Petco Park

PETCO.JPG

Stadium Name: Petco Park

Location: San Diego, California

Team: San Diego, CA

Stadium Rating: A

First Game: June 3, 2017, Rockies – 10, Padres – 1

This was probably the coolest story I have to tell for traveling to a stadium yet.

It started as a joke of an idea, to fly several states over for a day to go to a game, and then flying back at night. But sometimes jokes can become reality, and that is what happened on this June day.

I had a 8 AM flight that got to San Diego 9:30. I immediately took an Uber from the airport to the beach, and got to take a few (very, very) cold steps into the Pacific Ocean for the first time. After walking around and a quick nap on the beach, I got a cab back across the bay over to lunch before biking to the stadium.

I wasn’t expecting too much of Petco Park, but it quickly became one of my favorites. I was walking around all day in sandals, needing a break just before the game started. Petco has a massive lawn behind center field that let’s people throw down a blanket and enjoy the game from afar with their dogs, kids and whoever else they decided to bring. So I got to watch part of the game while laying back on a green hill overlooking the stadium. Not too bad.

My seats were up high, per usual, but the view was still great, and you could see a lot of San Diego in the background. My new hometown team, the Colorado Rockies, absolutely crushed the Padres – it wasn’t even close – but the stadium was a gem and one I would gladly go back to (San Diego too – for that matter).

From the game, I went and walked around downtown San Diego, the Gaslamp Quarter, and then eventually took an Uber back to the airport. By 7 o’clock, I was back on a plane, and home by 11 PM.

In 15 hours, I took two flights, watched an entire baseball game, went to the beach, and got some great food at the Pier. It was an absolutely great day.

While normally something like that would turn me away from doing such a quick and rushed trip, it was such a great time that I’m definitely not opposed to doing it again. Halfway through 2017, I was more than 50% finished with my list. But that still leaves a lot of stadiums and a lot of traveling to go.

  1. Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs – Chicago, IL)
  2. SunTrust Park (Atlanta Braves – Atlanta, GA)
  3. PNC Park (Pittsburgh Pirates – Pittsburgh, PA)
  4. Target Field (Minneapolis Twins – Minneapolis, MN)
  5. Petco Park (San Diego Padres – San Diego, CA)
  6. Minute Maid Park (Houston Astros – Houston, TX)
  7. Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Baltimore Orioles – Baltimore, MD)
  8. Coors Field (Colorado Rockies – Denver, CO)
  9. Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia Phillies – Philadelphia, PA)
  10. Ballpark in Arlington (Texas Rangers – Arlington, TX)
  11. Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers – Milwaukee, WI)
  12. Chase Field (Arizona Diamondbacks – Phoenix, AZ)
  13. Safeco Field (Seattle Mariners – Seattle, WA)
  14. Busch Stadium (Saint Louis Cardinals – Saint Louis, Missouri)
  15. Oakland Alameda County Stadium (Oakland Athletics – Oakland, CA)
  16. Guaranteed Rate Stadium (Chicago White Sox, Chicago, IL)

Safeco Field

Seattle.JPG

Stadium Name: Safeco Field

Location: Seattle, Washington

Team: Seattle Mariners

Stadium Rating: B-

First Game: May 21, 2017, White Sox – 8, Mariners – 1

At the beginning of this year, I had 9 stadiums done on my list, and no real agenda of when I’d get any more completed. But yet here I was, halfway home by mid-May. Safeco Field was the sunny backdrop for stadium #15.

A lot of the locals bragged on Safeco Field, about how new it was, about the amenities and views. But a quick Wikipedia search shows that Safeco is actually now in the older half of stadiums by year, which is crazy given that it opened up in 1999.

To me, it was a nice stadium, especially due to the sunny afternoon with hardly a cloud in the sky. But the cheapest seat I could find was still out in the bleachers near center field, where it got a bit harder to see. The Mariners got crushed too, so there was a noticeable quiet around the stadium.

That being said – a couple things I’ll give to the Mariners. Their crowd is very loyal – most people didn’t leave early despite it being a pretty hot day, and their team was getting smoked by a lesser opponent. They also had a really cool Hall of Fame that you could walk through. I’m a sucker for that sort of thing – but in this case it was especially cool since it housed my favorite non-Brave of all time, Ken Griffey Jr.

But – I couldn’t really look past too much of that, as Safeco unfortunately gets a ranking lower down on my list. This was the first time I was able to go to Seattle, the city itself was awesome, and I loved the views. But unfortunately, the stadium just doesn’t cut it with the current batch of modern parks that are seemingly coming out each year.

  1. Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs – Chicago, IL)
  2. SunTrust Park (Atlanta Braves – Atlanta, GA)
  3. PNC Park (Pittsburgh Pirates – Pittsburgh, PA)
  4. Target Field (Minneapolis Twins – Minneapolis, MN)
  5. Minute Maid Park (Houston Astros – Houston, TX)
  6. Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Baltimore Orioles – Baltimore, MD)
  7. Coors Field (Colorado Rockies – Denver, CO)
  8. Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia Phillies – Philadelphia, PA)
  9. Ballpark in Arlington (Texas Rangers – Arlington, TX)
  10. Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers – Milwaukee, WI)
  11. Chase Field (Arizona Diamondbacks – Phoenix, AZ)
  12. Safeco Field (Seattle Mariners – Seattle, WA)
  13. Busch Stadium (Saint Louis Cardinals – Saint Louis, Missouri)
  14. Oakland Alameda County Stadium (Oakland Athletics – Oakland, CA)
  15. Guaranteed Rate Stadium (Chicago White Sox, Chicago, IL)

Oakland Alameda County Stadium

Oakland.JPG

Stadium Name: Oakland Alameda County Stadium

Location: Oakland, CA

Team: Oakland Athletics

Stadium Rating: C

First Game: May 20, 2017, Athletics – 8, Red Sox – 3

I have to admit, Oakland was probably one of the last stadiums I was looking forward to going to. I love baseball. I think that’s pretty clear. But nothing about Oakland – or the stadium – really jumped out to me.

Not to mention, the Golden State Warriors (housed right next door at Oracle Arena) happened to be taking on my San Antonio Spurs in the playoffs that same weekend.

As I walked into the old stadium, built in 1962, I wasn’t really surprised by anything. Not the best stadium I’ve been to by a longshot, though I still rank it ahead of one at this point. Oakland is the backdrop to one of my favorite movies – Moneyball – where the early 2000s upstart A’s win an improbable 20 games in a row and changed a lot of the way baseball is run from the front office.

So in a way, Oakland Alameda will always be a cool stadium to me – the history behind the common ground that the A’s share with the Raiders.

And I was very excited to go to California for the first time – where the sunny 75 was no joke. It was pretty darn great.

The stadium was as predicted for a 55 year old deteriorating structure. There’s no massive press box behind home plate – it’s in center field, which makes a lot more sense when you know the Raiders all play there for now. I sat in the bleachers and narrowly missed out on a few batting practice balls.

The game felt eerily similar to a minor league game, which I guess made it kind of its own. People are allowed to bring drums and noisemakers in, which I didn’t think was allowed at any stadium anymore. But the people in Oakland love their A’s, they love making noise, and they love having a good time.

Problem is, it wasn’t the most enjoyable place to watch a baseball game, which unfortunately is my top criteria for watching a game. The A’s won, I had a great time, but it’s not a park I’ll be itching to get back to anytime soon. For right now, stadium #14 is #13 on my list.

The good thing is – Oakland is pushing for a new stadium, and when that opens up, I’ll be more than happy for a return trip.

  1. Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs – Chicago, IL)
  2. SunTrust Park (Atlanta Braves – Atlanta, GA)
  3. PNC Park (Pittsburgh Pirates – Pittsburgh, PA)
  4. Target Field (Minneapolis Twins – Minneapolis, MN)
  5. Minute Maid Park (Houston Astros – Houston, TX)
  6. Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Baltimore Orioles – Baltimore, MD)
  7. Coors Field (Colorado Rockies – Denver, CO)
  8. Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia Phillies – Philadelphia, PA)
  9. Ballpark in Arlington (Texas Rangers – Arlington, TX)
  10. Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers – Milwaukee, WI)
  11. Chase Field (Arizona Diamondbacks – Phoenix, AZ)
  12. Busch Stadium (Saint Louis Cardinals – Saint Louis, Missouri)
  13. Oakland Alameda County Stadium (Oakland Athletics – Oakland, CA)
  14. Guaranteed Rate Stadium (Chicago White Sox, Chicago, IL)

Target Field

Twins

Stadium Name: Target Field

Location: Minneapolis, MN

Team: Minneapolis Twins

Stadium Rating: A

First Game: May 5, 2017, Red Sox – 11, Twins – 1

#13.

Before May, I had been to Minneapolis twice in my life.

The first time, we missed our flight out to Montana and had to spend the night at a hotel, where it was 19 degrees. I had flip flops, a t-shirt, and shorts on.

The second time, I was merely in the airport, making a connection.

As they say, third time is the charm.

I had the privilege of getting to see my good friend and cousin Kurt for the weekend in Minneapolis, which had beautiful weather and nice people all around. The baseball stadium, Target Field, which opened in 2012, was no different.

We sat up top, but the view was incredible (as seen above). While the Twins may have done absolutely horrible that day, the scene could not have been better. The Minneapolis skyline in the background, a cold beer and a baseball game made the Saturday one that I won’t forget.

As far as the stadium itself, Target Field is pretty new, so it had just about every amenity you could ask for. Our view was perfect, despite being pretty high up, the people were gracious and helpful, and the architecture/design of the stadium was great. There didn’t seem to be a bad seat in the house.

Aside from the Twins losing the game, I really can’t find one single bad thing about Target Field. It may be an outdoor park in Minneapolis, so April/September games might not be the most ideal, but it is a beautiful stadium I would gladly go back to. At this point it takes over the #3 spot. Minneapolis really was a great surprise, and the weekend was one I was I could replay.

  1. Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs – Chicago, IL)
  2. SunTrust Park (Atlanta Braves – Atlanta, GA)
  3. PNC Park (Pittsburgh Pirates – Pittsburgh, PA)
  4. Target Field (Minneapolis Twins – Minneapolis, MN)
  5. Minute Maid Park (Houston Astros – Houston, TX)
  6. Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Baltimore Orioles – Baltimore, MD)
  7. Coors Field (Colorado Rockies – Denver, CO)
  8. Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia Phillies – Philadelphia, PA)
  9. Ballpark in Arlington (Texas Rangers – Arlington, TX)
  10. Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers – Milwaukee, WI)
  11. Chase Field (Arizona Diamondbacks – Phoenix, AZ)
  12. Busch Stadium (Saint Louis Cardinals – Saint Louis, Missouri)
  13. Guaranteed Rate Stadium (Chicago White Sox, Chicago, IL)

SunTrust Park

Stadiums

Stadium Name: SunTrust Park

Location: Cumberland, Georgia

Team: Atlanta Braves

Stadium Rating: A

First Game: April 15, 2017, Braves – 4, Padres – 2


Stadium Number 12.

I can’t remember a day that I was not an Atlanta Braves fan. Growing up, I watched Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones, Greg Maddux, and countless others win division title after division title on TBS.

My dad has been a Braves fan for his whole life (though now primarily follows the Brewers), and my brothers have been too. It was just normal.

But despite following the Braves for close to 20 years, I had never been to a home game. I’d never down the “Tomahawk Chop” with 40,000 other Braves fans. But in April of this year, I finally got to go.

The Braves won the two games my friend and I went to, but the experience of finally flying to Atlanta and seeing the Braves – in a new park nonetheless – was more important than the games. As far as a ballpark experience, SunTrust Park was fantastic. I am obviously going to be biased as I write this review, but it was truly a spectacular weekend. The hospitality of the Braves fans/employees was unbelievable. The stadium itself was pristine and I would fly back in a heartbeat.

The cool part of the new stadium – and something that will probably be imitated with new parks – is that they basically built a little town around the park, called The BatteryATL. The restaurants and shops around were a cool little perk and it felt like “Braves Country.”

The Braves aren’t too good, but that weekend is one I’ll never forget.

#CHOPON

  1. Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs – Chicago, IL)
  2. SunTrust Park (Atlanta Braves – Atlanta, GA)
  3. PNC Park (Pittsburgh Pirates – Pittsburgh, PA)
  4. Minute Maid Park (Houston Astros – Houston, TX)
  5. Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Baltimore Orioles – Baltimore, MD)
  6. Coors Field (Colorado Rockies – Denver, CO)
  7. Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia Phillies – Philadelphia, PA)
  8. Ballpark in Arlington (Texas Rangers – Arlington, TX)
  9. Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers – Milwaukee, WI)
  10. Chase Field (Arizona Diamondbacks – Phoenix, AZ)
  11. Busch Stadium (Saint Louis Cardinals – Saint Louis, Missouri)
  12. Guaranteed Rate Stadium (Chicago White Sox, Chicago, IL)

 

Citizens Bank Park

Photo on left: View from behind the plate on a sunny, Sunday afternoon

Photo on right: My seat, which was in prime foul ball territory.

 

Stadium Name: Citizens Bank Park

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Team: Philadelphia Phillies

Stadium Rating: B

First Game: April 9, 2017, Phillies – 4, Nationals – 3

 

After checking out the park in Baltimore, I took the Amtrak the following morning to Philadelphia (this was an excessively busy trip for a weekend), where I toured a little bit of downtown before heading to the ballpark.

As a lifelong Atlanta Braves fan, I’ll be honest, I had no good expectation of the Phillies ballpark. Built in the early 2000s, I really didn’t think there was anything special about it, other than that it was built right next to the basketball and football stadiums (which makes for a convenient trip if hitting two games in a day).

On this shiny, Sunday afternoon, I was pleasantly surprised.

After grabbing a cheesesteak (had to, it was Philly after all), I took in a wonderful stadium. Hardly a cloud in the sky, the Phillies took on the Washington Nationals to wrap up the series. While I was thinking about how much time I needed to catch my flight home that night, I watched from down the 1st base line and was just constantly amazed at how baseball really does change at each park.

There was nothing inherently “special,” and I use that term loosely, about Citizens Bank Park. It was just a great place to see a game. Pretty much the same way I described Oriole Park at Camden Yards – in that it just had the “it” factor of being a great place to see a game.

They also had a cool hall of fame walkthrough in center field, a node to their past parks and big moments. For example Hank Aaron, the all-time leader in home runs, hit his only inside the park home run in his entire career at Connie Mack Stadium, which the Phillies occupied from 1909-1976.

Out of the 11 parks I’ve been to so far, Citizens Bank Park falls right into the middle, but that’s not a slight at all. I’m quickly realizing how nice each individual park is, and what a cool dream I’m going for.

  1. Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs – Chicago, IL)
  2. PNC Park (Pittsburgh Pirates – Pittsburgh, PA)
  3. Minute Maid Park (Houston Astros – Houston, TX)
  4. Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Baltimore Orioles – Baltimore, MD)
  5. Coors Field (Colorado Rockies – Denver, CO)
  6. Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia Phillies – Philadelphia, PA)
  7. Ballpark in Arlington (Texas Rangers – Arlington, TX)
  8. Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers – Milwaukee, WI)
  9. Chase Field (Arizona Diamondbacks – Phoenix, AZ)
  10. Busch Stadium (Saint Louis Cardinals – Saint Louis, Missouri)
  11. Guaranteed Rate Stadium (Chicago White Sox, Chicago, IL)

Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Photo on left: My new Baltimore hat (one of my favorites) and a great view down the first base line

Photo on right: Center field scoreboard with the Baltimore Sun logo and old clock.

 

Stadium Name: Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Location: Baltimore, Maryland

Team: Baltimore Orioles

Stadium Rating: B+

First Game: April 8, 2017, Orioles – 5, New York Yankees – 4

When I decided early this year that I would start seriously pursuing my dream to go to all 30 parks, I decided that I should start by going to a stadium on opening weekend. While the Rockies were in town, I wanted to go out of town, and that place ended up being Baltimore, Maryland.

Thanks to Jason who drove up to D.C. to get me from the airport, I was able to knock two stadiums off my list in the first baseball weekend of 2017.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards is a beautiful stadium, and currently I’ll rate it just ahead of Coors Field. It has plenty of unique features, including many classic touches that remind of older ballparks. I loved the old-style clock and local newspaper advertisement that grace the top of the center field scoreboard. The warehouse behind right field lining Eutaw Street is a thing of beauty.

Boog’s BBQ in dead center field was a recommendation from my professor Dr. Mike Shaub at A&M (and seconded later on) and was quite good bar-b-que for a ballpark.

Add in a beautiful sunny day, optimism springing from a new season and it was a great day to be at the game. My number one criteria for a stadium is something I can’t quite explain, other than that it feels like baseball should be played there. OPACY had that and more, and I’ll be happy to go back at any time.

Current Stadium Ratings:

  1. Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs – Chicago, IL)
  2. PNC Park (Pittsburgh Pirates – Pittsburgh, PA)
  3. Minute Maid Park (Houston Astros – Houston, TX)
  4. Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Baltimore Orioles – Baltimore, MD)
  5. Coors Field (Colorado Rockies – Denver, CO)
  6. Ballpark in Arlington (Texas Rangers – Arlington, TX)
  7. Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers – Milwaukee, WI)
  8. Chase Field (Arizona Diamondbacks – Phoenix, AZ)
  9. Busch Stadium (Saint Louis Cardinals – Saint Louis, Missouri)
  10. Guaranteed Rate Stadium (Chicago White Sox, Chicago, IL)

Coors Field

IMG_0025

Photo: Had to have a Coors at Coors! June 25th, 2016

Stadium Name: Coors Field

Location: Denver, Colorado

Team: Colorado Rockies

Stadium Rating: B+

First Game: June 25th, 2016, Rockies – 11,  Diamondbacks – 6

I moved to Colorado this past year on June 18th. My first Rockies game was on June 25th. I literally could not make it a week before going to the ballpark.

That being said, I made it to Coors a full five times this past season, with the Rockies coming on top every single game.

I like Coors quite a bit. It’s not my favorite park by any means, but the weather in the summer in Denver is top notch, and I love a good outdoor park. I’ve sat in a few different spots throughout the park, and you can’t really find a bad spot. In fact, if you sit up high enough either in center or left field, you can see the Rocky Mountains in the background.

Of course, as seen in the picture above, I loved having a Coors at Coors (If you think this is silly, you’ll also like to know that I had a caesar salad while I was at Caesar’s Palace in Vegas). Coors Field is one of the best places I’ve been to relax, sit in the sun and enjoy a game. The Rockies score lots of runs, but they also give up lots of runs. But this always seems to make for a high-scoring entertaining game.

My only regret from this past year at Coors was not catching a home run ball that landed about 12 feet away from me – I basically shoved my friend away to try to reach it.

Thankfully, living 30 minutes away, I’ll be back this summer many times to try and catch another.

Current Stadium Rankings:

  1. Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs – Chicago, IL)
  2. PNC Park (Pittsburgh Pirates – Pittsburgh, PA)
  3. Minute Maid Park (Houston Astros – Houston, TX)
  4. Coors Field (Colorado Rockies – Denver, CO)
  5. Ballpark in Arlington (Texas Rangers – Arlington, TX)
  6. Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers – Milwaukee, WI)
  7. Chase Field (Arizona Diamondbacks – Phoenix, AZ)
  8. Busch Stadium (Saint Louis Cardinals – Saint Louis, Missouri)
  9. Guaranteed Rate Stadium (Chicago White Sox, Chicago, IL)

Busch Stadium

BUSCHHH

 

Stadium Name: Busch Stadium

Location: Saint Louis, Missouri

Team: Saint Louis Cardinals

Stadium Rating: B – –

First Game: Not sure, but the Cardinals defeated the Diamondbacks

Let me preface this post by saying that my Stadium Rating of B – – (yes, two minuses) is completely unfair.

I mean, look at that photo. Busch Stadium is a beautiful stadium, located right on the Mississippi with the gateway arch in the background. Unfortunately, a big part of my rating is based on the experience I had at the game itself, and I’ve only had the privilege of going to one game there.

So as I said, what a beautiful stadium. A stone’s throw from the Mighty Mississippi, this is a park that you just don’t miss when driving through Saint Louis into Illinois. Every summer as I took roadtrips with my family, we’d drive right by Busch on the way to see family.

Why did I give it a B – – rating then? Let me explain.

I couldn’t possibly give it a C, because aesthetically speaking, it is a cool park with a great view despite being the heart of downtown. But I wanted to rate it just a bit lower than a few others because of my one bad experience.

The game I went to against the Diamondbacks was a hot one. Growing up in Texas, I’ve been to a few hot games. No big deal. But this one was a scorcher. The heat index was 109 degrees Fahrenheit.

  1. 0. 9.

And somehow the D-Backs were wearing black jerseys.

It was so hot that the Cardinals basically felt legally obligated to give out free ice water, which is not a thing at baseball games.

I’ve gotten heat exhaustion from being at a baseball game in Texas and was taken to the hospital in a stretcher, so I’m not lying to you when I say it was unbelievably hot that day.

The good thing is that if I go back to Busch Stadium, I’m sure I’ll have a wonderful experience and my rating will jump significantly. The problem is that my sample size is just too low. I’m sweating thinking about how bad that game was.

Saint Louis, I’ll give it another go when I can. But on this day, the heat won.

Current Stadium Rankings:

  1. Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs – Chicago, IL)
  2. PNC Park (Pittsburgh Pirates – Pittsburgh, PA)
  3. Minute Maid Park (Houston Astros – Houston, TX)
  4. ?
  5. Ballpark in Arlington (Texas Rangers – Arlington, TX)
  6. Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers – Milwaukee, WI)
  7. Chase Field (Arizona Diamondbacks – Phoenix, AZ)
  8. Busch Stadium (Saint Louis Cardinals – Saint Louis, Missouri)
  9. Guaranteed Rate Field (Chicago White Sox – Chicago, IL)

 

 

Minute Maid Park

Minute Maid

Took this picture on dollar hot dog night, 40 minutes after accepting free tickets from a friend. Sometimes life hands you some great gifts.

Stadium Name: Minute Maid Park

Location: Houston, Texas

Team: Houston Astros

Stadium Rating: A-

First Game: Too many to count

Oh, the juice box.

While not the number one park on my list, Minute Maid is the one I consider “home.” No, I’m not the biggest Astros fan, though I am pulling for them to win the title in 2017. (The Braves will win soon enough)

I have been to at least 10 games at Minute Maid through the years, if not more. While I was an intern in Houston in the summer of 2015, I went to five Astros games, all wins. In fact, I haven’t been to a Major League game where the home team lost in at least 10 straight (five this last summer in Colorado, but I’ll touch on that down the line).

The closest stadium to where I grew up, Minute Maid was and still is a place that I love going to. The Crawford Boxes, Tal’s Hill (r.i.p.), the Friday Night Fireworks, the secret hot dog stand that I frequented, it’s all part of what I love at Minute Maid.

Though I can’t remember my first game, I do have a favorite memory.

Backstory: A few years back, I was a huge fan of Ryan Braun, left fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers. He is a great player, but as most baseball fans know he lied about using steroids. So, not as big of a fan now, but at the time he was someone I looked up to as an aspiring but ultimately lack-of-talent baseball player.

I went to a Brewers v. Astros game at Minute Maid maybe 6-7 years ago. I had two goals for that day, and neither involved what happened in the game itself. I wanted a batting practice ball, and I wanted an autograph from Ryan Braun. In order to make sure I was in a prime spot to do the latter, I paid $12 to take a tour of the stadium, solely to gain access to the seats behind the dugout area (as my family was sitting on the top deck).

The first time I saw Braun was when he came out of the dugout for shagging fly balls, and I yelled for an autograph. He turned around and said “after I’m done in the field,” which presumably would get me off his back. Nope.

He came in from the field and I yelled a second time for an autograph, to which he said “I gotta go hit, man.” And he grabbed his bat and took some cuts at the plate.

Finally, he was leaving the field and walking back to the dugout, and for a third time I yelled out at him for an autograph. He stopped, shook his head, and said “alright, alright you have a ball?”

Of course, I was prepared, threw him a ball, and the rest is history. I don’t remember a single thing from that game, but I got my autograph.

I then went to the outfield and proceeded to get a practice ball. The guy next me dropped a ball back onto the field that had been previously tossed to him. When a Brewers relief pitcher reached down, grabbed it and turned back to him (an Astros fan), I said “come on, right here! For a Brewers fan!”

Much to the chagrin of the person next to me, the reliever tossed me the ball, and I had my two souvenirs for the day.

So why is Minute Maid below Wrigley and PNC at this point? I’ll give you two reasons – the roof and the weather. Now you might be saying, well of course they have a roof, Houston is humid. And I will agree with you.

However, there’s just something about the downtown location, in the midst of a bunch of buildings (coinciding with the heat) that just turns me away from ranking it higher. The openness of PNC and Wrigley just invites that “let’s play two” feeling.

But I’ll always love Minute Maid, and it will always be home.

Current Stadium Rankings:

  1. Wrigley Field
  2. PNC Park
  3. Minute Maid Park
  4. ?
  5. Ballpark in Arlington
  6. Miller Park
  7. Chase Field
  8. ?
  9. Guaranteed Rate Field