MLB Parks Tour #16 – Chase Field, Phoenix, AZ – 2013

We’re all caught up…thanks for following along with all of these. We’ll get back to regular posts soon.

The day we visited Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona was a packed day to say the least. We woke up in Las Vegas, about halfway toward the final ballpark in our 3 park journey that took us to San Francisco, Oakland, and Tahoe before landing us in Sin City. Our plan for the day was to get out of town early, so we could make it to the Grand Canyon before trekking to Phoenix for our 6:40 first pitch. We hopped in the car and drove off to the desert, to see the sight I hadn’t laid eyes on since I was a boy, the Grand Canyon. The best word I could use to describe the place would be disorienting. I know that’s not the word most people would use, but it fits for me. I think it’s because it’s just so vast, it becomes difficult to judge distances and depth. The view becomes a sort of painting; a two-dimensional space in a three-dimensional world. It’s about as awe-inspiring as any natural wonder I’ve seen. (Now that’s the word most people would use.)

The final part of our journey led us from the Grand Canyon south another 200+ miles to the Arizona capital of Phoenix, and to Chase Field, the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Chase Field is an indoor oasis in the Sonoran Desert. Thank God for the invention of the retractible dome in sports, because it was a closed roof day.

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MLB Parks Tour #15 – AT&T Park, San Francisco, CA – 2013

On our anniversary, 8 years after visiting our first park (Boston on our honeymoon), we hit the halfway point on our journey toward visiting every Major League park.

As I said in the last installment, the roadtrip to San Francisco was quite the undertaking, spanning over 4000 miles and visiting the likes of San Fran, Oakland, Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, and Phoenix. Five of us packed into our Explorer and headed for the coast. San Francisco is a great city, full of history. We truly enjoyed our time there, and marveled at some of the sights we had only seen in photos and on television. We trekked across the Golden Gate Bridge, saw Alcatraz (though only from the boat), braved the curves of Lombard Street, and even got in some catch at Fisherman’s Wharf. But obviously this trip would have been incomplete without a visit to AT&T Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants.

AT&T Park is an impressive structure, sitting right along the San Francisco Bay featuring an incredible waterfront and views of the Bay Bridge. The park opened in 2000, and has featured an exceptional amount of history along the way. Perhaps the biggest is the home run prowess (*asterisk*) of Barry Bonds, who hit 500, 600, 700, and ultimately 756, which put him on top of the home run records above Hank Aaron, all at AT&T Park. He also hit 71, 72, & 73 in the park, which gave him the single season record in 2001. In addition, it hosted three World Series Championships in 2002 (lost to the Angels), 2010 (where they beat the Rangers), and 2012 (won over the Tigers). The park itself is spectacular. From our perch in the second deck on the first base side, we had a bay-view into the water on the right, the Bay Bridge straight ahead in left-center, and a great view of the field. The weather was chilly, but manageable, and we had a great time. Cheers to Giants fans, you have an incredible park for baseball.

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MLB Parks Tour #14 – Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, CA – 2013

It’s pretty great that I get to do these posts so close to the actual game. I’ve got three to do that I’ll try to post over the next week. Then we’ll be all caught up and ready to start planning the next trip!

We set out in the early Summer of 2013 toward the West Coast, a trip that would take us to San Francisco, Oakland, Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, and Phoenix, before arriving back home. Three ballparks and over 4,000 miles of open road for myself, Yvette, Baron and my parents, Bob and Kathy. And what a trip it was. We saw things and made memories in some of the most unique and awe-inspiring places in the country, and got to spend some great quality family time together. The whole trip will have to wait for another blog post, because this post is intended to feature the first installment of this trip’s park visits, Oakland Coliseum (or Coliseum if we’re being technical) in Oakland California, just across the bay from the gorgeous hills of San Francisco.

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MLB Parks Tour #13 – Marlins Park, Miami, FL – 2012

All caught up! We’re heading to three more stadiums this month!

The Miami trip and ballpark visit marked a new chapter for us. In many ways, it was a rebirth and a new start. 2012 had been particularly unkind to us, and when we left for Miami in September, we were pretty much done putting up with the year. But bad vibes aside, the Miami trip marked a decidedly different push for us as a family, and it was the first opportunity to introduce our third member of the family to our little family tradition.

The trip on the whole was amazing. We spent time on the beach, ate great food, met new awesome friends, stayed on a boat, and of course caught a ball game. The most fun we probably had was doing the whole Airbnb thing and staying on the boat. We like the adventure of Airbnb, because you just never know what’s going to happen. The majority of our experiences have been great, and this one with new friends Michelle and Pat was no exception. And Baron made a friend in Mack, their furry child (who they love so much he has his own Facebook profile). 😉

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MLB Parks Tour #12 – Turner Field, Atlanta, GA – 2011

Working through these as quickly as I can preparing for the trip in June!

Our trip to Atlanta was a pretty exciting one. While many people would consider a drive from Fort Worth to the Georgia capital pretty uninspiring, for us it was to be the last road trip we ever took as a family of two. We found out in October that we were going to be pregnant with our first child (which we’d have just two months later), and decided to take a little “babymoon” trip to Georgia and Pensacola, Florida. We had such a great time, staying in the Atlantic Station area, visiting Stone Mountain, and eating at Hotlanta staples, Ted’s Montana Grill and The Vortex. And when we got out of Atlanta after the game, we got to visit some new friends we met while in Europe, Mark & Tammy Tamayo. And on that note, I should mention we got to eat at the greatness that is Peg Leg Pete’s, the restaurant that Mark manages.

The trip was eventful, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the baseball park and game we attended (especially considering the title of this post). I was actually quite excited to visit Turner Field, less for the park itself and more for the history that surrounds the Braves franchise. Well, that and the chance to participate in an authentic Tomahawk Chop. Turner Field, or “The Ted”, was completed in 1996 as Centennial Olympic Stadium, and was the the centerpiece of the Olympics being held in Atlanta that year. The next year it was converted to a baseball stadium, and just in time too, as the Braves would dominate the National League for nearly a decade following. Some of its features include the giant Coke bottle and Chick-Fil-A cow (who does the famous chop when the Braves hit homeruns) in the outfield, as well as the once Guiness World Record holding HD video board in center field. And you can’t help but notice all those pennants!

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