Category Archives: Travelogue
The flights for the Chicago-Milwaukee trip have been booked. Barring any unforeseen changes, I’ll be flying in Wednesday evening, June 5th, coming back June 9th. Here’s the game itinerary:
- Thursday, June 6, 7:10 PM - Phillies @ Brewers. Promotion: Harley Davidson Crew H-D night.$18 upper deck ticket + free admission to Harley Davidson museum.
- Friday, June 7, 1:20 PM – Pirates @ Cubs. Promotion: Cubs floppy hat (fishing cap), first 20,000 fans
- Friday, June 7, 7:10 PM – A’s @ White Sox. Promotion: Fireworks
- Saturday, June 8, 3:10 PM – A’s @ White Sox. Promotion: 1983 White Sox T-shirt, first 20,000 fans [I loved the old logo BTW]
- Sunday, June 9, 1:10 PM – A’s @ White Sox. Promotion: N/A
It’s sure to be good times. If you live in either the Chicagoland or Milwaukee areas or happen to be passing through, let me know and we can have a chat over a beer (or several).
The middle game of a three-night set at Dodger Stadium had thousands of discounted tickets available on StubHub, a reminder that even for teams with $200 million payrolls and season attendance totals surpassing 3 million almost regularly, it’s still possible to find a deal. Or in Tuesday night’s case, an empty house.
I came because I happened to be in town for a week and I wanted to catch a game at either Chavez Ravine or Anaheim. I also wanted to take the Dodger Stadium Express, the bus that runs directly from Union Station to Dodger Stadium. This year there was also the added benefit of a bus-only lane going up Elysian Park Drive to help speed up the trip. I calculated that it took 15 minutes to get from Union Station to the intersection of Sunset and Elysian Park, then less than 5 minutes to get to the final destination behind centerfield. As you can see from the picture below, the buses get packed. It’s a good option for those who want to take Metro or a Metrolink train in. The $1.50 fare is waived if you show a ticket on the way in. The driver doesn’t bother to check for anything on the way back.
The Tuesday night game had no giveaway and was billed as Taiwan night. Pre-game festivities included a traditional band from Taiwan who played a mournful version of The Star Spangled Banner. Since this is Hollywood, there was also a purely commercial wrinkle as the American band Fall Out Boy was on hand to promote their new record. Pete Wentz threw the ceremonial first pitch. I entered the stadium greeted by this view.
There isn’t much else to say about the experience, other than that the scoreboards by ANC Sports are quite impressive. Circulation between the levels is still impossible, and since I got the $11 ticket near the RF foul pole, I couldn’t go any higher than the club concourse. The final crowd (announced 35,898) was not much better than what you see above. I assume that the events surrounding the Boston Marathon incident may have scared some people off. The Padres dropped a 4-spot on the Dodgers in the first inning off Chris Capuano, so the small crowd that showed up wasn’t tempted to stick around for long. Security didn’t seem heightened to a great degree.
The best way to describe the new scoreboards is to think of them as a set of three. The lower part along the outfield fence is an out-of-town board and a State Farm ad. When a Dodger comes up to bat it usually changes to an animated intro. This is mirrored on the small display underneath the diamond/hexagon large display. The strip is a great addition because it’s the perfect spot for a perpetual in-game line score. Unfortunately, the geniuses at Dodger Stadium don’t keep it perpetual at all, instead choosing to include the strip as part of the ongoing multimedia presentation. The big board is very impressive. Even the funky shape works to the team’s advantage, as there are little nooks for the clock, the on-base situation, even logos for the teams above the lineups. When a Dodger comes up to hit, the LF board shows a big picture (in keeping with the old setup) and on the bottom corner is the player’s Twitter handle. Statistical presentation is clean and modern, though it could use more advanced stats.
I was eventually able to sneak down to the field club seat area down the lines. By the 8th inning everyone wanted to go home. An attempt to sing Sweet Caroline in honor of Boston was met with a big SoCal “meh”. WiFi was supposed to be better, but I couldn’t tell. Who knows what would’ve happened if the game were better? We’ll never know. Maybe the next time I go to Dodger Stadium, someone will give a damn.
Last year I focused much of my baseball-related travel within California, a state full of quality baseball and inexpensive to boot. This year I’m going back to traveling to other major league cities, to see a few new ballparks I haven’t yet seen or ballparks that have undergone changes and upgrades. If you’re in one of these cities and you want to take in a game over a couple of beers, let me know. Here’s the plan for now. It’ll be firmed up in the next few weeks. The theme here is weekends, 2-3 days for the most part, minimal vacation time required.
- June 7-9: Chicago/Milwaukee. I did this section as part of the 2010 Midwest trip. The last experience was marred by a train accident that forced me to miss a White Sox game. The Brewers were also out of town, though I was able to take a tour of Miller Park instead. This time all three MLB teams are in town, including the White Sox hosting the A’s. Unfortunately the A’s Midwest League affiliate, the Beloit Snappers (WI), are not in town. Exact trip details TBD.
- August 22-25: New York/Florida. I could take two separate trips to New York and Miami to cover the three new parks, but I’d just as soon do it all in one trip if I can. It would start with Blue Jays @ Yankees on 8/22, Tiger @ Mets on 8/23, and Rockies @ Marlins on 8/24 or 8/25. I may even throw in a Yankees @ Rays game during the weekend if I can hack it. Alternate dates: June 27-30.
- September 28-29: A’s @ Seattle. It’s a day-after-night set at the end of the season, so I can fly in Saturday afternoon and fly back Sunday evening. Easy, no fuss, $200 roundtrip on Southwest or Alaskan. Hopefully the games will be meaningful. Alternate dates: June 22-23.
There are also plans for one or two trips to Southern California to catch all three MLB teams there. That’s a bit more fluid. There’s also the possibility of an Ohio trip, but I’m not sure I can fit it in.
I have to admit that these short jaunts are inspired in part by Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover, which covers the celebrity food writer/TV host’s 24-48 hour stints in numerous world cities. Expect new travelogue entries to go with the trips.
Are you planning any ballpark trips this year? Do you have any comments or suggestions? You know where to go.
The new tradition known as the World Baseball Classic returns next spring. As reported earlier in the summer, San Francisco was chosen as the site for the finals, to be held March 17-19. The schedule is out now, if you want to plan for the event.
- Pool play: March 2-6 in Japan and Taiwan, March 7-10 in Puerto Rico and Phoenix, AZ.
- Second round (Double elimination): Pool 1 (Japan) – March 8-12, Pool 2 (Miami, FL) – March 12-16
- Semifinals: March 17-18
- Finals: Tuesday, March 19
Tickets are not yet for sale for the championship rounds. I’ll post anew when tickets are made available. All games will be broadcast on MLB Network. Some qualifying pool games have already been played, with two additional pools to commence mid-November.
During the last two WBCs, much attention was paid to ensuring that pitchers don’t get overworked, since spring training is meant to ramp their workload gradually. There are even rules to give pitchers an appropriate amount of rest between appearances. Rosters for the major contending teams aren’t expected to be set until winter. While the Giants appear to have numerous players who could appear on numerous rosters, it’s unclear what A’s might play in the WBC due to their relative lower profile. Yoenis Cespedes, who played in 2006 and 2009, can no longer play for Cuba due to his defector status.
Pitching concerns aside, the great thing about the World Baseball Classic is that it forces spring training to start a week earlier than usual. 2012′s spring training schedule started on March 3. In 2013 gameplay should start on February 23, with pitchers and catchers likely to report around Valentine’s Day as they did in 2009. The A’s first game is on 2/23 against the Brewers, only 117 days away from today’s date.
The inclusion of WBC games into spring training allows for a greater variety and schedule of games to watch in March, whether you’re in Arizona or Florida. Chase Field will hold First Round pool play March 7-10, while Marlins Park will stage Second Round games March 12-16. 2009′s semifinals games brought in 43,000 fans each while the final had over 54,000 announced attendance. The final rounds at AT&T Park should sell out as teams emerge from the elimination round. If 2009 is any indicator prices may be steep. Fans back then were encouraged to buy strips, just as they would for postseason games. That and the uncertainty regarding which teams would play slowed sales a bit, as pool play in Miami and San Diego last year frequently attracted fewer than 20,000 fans per game. Tickets for the 2013 WBC are expected to go on sale on December 3.
First, a quick note of congratulations to the Giants for winning their second World Series in the three years. The new interleague format with home/home series should be even more tension-filled in 2013.
The two tables below show distances and travel times between ballparks. There’s also a Google Drive spreadsheet if you want to download the tables. Methodology is simple. Numerous queries were done via Google Maps and Sport Map World and assembled into tables. Travel times for driving are the distance divided by an average 55 mph speed. Air travel times are air distance divided by a 540 mph speed, plus 15 minutes to allow for takeoffs and landings. Air travel times are between venues, not airports, so factor additional transit time if you are planning a trip based on air travel.
A newswrap post should be coming tomorrow.
Update 10/30 12:00 AM – Added tentative Minor League Baseball schedule in Google Drive format, Excel, and PDF. Includes all games except for Rookie/Short Season schedules, which are not yet published. The schedule has not yet be reformatted into the grid used for the MLB schedule. That’s coming soon.
The first thing I did, upon learning that a work trip would take me to the land of Jai Alai, plastic pink flamingos and brightly painted bungalows with terra cotta roofs, was to look up the Miami Marlins schedule. When I discovered that my trip would coincide with a home stand my excitement was temporary and tepid, for I have seen the lime green fence, the epileptic seizure of a home run feature and the aquarium around home plate on TV and I was annoyed by all of them. The joint seemed to scream “schtick” to me and as a result I was prepared to be let down by the lack of “traditional” touches I have come to love in many cities. The brick facades, the dark green seats, the traditional architecture.
As I exited my rented Ford Mustang and headed for the stairwell in the Home Plate Garage I was expecting to be let down but was surprised to catch myself staring in awe at the giant building in front of me. Being a Sci Fi geek of the worst kind, the building evoked in me images of the civilian fleet set adrift and under the protection of the Battlestar Galactica in the 2003 SyFy Channel miniseries. I was astonished to be impressed and amazed to not be missing the retro look of many other stadiums.
As I have traveled to many MLB ballparks, I have developed a pattern and approach to getting the most out of what is likely to be my lone visit. The pillars of this approach are:
- Get to the park early and sneak to the expensive seats for a close look at the field.
- Find my actual seat and then wander the concourses, finding some signature food item to eat along the way, until about 15 minutes before the first pitch.
- Spend 3 Innings in my seat, watching the game and taking in the atmosphere.
- Walk to one of the bars in the stadium, get a Jack and Coke, and then wander the concourses during the game to get as many angles as possible for 3 innings.
- Watch the last 3 innings from a seat, preferably in some other part of the park than the one I purchased.
Here are the notes from my 5 point observation plan on Marlins Park:
My pregame stroll started with a tough decision. Marlins Park had many, many food options that featured local favorites scattered throughout the place. The problem was that I had been to Mango’s in South Beach for dinner the night before and I was in the mood for more traditional baseball fare. One thing to note here is that the concourses in Miami feel like Parisian Boulevards, wide and bright. They are painted with various accent colors, giving each section of the park the feel of a separate neighborhood. Upon dressing my dog and taking a bite, I instantly regretted my choice. The dog was somewhat dry and the bun was a little soggy. I suppose it served me right for skipping the fired shrimp and potatoes or Cuban food.
Two other things jumped out at me on this sneak to the good seats and pregame stroll. The first was that the team hasn’t quite figured out how to manage the playing surface. There was a patch of grass behind third base that was particularly troubling with multiple sections of dying sod interwoven with not too healthy looking grass. The second was that the park had an “unfinished” feel, best represented by the backside of the monstrous HR feature.
These are relatively minor quibbles. It could have been a bad night in the concession stand for hot dogs, the “unfinished” feel could soon be rectified and they will eventually nail managing the environment so that the grass looks healthier. And suffice to say, these quibbles were far outweighed by the positives of the stadium, starting with the aforementioned concourses. But the one underlying aspect that made this stadium so enjoyable can be summed up by saying, “It was quintessential Miami.”
One of the first things I noticed on the stroll was a huge column painted with a history of the site’s former historic resident, the Orange Bowl. This added a nice slice of history to the most modern looking ballpark built since 1992. Another highlight was the Bobblehead Museum with All Star like representation for all of MLB’s franchises. Being the fan of libations that I am, I was also happy to see a bar situated above both Left and Right Field with great views of the playing surface.
When I finally arrived in my seat, gushing at all the awesome that was contained in the stadium I was surprised to see that the park included one last tiny slice of awesome in that it had free WiFi for the guests. Admittedly, this is an aspect that some would not be heralding as “awesome.” I am not only a Sci Fi geek, but a consumer technology geek as well. I love me some Facebook and Instagram and Twitter…. They all work better on the WiFi. Another highlight of the time in my seat was a Jose Reyes HR that set off that insane fish sculpture in Left Center. It didn’t seem half as obnoxious in person as it had on TV.
My second, and in game, stroll included several discussions with fans. Many of whom, upon learning of my affiliation with the Green and Gold, were effusive with praise. It may have just been this particular night, but there was a vitriol for Marlins ownership that more than rivals anything you might hear in the Right Field bleachers of the Coliseum. The two most common things I heard was “You guys do it right” in reference to Billy Beane and “Hanley will be your problem come tomorrow” in way that hinted he was a problem they still wished was theirs. My favorite interaction was with a man from Fremont, he hugged me as he finished recounting the previous nights A’s and Blue Jays game with an emotional “Moneyball is back!”
One bad thing on this stroll, I tried to sneak into the Clevelander, a club tucked inside the Left Field fence but was thwarted (the usher had never heard of newballpark.org and didn’t care that I just wanted to take a picture). One of my favorite places to watch a game in San Francisco is from inside the Right Field fence, the Virgin Loft. I would have loved to compare the two experiences because from what I understand, the guys in Miami elevated the inside the fence club concept to a new level.
In summary, this stadium is a real treat and much better than I expected after seeing it on TV. I hope that the folks of South Florida start basking its glory with more frequency because it is a shrine to all things Miami. I would gladly take it, or something similar in the Bay Area in which our Green and Gold heroes could ply their trade.
One of the entrances to Chukchansi Park is right off the Fulton Mall, a 60′s relic of urban planning deserted by one major business after another over several decades. Designed by the inventor of the shopping mall, Victor Gruen, Fulton Mall was to be the first part of a huge, outdoor, pedestrian-friendly superblock development. Even though Fulton Mall opened to wide acclaim and great amounts of traffic, all it took was the departure of one anchor tenant – Montgomery Ward’s in 1970 to a new suburban mall – to set off the eventual, gradual decay of the concept. Throughout the 80′s and 90′s, numerous ideas were pitched to help revitalize downtown, none coming to fruition.
So it’s easy to see how many civic and business leaders felt that Chukchansi Park (opened in 2002) would become a key catalyst in the redevelopment of Downtown Fresno. Sadly, Fulton Mall is as rundown and empty as ever, the only tenants being thrift stores and other retailers catering to the Latino community. It’s an all-too-familiar example of how ballparks don’t bring urban renewal. Peeking into restaurants and storefronts before the game, it appeared that what few patrons were there were not also ballpark-bound. With a garage and a surface lot close by, there’s never a need to hang out in the dilapidated downtown.
That said, Chukchansi Park is still a decent AAA park, centrally located in the region, and easily accessible by public transit. If you’re a baseball junkie and have time for a day trip, Fresno’s reachable in four hours or less from most of the state. The single concourse at Chukchansi is vast at 50 feet wide. There are mist nozzles at the edge of the overhang that are deployed when it gets too hot. A beer garden is in the left field corner, though it mainly serves Tecate (a key sponsor) and Bud Light.
Speaking of overhangs, Chukchansi Park is one of two in the Pacific Coast League’s Pacific Conference that has two seating levels (the other is Spring Mobile Ballpark in Salt Lake City). Most PCL parks have the press/suite level above or attached to a single seating level. When building to 10,000 seats, going with one or two decks shouldn’t affect sightlines to any significant degree. Two decks puts the suites higher than you might expect at other minor league parks, though that is also not typically a deciding factor for those interested in suites.
Perhaps the most unique aspect of Chukchansi Park is its inclusion of several amusement park attractions within the grounds. Behind the plate is a carousel. In remote right field are a ferris wheel and funhouse. The attractions were added for this season and could stay or go in the future depending on their popularity. Considering that there’s little to see in the outfield other than some cars and the portable stage that gets used occasionally, the ferris wheel is a welcome sight.
After the game ended at around 5 p.m., I walked through the Fulton Mall towards the train station about 15 minutes away. My walking route took me through the office/commercial area defined by the convention center, Selland Arena, and the William Saroyan Theatre. All three were completed by 1966, around the same time as the Fulton Mall. Though these venues are a bit old and not as compelling as newer facilities (Save Mart Center has more-or-less replaced Selland Arena), the buildings themselves are in much better shape than Fulton Mall. Moreover, as I walked through the area I noticed something eerily unusual: not a living soul anywhere. Only three blocks away from a ballpark and two from the heart of downtown, absolutely nothing was happening. It was a Sunday so I suppose that was to be somewhat expected. Still, it left an impression.
The 60′s were a time of great nervous social experimentation. The 1968 film embedded near the top was put together by Victor Gruen Associates as a crowning achievement to be shown in the White House. While Gruen was known most for pioneering the indoor shopping mall, he also had bold ideas of how to transform rundown urban areas to make them more inviting. Much of his work in this vein was centered around banishing the car, which the film’s narrator cites as largely responsible for the ills of urban living. In a 2004 feature for The New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell pointed out the irony in Gruen trying to recreate Vienna’s Ringstrasse in America, only to have it perverted by cars and developers and popularized to the point that Old World city Vienna has some America-style commercial development. It’s an important lesson to keep in mind for the next generation of urban planners. Fresno’s rebuilt downtown was done in the mid 60′s, at the same time as the Oakland-Alameda County Complex. The Coliseum was done without an ancillary commercial component, which in hindsight didn’t help Downtown Oakland as much as it could have. If Coliseum City were to come to fruition, effectively creating a second downtown, it’ll be interesting so how much it adversely affects the current downtown. As we’ve seen in Fresno and San Jose, legacy downtowns don’t suffer competition well.
Today at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, the CIF North Coast Section will have its finals. As I understand, tickets are $9 and cover the whole day – four games of championship high school baseball. By now, the Division IV game has finished, leaving only the Divisions I-III games. If I wasn’t in LA for the weekend, I would’ve gone up to the Coli to check it out.
The California Interscholastic Federation is comprised of 10 regional sections, including four city-specific sections: San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, and San Diego. (Late-growing cities such as San Jose and Sacramento are part of regional sections.) The SF and Oakland city championships were held at AT&T Park and the Coliseum, respectively. LA’s city championship is being held now at Dodger Stadium. I still had a couple of days on my Amtrak California Rail Pass to kill, so I decided on a whim to head down to LA to catch the Southern Section championships. Honestly, I wasn’t prepared for how incredible the experience would be.
Also held at Dodger Stadium this year, the Southern Section championships covers just about every school that’s in SoCal but isn’t in either LA or SD. That makes for a very competitive playoffs, and it showed last night. The Division II final between Orange County schools Aliso Niguel and Pacifica (Garden Grove) was a masterpiece, with the latter winning 3-2 in 10 innings (7 is regulation). The D I final was no slouch as Newbury Park upset powerhouse Mater Dei coming in and outlasted Corona to win the title.
My chief motivation for going was simple: having no rooting interest as a parent or alumnus of any of these schools, I simply wanted to catch a ballgame (or three) in some of the best seats at Dodger Stadium. And it was fabulous. Only the infield part of the lower deck was open for seating. The club section behind the plate was closed and off limits, a policy which created tension later as some kids from one of the winning schools climbed over some walls and through the club sections to jump onto the field. The closures effectively limited the capacity to around 5,000, which didn’t matter much as nearly all of the schools provided solid supporting sections. It was fun to see and hear small, vocal groups of fans on either side of the plate rooting against each other juxtaposed against the soaring backdrop at Chavez Ravine. Nothing quite prepared me for hearing pep bands at baseball games, a practice which I have to say – painfully as a former pep band member – should be banned.
I managed to get a seat in the front row of Section 2 behind the plate. Somehow I felt extremely fortunate as I had never sat this close (single game price for a Dodger game: $115) before and probably never would again. One of the nice, unexpected baseball fan treats was that the starting pitcher for Newbury Park threw with a three-quarter delivery (Eck, Huston Street, Rod Beck), so his arm angle was right in my line of sight. It made his breaking pitches look that much more outrageous.
Concessions were half-price, although only three stands were open, leading to long, concourse-clogging lines. Still, a half-price Dodger Dog is about the right price IMHO. The lower concourse, stands, and restrooms were properly renovated (waterfree urinals, no troughs), but with no space to widen the concourses, circulation was as cramped an affair as ever.
I’ve been to a few games at Dodger Stadium in the past at different times during the season and both hot and cool weather. I didn’t expect the ballpark’s transformation as day turned to twilight and then into nightfall. Unlike AT&T Park and the Coliseum, where you can easily see the fog coming in as a sort of gloom settling over the place, when I sat down low here the marine layer seemed to sneak up on the me. It was almost as if someone flipped a switch for a fog machine. As would be expected, the moist, cool, dense air knocked down fly ball after fly ball, including a couple of shots that should’ve been homers. At the same time, San Gabriel Mountains receded into blackness and the whole game seemed to be played in a hazy mist, a halycon dream. The picture above doesn’t do it justice, and it’s hard to appreciate from the upper levels of the park, where I had almost always previously sat. The fog created a magical, movie-like quality to the event, similar to what I felt during the on-location filming of Moneyball two years ago – except not constantly interrupted by the process of filmmaking. The crowds were boisterous, the players intense and yet all too human, the coaches animated. I soaked up the whole thing, and when it was over at 10:30, I was sorry to leave. Now I finally see why Hollywood shoots here so frequently. They couldn’t have dreamed up this environment with a billion dollars of CGI and their wildest dreams. The new Dodger ownership group would have to be absolutely insane to even entertain the thought of leaving this place.
Stockton’s leaders may make the toughest decision in the city’s history next Tuesday. Drowning in debt and scrambling for ways to restructure or forgive that debt, the city is expected to decide whether or not to enter Chapter 9 bankruptcy. Chapter 9 is an avenue set aside by the federal government for municipalities, and was most prominently almost twenty years ago when Orange County’s debts soared to an unsustainable level thanks to criminally poor fiscal management. Already, a $35 million building bought to be utilized as the next City Hall has been repossessed.
A downtown bar featured in a LA Times article in March has closed. As I walked around during a weekday morning, I felt as if tumbleweeds were going to blow across the streets. Storefronts were frequently empty. The movie theater complex had little activity. The only places that felt alive were the local Starbucks, and, as I would find out within an hour, the ballpark.
The day game I attended was nearly sold out thanks to a number of elementary and middle school children who were in attendance. They were treated to the Ports’ 15-3 shellacking of the San Jose Giants. The win halted a Stockton 12-game home losing streak. The section I was in got coupons for In-n-Out Double Doubles thanks to a Max Stassi double, and the whole crowd got a free meal at a local Denny’s because of Chad Oberacker’s grand slam. I don’t know when I’ll be in Stockton again to redeem the vouchers. That’s life.
Stockton Ballpark, as it’s officially known, was built by Swinerton and Frank M. Booth, the same company that built Raley Field. It’s very intimate, with 12-16 rows throughout the grandstand. Wedged between the channel and the arena, the left field foul pole is only 300 feet from the plate. There’s no second deck, no suite/press level cantilevered over the single concourse, and only a small club section. This was done to keep costs under control, which is a net positive in the end. There are plenty of concession stands down the first base line, very few down the third base line. A design quirk has an elevated bridge connecting the outfield berm area with the grandstand in the RF corner. To allow for service vehicle clearance, the bridge requires fans to take a flight up steps up and down. The berm wraps around to center, where it meets a Kinder’s BBQ stand. The bullpens and a seated picnic area are in left.
A road winds between the ballpark and the arena, connecting both to the waterfront. The 10,000-seat Stockton Arena is a clean, tidy affair, with decent concourse space and an auditorium-style layout for concerts. The side facing the water is glass, the other sides are concrete, metal, and wood panels, the latter of which are having their protective film fraying. No matter, it’s a decent looking building even if it towers over the ballpark and looks somewhat out of place in downtown Stockton.
As the City continues to fight for its future, there’s a lingering question of whether Stockton’s redevelopment efforts were worth it. California is unique in that it has a few cities that are the size of major league cities elsewhere in the country, yet places like Stockton, Fresno, Riverside, and Long Beach don’t get the kind of attention Cleveland, Buffalo, Milwaukee, or St. Louis does. Stockton saw a gravy train of new residents looking for cheap exurban housing and didn’t see the collapse of the housing market immediately behind it. They paid inordinate salaries and benefits to public employees, which put Stockton in the financial straits it’s in today. No one knows how exactly Stockton will get out of it, and what Stockton will look like when that happens. Chances are that the arena will be there. The ballpark will be there. And Dallas Braden will be there too by all rights. That can’t be all bad.
I went to the Golden Gate Bridge yesterday morning to pay my respects on the bridge’s 75th birthday. On the way back, I drove over to Piers 30-32 to check out the site of Joe Lacob and Peter Guber’s dreams, a rundown waterfront pier currently used as a parking lot. You may know the site currently as the home of Red’s Java House, the little shack that serves up quick, reasonably priced burgers. Fortunately for Red’s and their customers, the Warriors want to keep the venerable restaurant in place even as the new arena is built.
We talk a lot about how great the view is from AT&T Park. Frankly, it doesn’t hold a candle to this view from Pier 30.
That’s just from sea level. Now imagine that you’re on an elevated deck overlooking Pier 28, with an unfettered view of the Bay Bridge. Better yet, imagine that you could see this from inside the arena bowl. How is that possible? I’ll explain later tonight.