In a word: playoffs. Unlike Jim Mora, you should talk to me about playoffs. I visited only four major league baseball stadiums this season and guess how many of those teams made the playoffs…wait for it…that’s right, ALL four. What’s more is that only one of the teams was in first place when I attended a game. My hometown team, the Cincinnati Reds, was the only divisional leader at the time when I attended a game. San Francisco, Oakland and Detroit all moved into first place AFTER I watched them play. Sure, you could chalk it up to coincidence, but why take the chance? As a major league franchise, it’s no skin off your back to comp me a couple tickets, and the payoff could be huge. I was four for four this year in getting teams into the playoffs. I’d say that’s right up there with Miguel Cabrera winning the Triple Crown. So next year, guarantee your playoff spot and send me a couple tickets to a game. I’m not asking for travel fare or a food stipend—just two tickets to your paradise. Let’s make some October magic together in 2013.
Cincinnati Reds and Great American Ball Park
Pictured Left: Behind homeplate at GABP; Pictured Right: Rosie Red puts on a show
Living in Cincinnati, OH, I often attend games at Great American Ball Park (GABP). If you’ve never been to GABP before, I highly recommend getting to a game. There’s no more enjoyable an evening than sitting in the upper deck behind home plate on a warm summer night watching the sun set over the Ohio River. And if you happen to go on a Fireworks Friday, stick around for the show. Some cities have 4th of July fireworks that can’t match this display. Even if it’s not Fireworks Friday, the Reds generally put on a fireworks display of hitting in this homer-friendly ballpark. Plus you might even get your picture with baseball’s best pin-up girl mascot, Rosie Red (see author profile pic top right).
Detroit Tigers and Comerica Park
Pictured Top: Comerica Park; Pictured Bottom Left: Tiger Statues at Comerica Park; Pictured Bottom Right: Me basking in the glow of the Ernie Harwell Statue (seriously—his head his glowing)
Growing up near Detroit, I’ve been highly skeptical to return home for a Tiger game. I dearly loved old Tiger Stadium, and when Comerica Park replaced this legendary venue, I had a hard time moving on. Well, this year I finally made the trek up to see Comerica Park, and I’m glad I did. Comerica Park has its own charms: the myriad of tiger statues outside the stadium, the baseball Ferris wheel, the tiger-themed merry-go-round, and a whole host of great food options. My favorite thing about Comerica Park was the Ernie Harwell statue, a nice tribute to a great broadcaster and overall wonderful person. I’ve been lucky enough to meet Harwell on several occasions when he would visit with all of us at Paul Harvey’s office in Chicago. As a baseball-loving kid, I used to fall asleep to Harwell doing Tiger games every summer, and meeting him was quite a thrill. The Tigers were lucky to have such a gem of a human being bringing their team to life on the radio every night. RIP Mr. Harwell.
Oakland A’s and O.co Coliseum
Pictured Left: O.co Coliseum; Pictured Left: My wife and I at O.co Coliseum
My initial thought upon entering O.co Coliseum was, “Wow, this is the most boring stadium I’ve ever seen.” (Which is pretty much how I viewed the A’s – don’t hate me A’s fans.) However, one lap around the stadium gave me a whole new perspective. If you fancy yourself a beer connoisseur, and you like baseball, be sure to get yourself to a game at the O.co Coliseum. Boasting over 15 different microbrews (plus the old stand-bys), if you can’t find a beer you like at O.co Coliseum, you’d better check your palette. My only complaint? The souvenir shops don’t sell an A’s hat with the old elephant-balancing-on-a-baseball logo. For shame.
San Francisco Giants and AT&T Park
Pictured Left: AT&T Park; Pictured Right: Left field at AT&T park
AT&T Park is Great American Ball Park on steroids. Both stadiums have a great water view, only instead of the muddy Ohio River, Giant’s fans get to look out over the bay. Instead of barges passing, AT&T Park features giant ocean liners and freighters. From an outfield seat, both stadiums showcase their city’s skyline, (and no offense Cincinnati) but San Francisco’s skyline might be just a tad more inspiring. At&T Park also offers great food options like “giant” brats and Italian sausage and their world-famous garlic fries. Watching the sun set over the bay made AT&T Park the idyllic place to see a ballgame.