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Baseball stadiums ranked

August 2, 2013 Leave a comment

A lot of guys like me dream about doing a baseball park vacation.  I want to see multiple baseball stadiums.  I don’t want to see multiple football stadiums or basketball arenas.  Sure they’re nice, but the uniform rule book for those sports leads to most stadiums in those sports looking relatively the same.  Not baseball.  Dimensions vary widely,   The seating arrangements are different.  The fields look different.  Oakland has acres of foul territory, Wrigley and Fenway have very little.  The Polo Grounds in New York had a 258 foot right field wall and a 475 foot center field wall and a 290 foot left field wall.

I’m going to rank the stadiums, my viewpoint, debate me if you’d like.  Your favorite should have been 25th instead of 28th?  Tell me why!  So here goes.

#1  Wrigley Field.  Those who know me know this is also my least favorite baseball team.  But it’s a gorgeous place, great views of the city from certain viewpoints, the ivy, bleachers, daytime baseball more often than not.  The bleachers, the hand operated scoreboard, the organ.  Hard to say anything bad about the place.  Pictures are my cousins and high school friends. Permission to use pictures not granted, I’ll ask them someday.

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Image# 2 on my list is Pittsburgh’s beautiful PNC park.  Family ties make me a little partial to Pittsburgh but they did a great job building this stadium.  Classic design with a view of Pittsburgh right across the river.  The view is the thing there no doubt.  Like McCovey cove beyond San Francisco’s park, the Allegheny River flows directly behind the right field wall.  Just like the streets outside Wrigley fans hang out there either on foot or in the water hoping for a souvenir. The baseball’s finally catching up to the park and it hopefully will become a familiar site on tv during the playoffs and world series.  Thanks to cousin John for this view!

Image#3 is a tough call.  I’ll go with tradition and make Fenway the next on my list.  The green monster with the hand operated scoreboard, the generous home run wall down the right field line, the left field foul wall caroming balls crazily into left field, the smallest upperdeck in baseball, and the sunsplashed right field bleachers all make for a memorable park that is high on my list.

#4  ATT park in San Francisco.  Beeeyouteeful.  San Francisco doesn’t deserve such a great stadium because they have so much nice going on there, weather, bridges, mountains, fog, etc, but they sure have one.  The above mentioned McCovey Cove introduced kayakers into the web of major league fandom.

#5  Comiskey Park.  I won’t call it US Cellular.  I actually don’t like the place but of all my sports allegiances, the Sox are the team I absolutely couldn’t live without!  The park is ok, doesn’t hold a candle to the old park.  The food is very good, but I can’t afford it.  I do like the exploding scoreboard, the kids area in left field which actually offers a great view of the park.  The center field dining area with tables above the hitters backdrop is a nice touch too, but alas, the cheap seats are upstairs and they guard the lower deck from the riff raff better than Fort Knox.  I’ll keep going when I can and cheering on the 2005 World Series champions!

A few pics from a visit back on 08ImageImageImageThe city view is from the balcony outside the upper deck.  Now why didn’t they build this park with that as the view?

This is where the list gets tougher.

#6  Busch Stadium  in St. Louis Another stadium built to look old that somehow makes you think the traditions have been there all along.  I’ve walked around the stadium and it’s neat that you can see into the stadium from the sidewalk.  I’d imagine the view gets blocked during games.  The arch mown into the grass is a cool touch, and it seems they’re always playing October baseball so you get to see it a lot.

#7  Comerica in Detroit.  Like Pittsburgh it brought the view of downtown into the stadium.  (Why couldn’t the Sox have done that?)  Don’t know much about the park, but it is nice to look at.

#8  Dodger stadium  An old stadium.  I like the zigzag roof above the outfield seats and the see through fence behind homeplate which makes fans look like they’re sitting right on the edge of the field.  Big and spacious, it’s a park I’d like to see someday.  Picture of my friend Sean and his family.

Image#9  Yankee stadium  Really did a great job of repicating the old stadium.  Of course it’s debatable whether they needed to rebuild it.  My first baseball game, way back in 1972 was in old, old Yankee Stadium.  I won’t post pictures of all these parks but this shows the classic touches put into the park.

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#10  Kauffman  Nice ‘older’ park that has a mallpark feel to it that actually works well.  It’s a pretty place to watch a game, the fountains in center are what it’s best known for.

#11  Coors in Denver.  The nod to the Rocky Mountains in the outfield is a nice touch, and goodness do those baseballs fly far in that thin mountain air.

#12  Angels stadium  Outfield is interesting with the rocky landscape beyond left field where Paulie homered twice in the 05 playoffs.

#13  Camden Yards Baltimore.  Should be higher on this list because of the unique park it was when it opened.  It was the first retro park.  The large warehouse that looks like a giant red monster type wall in right is what it’s known for.  Would really like to visit this park.

#14  Great American Ball park.  Cincinnati’s palace on the Ohio River is intriguing with some nice views.  Great name for a park!

#15-27  All the rest.  Some are retro parks which look beautiful but just joined the trend towards retro.  Some have nice touches like the train on top of the wall in Houston or the trains that roar outside the wall in Seattle.  Bernie the Brewer sliding into the beer mug is classic as are the sausage races, but the stadium is pretty nondescript.  The hill in Houston’s center field is interesting too as is the tomahawk chopping Chick Filet cow on the roof of Atlanta’s Turner field.  I like Cleveland’s toothbrush looking lightpoles and the centerfield backdrop at the Rangers home has always intrigued me.  Phoenix has a very cool looking path between the pitchers mound and home and a swimming pool in center field but that doesn’t save it’s otherwise drab interior.  The Twins did good by ditching the dreadful Metrodome and I’d rate their digs closer to 15 on this list.

#28  Rogers Center Toronto  Large retractable roof stadium which saw a lot of very good baseball in the 80’s and 90’s, but there’s not much to remember that place for.  Watch Joe Carters historic homer in ’93 into some hallway and you’ll understand how bad this park is.  Home runs should land in bleachers, not some formless void.

#29  Oakland Coliseum  A football stadium doesn’t work for baseball.  Ugly.

#30  Tropicana Field Tampa  The worst for so many reasons.  It’s domed and ugly.  No one goes there even though the Rays win more than 90 games every year and could win the World Series this year.  It has wires on the roof that interfere with balls in play.  But worst of all, this horrid stadium is what the White Sox threatened to leave Chicago to inhabit.  Oh my, I’d never recover from that happening!

Any major league park would entice me to go and watch a game.  They’re special places, even the bad ones have their own charms I suppose.  But some of these baseball palaces stand out.  Time for a road trip!

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The Geography Blog

March 16, 2013 2 comments

I usually try to write about my work, my Christian life and how they relate to each other. Sometimes I digress and write about something totally different and this is one such blog.

Geography has always been a passion of mine. Maps on the wall in my bedroom as a kid (my wife didn’t think it’d be great decor for our bedroom), falling asleep reading encyclopedias, getting a World Almanac every year for Christmas was what I looked forward to the most.

So I’m going to write about geography. I’ll try not to bore you with intellectual discussions of the theme of movement as demonstrated by the Berbers or something like that, although that might be interesting. I’ll try to refrain from making references to the Mercator projection, or even  how the glaciers sculpted Wisconsin’s beautiful landscape.  Instead I’ll try to wow you with what I think are amazing geographical tidbits and factoids.  And I’ll start with my favorite.

The first territorial capitol of Illinois,Kaskaskia is now on the west bank of the Mississippi River.

Ludington Michigan and Manitowoc Wisconsin are 57 miles away from each other but 410 driving miles away from each other.

The Amazon River water pushes over 100 miles out into the ocean.  The Colorado River rarely flows into the Gulf of California anymore.

There are only 4 Great Lakes.  Lakes Huron and Michigan are the same body of water.

Everyone knows the Dead Sea is the lowest spot on earth at nearly 1300 feet below sea level, but did you know the Sea of Galilee is in the same rift and lies at 700 feet below sea level?

I remember hearing my grade school teacher saying that all rivers flowed South, a common misconception.  I remember thinking but was too shy to say anything that the worlds longest river, the Nile flows North.

The Atacama Desert in Chile and Bolivia have some places that haven’t recorded rain since the 1800’s. Mt. Waialeale  in Hawaii receives 450 inches per year and has topped 500 inches.

Just read this in National Geographic that a single hectare of Ecuadorian rainforest has as many insect species as all of the US and Canada combined.

A salmon is hatched way up in the still upper reaches of a stream, leaves for his/her life out to the ocean, and then finds the same spot it was hatched by smelling the water of that stream from out in the ocean.

I’ve swam across the Rio Grande to Mexico and got deported back.

Pittsburgh has 700 bridges, many of which I’ve looked at in wonder as I rode with Grandma and Grandpa Schell on the way to meeting at Beechwood Chapel.

Russia is 9 time zones across.  So if the president was going to speak he’d have to speak in the morning so the eastern parts of the country could hear him before going to bed.

Speaking of Russia, it’s our closest neighbor besides Canada and Mexico.  It’s two miles from Little Diomede (US) and Big Diomede (Russia) islands in the Bering Strait make them our third closest neighbor.

You’d travel Northwest to get from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic through the Panama Canal.

If you get lost in the Everglades just go with the water which gently flows south, eventually, if you don’t get eaten by a Croc, bit by a venomous snake or sunstroke, you’ll end up at the ocean.

Niagara Falls is moving upstream and someday will drain Lake Erie, meaning there will only be 3 Great Lakes.  I wish I’d be around for it, maybe God will let us see from heaven.

A sturgeon tagged in Lake Michigan was caught in the Atlantic Ocean.  That’s a long swim.  A mountain lion found in Connecticut was believed to have come from the Black Hills of South Dakota.  That’s a long hike, although maybe it hitched a ride with someone.

Ok I’m starting to bore you, so what are your favorites?  Do you have favorites?  Let me know!