Rust Belt Ballpark Tour 2012

I have a news post in the hopper. It’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

During tonight’s A’s-Indians game, there was a brief shot of Heritage Park, an outdoor monument at Progressive Field. Heritage Field opened in 2007, long after the last and only time I visited then-Jacobs Field. I’d like to visit the Jake again in 2012, along with a number of other major and minor league ballparks, some of which I have visited in the past.

So far I have assembled the following list of cities and venues to visit over the span of roughly one week, in no particular order:

  • Detroit (Tiger Stadium)
  • Toledo (Fifth Third Ballpark, AAA)
  • Cleveland (Progressive Field)
  • Canton (Pro Football Hall of Fame)
  • Pittsburgh (PNC Park, Consol Energy Center)
  • Columbus (Huntington Park, AAA)
  • Cincinnati (Great American Ball Park)
  • Dayton (Fifth Third Field, A)

There are additional side trips that could be taken if I have the time:

  • Louisville (Louisville Slugger Field, Museum/Factory)
  • Indianapolis (Victory Field, AAA)
  • Buffalo (Coca-Cola Field, AAA)
  • Toronto (Rogers Centre)
  • Lima, OH (McKinley High)

What places or parks would you like for me to cover on the trip? So far the must-sees are the 4 MLB facilities, Huntington Park, and Canton. Everything else is up for grabs or depends on the game schedules, which won’t be available for a few months at the very least. Also, if there’s a particular route you think I should take, here’s your chance to suggest it. I’m shooting for May 2012 to take the trip. Thanks for your help.

27 thoughts on “Rust Belt Ballpark Tour 2012

  1. ML, how are you going to visit Tiger Stadium since it’s been demolished for over a year now?

  2. @Dan – Ghosts, man. Ghosts.

  3. Shhhh, don’t acknowledge they exist or Ty Cobb is going to kick your ass…

  4. would be very interested read on your MiLB Dayton (Gruber’s team) visit since supposedly it supposedly has sold out like for 5 years or so…..wonder how they have sustained such an attraction…

  5. Target Field in Minneapolis to see the air rights development for the garage. Fenway Park and while there visit Copley Place built over the air rights of I-90.

  6. My best advice, from when my father and I did baseball vacations, is to take is slow. Don’t cram it all into 1 week, because you will be dead at the end of the week, especially in summer. Perhaps try 1 field every 2 days, and spread it over 2 weeks? Otherwise, you’ll feel like all you are doing is driving, enter ballpark, watch game, start driving again, and after about 3-4 days, you’ll simply be waiting for the game to be over instead of watching it.

    • @Zonis – The last two trips have been balls to the wall and they worked out well. The good part about this trip is that most of the drives should be 1-2 hours. Last year’s Texas/Midwest trip was nuts from a logistical standpoint yet I wouldn’t have done anything differently.

  7. @ML–doesn’t Hunnington Park have some of the same features Cisco Field has proposed–Colonnade? Believe it was ballpark of the year?

  8. @GoA’s – That’s why I’m going to Columbus. I’ll try for an interview if I can work it.

  9. For what it’s worth, I was really disappointed with the pro football HOF.

  10. The Fort Wayne Tin Caps (awesome name or what?) got a new park in 2009.

  11. I look forward to your piece on Huntington Park. That park has many design features that may be used at Cisco Field. Try to do the Louisville bat factory tour. Hold the bats of the great hitters of the past, choose a model and have it made with your name name engraved on it.

  12. I hear Canal Park in Akron (home of the Aeros) is quite a place. Stop by All Pro Stadium (Avon, OH), home of the Lake Erie Crushers, as well. As you mentioned, 5th/3rd in Toledo is a great place. Stop by the Maumee Bay Brew Pub adjacent to the stadium before the game.

  13. If you don’t mind hopping a fence at Tiger Stadium, there’s a baseball diamond and weed-choked outfield (apparently there’s a neighborhood group that maintains it occasionally, against the city’s wishes). I was there last month (happened to be there at Matsui’s 500th). Twas the first time a certain someone ran the bases at a major league field (I won’t tell you who, since I’m assuming it was technically trespassing). The CF flagpole is still there as well.

  14. hecanfoos is right. Unless you are going for an induction ceremony, the hall itself is dated and underwhealming. Tho if you are passing by, it’s worth it to stop and see the busts of your favorite players. A better facility by far is the College Football HOF in South Bend – maybe a little out of the way, but worth if you love college football.
    .
    I did a midwest swing in September 1997.
    Chicago – Game @ Wrigley
    South Bend – Game at ND, College HOF
    Cleveland – Game at the Jake, Rock and Roll HOF (must see)
    Canton – Pro HOF
    .
    I always like to fly into Chicago, cheaper flights and I always have a great time in Chi-town..

  15. I’ll third the underwhelmingness of the football HOF (went there for John Madden’s induction in ’06).

  16. @ML-I don’t remember you reporting on the air rights development of the parking garage over the freeway at Target Field. Including how long the approval process took.

  17. I could be wrong, but ML, are you looking to go visit Sue Sylvester at McKinley High? That would be awesome!

  18. @daveybaby – I have to break up the drive to Detroit somehow. Lima’s right in the middle.

  19. PNC Park is, IMO, the best ballpark in the majors (too bad the Pirates aren’t worthy of it). Have a great time.

    I second what 4Libertee says about Canal Park. My brother lives in the Akron area, and has told me the Aeros are a fun ticket. This is also a HOK ballpark.

  20. Rock and Roll HOF? It seems a bit corny, but I’m curious.

  21. By the way, McKinley High is in Canton, OH, not Lima. The Lima high schools are Senior and Shawnee.

  22. R&R HOF has a lot of great memorbilia and rotating exhibits. Also since it is fairly new, the interactive exhibits are cool – like music influence “family trees.” When I was there they had a whole exhibit on Bill Graham with great personal items like his exit visas from Europe when he escaped the Nazis as a boy. If you happen to find yourself in Cleveland, it’s worth a visit.

  23. The R&R HOF is a complete joke as a Hall of Fame. (Referring to their tendency to enshrine rap stars and one hit wonders before legendary musicians who actually played, y’know, actual rock and roll, sometimes for decades). However, as a museum it is very cool.

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