the Orioles would find themselves in the thick of the AL East race until Game 161, when the Blue Jays would clinch. 1989 would be the year the Blue Jays would open what was then known as SkyDome, MLB’s first retractable roof stadium and a marvel at the time. 3 years later Oriole Park at Camden Yards would open and the Jays one-time marvel would quickly be dated…

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Railroad workers attempt to burn down the Camden Depot during the Great Railroad Strike of 1877This is from the Howard Street side. Photo taken at the B&O Railroad Museum…

20190912_173342Looking at it’s restored glory from the Pratt Street side…

20190912_173353Outside the Eutaw Street entrance. You can see the Camden Depot next to the B&O Warehouse…

How ’bout a side by side comparison of what the mapped area looked like Past and Present day ?

 

 

 

 

 

Dodgers vs. Orioles, 9/12/2019

20190912_173816Young (And Slimmer) Babe…Babe’s Dream

 

 

 

 

 

20190912_173957Even his childhood presence is ever so imposing…

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By The Numbers…

 

 

 

 

 

Cal Ripken, Frank Robinson and Eddie Murray…

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In spite Cal Ripken having played 20 plus seasons, I never saw him play live. One of my ballpark regrets over the years…

 

 

 

 

 

L.A. native Eddie Murray would have a couple of brief stints in Dodger Blue. He would hit his 500th career home run at Camden Yards. An orange seat in the Eutaw Street bleachers marks the spot of Home Run 500…

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20190912_184900Of course Blue Dog has to make his presence felt…Boog’s BBQ is right behind. Time for some pregame eats from the man himself…

20190912_180330But first a pic (Though not of the best quality) with the man himself, Boog Powell…

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There’s actually a lot of beef under those onions I added. Not a bad sized sammie for the cost. Being in Maryland, the chips of course come with Old Bay seasoning. I’ve been told be some that the locals put Old Bay on ice cream as well…

20190912_185002My ticket stub signed by Boog Powell

With ample time still to kill before the first pitch I decided to take another stroll along the Eutaw Street concourse along the warehouse. As mentioned in my Day 1 post, along the concourse are plaques marking the spots where home runs, both Orioles and visitors have landed over the years. Two Dodgers have accomplished this Camden Yards feat in their brief visits interleague visits…

20190910_213057Shawn Green

20190912_183020 (1)Andre Ethier

Of course it would be our left handed hitters that you’d expect. 

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Meet Walt. This is the man who marks the spots on Eutaw Street where home runs land. Each off-season new plaques are placed on the landing spots of Eutaw Street home runs. With the Eutaw Street promenade behind right field, it’s no surprise over the years all Eutaw Street 4-baggers have all been hit from the left side of the plate…

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20190912_183238(0) (1)Not an easy feat Blue Dog !

With the wrought iron gate in front of Dre’s shot opened during the game I can see how his shot wouldn’t have to dodge obstacles. As for Shawn Green’s shot…

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A little bit tougher for Shawn’s shot to land on the fly. Walt would explain to me the various possibilities like the flight of the ball’s backspin or certain wind patterns from the nearby inner harbor and B&O Warehouse playing with the wind’s pattern…

 

 

 

It’s almost game time and I’m back for the my 2nd of the 3 games at OPACY. Oriole Park was the first big league park i’d visit east of Arizona back in September ’03. Now in it’s 28th season, the yard that started the retro craze has now completed it’s 28th season. Though parts of the yard have showed it’s age, it’s still a beauty nonetheless, anchored of course by the B&O Warehouse behind right field…

 

 

 

Hey! Greg Brady throwing out the first pitch !!!

And now to take part in an Oriole tradition…”O” Say does that Star Spangled Banner Yet Wave…

With The Blue having clinched the NL West 2 nights prior I decided to spend the majority of the evening strolling the yard. I try to make it a custom to take in two games when visiting another yard as to see it’s different vantage points. Though I already paid Camden Yards a visit 16 years ago, I wanted to see if there we’re any major significant enhancements, none that I could notice with exception of these statues behind the batters backdrop…

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Perhaps someday, Jackie Robinson will have more company at Dodger Stadium. But hey, Sandy Koufax will be joining him in his new center field spot next year !

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The view from the upper reaches of the left field corner with the warehouse providing the perfect frame. If you look at the scoreboard and see an ad for The Sun, the local newspaper, for judgement plays, the “H” or “E” will flash while the other lights briefly go out. This is a nod to the old Schaefer Beer ad in Ebbets Field. 

20190912_202811Got the upper reaches all to myself…I feel like yelling “HE MISSED THE TAG !!!”

20190912_203036Hey there Blue Dog! Care to take part in the Dance Cam?

20190912_203011Why don’t you join me up in the Uecker seats?

20190912_205752Why Not? The theme of the 1989 Baltimore Orioles after their 54-108 season in 1988 that saw them start the season 0-21. Though not as cheesy as the Super Bowl Shuffle, Let’s Go Mets, or dare I say it, The Baseball Bunch video by The Blue in 1986, here was the Orioles video for 1989…(Hey, it was the 80s folks !!!)

20190912_210222The Orioles may be struggling these days, but they’ve had their share of glory…

20190912_210121A Blast From The Past…

20190912_213817The bird linked to the ’89 Why Not team…

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The Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame by the Eutaw Street entrance. Oriole HOF’ers over the years…

On this night, the Dodgers would win in a most unusual way with the winning runs scoring while Russel Martin would strike out on a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded and 2 outs… 

So the Dodgers would take both games I took in. Oriole Park, opened in 1992 has certainly aged well. When put in the context of many of today’s yards, though only completed 28 seasons, Camden Yards has stood up well and should be around for many more years to come. Once the O’s can get back to winning, the atmosphere around Camden Yards should once again be magical. 

Recapping Day 3 of Drei’s Day in Charm City

  • The B&O Railway Museum
  • The Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum
  • Dodgers vs. Orioles, Oriole Park at Camden Yards

All within a few blocks of each other. Before we leave the yard…

20190912_222931Gotta give Blue Fleece ’12 some air time. This is the furthest Blue Fleece ’12 has traveled…

20190912_224153Postgame with Blue Fleece ’12 out on the Eutaw Street Promenade…

20190912_224458Blue Dog and I sure had a lot of fun in Charm City !!! Time to head over to Pickle’s for some late night eats…

 

 

 

The burger and “P” shaped pretzel with Old Bay Crab dip. They sure love their Old Bay and Crab Dip here in Maryland…

 

 

 

Brooks Robinson with his Gold Glove across from Pickles Pub and the yard…

Time to say goodnight and goodbye to Oriole Park and Camden Yards. It was quite a week here in the eastern seaboard as I took in 2 of the 3 9/11 sights during the week of 9/11, caught 2 Dodgers/Orioles games and a Mets game and a couple of museums. Though we couldn’t fulfill both Mets and Orioles fans wishes of us beating the Yankees in World Series, it was still a great time. It’s been a while since Drei hit up the East Coast. Where will Drei’s next adventure be? Stay tuned…’Til the Next Episode…

 

 

 

 

Baseball and 9/11: Day Three, Charm City in One Day, Part One…The Rails and The Babe

Baltimore MD. Also known as Charm City. When I venture into another city, thanks to one of the greatest inventions, the camera phone with endless memory (You can tell i’m not the greatest expert…), one thing I enjoy is getting a feel for the city I’m visiting, taking various pictures of just  about  anything that reflects that particular city. The best part is I know I’m not running out of film. As for battery life, well…

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One thing I noticed during my stay in Charm City was the housing throughout the neighborhoods, old school brick right next to each other. I’m going to assume when these units we’re built the choice of brick was atop the list due to the harsh winter climates.

Another thing I like to do is capture a mural as well. Here’s one from a playground across the street from the museum I will be visiting…20190912_131413

 

 

The mural above honoring the neighborhood’s Irish history is one of a few historical points of interest in the neighborhood20190912_131452

The museum I would end up visiting was the B&O Railroad Museum. (The Irish Railroad Workers Museum is open Friday’s and Saturday’s). One of my non-sports fascinations is trains, especially classic trains. Being that the yard I’ll be visiting for the second time in three days is known for having a restored building that once was a focal point of the old B&O rail, it’s only appropriate I pay a visit to the B&O Railroad Museum. 

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Can you imagine commuter rail and Amtrak employees carrying one of those classics…

 

If you look at marker number 1 that’s where the B&O building that frames Camden Yards is located. You can see how many city blocks we’re cleared to make room for Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Click here to view more before and after pictures of the area around Camden Yards…

 

An old rustic caboose on a track leading into the roundhouse….

 

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Playin’ on the tracks with Blue Dog. I never did pay attention as a kid when I was told to never play on the tracks…

 

 

Gotta support the locals…

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Hey Blue Dog ! I thought I told you to stay off the tracks !!!

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After spending a good couple plus hours taking in the sights of vintage trains and other vintage rail antiques dating back to the Civil War days, what next, watch 45 cruise through Charm City or pay The Babe a visit? Is that worth answering?

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Whether you’re a fan of that Evil Empire from The Bronx or not any baseball fan passing through The Bambino’s hometown should make it a point to stop by The Babe’s birthplace, The Babe Ruth Birthplace and MuseumLocated about a 15 minute walk from Camden Yards, don’t expect to spend more than an hour at The Bambino’s childhood birthplace. But do take your time in soaking in the history inside Babe’s home and it’s glory…

 

 

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For all his glory he only won one more World Series title with the Yankees after winning three in Boston. However, we all know the story of 1918…

 

Babe’s kimono as he and other MLB All-Stars would tour Japan during the off-season. Looking at the size of that kimono you’d think he’d be a sumo wrestler…

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Right behind me, the Babe’s childhood neighborhood…Let’s take a look at some more local artwork before we walk on over to the yard…

20190912_163706Baltimore. Home of The Birds…

So the first part of Day Three In Charm City gives us a historic tour of the rails connection to Baltimore’s baseball history and a stroll through The Babe’s childhood neighborhood. Time to head back toward Camden Yards for my second game of the three game series…

Next up: Part Two…Back To The Yards

 

 

 

 

Baseball and 9/11: Day Two, New York City and a Mets Game in One Day

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Wednesday morning, September 11, 2019.  I wait for my New York City bound Amtrak train on this calm and warm morning on the platform of Baltimore’s Penn Station. 18 years prior, on a normal Tuesday morning, passengers aboard four passenger aircraft’s heading toward California, 3 to L.A., one to San Francisco, would tragically have their lives cut short due to the tragic terrorist acts. 2 of the aircraft’s would knock down the Twin Towers, one would crash in The Pentagon’s west side and the other into a field in Pennsylvania. 

18 years have passed. We are reminded to Never Forget. To anyone born in 2001, now of college bound age, the tragic events of 9/11/2001 is indirectly linked to them.

Every year citizens are always asked to do something of significance on 9/11. Be it a community voluntary act or just living your normal everyday life as a reminder to the terrorists that evil acts will not stop us from doing what we enjoy in life. 

With New York City being a 2.5 hour train ride from Baltimore, I decide to make the trek to New York City and take part of the 9/11 tributes. 

20190911_095149Waiting for my incoming train from D.C. on the way to N.Y.C.

20190911_095041Our favorite lion, Bailey, making the trip with me to NYC. You’ll see why later…

As a rail aficionado, I look forward to my 2.5 hour trek to New York City, even if I know I’ll spend a good part of it catching up on some Zzzz’s. Just as well. The route from Baltimore to New York is void of any breathtaking scenery. However, I did get a couple of pics passing through Philly20190911_111142

Here’s one with the skyline in the distance of the Schuylkill River…

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New York City, 9/11

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Outside of Madison Square Garden, home of the Knicks and hockey’s New York Rangers. With the 9/11 Museum being closed to the public on this day, I had some time to kill. Madison Square Garden lies atop a bustling Penn Station.

Inside the lobby plaques are located throughout the floor paying tribute to famous athletes and entertainers who have made their mark here…

20190911_130712Dedicated to The Piano Man himself after his 100th performance at MSG…

With some time to kill before my planned 3 PM visit to the 9/11 pools, I head over to Katz Deli. This just may be the best pastrami i’ve ever had…

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A visit to Katz may have been reason enough to make the day trek to NYC. 

Never Forget 9/11

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The 9/11 Memorial Pool. The 2 pools lie on the footprint of the World Trade Center Towers.

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The mood around the Twin Towers pool isn’t as somber as I had anticipated but people we’re respectful of nonetheless, some even sharing stories of friends and families lost. Many came by mostly to witness and take part of history…

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Former L.A. Kings scout Garnet “Ace” Bailey, along with Mark Bavis, we’re among the lives lost during 9/11. In 2007, the Kings would introduce a lion as their new mascot, naming the lovable leo, Bailey. (I’m sure some of you have seen my posts of him with Blue Dog…)20190911_161909

20190911_162733The Survivor Tree…

Across the street from the WTC Pools, folks gather aroudn the FDNY Ten House…

20190911_154821Opened in 2014, the One World Trade Center

Citi Field

After a little over an hour at the 9/11 pool, I head over to Citi Field to catch the Mets against the DBacks. Citi Field would be the 17th active MLB park i’d pay a visit to, along with 7 other past yards. Somewhere down the line I still expect to hit the big 3-0. 

20190911_172916The 7 Line, made famous by John Rocker…

I really don’t care what John Rocker once said about the 7 Line it still get’s fans to the game. It’s a source of public transit, not a private limousine company! BTW, John Rocker is still a POS !!!

20190911_175546Citi Field from a distance out in the parking lot, dotted with plaques located on the spots where home plate and the bases we’re located during the Shea Stadium days…

A couple of huge pre-1988 World Series home runs took place here in Game 4 of the ’88 NLCS for the Dodgers. One by Scioscia and one by, who else, Kirk Gibson…

20190911_175926A famous ground ball took place here on a Saturday night in October ’86. It involved a former Dodger and was called by, of course, Vin Scully…

Baseball is a sport that creates memories that is truly passed down from one generation to another.  As I was taking pictures of the markers of the location of Shea Stadium’s bases, other fans of various ages we’re not only doing the same, but telling stories, taking pictures of themselves doing a pitchers windup on the site where the rubber was located. Some kids we’re even running along the path where the bases we’re. Thankfully, the lot was not full to the point we couldn’t capture such moments…

The famous Home Run Apple. Darryl Strawberry triggered that thing many a times at old Shea…

20190911_183704Inside the Ebbets Field themed rotunda. The chandeliers above are meant to mimic the old baseball chandeliers from Ebbets Field…

The grand entrance to Citi Field. Inside the entrance is this rotunda that pays homage to Jackie Robinson. Upon it’s opening in 2009, the tribute to Mr. Robinson was met with some controversy among certain Mets fans, not because of Jackie Robinson, but the fact that he did not play for the Mets. More tributes to the Mets history would be added years later, including a small Hall of Fame next to the rotunda. 

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Never Forget

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Prior to the game, a pregame tribute to the victims of 9/11 and to local law enforcement and fire department personnel. 

20190911_192503Citi Field, 9/11. DBacks vs. Mets

It’s really hard for me to grasp how I fully feel about Citi. It tries to be a retro yard but does not quite blend with it’s neighborhood surroundings. As for it’s attempt at a retro yard, it may have been a decade late upon it’s 2009 opening. I remember when I went to new Busch Stadium in 2006 telling my buddy Josh that I felt we’re at the point that parks are trying to “out-retro each other”. Also of note. Their current “Home Run Apple” beyond the CF fence. Aside from the Apple perhaps the Mets could have brought over some other elements of Shea Stadium?

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OK. So Citi does pay some respects to old Shea with this pedestrian bridge that connects the right and  center field stands above the bullpens…

20190911_204701The skyline that once highlighted Shea Stadium’s right field scoreboard, now above the Shake Shack in the outfield concourse. Note the ribbon on the Twin Towers…

As I like to do when visiting a yard for the first time, I like to take in the various vantage points. 

20190911_212134High above left field from the last row. Just a bit high and distant of an outfield location for my preference…

20190911_213425Back behind home plate. Middle 7th and on this night, 9/11/2019, God Bless America…

On this evening, the Mets would come out of the gates quick with a big 5 run 1st inning. On this night, 9/11, they would end up winning 9-0 on...9 Runs and 11 Hits

Back to The 9/11 Memorial, Tribute In Lights

With the game out of reach I leave after the 7th inning to head back to the 9/11 Memorial Pool to check out Tribute In Light. Tribute in Light first debuted on the 6 month anniversary of the attacks and has been on display every year on 9/11. 20190911_231902

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It was a point for me to also check out Tribute in Light from the 9/11 memorial. The lights can reach upward to 4 miles and is visible from a 60 mile radius. There are probably other magnificent viewing points throughout the city but on this day, as well as any 9/11 day, the location was appropriate. 

When I visited New York in 2006 the footprint of Twin Towers was known as Ground Zero.

Ground Zero, May 2006…

The area around the towers continues to draw people from around the world. Though many come to reflect, many also come to meet people and share stories. Proof that no matter the magnitude of the tragic events of 9/11/2001, the spirit and unity of folks around the world and the citizens of New York will never be broken. 

Recapping My Day in NYC, 9/11/2019

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New York City, regardless of whether your staying a day or a few days, is not the type of city you’ll do everything you want in one stay. Fortunately for me, I’ve done enough solo traveling and utilized many forms of public transit where navigating The Big Apple was anything but daunting. My itinerary was simple, check out the 9/11 Memorial, grab a pastrami at either Katz’s or Sarge’s (went to Katz) and catch a Mets game. 

With the Dodgers actually scheduled to play the Mets in the upcoming weekend, a few Mets fans kiddingly chided me, telling me I was a couple days earlier. One Met fan asked me if I could tell Dave Roberts to have our bench players start all 3 games over the weekend since we had the West clinched already and the Mets we’re in need of wins to stay alive in the Wild Card. A few Mets fans told me to beat the Yankees in the World Series, something I’ve heard a few times between the Mets and Orioles fans. Of course, let’s get there first…

New York in One Day in Pictures…

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Baseball and 9/11: Day One, 9/10/2019. The Pentagon and A Division Clincher

Prior to this season, I made it a personal goal to catch a Dodger game in each N.L. West venue. But not having had a chance to travel beyond Arizona in quite some time only whetted my appetite to journey toward the east. 

With the Dodgers being in Baltimore and New York City being a short train ride away, I decided to journey toward Charm City to catch a couple of games at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. 

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I would take the red-eye from L.A. to Baltimore, leaving a little past 1 AM on Tuesday, September 10th. After arriving to Charm City and dropping my stuff off at the hotel, I would take the local MARC commuter train south to DC en route to The Pentagon to check out the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial. 

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The benches outside The Pentagon each represent the 184 lives that we’re lost on the morning of September 11, 2001. Every day, the flow of water in the pool beneath the benches stops for one minute at exactly 9:37 AM, the time of the crash of American Airlines Flight 77. 

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Along the perimeter of the memorial is a wall that has a marker with the year of birth for each victim. 3 year old Dana Falkenberg would be the youngest casualty of AA Flight 77

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20190910_154452For perspective this picture would be taken facing the direction of AA Flight 77

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Off To The Yard…

20190910_180214Another yard down for Blue…

The commute from DC to Baltimore would be a smooth one as I would take the MARC’s Camden Line, dropping me off right by the yard. It’s only appropriate my train would drop me off by the yard, with it’s signature feature being the old B&O Warehouse

2 Baltimore Legends…Cal and The Babe, a Baltimore Native…

Home Run markers along the Eutaw Street promenade including Brady Anderson’s tape measure shot…

20190910_181732Tonight’s ballpark bites…Crabcake Sandwich with Old Bay seasoned chips…

20190910_193355 - CopyView from our Eutaw Street Bleacher seats…

With the magic number to clinch a 7th straight NL West title, the blue clad fans in attendance would sense a magical evening, lead off with a 3 run blast by Corey Seager in the visitors first. 

It would also be a magical night for Dodgers rookie 2nd baseman Gavin Lux, who would smash his first big league round-tripper…

Lux’s first big league blast would fall in the glove of a Dodger fan in the aisle next to me…

20190910_203415 - CopyThe fan would end up getting an autographed bat and two autographed baseballs…

Screenshot_20190917-091207_YouTubeGotta love that winning feeling…

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4 innings away from clinching the west, I decide to take a stroll throughout the park. Before I do, how ’bout a pic with the warehouse behind me…20190910_212556I’ve always wondered how one can enter the warehouse…

 

Strolling along Eutaw Street. That’s quite a moon out tonight. Blue Dog is enjoying the stroll, where we’d see this classic 1950 Chevy with Boog’s BBQ logo attached…

20190910_205837Big night for Corey. Corey’s having a big month of September…

As we approach the home 9th, up 4 runs and seats by the Dodger dugout being plentiful in large part to the O’s struggles, I take advantage of the opportunity to capture the moment…

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A subdued celebration, business as usual. 7 division titles will do that. Because, well, it’s that BIG PRIZE IN OCTOBER that we’re all coveting. But hey, it’s quite a feat nonetheless…

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Well wishes from Baltimore. Hey, 233 dogs showed up for the NL West clincher !!! This would be the first time the Dodgers would clinch a division in an American League yard…

This has to be the closest i’ve been to seeing a division clincher…

Alanna Rizzo with Dave Roberts and Gavin Lux…

20190910_220231Blue Fleece 2004…This is the 9th yard Blue Fleece 2004 has traveled…

Recapping Day 1 of my 3 day Dodgers, baseball and 9/11 themed trip upon my arrival to BWI, with an on-time arrival and things working like clockwork, I would go from Baltimore to DC to the Pentagon Memorial and back to Charm City…

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This would be my first trip to Camden Yards in 16 years so this isn’t a yard I needed to knock off on my list of 30. But I was so intrigued by it’s beauty I vowed I would make a return trip some day. It would also be the first time I would see the Boys in Blue in an AL yard other than Angel Stadium. 

When I planned this trip back in April, I could not have envisioned seeing The Blue clinch the NL West here or even this early. September 10 would mark the earliest the Blue would clinch a division title. 

The visit to The 9/11 Pentagon Memorial , one of the sites of the tragic 9/11 crashes of 18 years ago didn’t have the bone-chilling effect that many would feel. No matter though. It still a site that one who appreciate’s and reflect’s on history, no matter how tragic  should visit. 

The tragic events of 18 years ago would put a brief halt on the 2001 season. As the season resumed, baseball would be a small tonic baseball fans and this country would embrace, as it would serve as a distraction from the tragic events of the day. 

Day Two. Up to New York City on 9/11…

20190910_221115One last stroll for the night along Eutaw Street…

Turning The NL West Blue: Recapping Drei’s Journey’s Through The Yards of The NL West

It’s a baseball fan’s dream to venture to all 30 MLB parks. Along the way, some minor league yards and an international yard or two may be on the list. As for me, I still got a ways to go before I hit up all 30. But prior to this season, I made it a personal goal to catch a Dodger game in all NL West yards all in the same season. 20190831_203851

Though I wasn’t the best good luck charm on the road this season, the Dodgers have more than held their own as they prepare themselves for a 7th straight NL West title and another deep October run. 

The journey through the NL West was an exciting one. Each yard and city has it’s own story. And of course, each yard has it’s own personality. 

I’ve always believed that the best yards in baseball reside here in the NL West. Putting aside my personal biases toward our beloved Chavez Ravine, how do the rest of the yards in the NL West stack up with Drei?

4. Chase Field: Arizona DiamondBacks, Visited 8/31/2019

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Of the 5 yards in the NL West, this is easily my least favorite. Having said that, there still some redeeming factors that make Chase Field enjoyable, such as the Friday’s Front Row Bar & Grill above left field and it’s patio that gives fans an opportunity to dine with friends and family while taking in a ballgame. 

20190831_144900Kid n Drei pregaming at Friday’s before the Dodgers-DBacks game, 8/31/2019

The retractable roof is a nice convenience from the scorching desert weather and on that rare occasion when the yard is filled, as it was on this evening as a Chase Field record crowd of over 50,000 we’re on hand (You can thank us Dodgers fans for bumping up those numbers…), the atmosphere can be electric. 

Aesthetically, this is decidedly the least attractive of the other 4. Though the roof is a nice convenience, when closed, you get the feel of watching a game inside a huge airport hangar. Or as my former supervisor who now resides in Phoenix once told me, it has the excitement of going to Costco.  

Though established in 1998, just 2 years before Oracle Park, The Snakes are looking for new digs. Though Chase Field is only 21 years in existence, we’re in the era of the disposable ballpark. 20190831_164542

So Chase Field may not rank so highly among ballpark travelers and baseball fans. It’s main signature feature is a pool that in only available to private groups. But after only 21 years is a new yard really necessary?

3. Coors Field: Colorado Rockies, Visited 6/29-30

20190629_190615My favorite mascot among division rivals, Dinger! 

If there’s one thing Dinger and I have in common, it’s our disdain toward that Seal up in San Francisco. 

Of the other 3, it’s very easy to put the remaining NL West trio in any order. Coors Field, opened for business in 1995 is the 3rd oldest yard in the Senior Circuit behind Wrigley Field and Dodger Stadium. Not bad company to be with for a yard soon approaching it’s 25th year. 

20190630_134510Coors Field. Established 1995

Opened for business 3 years after Oriole Park in Baltimore, Coors Field opened it’s gates at the height of the 90’s retro yard craze. I’ve often stated that the term retro is often overused. However, with Coors Field, the elements within the yard justify it’s status, or at least it’s exterior, blending in with the continuously developing LoDo neighborhood… 

20190629_132632Greetings From LoDo, Blue Dog !!!

With the Rockies in playoff contention at the time of our visit, Coors Field was filled to capacity during the 2 games we came. Coming off of last year’s playoff appearance after finishing one game behind The Blue, there was a buzz felt throughout the weekend. The Blue would split the two games that my buddy Josh and I attended. 

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Recent changes to Coors Field was the elimination of outfield upper deck seats behind right field, replaced with The Rooftop. 20190629_184028It’s a great social spot for the casual fan and a great way to get in the yard on the cheap. But if you come to ACTUALLY watch the game, get yourself a seat, even if you land one on the Purple Row. 20190630_115454

The landscape beyond CF add’s to Coors Fields charm, surrounded by local natural rocks and greenery complimented by a water display. 20190629_171610Hey Blue Dog! You sure like traveling with Drei !!!

If you should be so daring, do try the Rocky Mountain Oysters at least once. 20190629_194540Taste’s like chicken!!!

If that’s not enough, try out the Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout at nearby Wynkoop Brewery. 

20190629_222430This Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout got a good deep malty touch…

20190630_170552See you made a new friend Blue Dog!!!

2. Petco Park: San Diego Padres, Visited 5/5/201920190505_135226

Opened in 2004 Petco Park definitely screams San Diego, with it’s exposed white beams and it’s navy blue seats. With all the so-called retro yards opened in the 90’s, Petco bucked the trend sans the Western Metal Supply Co. Building

20190609_114704Western Metal Supply Co. Building, from the outside…

Daytrips to San Diego are a regular occurrence for the Dodger Blue Faithful as many a Dodger Blue clad fan makes the trek down I-5. Next to Coors Field, Petco may have the best neighborhood vibe of the yards here in the west, with it’s location right next to the Gaslamp. 

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2019050595164509.jpgThe Garv. First number ever retired by the Padres. Of course it took a Dodger to accomplish this feat…

And finally, again putting all biases aside and to the dismay of some…

1.  Oracle Park: San Francisco Giants, Visited 5/1/201920190501_175946

Soon to be in it’s 20th year, Oracle Park is now under it’s 4th name. In spite of certain locals of all ages, including some old enough to be my grandfather, personally wishing me ill will, I really enjoy Oracle and The City. 

Though The Blue would fall on a Buster Posey walk-off, on a personal note, my record over the years at Pac Bell/SBC/AT&T/Oracle Park is 10-9. 20180428_083809.jpgThe Portwalk…

Oracle Park is one of those yards if your visiting for the first time you’ll want to arrive early to check out the various viewing points. Before setting foot inside Oracle take a stroll along the portwalk. Check out the distant views of the bay and the kayaker’s setting up shop along McCovey Cove. 20180428_141225.jpgCody Bellinger has already deposited one to The Cove. It’s only a matter of time Joc drop’s one in…

If you end up in Oracle’s upper reaches, don’t see it as a bad thing. Next to PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Oracle has one of the big’s most distant picturesque views with The Bay as the backdrop…20180428_145237.jpg

 

As for the food, if you really wanted to you could spend the whole game on a food run. On this night, I went with the 40 clove garlic chicken sandwich and garlic fries. 20190501_181902Mints optional…

So there’s my wrap around the NL West. I can now say I’ve chased The Blue in every NL West yard in one season. Here’s more from my visits to Oracle ParkPetco ParkCoors Field Day 1Coors Field Day 2 and Chase Field

 

As if I didn’t have enough, I also had a chance to catch The Blue in Charm City, Baltimore. Charm City report coming soon…

 

 

 

 

Cruising The N.L. West: Kid n Drei’s Desert Invasion and The Pantone 294 Experience, 8/31/2019

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The day started off really early. With a 4 AM  meetup time at Union Station, I catch the last Red Line train of the day at just before 2:30 from the North Hollywood Station. Arriving at Union Station just before 3, with an hour to kill I head to that classic American late night diner across the street from Union Station’s east end, Denny’s.

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Shortly before our 5 AM departure with some of the other fans traveling with Pantone 294. It would be a mix of veterans and newbies. A total of five buses would bus us to Phoenix, 2 of them out of Pomona. After checking in with our bus leader we depart just outside of Olvera Street a little after 5. A little groggy, I’m just glad we’re on our way.

After a brief stop in Pomona for the other Pantoners we make our way along I-10 en route to The Valley of The Sun…

20190831_051640Kid Marlz all comfy with his neck rest…

After almost 4 hours on the road we make a pit stop at Carls Jr. in Blythe, just short of the CA-AZ border. 

20190831_094722Bus 1. The one bus with the 294 logo…

20190831_094500Waiting to get back on the bus. We would take a group photo before continuing on to Phoenix…

As we left Blythe the mood on the bus is a bit livelier now with everyone fully awake, with music blasting and keeping us entertained. The fans sitting around us we’re really friendly, sharing some of their brews with us. As I said earlier, our bus was a good mix of newbies and us first-timers. 

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One more rest stop before we hit up Phoenix. 

20190831_115701Some in-state fun facts…

As we got closer to Phoenix approximately 30 minutes away we play have some games and trivia. One of the games was to see who could do the best impression of anything or anyone of choice. I could not help but do my best Vin Scully impression…”IT’S TIME FOR DODGER BASEBALL !!!”. Along with answering correctly who managed the ’59 and ’53 Champs (Walter Alston), I would win this water bottle and flag…

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Through raffles some lucky fans in all the buses would win a chance to be on the field prior to the national anthem.

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Shortly after 1PM, we have finally arrived. Most of the traveling bunch would head over to Game Seven Grill next to the yard. Game Seven Grill would be to huge and impersonal for Kid and I, confirming the 2-Star reviews on Yelp so we decide to head over to Friday’s Front Row Sports Grill inside Chase Field. But before we do some pregame dining, I decide to take Kid to the lower viewing area of Friday’s, which has a patio above the left field as well that fans can access through the restaurant…

20190831_134221Greetings from AZ!!! From Kid n Drei

20190831_144900Lunchtime at The Yard…

We would be seated next to the open garage door window that gave us a great view of the field, giving us a chance to watch both the Snakes and The Blue take BP. Those seats turn into gameday table seating for a charge. There are outdoor patio tables that seat 4 as well, above left field and inside the yard. Those would be a great experience with 3 of your buddies, dinner and a game…

20190831_144750Another yard hit up by our Blue Dog…

The food at Friday’s is your typical bar food, nothing spectacular but at this particular one your mostly here for the experience of dining inside a MLB ballpark. My android of course knew where we we’re because as soon as Kid and I we’re done ordering, as I was posting on IG I see an offer for a buy one get one free entree, which our waitress gladly honored…

To be fair, I can see why Pantone 294 would choose Game Seven Grill as their pregame meeting spot with it’s 2 floors and all that space to accommodate all their traveling fans.  Friday’s would not have been able to accommodate all the traveling Patoner’s, though some would do their pregame dining there as well…

The 20-Year Experience

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Celebrating their 20 year existence in 2018, the DBacks have a nice little beyond the left field concourse highlighting some of the teams memorable moments, highlighted by their 2001 World Series triumph over the Yankees…

20190831_164542Pregame view from atop the left field line….

20190831_174305The view from our seats in right field. With all the Blue provided in our section by the travelling Pantone 294 group you’d think this was a Dodgers home game…

OK. In many ways, this felt like a Dodger home game, with a strong contingent of Blue throughout the yard. 20190831_201130Blue Dog trying to lead the Pantoner’s to a 9th inning rally for The Blue

Unfortunately, the rally would fall one run short. For the 3rd straight game The Blue would surrender a 3-run lead to The Snakes. This time, it would be with Kid K starting. Kenley Jansen would appear in the home 8th and quickly surrender a solo shot. Usually when talking about Kershaw and Jansen in the same sentence that would be enough to send bad thoughts to opposing hitters. That has not been the case as of late. Can these two find their old stroke back before October?

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So I wasn’t exactly a good luck charm on the road this year for The Blue. But hey, I set out what I wanted to do this year and check out The Blue in each NL West yard. Petco Park in San Diego is the one I’ve frequented the most, of course, with SD being the closest to L.A. 

It would be my first time back to Chase Field since 2003 when it was known as Bank One Ballpark, aka, The BOB. It would be Kid Marlz first trip to Chase Field…

The DBacks have let it known they want a new yard. Though Chase Field has only been in operation since 1998, the Local 9 have been in a battle with Maricopa County with the current condition of their new yard. True, the Chase Field experience may resemble being inside an oversized airplane hangar, or as one of my former supervisors who now resides in Phoenix describes the atmosphere, ” A day at Costco”, Chase Field at least to the naked eye hardly seems outdated. Of course, we’re talking in the era of “disposable yards”…

 20190831_204426Kid kickin’ it by the pool after the game. Drei was so tempted to toss him in…

The Traveling Fleeces

20190831_204522Blue Fleece 2004

20190831_204539Blue Fleece 2012

One of my goals also is to bring the Blue Fleeces to as many yards possible. Both these fleece’s have ventured to each NL West yard! More on the fleeces later…

It was quite a venture with Kid and the Pantone 294 group. Ironically there we’rent too many shenanigans this time around with Kid N Drei (That might be a first…We gettin’ old Kid?)

This would be our first time traveling with the Pantone 294 group. If you enjoy being among a group of rabid Dodgers fans traveling with the Pantoner’s should be on your list of Dodger road-trip to-do’s. Everyone is really united as one with a mix of regulars and first-timers, partying up and offering drinks while keeping everything under control. The one thing I was hoping to see at the game and be under was it’s travelling flag. Several regulars told me stadiums we’re no longer permitting the flag inside their yards…

20190831_215952Waiting on our ride…

It’s been quite a day. If any of you have ever done a Vegas or casino turnaround, think of this as a Dodger baseball version of one. It was a great time had by all wearing the Dodger Pantone 294 Blue. We would also be a part of Chase Field history, as on this night, August 31, 2019, a record crowd of 50,180 would be on hand, many of course wearing the Dodger Blue, a fact not lost among the locals…

20190831_214335HEY KID! You’re hair gets longer and longer each time I see you, which isn’t so often these days. That’s what happens when you get older folks…Savor the good times you have with your close one’s…

20190831_214453Blue Dog seems to like your long hair Kid…

20190831_230611Kid’s beat, and no Beatz from Kid…Time to head home to L.A. 

The route to Phoenix along I-10 really isn’t so scenic. But it’s a direct one. One of these days I do hope to travel along the old Mother Road along old Route 66. 

Well Kid, you’ve seen the Dodger Blue on the road through with Drei through 4 of 5 NL West yards. If all goes to plan, we’ll hit up Colorado some time down the road, something Drei did earlier this year. 

It’s been quite a year cruising the NL West, giving each rival yard a Touch of Blue. Gonna recap my visit to each yard soon….

20190831_213127Another NL West yard out of the way…Just a Rocky Mountain yard away from you to complete the NL West Blue Invasion, Kid…’Til the Next Episode

 

 

Andrei here,Southern California Correspondent for Stadium Journey Magazine and StadiumJourney.com, along with the broham, Marlon B, aka Kid Marley Marlz. We like to call ourselves, KID N DREI…2 crazed Dodger fans bringing Da Beatz and Da Talez or sometimes, both. Kid with Da Beats on SoundCloud at MDario GlutenFreeSonds, and Drei with Da Talez.

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