This is long overdue, and I promised you guys I'd give you guys a recap of my trip of a lifetime. So, without further delay, here is my blog about the trip I will never forget.
Over the course of 9 days, my dad and I saw 8 games in 6 different cities. These cities were all strategically chosen based on: geography, timing of games, teams, and of course the ballpark itself.
We left our house at around 10 am Pacific Time for St. Louis, Missouri, a city I had never been to before. After a hectic travel day in San Francisco and St. Louis International airports, we arrived at our hotel at around 8 pm Central Time. St. Louis was a pretty quiet city given it's population but that was just fine with me. The ballpark was just a few blocks from our hotel, we could practically see the field from our room.
The next day, we explored the city a bit, going to the Gateway Arch and checking out the Marine Week setup. We had lunch at Hooters as well, always a good choice. Finally, I will get to the baseball.
We got to Busch Stadium about 30 minutes before the gates opened. The ballpark was in a great location and had a great baseball atmosphere. Our seats were about 12 rows behind the plate as we watched Chris Carpenter and the Cards dismantle Roy Oswalt and the Phillies, 11-2. A result I was very happy with.
I was pleasantly surprised with St. Louis, which isn't to say I had low expectations. I knew it was a fairly new park in a great baseball town, but Busch was just an ideal baseball park. Very clean, great view that opens up to the city, wide variety of food vendors, spacious park, and of course great fans. Even without Pujols in the lineup, I loved Busch Stadium.
Next, was Pittsburgh. Sorry to say it MMT, but Pittsburgh was a bit dissapointing, and the city itself would've been the worst had it not been for Detroit (I'll address that later). The city sucked because there were a bunch of weird people dressed up as animals. Apparently there was some huge convention in Pittsburgh that week for these crazy people, so I'm sure it isn't always like that, but this scene truly matched San Francisco during Gay Pride week.
Anyways, the media portrays PNC as being some type of gem, like it's a step above every other park in baseball. With that said, I was ecstatic to see this park, and a great interleague matchup to boot, Pirates-Red Sox.
However, there just wasn't anything too special about it besides a great view. A view that in my biased opinion, wasn't as good as AT&T. PNC was spacious, similar to Busch, but there wasn't anything that really stood out about it besides the view. No special features such as the 'Big Mac Landing', or a crazed fan base. It was still a great park, but there own claim, which is on every cup, that they are the "best ballpark in America", just isn't true. Cool park, but certainly not what it's hyped up to be.
Next on the trip, was Milwaukee. Miller Park was a very solid park, but probably the least impressive of the trip. The city itself was a bit dirty and kind of boring, but a 2 day sample size isn't much. Similar to St. Louis it was very quiet, surprising given the population.
Anyways, Miller was the first park that wasn't located in the downtown area. We took the public bus to get to the park, and interestingly enough it was just across the street from a fairly wealthy neighborhood. It was a very unique location for a baseball park, something I had never seen.
We saw two games here, both with very good seats on the first base line. Here, we saw the Brewers battle it out with the Twins, apparently a matchup that is considered a rivalry out there, something I never knew. The Brewers blew up the Twins pitching in both games scoring 11 and 8 runs in the two games, winning both.
We followed the Twins back home as our next stop was in Minnesota for one game of Twins-Dodgers. Minneapolis was an awesome city. The entire time I was there, I felt like I could live there, but the thought of freezing, cold, weather with icy snow for 4-6 months of the year is unbearable for this California kid.
Interestingly enough, the Dodgers were staying at our hotel. I had a very awkward, yet cool moment in the elevator going down when I was wearing a San Francisco Giants sweatshirt in the same elevator as Matt Kemp. He would later go 5-5 in that game.
Anyways, I bought a Joe Mauer T-shirt at the Twins store before the gates opened, the only piece of merchandise I bought during the trip. Target Field did not dissapoint. Very open park, awesome plaza out in right field with a great wall of the history of the Twins, and huge walkways making it very easy to navigate throughout the stadium as we explored it.
The game sucked, plain and simple. Dodgers won 15-0, outhitting the Twins 26-4. As I said earlier Kemp went 5-5 with a 449 foot bomb, and every Dodgers' starter had at least 2 hits, a run, and an RBI. Yes, I'm serious, that all is true, look it up.
Next up, was a 2 day set in Chicago for Cubs-Giants. Chicago was the only city on the trip I had been to before, and I love that city. I had low expectations for Wrigley, given that I'm not a big fan of Fenway. As it turned out, I was pleasantly surprised.
Obviously the area surrounding Wrigley is matched by few, if any others. The place is crazy over the Cubs and it seems like every building on Sheffield Street was a bar or restaurant. The park was much better than Fenway by my count. Not only was it more open, with a far less rundown feel, but the ivy is unlike anything else in sports. The charm to that park, is unreal, whether it be lack of electronics, or the organ music.
Our seats for the two games at Wrigley were along the 3rd base line, opposite the Giants dugout. The Giants won the first game we went to, the night game of the doubleheader, and lost the next day in a close 2-1 game, ended in the 9th inning on a walk-off hit from Aramis Ramirez.
Finally, was Detroit. Detroit was the worst city I've ever been to, by far. Very sad and depressing to be honest. On a 3 block walk from our hotel to the GM Heaquarters, my dad and I were asked 5 times for money. Not only is it poor, it's incredibly dangerous, but you all know that.
Fortunately, the game in Detroit was a day game. Comerica was a very nice park, that seemed to be the only nice part about the city. Our tickets included access to the restaurant in the RF club area. Great view of the park. Additionally, I really liked the Cheverolet cars on the top of the wall in CF, a nice Detroit touch to the park. I do have to say though, the large number of Tiger statues throughout the park was a bit creepy. It bordered on becoming a fetish if you ask me. Anyways, the Tigers played the Mets and won in one of the longest 9 inning games I've ever been to.
Overall, this trip was fantastic. My dad and I arrived at the parks at least 15 minutes before the gates opened, and stayed for every pitch of every game and had a great time visiting new parks and cities. I don't mean to rub it in, but what would this blog be without a homer statement from myself? This trip made me appreciate AT&T all the more :)
Hope you guys enjoyed this blog, just a fraction as much as I enjoyed this trip.