Top Ballparks to Visit This Summer
There are several things I think about over the summer. BBQ. Outdoor concerts. Summer movies. But, there is one thing that I devote more of my time to than any of those other things.
The NBA and NHL Playoffs are winding down, the World Cup will only last a month and the spectacles which will be Tiger Woods appearing at major golf tournaments occur only once a month. I would say there’s a lot of down time for me as a sports fan, but it truthfully will be the other sports that fill in between watching baseball games.
Many of you though can’t stand the thought of sitting at home through a baseball game because it’s going to the game that is exciting to you. Well, what’s more exciting than going to a baseball game? Going to a baseball game at a ballpark you’ve never been to before. With a beer in one hand, a hot dog in the other, you can absorb all the new sight lines and individual eccentricities of a new park as part of your summer travels. Here are the ones I would recommend.
Fenway Park. My good friend Jenny took me to a game at this ultimate cathedral for the church of baseball. Yes, the seats are tiny for anyone that is not the size of a ten-year old, but I can still picture the Green Monster in my daydreams. Because of renovations, unlike another very old ballpark, the aisles for the concessions are spacious and the food choices are fantastic.
Wrigley Field. Yes, there are bad sightlines. Yes, the aisles are crowded and packed with standing room only fans and all of the folks with seats getting Old Styles. But, once you get out in the sun and sit down with the ivy-covered walls staring back at you, you’ll realize why this ballpark is sold out everyday. Speaking of which, you’ll have to pay a pretty penny to get a seat here. (Which is true at Fenway as well.)
Camden Yards. My first trip to Camden was during Cal Ripken’s streak week when he passed Lou Gehrig for the most consecutive games played. I walked up day of the game and got a seat ten rows behind the on deck circle for the Orioles. Which is why Camden Yards is still one of my favorites. (It was my favorite until I stepped foot into Fenway.) At the entrance to the stadium in the outfield, you’ll be welcomed by the smell of Boog’s BBQ enticing you to eat before you even get to your seat.
Coors Field. Not the most unique stadium, but with the Rocky Mountains to see in the distance, it has a unique placement as far as major league stadiums go. Plus, the area around the stadium has four breweries, a great way to enjoy pre and post-game beers. I recommend getting to the stadium early for batting practice because the light air makes it a treat. I still remember visiting when Mark McGwire was in the middle of his home run tear and watching him hit two home runs that dented the scoreboard above the bleachers.
Petco Park. Like Coors, part of the magic of Petco is its location in San Diego – the Gaslamp Quarter. Unfortunately Trevor Hoffman no longer pitcher there, because one of the great moments I had the first time I went to Petco was the chill that ran up my spine when “Hells Bells” started to play as he came in to register a save against my favorite team, the Cardinals. It was almost worth seeing them lose to be a part of a packed, cheering stadium at that moment. Almost.
PacBell Park. (I refuse to use “AT&T Park” because it doesn’t have the alliterative flair.) It may be cold here. It may be really windy. But, I can’t recommend the upper deck behind home plate in this stadium enough. Looking down on the action in the field still feels relatively close. But, between innings, just leaning back and looking out toward the Bay Bridge and all of the boats is the true reward of this park.
Safeco Field. This is the field that I plan to go to this summer. I’ve heard nothing but good things.
See you at the ballpark.
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About Jason McClain Jason is an aspiring novelist, which means there is a lot of time to put off writing and watch baseball or go fly-fishing, hiking and traveling. By "a lot of time", Jason means "procrastination."