Tag Archive | "stadium"

Why is Yankee Stadium so low on our stadium rankings? Well, because it sucks...

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MLB #GiveASpit Ballpark Ranking: No. 22 Yankee Stadium

Posted on 18 August 2015 by Nestor Aparicio

New York Yankees – So, why so far down the ranking scale for this giant, sprawling mall of a rebuild? Well, it sucks compared to the real thing. Ask anyone. Sure, it took billions of dollars and the painstaking reassembling of every nook and cranny and archway from across the street. They tried but failed. This is very simple – the new stadium has very little to recommend it as being better than the original. Less than 10 miles away, some engineers found a way to take the shell of Madison Square Garden and make it better. Here in The Bronx they had so much money that they believed a wrecking ball and a fresh plot of land would improve Yankees baseball. It hasn’t. It has simply increased the revenue, raised the cost and lowered “the experience.” Yankee Stadium makes you very happy that no one in Boston or Chicago got the bright idea to rebuild Fenway Park or Wrigley Field while promising to increase the space and the nightly receipts. The whole spirit of Yankee Stadium died when they tried to “go Vegas” with this monstrosity that is a monument to how having more money and “improving on the original” being a sad, stupid idea. Someone called it the “video game experience” of Yankee Stadium. I said it was kinda like going to “New York, New York” in Las Vegas once the Billy Joel “Miami 2017” experience happens. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot. For the most part, as new stadiums go, this one sucks. I’d rather just go to a real mall rather than one disguised as a kingdom of baseball royalty.

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On Sept. 8-9-10, I will be releasing an extensive essay documenting my 30-30 MLB #GiveASpit journey of 2015. You can read it and all of my work here: http://wnst.net/author/nestoraparicio/

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Everything is bigger in Texas. But is it better?

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MLB #GiveASpit Ballpark Ranking: No. 23 Texas Rangers

Posted on 18 August 2015 by Nestor Aparicio

Arlington – There’s not much to recommend any outdoor activity in Texas in the middle of the summer and this ballpark is just one hot, exceedingly large place. Other than the obvious knockoff elements of Camden Yards in the seating bowl, this place is swallowed up by its own grandeur (much like its big football twin, the world of Jerry Jones, in the adjacent parking lot). Everything is bigger in Texas and here’s your proof. The Rangers Hall of Fame is so well done that you shouldn’t miss it. The BBQ and nachos in Arlington have been legendary since Brooks Robinson did the color commentary in the old ballpark. Just don’t expect much relief from the heat. And don’t expect a seat to close to the field. It’s just big and wide open. A nice ballpark but nothing special…

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On Sept. 8-9-10, I will be releasing an extensive essay documenting my 30-30 MLB #GiveASpit journey of 2015. You can read it and all of my work here: http://wnst.net/author/nestoraparicio/

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Sure, it's a dump in Oakland. But there are some redeeming qualities...

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MLB #GiveASpit Ballpark Ranking: No. 24 Oakland A’s

Posted on 17 August 2015 by Nestor Aparicio

Oakland – Ok, so this one is always beaten up and maligned and rightfully so. It’s old. It’s falling apart. I reported about the fly infestation in the men’s room that was certainly among the more gross moments of my 30 days on the road but there are some points to recommend this old dump. First, it’s the closest thing – really the only thing – left that approximates Memorial Stadium and my experiences as a kid. Really, if you wouldn’t laugh I’d have this 10 spots further up the list because I’d definitely return to the Oakland Coliseum (or whatever they’re calling it this week) before I’d go to a bunch of places higher on this list. They had a variety of food, dudes banging on drums, people were watching the game and the vibes was great for a baseball game if you lived baseball in the 1970s like I did. Just don’t expect any V.I.P. experiences. From a personal standpoint, this is a dump I recommend and it’s easy to get to on the BART. It gets a huge boost in my rankings simply because it’s unique. Make sure you get to this place before it deconstructs or simply evaporates. At some point it’ll fade to dust and you’ll be sorry you missed it.

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On Sept. 8-9-10, I will be releasing an extensive essay documenting my 30-30 MLB #GiveASpit journey of 2015. You can read it and all of my work here: http://wnst.net/author/nestoraparicio/

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Welcome to Toronto – the dome that time forgot.

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MLB #GiveASpit Ballpark Ranking: No. 25 Toronto Blue Jays

Posted on 16 August 2015 by Nestor Aparicio

Toronto – I remember when this joint jumped. I was about fifty feet away from where Joe Carter’s home run landed on that fateful night in October 1993 when baseball was celebrated and ultimately died in downtown Toronto on Yonge Street. Now, it’s almost like they’re closer to joining the Montreal Expos than to galvanizing the baseball gods of the Great White North. Sure, Geddy Lee wasn’t at Rogers Centre on my night in Canada but the baseball “experience” of Toronto has been left to the ghosts of “Ok Blue Jays” in the seventh inning stretch and the pink suits of my pal Gregg Zaun. I can’t really pick on this dome any more than it’s been decimated over the past two decades. Oh, every time the ball hits the turf a giant blast of black plastic shrapnel leaps into the air. It’s like fake baseball. Only, it’s real. Honestly, if you go, you might want to consider watching the game from the bar/restaurant at the Renaissance Hotel attached to the dome. It’s a nice seat. And it’s free with a tab or dinner. Buy dinner, get the game free. And, honestly, you wouldn’t be missing much here.

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On Sept. 8-9-10, I will be releasing an extensive essay documenting my 30-30 MLB #GiveASpit journey of 2015. You can read it and all of my work here: http://wnst.net/author/nestoraparicio/

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Another Camden Yards clone, there's nothing really wrong with Turner Field but the Atlanta Braves are dumping it anyway...

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MLB #GiveASpit Ballpark Ranking: No. 26 Atlanta Braves

Posted on 16 August 2015 by Nestor Aparicio

Two years from now, we won’t have to worry about Turner Field. The legacy of the Braves many accomplishments are but it’s clear they haven’t put any money into most of the stadium since they’ve been attempting (and succeeded) in escaping north to Cobb County. Nice Hank Aaron statues and pitching memories but this is another Camden Yards clone – albeit it a blue one – that is quite sleepy when it’s not boiling in the Georgia sun. Loved the parking lot tributes to the legacy of Hammerin’ Hank but they’re about to blow this operation up and it’s clear there’s not much being left behind as far as romanticism for baseball in downtown Atlanta. I just hope they dig up the Phil Niekro knuckleball statue and get started on the Maddux, Smoltz, Glavine statue. I hope my pal Leo Mazzone somehow gets bronzed along the road to Cobb County, too.

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On Sept. 8-9-10, I will be releasing an extensive essay documenting my 30-30 MLB #GiveASpit journey of 2015. You can read it and all of my work here: http://wnst.net/author/nestoraparicio/

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Sure, it's a short drive from Baltimore to Washington for a National League but why in the world would you bother?

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MLB #GiveASpit Ballpark Ranking: No. 27 Washington Nationals

Posted on 15 August 2015 by Nestor Aparicio

Let me start by saying, “Screw the Washington Nationals.” Hands down, the worst people I dealt with in Major League Baseball. And the stadium isn’t much better. It’s a Philadelphia knockoff and that’s really not saying much. The neighborhood around the place isn’t getting any better as a destination for games. Most Nats fans thought the good news was that the team was going to be decent with a clear commitment to winning. But, then July happened to them in the NL East standings. But the stadium has a plastic feel and kinda makes me want to snooze off. The vibe is reminiscent of everything that went wrong when the Orioles moved from 33rd Street and recruited the wine and cheesers and readers of The Washington Post back in the 1992. Major League Baseball left Washington twice during the decade of my birth and the only thing that brought it back was the ineptitude of ownership in Montreal, combined with the despair and greed of the MLB owners. And a decade later, all of the money is in the pockets of Peter G. Angelos in Baltimore. Mr. Angelos has made $2 billion off MASN and the Orioles since the birth of the Nationals. And the stadium is nothing special, not a place anyone would say you need to see in your lifetime. The only time I’ll enter that place is when the people who mistreated me are fired or gone – or maybe when Bruce Springsteen puts the band back together again and decides to play this place that made Peter Angelos even wealthier. Or maybe if Billy Joel or the Caps come back to play a game. But, the Washington Nationals are dead to me. Looks like they’ll be golfing in October, too. And that won’t hurt my feelings. Hey, I’ve had no problem disliking the Washington Redskins over the past three decades, right? Oh, and their stadium sucks, too…

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On Sept. 8-9-10, I will be releasing an extensive essay documenting my 30-30 MLB #GiveASpit journey of 2015. You can read it and all of my work here: http://wnst.net/author/nestoraparicio/

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MLB #GiveASpit Ballpark Ranking: No. 29 Miami

Posted on 11 August 2015 by Nestor Aparicio

Hard to believe the louses who own the Miami (nee Florida) Marlins could not only connive their way into ever getting this hard-to-get-to and even harder to return “shiny gem” built in an area that even people who live nearby don’t want to visit. I had a great time drinking beer at the Clevelander in left field – and yes that young lady behind me in the picture is wearing her birthday suit and a little body paint in left field – but it can hardly even be considered a ballpark at all. It’s really just the Skydome, built two decades later, with a nightclub in the outfield and a crappy team on the field that no one cares about and based on this weird Willy Wonka ballpark, no one will ever care about this awful franchise. It’s a giant indoor carnival. The place smells like sugar, like a confection factory or some place on a boardwalk. Miami Beach is ten minutes away. Who is the world would want to sit in this joke of a monstrosity and watch baseball in South Florida. Seriously, this should be the second-to-last-place you should ever want to see a ballgame in your life. But if you do go, make sure you jump into the pool.

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On Sept. 8-9-10, I will be releasing an extensive essay documenting my 30-30 MLB #GiveASpit journey of 2015. You can read it and all of my work here: http://wnst.net/author/nestoraparicio/

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What's the worst MLB stadium? Nestor says No. 30 was easy: just go to Orange County and see what the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have under a broken halo...

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MLB #GiveASpit Ballpark Ranking: No. 30 Anaheim

Posted on 10 August 2015 by Nestor Aparicio

Well, someone has to be “last.” Simply put: this place is a dump. I visited “The Big A” in 1991 when it was still a two-sport relic and they’ve had me believing from afar for nearly two decades that they actually fixed the place up. I dunno. Maybe I just harbored higher expectations. I watched it again last weekend when the Orioles visited on television and nothing cosmetically on the broadcast prepares you for how ordinary the whole experience is once you arrive in Orange County. The concessions are so far inferior to every other ballpark as to be laughable. The alcoves in the stadium are dark, dreary and awful. It’s not really structurally much different than I remember it from 24 years ago – and even then it was an awkwardly shaped, multi-use facility at a freeway exit near what used to be orange groves that are now strip malls or outposts of Disneyland. Now, to point out some positives: even the worst place (and last place) in MLB to see a baseball game had some bright spots. I did see a visor for $6.88 and I have great remorse that I didn’t purchase it to match my Dodgers “LA” visors. I also bought a draft beer in the 3rd inning at a discount stand for $4.50. And it was a real beer ­– like 16 ounces and tasty! But, overall, the place is an eyesore, really, if you judge it against the other 29 parks. I’ve been to many minor league parks with more to recommend them, including Aberdeen. The Angels should be embarrassed, especially considering how great the fanbase has been and how cute those monkeys are all over the place. I walked around all 30 MLB ballparks in 30 days. This place is the worst. And, for me, it’s not really close. Well, except for perhaps No. 29…

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On Sept. 8-9-10, I will be releasing an extensive essay documenting my 30-30 MLB #GiveASpit journey of 2015. You can read it and all of my work here: http://wnst.net/author/nestoraparicio/

 

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Nestor traveled to 30 MLB ballparks in 30 days this summer and is putting them in order. We'll be counting them down from worst to first through Sept. 8 when he'll release a three-part essay on his MLB #GiveASpit leukemia and bone marrow awareness journey.

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Ranking 30 MLB stadiums from worst to first isn’t easy

Posted on 10 August 2015 by Nestor Aparicio

Today, with my 30th ranked stadium in Major League Baseball, I’ll be unveiling – and highlighting – a different ballpark and experience from my 30-30 MLB #GiveASpit tour. We’ll be ranking them from worst to first every day over the month.

Much like criteria for various sports Halls of Fame, postseason awards and/or any other smarmy institutional rankings or polls or opinions, this one rests solely on me. I figured if I could rank my Top 50 Bruce Springsteen songs, or U2 numbers or Rush classics, then I could work out the most requested piece of advice or expertise from spending a month of my life on the road chasing baseball.

Along my journey this summer, everyone seemed to ask the same question:

“Which stadium did you like the best?”

And, honestly, when you’re in a different ballpark every night for 30 days, it’s pretty natural to start comparing and contrasting every facet of every place you visit.

My ranking are based on an all-encompassing vibe and mojo. These are my personal rankings. They’re not “traditional” in any way. I put a lot of thought into them and invested the time and money to visit them all and experience baseball in totality in 2015.

I didn’t take as gospel what some broadcaster or “journalist,” who enters through the press gate and rolls up to the feeding room, said about these venues. Instead, I walked through every park – some of them twice – just to see every nook and cranny.

It’s also obvious that every stadium is better with more people in it and fans filling it. Some parks are struggling to get folks to come to the games and many with good reasons across MLB.

Baseball ain’t really so cheap and “family friendly” anymore. Sure, you can score a $5 get-in these days in Denver or Phoenix but there’s a reason these owners are making hundreds of millions of dollars while putting a sometimes “cheap as possible” brand of baseball on the field.

Your TV money (and every neighbor you have) is what’s driving the business of baseball. The stadiums are simply a stage that allows the money to flow.

Some teams – like the Yankees, Tigers and Orioles – have built stadia over the past two decades that are chic, sexy and printing money but they haven’t really captured the spirit and charm of their previous homes. It’s almost been a backward ride for the mojo of the franchise in some ways. For other dumps and cookie cutters like The Vet and Busch Stadium and Three Rivers (which was one of the worst places to watch a game from any sight line), well it was hard to not improve with a new facility.

And the venerable places – and the top two on my list – are old-school stadiums that have renovations that have made them shine even more.

Look, many of these ballparks are lovely. Every community – save for Oakland, Tampa and maybe Toronto, can look their fans in the eyes and say “we have a world class facility that warrants you dropping a bunch of money to see a game in our stadium.”

One criteria I’d use is this: if I were a fan of this team, how compelled would I be to buy a 13-game plan, venture to the stadium and want to spend money at baseball games. I’ve been going to baseball games since 1972. Before Peter Angelos took my press pass in 2006, I did 40 to 60 games a year. Now, it’s more of a “special occasion” for me to go to a baseball game. Especially given the amount of money it costs to spend a summer night at a game if you pay retail and eat inside the park.

The bottom line is this: where is my money good?

In the end, which of these places would make me want to fly back – right now – and do it all over again and watch a ballgame.

There’s a lot of ethereal, intangible qualities in a stadium experience.

In some places – like Seattle, San Francisco, Minnesota – I was held at the top of sections and could only take my seat at the of an at bat. It was forced courtesy. I thought it was superbadass and long overdue at baseball games. I like the hockey rules. You are allowed to move around when the ball isn’t in play. Seems so sensible as to be standard operating procedure. But we’ve all had some idiot walk in front of us just as a 3-1 pitch is being delivered with two on in the mid innings.

In others, you could just feel the charm of the staff. Seattle, Minnesota and Philadelphia most notably – every vendor, ticket taker, staffer – was completely helpful and cool.

“They’re all meant to be different” as stadium architect and expect Janet Marie Smith said to me. “It’s why we love pilgrimages. Every one of the Major League Baseball ballparks is unique.”

In many cases, when I wasn’t swabbing or hanging with a celebrity pal or tweeting up pictures from the ballparks, I was interacting with folks on the concourse. Some nights I was treated like a media member. Some nights the team gave us nice tickets. Some nights we arrived super early to swab people. Some nights – like Washington, Miami, The Bronx in New York, Colorado and both sides of Chicago, which, clearly is not my kinda town – I scalped tickets on the street or Stubhub because the team treated me like a disease or a nuisance. The Cubs-White Sox game at Wrigley was a really pricey ticket and I bought standing room seats for $51 each and we squatted for five innings behind a pole at first base and had a fine time because we weren’t getting pelted by rain like everyone who paid $200 did all afternoon.

This isn’t about taking categories and ranking these 30 nights of my life. I didn’t consider the weird rules for each park or even a ton of the history or periphery outside of the main thesis: “If I were sending you someplace to watch a baseball game next summer, where would I send you first…then second…then third.”

So, here’s my list, starting with No. 30 and counting backward. We’ll release one stadium a day for the next month and there’ll be some notes I’ve assembled about why they’re ranked thusly.

I will be writing at length about all aspects of my 30-30 MLB #GiveASpit tour the week of Sept. 8 when we release our No. 1 stadium in Major League Baseball.

My Kerouac tour is complete. I have plenty of stories to tell.

I hope you enjoy the journey…

 

Cheers,

Nestor

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Sizing up The Miracle at The Murph

Posted on 25 November 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

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