Part XIII: U.S. Cellular Field
(AKA: Let’s Play Two Across States)
Because the Brewers game took a long time, I had to leave that game early. For the first time in about two decades, I actually left a game around the 7th inning stretch. At least I heard the rest of that game on the radio, only to have the Indians come back and win the game. Yeah, I’m glad I left that game early. Anyway, I made my way down I-94 across the state line from Wisconsin to Illinois and headed for the south side of Chicago. Traffic was looking bad and I had to take a couple shortcuts because the gridlock was simply too bad. Thanks to the AM radio and Google maps, I was able to make it to the park with about forty minutes to spare. I realized that I would not make it in time for batting practice, but I knew I could give this ballpark a good chance.
Ballpark 27: U.S. Cellular Field, elevation 596 feet
The game: Cardinals @ White Sox on July 22, 2015
When I arrived at what some people call “New Comiskey,” I was able to secure a good parking spot for $20. At least this was in one of the closer lots to the stadium, so the walk up only took a couple minutes. Much to my surprise, there was some tailgating going on here, too! There were a few corn hole games, and some other various games to keep the crowds entertained. This place had a neat feel to it, but I didn’t have the time to partake in any activities with the crowds.
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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.
Ballpark 26: Miller Park, elevation 602 feet
The game: Indians @ Brewers on July 21, 2015
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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?
The game: Red Sox @ Angels (first game) on July 20, 2015
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Part XI: Comerica Park
(AKA: Tigers, Tigers Everywhere)
This portion of my trip seemed so long ago, but I loved it. I will keep this post super short because I do need to catch up on my blog entries and get to the next portion of my solo travels. Mike and I made the long drive to Detroit, but the experience I had was a fantastic one that I won’t soon forget. Also, with a pair of free field level tickets thanks to my credit card’s great perks, we had a great view of a high-octane offense.
Ballpark 25: Comerica Park, elevation 570 feet
The game: Blue Jays @ Tigers on July 5, 2015
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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.
Ballpark 24 (again): Progressive Field, elevation 667 feet
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Between the Bases… of Classic Ballparks
While this technically doesn’t count towards the official tally of ballparks I have recently visited, I got to visit two classic ballpark sites from yesteryear. The experience of getting to set foot in the same fields as Babe Ruth, Bob Feller, Bill Mazeroski, and countless others was more than a thrill for me. We will begin in Cleveland before the trip to Pittsburgh.
The ballpark: League Park, former home of Cleveland baseball from 1891-1946
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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?
Ballpark 24: Progressive Field, elevation 667 feet
The game: Astros @ Indians on July 8, 2015
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Part IX: PNC Park
(AKA: Surviving the “Tarp Monster”)
Brace yourselves, folks. This stadium is among the best, but the weather was absolutely no joke. After making a visit to a former ballpark site, Mike and I met up with an old friend, Chuck, in downtown Pittsburgh. It was great getting to see him, and I was sad he couldn’t make it to the game with us. For the record, traversing through the streets of Pittsburgh is not fun. Trying to navigate through there is no laughing matter, either. It doesn’t help that Mike absolutely hates Pittsburgh, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from enjoying my day at PNC Park.
Ballpark 23: PNC Park, elevation 733 feet
The game: Padres @ Pirates on July 7, 2015
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Part VIII: Great American Ball Park
(AKA: Celebrating Great American Independence)
After a glorious Canada Day, I had to leave a country I’ve grown to love and make my way to my friend’s place for a few days. He lives in Cleveland, but the way the MLB schedule went, we would go there later. This part of the trip was tricky because I wanted to get the parks in that general area all in one week. With some creativity and some free tickets, I was able to set my sights in Cincy, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and his home town. After a somewhat easier day on Friday (which I will talk about in the next post), we left early in the afternoon on Saturday for Cincinnati. Watching a ball game here was the perfect way to spend Independence Day… and Cincinnati knows how to host a 4th of July game!
Ballpark 22: Great American Ball Park, elevation 488 feet
The game: Brewers @ Reds on July 4, 2015
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