Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Busch Stadium

Busch Stadium home of the St. Louis Cardnials
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Cincinnati Reds defeat St. Louis Cardinals 6-1
Year Built 2006
Seating Capacity 46,000

Stadium Location
Busch Stadium is isolated on the edge of downtown but easy to get to from the MetroLink.There isn't really too much going on around the stadium. Driving into St. Louis you feel like you might run into the stadium it's so close the the highway.

Overall Look and Feel

The design of Busch Stadium took into account the context of downtown St. Louis, the colorful history of the Cardinals, and the best attributes of the most successful ballparks built around baseball. With classic arched openings and rich warm colors, this ballpark is inspired by the classics. However, its creative use of old and new materials, from brick and concrete to exposed steel and glass, creates an architectural statement that stands on its own, with a modern sensibility appropriate for the 21st century.

This seemed to be one of the biggest stadiums we have been to so far. The attendance that day was almost at 45,000. One of the first things we noticed was that the stadium was built with a lot of brick, both outside and in. There was is even a walk way that has a time line of the team history and player milestones laid out in brick all around the stadium. It's no secret that Anheuser-Busch brewery is in town with all the Budweiser and Bud Light ads incorporated throughout the stadium (way more than normal at a ballpark). The main concourse was backwards from the other stadiums we have visited. The concessions and vendors were on the interior preventing what would be a view of the field and the openness as you walk around the main level. Instead of being able to stand throughout the main concourse to watch the game, you are forced into a small "standing room only" section located between the steps going to the upper level of the lower sections. It felt a little awkward standing there. However, as a side note there didn't seem to be a bad seat in the house. Ford Plaza was a really cool area in the outfield that had a kids/family friendly zone with games and a play area. There were also a lot of vendors and a picnic table area. On the upper concourse they also had an area with picnic tables and bar tables. You could hear the radio broadcast throughout the concourses and in the restrooms (which were extremely clean according to Tim!)

Over all the food was very expensive. Beers were $8.75 for a 16oz draft. The hot dog was average - warm and juicy. Every station was out of mustard so we just had ketchup on it. There was also a barbecue sauce option. We also got a soft pretzel with cheese which was standard. We didn't try any of the Hits and Errors recommended because we had a few beers and we were out of money! Bonus points for having the "Captains Corner" on the second level - Captain is Kristy's drink of choice!

WOW Factor
The overall size of the stadium was a wow factor. The number of championship pennants the Cardinals have was also impressive. Tim also thought the old school looking scoreboard on the main concourse that had up-to-date scores of other games going on was a nice touch. The view of the city, the arch, and the Budweiser logo on top of the scoreboard was pretty cool too!

Scoreboard and Entertainment
While a new electronic scoreboard is used, the old scoreboard is on display as a monument to the old stadium as well. 

Overall Experience
Rating 3.0
The fact that we were in St. Louis to see our first place reds (up 7 games at the end of the series) made the experience that much better. The Reds won and we saw the Cuban Missile for the first time in person. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and the sun was hot. We hung out in the outfield for a bit but then made our way up to the second level and found a great spot to stand in the shade with a good view of the game. Waiting in line wasn't a problem even with about 45,000 people in attendance.

We wore some Cincinnati Reds gear but didn't get to much crap from Cardinal fans. It was even pretty tame riding the very crowded MetroLink to the stadium with a sea of Cardinal fans. The security guard at the station wanted to send us to the airport instead of the direction of the stadium - ha ha funny guy! The Cardinals now have a t-shirt that says Phillips: St. Louis' Bitch. Brandon Phillips got booed anytime he was up to bat or made a play in the field and probably will in St. Louis for the rest of his career.

Brandon Phillips "I hate the Cardinals"

We couldn't get to may good pics because we forgot out camera battery :( Overall we had a great time in St. Louis and at the game. We thought the stadium had some nice touches.

As a side note - do not go to Morgan Street Brewery and order the pizza... yuck!

PNC Park

PNC Park home of the Pittsburgh Pirates
Sunday, August 22, 2010
New York Mets lose to Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1
Built in 2001
Seating Capacity 38,362

PNC Park is located across the Allegheny River from downtown Pittsburgh. The stadium has amazing views of the city, it almost looks fake. Given how bad the team is, we easily found parking downtown and walked across one of the yellow bridges. Beware of the tunnels if you are coming into town from the east for a game. People in Pittsburgh have tunnelphobia and it takes forever to get through.

Overall Look and Feel
From the Pirates website...PNC Park is a classic-style ballpark, an intimate facility that embraces the progressiveness of Pittsburgh while saluting the spirit of early ballpark originals such as Forbes Field, Wrigley Field and Fenway Park. It is the fifth home of the Pittsburgh Pirates since their inception in 1887.

The views are what make this stadium great. As you cross the bridge walking from the city you get an overall view of the inside of the park. Once inside the stadium you will see the "scenic vistas of the downtown skyline and riverfront". It is very well done. As you approach the entrance of the stadium, there is a large statue of Roberto Clemente. The stadium has a few bars and restaurants built into the outside of the ballpark, where you can grab a bite or a drink before heading into the game. There is seating outside. This stadium has a similar layout as the previous two with the open main concourse with the view of the field all around. It felt updated and modern. There isn't really anywhere to stand and watch the game from the outfield with the river walk. There was a steel crisscross staircase in left field where you could hang out. We came across a covered area in the outfield with limited seating behind a fence that almost felt VIP. The area might have been for handicap seating. There was this tiny old lady hanging out in this area with all her good luck charms rootin' for the home team.

Primanti Brothers, a Pittsburgh specialty, didn't live up to the hype, though were told it's much better in the restaurants outside the stadium. We got a hot dog and it was yummy, one of the top ones tasted so far. It was juicy, a little sweet, and had a good crunch to it! Maybe it's because the Heinz ketchup was as fresh as it gets from the factory! They had canned beer which was pretty cool - plastic bottles can get warm so fast, the cans were interesting to see. They even had Yuengling, which was the drink of choice throughout the weekend. Some of the concessions had a unique theme to them and there was even a food court, Pop's Plaza. My brother got some chicken fingers and fries from the food court. I can see why we should have avoided the food in that area - chicken wasn't that good and the fries were soggy.

WOW Factor
The views are the wow factor in this stadium - both of the ballpark and of the city. Another cool touch are the bushes in the outfield that spell out Pirates.

Scoreboard and Entertainment
The scoreboard is out in left field and is average size compared to what we are used to at Great American. The light towers on both sides add an old time baseball park feel. This is the first scoreboard that we noticed a special section that had closed captioning. The introduction for the Pirate's line-up had a pirate theme where the players were in an old pirate town and swords clanged together - it was clever.

Overall Experience
Rating 3.5
After a long night of partying at my cousin Jackie's wedding, my brothers, Steph, Tim and me decided to go to the game for just a bit. We got to the stadium very early and left right after the 1st inning. I think we will probably go back to stay for a whole game when the Pirates play the Reds next year. This is one of the first stadiums we have seen that isn't all that kid friendly, there isn't a large play area like we have seen in other parks. We were impressed with the stadium and the views and got to enjoy both for a bit from some good seats we had no problem commandeering!

Thursday, September 9, 2010


PETCO Park Home of the San Diego Padres 
100 Park Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92101
Monday, May 4, 2009 7:05PM
Colorado Rockies defeat San Diego Padres 9-6
Built in 2004
Seating Capacity 42,445

Stadium Location
The location of PETCO Park is awesome! It's built right in the city with downtown buildings all around it. It's very easy to get to with convenient parking all around, we parked under the convention center and walked over on Tony Gwynn Way, (apparently he was kind of a big deal). Plus, the Gaslight Quarter is right around the corner from the ballpark with bar and restaurants for pre/post game action!

Overall Look and Feel
The Padres website says PETCO Park is spectacular in every way, combining the best sight lines in baseball with breathtaking views of San Diego. Architecturally magnificent, it celebrates the sea, the sky, the natural beauty, cultural diversity and unique spirit of our region. Innovative design features evoke the timeless traditions of baseball in an intimate setting, with state-of-the-art fan amenities to suit every taste and budget.

From the outside, and also inside, the stadium looks like it was built into buildings that were previously there. The historic Western Metal Supply Company Building has been renovated and incorporated into the Ballpark. The main concourse is spacious, open and airy with views of the field all around. Once inside it seems like you entered into another town. In fact, Tim thought we left the stadium as we were walking around!  The stadium felt modern but also had historic charm. Condos, office buildings, hotels, and even a gym surround the stadium and can see into the park. The outfield area was done very well. There is a grassy hill you can lay a picnic blanket out on to relax and watch the game. A video screen even faced the outfield so you didn't miss any of the scoreboard antics. There was an awesome mini baseball diamond and a large grass area where kids and their dads were playing catch and wiffle ball. Great views all around and a nice added touch was mini scoreboards in each section. 

Funny story... I ordered a pretzel with cheese (as I do at a lot of the games we go to) and the concession man gave me a strange look. He asked me what I was going to do with the cheese. I told him it's for dipping the pretzel. He seemed very confused and brought me a huge cup of cheese with my pretzel. He said that he has never heard of a soft pretzel with cheese before!

Garlic fries were recommended at this park but we couldn't do it. They just smelled so bad when we walked by. The hot dog was on the list of things to avoid, however we decided we had to try a hot dog at every stadium from here on out. We should have stayed away. It was wrinkly and just not good. I think the bun might have even been soggy. Thank goodness for the giant cup of cheese we had to dip it in!

WOW Factor
The outfield in general was very cool. We spent most of the game sitting on the grass hill watching the game. The way the Western Metal Supply Company building was built into the stadium was very neat. We also loved the way the city seemed to be built around the ballpark. Very urban! The park overall was very impressive!

Scoreboard and Entertainment
The video screen was not overly impressive in size but was clear and bright. The black and white screen above the video screen showed the live scores, box score and other player statistics. Tim says classic, I say dull.

Overall Experience
Rating 4.5
While buying our shot glass for this stadium we realized how silly San Diego's mascot is. Padre is Spanish for Father and that's exactly what their mascot is, a priest/monk. We had a great time at this park and thought it was pretty impressive overall! The stadium was family friendly and had lots of details that made it unique from the other parks. As a side note, we were able to make this trip due to the SparkPeople convention hosted in San Diego. We stayed a few days after for a mini-vacation and to go to the game!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

AT&T Park

AT&T Park Home of the San Francisco Giants
24 Willie Mays Plaza
San Francisco, California 94107

June 14, 2008
Oakland Athletics defeat San Francisco Giants: 4-0
Built in 2000
Seating Capacity 41,503

Stadium Location
AT&T Park is located right on the bay. It's so close that home runs can be hit into McCovey Cove. The upper levels of the park have a great view of the bay and the Bay Bridge. The stadium is kind of out of the way, not really in the city. We drove to the game and parking was kind of expensive and a little shady (the garage man parks your car and keeps the keys), however, public transportation was available.  Be prepared for it to be very breezy with a chill in the air!

Overall Look and Feel
The Giants web site describes AT&T Park as a classic urban ballpark with an old-time feel and all the amenities of modern ball parks. Inspired by Wrigley Field and Fenway Park and modeled after Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Jacobs Field and Coors Field.

The Front main entrance has a neat look and feel to it with the iron gates and tall brick columns.Very traditional. The main concourse was standard with vendors on the outside and the open viewing area to the field before the lower sections. The outfield was a bit rowdy with it being a game against the city across the bay. The giant coke playground area was very kid friendly and very impressive. In the outfield there was also a concession area that had traditional San Francisco foods. We sat out in the bleachers for a bit and barley noticed the plaque for Barry Bonds' home run *accomplishment. It was so small!

Reviews recommend staying away from the garlic fried... and one sniff was enough for us to realize why!
Pretty good beer selection. Ghirardelli had a hot chocolate stand that was very yummy and clutch with the cool weather. We waited in a decent line for it!

WOW Factor
The huge Coca Cola bottle and glove were really impressive. We also thought the location of the stadium bring right on the bay was very cool.

Scoreboard and Entertainment
We sat in the bleachers for the first couple of innings so we couldn't really see the scoreboard. The video screen was up to date and large with a wide screen. Next to the giant Coke bottle it was the main focal point of the stadium. The AT&T Park logo and the analog clock were a very cool touch. The light towers on both sides of the scoreboard gave it a historic feel.

Overall Experience -
Rating 3.5
AT&T Park is a great place to watch a game. We Really enjoyed the park and all the details put into it. There was a promotion give away that day, we got a Giants hankie. I tied it on my purse... it was so cute! A man saw that we were shivering (and by we I mean me) and gave us his tickets to the club level. It gave us a chance to get out of the chilly air and warm up. The club level was awesome. There were nicer concession options, like roast beef, and we were able to watch the game from behind a glass viewing wall. There was also bar seating all along the glass wall. There were figurines of Snoopy and the peanuts gang all round the level. I love snoopy! A big thanks to that man for the tickets. Without them we would have missed a great part of the ballpark.  

Monday, September 6, 2010

Goals of MLB Balpark Tour

We decided a few years ago that as husband and wife we wanted to visit every Major League Baseball stadium.That's a total of 30 ballparks - 14 American League and 16 in the National League. There is no set time table of when this will be accomplished, so we have a lifetime to get to all of them. We will plan some vacations around a visit, make some special trips just for the stadium visit, and will also try to see our Cincinnati Reds while they are the visiting team.

We created a few guidelines for us to follow to be sure we inspect each stadium the same.

Stadium Inspection Guide:

  •      Walk all the way around the stadium on the outside
  •      Check out the main concourse all the way around.
  •      Make it up the second viewing level
  •      Get a hot dog
  •      Try authentic food in the stadium if applicable and in the mood (Finding the Hits, Avoiding the Errors)
  •      Pictures of the scoreboard and any other unique features including food
  •      Buy shot glass
  •      Take a picture behind home plate
  •      Stay for multiple innings for in game entertainment and home team experience
  •      Sit in a seat in the lower sections

For each stadium we have a series of categories that we will be evaluating. We also have a rating system based on 1-5 stars for our overall experience of the stadium.

Rating Criteria:

  •      Stadium location
  •      Overall look and feel
  •      Food
  •      Wow factor
  •      Scoreboard and in game entertainment
  •      Over all experience – Rating 1-5 stars

This blog will be used to document our memories of each ballpark and also for your enjoyment! We hope to see you at your home town stadium soon! Feel free to buy us a beer if we run into you!

Rooting for the home team (if they aren't playing the reds),