Beyond the Bases and Travels…

The conclusion of my baseball travels… until next year.

This will become an all-encompassing post about all the ballparks visited in the last three years, but this entire journey has been so incredible and I have met a plethora of fascinating fans from around the country… and Canada. When I started traveling to a few stadiums in 2014, I had no intention of getting to all the stadiums. Well, that is to say, I had no intention at the time. When I made my initial trip to San Diego and Arizona, that’s when a couple friends of mine planted the seed in my head that I should start writing about my travels, at least for them to keep up with me! One of those friends works in the media, and his name is Taylor Blake Ward. You may have heard that name before, but he has worked at Angel Stadium for the past couple seasons. I cannot thank him enough for the support!

Continue Reading Beyond the Bases…

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JD’s Ballpark Tour; Extra Innings in Iowa

Part ??: Field of Dreams

(AKA: Is this heaven?)
(AKA: No, it’s Iowa.)

Just when you thought my travels around all the ballparks were over… think again! I teased about this long ago, and I finally got around to putting this entire experience into words. You know those places that you’ve seen on the big screen and never thought you’d ever see with your eyes? Those places that only seem like something out of a fantasy world? Perhaps something that came right out of a book? Matt and I got to go to one of those places, and it was truly magnificent.

Ladies and gentlemen, we fulfilled a bucket list item and got to visit the “Field of Dreams” movie site. Not only did we get to visit the site, but we also got to see what it was like on one of their “Ghost Sunday” games that is fun for the family. How would our visit stack up?

Ballpark 32… sorta: Field of Dreams, elevation of about 1000 feet.
The game…: Well, there were these players, see, and they came out of the corn field…

Continue Reading About the Field of Dreams

2016 MLB All-Star Week: All-Star Game (Tuesday)

Part IV: The Fan Fest Revisited and the Main Event

(AKA: The Midsummer Classic)
(AKA: Saying goodbye to Big Papi)

All-Star Tuesday was finally here, and it would be an early morning for me while my sister was off having emergency surgery. She said I should go to the game and try to get her something while I was there. This sadly meant I would be flying solo for this day… but I still pressed on and used my free pass for Fan Fest to check out some of the items that I loved, as well as some other areas I felt that I didn’t explore enough. To me, this felt like a free pass. Since I still had an extra Fan Fest ticket that would have otherwise gone to waste, I decided to give it away to a very kind Rockies fan visiting from Colorado. That little act really made his day, and I was glad to provide some joy in a fellow baseball fan’s life. Maybe this would be good karma for the rest of the day?

Continue Reading About FanFest and the All-Star Game

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?

 

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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.

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Continue Reading About All-Star Sunday

JD’s 2015 Ballpark Tour; Saint Louis, Missouri

Part XVII: Busch Stadium

(AKA: The Night of Free Food and Free Beer)

(AKA: The Cardinal Way)

This is another special post because I had one of my best friends, Matthew, join me for this final part of my trip, and this was a ballpark he had to visit at least once in his life. Even more lucky, I had gotten a hotel only two blocks away from the stadium and was able to fully prepare for this game. In fact, this is another one of those games were I felt completely ready to see every aspect of a new ballpark. Then again, I had gotten very good at preparing with the other 29 ballparks I had visited.

The game was on a Friday night, and the weather was fairly mild… a perfect day for a ball game. Since the game was against the Miami Marlins, we didn’t have the overly crowded streets like I had seen on TV last season. However, that didn’t matter, many fans still showed up en masse because Busch Stadium really is a gem in the Midwest. Would this place live up to expectations?

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Ballpark 31: Busch Stadium, elevation 440 feet
The game: Marlins @ Cardinals on August 14, 2015
Continue Reading About New Busch Stadium

JD’s 2015 Ballpark Tour; Kansas City, Missouri

Part XVI: Kauffman Stadium

(AKA: A Royal Treatment)

(AKA: Hotter than Heck)

This will be a special post because I was actually here more than once. However, for the purposes of this blog, I will keep this post more in the perspective of the regular fan! The reason that I made more than one visit here was because I was watching the Angels of Anaheim in Kansas City. I had to be impartial. Also, this post is special because the Kansas City Royals just won the 2015 World Series over the New York Mets and I’d like to say congratulations to a deserving team! The timing for this post couldn’t be more perfect. Need I say more?

This series in Kansas City was very important for both teams as the Royals were trying to keep their number one overall seed ahead of the surging Twins and the Blue Jays. As for the Angels, they were trying to get a hold on a wild card spot. I knew the crowds would be massive for both games. For the first part of this blog post, I will focus more on the Thursday game that took place. For the second part, I will focus more on the ballpark itself. However, there will be an additional mini-post about this ballpark to come at a later date. Yes, there is a reason for this.

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Ballpark 30: Kauffman Stadium, elevation 750 feet

The first game: Angels @ Royals on August 13, 2015
Continue Reading About Kauffman Stadium… for both games

JD’s 2015 Ballpark Tour; Minneapolis, Minnesota

Part XV: Target Field

(AKA: A Flair For the Dramatic)

(AKA: Twinning)

This was the portion of the trip where I realized that I was close to the end, and I was beyond excited to visit the final three ballparks. After a few days finally home recovering from my previous travels, I was busy preparing for the last leg of my baseball travels. On paper, this would be one of the more expensive trips since I had two flights, several days of hotels, and a big car rental. However, I used some “Orbucks” to get one day of a free hotel. Plus, I had been accumulating so many frequent flier miles that I went ahead and used those miles for free flights! Additionally, I was able to get a big discount on my car rental, so this helped me immensely on this trip. After another week in Las Vegas for Trivia Championships of North America, I was on my way to Minneapolis to explore one of the spotlight ballparks I had been wanting to visit since it opened, Target Field. I heard about many of the park’s amenities and some of the unique food they offer up there. How would it stack up to the rest of the league?

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Ballpark 29: Target Field, elevation 840 feet

The game: Rangers @ Twins on August 11, 2015
Continue Reading About Target Field

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.

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*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)!

 

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*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; Chicago, Illinois

Part XIV: Wrigley Field

(AKA: The Not-Quite-Finished Confines)

(AKA: The Day I Was a Local Celebrity… sort of)

After a brutally long day of baseball in two states, Thursday was my rest day until I decided to tour Miller Park. Maybe I’ll mention that tour on an off-season post… but the rest of that day was spent eating foods across two states, and relaxing near my hotel room in the middle of Chicago. Somehow, I was able to acquire a room for two nights that offered free parking in downtown! Of course, this was first-come, first-serve parking, so I had to make sure I was at that hotel early enough to secure a spot. I also made sure to make out my plans for the trip to the “Friendly Confines” in the north side of Chicago. To be honest, I had previously visited this park with my sister before the renovations a few years ago when it was rumored that new scoreboards would infect the classic park. We went to two games, and those were some of the best games we ever went to. I tried to forget about all that and enter Wrigley Field with a fresh perspective and moderate expectations. Because of all the changes, this was technically a “new” park I was visiting. Just how different would it be?

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Ballpark 28: Wrigley Field, elevation 599 feet

The game: Phillies @ Cubs on July 24, 2015
Continue Reading About Wrigley Field