Friday, January 4, 2013

Review - Half Way to "Home"

After traveling to US Cellular Field, I can now say I have been to over have of the stadiums in Major League Baseball.  Often people ask what's my favorite stadium or what city I like, so as I am starting to plan out the Baseball Adventure for 2013 I thought it might be cool to summarize travels over the past few years and reflect back on some highlights.

A disclaimer before you read this list - the more and more stadiums I travel to the more I realize how amazing AT&T Park is.  At first I kept thinking I was being biased, so keep in mind that AT&T Park could probably show up in most of the "best" categories.  With that being said....

Best Ballpark: Nationals Park in Washington D.C.
It's funny, not matter what stadium I am out when telling other people what I am doing the first question people always ask - "Have you been to PNC Park?  It's the best one."  I am very eager to get to Pittsburgh and check that one out.  AT&T Park in also at the top of this list.

Worst Ballpark: Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
Maybe I went in hating the Dodgers too much, but combine that with the location, the crappy seats, and obnoxious fans, I just didn't like it at all.

Overall Best Baseball Game Day Experience:  St. Louis Cardinals
For a refresh, check out that blog entry from that day - the amazing seats, great fans, fun atmosphere, and the energetic neighborhood around Busch Stadium led to a fantastic day!

Best Stadium Seat: Centerfield Lounge at Nationals Ballpark (Section 100)
The ticket get you a padded, 44-inch seats with a side table for your drink/food with an aisle wide enough to stretch out your legs and can easily walk around without climbing over others fans/asking them to stand.  In addition, you are adjacent to the Red Porch which feature a concourse level restaurant/bar and a rooftop bar for additional viewing.  Finally, the ticket come loaded with $20 for food and drink and an in-seat server.

Best "Out of Stadium" Seat: Rooftop Bleachers at Wrigley Field
You don't get an experience like this everyday.

Cheapest Ticket: Camden Yards - Orioles vs. Royals.  $8.00
This was a Tuesday night, a couple of year ago when neither team was great.  Only attending by 8,000 people and our ticket got us front row of the outfield.

Most Expensive Ticket: Citi Field - Mets vs. Yankees.  $124.00
Friday night.  Subway Series.  This only bought us a spot in the upper deck.

Best Value for Your Ticket: Homer's Landing at Busch Stadium
Covered Section in the outfield with all-you-can-eat hot dogs, nachos, and popcorn plus all-you-can-drink Bud Light!

Best Stadium Concession Item: Chickie & Pete's Crabfries at Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia Phillies)
Not sure what made them so great - the crispy fries with the special seasoning, the cute girls serving, it was probably the cheesy dipping sauce.

Most Dedicated Fans:  New York Yankees
It's hard to described until you have been able to site in the "Bleachers in the Bronx" and enough a game against a division rival.

Ballparks with Best Local Bars/Restaurants around the Stadium:  AT&T Park, Busch Stadium, Petco Park, and Wrigely Field.
Having things to do within walking distance to a stadium, in my opinion, is a major factor in how enjoyable a game day experience can be.

Best Local Attractions:  The monuments in Washington, D.C., the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, TX, the Arch is St. Louis, MO, the Freedom Trail in Boston, MA, the Space Center in Houston, TX.

Friendliest Locals:  Dallas, TX

If are ever traveling to any of these cities, please let me know and hopefully I can share some Do's and Don'ts.  Next year's trip is starting to shape up so there will be more blogs to come in 2013.  In the preliminary stages, the itinerary is shaping up to include Toronto, Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati (yes, adding a new element to the trip - renting a car and driving).  Until then...

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