Archive for the ‘Stadiums’ Category

Finally Going to SunTrust Park (Well, in June)

A little over two years ago, I picked up my southern sticks and moved to Washington, D.C. Nats Park is now my “home town” ballpark, which isn’t ideal, but the location has allowed me to check out numerous ballparks, including three MLB stadiums last year.

However, I have yet to make it back to Atlanta for a homecoming trip to SunTrust Park.

Until now (well, in June)!

I’m getting hitched in just a couple months, and wouldn’t you know, the Braves in in Atlanta the weekend of my wedding. So, on the Friday before the wedding, I’m heading over to SunTrust Park to check it out, see my favorite club play in their new digs. Who knows? The way things are going, maybe they’ll still be playing well by the time late-June rolls around.

Or is that too much to ask?

I’ve heard mixed things about SunTrust Park. The obvious (they’re not in Atlanta anymore) to the more surprising (the concourses are a bit tight), but I’m ready to look at it with a fresh pair of eyes. I’m still not thrilled with what the Braves did and how they did it, but we can’t turn back the clock (except when wearing throwback unis) and convince the Braves to stay in Turner Field, so it is what it is.

One of my best buddies, groomsmen, and brewer in Atlanta said the Terrapin Tap Room is doing some of the best stuff the heralded Athens brewery’s done in years, so I’m excited to enjoy some libations, walk around the park, and finally get to root for my home team in a park I haven’t visited.

Until then, I hope to keep up the blogging. I recently wrote a piece for my day job about how minor league players are getting screwed, which inspired me to start writing about baseball more than I was.

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MLB to Portland Picks Up Steam

As Oakland and Tampa Bay fumble their way through finding themselves new stadiums, a group of business people in Portland, Oregon unveiled the Portland Diamond Project with one goal in mind: bringing Major League Baseball to Portland.

This of course comes on the heels of additional rumblings of either an expansion or relocated team moving to Montreal after another successful exhibition series packed old Olympic Stadium. Like Portland, investors in Montreal are willing to fund their own facility.

Early season attendance woes aside, I’m all for bringing MLB to Portland and reestablishing the Expos in Montreal. With that said, we’d likely see a realignment to balance the leagues and schedules, which will ultimately transform the league. The designated hitter will become a league-wide thing and the National and American Leagues as we know it will likely go away. We’d also see an expanded playoff system, and who doesn’t love baseball extending well into the fall? (I kid, I kid)

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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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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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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!

Atlanta’s Reed promises enormous middle-class development at… | www.ajc.com

Mayor Reed just finished a lengthy press conference regarding yesterday’s announcement that the Braves are leaving downtown Atlanta after 50 years to a new home in Cobb County.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has the story.

Atlanta’s Reed promises enormous middle-class development at… | www.ajc.com.