Part XV: Target Field
(AKA: A Flair For the Dramatic)
This was the portion of the trip where I realized that I was close to the end, and I was beyond excited to visit the final three ballparks. After a few days finally home recovering from my previous travels, I was busy preparing for the last leg of my baseball travels. On paper, this would be one of the more expensive trips since I had two flights, several days of hotels, and a big car rental. However, I used some “Orbucks” to get one day of a free hotel. Plus, I had been accumulating so many frequent flier miles that I went ahead and used those miles for free flights! Additionally, I was able to get a big discount on my car rental, so this helped me immensely on this trip. After another week in Las Vegas for Trivia Championships of North America, I was on my way to Minneapolis to explore one of the spotlight ballparks I had been wanting to visit since it opened, Target Field. I heard about many of the park’s amenities and some of the unique food they offer up there. How would it stack up to the rest of the league?
Ballpark 29: Target Field, elevation 840 feet
The game: Rangers @ Twins on August 11, 2015
Continue Reading About Target Field
Between the Bases: An FAQ!
Welcome back to the Chavez Chronicles, ladies and gentlemen. Upon finishing this unforgettable journey through all the ballparks, I’ve been approached with a plethora of questions from people I have just met and friends alike. I thought about making this a separate page, but I thought a post now would be more appropriate given that some of these questions will be answered next month. The majority of questions were asked before the final leg of my travels through the Midwest. I thought I would write a quick post and address some of those questions here.
*Q: What is your favorite ballpark that you’ve visited?
*A: At the moment, I don’t have a singular favorite, even making a top 3 or 4 is tough. I will think about this more and make a post with my rankings of the 30 current MLB parks soon.
*Q: What is your least favorite ballpark?
*A: Same as above, but I have a bottom two, and it will surprise many.
*Q: What foods do you recommend the most?
*A: I believe in getting the most unique food items that you wouldn’t find anywhere else. In the north, poutine is always a recommendation. In the Midwest, barbecue is excellent. Perhaps I will make just a post about food in the coming weeks.
*Q: So… what’s next?
*A: Get back to hockey and math! Southern California welcomes the AHL to the hockey landscape, and that will take up some of my time. Aside from that, I have a great idea of what I want to do on my next grand “baseball” adventure. However, I won’t reveal that yet…
*Q: How do you find great deals on flights/cars?
*A: First off, I have a frequent flier card with Flying Blue (KLM) and they have been wonderful in the five years I’ve been with them. Delta has typically great service for a major airline, so I recommend using them for frequent flier miles. During this trip, I’ve received two free flights and I’m close to a third one. Also, using Hertz frequently not only builds up status, but renting with Hertz yields frequent flier miles for Delta/Flying Blue. I’ve gotten one free car rental so far, and may get a second. Sticking with a good company is an excellent way to not only get great deals on flights and cars, but get free flights and car rentals. Huzzah!
*Q: How in the world did you keep costs down and stay within a budget?
*A: As previously mentioned, getting free flights and car rentals help. Also, I’ve had several friends offer up their rooms for days on end. Without them, I couldn’t have finished this trip. Also, I got many free tickets throughout this trip, as well as some insider visits. The kindness of many helped keep costs down, and was a huge factor in me finishing this trip. So my advice is this… make friends, make lots of friends around the country (and Canada)!
*Q: Dude, your adventures sound awesome! Can we hang with you?
*A: Sure! I always welcome guests to watch games with me! Throughout this trip, I have had some great friends and guests watch games besides me, and it’s always a blast shooting the breeze and have some great baseball talk. Plus, whenever I’m around friends, good things tend to happen and the good luck REALLY comes out. Ask any of those guys on the pictures… fun times are had by all, and unforgettable memories are made!
Finally, I want to address one thing that hasn’t been asked much, and that’s why I haven’t posted much lately. Well, real life happens and it keeps me busy! Also, I’ve still been going to games, and getting back to my regular routine of working most of the week. Additionally, I’ve been contributing to the podcast and celebrating my birthday. With that said, I have already written the next post after this, so expect two or three blog posts this week alone. Thanks again for your support, please keep reading, and I will see you at the ballpark!
Part XIV: Wrigley Field
(AKA: The Not-Quite-Finished Confines)
(AKA: The Day I Was a Local Celebrity… sort of)
After a brutally long day of baseball in two states, Thursday was my rest day until I decided to tour Miller Park. Maybe I’ll mention that tour on an off-season post… but the rest of that day was spent eating foods across two states, and relaxing near my hotel room in the middle of Chicago. Somehow, I was able to acquire a room for two nights that offered free parking in downtown! Of course, this was first-come, first-serve parking, so I had to make sure I was at that hotel early enough to secure a spot. I also made sure to make out my plans for the trip to the “Friendly Confines” in the north side of Chicago. To be honest, I had previously visited this park with my sister before the renovations a few years ago when it was rumored that new scoreboards would infect the classic park. We went to two games, and those were some of the best games we ever went to. I tried to forget about all that and enter Wrigley Field with a fresh perspective and moderate expectations. Because of all the changes, this was technically a “new” park I was visiting. Just how different would it be?
Ballpark 28: Wrigley Field, elevation 599 feet
The game: Phillies @ Cubs on July 24, 2015
Continue Reading About Wrigley Field
Part XIII: U.S. Cellular Field
(AKA: Let’s Play Two Across States)
Because the Brewers game took a long time, I had to leave that game early. For the first time in about two decades, I actually left a game around the 7th inning stretch. At least I heard the rest of that game on the radio, only to have the Indians come back and win the game. Yeah, I’m glad I left that game early. Anyway, I made my way down I-94 across the state line from Wisconsin to Illinois and headed for the south side of Chicago. Traffic was looking bad and I had to take a couple shortcuts because the gridlock was simply too bad. Thanks to the AM radio and Google maps, I was able to make it to the park with about forty minutes to spare. I realized that I would not make it in time for batting practice, but I knew I could give this ballpark a good chance.
Ballpark 27: U.S. Cellular Field, elevation 596 feet
The game: Cardinals @ White Sox on July 22, 2015
When I arrived at what some people call “New Comiskey,” I was able to secure a good parking spot for $20. At least this was in one of the closer lots to the stadium, so the walk up only took a couple minutes. Much to my surprise, there was some tailgating going on here, too! There were a few corn hole games, and some other various games to keep the crowds entertained. This place had a neat feel to it, but I didn’t have the time to partake in any activities with the crowds.
Continue Reading About U.S. Cellular Field
Part XII: Miller Park
(AKA: An Experience Unlike Any Other)
After saying goodbye to Joe and the city of Anaheim, I had to get packing and get going to my next destination. The night of the Angels 2nd make-up game against the Sawx, I was already on my way to Milwaukee to catch one of the best theme nights in the team’s and MLB history. This particular giveaway was on my radar since the preseason because it involves one of my favorite baseball films. It was “Major League” Night at Miller Park, and the giveaway was a TALKING Harry Doyle bobble head! Of course, I had to be there for this one… but what I came away with was more than a bobble head. I came away with a great impression and a whole lot more.
Ballpark 26: Miller Park, elevation 602 feet
The game: Indians @ Brewers on July 21, 2015
Continue Reading About Miller Park
Rain in Sunny Southern California?
While this doesn’t officially count on my ballpark tour, I thought this might count towards number of ballparks in a season. After I arrived home from Cleveland, it was All-Star break followed by periods of heavy rain in southern California. Believe it or not, all the rain resulted in TWO postponed games in SoCal, one in San Diego and the other in Anaheim. I had actually thought about going to that game in Anaheim because it was a Sunday Night Baseball game on ESPN. Unfortunately, the rained out game meant several Angels and Red Sox fans couldn’t watch their team after all. Before I thought about buying tickets, my friend, Kellie, had a couple extra tickets and decided to sell them to me instead. I took my friend, Joe, who is a devout Angels fan. This was the first make-up game for the Angels in years, and the first doubleheader in over a decade. How would each team respond?
The game: Red Sox @ Angels (first game) on July 20, 2015
Continue Reading About the make-up game in Anaheim
Part XI: Comerica Park
(AKA: Tigers, Tigers Everywhere)
This portion of my trip seemed so long ago, but I loved it. I will keep this post super short because I do need to catch up on my blog entries and get to the next portion of my solo travels. Mike and I made the long drive to Detroit, but the experience I had was a fantastic one that I won’t soon forget. Also, with a pair of free field level tickets thanks to my credit card’s great perks, we had a great view of a high-octane offense.
Ballpark 25: Comerica Park, elevation 570 feet
The game: Blue Jays @ Tigers on July 5, 2015
Continue Reading about Comerica Park
Part X: Progressive Field (Second Visit)
After a couple days away from visiting anything baseball related in Ohio, Mike gave me an incredible surprise while I was still in town. He keeps track of a wonderful group called the Wahoo Club. As you may guess, this is an official club for the Cleveland Indians. Just about every month, they hold a Wahoo Club event that features a player from the Indians past or present with a full meal. Yes, they have even held breakfasts with classic players. For this particular event, Mike and I got tickets to the Wahoo Club luncheon with former Indians All-Star, Max Alvis! Oh, and some current rising star named Carlos Carrasco! This luncheon took place inside the Terrace Club at Progressive Field, a very nice place within the stadium. I knew I’d be in for not only a great luncheon, but a great game afterwards.
Ballpark 24 (again): Progressive Field, elevation 667 feet
Continue Reading About my Second Visit to Progressive Field
Before I make my next post, I just thought I’d share this with you. I actually made the top 50 fan blogs last month! To all of you who have followed me, thank you so much. It’s so greatly appreciated, and I hope to see some of you this week at the ballpark! If you want to meet up, tweet me @StimpyJD. I’ll be in Minnesota Tuesday, KC on Thursday/Saturday, and St. Louis Friday. Again, thank you!
The MLB.com/blogs Latest Leaders are back with the July edition. These are based on Unique Visits measured by Major League Baseball Advanced Media, and we may change the metrics from time to time at our discretion. (Remember that our data is unrelated to the traffic stats you see in your WordPress.com dashboard, which measures traffic differently.) And make sure to leave your URL here in the comments if you have a post you’re particularly proud of and want to share with the community.
Here are your Leaders from July 1-31:
1. Just Mets
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3. Better Off Red
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6. From the Corner of Edgar & Dave
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8. Brandon and Brandon
9. Cait Covers the Bases
10. Inside the White Sox
12. Our Game
13. Friar Wire
14. Curly W Live
15. SF Giants…
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Between the Bases… of Classic Ballparks
The ballpark: League Park, former home of Cleveland baseball from 1891-1946
Continue Reading About League Park… and more!