Posted on 15 September 2015 by Nestor Aparicio
Los Angeles – Let me start by saying that I’ve always loved Dodger Stadium. I walked into Chavez Ravine for the first time in 1985 with my Pop on a trip to Southern California. I sat in the bleachers with legendary Spanish language version of Los Dodgers besibol blasting from a boombox with the dulcet tones of Jaime Jarren. Thirty years later, when you walk into that same space, you still get the tingles of a fantastic place to watch a baseball game under a painted sky. Timeless. Classic. Elegant. And now, ageless, again all dressed up and pimped out in Chavez Ravine. All that’s missing is the voice of Vin Scully kissing your eardrums. Pick a seat in this shrine. Any seat. Just make sure you get some decent weather and a nice SoCal sunset. Sure, Magic Johnson and his minions have spent a bunch of money trying to buy a World Series title sometime soon. The commitment to the team matches the commitment to keep a perfect baseball day in tact. So spend a day at Dodger Stadium and then measure the rest of the MLB experiences.
And ask virtually any player in baseball where their favorite stadium is and this place is on everyone’s Top 3.
Posted on 14 September 2015 by Nestor Aparicio
Kansas City – I defy you to go to Kansas City and not fall in love with the Midwest and baseball on a summer night. History. Tradition. Pride. Fountains spewing. Great food stands. A big parking lot full of energy. This is certainly a far different experience than anything you would’ve seen in those 29 years when the Royals were, well, not so Royal in the American League standings. Winning changes everything. And there goes your proof in Kansas City. It’s the best pure stadium every designed for watching a baseball game. All of the seats point to second base. Now, all of the All Star Game fans vote blue. It’s standing room only most nights. The atmosphere has finally caught up the natural beauty and charm of Kaufman Stadium. This is a fantastic place to watch a baseball game. Go see for yourself.
Posted on 13 September 2015 by Nestor Aparicio
San Diego – There aren’t a whole lot of bad days in the world’s air-conditioned city but the ballpark fits the scene of the neighborhood and the vibe of the community. This place is a very underrated stadium and I had to really give it a second look after seeing a game there a decade ago. It’s quite nice, cozy, active. The food is great. The seating bowl is excellent and very unique. Many ballparks are built into urban settings and flood the streets with activity after games. That’s what they’re designed to do. None does it better or more naturally than Petco Park. It’s just a beautiful building a great spot to drink beer, eat a few tacos and watch baseball.
Matter of fact, I’m going back next summer. I’m finally getting my wife to an All Star Game. We’ll be there in July 2016!
Posted on 10 September 2015 by Nestor Aparicio
Minnesota – This trip had me looking only a handful of parks I hadn’t visited. I never saw a game at the Metrodome so this would be my first MLB game in the Twin Cities. Target Field is universally hailed as a great place and I had very high expectations and this place simply delivered in every way. There’s something cosmic about the giant neon state of Minnesota throwback logo in center field. The concourses are cozy and packed with great local food. The Twins have embraced every hero in their legacy chain from Harmon Killebrew, Tony Oliva and Rod Carew straight through Kirby Puckett and Kent Hrbac. The downtown is now bustling and this is another team that’s in the midst of a resurgence in the standings. Highly encourage you to take in Target Field on a summer night.
Posted on 09 September 2015 by Nestor Aparicio
San Francisco – I’ve seen a number of games at AT&T (and a few when it was still dubbed Pac Bell) and I’m always struck by how close that right field wall looks. It’s a wonderful setting and I think it’s impossible to complain it in any way about watching a game in San Francisco. Especially now that Candlestick is long gone. The smell of garlic and pizza is everywhere. Plenty of great concessions. The fans are all jacked up with World Championship swag. And the building is gorgeous. Bring a jacket. As you can see from many of my pictures, you can get football weather in July in San Francisco. And there’s even some charm to that, especially in the middle of my mid-summer heated sojourn during the middle of the season. The ballpark itself is shoe-horned into the waterline and the trail of traffic and folks in orange and black is its own scene. The McCovey Cove scene is also tremendous. A must see…
Posted on 08 September 2015 by Nestor Aparicio
Pittsburgh – Although the baseball in PNC Park in the early days was far from ideal, this community benefited more than any other in baseball from its stadium upgrade. The urban backdrop of this gem at the confluence of the Allegany, Ohio and Monangehela sets it apart among all of the other new parks. You feel like you can reach out and touch the city and the big yellow Clemente Bridge in the outfield. The park is nestled into a small space and the rich tradition of Bill Mazerowski, Willie Stargell, Roberto Clemente and even all of the Steelers glory feels a part of this place that many call their favorite MLB park. Normally, I don’t recommend any visit to Pittsburgh but this place makes the trip worthwhile. Hard for even a diehard Steelers, Penguins and Pirates hater to hold any animosity toward this gem. And over the past few years, the team on the field has finally played up to the stadium it calls home.
Posted on 08 September 2015 by Nestor Aparicio
Cincinnati – This is a baseball town. Having traveled to Cincinnati every fall for the past 19 years it’s easy to lose the sense of how the sports world works in The Queen City. Seeing the Bengals only gives you a small sample of what it’s like there. This is the place where Pete Rose can do no wrong and never did any wrong and don’t you bring it up again. I’m not sure that Johnny Bench deserved Top 4 accolades at the All Star Game but that’s the kind of debate that keeps Cincinnati awake at night. It’s a tenured baseball town and the ballpark reflects this charm on a summer night that I honestly took for granted having only visited once in 2004. The pre-gaming bars are spectacular, the downtown buzzes with energy when The Great American Ballpark is full and this is a venerable baseball town that shouldn’t be overlooked. This will be higher on my list than on many others’ but that’s OK. I dig this place. It has mojo. You should go see it!
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.
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.
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.