Tag Archive | "stadium"

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Part 1: Life On The Road, 30 Days of #GiveASpit and baseball

Posted on 07 September 2015 by Nestor Aparicio

Part 1: Prelude and Back Story

“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him, he’s always doing both.”

James A. Michener

 

SO, I NEVER DESIGNED THE 30-30 MLB #GiveASpit Tour to be written about. It just kind of happened that way because, at heart, I’m a writer. And suddenly, I feel like I have a lot I want to say and as much as I talk on the radio at WNST.net & AM 1570 around the clock about all sorts of things, this story of my baseball bucket list trip was meant to be told in writing.

Ever since my wife Jennifer was diagnosed with leukemia in March 2014, I really haven’t written much publicly for lots of reasons. I wrote a massive blog about my ongoing pursuit of happiness back on August 24th, but over the past year I’ve been observing, measuring and planning this summer baseball adventure. There’ve been no blogs, no books but plenty of “statuses” in social media on my Facebook and Twitter. Mainly, it’s been a lack of time but certainly not a lack of inspiration. Some of my deepest thoughts through her miraculous journey have been written down but much of it has been best kept to myself for the time being.

I made a lot of changes at WNST in August 2014 and I’ve been doing lots of radio over the past year.

I think I’m doing the best work of my career but that’s for you to judge if you listen to WNST.net or AM 1570 at any point around the clock. I talk to the smartest people on the planet about sports. We have conversations. There’s no hysteria. There’s no ridiculous accusations or a focus on rumormongering, outrageous statements or drumming up phone calls. We don’t do outrage for outrage’s sake. Never have.

And over the past year, I’ve been mapping the rest of my personal journey, my personal brand and trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life.

Let me start with this: I’m very lucky and very grateful for all of the awesomeness, opportunity and love I’ve received over the years from listeners, the community, athletes and coaches, and friends and sponsors who have kept WNST going since 1998.

On the eve of my 25th year – 2016 will be our silver anniversary on the radio – this life spent in the bizarre circus of Baltimore sports media has come full circle. I’ve salvaged and improved my business and personal brand after years of neglect from within. I’m treasuring my life and that of my wife and family. I’m really enjoying doing radio every day and I have no plans to leave the airwaves, hire more hosts or sell or leave WNST.

Although I haven’t written a lot over the past year – and that’s about to change – it’s been a great time and this blog will catch you up on that.

And sometimes, it’s really much more convenient to write about life in 140 characters or less on Twitter. Or, perhaps, at least 140 characters at a time. But my story has evolved and I have a lot on my mind and the 30-30 #GiveASpit baseball tour this summer has made me want to share more about my journey.

Many people asked me about my epic baseball tour and encouraged me to write about it.

I’m glad you’re here and hope you enjoy my storytelling and observations.

And even if no one reads this, it’s a bit cathartic to share my thoughts especially when I go around Baltimore and hear so much gossip, rumorama and thoughts attributed to me that really have nothing to do with me.

Such is life as a public figure. Sad, but true…

It was also quite the reality check for me when I saw such a diminished audience for “Purple Reign 2: Faith, Family & Football – A Baltimore Love Story” back in 2012. It was disheartening to hear people everywhere tell me that they really don’t read books

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The best place to watch baseball in New York is in Queens...and it isn't really close

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MLB #GiveASpit Ballpark Ranking: No. 8 New York Mets

Posted on 07 September 2015 by Nestor Aparicio

NY Mets – While on other side of MLB in Gotham City they tore down the cathedral in The Bronx to build a larger, poorer, version of Yankee Stadium, over here in Queens they’ve upgraded the way George and Weezie once did in Manhattan. It’s just a great, thoughtful, user-friendly ballpark. From the upper deck to the outfield bleachers, from the club seats to the Ebbets Field overtures and Jackie Robinson inspiration, this place has something for anyone who loves baseball. It’s a cozy place to sit and watch a game, easy to get to from the train if you’re staying in Manhattan. And if you need a hubcap or some spare parts for your old Datsun, you can pick one up across the street. It made me wanna invest in a blue Oscar Madison Mets lid and jump on the “I Hate the Yankees train.” Highly recommend this place.

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Free views of the Gateway Arch included...

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MLB #GiveASpit Ballpark Ranking: No. 9 St. Louis Cardinals

Posted on 06 September 2015 by Nestor Aparicio

St. Louis – The darkness of the foyer evokes a past that not even the old circular Busch Stadium could brag upon. Uniquely designed this “new” Busch Stadium is worth the trip to the Gateway City. Not much to recommend downtown St. Louis these days but the area around the ballpark is a must see. A sea of red – and a pretty good squad most years – the ballpark really does an amazing job of capturing the history and pageantry of Cardinals baseball. Musial. Brock. Gibson. Smith. McGwire. You sort of feel it all in this place. Plus, the Arch is still cool and very visible from the upper deck.

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Venerable Fenway Park is lovely but it barely made our Top 10...

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MLB #GiveASpit Ballpark Ranking: No. 10 Boston Red Sox

Posted on 05 September 2015 by Nestor Aparicio

Boston – Who doesn’t like Fenway Park? And if there’s one stadium you “have to see,” I suppose this would be it. I’m not jaded in regard to Boston baseball. I’ve seen more games on Yawkey Way than I can even remember and I’m married into a Red Sox family. Everyone loves an annual trip to Kenmore Square on the T and a few beers and Fenway franks. It’s old. It’s uncomfortable but still more civil than it’s twin cousin on the north side of Chicago at Wrigley.

Go see it. It’ll be awesome. But don’t expect it to be comfortable or inexpensive.

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Indoor baseball doesn't have to suck. Houston has known this for 50 years...

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MLB #GiveASpit Ballpark Ranking: No. 11 Houston Astros

Posted on 30 August 2015 by Nestor Aparicio

Houston – While Minute Maid Park has a bit of an airplane hangar vibe like Arizona and Milwaukee, this is by far the best of the trio of similar buildings. Great concessions, a cool left field wall and center field hill and the place doesn’t feel so cavernous. The team is playing good baseball and there was distinct energy in the air on the night I saw Dallas Kuechel sink the Yankees. Maybe there are some big games to come and some memories yet to be made but this is an underrated building and a nice (mostly indoor) place to watch a baseball game.

I never saw a game at the Astrodome. The punchline from most Astros fans would be: “Good, that place sucked!” But I must admit that I pine away for one night of glory in the cradle of Luv Ya Blue where sunburst uniforms and Jose Cruz running around. The current setup definitely feels like the same franchise. I liked the stadium. It’s the nicest of the domed places by far.

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MLB #GiveASpit Ballpark Ranking: No. 12 Chicago White Sox

Posted on 29 August 2015 by Nestor Aparicio

Chicago White Sox – They’ve tried a few times to make this place more comfortable since it was outdated from the moment it opened. It always gets compared to Wrigley Field because it’s 11.4 miles away. When I was syndicated at the turn of the century and had many occasions to attend them both, and I always preferred Comiskey (or U.S. Cellular Field or whatever they’re calling it these days) and this tour did nothing to change that. The food is better. They have elotes. The fans are more legitimate and not a bunch of drunk frat idiots. It’s better equipped to handle people at every turn. There are many more quality seats close to the field. When I’m in Chicago, this is where I prefer to go to watch baseball.

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MLB #GiveASpit Ballpark Ranking: No. 13 Wrigley Field

Posted on 28 August 2015 by Nestor Aparicio

Wrigley Field – Sure, there’s the old world charm about the home of the Chicago Cubs. Yes, it was built a hundred years ago. But every time I think about going to a game at Wrigley Field it’s one giant pain in the ass. The parking. The people. The place is built about five times smaller than it should be. One bonus: it has troughs, which makes it legit. But, unless you buy a seat in the bleachers (and those seats are always premium priced) you can’t even visit to take a picture. The place really smacks of corporate greed and has for most of my lifetime. The team always sucks (except when Jake Arrieta is involved). The food and choices suck. The scoreboards are still so antiquated as to be confusing. Seriously, I put it even a little higher on this list than I thought it deserves to be because my wife likes it but I think the place mostly sucks. It’s a great throwback experience. They’ve done a nice job of keeping it clean but it’s such a tourist trap of a place for my tastes. Sure, you gotta go and I get that. But I’m glad my team doesn’t play there and that I don’t have to get scalped for a C-minus experience every time I visit. I’m not planning on going back anytime soon and I don’t feel like I’m missing much. It’s a far better place on TV.

But, you still gotta go and see it.

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The Lindell AC and Tiger Stadium are gone but the baseball life is good in Motown...

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MLB #GiveASpit Ballpark Ranking: No. 14 Detroit Tigers

Posted on 27 August 2015 by Nestor Aparicio

Detroit – Comerica Park suffers simply because it’s not Tiger Stadium. The places I feel the worst for on the list are the ones where they built a “newer” ballpark and . Kind dark and gray and old time that gives you a sample of Tiger Stadium. Well, nothing could give you a sample. We rode the carousel like idiots. We posed with the giant Tiger. We drank beer down the left field line with some crazy fans. We had a great day. It’s a nice ballpark. Detroit, in general, is a pretty solid place to visit to see a sporting event of any kind. It’s not as bad as they say. And I live in Baltimore…

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Baltimore won't like it but Camden Yards is no longer among the elite stadiums in MLB...

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MLB #GiveASpit Ballpark Ranking: No. 15 Camden Yards

Posted on 25 August 2015 by Nestor Aparicio

Baltimore – There are many reasons that I’m not as bullish on Camden Yards. First, it’s been there 23 years and has never, ever come close to replicating any of the energy, goodwill or charm that Memorial Stadium had. Part of that is no doubt due to the nasty, clueless, cowardly dolts who own and run the team. It’s not a warm and fuzzy place and has mostly sat empty over the past two decades except for the occasional Mets takeover.

As a stadium, it’s cool because of the Warehouse but the building has been knocked off so many times that you’re just as likely to think Texas, Seattle, Colorado, Atlanta are the same place. Larry Lucchino and Janet Marie Smith did everything right in building Baltimore’s crown jewel circa 1990. But there’s no replacing the “heart” of the building and at heart, Camden Yards is a mostly listless building that has never quite lived up to its initial natural beauty and allure. It was the blueprint for all of the ballparks that came in its wake and many took the model and attempted to improve upon it. Some did. Some didn’t. Some simply copycatted.

The design of the bowl was among the last designed in a way that forces you to leave the field of play when you leave your seat. Most of the newer parks leave that area open for the field can be seen from the concession area. It’s a massive improvement in the game experience.

Just two weeks ago, Mr. Angelos and sons announced that they want massive renovations to Camden Yards to “update the experience.” So, because they’ll no doubt be asking the citizens to foot the bill via demands made of the Maryland Stadium Authority, they apparently agree with me that Camden Yards is no longer a “top 10” experience in MLB. After traveling to all 30 ballparks, I can assure you they’re correct.

I like Camden Yards. I get why everyone who visits loves it and loves downtown Baltimore. But I live two blocks away and I saw that half the league has a similar if not improved version of the ballpark that launched every stadium trend on the continent.

Don’t worry: the Angelos boys will improve our beloved ballpark. I’m sure they’ll find a way to use your money to make some modest upgrades.

 

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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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Not that we'd ever recommend anything in Philadelphia, but this ballpark doesn't stink...

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MLB #GiveASpit Ballpark Ranking: No. 16 Philadelphia Phillies

Posted on 24 August 2015 by Nestor Aparicio

Philadelphia – I’m a little conflicted on Citizens Bank Park. I’ll be the first to admit that I had a love affair with The Vet. But this is one of many places in MLB where they’ve dramatically upgraded the baseball experience from our childhood. The stadium has an open viewing area that really allows folks to stay engaged in the game from anywhere. The outfield eating district is outstanding in Ashburn Alley. And even though the team stinks in 2015, there’s been a lot of action in the short history of Citizens Bank Ballpark. Go and see for yourself. It’s a nice little ballpark in South Philly.

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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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