Tag Archives: Ballparks

Throwback Thursday, Drei’s Ballpark Adventures… Turner Field, 5/5-6 2007

Before serving as the home to the Atlanta Braves, Turner Field would be the site of the 1996 Summer Olympics, hosting track and field events as well as the opening and closing ceremonies. It would be transformed into it’s baseball configuration prior to the 1997 season, eliminating roughly over 35,000 seats.

TURNER FIELD_PREGAME VIEW UPPER FL Pregame view from upper left field, 5/5/2007

Despite entering it’s 19th season in operation, Turner Field’s days appear to be numbered as the Atlanta Braves are scheduled to move into their new stadium in Cobb County in 2017 as part of a mixed use facility. Many factors have played into why the Braves, after only 20 season, will be leaving Turner Field, ranging from location to attendance numbers not meeting expectations. 

The announced move to Cobb County has been met with plenty of mixed reviews. As for why attendance numbers have not consistently topped the charts , despite the fact the Braves have made it to post season play 17 times since 1991, the reasons vary from the hot summer months, to a fan base dulled by the teams success all the way down to it’s location, which many feel is the main reason for the Braves scheduled 2017 move. Atlanta Magazine recently wrote a piece on the location surrounding Turner Field which discusses the surrounding area throughout the rest of the year, The Other 284 Days .  

Turner Field, May 5-6, 2007

TURNER FIELD_OUTSIDE GRAND ENTRANCE Grand Plaza, The Left Field Entrance

TURNER FIELD_PARKING LOT OLYMPIC PILLARS View from the parking lot. Notice the pillars in front of the stadium. Those are what remain from the 1996 Summer Olympic stadium use

When visiting Turner Field, if you’re one who likes to re-create history, you may want to arrive early and visit the parking lot across the street. Why you may ask ? The field layout from the Braves previous home, Fulton County Stadium, is displayed with the original locations of each base, including home plate, as well as the location of Hank Aaron’s historic 715th home run

TURNER FIELD_OLD HP LOCATION

TURNER FIELD_PARKING LOT HANK ARRON FANS Envisioning Hank rounding the bases after hitting 715 and the 2 fans joining him in celebration

picsart Hey, there’s Bill Russel and Davey Lopes looking on. The two would remain teammates in the same position until 1981

TURNER FIELD_HANK AARON 715 MARKER Location where Hank’s 715 landed

Inside Turner Field, the Braves did a good job of providing some in-game entertainment options, including a team Hall of Fame museum and a drum line, dubbed the Heavy Hittaz. It’s a good thing too, because the surrounding area outside The Ted really does not offer much in terms of pre or post game entertainment

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

In the upper reaches of the left field corner is the Sky Field…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

TURNER FIELD_COKE BOTTLE Old Coke Bottle. The current one is now made up of LED displays

Turner Field did not exactly wow me, yet did not disappoint either. There really is no signature feature inside The Ted or any kind of special ambiance that would give you that true baseball feel. However, should you be in attendance when there are over 40,000 in the stands doing the Tomahawk Chop, the experience is definitely different as opposed to hearing it on television.  Turner Field is still worth a visit for you ballpark travelers, especially with The Ted shutting down in 2 years. Tickets for most any game, including post-season should the Braves make it into October play, are generally easy to come by. 

TURNER FIELD_UPPER RIGHT FIELD SEAT 5 5 View from upper right field, 5/5/2007

TURNER_VIDEO BOARD Cinco De Mayo. Of course, who better to represent than Nomar…

TURNER FIELD_HANK STATUE Hammerin’ Hank

TURNER_DREI N HANK Kickin’ it with Hammerin’ Hank

TURNER_DREI N TOMAHAWK With my tomahawk that I managed to dodge…

Also in Atlanta…

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, who would have been 86 today…

King HOme If you have the opportunity, you may want to pass through the Auburn district.  Pictured here is the childhood home of Martin Luther King Jr. 

ebeneezer Ebeneezer Baptist Church.

king coretta Tomb dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr. and wife Coretta Scott King

 

Advertisements

Throwback Thursday…Drei’s Ballpark Adventures… Petco Park, 2004-2014… A Holiday Tale From Kid N Drei… Holiday Beats From Kid Marly Marlz

 

From 1969 to 2004, the San Diego Padres would call Mission Valley their home, playing their games at Quallcom Stadium…

Drei n Chris_Quallcomm April, 2001, Quallcom Stadium, with my buddy and old roommate Chris. Someday Chris, I will pay you a visit to Louisville and we’ll catch a Louisville Bats game ( Reds AAA affiliate ) . We’ll even go to the Louisville Slugger museum.   

Of all the yards I’ve had a chance to pay a venture off on the road, Petco Park in San Diego is one i’ve had the chance to pay frequent visits to. Of course, most of those visits we’re when the Dodgers we’re in town. By now, i’m sure you are all very aware of a former Dodger outfielder who will be roaming the spacious outfield of PETCO come the 2015 season. We’ll go more into that later…

 Since it’s opening in 2004, I’ve averaged about 1 visit a year, with 2013 being my lone miss. I have seen other opponents there as well as the World Baseball Classic Championship game in 2006. In many way’s, Petco Park not only has been one of my favorite yards to visit, it’s also been a special place for me,  whether its taking the sibs down their on their first road trip with their big bro, doing the road trip thing with various friends, or even reuniting with old friends, as Drei here Throw’s Back Thursday for the final time in 2014, we’ll look back upon my visits in , let’s say, a pictorial timeline sort of way going back to Petco’s 1st season in 2004. Many of the pics will have captions, and many won’t. I’ll let the pics do most of the storytelling. You will notice a holiday theme along the way as well, given the time of year…

2004

2004_pap with sibs The lil’ sibs, Daniel and Sarah ( They’ll always be lil’ to me…), 8/1/2004, after the Dodgers knocked off the Padres in 12…

To this day, the lil’ sis, who will be delivering a future Dodger fan soon, still has not forgiven me for having us stand 12 innings…

2005

2005_Western Petco’s signature feature, the old Western Metal Supply building…

The Padres did a nice job of blending this old where house into the stadium. It is the only place in the stadium where you will find any bricks, as Petco has done a nice job to steer as far away from the retro theme that other parks post-Camden have modeled themselves after. Inside the old where house…

 

2005_view behind hp View behind home plate, and in the distance, a packed gathering at the Park at the Park, another one of Petco’s features located beyond the outfield, that features a grass knoll where fans can view the games with an obstructed view. You may notice later the changes to the skyline since 2005. Also, at the Park at the Park is a kid’s playground that also serves as a public park during non-event hours…

2005_Hoffman With former Padre closer and future HOFer Trevor Hoffman

2005_drei friar Having a good time with The Friar…

2005_playground A playground for the kids to let out some energy even during the game…

2005_lil friars field View of the lil’ Friars field also at the Park at the Park. The area to the left of the park today houses Stone Brewery Tap Room

2005_in game action from PAP View of the game from the grass hill 

2005_SRO Dodger fleece There we are in this over-pixelized shot, repping the Blue in the old standing room area, where $5 let you stand behind the outfielder. This area has since changed into a party area that charges anywhere from $100 and up for all you can eat hot dogs and beverages with bar stools and tables provided. It was on this afternoon that I gave a Padre store employee a little history lesson on Dodger baseball…

More Pics from 2005…

2006

Pics from the World Baseball Classic championship game. Japan would defeat Cuba 10-6

2006_DAVE ROBERTS With former Dodger and current Padres 1B coach Dave Roberts

2007

2007_MILITARY SUNDAY A longstanding tradition in San Diego, with the Marine Corps taking in the game in Petco’s upper reaches…

2007_Marine Hymn Saluting those who serve,  with the Marine Hymn…

2007_14th inning Extra innings, and a 2nd stretch…

2007_home 17th beat l.a. Beat L.A. ?

2007_victory line NOT ON THIS DAY !!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

2008

2008_PETCO WITH DANIEL ON AMTRAK On the way to Petco with the lil’ bro on this mid-week June afternoon, which would turn out to be a long day for not only our teams but us as well…

2008_PETCO Moments after Jake Peavy would shut us out 9-0. Later that evening, the Lakers would blow a 24 point lead in Game 4 of the NBA Finals against Boston to lose in OT, and to cap it off, our train stalled on the way back and we, along with my buddies Chris and Josh, spent a good portion of our evening stuck in Santa Ana. Who knew it would take a good 8 hours to get from S.D. to L.A, right Chris ?

2009

Opening on the Road…

For many years I, like most of you, have made it a tradition to make it out to Opening Day. This time around, with the Blue opening down south, my longtime buddy Josh and I decided why not ? Let’s take our opening “act” on the road ( or rails…)

PETCO09_13DREI_JOSH Many road games travelled with Josh, many stories to tell…

 

 

Pregame…

PETCO09_11MANNY Manny Ramirez. Manny being Manny…

PETCO09_12KEMP_LONGTOSS Matt Kemp doin’ some long toss, a sight that will be frequent in Petco next season…

PETCO09_12KEMP_VICTORYLINE Opening Day ’09, and The Blue come out on top over Jake Peavy and the Friars 4-1, and Matt Kemp among others in that victory line. I wish you the best Bison, just not against us….

 

2011

Reunited and It Feels So Good…

PETCO2011_GROUP With Josh, of course, and 2 other of  my dear friends who I had not seen in 9 years, Victoria, in the Mariners hat minus The Mariner Moose ( More on that later…) and Deanna, another really close friend of mine from our high school days, 19 years back…

2012

Easter Weekend…

PETCO2012_DREI DOG This is the yard where the pets go, and well, Drei here got himself a new best friend… ( So he thinks…) . The Park at the Park beyond the outfield stands also serves as a public park during non-event hours and after day games as well…

PETCO2012_PLAYGROUND EMPTY All is so serene in the park, a park where kids of all ages love to play, and in a few moments, you will see what I mean when I say, ” Kids ” of all ages…

Stretch Time… 

How ’bout a tale about Christmas, and Little Saint Nick…

2014

Final Day of August

2005_view behind hp Petco Park 2005

PETCO_2012 UPPER VIEW Petco Park 2014

Some slight changes in the above before and after pics 9 years apart. One of the more noticeable changes is the addition of the Comerica Bank glass building beyond the outfield to the right. Also you might notice the outfield fences particularly in right field being brought in, as well as a lower right field wall as well. Next season, another change you will notice, aside from Matt Kemp roaming the outfield at PETCO pending possible other possible obstacles that may prevent this from happening will be a new video board among other renovations to PETCO .  Did I mention earlier that PETCO has a park where “kids” of all ages love to play…

PETCO2012_PLAYGROUND EMPTY

BUBBLES1

Hey look, it’s Kid Marly Marlz ! Some of you may remember Kid n Drei’s recent trip down I-5 ?  If not, well, just click on the following upcoming link to see what went down with Kid, Drei, and JJ on their most recent journey to PETCO…

wpid-20140831_163932.jpg Paying our respects  to Mr. Padre , Tony Gwynn, with Kid Marly Marlz and JJ. The statue of the Padre HOFer is located at The Park at the Park beyond the outfield stands should you want to pay your respects…

I hope you all enjoyed my pictorial and narrative flashbacks of past trips to PETCO, dating back to it’s opening 10 years ago. While there have been a few changes since it’s opening, with more changes to come as is the norm for most venues these days, PETCO still does an outstanding job of maintaining it’s charm while blending in real nicely with the surrounding neighborhood. With the Padres expecting to be in contention in 2015, perhaps crowds may even come in larger droves…

9th Inning… Kid n Drei’s Holiday Tale From The Park…

WE’RE BAAAAAAAAAAAAACK !!!!

MARLZ_MINION DAVE N CANDY Kid Marly Marlz, being, well… Kid Marly Marlz…

DREI_VICTORY BELL 2014 And Dodger Drei, ready to ring in the holiday season…

Kid Marly Marlz and Dodger Drei, aka KID N DREI, of our “infamous” feature Ballparks, Bytes and Bites , back at it one last time for 2014 ready to bring you a Holiday Tale…

2014 has been quite a year. The Kid and Drei had quite a time from May to September. Last time we saw The Kid around here, he was hibernating somewhere up in the hills of Chavez Ravine with a mascot buddy of his from Seattle whom he has become very attached to…

wpid-picsart_1417834344473.jpg Awe. Kid Marly Marlz is all snuggled up with The Mariner Moose, keeping him all nice and warm. The two really have become quite close this season. Hey Kid ! You may want to be careful some female Mariner fan from a few pics above doesn’t see you with The Moose….

Oh yeah, you may have noticed that a huge storm front has covered the hills of Chavez Ravine and will soon be heading south toward San Diego, where Kid Marly Marlz will be found playing a little Winter Ball at the lil’ kids park. After all, the Kid has no idea what an off-season is…

Winter Ball at The Park…

On this unusually snowy day in San Diego, The Kid finds himself playing some ball over at the Lil’ Friars yard with the other kids….

 

PETCO_HOLMARLZ4 Kid Marly Marlz doesn’t seem to like Dodger Drei’s, or, Santa Drei’s call at 3rd. Hey Kid, be careful now… You wouldn’t want Santa Drei to leave you a whole stocking full of coal would you ?

Believe it or not, Kid Marly Marlz has ACTUALLY been a good kid all year long ( Did Drei just say that ? ), leaving fans of all ages very happy, especially the little one’s, who had such a great time playing with Kid Marly Marlz this season with his very own foam bubbles

MDARIO_BUBBLES2 Kid at Heart…

It really was a fun and memorable season. Too bad all this fun couldn’t last deep into October like we all thought would happen. Perhaps 2015 will be our year ? What other off-season moves does the Dodgers front office have in store for us ? Just as Kid N Drei say, ain’t no thing as an off-season…

MARLZ_DOZING Kid Marly Marlz sure looks beat. A long season will do that to even the most hyper-active “kid”…

MARLZ_ DREI WAKING HIM UP Wake up Kid ! We still gotta get back to L.A. Hey Kid ! How ’bout some holiday beats ? Heck, Santa Drei will even let you play with your favorite mascot buddy from up north, The Mariner Moose, an appropriate mascot for this time of year given that Rudy the Red Nose Reindeer could use always use some help from his distant cousin…

Extra Innings…

MARLZ_DREI HOLIDAY CARD Hey, the snow finally cleared !  Happy Holidays !!!

Throwback Thursday… Drei’s Ballpark Adventures… Safeco Field, 9/2/2009

Before we move forward Drei’s Throwback Thursday Ballpark Adventure’s, lets briefly look back on the moves the Dodgers have made in the last 24 hours that have sparked many discussions throughout L.A., acquiring Jimmy Rollins, Howie Kendrick and pitcher Brandon McCarthy while in the process trading away Dan Haren and speedster Dee Gordon to the Marlins. 

Of course, the biggest of them all was the trade that sent Matt Kemp to the Padres a $30 million of his salary for catcher’s Yasmani Grandal, pitcher Joe Wieland and pitching prospect Zach Eflin. It is belived that the Dodgers are still in the running for one time Phillies ace Cole Hammels.

In briefly analyzing the trades, though his offensive numbers have declined in recent years, defensively Rollins provides a better glove than what Hanley Ramirez could.

The speed of Dee Gordon will be missed at the top of the lineup but Howie Kendrick, though not the speedster Dee is, provides a solid glove at the right side of the infield with better offensive numbers.

Then of course is the big trade of Matt Kemp. It was bound to happen. That’s baseball. That’s business. Players come and go. However to trade one of your biggest hitters who had a huge 2nd half and was finally starting to hit his stride again, to trade him to a division rival ? Let’s see how this plays out when our boys face the Friars 19 times in 2005. OK, that’s it for my brief analysis of the moves made in the last 24 hours. More from me later. 

BISON_DREI Thanks for the memories Matt…

Now, for Drei’s Throwback Thursday Ballpark Adventures, and today, we venture back to 2009, Safeco Field and the Emerald City…

Safeco Field, 9/2/2009

SEATTLE_POSTCARD

Prior to Safeco Field , the Seattle Mariners would call The King Dome home from 1977 to the middle of the 199 season. Not much excitement would occur in The King Dome during most of it’s history. That would change in the summer of ’95 , the summer which many in the Pacific Northwest believe saved the Mariners…

SEATTLE_KINGDOME98 Center Field view of The King Dome, November, 1998, during an auto convention. This “awe inspiring” view was taken at a spot  Ken Griffey Jr. stood during many summers in the 90s…

SEATTLE_SAFECOFIELDHPENTRANCE Home plate entrance

SAFECOFIELD_CHANDALIER BATS2 Inside the home plate entrance, rising above the fans entering the grand entrance, a chandelier in the display of swinging bats 

SAFECOFIELD_CHANDALIER BATS The chandelier up close

SAFECOFIELD View behind home plate. In the distance, Century Link Field, the site where the King Dome once stood…

Of the 4 MLB parks with retractable roofs, not counting the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Safeco Field ranks as my favorite. With a retractable roof to protect the fans from the elements, the roof acts more as an umbrella than anything else, making it possible for fans to experience a ballgame while allowing some of natures elements to breeze in, thus maintaining an outdoor feel. The roof is not really used much during the season as much of the rainy season is during the winter and spring.  It’s still is a good idea to bring a light sweater especially if attending an evening game

Safeco is viewed by many as a retro yard, a notion I totally disagree with, as with many of today’s post Camden Yards era parks. While many of today’s yards may have followed Camden Yards model to revive nostalgic features of ballpark cathedrals from years past, I just have a hard time viewing a yard with a retractable roof as retro, a term which really I feel is overused with much of today’s parks. The only feature in Safeco that I could say has a retro feel is the home plate entrance. Having said that, Safeco Field is still quite a yard to take in a game. I also like how Safeco blends in with the local surroundings, which at one time consisted of various warehouses. The area around Safeco Field is known by the locals as SoDo, South of Downtown. You may have heard of SoDo in the early 2000s from the M’s rally cry SoDo Mojo. 

SAFECOFIELD_UPPER LEVEL RF VIEW From the upper reaches in Right Field

SAFECOFIELD_LF SIGN AND SPACE NEEDLE Off to the distance is Seattle’s trademark landmark, The Space Needle

SAFECOFIELD_BULLPENPREGAME Pregame huddle over by the M’s bullpen. That chain link fence has since been removed…

SAFECOFIELD_DREI IN CF 2008 Kicking it out in the center field standing room area during a prior visit in ’08. If you don’t mind standing it’s a great place to watch the game up close in the outfield. You are practically there by the fence. Some of the most sociable and knowledgeable fans hang out there.  From what I’ve been told the SRO viewing area in CF is also a “Meet Market” especially during the weekends…

SAFECOFIELD_HISTORY OF BASEBALL EXHIBIT Some hardball history from the Pacific Northwest…

SAFECOFIELD_SEA PILOTS More Seattle baseball tributes

SAFECOFIELD_TRIBUTE TO JUNIOR Of course they pay tribute to Ken Griffey Jr. After all, he had a huge role in building Safeco…

SAFECOFIELD_TRIBUTE TO JUNIOR 2

SAFECOFIELD_9 2 2009 VS ANGELS King Felix get’s the start for the M’s…

SAFECOFIELD_LINESCORE The Halo’s would eventually be shut out on this day… This scoreboard has since been replaced with a huge video board…

SAFECOFIELD_FINALSCORE

SAFECOFIELD_POSTGAME WITH DREI Another yard off the list. Safeco was the last MLB park to open in the 90s, and to this day she’s holding up well…

SAFECOFIELD_HOLE IN THE GLOVE That must have been one screaming line drive…

SAFECOFIELD_DREI IN THE GLOVE Hey, let’s meet up by the Hole in the Glove …

SAFECOFIELD_95MURAL I wonder if this mural celebrating the ’95 NLDS triumph over the Yankees is still there…

SAFECOFIELD_NIGHTIME OUTSIDE LF ENTRANCE

SAFECOFIELD_LFENTRANCE 2

So those are my reflections on my trip to Safeco, August 2009. To any M’s fan who may be reading this, what’s changed since my last visit ?

Also worth a look…

SEATTLE_UNDER THE RETRACTABLE ROOF ON THE TRACKS The retractable roof, when opened, slides above these railroad tracks. King Street Station, where local commuter and Amtrak trains are serviced, is a stones throw away from the yard. So should you be arriving to The Emerald City by rail, chances are you will be arriving (or departing) beneath Safeco Field’s roof, perhaps during game action as well. Train conductor’s have been known to toot their horns during the game’s, adding to the charm of the game…

9th Inning, Around The Emerald City…

From Hops to Beans..

Former beer factory of Raineer Beer, now housing Tully's Coffee ( There's another coffee brew in Seattle ? )
Former beer factory of Raineer Beer, now housing Tully’s Coffee ( There’s another coffee brew in Seattle ? )
The onetime Raineer Brewery is now home to Tully's ( And from what I gather, some artsy lofts as well...)
The onetime Raineer Brewery is now home to Tully’s ( And from what I gather, some artsy lofts as well…)

Views from the tracks…

Pike Market and Beechers…

SoDo Art…

Last but not least…

Extra Innings…

Drei’s Holiday Tale, Featuring The Mariner Moose and Kid Marly Marlz

image
Given the time of year, Drei thought it’d be nice to pay a visit to his good pal up in the Pacific Northwest, the Mariner Moose ! You know Moose, Santa could always use another assistant to help Rudy lead Santa’s sleigh. Hey, how ’bout giving Drei  a ride back to L.A. ?
image

Upon arriving back to L.A., a heavy cold front with lots of unexpected snow would descend upon the hills of Chavez Ravine. Fortunately for The Moose, Kid Marly Marlz is here to keep him nice and warm. Awe, The Moose and The Kid are bonding once again. Perhaps The Moose can cheer you up after hearing the news of your favorite Dodger heading down I-5. The Kid and the Moose have really developed a deep bond for each other…. ( BTW Kid, don’t let you’re actual big bro know that I was at a Starbucks… )

Time to Walk Us off, Chuck…

Today’s Holiday Classic, from Chuck Berry…

 

 

Throwback Thursday, Drei’s Ballpark Adventures…Coors Field, 8/29-30 2006

 

In the 12 plus years I’ve had a chance to travel to various MLB and MILB yards, much has changed in regards to the way we view and share our experiences. When I first started my baseball stadium journey’s, not counting yards here in California, I would look at other ballpark travelers experiences online and see what they had to share. Of course, when I started all this in 2003, digital camera’s where still on the rise, I was still using 400 film, and we we’re trying to figure a way to share our experiences instantly (At least I was). After all, back then, most of us we’re still using flip phones. No twitter or facebook, no hashtagging, no droids ( What else wasn’t in our vocabulary when I started all this in 2003 ? ) I know I got excited when I got my first camera phone. Of course it came with an attachment. Oh how far we’ve come with technology since…

Coors Field, August 29-30, 2006

Today, I share with you some of my pics from my trip to Coors Field 8 years ago. My purpose of my off-season posts of various yards i’ve visited is to share my experiences at my time of visit. With constant changes that occur in our favorite yards, it is my hope that other’s will share their experiences at the time of their visit as well and see what has changed inside these various yards over time.

Coors Field is located in the LoDo district of Denver. Opened in 1995, at the time the capacity was just over 50,000. In spite of it’s large capacity, Coors Field felt surprisingly intimate. This past season, Coors Field did some renovations, decreasing the capacity by removing a vast number of upper deck right field seats and adding a rooftop viewing area for fans to roam around and socialize while taking in the action. It is one feature I would like to experience should I return to Coors anytime soon.  

COORSFIELD_HOMEPLATE ENTRANCE

Home plate entrance

COORSFIELD_VIEWFROMROCKPILE

View from the CF Rockpile seats. $4 day of game back in 2006…

COORSFIELD_ROCKPILE2

Coors Field’s signature feature out in centerfield, The Rockpile, with real rocks and trees that also has a water display in between innings. Hmm, some of those trees would make for some wonderful Christmas use this time of year. I wonder how many home runs have landed in the rockpile…

COORSFIELD_VISITORSBULLPEN

Visitors bullpen by The Rockpile. That’s got to be one of the most scenic bullpen settings in all of MLB. I’m guessing the visiting teams must enjoy this not only for it’s scenery but the fact that it’s distant from the stands, avoiding any potential hecklers…

Neon Artwork Outside of Coors…

More Artwork…

COORSFIELD_MURAL

Mural of construction workers getting Coors all ready for action. Trivial tidbit… the batter wearing 95, yup, 95 represents the year Coors Field opened. Is it really going to be 20 since Coors Field’s opening ? 

COORSFIELD_NEIGHBORHOOD

Down the street from Coors Field’s left field entrance. I love how Coors Field just blends in with the local architecture, as is the case with many ballparks built after 1992, the year Camden Yards opened…

On This Day, 8/30/2006

COORSFIELD_SCOREBOARD 8 300 TULO'S FIRST GAME

Troy Tulowitzky would make his MLB debut at shortstop for the Rockies. I just wonder what kind of future this former Dirtbag from Long Beach State would have…

9th Inning With Drei…

COORSFIELD_DREINDINGER

And they say dinosaurs no longer exist ! Drei kicking it with his new buddy Dinger !!!

So, for anyone reading, particularly any Rockies fans out there who may have “stumbled” across over here, what else has changed at Coors Field that Drei and other baseball fans should look forward to in their next visit to the Mile High City ? Oh yeah, Dodger fans and of course baseball fans can never plan out their ballpark adventures to early. Planning on visiting Coors next year ? Here’s a more detailed review of Coors Field from Stadium Journey magazine .  Be sure to check out Stadium Journey for all your sports themed road trips. 

Extra Innings…

I hope you’re all having a great holiday season so far. Speaking of the holiday’s, one could never go wrong with a classic Andy Williams . After all, what are the holiday’s without some Andy Williams tunes ?

 

MY BALLPARK PICS

Slowly but surely I am in the process of finishing my work on my ballpark photos from my ballpark travels the past 3 years.  As you will tell from my photos in my photo albums, I’ve been priveledged to take in the action from some of the finest parks in the Majors.  And as of last season, I can say that I have been to every current NL West venue.  After Dodger Stadium, here is how I rank the NL West Ballparks

2. COORS FIELD

The Rockies really did good by building their digs in an area of Denver known as LODO and revitalizing the neighborhood.  Coors blends in nicely with the surrounding brick buildings in LODO.  Inside Coors, tickets, which were once a hard find, are ample these days.  If seated in the upper reaches down the RF line, you get a gorgeous view of the mountains beyond LF.  I’ve been told the time to come if you really want a great view is in April, with the mountains still being snow-capped.  Also, you will want to check out Coors signature area, the rockpile in CF, where, placed next to the visitors bullpen, you will find an actual rock formation with REAL rocks ( Did you hear that, Anaheim ? ), a nice grass path, and of course, a water display.  Above the rocks are seats known as the Rockpile, which if you’re on a budget, run for $4.  The seats are a bit distant, but for $4, not that bad.  Besides, unlike a lot of stadiums, ( Including Dodgers Stadium), bleacher patrons are not restricted soley to that area for Coors allows pedestrian access throughout the stadium.

3. AT&T PARK

Being a pitcher friendly ballpark, AT&T is actually quite cozy.  Because the yard, which has gone through 3 different names in it’s 7th year of existance ( Thanks to a couple of mergers ), was built right next to the bay, land was pretty much at a premium.  The councourses are a bit narrower than usual for a new facility, again, due to the limited availalability of land, but if you’ve ever watched a game at Candlestick, you will agree that AT&T is a much welcomed change , right?  If you don’t feel like driving ( FYI, parking can run you about $20 ), San Francisco has a great trasnportation system ( Are you listening, MTA ? ).  The Muni trolley drops you off right by the stadium, and the trolley is accessible from any of the BART stations on Market St.  Or if you decide it’s a nice day for a stroll, the yard is only a 15 minute walk from Market St.  The Giants do a nice job of honoring their history , the signature being that of Willy Mays in front of the HP entrance dubbed Willy Mays Plaza, with 24 palm trees in honor of, #24 himself.  If you have a chance to walk along the portwalk behind RF, you will see markers depicting a historical moment in Giants history.  Oh yeah, you can even check out the game from the chain link fence there too.  The fans are permitted 3 free innings to allow other fans a glimps, but should the Giants be playing someone like, an interleague game against TB on a Tuesday night, you should have no problem watching the entire game there.  Inside the yard, some of the best seats are down the RF line, especially the upper RF seats, which offers the best views of the bay and the hills beyond.  The Arcade in RF is a bit pricey for bleacher seats.  And for you budget minded road tripper, AT&T offers SRO’s for $13.  The best location for SRO’s are by the huge Coke bottle in LF, which has a kids slide inside.  If your out ther, you should also check out the huge mitt out there too.

3. PETCO PARK

When PETCO PARK was built, it was meant to be a pither friendly yard.  And boy is it ever.  What the Friars did not realize, however, is that their own offense would be affected as well as power number would significantly go down, thus it’s no coincidence they’ve ranked in the bottom or the league the last 3 season in HR’s hit.  As for the yard, aside from the old Western Metal Wherehouse building, which houses 2 levels of luxury suites, a restaurant, rooftop bleachers and viewing a la Waveland Ave. in Chicago, PETCO is anything but retro.  Rather than a traditional brick yard which many have replicated over the years, the Pads actually have used  California limestone thus giving the yard a sorta SoCal feel.  Instead of the traditional ballpark green seats, the Friars use dark navy blue to accompany the white painted steel.  The term no bad seat in the house almost applys here, but not quite.  Though the cantilevered seats in the upper deck put you on top of the action, you still if you can want to avoid the upper reaches down the lines, particulary RF, where the seats are at such an angle you can lose the outfielder in the underhang if he makes a play by the foullines.  Also worse are seats in the outfield, dubbed the " Beachers " becuase of the sandlot in front of the seats.  These seats are so low that the wall from the RF seats block you view RCF and beyond.  There is talk however of raising those seats.  If you just wanna be cheap and claim an empty seat, SRO’S SELL FOR $5.  However, should the game actually be sold out, there is a nice grass berm behind the CF Beachers that offers a picnic style atmostphere.  But the best SRO in the stadium is acutally right by the LF foulpole.  To get there, enter through the team store in LF through the WMS building, then when you see the chain link fence by LF, you are there.  And yes, if they are playing the Giants, Barry will hear you loud and clear from there….

5. CHASE FIELD

When I last visited, it was dubbed the BOB.  Again, thanks to corporate mergers, another name change takes place.  Chase Field has a retractable roof, and when the roof is closed on many a muggy Arizona summer night, the climate controled digs that blasts it’s AC to it’s fullest is a welcomed relief for these desert residents.  Calling a yard with a retractable roof retro is a stretch for me, but the Snakes do a presentation when it comes to hosting a baseball game.  Along the lower concourse, you will see a timeline that circles the whole concourse that gives historical facts of pretty much every team, so no matter who you cheer for, you’re likely to see your team up there as well.  Heck , if you’re a D-Ray fan, you might actually find something too.  Also, TV monitors accompany the timelines as well, showing numerous baseball clips of past glory during pre-game, and of course game action during the game.  Tickets are pretty easy to get here.  Much has been made about the lack of attendance in Arizona, but 1 theory I may have , based on my trip there to see the Blue, is that because many teams have had Spring Training sites in Arizona for many years, and a lot of transplants reside in Phoenix as well, many of these folks have maintained their ties to either their ST affliliated team or the hometown team, especially the Cubs fans.  The greater Phoenix area has plenty of transplants and unlike LA, is not a huge market.  That’s not to say that these fans are not interested in local baseball.

So, there is my critique of the NL West yards.  Being a bit biased, I am one to believe that the NL West has some of the best yards as well.  Well, I’d like to hear your ballpark stories.  Maybe some pictures as well ?  See you at the ballpark….

BUSCH VS. COORS

Hey everyone.  I know, it’s been awhile since i’ve been here, and yeah, like all of you, I have followed our Boys in Blue every step of the way toward hopefully another post-season birth here in 2006.  But before we go on to talking about this weeks games with the mindset " EVERY GAME COUNTS ", I want to talk about my recent travels to New Busch Stadium and Coors Field. 

Agenda

Left LA via Amtrak’s SW Chief to St. Louis on Thursday, August 24th with a stopover in Kansas City on Saturday, Aug. 26.   Because we had an 8 hour stopover, my friend  Josh Jacobs and I had time to check out the Negro League Baseball Museum  ( www.nlbm.com )   , a must see for any baseball fan, as we observed the rich history that African Americans, aside from Jackie Robinson, have had on this grand old game.  Come and pay tribute to the likes of Cool Papa Bell, Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, and of course, Buck O’Neil, who played with the KC Monarchs and played a huge role in bringing the museum to Kansas City.   Unfortunately, like most museums, photography is not permitted while inside the facility.  Also, if you happen to be a jazz buff, the Jazz Hall of Fame is in the same building as well, and admission for both museums is only  $8 . 

After a stopover in KC, we hopped on back the train towards St. Louis, arriving at 11pm that Saturday evening.  The game we would see following day, Sunday, August 27th, would pit the Cards against their long-time rivals the Cubs.  The game was originally scheduled to be an afternoon game, but ESPN decided on showcasing  that game as their Sunday Night Game of the Week, and because of that, it actually worked well for us so that we could check out late and cruise St. Louie. 

THE BUSCH STADIUM EXPERIENCE

Some of you may have read a post  I wrote awhile back about St. Louis as Josh and I went to old Busch back in 2005 when the Dodgers were in town and just raved about the city and it’s fans and the passion and respect these people have for their team, the game of baseball, and as a visiting fan, the respect they have for visitors as well.  So we decided, let’s come back for New Busch and check out a Cubs-Cards game and see how the atmosphere in that rivalry is here.  Of course, we both grew up with the Dodgers-Giants rivalry and have plenty of stories about that, and we just recently observed the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry in Yankee Stadium in May.  As for the Cubs-Cards rivalry, I had a chance to see it first hand back in ’04 in Wrigley Field and came away with the notion that it’s nothing personal between these two teams fans except for the good-natured trash talking.  And in St. Louis, it was no different either.  I guess common Midwest Politeness really does come to play here, unlike the rivalry on both coasts, where action in the stands can really get heated. 

As for the stadium, the area around Busch is undergoing a " Ballpark re-development " and if beyond the left field stands is nothing but the rubble left behind from Old Busch Stadium, where the re-development is taking place.  Aside from the famed Arch and the Cards Hall of Fame Museum and International Bowling HOF across the street, there is really not much to do around the area, at least not yet.  Outside the stadium, plaques commemorating great moments in Cards history, all the way up to the 2005 season, including Pujols shot of Lidge in Game 5 of the LCS, adorn the sidewalks.  And the famed statue of Stan the Man rests outside the 3rd base entrance, which also is the grand entrance to the stadium.  The entrance is meant to mimick Eads Bridge, a local bridge that links southern Illinois the St. Louis. 

Inside the stadium, for a new yard,  you may be surprised to find very little when it comes to bells and whistles,  a good thing for the traditional baseball fan who comes to actually see a game without any additional fanfare.  One welcomed change to this new yard is sight of downtown being visible from all angles of the stadium, especially the city’s top dog, the Gateway Arch.  The architecture does echo a retro theme with the traditional red bricks, but the seats are red throughout the stadium, as voted by the fans instead of the traditional ballpark green, a welcomed change being that many of these retro stadiums are starting to become cookie cutter themselves, partly to the ballpark green seats.  ( Thank god we will always have Dodger Stadium to call home ) The concourses are a bit narrower than you’d expect from a new stadium, but but when it comes to this yard, the final analysis here is this, the word overratted would be perhaps harsh here, especially since many of the fans in St. Louie still hold a place in their heart for Old Busch, and perhaps because we’ve now come to a point where everyone is trying to out-retro each other, the timing of New Busch could have been a bit dated as well.  But when it comes to watching baseball in this town, these fans don’t need and don’t ask for many frills and extras to bring them together as one.  In St. Louis, it still all about the team and the fans.

BUSCH HITS

The plaques of all the Cards great moments. 

The Stan Musial statue

The King of Beers Jingle in the 8th inning ( clap along….)

The Red seats instead of the ballpark green

STRIKES ON BUSCH

The neon birds from CF that flew for every Cards HR at old Busch were not brought over

Narrow concurses for a new dig

The huge Bud Light ad on the top level behind home plate that takes up the first 3 rows !!!  The ad could have been place elsewhere and not taken up seats that could put the fans a bit closer.

As for the game…

Though the Cubs have struggled this season, they battle the Cards tough and despite trailing 6-3, manage to tie the game and send it to the bottom of the 9th,  with the bases loaded, backup catcher Gary Bennet smacks a 1-0 pitch to the Cubs bullpen in LF, setting off a frenzy as the Cards would sweep all 3 games in this weekend series with a walk-off 10-6 victory.

SIGHTS AND SOUND

During the 7th inning stretch, a video clip of former Cards broadcaster Jack Buck sining Take Me Out to the Ballgame at Wrigley is shown, with Buck tossing aside  the Cubs hat in the verse, " root, root, root for the …  " and donning a Red-Birds hat.

ANYONE CAN HAVE AN OFF MILLENIUM , by Marty the signman down the RF stands

The King of Beers Jingle in the 8th inning.  Oh yeah, already said.

TRAVEL DAY

Monday 8/28 St. Louis to Denver via Amtrak through Chicago, Chicago to Denver via the California Zephyr, arriving Tuesday, 8/29.