Category Archives: Cruising The N.L. West 2019

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…

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

Cruising The N.L. West, Day Two: Strolling Through LoDo and The Series Finale, Dodgers vs. Rockies 6/30

Leading Off…

20190630_103852So true in baseball…

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Just a little over 20 minutes before 11AM local time on this last day of June. It’s been a humid weekend in the Mile High City, so far the clouds have stayed away. Prior to the series finale I decide to take a stroll throughout the area surrounding the ballpark. 

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What does this neon artwork look like when lit at night?

e9f2August ’06

It’s still early. How ’bout we grab some breakfast?

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Located about a block from the yard, it’s nice to see Kachina uses ingredients both local and Cali made…

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The Blue Corn Waffles sound good…

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I was expecting the waffles to have more of the blue corn texture as described. But that whiskey maple syrup…What a kick. Syrup also can be served to kids but without the whiskey…Back to my pregame stroll…

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Above are pictures of the construction that will eventually become a mixed use entertainment complex across the street from Coors Field. 

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Views from outside the yard on 20th street…

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With the number of brick buildings surrounding the area Coors Field certainly blends in well with the surrounding neighborhood of LoDo. 

20190630_113921The Starting Nine for Colorado…

20190630_114858Greetings From One Mile High…

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Gettin’ that Mile High feeling…

Speaking of One Mile High…

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This now marks the ninth yard past and present our traveling blue fleece has entered. 

The Purple Row

As you may know by now, the Purple Row in the upper reaches of Coors Field, Row 20 to be exact, marks the sport where fans are exactly one mile above sea level…

20190630_115454Back at it one mile high with Blue Dog

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20190630_115156Hey, Blue Dog’s buddy, Bailey decided to join him a mile high…

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If I should ever make it back to the Mile High City maybe one day I’ll ask for a seat in the purple row…Off to The Rooftop

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On the way to The Rooftop we pass through Carlos Gonzalez’s accomplishment. We hear you love L.A. Carlos…

Pregame view from The Rooftop. The day started off so hot and humid you could actually smell the wood along the drink rail. If it was any hotter i’d be able to cook some wood-smoked salmon…

Behind the Batter’s Backdrop

20190630_123849So tempted to pull a piece of that ivy along the backdrop…

20190630_123951Home plate of the visitors bullpen. That’s gotta be one of the most scenic bullpens in the bigs. Gotta wonder how many warmup pitches have skipped away onto that pool of water. How many dingers have landed there as well…

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Our view from our seats. With this yard’s homer friendly reputation does a Cody Bellinger 4-bagger land our way today? Notice the clouds starting to come in compared to the earlier clear skies…

20190630_131025Opening intro for the Rockies. Our pic featuring Charlie Blackmon…

JP to lead things off for us. I get a feeling he’s gonna have a big day today…

20190630_132230Gettin’ my facetime with Cody Bellinger. 

One of the notable changes to Coors aside from the addition of The Rooftop is their scoreboard and it’s unique “Rocky Mountain-like” shape. Without a doubt one of the best boards in the league when it comes to it’s unique quality…Another side note on this last day of Sunday…Earlier it was sunny, now, first pitch, still hot at 92 degrees but now we have a cloud cover…

Ballpark Blueprints…

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When walking the concourse behind the center field batters backdrop you’ll notice this mural depicting the cattle life of the Rocky Mountains up to the construction and opening of Coors Field in 1995…

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View from the LF corner. For still being one of the biggest yards in the MLB, Coors Field feels surprisingly intimate…

20190630_155518Cody at the dish, top 6th. The visiting 6th would see the Blue put up a 6 spot over the Rockies. The three 6’s would not be kind to the home nine…

20190630_161353After feasting and drinking on Rocky Mountain Oysters this time I kept it simple…The Denver Dog…

20190630_165958JP with a big day as I predicted earlier. One of the key contributors to that big 6th…

20190630_170018Josh sure enjoyed that 6th…Now your weather update…76 degrees and cloudy. A 16 degree drop in just under 4 hours…

20190630_170552Well look who decided to join Blue Dog…In spite of the Blue about to salvage the final game of four and their 13th in their last 15 over Colorado, Dinger holds no ill-feelings…

After a little over 4 hours, the Blue finally comes away victorious…

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And I finally see a road win…

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FINALLY !!! A WIN ON THE ROAD FOR DREI !!!

20190630_171723Brought the other Blue Fleece on the road. This is the first time this Blue has left California. Our newfound Dodger buddy Dion, visiting from Wyoming, helped me hold up Blue Fleece II as we battled the Rocky Mountain winds…

20190630_171952My first “real” road trip with Josh in almost 10 years (SF and SD don’t count…). Our last road trip? Albuquerque, 2010, when ABQ was the Dodgers AAA affiliate. Today’s ABQ affiliate? Of course, the Colorado Rockies…

Closing Time…

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It was an enjoyable weekend in the Mile High City. The locals we’re very hospitable. It was great to get out on the road again with my buddy Josh after almost 10 years. Of course, the older you get the harder it is to do everything you set out to do. Heck, I haven’t even been to a game with Kid Marlz this season (Stay tuned…)

Now the third oldest yard in the NL behind only Wrigley Field and Dodger Stadium, Coors Field won’t be going away anytime soon. Even with the changes both in and outside the yard, Coors Field, though does not have that new-stadium feel anymore, still maintains that retro/mid 90s feel if you will. Even with the recent improvements, there isn’t much in the way to distract you from the game. Aesthetically, Coors Field blends in well with the surrounding neighborhood…

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One of my baseball traveling goals was to catch the Dodgers in every NL West yard. One of my other goals was to do it in the same season as well. I’ve accomplished one of the two so far with Chase Field left to go. Along the way during this trip we crossed paths with other Dodgers fans. No surprise there since Dodgers fans always travel well. We even crossed paths with a bride and her besties as they celebrate one last baseball trip together before she ties the knot…(That’s quite a future hubby she got there letting her travel with her besties to see her Dodgers…)

It’s still my goal to hit up all 30. I’ve hit up 16 of the current 30 along with 7 past yards (8 if you count me setting foot inside The Kingdome…)

20190630_174530Time to head home Blue…

20190630_185847Boy the weather sure can change rapidly here…Being we’re one state away from Oz perhaps I should click my heals a few times to get us home…

Extra Innings…Drei’s Tale

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Kickin’ it with Dinger, August ’06…I need to revisit my good ol’ Jurassic buddy…

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Whassup Dinger ! You still enjoy chomping on Surf and Turf? You know, seal from the waters of McCovey Cove and your favorite…Rocky Mountain Oysters !!!

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Cruising The N.L. West, Rocky Mountain Weekend, Day One: National Baseball Museum and Dodgers-Rockies 6/29/2019

It’s been awhile since my buddy Josh and I had a chance to take a road trip, and when I say that, I don’t mean a drive to San Diego…LOL. Upon arriving late Friday evening into early Saturday morning, the night was made even longer by an extremely long rental car checkout no thanks to Fox Rent a Car and an extremely longer wait at Denny’s on 40th and Peoria. 

Having got the most grueling part of the trip out of the way, Josh and I make our way to the National Baseball Museum prior to the Saturday evening match up between the Dodgers and Rockies. But first, our continued feature of murals from cities visited…

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Keep our streets safe Denver…

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The museum is located across the street from Coors Field’s home plate entrance on Blake and 20th. Small and intimate, the museum is a must-see for any baseball fan making their way through the Mile High City. 

Much of what is featured in the museum are original memorabilia from baseball’s original 14 teams including an original piece from the chandelier of Ebbets Field’s famed rotunda… 

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20190629_155729.jpgTurnstyles from Shibe Park in Philadelphia and Forbes Field in Pittsburgh

 

 

Seats and bricks from the original 14…

 

 

Paying tribute to the Denver Bears

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Kicking it with Josh and the man who put this all together, Bruce Hellerstein

Off To The Ol’ Ballgame

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Blue Dog taking in the sights around the yard hours before first pitch…

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A little over an hour and a half before first pitch finds me outside of Coors Field’s home plate entrance. It would be my first time back since ’06 when I saw some kid, Troy Tulowtizky, make his debut…It’s a goal of mine to see The Blue in every NL West yard this year…

As said, this is my first trip to Coors Field since 2006Coors Field, open for business since 1995 is now the 3rd oldest NL yard behind only Wrigley Field and Dodger Stadium. At only 24 years, Coors Field is quietly up there with good company. No small feat considering that the Ballpark in Arlington, opened one year prior, will be out of commission after this season. 

20190629_170853Josh and I kickin’ it with Herbie Husker, the University of Nebraska mascot on Nebraska Night at Coors…

20190629_171440Coors Field water feature, with all the natural scenery home grown in Colorado…

Pregame Bite…The Helton Burger

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The Helton Burger, named after former Rockie Todd Helton is nothing more than your typical burger. But hey, it’s one of those ballpark food items you eat for the sake of saying you ate a ballpark item, you know, like the Dodger Dog…Speaking of, another Coors Field food item coming later…

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Our view from the upper right field stands. It was a warm and humid weekend in the Mile High City. As you can see the sun is doing it’s best to peak through the cloud cover on this Saturday evening…

More Coors Field Eats…Rocky Mountain Oysters

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Some of you may know by now that Rocky Mountain Oysters are not creatures of the sea. They are grown on land from a part of a bull…

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Josh behind me giving words of encouragement. That piece looks more like a chicken strip…

20190629_194429 The look on Josh’s face. That Rockies fan probably thinking “Not another Rocky Mountain Oyster pic…”

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Not bad actually. Maybe it was me channeling my Asian roots…That Rockies fan seems to be in disbelief that I went all in on that Rocky Mountain Oyster…It’s not as bad or creepy as people make it out to be. If you like chicken gizzards or calamari and don’t give this local delicacy much thought, you’ll be alright…(The fans behind me seem to be in disagreement…OK, I guess my Asian genes gave me an advantage…)

20190629_202521View of the sunset peaking through the cloud covers, from the Rooftop with the mountains in the distance…

20190629_203018Ah yeah. Gotta love that view…

20190629_202600Another view from The Rooftop, the most recent enhancement to Coors Field…

The final result from night one of our two day trip to Denver wasn’t what we hoped, with the Dodgers dropping their second straight of four to the Rockies. Oh well. The Blue still has a double-digit lead in the standings. Back at it tomorrow…

20190629_211906Matt Holliday. My all-time favorite Rockie for something he did in a Cardinals uniform in Game 2 of the 2009 NLDS

20190629_212113Hey Josh! Enjoying the Mile High nighlife?

Day One Notes…Return to the Mile High

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Since I’ve already been to Coors this isn’t one of those yards that was necessary to knock of on my journey to 30. Prior to this season I made it a goal to see The Blue in every NL West venue. With my visit to Coors, I’m only a Chase Field visit away from completing my cycle. 

Aside from the recent addition of The Rooftop not much has changed inside Coors since my visit in 2006. As mentioned earlier, opened in 1995 it is now the 3rd oldest yard in the National League behind only Wrigley Field and Dodger Stadium. Unlike the Ballpark In Arlington, opened for business one year prior and now in it’s final season, Coors will be around for awhile. If there’s any doubt about Coors Field status, a mixed-use development project across from Coors Field named after the teams former President is currently in the works, adding on to an already thriving LoDo district…

20190629_204846Construction cranes in the distance, lit purple

Postgame…Rocky Mountain Brews and Eats

Our postgame dining would take us to nearby Wynkoop Brewing Company, established in 1988 (Something about 1988 that puts a smile on my face…). 

20190629_223301Patty’s Chile Beer

First of all, you all didn’t think I came to Denver to drink Coors did you? The first of two brews I tried, Patty’s Chile Beer is one of those outside the box selections brewed with Anaheim, serrano and ancho peppers. For the most part it’s a pretty light beer. The taste of the three peppers are evident but won’t burn your mouth. A Home Run! BTW, this isn’t the only out of box brew I will try…

20190629_223725Appetizers. The grilled sausage board. Rabbit & rattlesnake jalapeno, Wynkoop IPA and wild boar, and rocky mountain oyster stout brat. 

Yup. They love their rocky mountain oyster’s here. That’s not the last item I’ll try that has a “hint” of the Rocky Mountain’s…

20190629_222347Josh playing it safe with the house made root beer…

20190629_224429The Bison Meatloaf. (I had no idea they had a dish honoring Matt Kemp…)

Even with a coarser taste, the Bison Meatloaf is still flavorful and just as good as your usual ground beef. Patty’s Chile Beer made for a nice pair. Speaking of brew…

20190629_222108Our Featured Brew, the Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout

Yup, you read that correctly, the Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout! What started out as an April Fools joke, this dark stout once again isn’t as scary as what you might think if again, you don’t give it much thought, with a hint of chocolate combined with, of course, rocky mountain oysters, roasted no less (Have you noticed yet I’ve yet to give a true description of the famed, or infamous, Rocky Mountain delicacy?) Another hit outta the yard !!! (Disclaimer…I take no responsibility for any conditions you may experience trying anything with Rocky Mountain Oysters!!!)

Day One is complete. The highlights included a trip to the National Ballpark Museum to finally tasting the much talked about Rocky Mountain Oysters in all different forms. Day two will be coming soon. 

20190629_233311Josh and I outside the Wynkoop Brewery. Josh looking all happy because I didn’t force him to “try” one more Rocky Mountain Oyster item…

20190629_234548 (1)After dinner stroll with Blue…

20190629_234702 (1)Denver must have known we we’re coming, giving us that “Touch of Blue”…

20190629_171610Back at it tomorrow, Blue Dog !!!

Extra Innings…One More Bite

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Just can’t have enough of those Rocky Mountain Oysters!!! That Rockies fan seems to have his eyes on “other” sites…

 

Cruising The N.L. West, San Diego 5/5

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Just four days after cruising The Bay we head down south to San Diego for this Sunday afternoon Cinco De Mayo matchup against the Padres. With the Dodgers holding the top spot in the NL West and the Padres also off to a good start all three games at Petco Park would sell out. After winning the first two the Dodgers would come into the series finale with a chance at a sweep. 

Of the five NL West venues aside from Dodger Stadium, Petco Park is my most ventured. With San Diego being 2 hours south of L.A., a trip to America’s Finest City always makes for a great Sunday day trip, especially when traveling by rail. 

20190505_095855San Clemente

20190505_102129Almost there…

20190505_113740We’re Heeeeeere !!!

Petco Park, opened in 2004 is now in it’s 15th season of operation. As for the Padres, 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of their MLB existance…

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In their 50 years as an MLB franchise in San Diego the  Friars have won five NL West crowns and 2 pennants, their first coming in 1984…

20190505_123127Steve Garvey’s bat from Game Four of the 1984 NLCS. Of course it would take a Dodger to lead the Friars to their first World Series appearance…

Steve Garvey would be the first Padre to have his number retired, a topic that has some Friars followers divided

20190505_133000Today’s ballpark eat’s…Single Bacon Cheeseburger from Hodad’s

The Friars would jump out to a 4-0 lead. However the Dodgers would rally for five runs on the strength of a 3-run jack by Max Muncy and a 2-run shot be Chris Taylor to give The Blue a 5-4 lead heading to the home ninth. 

With the bases loaded and two-out. Two strikes from a series sweep, Hunter Renfroe would come off the bench for the Friars and deliver a game-winning Grand Slam for the Friars. That would be the second two-out walk-off I would witness in less than a week. Ugh !!!

20190505_1546432 2-out walk-off losses. Ugh ! Hopefully I’ll bring better luck to Colorado come late June…

2019050595164509.jpgThe Blue needs to retire the Garv’s number already…

Time to head over to Basic Bar for a blood orange IPA or two and a Mashed/4-Maggio pie…

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After my previous experience with potato on a pizza I was a little hesitant to want to try the Mashed, the side with the basil. I’m happy to tell you this time my experience was much better, with the mash being a perfect compliment to the mozzarella and bacon. 

The area around Petco Park has really developed over the years with more dining options popping up around the ballpark. 

OK, time to head back to L.A. But before we do…

20190505_195458.jpgPaying respects to two Padres HOF’ers, Tony Gwynn and Trevor Hoffman…

20190519_160250.jpgCruising the Gaslamp with Josh…

Extra Innings…Petco Blue Out

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Cruising The N.L. West, San Francisco 5/1

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Throughout this 2019 season it is my goal to catch our Boys in Blue in every NL West venue. Though I’ve have been to each venue and have seen my share of Dodgers games in San Diego and San Francisco, it’s been awhile since i’ve been to either Chase or Coors Field. When I last set foot inside Chase Field, it was known than as Bank One Ballpark, or simply , The BOB. I’ve made two trips there, in ’99 and in ’03 to see the Dodgers do battle with the ‘Snakes as Hideo Nomo would pitch a masterpiece with Eric Gagne collecting one of his saves during his record breaking streak. 

I would venture to Coors Field in August of ’06 on my ballpark journey to see the Rockies take on the Mets for a couple of games. It was during the second game a Long Beach State Dirtbag, some guy named Troy Tulowitzky would make his MLB debut. 

But of all the NL West yards, I’ve yet to see my Boys In Blue in the Mile High City. And for that matter, it’s been 16 years since I’ve seen The Blue in Downtown Phoenix. While it’s still my goal to venture to all 30 MLB parks, my goal for this year is to catch the Blue in every NL West yard in the same season. 

As of now, I’ve been to and seen games at 16 current yards, 7 past and set foot inside one other former yard and passed by another relic.  Of the total 9 former yards, two are still  standing and one is still in use. If all goes well for me, my count of current yards will be 17 come September. 

So as I venture my way through each NL West city and venue all Dodger Blue, I’ll also be sharing other ventures as well.  

As I have mostly done with my trips up north, I’ve been as economical as possible by using the Flixbus. On this occasion I have decided to red-eye it both ways, leaving L.A. on Tuesday evening on the last day of April…

20190501_020436Rest stop, Avenal, CA

Though we would arrive to The City about 30 minutes late, I would still have enough time to catch the Golden Gate Transit to San Rafael to catch a connecting train to Petaluma. With a whole day ahead of me I decide to venture outside The City…

20190501_060422Wednesday Morning, May 1, 2019. In the distance, you can see the light towers from AT&T, ahem, Oracle Park

After arriving in Petaluma shortly after 8:30, I would venture into this Hallie’s Diner. I would start my day with their fried plantain rum souffle. 

 

 

The diner is very intimate and gives you that classic Americana vibe. Though my breakfast was anything but American, the plantains are just the way I remember dining on many Filipino and Latin dishes. I really wanted to get an omelette with my souffle and had I known the omelette’s served we’re not so big I may have ordered one. Oh well. Perhaps the next time I find myself around these parts I can double my pleasure. Oh, speaking of that classic American vibe… 

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Cruisin’ through 1962. Before Star Wars, George Lucas had American Graffiti. One of my favorite movies because of the music and the classic car culture of the early 60s. I decided to take a stroll through some of the spots where AG was filmed. Above is the corner where Toad’s accident occurred during his failed street race…

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It was at this corner where Carol, after getting splashed by a water balloon, gets her revenge with the help of badass John Milner…

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As for that building…

20190501_111859More history to venture to next time…

More American Graffiti and sights of Petaluma soon…

Moving on, I now hop back aboard the SMART Train  on my way to Santa Rosa for another venture before The Blue’s Wednesday evening battle against the hated one’s. This time, my venture takes me to the Charles Schulz Museum. Many of you may be familiar with that name as he is the creator of all those classic Peanuts cartoons. 

20190501_145251HEY CHUCK !!!

The Charles Schulz Museum is a small 2-story museum which features many of his work with a special feature on the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, for whom best bud would be named after

20190501_144508Something really needs to be done about this…

20190501_162643STOP!!! CHUCK DON’T DO IT !!!

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Just a couple of us “Blockheads”… To this day, like Chuck, I still have a hard time comprehending what certain people who call themselves adults say. It’s as if all I hear coming out of their mouth’s is “WAH WAH WAH WAH WAH…”

SAN FRANCISCO OPEN YOUR GOLDEN GATE…

20190501_165856Gotta give The Bay’s most famous landmark a Touch of Blue…

Of course this isn’t the first time Drei has done this…

20170913_135712.jpgFLASHBACK, SEPT ’18…KID N DREI !!! 

Even local legend Karl The Fog provided for a nice backdrop…

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Oracle Park. Now under it’s FOURTH NAME in just it’s 20th season !!! Hey, that female Dodger fan just gave me an idea…

20190501_180043Ready to bring my Blue in enemy territory…

Since opening in 2000 I’ve ventured inside 18 times. The Blue came out victorious 10 of those 18 times so I guess I can say my presence has helped…

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Tonight’s eats…The 40 clove chicken garlic sandwich and garlic fries. Yes, the mints we’re included (I get a feeling I won’t be heckled tonight…). In spite of the early 6:45 PM start time, I would still have enough time to down my meal. As for the 6:45 first pitch, it’s something the Giants are doing for Monday-Thursday evening games, something that would never work in L.A….

Because i’ve taken so many trips here over the years I didn’t bother taking many pics tonight…(OK, my battery ran low from all the pics taken earlier in the day…)

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Oracle Park’s new board. Come October these two will be neighbors. It’s funny how both these team’s fanbase has expanded throughout the Bay since 2010…Some of these folks don’t recall baseball played at Candlestick and some of these folks think Run TMC is that famous rap trio from the 80’s…

A lot of teams partner up with another local team or school during these theme nights. The Dodgers have done so with all the pro and several local colleges as well. Across the bay the A’s have done their theme nights, even having a Cal-Stanford night. The A’s though never seem to have an A’s-Raiders night…Hmmmm….

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Triples Alley. This is where home runs and long fly’s come to die. There’s been recent talk about possibly moving in the fences sometime in the future and maybe relocating the bullpensA couple fans I spoke with said they like the deep dimensions. I also understand the concern for moving the bullpens to the outfield as well as i’ve never cared for bullpens being in the field of play. 

The game would be a classic pitchers duel between Hyun-Jin Ryu and longtime nemesis Madison Bumgarner. The game would remain tied at one until the home ninth, when with two outs Buster Posey would deliver a 2-out walk-off single off Pedro Baez to give the Giants a 2-1 win over The Blue…

20190501_215438Postgame…A Flock of Seagull’s. Time for the locals to run so far away…

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Yard One of my Blue Journey through the NL West is complete. Where will my next journey be?

Extra Innings…Oracle Blue Out

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OK. Time to catch that red-eye Flixbus back to L.A. But before Drei leaves The Bay, there’s something Drei need’s to do to repay Kid back for this pic he sent from that “HIPSTER FEST” called Coachella… 

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Because Drei know’s how much  you love IHeart Radio, Kid…

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Two can play this game…

Here’s some past pics from AT&T Park from April 2018

‘Til the next episode…