PNC PARK, PITTSGURGH PA, D-BACKS VS. PIRATES, 9/7/2005-9/8/2005

Hey baseball fans!!!!  Sorry I haven’t been here in a while, but I’m glad to be back, and like many of you, glad that baseball is finally here!!!!!   I am also happy that the Dodgers finally got their first win yesterday against the Bucs !!!!  Speaking of the Bucs, today’s blog takes us to the beautiful home of the Bucs, PNC Park. 

 

Throughout the Dodgers 3 game series with the Bucs, I could not help but feel envy towards the Bucs gleeming digs.  PNC Park is everything a ballpark should be, small, intimate, and in a picturesque setting.  PNC Park boasts arguably one of the greatest settings in baseball with it’s breathtaking sightlines of Downtown Pittsburgh and the gold colored bridge named after Roberto Clemente.  ( Oh yeah, speaking of gold, you will notice a lot of Black and Gold here in this city, especially the bridges, many of are which are, Gold ) . 

 

Speaking of the Roberto Clemente Bridge, many of the local fans park in Downtown across the Allegheny River and walk across the Roberto Clemente Bridge, which is closed off to vehicular traffic on game-day for pedestrians to take full advantage of.  If you ever get the chance, it’s a nice walk across the river with a beautiful ballpark awaiting your arrival.  Plus, it just add’s to the gameday atmosphere.  Oh yeah, upon crossing the bridge, to your right is a plaque honoring The Great One himself. 

 

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The view across the Allegheny

 

Once across the bridge of course is that beautiful yard the Bucs are lucky to call home.  And out there in the left field entrance are statues of The Great One himself and Willie Stargell.

 

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The Great One in front of the bridge named in his honor

 

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Pops, a huge member of ” The Family”

 

Speaking of statues, at the  home plate entrance is one of the legendary Honus Wagner

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Honus Wagner, home plate entrance

 

No doubt you have heard the phrase many a times ” There’s not a bad seat in the house ” , but at PNC, that phrase is true in every sense of it’s word.  The highest seat up is only 170 feet away from the field, but should you ever find yourself in PNC’s upper reaches, you will be treated with this…..

 

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One of baseball’s best views

 

Getting tickets to a Pirates game really does not require much advanced planning, largely in part of the team’s performance during the past 17 years, but if they should ever pick themselves up from the plank, tickets could become a hot commodity.  But until then, walking up on game day should be no problem. 

 

Should you happen to buy yourself a cheapie in the upper reaches, PNC does allow for free movement throughout the park, and if you’re lucky to be in town for a couple of days, you really owe it to yourself to roam around and explore every one of the yard’s nooks and crannies. 

 

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The RBC Bridge and a presentation on the video board honoring the great one.  Though there are plenty of tributes to the Great One, there can never be enough tributes to this Great Human Being…….  Speaking of tributes to The Great One

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The right field wall is exactly 21 feet in height , in honor of the man who proudly wore number 21. 

 

When I visited PNC back in 2005, the people at PNC Park, all the way to the ushers, really knew how to put on a presentation.  One of the features that was popular here and hopefully still is are the different ways each Pirate player was introduced in the video screen during their at-bat.

 

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Ryan Doumit

 

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Jason Bay representing his ” Home and Native Land….” .  During this homestand back in Sept ’05, each player did some artwork that was a reflection of themselves, with the art being auctioned off to a local charity

 

 

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In honor of Jason Bay…. ” Oh Canada….”

 

 

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This one reminds me of the old gameshow ” Concentration ” .    Can you guess the Buc that’s at bat ?  ( Bucs fans not eligible, just kidding…. ) .  The answer later……

 

Now you may have heard of the Sausage Races that take place in Milwaukee’s Miller Park, but at PNC Park, while not as popular as the Sausage Race , the have the local favorite, the Pierogis….

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That Pierogi looked awfully tasty….  But PNC’s main mascot is still the Pirate Parrot

 

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Here I am kicking it with the Parrot.

 

If you’re that fan whose many goals in life is to catch a game at all 30 MLB Parks, you definately owe it to yourself to catch a game at PNC Park.  In spite of being one of the newest yards in the Majors, and in spite of the team’s yearly poor showing, there really aren’t many frills ( At least when I was there ) to take your attention away from the game, which goes to show that baseball can still be enjoyed without all the extra’s that you’ve seen in many parks and other sports venues as well.  And if the Bucs can actually field a decent team, perhaps this sports crazed town will really embrace the Bucs once again. 

 

OK, now the answer to the earilier trivia question, Name the Buc who is at bat

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If you said Humberto Cota, YOU ARE CORRECT !!!  OK, here’s the breakdown….  The first clue is the camel’s hump ( Note the red arrow ), than you are informed to ” subtract ” the P, therefore you have Hum.  Next you have ” Bert ” from ” Sesame Street “, and then your’re asked to ” add ” an O, so now you have Humberto.  Below Humberto you now have a ” Coat “.  And after the ” coat “, you’re asked to ” add ” AH, and now you have Cota.  Put the two together, and you have, HUMBERTO COTA.  ( Did you have fun with this kids ? )

 

OK, Other stuff to do in Pittsburgh

 

Visit the U of Pittsburgh campus.  There, you will find  remnants of old Forbes Field, the yard that PNC pays many a tribute to.

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The Cathedral of Learning, the second tallest education building in the world.  Bucs fans were known to view games from up top on the action down at Forbes Field.

 

The famous shot of U of Pitt students, 1960, from LIFE magazine, when Bill Mazeroski hit his walk-off HR to win the WS for the Bucs in Game 7 over the Yankees, the first WS ever won on a walk-off home run. ( Joe Carter of the Blue Jays is the other, 1993, off of Phillies closer Mitch Williams )

 

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Another shot of fans enjoying the view of the action from the Cathedral

Another one I found ot Time-Life’s archives, and of course behind these fans is the looming Cathedral.  ( Archived pics from life.com )  

 

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The Panther

 

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A brick outline of Forbes Field’s outfield wall.  As for what’s standing…..  

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Known locally as ” Maz’s Wall “, parts of the old outfield wall is still maintained here, a nice touch to the old yard. 

 

And if you’re ever hungry for a sandwich, you have to stop at a Primanti Brothers.  It’s pretty much your poor  mans/ big man’s sandwich.  If your by yourself and the locals sense your a huge sports fan, Iron City is on them ( OK, it was on my visit… ) . 

 

 If you go to the Primanti Brothers near the stadium, open 24 hours BTW, inside you’ll find this nice mural….

 

 

Even Mr. Rogers is honored in this mural of famous Pittsburgh celebreties.

 

And there’s the Western Pennsylvania history museum, where by the entrance you can see the old goal posts from old 3 Rivers Stadium.  Oh yeah, speaking of, did I ever mention how many times I head ” Here We Go Steelers ” being yelled at PNC Park ?  Of course, this was one week prior to the start of football season. 

 

OK, to finish off,  2 more PNC Pics….

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MINUTE MAID PARK, HOUSTON, TX , 5/13/2005 GIANTS VS. ASTROS, 7/1-7/3/2008 DODGERS VS. ASTROS

I had the opportunity to come here twice, the first time back in ’05 and most recently in July of ’08.  My first trip here I did not have the chance to catch a full game here as my buddy and I were here on a stopover on the way back from St. Louis via Amtrak.  Since we had a few hours to kill, we decided to check out MMP and we’re able to catch 7 innings worth.  On this night, 5/13/2005, Friday the 13th, the Astros would take on the Giants.  And of course, as some of you may know by now, being the Dodger fan I am, you can pretty much guess who I was pulling for on this night. 

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GIANTS VS. ASTROS, 5/13/2005

Later on, you’ll notice a change here on a later visit

On my first visit here, there would be no need for the roof on this nice Texas evening.  From what I gathered, the roof isn’t really in use much in April and May.  From June on, it is a necessity.  For the most part, I am a traditionalist.  I like baseball outdoors.  Then again, I am also fortunate to live in L.A., where the weather is hardly an issue here.  And after having gone to MMP and a visit to Bank One Ballpark ( now Chase Field ) back in ’03, my stance on indoor baseball has somewhat lightened.  Especially when the locals must deal with 100 plus degree weather and the high humidity that comes with it. 

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My expectation’s here on my first visit I can say really exceeded what I expected.  MMP had to be one of the more intimate ballparks I had ever seen a game.  When the roof is open, it is possible for a right handed hitter to hit one over toward Crawford St. , behind the left field seats dubbed as the Crawford Boxes.  During Game 5 of the ’05 NLCS, had the roof been opened, the sliding glass that accompanies the roofs opening, would not have been there and Albert Pujols mammoth shot would have probably landed somewhere out beyond Crawford St. 

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Houston Skyline

Minute Maid Park sits on what used to be where passenger trains once picked up rail passengers, thus explaining the many rail references you may see here.  To the left of the CITGO sign you’ll notice a red brick building.  That building is where UNION STATION once resided.  Today the Astros offices are located in this building.  The lobby in this building is used today as one of the main entrances to the ballpark.

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ALL ABOARD !!!!!

Fans enter MMP through the lobby of old Union Station via Crawford St.

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To the left, the Astros team offices.  The teal awning below is the entrance that leads to the lobby.  The baseball diamond you see outside MMP is part of the meeting plaza out there on Crawford St.   As I stated earlier, when the roof is opened, like it is on this night, there’s a good chance a tape-measure shot can land here.  Hey, check out that train filled with oranges !!!!!

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Rooftop Viewing

For those who like that bird’s eye view of the action, a la Wrigleyville

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Here Comes the Train !!!!

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HI MR. CONDUCTOR !!!!

One of the many bells n’ whistles you’ll find here.  The train rolls along the tracks as the Astros take the field to start the game, and for every Astros homer.  Speaking of homers, yeah, that number you see above the train indicates how the distance of the building from home plate. 

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The View From My Original Seats

You didn’t think I sat here the whole game did you ? 

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The Conoco HR Porch

For those of you on the cheap, if you don’t mind standing room viewing areas, this porch is a unique way of seeing the game, you’re actually above the left field warning track.  You will also notice a replica retro gas pump behind you that counts the amount of Astros HR’s hit dating back to the stadium’s debut back in 2000, when it was then under another name.  ( We wont mention the E word…. )

 

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The Conoco Home Run Porch

Where fans can watch the game on the cheap.  It’s also a great place to socialize and talk baseball with other fans too.  It was here where in ’05 I was talking to a visitor from San Antonio, just talking, then for whatever reason, I decided to mention Derek Fisher of the Lakers, to which I got a response with the Texas drawl included…. ” He did NOT git that shot off in .4 seconds !!!!! ” .  ( Yes he did….:)   )  . 

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The View From the Porch

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Tal’s Hill

Named after longtime team president Tal Smith.  Located in center field the hill is a nod to old Crosley Field in Cincinatti.  Also, the pole there on the hill is a flagpole that also is a nod this time to old Tiger Stadium in Detroit.  There are mixed feelings here in Houston about the hill and the pole.  If a fly ball goes here, yes the outfielder must go up that hill and chase after it. 

MY MINUTE MAID PARK EXPERIENCE, FIRST TIME 5/13/2005

As I mentioned earlier my buddy and I were on a stopover here so we we’re not able to catch the full game.  However we did squeeze in 7 innings even getting in a round of ” Deep in the Heart of Texas “, sung after Take Me Out to the Ballgame.  One of my favorite highlights of the night was when fans chose Mike Scott’s division clinching no-hitter against the Giants in ’86 to win the NL West.  ( One of the other two choices was the Astros winning the one-game playoff against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in 1980 .  Also of note, prior to 1994, the Astros were in the NL West, thus explaining their West Division titles of ’80 and ’86)…….  I was so impressed by the park’s intimate settings that I told my buddy Josh that we had to come back.  I also liked how they incorporated old union station into the yard .  If you have a chance you should enter through the old station’s lobby behind the Crawford Boxes in the left field entrance.  As for us coming back, it would be 3 years before we would return…….

BACK TO H-TOWN……

We would return and this time we would take in 3 games here and see our Dodgers take on the locals.  The highlight of this trip this time aside from MMP would be our trip to the Johnson Space Center.  As you may notice, Houston’s some of the local teams are named after Space Program themes, you know, Astros, Rockets, Comets……  I’m not gonna pretend to be an expert in our space program, but here are some pics from the Johnson Space Center…

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And now, our return trip to the Juice Box

We would catch the last 3 games of a 4 game series between our Dodgers and Astros on 7/1 to 7/3/2008.  One of the things we would do before one of the games was the stadium tour.  If you should do the twilight tour, you get to enter the stadium 3 hours before game time before the rest of the public.  You meet up at the lobby of Union Station, but as for the tour, aside from entering before the rest of the public and catching early BP, there really wasnt anything spectacular about the tour.  We didn’t even get to go in the clubhouses.  If you’re ever going to take the stadium tour here, from what I’ve gathered, take one of the standard tours during the day, you’ll even get to walk up Tal’s Hill . 

As for our 3 games here, this time, we would be watching the games with the roof above us.  As I mentioned earlier, games from June on you’ll have the roof over your head, thanks in large part to the oppresive heat and humidity during the summer months. 

We would definately enjoy our return trip here and even notice some changes here too.  The highlight would be watching our boys in Blue win all 3 games we would attend here.  What was it like being a Dodger fan here.  In the 80′s it may not have been apreciated because both teams we’re often fighting for the NL West.  But today, the hostility is not there at all.  In fact, there was a good contingent of Dodger fans here, especially from the Latino fans, no doubt due in large to the popularity of Fernando Valenzuela back in the 80′s. 

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Back to the Porch

Notice the felines ?  They are The Little Pumas, the devoted folowers of Astros first baseman Lance Berkman, dubbed, The Big Puma.   They’re college students who are at pretty much all the games during the summer, at least as of ’08. 

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Hangin’ With the Pumas

Josh and I kickin’ it with the Pumas after the Dodgers had defeated the Astros 5-2, 7/3/2008

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The Scoreboard, 3 Years Later

I did mention earlier there was a change in that scoreboard from my first visit in ’05.  The retired numbers of Astros glory are now up there.  Previously, the we’re located above the upper level stands down the left field line.  This current set-up is much more attractive.

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Astros Glory

It’s previous set-up in 2005. 

MMP EXPERIENCE, PART 2

The second time around would be just as nice as the first time.  One thing I did notice about crowds in Houston is that there we’re many who were dressed up in the Astros retro colors of the Astrodome days, remember, when they wore the Rainbow Guts jerseys, those pull-overs that had like 500 hues of orange.  Even their 45th anniversary logo for this season gives homage to the old unis of the past….

 

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Source

Astros.mlb.com

Perhaps when the ‘Stros due their next uni change, they will find a way to incorporate the use of orange in their new threads, whenever that may be.  Houston, like Atlanta, is a town of many transplants so on any given night, you may see a good portion of the crowd pulling for the visiting team.  However, on most given night, you should be able to walk-up and buy a ticket for that nights game since most games do not sell out here.  And since the stadium does allow for free-movement throughout, you can always wander around and experience the many viewing points.  Should you get a chance, catch an inning or two out in the Conoco Home Run Porch for a unique view of the game.  MMP was one of those parks that truely exceeded my expectations.

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Me reppin’ the Blue outside MMP.  Another feature that was added is that actual locomotive located across the street from the home plate entrance.  GO DODGERS !!!!

TURNER FIELD, ATLANTA GA., 5/5-5/6/2007, DODGERS VS. BRAVES

There was actually a time when the Dodgers and Braves had some hotly contested meetings between each other.  When division play was introduced in 1969, there was the Eastern and Western Division in both leagues .  And for whatever reason, the Atlanta Braves and Cincinatti Reds were placed in the West while the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals were placed in the East.  So we can only assume that the good lords of baseball at the time flunked geography. 

As for the Dodgers and Braves, the two teams would engage is some heated battles in the early eighties as well as in 1991.  In both ’82 and ’83, the Dodgers and Braves took turns winning the Western Division, and in 1991, the Braves would start a run of 14 consecutive division titles. 

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NL WEST CHAMPS 1991-1993, NL EAST CHAMPS 1995-2005

During those classic battles for the NL West, each of those titles were decided on the final weekend of the season.  Then the formation of 3 divisions along with re-alignment soothed the rivalry somewhat with the Braves now playing in its rightful place in the Eastern Divison. 

MY TRIP TO ATLANTA

Upon  arriving to Atlanta, after a hearty lunch at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack I headed to the Auburn community  where Dr. Martin Luther King was raised. 

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The Ebeneezer Baptist Church

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Inside the Ebineezer Baptist Church

As part of the National Park Service it mainly serves as a museum today.  Once a year, during Kings birthday, service is performed here.  MLK Sr. would continue to perform service here until 1975.  During the year, you can hear audio tapes of Dr. Kings speeches.

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Ebineezer Baptist Chruch, Today

Located across the street from the original, this is where church services are performed

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The Tomb

Where Dr. King and wife Coretta our buried, at the King Center

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Dr. Kings Birth Home

As we celebrated the legacy of Dr. King this past weekend, I watched a documentary on the History Channel and while many may know of his tireless work for unity and non-violent protest, he also spoke out on many other causes beyond segragation and bigotry, including his stance against the VietNam War, in which he took a lot of heat for.  I always admired Dr. King, and after watching this history lesson, my admiration for this great American only grew.

TURNER FIELD

On my first night here, I made it a point to arrive early to snap some shots of the remnants of old Fulton County Stadium.

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Now used for parking, the outlines of where the Braves once called home

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The old marker where Hammerin’ Hanks 715th landed

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You all may have seen images of Hank Aaron doing his trot after 715 and the 2 guys running behind him celebrating his feat. 

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The view outside Turner Field.  Note the pillars in front of the cars.  Turner Field was used for the 1996 Summer Olympics.  After the Olympics, some of the stands were torn down to make it a baseball only  stadium.  The area where the temporary stands were are now the main plaza for fans entering the stadium

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The plaza where many fans meet up before the game

 

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HAMMERIN HANK

Here to greet you upon your entry

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Hangin’ with Hammerin’ Hank

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THE HEAVY HITTAZ

Pre and Post game entertainment.  I love drumlines…..

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THE BIG DRUM

 Bang that drum !!!!!

 

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BRAVES DUGOUT

The Braves dugout from Fulton County Stadium, located in the Braves Museum behind the left field stands

 

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COKE IS IT

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The equipment that makes up the coke bottle.  This huge bottle is located up at the Coke Skyfield in the upper reaches of the left field corner.  A nice grassy play area is there for the little fans.

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Running to first with his tomahawk

 

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The view from the Coke Skyfield

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GAMETIME, 5/5/2007

The view from my upper level seat in front of a near sell-out crowd

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One of the largest and most impressive video boards in the majors

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Day game, 5/6/2007

From the left field seats

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STROLLING THE PLAZA

While strolling the plaza beyond the outfield stands, that huge baseball, behind the CF Scoreboard, is the ball Hank hit for 715.  Above the team store , so that you arent missing the action on the field, is a monitor that shows live game action.  What’s also cool is the line score and the player at bat being displayed.  At bat here is some up and coming Dodger here, someone the league will fear some day…..Andre Ethier !!!!!!  ( I thought I’d get that in .  A biased Dodger fan talking here…… )

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OUTFIELD MURAL

Honoring past Braves greats  ( HEY MCCOURT, DIDNT WE USED TO HAVE AN OUTFIELD MURAL TOO ? ) 

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Here I am, reppin’ the Blue, while showing off my souvenier tomahawk.

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RETIRED NUMBERS

Another feature out in the fan plaza.  Above is Dale Murphy, and of course below who can forget Hank Aaron.  There are more numbers besides these 2 out in the plaza.

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MY TURNER FIELD EXPERIENCE

Upon my arrival here, I wasnt really expecting my experience to be as great as some of the other newer retro-style ballparks.  Nope.  It was actually better than I expected.  Would I rank this yard as high ? Probably not.  But what this park may lack in charm, it more than makes up for in it’s game day presentation.  There are some cool pre-game activities that can be done here, and it’s a good thing to, because there really isnt much to do in the surrounding area.  As I stated earlier, if you’re a non-local and want to take in some history, the remnants of old Fulton County Stadium with the field markings outlined are still there.  And should the kid in you come out, you can even run the basepaths that Hammerin Hank circled many times here.  And if you’re a group of 3 and really want to act touristy in front of the locals, you may even want to re-create the moment when Hank hit 715 and the 2 guys running behind him. 

Turner also has a team Hall of Fame that you can check out.  And if you have kids, there’s also the Coke Skyfield which has a little play area where kids can run from home plate to first base.

And if you crave that traditional ballpark pastime, the hot dog, the Georgia Dog, made of a huge Hebrew National frank with vidalia onions and cole slaw, is a good tasty treat.  Then again, you cant really go wrong with Hebrew National.

As for the game experience, a couple of good-sized crowds were in attendance for my 2 game visit.  Braves fans have over the years been given a reputation of being too laid back and too spoiled by the teams success over the past 2 decades, thus resulting in the drop-off in attendance these past several years, including post-season play.  It is an unfair knock, of course.  Atlanta is a city with a lot of transplants, and from what I’ve gathered from the locals, the traffic is horrendous ( Boy, sounds like L.A. to me…..), and the teams drop-off at the gate would have to be a combination of all the factors mentioned. 

That doesnt mean that these fans arent into it.  When filled to capacity, there’s still something about hearing 40,000 plus fans doing the famous ( or infamous depending on you POV ) Tomahawk Chop one of those baseball experiences you have to see for yourself.  ( Yes, I am aware this is a spin-off from Florida State )  .  And if you happen to be here to see your favorite team play the hometown Braves, chances are, you’ll probably be amongst other fans of your team as well given the high population of transplants here.  However, the fans here , though not as loud as others, are very hospitable as is the custom in the south, but as I’ve stated, you’ll probably be talking to a non-local as well.

 

 

MORE PICS FROM THE WEST…..THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST, THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS, AND FINALLY SOCAL….

MORE OF DREI’S PICS….THE TWO CLASSICS, AND A TRIP TO NOCAL

Before I begin, let me just send out a prayer to the families of the 50,000 people whose lives were lost in the 7.0 earthquake in Haiti and pray for others as well, and if you cant contribute to keep those in your thoughts and prayers. 

OK, with the NFL Playoffs continuing this weekend, here are my pics to come out victorious this weekend.  In the AFC, I like the Colts over Baltimore in a close game, and the Chargers over the Jets .  In the NFC, I like the Cards to continue their playoff run and upset the Saints in what could be Kurt Warners last season, and in the other game, I’m sort of up in the air, so for that reason, I have asked a co-worker of mine, an expert in WOW but  with no knowledge of the game ( He doesnt even know what a football is…. ) to pick between the Cowboys and Vikings and he is going with the Cowboys.  In all seriousness, between a hot Cowboys team and a Vikings team led by an ageless QB in Bret Favre, who has been a thorn on my side throughout the years ( 49ER fan here….), this should be a good one.

 

OK, now , for some more pics, first, the two remaining classics.

FENWAY AND WRIGLEY, THE CLASSICS

A Famous Bahstan Landmark

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A must see for every baseball fan

 

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$45 for this seat, pillar included !!!!  Ah, the experience of watching baseball in a classic ballpark !!!!

 

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OK, now this view is more like it….

WRIGLEY FIELD, 5/12/2006….PADRES VS. CUBS

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Taken in one of the coldest May’s in over 100 years in Chicago.  This would be my first time watching a sporting event in sub-40 degree weather…..( Note, I am a native of L.A………)

 

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The view from the bleachers….

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The famous scoreboard, after the game.  That blue ” L ” flag has been a familiar sight to Cubs fans over the years……

 

And Now We Cruise The West….

McAFEE COLISEUM, APRIL 2005

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The upper reaches in the outfield, deragitorily dubbed ” Mt. Davis ” are now covered in tarps

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Some of OakTowns loyal A’s fans….

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A’s glory…..

AT&T PARK, 10/1/2006…DODGERS VS. GIANTS

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Last game of the season between the rivals…..

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Where the lil’ Giants play…..

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Donning my Dodger Blue colors in McCovey cove ( The locals really loved me for that, especially since this was taken one day after we clinched the wild card up on their field !!!!!)

 

 

MORE BALLPARK PICS……WEST COAST MINOR LEAGUE BALL

OK, here are some more pics that I took from my ballpark excursions from the last 5 years, this time, I will be displaying minor league parks I visited last season out here in the west.  Enjoy !!!!

CHECKING OUT TOMORROWS MLB’ERS HERE IN THE WEST

The Epicenter, Rancho Cucamunga,  Inland Empier 66ERS ( Dodgers Single A ) vs. RC Quakes ( Angels Single A )

One of many minor league parks here in California.  My dad has partial season tickets here so we go to about 10 games a year.
 
 
The view behind home plate
 
Raley Field, Sacramento, CA, 4/25-4/26/2009…..Las Vegas 51′s ( Blue Jays Triple A ) vs. Sacramento River Cats ( A’s Triple A )
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The Main Entrance.  Raley Field is always talked of as one of the best minor league venues.  Not much arguement here.
 
The River Cat
 
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The teams famed logo
 
Daytime Baseball
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My view from behind the 3rd base dugout.  In the background, the famed yellow bridge that connects Downtown Sac to West Sac, where Raley Field is.  The bridge is kind of reminiscent to the Roberto Clemente Bridge in Pittsburgh leading to PNC Park
 
Catching some rays, and maybe a homer……
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One of the nicest features of any minor league park, watching the game from the outfield berm.  For only $5 you can bring a beach towel, or a lawn chair, kick back under the sun, and spend a nice afternoon at the old ballgame !!!!!
 
PGE PARK, Portland , Or, 9/4/2009……Las Vegas 51′s ( Blue Jays Triple A ) vs Portland Beavers ( San Diego Padres Triple A )
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One of the older yards in the minors.  Check out this artwork outside the main gate…..
 
Pregame
 
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Just waiting for the game to start.  That gathering area by the field is the Widmier Beer Garden.  On most nights, you can buy a cheap GA ticket and head on down there.  On this night, the garden is reserved for a Portland teachers gathering.  Nothing like telling the kids the effects of alcohol than chugging down !!!!!
 
Ivy on the walls
 
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Behind the ivy covered wall is the Oregonian, the local newspaper.  Also, check out the local transit passing by.  PGE Park is actually dug into the local neighborhood, so the field is below ground level.  Fans in the streets in left field can actually get a peef of the action for free !!!!!  Gotta like that old school feel when yards were actually part of the neighborhood.
 
Cheney Field, Tacoma, Wa, 9/3/2009…….Salt Lake Bees ( LA Angels Triple A ) vs. Tacoma Rainiers ( Seattle Mariners Triple A )
 
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Located out somewhere off the beaten path, Cheney Field, in it’s 50th year of service, has that old-time, rustic charm of a classic minor league park away from big city life.
 
Mt. Rainier
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Off in the distance is Mt. Rainier, taken from the 3rd base side
 
From day to night
 
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Note the statue in the middle, it’s Ben Cheney, a local businessman for whom the stadium is named after
 
Ben Cheney
 
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For whom the statue is named after
 
THE ‘PEN
 
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 Where members of the Rainiers ‘Pen catch the action.
 
A Little Cheney Field History
 
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A cool mural of the Pacific Coast League teams that once called Tacoma’s Cheney Field home.
 
And those are some of my pics from the minor league parks I visited last year.  I’m hoping to hit up some more this upcoming season.  My goal is to hit up Arrowhead Credit Union Park in San Bernardino, the Single A home of the Dodgers .  I actually did see a game there back in ’08, and I tell you, the atmosphere there, the fans that are there approach the game as if they expect to see the players in front of them in Chavez Ravine some day it’s exciting.  I would also like to check out the Padres Single A home in Lake Elsinore as well.  Oh and back to my beloved Dodgers, if I have a chance this season, I am hoping to head down to Albuquerque to check out our Triple A affilliate the Albuquerque Isotopes, yes, the name comes from The Simpsons.  Minor league games are so much fun, you just never know whom you’ll someday say you saw develop right in front of you.
 
 

BALLPARK PICS, 2005-2009

Hey baseball fans !!!!  Welcome to my blog !!!!  Before I share my ballpark experiences with you, I thought I’d share some pics I’ve taken from parks, past and present, that I’ve taken the last 5 years.  And I tell you, I’ve met a lot of great fans, heard and shared a lot of great stories, and now I want to share them with you.  So, enough talk, here are some hightlights of, me, TAKING ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME !!!!

First, the GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

THE METRODOME, BREWERS VS. TWINS, 6/28/2008

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The view from my upper level seat, looking down on this interleague battle .  A big crowd of over 38,000 would jam the dome, creating a loud atmosphere.  I wonder how loud this place really was when it was filled to it’s capacity.

TWO TWIN-CITY FAVORITES

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Kent and Kirby, two big contributors to the Twins Championship teams of ’87 and ’91.  Kirby is still a beloved icon here in the Twin Cities.

OLD BUSCH STADIUM, ST. LOUIS, MAY 2005

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The last of the muti-purpose circular stadiums circa the 60s/70s, many felt Busch had the most character.  Note the arches that ring the stadium…..they were meant to mimic St. Louie’s big attraction in the background, The Gateway Arch. 

MILTON BRADLEY

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A lot has been said about Milton over the years, but here, he makes some Cards fans happy by signing some autographs before the game.  See, Milton ain’t such a bad guy.  C’mon, every one has some demon inside of them, right ?  Oh yeah, thanks for signing my baseball to Milton.

FREDBIRD

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The Cards zany mascot…..

A Sneak Peak to the New

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Fans behind the 3rd base concourse get a glimpse of their new yard in Old Busch’s final season.

And Of Course We Cant Forget……

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Yankee Stadium, May 9, 2006

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, a visit to the Yanks former shrine was definately a must for all baseball fans.

MONUMENT PARK

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Many a famous Yankee is immortalized here

New Yorks Favorite Son

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Born to be a Yankee

Game Action, bottom of the 9th

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And the Red Sox are up, 14-3, explaining why the stadium has cleared out.  See the line score in the outfield……

THE STEEL CITY

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PNC PARK 9/6/2005 D-BACKS VS. PIRATES

Arguably the best ballpark of the retro yards. 

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The Great One, Roberto Clemente.  Behind, the Roberto Clemente bridge, closed to vehicular traffic on game days and used for pedestrian traffic.  For the game day experience, you must walk across this bridge from downtown.

A Tribute to The Great One

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Located on the downtown edge of the RC Bridge

Baseball in the Midwest

Busch Stadium, 8/27/2006 Cubs vs. Cardinals

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The view from the upper deck

Stan the Man

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Moved from the Old Yard

MINUTE MAID PARK, Giants vs. Astros, 5/13/2005

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Tonight, we let in natures elements.

Tal’s Hill

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A throwback to Cincinatti’s old Crosley Fields incline

CHOO-CHOO

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MMP’s signature feature.  HI MR. CONDUCTOR !!!!

TOWN’S HAMMERIN HANK CALLED HOME

MILLER PARK, CARDINALS VS. BREWERS 9/24/2007

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Pregame

The Famous Sausage Race

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My money was on the Chorizo !!!!

TURNER FIELD, DODGERS VS. BRAVES 5/5/2007

Pregame outside the Grand Entrance

Hammerin’ Hank

The view from the upper deck.

 

Ok, those are some of  my pics, next, the two classics, Fenway and Wrigley, and the West Coast Parks, including some AAA Parks as well.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the pics.

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