JD’s 2015 Ballpark Tour; Seattle, Washington

Part III: Doubleheader in Seattle

When I was planning this whole trip out, there was one stadium that was an obvious outlier as far as geography goes, and that ballpark is in Seattle, Washington. I knew I had to make a visit out there, and it would have to be a quick visit. I didn’t have a whole lot of time to plan for that trip because of hockey (the Ontario Reign had made a deep playoff run, and were still going) and not knowing when I’d have some free time. Luckily, there was a window I was tentatively targeting, and when the next round’s playoff schedule came out, I had that weekend off! My original plan was to attend the Friday game, but then I saw that the Saturday night game was “Turn Back the Clock” night. I heard that the Mariners do a great job during those games, and I wanted to see what one of these was like in person. Plus, this was my first visit to Safeco Field in a decade. I loved it back then, would I still love Safeco Field a decade later?

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Ballpark 17: Safeco Field

First game: Red Sox @ Mariners on May 15, 2015
Continue Reading About Safeco Field

JD’s 2015 Ballpark Tour, Civil Rights Game in Los Angeles

Part II: Civil Rights Game (Jackie Robinson Day)

Even though I have been to Dodger Stadium more times than I can count, this game warrants a short and special blog post because of the meaning of this game. Plus, this would count towards my ballpark count for the season. In addition, my good friend, Paul (borsche28), took video during that day and it’s up on YouTube for you all to see. Check it out, it’s a really well-done video.

Continue Reading about the Civil Rights Game

JD’s 2015 Ballpark Tour, Montreal, Quebec

Part I: Stade Olympique

This visit was possible thanks to the Toronto Blue Jays, so I want to thank them publicly. Also, they have some of the best people working for their organization… more on that later. After last season’s journey, I waited patiently for the regular season schedule to come out so I could start planning for the other fifteen ballparks. Additionally, I took a peek at the pre-season schedule and saw something that piqued my interest. The Cincinnati Reds and Blue Jays were to play two exhibition games at the old Olympic Stadium in Montreal! This wasn’t a ballpark I ever made it out to, and I quickly asked the masses. Would this count as another stadium to see a ballgame in despite the fact the team that used to play there is now in Washington, DC? The answer was a resounding “YES!” That meant I would be visiting 16 other stadiums during this season instead of 15. Plus, with the usual games at Los Angeles and Anaheim, I would visit 18 different ballparks in one season. This was beginning to get really insane as I saw that this trip was not only possible, but a very strong possibility. Visiting this many ballparks in a span of five to six months may seem like an insurmountable task to the vast majority of baseball fans out there. However, with a great group of supportive friends and colleagues, this was looking like I could actually do this.

Planning for this was a bit difficult because of the hockey season and my work schedule. Luckily, I had a vacation around that time and could take a couple additional days off. Even more lucky, I would be able to revolve this around other work I already had going on and would just mosey to Montreal on the back end of an East Coast trip that was mostly planned. All the dominoes were falling into place.

Fast forward months later, and after a great trip to New York, I took the train up to Montreal on April Fool’s Day. This train ride was no joke, the scenery was that beautiful looking outside. Snow-filled woods surrounded me on a breathtaking train ride. Ultimately, I’m glad I took the train instead of a plane because it saved me money and gave me time to catch up on some writing and e-mails. I had arrived in Montreal armed with a fluency of the French language and quite a bit of Canadian money. I was ready for this short trip.

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Ballpark 16: Olympic Stadium in Montreal, elevation 30 metres

The game: Reds @ Blue Jays on April 3, 2015

The buzz around this game was very real as soon as I arrived in Montreal. First off, half of the TV stations were in French, and even some of them were talking about the upcoming games at Olympic Stadium. When I arrived, it was Wednesday. I attended a Montreal Canadiens game on Thursday, and one of the guests of honor at Centre Bell was former Expo, Vladimir Guerrero. He got a very loud standing ovation and is considered one of the finest players to ever put on a Montreal Expos jersey. Another fantastic story to come out of there was the return of Russell Martin to his home town of Montreal. He was also at the hockey game and got another standing ovation. Apparently, he stayed with his family while he was there and painted the town blue, as it were. In fact, he rode the Montreal subways around town just like when he was a kid.

After the hockey game, I looked ahead to Friday’s big game at “The O” where over 40,000 fans were expected to watch a pre-season game. Because of the recent snow, walking around was a bit tough. But, I left with enough time to buy myself a Montreal Expos hat, get my scorebook stamped from Olympic Stadium, and take a good look in and around the stadium.

Continue Reading About Stade Olympique in Montreal

Discover: Let’s Play Two-sday

Originally posted on MLB.com Blogs:

Todd Frazier

Cats In The Bleacher disagrees with those upset at the Royals’ All-Star voting dominance this season, while miraclesports lists the blogger’s “real, unbiased” picks (such as the Reds’ Todd Frazier, pictured above) for the Midsummer Classic. Make your voice heard by voting for the players you feel are #ASGWorthy with the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot before the July 2 deadline!

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Looking Ahead Into 2015!

Last season, what started out as a simple and not-many-frills adventure through some of the MLB ballparks has turned into an epic journey where I got to visit HALF of the current MLB ballparks in this country. Along the way, I have touched the hearts of many and gotten to meet so many amazing people. I met inspiring people and made a couple new friends in Boston during Marathon weekend, took one of my closest and longest-known friends to a Phillies game, have talked baseball with so many people, and showed several kids pictures and artifacts from my travels, and even visited two parks in one day! In the midst of that New York trip, I won a contest and decided to take a very good friend on a truly unforgettable trip to Yankee Stadium where the people there were nicer than I ever would have imagined. I’ve made new friends, treated old friends, and tried to spread good vibes through all the ballparks I have visited.

I know I’m behind on some of these posts, and some of them are already written. Yes, I’ve already visited two new ballparks this season, including meeting another friend from the podcast I take part in, and seeing family (both old and about-to-be-new family)! But, all of my plane tickets are bought, and it looks like I’m going to complete this inspiring quest to visit every single current MLB ballpark. Fifteen last season, and fifteen more this season. Of course, this doesn’t count a former MLB ballpark that I will talk about very soon. First, here is where I’ve been, and where I’m going!

May 15-16: Safeco Field in Seattle

June 21: Turner Field in Atlanta

June 24: Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay

June 26: Marlins Park in Miami

June 30: Rogers Centre (Skydome) in Toronto, Ontario

July 4: Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati

July 5: Comerica Park in Detroit

July 6-11: Both Progressive Field and PNC Park in Cleveland and Pittsburgh

July 21: Miller Park in Milwaukee (Major League Night!)

July 22: U.S. Cellular Field in the south side of Chicago

July 24: Wrigley Field in the north side of Chicago

August 11: Target Field in Minnesota

August 13 & 15: Kauffman in Kansas City

August 14: New Busch Stadium in St. Louis

I hope to meet many of you fellow readers at some of these ballparks! Honestly, this is beyond my wildest dreams to be able to visit every ballpark in the major leagues. Of course, there will be other posts along the way, including tips on how to get the most bang for your buck, and money-saving tips on food, travel, and even parking!

Please be sure to check out my Twitter account: @StimpyJD, and my Instagram account of the same name. You can follow my travels on both with the hashtag: #JDsBallparkTour

From the bottom of my heart, thank you guys so much for reading this blog. To give you guys a preview of an upcoming post… here is a couple pictures from a ballpark that I didn’t include on this list for good reason. But, I will say this… I may get to make it out to TWENTY different MLB ballparks (past and present) in this 2015 season alone.

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-JD

PS: To all my Canadian readers out there, thank you so much! I hope you enjoy reading about my adventures, and I can’t wait to visit your great country once again. Yes, that picture is just for you fellow Canadians.

JD’s Ballpark Tour, Seventeenth Inning (San Francisco, CA)

Part XVI: AT&T Park

(AKA: The End of a Long Journey)

(AKA: Saving the Best View For Last)

(AKA: Seeing a Clinching Celebration)
(AKA: Prelude to a Championship Run)

I will come out and say it, because of my slight bias as a Dodgers fan, I will say that if it wasn’t for the Giants playing there, I would rank this as the second best ballpark in the majors. As it is, this ballpark easily ranks in my top 5. San Francisco’s AT&T Park is that amazing and everybody that’s a true baseball fan should go there at least once.

The night before I was to attend the Giants game against the Padres, I made it a point to watch the Giants/Dodgers game on TV to see my hometown Dodgers clinch the NL West division! Watching that game was amazing… but that also meant that the Giants could clinch a playoff spot at home on the game I was attending. San Francisco had yielded a strong team all season, and I predicted they would be a tough out. In fact, at the time of this game, I assumed that the Giants would not only win their Wild Card game, but with their NLDS series and play the Dodgers in the NLCS. Part of that was wishful thinking to see an epic Giants/Dodgers duel for the pennant. Little did I know I would see the start of an amazing run into October.

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Ballpark 15: AT&T Park, elevation 10 feet

The game: Padres @ Giants on September 25, 2014

After leaving Oakland and spending the day at the Golden Gate Bridge, I made my way early on to AT&T Park with Kelsey to catch some BP and really look around the entire cove of the park. The place was buzzing with excitement as they playoffs were drawing near. Many believed there would be some games for the Giants in the NLDS, and some were hopeful for the NLCS. There were a few fans that were thinking World Series. However, nobody I talked to thought the Giants would win the whole thing. Not at that time, anyway.
Continue Reading the Seventeenth Inning

JD’s Ballpark Tour, Sixteenth Inning (Oakland, CA)

Part XV: O.co Coliseum

In late August, I was aware how many hits I was getting on my blog, and was wondering how far I could take this. After visiting Texas, I had visited 13 ballparks so far this season… and immediately thought, “what if I could get to half the ballparks this season, and possibly get the other half next season?” I started making plans, and this would culminate in an epic final week. With the baseball season approaching its final week and me sitting on 13 ballparks in one season, I was ready to head up to the Bay Area to watch two vitally important games on both sides of the bay. The two games I’d watch would have playoff implications, and it would prove to be legen… wait for it…

Ballpark 14: O.co Coliseum, elevation 25 feet

The game: Angels @ Athletics on September 24, 2014

Both the Angels and A’s were making a playoff push, and this was possibly (and ultimately) the final home game for the Oakland A’s in the 2014 baseball season. Even though this was an afternoon game, the crowds really came out for this most important match. For this Bay Area trip, I had a couple guests with me! My dear friend Kelsey, and my good buddy, Jeff Pope who is kind of a celebrity. Not only is he the PA announcer for the Ontario Reign, but he is one of the morning radio personalities on the Mix in San Jose. When they heard about my possible trip up to the Bay Area, they couldn’t pass up a golden opportunity to join me on this quest. Thank you both!

Continue Reading the Sixteenth Inning

JD’s Ballpark Tour… A Beginning? (Boston, Mass.)

Part 0: The Prequel to the Tour at Fenway Park

I will make this a very quick post just to include this ballpark on my travels for the 2014 year. Hey, I went here… it still counts, right? With the tragedy of the Boston Marathon bombings still fresh in our minds, my family and I decided to run out there during marathon weekend. Since the Red Sox were also home that weekend (as they always are), this was too good an opportunity to pass up.

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Ballpark 13: Fenway Park, elevation 20 feet

The game: Orioles @ Red Sox on April 19, 2014

After running the Boston 5K Saturday morning and going through all that emotion of crossing the finish line on Boylston, I picked up my medal and headed back to the hotel room my family was residing at so I could make the jaunt to Fenway Park. This would prove to be a tough commute because the Government Center station had just closed the previous month! This made the transfer between the blue line and the green line a bit more difficult. But, I made it to Fenway well before the game, and there was already a huge crowd there! The reason for the huge crowd? It was PHOTO DAY!

Continue Reading about Fenway Park

JD’s Ballpark Tour, Fifteenth Inning (Anaheim, CA)

The MLB season was winding down, and after that disappointing Texas trip with some last place teams, I was ready to watch some meaningful baseball again. Now that I was back in southern California, I knew I had to make my return trip to Anaheim and arrive back to a “home ballpark” for me. In mid-September, the Angels were in first place in the AL West, and still owned the best record in baseball thanks to the MVP efforts of Mike Trout. Since I was still recovering from an injury and wasn’t dancing for a while, my weekends opened up now. I thought to myself, “Why not check out a great team, for a change?”

Ballpark 12: Angel Stadium of Anaheim, elevation 150 feet

The game: Astros @ Angels on September 13, 2014

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Getting to this ballpark is really a piece of cake as there are multiple entrances to the parking areas, and they do allow tailgating in some areas. Parking is ten bucks, but that isn’t bad at all. Since this is a home ballpark for me, I knew exactly where to park and how early I should get there. I choose to park away from the main roads that way there aren’t any cars blocking the now-opened exits. Oh, I should also mention that it was my birthday weekend. Before going to the Angels game, I went to Disneyland to get my birthday button and celebrate my Disney birthday. Since I had the pin on, I was directed to customer services and was given a special “Happy Birthday” card. That’s so nice of them!

Continue Reading the Fifteenth Inning

JD’s Ballpark Tour, Bottom of the Fourteenth Inning (San Bernardino, CA)

(AKA: Cal League Playoffs with Daisy)

The week after that minor league game in Rancho Cucamonga, it was a tumultuous week as I sustained a bad injury. As they say in hockey, I suffered a “lower body injury.” With my mobility dramatically reduced, I spent time writing, doing a baseball podcast, reading some math and/or baseball books, and looking up possible Angels games to attend. In addition, I was trying to find a good time to make a trip to the Bay Area to see two more ballparks, which would make fifteen stadiums in one season. Finally, I was also keeping track of my local minor league teams in the Cal League playoffs. While the previously featured Quakes did not make the playoffs, the Inland Empire 66ers (Angels) not only made the playoffs, but they won their first-round series. This would set up a South Division championship series against the Lancaster JetHawks (Astros). Game three of that series fell on a Monday, which is their usual “Man’s Best Friend Monday” promotion. I thought about going to that game anyway since it was a big Cal League playoff game, and a friend of mine was working at that game. With the added bonus of being able to bring my dog, I thought, “why not?”

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The ballpark: San Manuel Stadium, elevation about 1020 feet.

The game: JetHawks @ 66ers on September 8, 2014

This is one of my favorite minor league ballparks, and this is easily Daisy’s favorite park. The 66ers are known for their dog-friendly promotions, and they usually get a good amount of dogs to come out for games, but I’ll get to that shortly. The Inland Empire 66ers are named because Route 66 runs through San Bernardino, which is where the team is located. Their home stadium is less than a mile from the famous road, and features an awesome view of the San Bernardino mountains. The 66ers are currently affiliated with the Angels and frequently see MLB players making a rehab assignment start through the season. The last player I saw make such a start was Dan Haren two years ago… he got roughed up that night.

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Continue Reading the Bottom of the Fourteenth Inning

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