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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Stadium Roll Call
Wednesday, May 24, 2006

(Shea Stadium - Home Of The Mets)

When I heard the news that the Twins would be getting a new stadium I was both thrilled and a little saddened. I know the Metrodome wasn’t exactly a baseball Mecca, in fact, it wasn’t a very good place to watch a baseball game, no dome is, but there are tons of great memories associated with the place. Everyone will always remember Kirby Puckett’s catch up against the wall in the 1991 World Series, which was followed by his historic homer. I personally will also remember going to the dome and seeing Blue Jays pitcher Juan Guzman warm up up close and personal. It’s scary to see someone control a 90+ MPH fastball that well. The Metrodome is one of 13 major league stadiums I’ve been to, and in 2010 it will join the list of those that I’ve been to that are no longer being used (heck, one was imploded!); The Kingdome, Tiger Stadium, Olympic Stadium and Jack Murphy Stadium. The way baseball teams are building stadiums pretty soon that list of 13 will include more former stadiums than current ones! With this in mind I decided to take this opportunity to list my five all-time favorite Major League Baseball ballparks.

5) Kauffman Stadium (Kansas City Royals) – This place is simply beautiful. The scoreboard in the shape of the team logo, the grassy area behind the centerfield wall, the waterfalls behind right field, put it all together and it makes for a fantastic place to see a ballgame. The layout of the actual playing field is fairly regular, but all those extras give it a little something special. One strange side note, my second game there I was with my father and we ended up in a section that had a group of born again Christians. When the beer man came by and said “Budwieser, King of Beers” one of the born agains replied “Christ is King” and the beer man never came back. KC was also the place where I met Jack Morris outside of our hotel.

4) Shea Stadium (New York Mets) – Yeah I know, I can hear the jeers already. “You’ve been to 13 stadiums and you picked that craphole?” Yeah, I did, because it’s MY craphole. I’ve been going to games at Shea Stadium for the vast majority of my life and being a Mets fan I can see and enjoy the uniqueness of Shea. The outfield is completely symmetrical, which is boring, but it’s deep in center and fast players can hit legit triples there. Then there’s the planes from LaGuardia. Rusty Staub used to time when he’d step into the batters box with when a plane would be going overhead so the outfielders would have a harder time getting a jump on the ball because they wouldn’t be able to hear the crack of the bat. Shea also features what has to be the largest scoreboard on earth and whenever a player manages to hit it with a homer it’s quite the noteworthy feat. And of course there’s the Home Run Apple that goes up and down in the giant hat just to the right of dead centerfield whenever a Mets player homers. Gotta love it.

3) Fenway Park (Boston Red Sox) – The seats and oftentimes painful (especially when you go to elbow your neighbor not realizing the armrests are metal), there are weird no-alcohol sections, but the green monster is really something special in person, as is seeing the Boston Red Sox. There are very few teams with the kind of history the Red Sox have and witnessing a game with their lifelong hardcore fans is a treat. For food I suggest getting a real sausage from a vendor outside of the stadium when you’re also picking up your unofficial scorecard (which was called Baseball Underground back when I saw my first Red Sox games there).

2) Tiger Stadium (Detroit Tigers) – Tiger Stadium closed its doors at the end of the 1999 season but thankfully I made it there two years before then and got to experience this majestic old ball field. Talk about a place where a real triple could be hit, Tiger Stadium featured a 440 foot centerfield and an outfield wall that was anything but symmetrical. Like many stadiums of its era Tiger Stadium wasn’t build with the fan in mind, which is why it’s no longer in use. There were quite a lot of obscured views, and seats directly behind poles, but for my money it was one helluva place to see a ballgame.

1) Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs) – What can be said of Heaven? Wrigley Field is every baseball fan’s dream. It has the history, it has the brick outfield wall covered in ivy, there’s Waveland Avenue right behind it where the real big boppers’ homers end up, and it has some of the most hardcore long suffering fans you will ever meet. When the sun is shining, and baseball is being played, you want to be at Wrigley. The outside of it alone is enough to give a real fan chills. Simply put, there is no nicer place on earth. I happened to be there when Kerry Wood first burst on to the scene (and before he became constantly injured) so the feeling was electric. The feeling was also, well, it was something for me and my dad as we watched Todd Hundley attempt to play left field for the Mets in a very short lived experiment. Wrigley Field is simply “it” and if you’re a baseball fan you must go there before you leave this earth.

posted by Adam Bernard @ 8:58 AM  
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