A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: redrob

Rob's Stadium Rankings

Detroit still top of my list

1. Comerica Park - Detroit - I made my first trip there several years ago and I didn't find anything this trip that topped it. You can stand an watch the game here. The statues in the outfield are amazing. You can't beat having a Ferris Wheel and Merry-go-Round inside the park for the kids when they get bored.

2. Progressive Field - Cleveland - I like the extra tall wall in left field, it's kind of a miniature Green Monster. Heritage Park in center field is great. It's nice and open on the concourse.

3. PNC Park - Pittsburgh - You can't beat the skyline view with Roberto Clemente Bridge in the background. It also has a nice open concourse and a great exterior look.

4. Great American Ballpark - Cincinnati - It also boasts a great skyline view and has an open concourse. The exterior approach is kind of limited because of the location. The front gate is great, but the rest of the exterior is plain.

5. Wrigley Field - Chicago - It's historic and you have to like it for that reason alone. The scoreboard is original, the ivy-covered walls are cool. The rest of it feels old and those posts are in the way.

6. Miller Park - Milwaukee - This is an amazing stadium to look at from the outside. Unfortunately the inside is a let-down. It has a retractable roof and it feels like watching a game indoors.

7. Target Field - Minneapolis - It's new, but it's nothing special. It is conventiently served by several forms of public transportation. I expected more for a brand-new park.

8. Victory Field - Indianapolis - A minor-league park that makes my list over two MLB stadiums. I think the fact that we had front-row seats made a difference in my rankings. I love the idea of being able to sit on the grass above the outfield fence with a picnic basket.

9. US Cellular Field - Chicago - I didn't much care for it the first time I went. There have been tweaks made, but not much of an improvement. The whole idea of not being able to go to the main concourse if your seats are in the upper deck smacks of elitism to me.

10. Rogers Centre - Toronto - A marvel of technology when it opened, but a lousy baseball stadium always. I would need to amputate my legs to fit in the %^$#ing seats.

Posted by redrob 17:24 Comments (0)

Ron's Stadium Rankings

Chicago and Toronto at bottom on the list

This was harder than I thought it would be. My first feeling was Cleveland closely followed by Pittsburgh. Then I tried to be a little more scientific with a scoring rating and these are my results.

I believe Ryan won’t be impressed with Wrigley field ranking but first impression are hard to change. The food was probably the hardest to evaluate because I didn’t really eat at all the parks and based my score on what I saw.

1. PNC Park - Pittsburgh, opened in 2001: Architectural Style - Retro Classic
Seating Room - 2 Scoreboard - 2 Exterior Look - 1 Food Choices - 2 Tribute to History - 1 Architecture - 1 Overall Score - 1.5

2. Great American Ball Park - Cincinnati, opened in 2003: Architectural Style - Retro Modern
Seating Room - 2 Scoreboard - 2 Exterior Look - 2 Food Choices - 1 Tribute to History - 1 Architecture - 2 Overall Score - 1.7

3. Miller Park - Milwaukee, opened in 2001: Architectural Style - Retro Modern with a retractable roof
Seating Room - 2 Scoreboard - 2 Exterior Look - 1 Food Choices - 1 Tribute to History - 3 Architecture - 2 Overall Score - 1.8

4. Progressive Field - Cleveland, opened in 1994: Architectural Style - Retro Modern
Seating Room - 1 Scoreboard - 2 Exterior Look - 2 Food Choices - 3 Tribute to History - 1 Architecture - 2 Overall Score - 1.8

5. Comerica Park - Detroit, opened in 2000: Architectural Style - Retro Classic
Seating Room - 3 Scoreboard - 3 Exterior Look - 1 Food Choices - 3 Tribute to History - 1 Architecture - 1 Overall Score - 2.0

6. Victory Field - Indianapolis, opened in 1996: Architectural Style - Minor League with outfield picnic area
Seating Room - 1 Scoreboard - 4 Exterior Look - 2 Food Choices - 2 Tribute to History - 3 Architecture - 2 Overall Score - 2.3

7. Target Field - Minneapolis, opened in 2010: Architectural Style - Retro Modern
Seating Room - 4 Scoreboard - 1 Exterior Look - 3 Food Choices - 3 Tribute to History - 3 Architecture - 3 Overall Score - 2.8

8. U.S. Cellular Field – Chicago, opened in 1991: Architectural Style - Modern Retro Classic
Seating Room - 4 Scoreboard - 3 Exterior Look - 4 Food Choices - 4 Tribute to History - 3 Architecture - 3 Overall Score - 3.4

9. Wrigley Field - Chicago, opened in 1914: Architectural Style - Jewel Box
Seating Room - 5 Scoreboard - 5 Exterior Look - 5 Food Choices - 4 Tribute to History - 2 Architecture - 4 Overall Score - 4.2

10. Rogers Centre - Toronto, opened in 1989: Architectural Style - Multipurpose with a retractable roof
Seating Room - 5 Scoreboard - 4 Exterior Look - 4 Food Choices - 4 Tribute to History - 5 Architecture - 3 Overall Score - 4.2

Posted by redrob 17:11 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Our Final Thoughts

What we liked and disliked

Best Meal
Rob - I vote for The Bomber, the unusual hamburger/italian sausage patty combo that I had at the ball park in Milwaukee. It was at a Food Network kiosk that I noticed at several ballparks. Apparently, they specialize in local specialties (based on the city).

Best Deal
Rob - It's hard to beat the Adidas baseball cleats that I picked up for $9.95. However, I like free and each park had a Designated Driver booth. I signed up each time and recieved a free medium soft drink. All told I saved about $40.
As an additional bonus, I signed up Rory for the Reds Heads Kids Club for $20. The package included vouchers (which I gave away), a backpack, Reds' jersey, Reds' ball cap, wristbands, a clubhouse flag, and dogtags.
DD Booth

DD Booth

Top Spot (Non Baseball)
Rob - Although we didn't have much time to take in the sights or museums, I was really impressed with the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame (I guess that is baseball related). The Heinz Center, home of the Western Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, was also outstanding.

Biggest Surprise
Rob - I discovered the 3 Musketeers Truffle Crisp, the best candy bar that I have ever had. The Heinz Center was also a big surprise.

Biggest Disappointment
Rob - I love ribs and thought that my half-rack of BBQ ribs and half-rack of Memphis-style dry rub was very disappointing.

Other Feedback
Rob - While doing a trip like this on your own, would allow you to make your own schedule, see what you want to see and so on, it helps to take a trip like to with travel companions. Making a Man Trip with others helps reduce costs and it breaks up the monotony of the road. We had some great conversations in the Murano. It also allowed Ron to pull over and take a nap in the back, while I took over behind the wheel.

Posted by redrob 09:55 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Facts and Stats from the Man Trip

Things that you don't need to know

Total kilometres travelled: 5,800 kilometres
Hours spent in the Murano: 76 hours
Hours spent watching baseball: about 35 hours

Teams seen: Chicago Cubs; Chicago White Sox; Cincinnati Reds; Cleveland Indians (twice); Indianapolis Indians; Detroit Tigers; Los Angeles Dodgers; Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; Louisville Bats; Milwaukee Brewers; Minnesota Twins (twice); New York Yankees; Pittsburgh Pirates; San Diego Padres; St. Louis Cardinals (twice); Texas Rangers; Toronto Blue Jays.

Canadian ballplayers seen: Toronto - Brett Lawrie (Langley, B.C.), started at third, and Mark Teahen (born in California, but a Canadian citizen), did not play; Minnesota - Justin Morneau (New Westminister, B.C.), started both games at first, and Rene Tosoni (Toronto, ON), started a game in left field. Cincinnati - Joey Votto (Etobicoke, ON), played first base; St. Louis - Dave McKay (Vancouver, B.C.), coached first base; Indianapolis (Pirates farm team) - Chris Leroux (Montreal, PQ), took loss in relieaf appearance while on injury rehab; Milwaukee - John Axford (Simcoe, ON), picked up the save, and George Kottaras (Scarborough, ON), did not play. Los Angeles Dodgers - Blake Hawksworth (North Vancouver, B.C.), did not pitch; Chicago White Sox - Jesse Crain (Toronto, ON), did not pitch; Chicago Cubs - Ryan Dempster (Sechelt, B.C.), did not pitch.
Joey Votto

Joey Votto

Players and coaches with ties to the Montreal Expos - Tim Wallach, currently the Dodgers' third-base coach; Chris Speier, currently the Reds' bench coach; Mike Quade, currently the Cubs' manager, was manager of Ottawa Lynx; Marty Pevey, currently Cubs' catching coordinator; Manny Trillo, White Sox baserunning coordinator; Brandon Phillips, current 2B for Reds; Jamey Carroll, current inf. with Dodgers; Scott Downs, pitcher with Angels; Carl Pavano, pitcher with Twins; Jerry White, Twins' first-base coach; Bartolo Colon, Yankees pitcher; Sean Berry, Padres hitting coordinator; Endy Chavez, OF with Texas; Spike Owen, Texas defensive coordinator; Mike Maddux, pitching coach for Texas; Luis Rivera, coach with Toronto.
Tim Wallach

Tim Wallach

Major League Kids - Tony Gwynn Jr. (son of Tony Sr.); Prince Fielder (son of Cecil); Jerry Hairston Jr. (son of Jerry Sr.); Peter Bourjos (son of Chris); Micheal Brantley (son of Mickey); Drew Butera (son of Sal); Robinson Cano (son of Jose); Shelley Duncan (son of Dave); Jason Grilli (son of Steve); Nick Swisher (son of Steve); Will Venable (son of Max); Neil Walker (son of Tom).

Molina brothers seen - Jose Molina, started for Blue Jays, and Yadier, started two games for St. Louis.

Posted by redrob 16:47 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Detroit and Home

The Best and Worst

Sunday's finale to the Man Trip was both the best and the worth wrapped up into one day. It was by far the most exciting game that we saw on the tour and probably the best stadium. However, it was our worst day of travelling. We started the morning, leaving our hotel in Battle Creek, Michigan for the game in Detroit. That was the easy part! After the game, we left for home via the Port Huron-Sarnia border crossing. I arrived at home at about 2 a.m. after travelling about 1100 kilometres. Ron and Wayne had another 70 kms to cover before their journey would end. Why, such a crazy schedule to end the trip? Wayne had to work today. (Thanks Wayne!) I wonder how productive he was?
Main Gate

Main Gate

I had previously visited Comerica Park in 2004 and knew what to expect. It's awesome! It has done the best job of marrying the retro-style (that is all the rage) with the modern necessities while catering to families. The main concourse is completely open to the field, so you can watch while at the concessions, there are plenty of good places to stand and watch the game (more on that below), and stuff for the kids when they get bored. There is a Ferris Wheel and Merry-go-Round inside the park, along with the other kid-friendly fare (batting cage, pitching booth, etc.)

There is no doubt that Comerica is home to the Tigers. The main gate features several statues of lounging Tigers and two 80-foot tall baseball bats. There are also Tiger heads with baseballs in their mouths on the walls of the Tiger Store. The entrance to the Tiger Den Lounge features a tiger's face etched into two metal doors. There is basically a team museum on the main concourse, the highlight of which is six large displays, each dedicated to a decade in the team's history. There are also massive stainless steel statues in the outfield of six of the team's immortal players.
Al Kaline

Al Kaline

The game we attended just so happened to a be a sellout and the final game of the most heavily attended series in the stadium's history. There are only three main gates to enter the park (not exactly a great plan), so we walked all the way around the stadium to the Beer Hall, a tavern with an outside entrance and went in that way, avoiding the 30-minute lineup.

It was hot and sunny and I finally got to use the sunscreen that I carted around from stadium to stadium. Our seats were in an outfield box down the right-field line. There wasn't enough of an incline to give you a great view of the game. I had to constantly adjust to improve my view based on what other fans were doing. To top that off, we were seated in front of the most annoying Tiger fan in the world. I really wanted to turn around and tell him to, "Shut the &*%$ up!", while using my Samuel L. Jackson voice. He had something to say every two pitches. "Why didn't hit swing at that, it was right in the heart!"; "I can't believe he didn't run on that play, he would have been there easy!"; "He's throwing darts today!"; "Come on! You can't let a pitch like that by.", etc., etc., etc.

I lasted four innings before I had to leave. I couldn't take him any more. The bottom of the third was excruciating to listen to as the Tigers scored seven runs, sent 12 batters to the plate, had three walks, and six hits - including homers by Delmon Young ("That was a game-changing swing") and Victor Martinez ("It's good to see him get his power swing going!"). Then the team's pitcher, Rick Porcello, proceeded to return the favour ("Oh, man! He's giving it all back!"). Cleveland scored five runs on six hits, including a homer by Carlos Santana ("What was he thinking, he served that one up.")

After that barrage of verbal idiocies and the fact that I was melting in the heat, we decided to get out of the sun. I never returned to the seat, thank god! I found a nice spot in the shade in center field near the water fountain and the Al Kaline statue (It helps to be tall). I also discovered that when it's windy the water fountain, which shoots out "liquid fireworks" when the Tigers score, is not a good place to walk behind unless you have an umbrella. A few unsuspecting passer-bys got drenched.

This section is intended for Ryan. Do not read it if you are easily offended. While standing in this section, I was next to some "scrumpies" Taylor. There were four available women. At least three of them outweighed me (just the way you like them Ryan), the fourth was obviously donating her food to the other three, because she was thin as a rail. To top things off, they were splitting the biggest daquari I had ever seen (another of Taylor's prerequisites).

You can read from here if you skipped the paragraph above. With the two big innings, Sunday's game was by far the longest one of our tour. There were plenty of unusual events that we didn't see in the other nine games. We saw a manager (Jim Leyland) get tossed, plenty of pitching changes, both benches were warned early, a player (Travis Hafner) broke down trying to stetch a single into a double, a pick-off at first, and the most tense and unsual ending ever. With Detroit nursing an 8-7 lead, the team's closer Jose Valverde put two runners on (a walk and hit-batsman). The runners were sacrificed to second and third, cueing the excitement. Detroit fans were pretty much resigned to the fact that the game was about to be tied. I was looking forward to our first extra inning game. Then pinch-hitter Matt LaPorta hit a fly ball to center field. Austin Jackson caught the ball and came up throwing, gunning down Kosuke Fukudome at the plate. The stadium erupted! A walk-off double-play, I had seen one of those since my glory days in Little League when I pulled off the same feat.

We hit the road shortly after the game, making our way to the border crossing near Sarnia. It took only 25 minutes, half of the time it took for us to cross in Buffalo. It was an uneventful seven-hour trip, except that I scared the crap out of Ron. He was snoozing in the back when I hit the warning grooves on the side of the highway. No I didn't nod off, I was straining to see who was singing the song on the satellite radio. Sorry Ron! We made it home safely after I handed the steering wheel back outside Belleville. So ened our journey, but not the blog, not yet. Look for a summary entry tomorrow.

Posted by redrob 13:24 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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