Baseball Travels 2010

As Labor Day hits, and signals the unofficial end of summer, a bit of nostalgia kicks in looking over the soon to be finished baseball season. Granted, another month exists in the major league season, but if history repeats itself – and it probably will – once the school buses start rolling our travel to baseball games comes to an end (although, this year we may break that trend with a couple of games at Citi). All told, we visited 14 new stadiums in 2010 (equaling our new stadium count in 2009), with a total of 33 games across all levels of affiliated and independent baseball. Many of these were away from home, with only 6 being at NYSEG stadium. Some highlights of the summer included our first games in Detroit and Toledo – impromptu because we just happened to be in Michigan/Ohio for the NCAA Men’s Frozen Four; our experience with the York Revolution, where their assistant GM went out of his way on a game night to find Jill a place where she could teach her online class for Kaplan University (she ended up using the computer and phone at his desk!); Wrigley Field (need I say anymore??); the racing pierogies in Pittsburgh, racing Presidents in Washington, racing hot dogs in Cleveland, and racing pork products in Allentown; and, as always, watching “Jingles” lead the crowd in the seventh inning stretch and then dancing to “Lazy Mary” at NYSEG Stadium.

Of all the new parks we visited, one rose to the top over all of the others and was the clear favorite for all three of us – the aforementioned Wrigley Field. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that it was a lifelong dream to see one of the last remaining ‘hallowed grounds of baseball’. If you try and compare it with other parks across the country, well it just doesn’t have what the baseball fans of ‘today’ are looking for – no spacious concourses, wide aisles, cushy seats behind homeplate, multiple bars and restaurants, or flashy scoreboards with fancy graphics. What it does have though is history, and purity, and a great feeling of ‘what baseball used to be like’, which probably has a lot to do with the fact that even though the Cubs on the field are just an abysmal team, their fans still pack the place to the rafters game in and game out. To put that ‘history’ into perspective, Michael said it best when we were touring Wrigley and he stepped into the visitors on deck circle – “This is the exact spot where Babe Ruth stood just before his called shot!” Well said bud – not even the New York Yankees themselves can say ‘this is where Babe Ruth stood’ anymore – pretty awesome feeling huh? So, while all of the other new parks we visited were nice in their own right, none could measure up to what Wrigley had to offer.

We already have our sights set on next season, and hopefully we’ll continue to amass ‘new’ stadiums like we have the last couple of years, with a pretty spectacular trip potentially on the horizon for September 2011 – anyone know how to say ‘baseball stadium’ in Japanese??



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