2013 ballpark trips (tentative)

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.

39 thoughts on “2013 ballpark trips (tentative)

  1. Hey ML,

    My father is coming out to Chicago in June, and we are going up to Milwakee and then back to Chicago. Maybe we’ll see ya there.

  2. @Zonis – Are you going to tailgate at Miller Park? That’s something I haven’t experienced there.

  3. Let me know if and when you come to New York. I’d definitely be down to catch one or both games from you. Not sure where I will be living here but soon will know.

  4. I don’t think we will.

    But, if you want to catch a game while you’re in Chicago, tell me. I live in Wrigelyville.

  5. @pjk – Since your comment is way OT, I’m deleting it.

    @Zonis – I’ll let you know as I get closer to the trip date.

  6. I was at the game yesterday sitting next to this guy who was on a personal quest to visit all thirty stadiums (with the Coliseum being his 18th stop!) and got chat with him for a bit. It was pretty neat to hear of his travels (FWIW, he ranked the two SoCal stadiums as his favorites when I asked) and perspective of our own humble abode in comparison to the other parks he’s visited. Very cool – I’ve always thought a cross-country ballpark tour would definitely be something to put on the bucket list. Just curious ML, how many of the thirty MLB ballparks have you been to?

  7. @JL – I’ve been at all of the current ballparks except for the three new ones in NY and Miami. I’ve also been to 7 or 8 former ballparks, most of the them multipurpose stadia. I started doing this kind of travel while I was in college.

  8. Hey ML – I’m doing that same Chicago / Milwaukee trip 6/6-9. We’re hitting Wrigley and U.S. Cellular Friday, Miller Park Saturday and Wrigley again Sunday. I’ve never been to any of the three, so looking fwd to this new annual tradition with an old childhood buddy and my brother-in-law!

  9. It’ll be interesting to hear what you think of those three parks. I’ve been to two of them (and hope to hit CitiField this season). I was surprised at how much better Marlins Park seemed in person than on TV.

  10. Loved Wrigley when I was in graduate school, but my heart was with the White Sox since I am an American League guy. The most interesting thing was sitting in a 3-hour rain delay at Wrigley when the game was stopped at the top of the seventh. Since beer stops being served at the bottom of the seventh, beer vendors just camped out by the bathroom and sold a ton. Sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” twice, and got back to my apartment at 11 at night, for a game that started at 2:20. Quite an experience. Finished off that summer of ’03 with two games at Cell with the A’s in town. So fun. And loved early bird food prices at Wrigley, half-off everything until the end of batting practice. Those little touches really make fans feel good.

  11. Looks like the Cubs and Chicago, with lightning speed, have agreed to a $500 mill overhaul of Wrigley. Compare that to 15+ years of thumb-twiddling and buck-passing in Oakland.

  12. I’m actually going to Boston next week and hope to catch a game at Fenway (wearing my A’s cap of course)!

    That would be great if you can make an assessment of what $500M “upgrades” will be done to Wrigley, although from what I read, most of the money is for the development is for around Wrigely and not to it…and of course, if you go to Florida, a look at the new Miami stadium would be kool!

  13. I’ll be flying out to PNC park to watch the A’s take on McCutch and the Pirates after the 4th of July. Any A’s fans going out for that series?

  14. @pjk

    If I recall the article the Cub’s owners are putting up most of the funds to renovate Wrigley.

  15. The Cubs were 10th in attendance last year, despite an abysmal record, while the A’s ranked 27th in attendance despite being one of the top teams. It looks like the Cubs are a big moneymaker and owners have incentive to put a lot of their own cash into a ballpark project for the team, since they will undoubtedly make it all back. Not seeing that kind of incentive for the A’s owners in Oakland.

  16. It’s a charming dump of a stadium if you are a Cubs fan. The renovations are long overdue. Its a Win-Win deal for the city (no new taxes) and the Cubs in the long run. Hopefully it will allow them to make more money from the stadium and attract quality FAs. The curse of the goat lives on since someone sent the Cubs a goat head on Opening Day.

  17. Wrigley is a really interesting place. I plan on visiting next month 🙂 The stadiums I have visited, I put them in various tiers of aweosmeness. The only two that are “top tier” are Fenway Park and Wrigley, because they really have all the attributes a guy like me loves in a stadium and that most new stadiums are striving to achieve. The most important aspect for me is “Does the stadium feel like a part of it’s neighborhood/City.” Wrigley and Fenway are off the charts with Camden being the modern equivalent.
    .
    In all honesty, that’s the only measure that AT&T Park has a little fail in (the palm trees and brick don’t feel San Francisco to me, even though there are palm trees in the Mission District and such).

  18. Well, for the last month I have had my tickets and been anxiously waiting to go to my first game at Fenway when the A’s are in town next week. At the moment, not so sure how to feel about that.

  19. @pjk/berry – Save that for a different thread, one of the older ones perhaps.

  20. For Wrigley, its 300 million for the stadium, including video board, concourse, slightly bigger OF footprint, and a lot of reno to clubhouses adding batting cages and lots of overdue items. Plus 200 million on a hotel and Cubs offices across the street. These were all long overdue.

  21. Looking for a little help here. I’m headed to Dodger stadium for the first time the following Friday. We’re staying downtown and want to get to the game early. 4 guys approx 40. How can we get to to a 7:00 game on time? Everything I’ve read makes it sound like an impossibility. The drive can take 2+ hours to go only 2.2 miles. The walk is through unsafe areas and is ridiculously up hill.

    Does anyone have any recommendation about how we should try to get to the game and when we’d have to leave to get there on time?

  22. @Dave, just take city streets instead of the freeway and you will be totally fine. It took about 20 mins from downtown for a friday night game for me. Also, this probably goes without saying…but I’ll say it anyways – aim to get there at least half an hour before game time.

  23. I know there’s some kind of bus that goes there (it gets to go in a special gate to avoid the traffic going in). If not, city streets should be OK. I’ve been to a few games (no sellouts though) and haven’t had any problems getting in. Getting out is what takes forever.

  24. Thanks for the tips guys. I had heard some bad things about the express, which I believe travels up Cesar Chavez/Sunset to the Elysian Park entrance. Granted I suppose this could just be some sort of rare accident, but I’d heard a story where they weren’t moving for over an hour and the drivers won’t let you out.

  25. Downtown to Dodger Stadium = Stay off the Freeways! Ignore everything on their website:

    http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/la/downloads/y2008/freeway_arrivals.pdf

    Blow up the map to 200% so you can see the side streets. Go up Broadway from downtown to Solano Ave. Turn left and go through the neighborhood to the Academy Road Gate. 15 minutes tops. Academy Rd is always, without fail, the least busy of the parking entrances. Plus, you’ll wind up parking in those big lots past CF, those empty relatively quickly (though we usually move the car closer to the exit after they tell us where to park.) When you leave you can either repeat the process or get on 110.

    If it’s a day game, you can park in Elysian Park for free and walk in.

  26. This came out in the Metro today….An open letter to Bud Selig.

    A good laugh for us all…The picture is awesome.

    http://bit.ly/11w4Rcp

  27. Click the link and then click on the pic of Cisco Field.

  28. @ Sid – thanks for the article. I had a good hardy chuckle out of it, especially:

    “Of course, there are those rare occasions when we see you’re not completely apathetic, such as when a reporter asked where the process stood last year and you replied, “You aren’t going to get a fucking answer.”

    Fuck. That.”

  29. Bud the Coward continues to do nothing, which he can get away with since MLB is a monopoly.

  30. re: “You aren’t going to get a f*** answer.”

    …No one with type of demeanor who would make a comment like this in a public forum would ever run a real company for very long. But Selig runs MLB’s country club instead and has done so for years.

  31. ML: I just got back from a trip in which I visited Turner Field and Marlins Park (along with Philips Arena). I’ve now seen a game in 28 of 30 current ballparks, and visited the other two (St. Louis and Houston) on non-gamedays.

    FWIW, I thought Marlins Park rocked; it’s now in my top 5. Original architecture, interesting public art and other features, and the best concessions I’ve seen in any ballpark. (Better food on the concourse than in most ballparks’ clubs).

    And having the Clevelander in the outfield puts it right over the top (South Beach nightclub branch with a swimming pool, DJ, go-go dancers, bodypainting, on field seating and bar that stays open well after the game ends, all for just a $10 cover).

  32. @ML: do you ever think of just not having comments anymore? Wow.

  33. I plan on going to new York this summer so ill check out the Yankees or Mets caise I never been to citifield. Larry e and any other haters just gotta shut up because I will hurt their feelings….thank u

  34. As an avid fan of the live baseball experience, I love hearing about other fans’ visits to various parks. I myself made the rounds to all 30 stadiums during the 2011 and 2012 seasons. I am looking forward to getting back out west to see some of the changes made at Petco, Safeco, and Dodger stadium. I started following this site a few years ago, hoping MLB and the cities of Oakland and St. Pete can do something about the sorry excuse for venues that the A’s and Rays find themselves playing in. Aside from the astroturf in Toronto, O.Co and the Trop are the only blemishes on the game. So many cities have done an amazing job in the last 20 + years with new stadiums. Marlins Park is a fiscal calamity for the citizens of Miami, but as a baseball fan, it was a massive upgrade. Watching baseball at Sun Life was just like watching baseball at the Coliseum, with the added bonus of blistering heat. As a Cubs fan out of Chicago, I am thankful that we are getting closer to renovating Wrigley. It is a great place to watch a game, but the nets suspended under the upper deck are a constant reminder that the stadium needs serious upgrades. However, I’m not sure how an ownership group which took on a reported $580 million worth of debt to buy the team can invest another $500 million into renovation to the stadium and surrounding neighborhood. They are already landmark status tax breaks to help ease the burden. The Cubs had the 3rd highest payroll, about $135 million, when the Ricketts took over in 2009. We opened 2013 at 15th, about $88 million. I’m assuming this $500 million project can only serve to add to the team’s debt and further prolong the soon to be 105 year championship droubt. However, the A’s 29th ranked payroll and AL West championship in 2012 gives me hope. Great site ML. Thanks for all the updates. Maybe I’ll run into you at Wrigley.

  35. Rogers Centre isn’t as bad as its rep. Turf sucks but the stadium is nice, and food is pretty damn good as well. Rumour has it they’re looking into getting grass, which would be huge.

    I’ve been to 20 of the 30, going to Target and Chase this season, and have been to 4 former parks as well. I plan on doing 1 or 2 a year until I’ve been to them all. Hoping the A’s and Ray’s get work something out…. Would definitely go to the Colosium, but don’t see myself getting excited to go to the trop…

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