Baseball Season 2012 – That’s A Wrap!

As the mercury begins its gradual decline and the kids head back to school here in the northeast we close another chapter in our stadiums journey as the 2012 baseball season comes to an end.  Even though there is a month plus left in the Major League season, the likelihood of us getting to an MLB game is slim to none to non-existent, and the minor league season is now behind us.

All told in 2012 we added nine new ballparks to our overall total.  This included two new Major League parks, two new Double A parks, three Single A, one short season Single A, and one wood bat collegiate summer league park.

A game at Dodger Stadium would be our only new National League park in 2012, a game we had planned on going to from the time the schedule came out it seems.  Although the venue and team are in our eyes ‘classic’, the fans weren’t and it’s more so because of them that we won’t be rushing back there for a game.  This proved to be more of a social event for those around us than a baseball game, a big negative in our book.

Angel Stadium was a surprise on the same trip to California as the Dodger (and Storm) games, going on a whim when we had enough of Disneyland and DCA one evening.  Nice ballpark, decent fans, and a place we would return to if we had the chance (sitting in the left field seating area as it was quite comfortable for us out there).

There were no new Triple A ballparks in 2012 mostly because we’ve seen a good majority of the International League (lacking only three to complete that circuit), while none of our travel plans took us within range of a Pacific Coast League (next season maybe? **cough cough** Tacoma **cough cough**).

At the Double A level, we checked two more parks off of the Eastern League list, making a trip to Altoona in May and Portland in July.  Altoona was a ballpark we had driven by in past trips but never had the chance to see a game until this year.  Nice park, felt like a Triple A venue, but one we would return to if we happened to be local.  Portland’s ballpark was hot with little shade and lots of fans.  While we will probably go back (Jill didn’t accompany Mike and I to this game) there are others we will probably go to first before a return trip to Maine.

The third new ballpark we saw on our August/September California trip was actually our first at a California League ballpark.  The Lake Elsinore Diamond was a short 45 minute drive from Anaheim and well worth the gas money.  We enjoyed our time there and that had a lot to do with both the venue and the people working there.  Kind of off the beaten path for us, but if the chance ever presents itself again we will certainly go back.

Taking Sara and Andrew south at the beginning of August allowed us to see our first game at LewisGale Field, home of the Salem Red Sox.  LewisGale is another stadium we had been by previously but never had a chance to see a game.  We were glad the opportunity finally presented itself though as this was another nice facility and on the list for a return trip.

NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro was the second ballpark we visited on the trip, and we weren’t as enamored with it as we were LewisGale.  It was non-descript and hot, but worse than that was the on field ‘personality’ that pretty much just yelled and screamed into the mike throughout the game.  With all of the other baseball options in this part of the world, we’ll be hard pressed to make a return trip here.

Lowell, Massachusetts, home of Edwin A. LeLacheur Park, was our only SS-A game of 2012.  A small park for sure, they really pack them in here.  Couple that with the constant stomping on the metal bleachers (prompted by the scoreboard) and, well, check it off the list and don’t expect us back.  They do it right in Lowell, don’t get me wrong, drawing and selling out better than most – it just isn’t an atmosphere we like to watch baseball in.

Fraser Field in Lynn, Mass was a trip on a whim one night in July, but it proved to us once again that some of the best parks we’ve been to (see Dayton, Ohio) are ones we didn’t expect to visit in the first place.  This once Double A venue now home to collegiate summer league was a comfortable, homey place to watch a game.  That may have had a lot to do with the fact that Bill Terlecky – once GM of our Binghamton Mets – was in charge in Lynn.  We didn’t know he was there, certainly didn’t expect to see him, but had a great conversation with him while at the game and Fraser Field is still on our radar for a return visit.

Looking past the ‘new’ ballparks, our travels returned us to CitiField in Flushing to watch the New York Mets three times in 2012, PNC Park in Pittsburgh once, Fenway Park once as well (for our first MLB game there), Alliance Bank Stadium in Syracuse four times, McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket twice, MCU Park in Brooklyn twice, and Veterans Memorial Park in Little Falls and Dunn Field in Elmira one time as well.

To round it all out, and give special recognition to, we attended thirteen games across the 2012 season at our home park – NYSEG Stadium – in Binghamton.

Adding that all up, we went to a total of 32 baseball games – live – in 2012.  Doesn’t seem like a lot when you look at the total number, but there were lots of miles in between all of the new (and old) parks we went to this past season!  With the 2013 season schedules coming out for some teams our itineraries are already filling up for next season!  Have a great winter all!



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