2016 MLB All-Star Week: Home Run Derby (Monday)

Part III: All-Star Monday… at the Derby

(AKA: Watch Out!)
(AKA: 61 home runs… in one night??)

Buckle up, folks! This one is quite the doozy!

Following the late night at Petco Park Sunday, I was ready to fly solo back down to San Diego for the famed Workout Day and Home Run Derby. Yes, I was very fortunate to attend this incredible event. I managed to arrive at the ballpark just as the gates opened over three hours before the game (gates opened at 2pm for a 5pm event). As soon as the gates opened, there was a flood of people getting down to the left field porch area to take in some batting practice. I still had a pretty decent view from the field level during BP and managed to see incredible feats of power. How far would these balls fly?

 

derby2

Continue Reading About the Home Run Derby

2016 MLB All-Star Week: Futures and Celebrities (Sunday)

Part II: Let’s Play Two… sort of!

After spending some of Saturday attempting to catch up on sleep and blogging, I was already looking forward to the next couple days in San Diego. I had already obtained lower bowl tickets to the Sunday festivities thanks to MasterCard, so we knew it was going to be a great day. My sister wasn’t feeling quite 100 percent, but she definitely didn’t want to miss this event… and we got a plethora of pictures to show for it.

futures4

Continue Reading About All-Star Sunday

2016 MLB All-Star Week: Fan Fest (Friday)

PART I: Getting a Taste of All-Star Week

With the week-long break fast approaching, I was able to procure some free tickets for both the MLB Fan Fest, and other events! I will write about those awesome events later in the weekend…

…but for now, this post will cover the bases for the All-Star Fan Fest at the San Diego Convention Center. My sister and I decided to drive down very early on Friday morning so we could try and see EVERYTHING that this great festival has to offer. At the end of the day, we had walked about 10 miles and were quite tired… was it worth it?

Fest5
Continue Reading About the All-Star Fan Fest

The Calm Before the Storm (Before All-Star Week)

100_6295

Oh, hello there! I bet you’re wondering what’s next after that last post from Saint Louis. While I’m still catching up on previous posts, I thought I would write a quick note before one of the biggest events of the year. First, I would like to thank all the readers out there who have followed along with this blog. Thanks for joining me on my travels and making the last two years very memorable. Because of this blog, I have met so many fellow baseball fans, and even a few fellow bloggers from MLBlogs! I hope to meet many more of you this weekend because….

ASGlogo

…it’s All-Star Week in San Diego, California! That’s right, just down the I-15 freeway for me, the Summer Classic is about to take place inside the beautiful Petco Park in downtown San Diego for the first time in that stadium’s history. There has been quite a bit of hype as the All-Star rosters had just been announced. With a bevy of Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox players on both rosters, it should still be a very enjoyable time there as plenty of talented players got the call to play in the All-Star Game. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Corey Seager earning his 1st All-Star selection with the Dodgers. Not only will Seager play in the actual game, but he will take part in the Home Run Derby!

100_6297

My plans are to be in San Diego as much as possible throughout the weekend. First, I will be at the MLB Fan Fest inside the San Diego Convention Center all day Friday! I very much look forward to meeting some classic players, getting a plethora of picture opportunities, and taking in as much as possible. Also, I will get to visit my buddy, S. Preston, who I will actually talk greatly about on an upcoming blog post! You guys definitely need to check out his All-Star art this weekend if you’re going to Fan Fest.

Saturday will likely be my day off because…

Around San Diego 063

…my plan is to arrive early at Petco for the All-Star Sunday festivities. The two main events on Sunday are the Futures Game, and the Celebrity & Legends softball game. I will simply say that I got some damn good seats for that particular game and will be on field level to see the future of baseball on display. I very much look forward to that game.

On Monday, I will be driving down in the early afternoon because I will actually be attending the Home Run Derby on Monday! I’m even honored just to be inside the park for this one… I am floored that my seat is behind home plate so I will get a great view of what is shaping up to be a fantastic contest. Plus, I get to root on Corey Seager!

Tuesday is the giant question mark right now. I do not have any tickets for the actual All-Star Game yet. I’m still considering purchasing a ticket for that game… and I would really love to go. If anybody reading this somehow attains a spare ticket, please let me know… give me a ring! Okay, you don’t have to call me since I would never post my number here… but feel free to drop me a line on here, I do read your comments!

IMG_1237

If you are reading this and do plan on being in San Diego for the weekend, I would love to meet all of you! You will most likely see me going after a couple fly balls before the games, meeting some legends at the Fest, hanging out by the Tony Gwynn statue, or simply trying out some new bizarre food. You will almost certainly see me with my Wheel of Fortune bag! So, please say hello if you’re a reader or a fan. I will be blogging like a mad man all weekend about everything All-Star related, so be sure to follow along! Those posts will be shorter than my usual ballpark tour posts.  As always, I will see you at the ballpark!

102_6040

-JD

I Consider Myself (One Of) the Luckiest Men…

Yes, I know it has been a LONG time since I’ve posted on here, but now I’ve got a backlog of posts concluding my tour from last season. To be honest, it has felt like a great roller coaster ride since last October. After finishing my quest of attending a game in all 30 MLB parks, real life kept me as busy as possible. First, with me teaching during the regular school year, that took away most of my time. Working for the American Hockey League took up some more of my time, running races took up nearly the rest of my time, and before I knew it, I was completely back logged. Life happens.

One of the things that kept me busy was working for the AHL, specifically for the Ontario Reign at the Citizens Business Bank Arena. Doing the off-ice thing for the ECHL was great, but now with some extra money coming in and a better style of hockey in town, this season has been more than enjoyable. Not only did I get to explore other rinks using my pass (including a trip to Providence, RI), but I got to actually do some color commentary for the Ontario Reign for some road games! That ended up happening out of nowhere, and I have to give my full thanks to Joseph Zakrzewski for the opportunity. As the season wore on, I began tracking some team Corsi stats for the team, and that passion for stats and sports took me to San Jose, San Diego, and even Cleveland during their playoff run. While the Reign ended up getting swept by the eventual Calder Cup champion, Lake Erie Monsters, this was a great ride! Besides, it also helped that one of my closest friends lives out there, and we even attended a couple baseball games together yet again! I will post about that experience soon. But again, I feel so fortunate right now. Working in hockey has brought me so much luck and joy, and I cannot wait until the 2016-17 campaign.

Beard526

But, with the hockey season now coming to an end and the school year done for the summer, this gives me a great opportunity to put up some of the saved drafts from the past few months. Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about you guys who still read this! Also, a big thank you to those who have kept reading despite the long absence. You will see some new posts spring up, but they will be back dated to the appropriate year. Just as an FYI, this post will likely disappear fairly soon, but there is also going to be some new pages set up for all my mobile readers! For now, here is some of what to expect:

*A post from St. Louis
*A lengthy post from Kansas City
*A post from the Field of Dreams
*A little something about the conclusion of my travels
*A great post about a good artist friend of mine, and how that affected my travels

*BALLPARK RANKINGS!!

*Weird foods around Major League Baseball

Yes, I already have my rankings set, and that post is long saved…. maybe I shall put that up this week? Again, thank you all for the support and I will see you at the ballpark!

Beard415

-JD

JD’s Ballpark Tour… an FAQ?

Between the Bases: An FAQ!

Welcome back to the Chavez Chronicles, ladies and gentlemen. Upon finishing this unforgettable journey through all the ballparks, I’ve been approached with a plethora of questions from people I have just met and friends alike. I thought about making this a separate page, but I thought a post now would be more appropriate given that some of these questions will be answered next month. The majority of questions were asked before the final leg of my travels through the Midwest. I thought I would write a quick post and address some of those questions here.

jdfaq

*Q: What is your favorite ballpark that you’ve visited?

*A: At the moment, I don’t have a singular favorite, even making a top 3 or 4 is tough. I will think about this more and make a post with my rankings of the 30 current MLB parks soon.

*Q: What is your least favorite ballpark?

*A: Same as above, but I have a bottom two, and it will surprise many.

*Q: What foods do you recommend the most?

*A: I believe in getting the most unique food items that you wouldn’t find anywhere else. In the north, poutine is always a recommendation. In the Midwest, barbecue is excellent. Perhaps I will make just a post about food in the coming weeks.

*Q: So… what’s next?

*A: Get back to hockey and math! Southern California welcomes the AHL to the hockey landscape, and that will take up some of my time. Aside from that, I have a great idea of what I want to do on my next grand “baseball” adventure. However, I won’t reveal that yet…

*Q: How do you find great deals on flights/cars?

*A: First off, I have a frequent flier card with Flying Blue (KLM) and they have been wonderful in the five years I’ve been with them. Delta has typically great service for a major airline, so I recommend using them for frequent flier miles. During this trip, I’ve received two free flights and I’m close to a third one. Also, using Hertz frequently not only builds up status, but renting with Hertz yields frequent flier miles for Delta/Flying Blue. I’ve gotten one free car rental so far, and may get a second. Sticking with a good company is an excellent way to not only get great deals on flights and cars, but get free flights and car rentals. Huzzah!

*Q: How in the world did you keep costs down and stay within a budget?

*A: As previously mentioned, getting free flights and car rentals help. Also, I’ve had several friends offer up their rooms for days on end. Without them, I couldn’t have finished this trip. Also, I got many free tickets throughout this trip, as well as some insider visits. The kindness of many helped keep costs down, and was a huge factor in me finishing this trip. So my advice is this… make friends, make lots of friends around the country (and Canada)!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

*Q: Dude, your adventures sound awesome! Can we hang with you?

*A: Sure! I always welcome guests to watch games with me! Throughout this trip, I have had some great friends and guests watch games besides me, and it’s always a blast shooting the breeze and have some great baseball talk. Plus, whenever I’m around friends, good things tend to happen and the good luck REALLY comes out. Ask any of those guys on the pictures… fun times are had by all, and unforgettable memories are made!

Finally, I want to address one thing that hasn’t been asked much, and that’s why I haven’t posted much lately. Well, real life happens and it keeps me busy! Also, I’ve still been going to games, and getting back to my regular routine of working most of the week. Additionally, I’ve been contributing to the podcast and celebrating my birthday. With that said, I have already written the next post after this, so expect two or three blog posts this week alone. Thanks again for your support, please keep reading, and I will see you at the ballpark!

 

-JD

JD’s 2015 Ballpark Tour; Anaheim, California

Rain in Sunny Southern California?

 

While this doesn’t officially count on my ballpark tour, I thought this might count towards number of ballparks in a season. After I arrived home from Cleveland, it was All-Star break followed by periods of heavy rain in southern California. Believe it or not, all the rain resulted in TWO postponed games in SoCal, one in San Diego and the other in Anaheim. I had actually thought about going to that game in Anaheim because it was a Sunday Night Baseball game on ESPN. Unfortunately, the rained out game meant several Angels and Red Sox fans couldn’t watch their team after all. Before I thought about buying tickets, my friend, Kellie, had a couple extra tickets and decided to sell them to me instead. I took my friend, Joe, who is a devout Angels fan. This was the first make-up game for the Angels in years, and the first doubleheader in over a decade. How would each team respond?

DSC01231

The game: Red Sox @ Angels (first game) on July 20, 2015
Continue Reading About the make-up game in Anaheim

I’m Checking In!

A quick post here since I’ve gotten a slew of new readers since yesterday’s Cubs game. If you’re reading this for the first time, welcome! I will be going a bit out of order here as my next two posts will be about Pittsburgh and Cleveland, followed by a post about classic ballparks that are no longer around… or are they? I plan on writing a special post about those places because I am now a part of the newsletter for the Heritage Museum in Cleveland. That museum is housed in the old building that was a part of old League Park in Cleveland. I’ll go more in depth about League Park, as well as Forbes Field soon.

Yesterday was an interesting day in Chicago… and I’m still wrapping my head around all of it. What started off as a simple day at Wrigley Field turned into me being a minor celebrity after the game. Even though I now have less than five ballparks left to visit, this sign got me on WGN-TV.

My sign at Wrigley Field. Note the old-school cap!
My sign at Wrigley Field. Note the old-school cap! For the record, I’m wearing a C-Feds jersey.
I finally saw the clip of that late last night, and I got texts from people saying they saw me on TV (presumably watching on their extra innings package). I got tweets from people following me, even one from the UK! How about that? It was so awesome getting to hear Len and J.D. talk about my tour. I hope they check it out at some point! Apparently, even looking up “JD’s Ballpark Tour” on Google yields nearly all of my posts! No wonder it was easy to find for many people because my blog got a HUGE spike in readers during the game. All the fans around me kept asking questions about my trip, and I felt like I had a crowd around me after the game. It was a very surreal feeling as people kept asking me what ballparks I had left. When I mentioned St. Louis, almost everyone said that is an amazing ballpark and I’ll like it.

With that said, Busch Stadium has some big shoes to fill! I hope my expectations for that ballpark are not only met, but exceeded. I want to say a huge thank you to all my readers. Your kind words mean so much, and now that I have a break from baseball for a few days, I can get back to writing! I’m so grateful to everyone reading, and I still can’t believe I’ve gotten as many readers as I do now. Between getting featured twice on MLBlogs (and hopefully more times), and getting on TV with my site on there, it has been a bit of a whirlwind!

It’s amazing that I just attended five games in five days… and got an amazing experience at Miller Park, as well. More on that soon. For now, this is JD (not the one on WGN-TV, although he’s awesome) saying thank you, and I hope to see you at the ballpark!

-JD

Looking Ahead Into 2015!

Last season, what started out as a simple and not-many-frills adventure through some of the MLB ballparks has turned into an epic journey where I got to visit HALF of the current MLB ballparks in this country. Along the way, I have touched the hearts of many and gotten to meet so many amazing people. I met inspiring people and made a couple new friends in Boston during Marathon weekend, took one of my closest and longest-known friends to a Phillies game, have talked baseball with so many people, and showed several kids pictures and artifacts from my travels, and even visited two parks in one day! In the midst of that New York trip, I won a contest and decided to take a very good friend on a truly unforgettable trip to Yankee Stadium where the people there were nicer than I ever would have imagined. I’ve made new friends, treated old friends, and tried to spread good vibes through all the ballparks I have visited.

I know I’m behind on some of these posts, and some of them are already written. Yes, I’ve already visited two new ballparks this season, including meeting another friend from the podcast I take part in, and seeing family (both old and about-to-be-new family)! But, all of my plane tickets are bought, and it looks like I’m going to complete this inspiring quest to visit every single current MLB ballpark. Fifteen last season, and fifteen more this season. Of course, this doesn’t count a former MLB ballpark that I will talk about very soon. First, here is where I’ve been, and where I’m going!

May 15-16: Safeco Field in Seattle

June 21: Turner Field in Atlanta

June 24: Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay

June 26: Marlins Park in Miami

June 30: Rogers Centre (Skydome) in Toronto, Ontario

July 4: Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati

July 5: Comerica Park in Detroit

July 6-11: Both Progressive Field and PNC Park in Cleveland and Pittsburgh

July 21: Miller Park in Milwaukee (Major League Night!)

July 22: U.S. Cellular Field in the south side of Chicago

July 24: Wrigley Field in the north side of Chicago

August 11: Target Field in Minnesota

August 13 & 15: Kauffman in Kansas City

August 14: New Busch Stadium in St. Louis

I hope to meet many of you fellow readers at some of these ballparks! Honestly, this is beyond my wildest dreams to be able to visit every ballpark in the major leagues. Of course, there will be other posts along the way, including tips on how to get the most bang for your buck, and money-saving tips on food, travel, and even parking!

Please be sure to check out my Twitter account: @StimpyJD, and my Instagram account of the same name. You can follow my travels on both with the hashtag: #JDsBallparkTour

From the bottom of my heart, thank you guys so much for reading this blog. To give you guys a preview of an upcoming post… here is a couple pictures from a ballpark that I didn’t include on this list for good reason. But, I will say this… I may get to make it out to TWENTY different MLB ballparks (past and present) in this 2015 season alone.

DSC08573

DSC08640

-JD

PS: To all my Canadian readers out there, thank you so much! I hope you enjoy reading about my adventures, and I can’t wait to visit your great country once again. Yes, that picture is just for you fellow Canadians.

JD’s Ballpark Tour, Seventeenth Inning (San Francisco, CA)

Part XVI: AT&T Park

(AKA: The End of a Long Journey)

(AKA: Saving the Best View For Last)

(AKA: Seeing a Clinching Celebration)
(AKA: Prelude to a Championship Run)

I will come out and say it, because of my slight bias as a Dodgers fan, I will say that if it wasn’t for the Giants playing there, I would rank this as the second best ballpark in the majors. As it is, this ballpark easily ranks in my top 5. San Francisco’s AT&T Park is that amazing and everybody that’s a true baseball fan should go there at least once.

The night before I was to attend the Giants game against the Padres, I made it a point to watch the Giants/Dodgers game on TV to see my hometown Dodgers clinch the NL West division! Watching that game was amazing… but that also meant that the Giants could clinch a playoff spot at home on the game I was attending. San Francisco had yielded a strong team all season, and I predicted they would be a tough out. In fact, at the time of this game, I assumed that the Giants would not only win their Wild Card game, but with their NLDS series and play the Dodgers in the NLCS. Part of that was wishful thinking to see an epic Giants/Dodgers duel for the pennant. Little did I know I would see the start of an amazing run into October.

DSC07363

Ballpark 15: AT&T Park, elevation 10 feet

The game: Padres @ Giants on September 25, 2014

After leaving Oakland and spending the day at the Golden Gate Bridge, I made my way early on to AT&T Park with Kelsey to catch some BP and really look around the entire cove of the park. The place was buzzing with excitement as they playoffs were drawing near. Many believed there would be some games for the Giants in the NLDS, and some were hopeful for the NLCS. There were a few fans that were thinking World Series. However, nobody I talked to thought the Giants would win the whole thing. Not at that time, anyway.
Continue Reading the Seventeenth Inning