Archive for the ‘RFTHT Trip’ Category

A Double Dose of MiLB Action

IMG_1110There’s a plethora of Minor League Baseball in the Mid-Atlantic and frankly, there’s no good reason to avoid it. As May turned to June, we had one particular date on the calendar: the weekend of June 3. Why? The Columbia Fireflies were visiting the Hagerstown Suns. Why was this noteworthy? The one, the only Tim Tebow would be paying a visit to Hagerstown. As a Gator, I had to be there.

Unsurprisingly, tickets were hard to come by, but we managed to secure some grandstand seats for Sunday, June 4. The game was sure to be close to a sellout. We grabbed tickets for Hagerstown, accompanied by a few friends and were excited (well, I was; Ansley can’t stand Tim Tebow. Must be the two national championships he won with Florida while she was at Georgia…)

One would think an afternoon in Hagerstown would satiate our baseball appetites, but fear not friends, the title of this post is not a misnomer. No, no. We caught the Frederick Keys on the way home, because one game on a Sunday afternoon is just not enough!

Let the adventures begin!

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A Sudden Glut of Baseball

After a quiet early portion of baseball season, bereft of games, things dramatically shifted. In the last week, I’ve checked out the Pirates’ gorgeous PNC Park, and caught a Single-A doubleheader, seeing both the Hagerstown Suns and Frederick Keys today.

What does this all mean?

I need to write!

I have a full write-up on PNC Park (and by extension, Pittsburgh) in the hopper, and I’ll get rolling on reviews of Municipal Park (Hagerstown Suns) and Neymo Field at Harry Grove Stadium (Frederick Keys) in the coming days.

All in all, it’s been a great week of traveling through Pennsylvania and Maryland, getting a chance to traverse a few mountains, check out a Civil War battlefield, and most of all, see a few ballgames!

To PNC Park We Go!

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PNC Park seems to always find itself near the top in annual lists of ballpark rankings. Even on television, you can see why. The home of the Pirates is an intimate park, nestled along the banks of the Allegheny River, with stunning views of downtown Pittsburgh. Aside from AT&T Park in San Francisco, few modern parks receive the rave views bestowed upon PNC.

After putting PNC near the top of my “must-see” lists, I’m beyond excited to trek to Pittsburgh over Memorial Day weekend for a game. Aside from a slew of Nationals games last year (including a game against the Braves where the heat index swelled to 115 degrees), I failed in my quest to get to a second MLB park. In an effort to remedy that, I’m taking advantage of the long weekend to see what Pittsburgh has to offer. .

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New adventures on tap for 2016

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After nearly 2 decades in Atlanta, this will be my new home ballpark. *Gulp*

Last year was filled was unfulfilled promises and plenty of false starts. Baseball took a backseat to finishing graduate school, largely unsuccessful attempts to find gainful employment in an economy that doesn’t value people with liberal arts degrees (I have only myself to blame), and a strange purgatory where I found myself in a place where most things in life seemed to stall.

However, in recent weeks, the finishing touches on a move to the Washington D.C. area were put in motion. Not only will this provide me with real, quality job opportunities, but it also puts me dangerously close to the majority of the AL and NL East, as well as a plethora of minor league teams at all levels of play. To say I’m excited is an understatement. So, after an underwhelming few years, which found me wallowing around the south, seeing a game or two at a minor league park in Florida, Georgia, or Alabama, I will now have relatively easy access to six major league teams, and more minor league teams than I can count.

What does this mean?

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Sunshine State Baseball Part II: Miami Marlins

A look at Marlins Park from our seats in left field

A look at Marlins Park from our seats in right field

To say I was skeptical of our visit to Miami is probably a gross understatement. After all, Miami was home to the Marlins, a team best known for somehow managing to win two World Series titles during their 20 year history, only to blow up the championship teams, spending most of their existence woefully behind their NL East opponents. Adding to the skepticism was the Marlins 2012 rebranding and move to Marlins Park–an actual baseball field–as opposed to their previous home of Pro Player Stadium, Joe Robbie Stadium, Dolphins Park, or whatever the name du jour was for that particular year.

Marlins Park is the source of quite a bit of controversy, and for good reason. Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria wanted to keep his team in South Florida and pledged to move the team into Miami proper. Some doubted that baseball could actually flourish and after nearly 20 years of sparsely attended games, no one would blame the Marlins for heading west to Las Vegas or north to Charlotte, North Carolina. Instead–much to the chagrin of Miami taxpayers–Loria got his wish and a big taxpayer funded stadium was built on the site of the old Orange Bowl in the heart of Miami’s Little Havana district.

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Sunshine State Baseball Part I: Daytona Cubs

Rain spoils our visit to Daytona

Rain spoils our visit to Daytona

For as long as anyone can remember, Florida has been a hotbed for baseball. When spring training first started, Florida was the place to be, with it’s fantastic late-winters and early springs. It’s a state that is home to fifteen MLB teams during spring training, two MLB teams, and a litany of minor league teams. To say that Florida is a great place to see baseball is an understatement (unless you’re frying at a Minor League game in July or August). During our short jaunt through the east part of the state, we visited two MiLB parks (one game was rained out) and paid a visit to Jeffrey Loria’s gaudy palace in Miami. Each of our three stops will have a dedicated blog post, and if you want to see additional pictures from the trip, please check out our Facebook page! Continue reading

Batter up: 2014

Look out, Marlins, we're coming!

Look out, Marlins, we’re coming!

Baseball season is well underway, and after a silent 2013 that unfortunately featured no visits to new ballparks, RFTHT is back in 2014 and we’re excited to be visiting the Daytona Cubs and Miami Marlins in early May. Aside from both being in Florida, there couldn’t be fewer similarities between the two teams and their parks. Like the Chicago Cubs, Daytona plays in a ballpark that hits the century mark this year. Renamed Jackie Robinson Ballpark, the Cubs’ home is quite significant, as it is home to the first place Jackie Robinson played an MLB game (spring training 1946).

The Marlins meanwhile, play in owner Jeffrey Loria’s gaudy palace to South Florida overindulgence. Whether it’s the sculpture beyond the center field wall that looks like something out of a 1980s-Miami acid trip, the nightclub, or the fish tanks behind home plate, Loria spared no expense with his new stadium when it opened in 2012. We’re all quite excited to see this ode to gluttony that houses the Florida Miami Marlins.

If you’re interested in following our adventures in real time, check us out on Facebook or Twitter. Also, I’ll try to post a picture or two on Instagram, so feel free to follow us on any of those three formats.

 

Stay tuned for updates!