Tag Archives: Stadium Journey

Celebrating Pride and Baseball

During this month of June over a third of MLB teams have or will be hosting an LGBT community night in celebration of Pride Month. LGBT Pride Nights have taken place at MLB ballparks for close to two decades. 

Recently, the Dodgers sold close to 8,000 tickets for their LGBT night, a record for any team. As the 2nd largest city in the United States with all it’s diversity, it is no surprise that the Dodgers attract so many fans from the gay and lesbian community. It’s more than just a one-night celebration that brings out not just the LGBT community but several other communities as well

Dodgers Executive Vice-President & Chief Marketing Officer Lon Rosen told Cyd Zeigler of Outsports his aim is to create a genuine and reciprocal affection between the community and the team. “At the end of the day though, the real reason the attendance grows every year is because of the fan experience”, Rosen told Outsports. The sentiment of the fan experience is also echoed to me by Bay Area radio host Greg Sherrell (Q&A with Greg later in this post…)

The fan experience, and undoubtedly the Dodgers outstanding play on the field which has given the fans 4 straight NL West Titles, certainly plays a huge role in the growth of the attendance.

Of all the major professional sports, baseball has a growing interest among the LGBT community. During a recent road trip to Oakland, I had a chance to attend an LGBT night hosted by the A’s. During a pregame reception I came across the promotional tent for local radio station KVMQ, 99.7 Now. I recently had a Q&A with Greg Sherrell of Fernando & Greg , a Bay Area weekday morning talk show featuring the gay tandem. A huge fan of The University of Texas, his alma mater, as well as a diehard Cowboys, Mavericks and Rangers fan, Greg is a native Texan, having grown up in Watauga, Texas a suburb of Fort Worth.

Andrei- Almost half the league is scheduled to host LGBT Night this month and throughout the season. What is it about baseball that brings the LGBT community to the yard ?

Greg- First of all I think the baseball has been the most proactive in reaching out to LGBTQ fans because of the amount of home games that each team plays.  Baseball more than any other sport needs to fill seats and I think they are always looking for a way to do that.  In that way, I think they need to be the most inclusive and welcoming.  As far as why I think the LGBTQ community embraces baseball, I think it’s like any community.  There’s just something about being at a baseball game.  It’s the least intense and most social of the games.  There are lots of opportunities to be social, spend time with family and friends, even meet new people, walk around the park and enjoy the weather.  At a football game it’s all about what’s happening on the field.  At a baseball game it’s really about the entire experience.  

Andrei- Does Pride Month taking place in June during the season play a factor?

Greg- Well I think obviously June being Pride month sets up the natural tie in with baseball that the other sports might not have.  

Andrei- Greg, growing up a fan of all Dallas teams, who was your favorite Ranger?

Greg- My favorite Ranger when I was a kid was Bump Wills.  Nolan Ryan was certainly a hero in the Metroplex while I was in junior high and high school.  The Rangers were always horrible when I was a kid and when they signed Ryan it gave the team instant legitimacy and a national presence for the first time.  I actually interned for the Rangers right after college which was a great experience.  I worked directly with Pudge Rodriguez executing his foundation’s mission to bring kids from the local children’t hospital’s to the ballpark for game.  Juan Gonzales was probably my biggest crush.  Darren Oliver was the nicest to me.  As far as now, I love Rougned Odor!  He plays with such passion.  You can tell he loves the game and I have never seen anyone play harder.  Plus he landed one of the all time great punches when he hit Jose Bautista.  

Andrei-  With the Astros off to a hot start what do the Rangers need in order to stay in contention for a post-season berth (Assuming they don’t catch Houston)

Greg- The Rangers had a rough start to the season but manager Jeff Banister really is a steady hand.  He has the team back at .500 when it looked like they were toast.  They will be getting the ace of their pitching staff back in the next month or so so I think they will be okay.  I don’t think they are going to catch Houston, but they are in the hunt for a wildcard.  

Andrei- The Astros have been highly competitive the last 3 seasons and are a threat to run away with the AL West. The Rangers have made the post season six times this decade with 4 division titles under their belt. Last season, the Rangers had the Astros number, this season to this point the Astros have returned the favor. Is the in-state rivalry finally reaching it’s peak? 

Greg- The two teams have been more contentious this year than in years past.  There’s definitely no love lost between the two.  The Astros haven’t reached their full potential the last two to three years but now seem to be gelling.  It’s interesting because like with any rivalry between Houston and DFW, it’s seems like Houston is much more invested.  Dallas is pretty indifferent to Houston in pretty much everything where Houston hates Dallas.  

Andrei- The two of you have been on the air in The Bay Area for over 10 years, your morning show continues to run strong. Even with podcasts easily accessible to anyone, have you two ever considered taking your show to a national level?

Greg- We have talked to some people about taking the show nationally and I am hoping that it will happen in the future.  

Andrei- On a personal note, as a huge fan of Jose Bautista, what are your feelings toward him? Is he public enemy number one to all Rangers fans?

Greg- As far as Bautista, the Jays and Rangers HATE each other.  The ugly scene in the playoffs a few years ago when Toronto fans threw beer bottles on the field really cemented it.  I would say the hate for Toronto is much greater than Houston.  I LOVE when he got smashed in the face by Odor, which kind of started the whole thing.  It showed if you are gonna bow up in Texas you better be ready to go.  Despite it all though, I have to admit, he’s pretty HOT!  🙂  But he’s definitely public enemy number one in Texas!!!  

As Greg stated, the LGBTQ community is like any other community. Baseball really is about the entire experience. Of all the sports baseball does allow for more social time among friends and family to relax and take in the entire experience surrounding the game. Speed up the game? What’s the hurry? You’re with great company of all backgrounds. 

A's_Pride Night Logo LGBT Night in Oakland, 6/6/2017, Toronto Blue Jays vs Oakland Athletics

Drei_Love Not Hate Love not Hate (Photo Courtesy of KVMQ 99.7 Now)

Stadium Journey Update…

Our Stadium Journey site is still currently under construction. We are hopeful that our revamped site will be back up and running as early as August 1st. We will continue to keep you posted. 

Stadium Journey

 

 

 

Your Journey To The Summer of Love, Peace and Baseball

Summer of Love_Haight and Masonic MuralThis month marks the 50th anniversary of The Summer of Love. Should your Stadium Journey guide you on a magical trip toward peace, love and baseball, then you’ll want to take a journey toward The Bay Area. 

June 19-22, Houston Astros at Oakland Athletics

Oakland Coliseum

Baseball’s hottest team will be making their way toward the East Bay as they take on the Oakland Athletics at the Oakland Coliseum for a four game series. The Oakland Coliseum remains the only venue to house both a MLB and NFL team, with the Raiders all but certain to leave and the A’s looking for new digs. Earlier this season the A’s dedicated their field in honor of the all-time stolen base king and former Athletic Rickey Henderson by naming the field in his honor, Rickey Henderson Field. First pitch for the first three games are 7:05, and the finale at 12:35PM. Parking for the Tuesday evening and all Tuesday games at Oakland is free. 

Rooted In Oakland Mural Rooted In Oakland

With the Raiders all but certain to head for Sin City and the Warriors looking to move across The Bay, the Oakland A’s have launched a new campaign this season, #RootedInOakland in an effort to strengthen fan support. Earlier this season this 8 story mural of the A’s elephant mascot Stomper was unveiled in Downtown Oakland. This massive mural, commissioned by the Oakland Athletics is located about 15 from the Coliseum on 19th and Webster, about a 5 minute walk east from the 19th Street BART Station. 

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June 23-25, New York Mets at San Francisco Giants

The New York Mets pay the City By the Bay a weekend visit as they take on the San Francisco Giants for a 3 game set at AT&T Park. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Summer of Love, on Sunday the 25th, the Giants will be giving away 50th Anniversary Summer of Love Blankets to the first 20,000 fans. 

20170425_102907A Celebration of Love

Looking to celebrate your Summer of Love inspired Stadium Journey on the cheap? This Jimi Hendrix inspired walk  through The Haight is one way to celebrate that whimsical summer of 50 years ago. The walk also takes you through the famed Red House where he once took up residency, as well as The Panhandle, where he, along with Jefferson Airplane, The Greatful Dead and other artists performed free concerts. You’ll also want to venture toward Golden Gate Park, especially Hippie Hill. 

The de Young Museum , also located in Golden Gate Park, is featuring The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll, featuring iconic rock posters, photographs, interactive music and light shows, costumes and textiles, ephemera, and avant-garde films. If the walk through The Haight does not inspire you, perhaps this digital story might. Or maybe this “trip” inside the light show may further inspire, or for some of you, take you back in time… 

These are some of the activities happening toward this journey to Peace, Love and Baseball, as you cruise through The City  or both sides of The Bay. 

Stadium Journey Update…

Stadium Journey

As you may know by now, the Stadium Journey site recently suffered a site crash. There is some good news though. The old site is back up and running and many of the stadium reviews dating back to January 2015, particularly the baseball stadium reviews are still available. A revamp to the site is currently in progress and we hope to have the new site up and running by early August. In the meantime, any news items on my end I will feature here on my blog. Stay tuned for more updates…

Extra Innings…

Stomper_Drei

That’s quite a mural they made for you Stomper…

 

 

 

 

Ballpark Bites…Strolling The Garden at AT&T Park

 Over the years the ballpark experience has evolved. Ballpark dining is no exception. Social and dining areas can be found in most parks for fans to stroll the yard. At AT&T Park, the concept of a social dining area within the ballpark may have been taken another level. At the home of our rivals, beyond the center field fence is The Garden at AT&T Park. At The Garden, fans have the opportunity to dine along communal tables surrounded by crops of fruits, vegetables and herbs. Most of these communal tables have a bed of herbs that allow fans to pick and use for garnish.

ATTPark_Garden EntranceThe Garden at AT&T Park

ATTPark_CF GardenFresh thyme in bloom

20170425_171533Herb bed. Hey, a little strawberry is starting to bloom…

I had a chance to sample some of the goodies from The Garden Table and The Hearth Table, the two food stands at The Garden at AT&T Park, ranging from the anitpasta bar to a crisp and tasty Roasted Summer Vegetable Sandwich, 3 different flatbreads and a very summery (Dodger) Blueberry Shortcake. 

ATTPark_Food Spread w Magic and Dog Thats quite a spread. Behind this spread is in the middle of the communal dining table is an herb bed where fans are allowed to pick their herbs. The Magic Gnome and Blue Dog seem quite impressed with this spread

The 3 flatbreads in the spread are the garden cauliflower with olive oil, parmesan cheese, chive mascarpone and truffle oil, a house-made fennel sausage with roasted eggplant, caramelized leeks and goat cheese, and a grilled garden zucchini with shaved parmesan, olive oil, garden thyme and toasted almonds. 

I had a hard time determining which of the three flatbreads we’re my favorite. In the end, the cauliflower topped my list. 

For desert, a blueberry shortcake topped with whipped cream (Or Dodger Blueberry)

ATT Park_Blueberry Shortcake

The garden is also equipped with The Ketel One Bar, serving local beer and wine and other mixed drinks. 

ATT Park_Ketle One Bar

ATTPark_Watermelon IPA Hell or High Watermelon brew to go along with our gluten free treats….

With the garden and the garden’s dining area located directly behind the center field fence, a safety net is provided above the fans for their protection. Even with the net, every now and then a baseball will land there…

ATTPark_Baseball Garden.jpg

ATTPark_Drei Baseball.jpg

Along the center field fence, slits through dark tinted windows allow for fans to take a peek into the on-field action…

ATT Park_CF slit A peek into Dodgers BP…

ATT Park_Slit pic Reflecting upon the action…

My one regret upon my visit to The Garden at AT&T Park, aside from being surrounded by Halloween colors…LOL, is not having the opportunity to try some of the other offerings. Perhaps if I’m fortunate to return in September I can try some of the late summer/early fall offerings.

I had the chance to interview Hannah Schmunk, Manager of Food Education for Children with Bon Appetit Management Company. Among the many topics we had the chance to discuss we’re the change in crops throughout the season, as well as her work along with  current and Giants players  with the kids throughout the community in advocating healthy eating. You can listen to the interview on my podcast below…

Throughout the year, aside from serving hungry baseball fans, the garden serves as an educational tool for the community as well as an outdoor classroom for kids throughout the community…

With our Boys In Blue returning to AT&T Park in less than 2 weeks, for you fellow Dodger fans who may be making the trek up north, do take the time to stop by The Garden and try out some of their delicious offerings. One visit and you will definitely agree that dining in an open garden inside a Major League ballpark is one “hella” unique experience. (To use a Bay Area term…)

9th Inning…More Garden Pics

Click on the images for a full view…

ATT Park Garden_Aeroponic Towers Aeroponic towers…

Extra Innings…The Magic Gnome

ATTPark_Magic Gnome 1 Our Magic Gnome just couldn’t help but stroll The Garden. The Giants fan in the back has to be wondering “Who Let That Dodger Gnome Out”…

ATTPark_Magic Gnome 2 Magic Gnome giving the garden A Touch of Blue…

ATTPark_Magic Gnome 3 The Magic Gnome with some fellow Dodger fans…

ATTPark_Blue Dog Sammy and Magic Our Magic Gnome worked up quite an appetite running around the garden. Hey, look who joined our Magic Gnome and Blue Dog…It’s Sourdough Sam ! Hey Sammy, we won’t tell your buddy Lou Seal that you we’re hanging out with the Boys In Blue…

ATTPark_Chelsea and Sam Kicking it with the garden chefs, Chelsea and Sam…

Special thanks to Hannah Schmunk and the staff from The Garden at AT&T Park for all their hospitality !!! For more travel tips for your journey to AT&T Park and other sports travel tips, check us out at Stadium Journey

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Beyond The Yard: The Magic of Science and Animation

csc_drei_buzz-lightyearDre gettin’ my Buzz on…It’s Always A, Well, You Know By Now…

I recently had a chance to visit The Science Behind Pixar at the California Science Center in Expo Park. From Toy Story to Inside Out, The Science Behind Pixar is a 12,000 square feet interactive exhibit that features the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) behind your favorite Pixar animations. 

Though the technical aspects behind the making of such Pixar favorites may be a bit advanced for some of the lil’ ones, the interactive displays, divided into eight different themes, “Modeling, Rigging, Surfaces, Sets & Camera, Animation, Simulation, Lighting and Rendering”, provide everyone of all ages the chance to experience the intricacies that behind these Pixar films. Though your young one’s may not know it, they too are taking in the scientific magic behind their favorite animated characters, be it Buzz Lightyear, Dory, Mike and Sulley or WALL-E. 

csc_pixar_modeling

If you do plan to go it’s highly recommended you  purchase your tickets online especially if you do plan on taking the family on a weekend as it can get extremely busy and tickets have been known to sell out. The Science Behind Pixar will be on display until April 16th.

csc_pixar_mike-n-sully Sully and Mike !!!

20170114_160844Space Shuttle Endeavour

In addition, your ticket from The Science Behind Pixar exhibit also get’s you admission to Space Shuttle Endeavour without having to acquire another timed ticket. 

A visit to the CSC makes for a great visit prior to catching a nearby sporting event, be it the Lakers, Clippers or Kings at Staples Center or hoops at the nearby Galen Center or other USC sporting events. 

Here’s how Drei spent his Good Dre on his Stadium Journey from Expo Park to The Galen Center…

 

Drei’s Post All-Star Thoughts

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(Photo: Jon SooHoo)

The Stars in Blue…Kershaw, Jansen and Corey. Some of you may have been wondering what up with the road grey’s since Petco Park in San Diego, home of the Padres, a National League team, was the host. Seems like a legitimate head-scratcher. Hopefully, this explanation of NL Parks hosting the Mid-Summer Classic 4 years in a row will clear up confusion. I really don’t see the big deal of who is determined the home team in a high profile exhibition game that occurs once a year. The only players who it would greatly impact are those who play there 81 times a year. Now, ask me how I feel about the current format where the winner decides what team gets home-field in the World Series, and that’s where my rant comes in. Yes, I get that former commissioner Bud Selig wanted to change things up after the 2002 All-Star Game fiascoA better solution? How about letting position players who have already been taken out return if deemed necessary? It couldn’t hurt the integrity of the game could it? If anything, this could add some late inning spice toward the game, especially with fans wandering if their favorite player from said team would actually come back later and, what, get that game-winning hit? 

The fact that a high-profile exhibition game that has no bearing on the standings could determine later on if a team with 88 wins gets home field over one with 100 plus wins gets home field in The Fall Classic makes absolute no sense. This would definitely not fly in the NBA or NHL, especially the NHL, where their ASG is void of any real physical contact ( If any at all…). 

Of course, I am not the only one who is not crazy over the “This One Counts” theory, as one L.A. Times beat writer has come up with his five ways to improve the All-Star game.

As for being the road team in Petco Park…

BEATLA

The greeting  Kershaw, Jansen and Seager wasn’t exactly so hospitable. Corey Seager heard the Beat L.A. chants as he entered the yard. It’s OK kid, the fact that our neighbors to the south, ones who have always looked up to L.A, would yell the chant to you is the ultimate compliment. Just wait ’til you hear it yelled directly at you in San Francisco. That’s beyond the ultimate compliment…

Plenty of Season Left to Hit The Road…

Stadium Journey

With the Mid-Summer Classic now over, the 2nd half of the season gets under way. I know plenty of you Dodgers and baseball fans are just itching to get out on the road on your Stadium Journey to follow the Blue or your favorite team through all 30 yards. Check out our new look as we have partnered with the good folks over at Scout.com. I know there are a lot of you Dodger fans heading to Arizona this weekend. Here’s some tips for you following the Blue to the desert this weekend

9th Inning…

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Hey Kid !!! It’s Time For…

Dreis Notes on a Scorecard, 5/15/2016

20160516_082344.jpg Drei’s scorecard notes…5/15/2016…THEY’RE BACK !!!  (For now…) Cardinals 5 Dodgers 2

One of the thing’s i’ve done at ballgames since I was a kid is keep score. Do I have all my scorecards of years past ? Hardly. When you live in a single unit apartment even the slightest items of size end up turning into quick clutter. These days it seems keeping score at a baseball game is a lost art. Could it be because there’s more to do at a ballpark these days than to sit through 9 innings of baseball ? Imagine that..

picsart_05-21-03.44.11.jpgWell, I guess even Kid Marley Marlz needs something else to do in the park to let out all that energy…That’s a BIG BOBBLEHEAD, KID…Once a Kid, Always a Kid, Forever a Kid, Kid at Heart

Back to the Game…

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On this Sunday night, Alex Wood would continue his trend of quality home performances, going 6 while K’ing 5 while only allowing a run. Unfortunately, another trend would continue as the bullpen would rear it’s ugly head once again, as longtime nemesis Yadier Molina would drive in the winning runs with a 2 out 2 run double as the Cards would salvage the 3rd game the 3 game series. The bullpen woes would continue into this week…

20160516_082318.jpg Not all of the Bats in Blue would take the night of as Corey Seager would go yard twice. Currently Seager is on an 11 game hitting streak having gone yard 4 times this week. A-GON, who had been pitched around 3 times by the Red Birds, should be back at the starting lineup tonight. Let’s hope Alex Wood, tonight’s starter, will think of Petco Park as Dodger Stadium south, given his struggles on the road…

Other Scorecard Notes…

You know this took place in an NL park when you see the lineup changes, particularly in the 8-9 spots. You really don’t see these changes as much in an AL Park, at least I don’t, unless the game is a runaway and the manager is giving playing time away…

Any of you out there still keep score ? How does your way compare to mine ? Or are they similar ? 

Around The NL West…

The Blue, losers of 5 of their last 6, look to get back on the winning track as they look to Alex Wood to stop the bleeding. This will be The Blue’s 16th consecutive game of 20. 4 of the last 5 games has seen the bullpen working from the 5th or 6th inning on, including last night’s blown save by Kenley Jansen, his first BS after 13 successions. Hey, Kenley is entitled to a night off. Starting pitchers not named Kershaw have not exactly helped out as of recent either…

The Giants, sitting atop the west 3.5 games, had their 8 game winning streak snapped last night by the Cubs and Jake Arrieta. 7 of those 8 wins came off a 4 game sweep in Arizona and a 3 game sweep against the Padres, who they are 7-0 against this season…

ROAD TRIP !!!!

Dodger fans ! Baseball fans ! Summer is coming up. Looking to go out on the road to follow The Boys in Blue ? Or just exploring the 30 Yards of Summer ?  Check out our MLB Ballpark Experience Rankings at Stadium Journey for some tips and travel advice for your ballpark and other sports themed journeys. Also keep an eye out for some weekend road trip tips among other upcoming sports travel advice… We’d also like to hear what you think of the rankings ? ( I know I’d like to hear from you..) How would you rank the 30 yards of MLB ? 

Stadium Journey

 

Looking Back on 10 Years a Good Dre…Big Game James

In the 10 years I’ve been doing this, I have taken plenty of pictures of both players and personal experiences from The Ravine and throughout various ballparks from various points and perspectives…

picsart_04-23-04.20.22.jpg Today, we feature James Loney, pictured here in 2010 with former Fox Sports West and current ESPN sports anchor Michael Eaves.

picsart_04-23-08.25.21.jpg Universal Citiwalk, February 2008

Loney would wear the Dodger Blue from 2006-12. In that time, James would provide some memorable moments, including a 4 for 5 performance with 9 RBI’s  in a late September 2006 game at Coors Field. Loney would hit 9 home runs in September 2007, the most by a Dodger rookie recently tied with Joc Pederson last May 2015. 

Though James would enjoy lots of success at Coors Field, perhaps he may be best remembered for this home run in Game 1 of the 2008 NLDS against the Cubs… 

The Loney slam no doubt swung the momentum of the series in the Dodgers favor as they would sweep the Cubs, baseballs best team in the regular season, en route to their first NLCS appearance in 20 years.

James recently signed a minor league deal with the Padres so it is possible that we may see him play at The Ravine, perhaps with Matt Kemp. ( As per my preseason outlook, I still say Matt Kemp won’t be calling Petco Park home by July 31st…).

Cruising The NL West…

After some early bullpen struggles, The depth of The Blue, in addition to some stellar play along with some outstanding pitching from Kid K ( as expected ) and The Rookie sensation Kenta Maeda, sit atop the NL West 1 1/2 up on the Rockies as the two wrap up a 3 game series at Coors Field. Arizona, after a 3-7 start, has won 7 of 9 including a 4 game sweep of the Giants in San Francisco. The Giants have won their last 2 after a stretch in which they lost 8 of 10. 

Some of my early concerns right now are with Scott Kazmir and Alex Wood, who have not exactly been the face of consistency to this point. Aside from a shaky start from the bullpen and some inconsistent performances from 2 of our starters, I am satisfied with what The Blue has displayed to this point…

Sun-Day, Fun-Drei Tale…Jurrassic Life Does Exist !!!

picsart_04-23-07.30.19.jpg Having a little fun with my new-found buddy Dinger, just weeks before Big Game James unloaded those 9 RBI’s en route to a Coors Field type win for the Blue, 19-11. If you Dodger fans or other baseball fans get a chance you should check out Coors Field. Like with many yards, though there have been changes since my visit to Coors Field in August 2006, I am confident Coors still remains a yard worth paying a visit to. Check out this recent review of Coors Field from Stadium Journey, including it’s newest addition, The Rooftop

Stadium Journey Also, check out our 2015 MLB Ballpark Experience Rankings to help assist you with your ballpark and other sports travel journeys…