CadaverBlender

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

June 24th, 2008

With July right around the corner the All-Star Break is almost here. That means baseball is almost relevant again. I said almost. So its time to get out to the stadium and cheer your team on. While I’m a major advocate of watching games at home (I don’t have the space here to list all the advantages it has) its nice to get out to the stadium for a few games. Its even better if the park is an architectural gem or fan friendly. So with that in mind CadaverBlender presents its favorite baseball stadiums. As you’ll notice, CadaverBlender knows how to pick great parks.

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#5

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Jesus: Fenway Park (Boston Redsox)- Like Wrigley Field, Fenway Park and it’s “Green Monster” is a national treasure. The oldest park in Major League Baseball, the parks location creates some interesting design quirks, particularly the 37 foot wall in left field. Right-enter field is also huge, stretching 420 feet to a sharp point but its countered with the shortest right field porch in all the Major League, just 302 feet to Pesky’s Pole. It’s hard to remember a time when there weren’t seats above the “Green Monster”, but they were only installed in 2003. It’s the perfect park for the city of Boston.

Keith: RFK Stadium (former Washington Nationals)- If you’ve ever been to RFK you’re probably calling me ‘fucking retarded’ right now. But give me a second to defend the place. I’ve seen quite a few games there for $5. Naturally we got suckered into $6 beer but I always had a good time at the park. Last year I saw Cubs @ Nats on the 4th of July for $9 per seat in some good left field seats, try getting a holiday game at Wrigley for less than the price of your first born. It is super exciting to have the game reasonably accessible to even average fans. I haven’t been to the new stadium but I hear some good things – well other than the fact that its a pain in the ass to get to compared to RFK. I like the franchise, its young and its moving in the right direction (no where but up right?). The stadium was definitely past its prime but one too many people focused on the modern amenities as opposed to the natural charm it had. I’d also like to note this was by far the easiest park in the world to do a personal upgrade in. I do remember one time we went in and I refused to let anyone read their ticket, we just plopped wherever and never got challenged.

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#4

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Jesus: Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers)- The greatest drawback of Miller Park may also be one of its strengths. The park is located in the middle of a sea of parking lots, but that aids nicely to the pre-game tailgating that takes place in earnest before the game. Theres no denying my love of beer, but the fastest I may have ever consumed a case of beer (with a group of friends or just Keith) is in the parking lot at Miller Park. I’m talking like 3 minutes a beer and no bongs or shotguns were involved. It was already a few innings into the game, so we had to hurry. Things you gotta love about Miller Park: awesome retractable roof (engineering masterpiece), window in right field, the homerun slide and of course the SAUSAGE RACE!

Keith: Fenway Park- This will be the only park on my list that I haven’t officially visited … but I have some respect for it and I’m planning on visit before the end of this season or at the latest early next season. I used to love being able to commiserate with BoSox fans, we were both loveable losers. Well two World Series later and one of the only parks more famous than Wrigley and I’m naturally a bit curious. I don’t necessarily love the Green Monster but I think its unique and it adds character. It loses points for its fans’ annoying accents.

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#3

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Jesus: Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs)- There’s no need for a new retro stadium when you’ve played in the same stadium for over 90 years. “The Friendly Confines” known for its ivy-clad outfield walls, is tucked neatly into a city block. The charm of Wrigley Field is the fact that it doesn’t pretend to be a super-duper amenity-laden new stadium. Heck, they didn’t even install lights until 1988. They only recently added advertisements to the walls. You don’t even have to enter the stadium for a great view, try the rooftop bleachers across the street. Homeruns regularly land on Waveland Ave. That of course is dependent on which way the crazy winds are blowing. The only thing it lacks, is a wortwhile view. I don’t like the Cubs, but there is no way not to cherish Wrigley Field.

Keith: Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Baltimore Orioles)- There’s lots to love about this stadium. First off they opted for a retro feel as opposed to a concrete jungle. Second the park is right near the Inner Harbor and it is really a part of the city the same way Wrigley is. There is something that makes you feel like you’re in an oasis in the middle of a busy city. I generally like visiting Baltimore so thats another plus. This stadium also set off a trend that is helping baseball become revived as a sport. Making stadiums accessible, classic and fun brings in the fans, mixing modern amenities with a classic field. I was really hoping the Cubs would draw the Orioles on the road as opposed to home this year, oh well. I’ll have to go just cause, the trick is to avoid the Boston and New York fans.

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#2

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Jesus: Petco Park (San Diego Padres)- Camden Yards isn’t the only HOK designed stadium to incorporate a building. Hugging the left field corner at Petco Park is the Western Metal Supply Co. which houses teams offices and rooftop seats all while serving as the foul “pole”. The outfield is served by the “Park at the Park” which allows fans a view of the game for $5. At Petco Park the entirety of the concourse is open to the field, allowing fans to walk around the stadium without missing a play. Most of the fans are afforded a view of the Bay and San Diego’s cityscape beyond leftcenter field in this not entirely retro but very much southern California park.

Keith: Miller Park- Even before we had decided on this topic I was having a discussion on the value of Miller Park. Its hard to believe that some people hate it, sure the traffic sucks and I never like going into Wisconsin but surprisingly I have a good time almost every time I’m in that state. So heres what is great about Miller Park, its like a compliment to Wrigley in many ways, or as Chip Caray might call it “Wrigley Field North.” For every game they have a ridiculous park with amazing tailgate. Sometimes we even have such a good time it makes for a tough decisions to go into the park. The park itself is pretty nice, I wouldn’t say there are many bad seats in the park and even when you climb half a mile up you feel like you’re close to the action. I love the slide and the food … I love the fact that Jesus once yelled profane things at Corey Patterson – just because. Lots of great memories here.

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#1

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Jesus: Camden Yards (Baltimore Orioles)- Surprisingly, or maybe not, other than Louisville Slugger Field (home to Red’s Triple A Affliate Louisville Bats) I’ve seen more baseball games at Camden Yards than any other stadium. Maybe that’s the reason it tops my list, or maybe its the fact that its a damn fine stadium. Unfortunately not even an awesome stadium can bring the fans to watch such an awful team. The first of the throwback stadiums, HOK’s first design for Camden Yards wasn’t the gem it turned out to be. Located in downtown Baltimore, the stadium incorporates the B&O Warehouse beyond right field and allows a view of the downtown through centerfield. Eutaw Street between the warehouse and the stadium serves as a nice plaza and collector for homerun balls.

Keith: Wrigley Field- Picking anything other than Wrigley Field for #1 would have been wrong. Well first off its home to my favorite team, so that obviously scores some points in my book. I don’t have to explain why this field is an icon, you already know about that. Its called the Friendly Confines. Every 20 years or so the Cubs play into the fall and the Ivy is dead exposing the amazing brick walls. Sure occasionally concrete falls or the team happens to be a stinker but besides being beautiful Wrigley Field has an unreal atmosphere. No matter the score, the bleachers are going nuts. More than a few times during my college career people would complain to me about the party atmosphere. They’d say people only go there to party and get wasted. I’m sure some people do that, but really are you going to argue with me that its a bad idea to get drunk and watch baseball, because if you are we really have nothing in common. So for the history, the ambience and the atmosphere Wrigley will probably always be head and shoulder above anything else in my mind.

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Honorable Mentions

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Jesus: AT&T Park (San Francisco Giants), PNC Park (Pittsburgh Pirates- best view of any park), Progressive/formerly Jacobs Field (Cleveland Indians- can you see the HOK influences)

Keith: PNC Park – looks beautiful, and has that perfect sky line, Citizens Bank Ballpark (Philadelphia Phillies) – I won’t stay around Philly for long, but I will catch one game and perhaps a cheesesteak, Minute Maid Park (Houston Astros) – Ok I just want to visit Enron Field, watch someone bust up their knee on the dumb hill and maybe see the train fall off its tracks.

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Dishonorable Mentions

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Jesus: U.S. Cellular Field (Chicago White Sox- can I have Comiskey back), McAfee Coliseum (Oakland Athletics- Mt. Davis, man I love concrete), Shea Stadium (New York Mets- Okay, I do love the Mets Magic Top Hat)

Keith: Shea Stadium, Yankee Stadium (New York Yankees), Dolphin Stadium (Florida Marlins)

So where do you love watching a baseball game?

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