Updated: Dec 22, 2018
I love baseball.
It occupied a majority of my childhood. I would play 1 on 1 with my childhood best friend, Evan, for hours on end, nearly every day. I would be the Red Sox and he would be the Phillies. We would mimic the stances of the hitters in the lineups, 1 through 9, hitting lefty and righty. We played with a wiffle ball and wiffle ball bat (the real stuff) on a field with a chimney and light post as the respective foul poles which were automatic home runs and roughly 15 feet from home plate. Other than that, everything was in play. Off the house, up the next level of the yard in right field, the swing set 25 feet from home plate in dead center and the neighbor’s driveway and garden about 50 from home plate, but only if you could hit a screaming liner that stayed no more than 6 feet off the ground to avoid the huge pine trees that covered all of center and most of left and right field.
As we got older, we took those games to other fields and added a guy or 2 here and there. Some of the fields much larger with less character and some with deathly hills and rock walls surrounding them. As we got even older the games continued, just much later into the night, by running the lights on my Corolla or my buddy, Jake’s Cutlass Supreme until the battery died and we had to leave and jump start it with one of the other’s car. The character filled, make-shift fields we played on will forever be my favorite baseball fields.
Since Maddy and I are now traveling the US, I have the opportunity to see all the Major League Baseball stadiums. Although they’ll never compare to the wiffle ball fields we played on, they’re pretty freakin’ cool in their own way. I’ve been to 10 of the current 30 stadiums in Major League Baseball.
Below is a list of the ones I’ve been to and my quick opinion and a list of the ones I can’t wait to see and why.
• Camden Yards – Loved this park, super cool look, the warehouse, the home runs marked on
Eutaw street and Evan and I were on the Jumbotron when we were about 10.
• Fenway Park – I’m a Sox fan, this is my favorite. Built over 100 years ago. The history, the small feel, the monster, unlike any other park, Sox fan or not – this park is a must see. Even Maddy LOVED it.
• Guaranteed Rate Field – Nothing special, newer age park, saw the Sox, not bad not good.
• Rogers Centre – Went when I was very young. The donuts were awesome. Saw Pedro drill
Shannon Stewart the at bat after Pedro gave up a homer to him. Also saw Manny hit a ball 491 feet – looked like it went 900 feet – longest in the stadiums history.
• Tropicana Field – Incredibly boring park. All green, just ugly. Also, the Red Sox lost on a walk-off errant pick off attempt in extras.
• Citi Field – Really fun park. The crowd was electric. It was in 2015 when the Mets were solid and fun.
• Citizens Bank Park – Went for a bachelor party last year, it was great park, lots of fun. Sat behind home plate for 1 pitch before being removed because that was no where near my ticketed seat.
• Nationals Park – Very cool park. I’ve been a bunch of times and love the standing room sections in the outfield.
• PNC Park – Gorgeous views. Sitting on the third base side is just incredible.
• Wrigley Field – Only comparable to Fenway with its tradition and old school feel. Such a cool park. Site of my only World Series game attended to date.
I’ve also been to old Yankee Stadium – almost every game I’ve been to there was awesome, but the stadium was nothing special. Lots of cement.
The stadiums I can’t wait to go to with Maddy on the Freedam Tour, ranked:
1) AT&T Park – I hear nothing but great things. It’s on the water and supposed to be just beautiful.
2) Dodger Stadium – The views seem awesome in Chavez Ravine and the history of being in the park is a huge draw for me. It’s the 3rd oldest stadium behind Wrigley and Fenway.
3) Petco Park – Another beautiful park from what I’ve read and heard and in San Diego – tough to beat.
4) Coors Field – A park built a mile above sea level – home runs galore.
5) Busch Stadium – Midwest baseball – the arch and beautiful views.
Safeco and Miller park are up there on my list also.
No two Major League Baseball Stadiums are the same, and that’s what makes them so appealing to me. It reminds me of all the crazy fields that I played wiffle ball on as a kid and stepping foot in a new MLB stadium gives me childhood feelings.