So, now that all is right with the world and baseball season has returned I'm trying to figure out which ballpark to take a road trip to this summer.
Here's where I've been so far:
1. Montreal, Olympic Stadium - Went here three or four times when I was in college. Yes, I went to school somewhere way too far north.
2. Boston, Fenway Park - I went here on my 8th grade trip. I went around 6 weeks after I had moved from northern Virginia to Long Island. Kid got in trouble for drinking beer at the game.
3. New York, Shea Stadium - Went a dozen times during high school, and maybe twice afterwards. It was a shithole. My high school marching band played our halftime show at Shea for a Jets game. It was not improved when they painted it blue after the 1986 World Series win. I once saw Ed Lynch get thrown out at first by the right fielder on what should have been a single.
4. New York, Yankee Stadium - I am a Mets fan but I have to admit that Yankee Stadium was always nicer than Shea. I got a kick out of the four man security guard teams who ran around the stadium breaking up fights.
5. Baltimore, Memorial Stadium - My first major league game was in Baltimore when I was around 12. Went back a few times in its final year.
6. Baltimore, Camden Yards - Went a couple times after my friend Paul moved to DC in the mid 90s. It's a modern classic.
7. Atlanta, Turner Field - We went on a big road trip back around 2003 or so and went to a game. Like most modern parks, it was very nice.
8. Toronto, Sky Dome - I met a friend in Toronto to see a U2 concert and we also wanted to see a game at the Sky Dome. This was back when it was packed every night. We went to a bunch of scaplers to find tickets cheap enough for us to afford. They had girls come out and actually stretch during the 7th inning stretch.
9. Detroit, Tiger Stadium - Went up once to visit a friend in Detroit and we caught a game. Tiger Stadium was really dilapidated in the late 90s. We ended up in the bleachers. It was Bud umbrella day and the very large extended family behind us did not understand why their 6 kids under the age of 8 couldn't have beer-sponsored unbrellas. I ended up using that umbrella for at least five years.
10. Minneapolis, Metrodome - Went with my sisters, brother-in law and nieces a few years ago to see the Cubs play the Twins. The stadium is awful, but they sell incredible deep fried cheese curds outside the park.
11. Milwaukee, County Stadium - Went when I was 'between jobs' back in 1994. Don't remember much from the game, only that I liked the secret sauce on the brats.
12. Milwaukee, Miller Park - I really like this newer park. Although I went on a 95 degree day and I wish they would have sprung for air conditioning. And if you go, root for the Chorizo in the sausage race :)
13. Chicago, Wrigley Field - I have been to over 250 games here in the last fifteen years. I love the place, I just wish the food in the upper deck was better. I hope the new owners don't ruin the place or force all of the season ticket holders to pay $$$$ in PSLs to keep our tickets.
14. Chicago, US Cell Park - This was the last of the mediocre ballparks when it opened. They spent a bunch of money fixing it up over the years and now it's pretty nice. The bleacher tickets are a great deal here.
15. St. Louis, Busch Stadium (old) - I went the last year it was open. In August. The weather was oppressive. It was in the 90s with high humidity. On the plus side, the sold 24 oz. beers.
16. St. Louis, Busch Studium (new) - We went last summer when I really was between jobs. It's a great park. We were up in the club level, I highly recommend it. It was funny, they had a stir fry station that was really busy all night. Love to go back to see the Cubs or Mets play there.
17. Seattle, Safeco Field - We went with friends on a Cubs road trip 5 or 6 years ago. Loved the trains blowing their horns as they went behind the park. First place I saw sushi at the ballpark and signs in Japanese.
18. Oakland, Alemeda County Stadium - I went a few times when I lived South of Oakland back in 1991. Loved the 'Clorox Bleachers' and the Anchor Steam on tap.
19. San Francisco, Candlestick Park - Also went when I lived out there in 1991. Went to an early season game with a Dodger fan. Had to wear all of my east coast cold weather clothes to the game. Only park I've been to which sold soup in a sourdough bread bowl.
20. San Francisco, Pac Bell Park - It will always be Pac Bell to me. It's a great park, loved the garlic fries and (once again) the Anchor Steam on tap. Still have the foam finger handed out at the game.
21. Los Angeles, Dodger Stadium - First time we went was also a Cubs trip with friends. We were there on celebrity softball game night, which was a riot.
22. Anaheim, Angels Stadium - We went to the 2nd game of the year last year. I liked what they did to 'fix' what used to be a multi-purpose stadium to make it baseball only. First park where they offered to salt the rim of my plastic cup before pouring in the big beer. I declined.
23. San Diego, Petco Park - Went forthe WBC back in 2006. The fish tacos were great, but kind of expensive. Also liked the sand in the outfield bleacher seats.
I've also been to Vet's Stadium in Philly, RFK in CD and Dolphins Field in Miami, but they were for NFL games so they don't count.
This summer I think I want to go to either Ohio or Texas. I plotted out a course to hit both parks in Texas in June as part of a big road trip but I may have to blow off my summer Vegas trip to pull this off.