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

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.

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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 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 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

JD’s 2015 Ballpark Tour; Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Part XII: Miller Park

(AKA: An Experience Unlike Any Other)

After saying goodbye to Joe and the city of Anaheim, I had to get packing and get going to my next destination. The night of the Angels 2nd make-up game against the Sawx, I was already on my way to Milwaukee to catch one of the best theme nights in the team’s and MLB history. This particular giveaway was on my radar since the preseason because it involves one of my favorite baseball films. It was “Major League” Night at Miller Park, and the giveaway was a TALKING Harry Doyle bobble head! Of course, I had to be there for this one… but what I came away with was more than a bobble head. I came away with a great impression and a whole lot more.

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Ballpark 26: Miller Park, elevation 602 feet

The game: Indians @ Brewers on July 21, 2015
Continue Reading About Miller Park

JD’s 2015 Ballpark Tour; Cleveland, Ohio… take two.

Part X: Progressive Field (Second Visit)

After a couple days away from visiting anything baseball related in Ohio, Mike gave me an incredible surprise while I was still in town. He keeps track of a wonderful group called the Wahoo Club. As you may guess, this is an official club for the Cleveland Indians. Just about every month, they hold a Wahoo Club event that features a player from the Indians past or present with a full meal. Yes, they have even held breakfasts with classic players. For this particular event, Mike and I got tickets to the Wahoo Club luncheon with former Indians All-Star, Max Alvis! Oh, and some current rising star named Carlos Carrasco! This luncheon took place inside the Terrace Club at Progressive Field, a very nice place within the stadium. I knew I’d be in for not only a great luncheon, but a great game afterwards.

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Ballpark 24 (again): Progressive Field, elevation 667 feet
Continue Reading About my Second Visit to Progressive Field

JD’s 2015 Ballpark Tour; Cleveland, Ohio

Part X: Progressive Field (First Visit)

After a very lengthy game at PNC Park, Mike and I knocked out and didn’t do much before the Indians game Wednesday night. The events that morning were filled with wondering how we would get tickets. I was told that one of Mike’s relatives could have free tickets for that night’s game, which was also a bobble head night! Our task was to get bobbles for the two young boys who couldn’t attend the game… but I’ll save that story for the end.

To keep an already long post somewhat short, we acquired FREE tickets for that night’s game thanks to some kind family members. Myself, Mike, and his cousin, Dan, all went to the game on a nice Wednesday night. This was Carlos Santana bobble head evening, but after visiting some excellent ballparks, how would Progressive Field compare? Was it even possible to top Great American and PNC?

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Ballpark 24: Progressive Field, elevation 667 feet

The game: Astros @ Indians on July 8, 2015
Continue Reading about Progressive Field