MLB Parks Tour #11 – Minute Maid Park, Houston, TX – 2010

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

Admittedly, I’m not the biggest fan of Houston. And honestly, I couldn’t really give you any great reasons why. The humidity is a pain, but we’ve got some of that in Dallas. Whatever the reason is, it’s still in our back yard, and offers the convenience of being a drive away. We were busy in 2010, and already had a really nice vacation that we were recovering (financially at least) from. We had gone to Europe (which I’ll post more of in another post), and simply couldn’t afford to take another trip far away. Luckily, we had Houston still on the list and took advantage. Plus, we got to see my brother and his kids, which we hardly ever get to see. We actually didn’t do much else while we were there…so I’ll get straight to it.

Minute Maid Park is another of the downtown parks that have become a really cool trend in baseball. There’s something really nice to me about having the park in the epicenter of the city’s activities. We walked around in the horrible humidity for a while, and lamented the idea of sitting in the same weather for the game. Imagine our pleasant surprise when we arrived to find out that the walls and roof of Minute Maid Park were closed and the air conditioning was pumping in. While I usually believe baseball is meant to be played outdoors, Houston is the exception. Nothing is meant to be done outdoors there. Read More

MLB Parks Tour #10 – Busch Stadium, St. Louis, MO – 2009

St. Louis was the last stop on our three city, four ballpark road trip covering the St. Louis, Chicago, and Kansas City. We often talk about this road trip as one of our favorite times as a married couple. While Chicago may have been the highlight of the journey, St. Louis in no way left us wanting. From the summit of the Gateway Arch, to the ridiculous food, to the indescribable homemade jungle gym of City Museum, we had such a great time at the Gateway to the West.

Early in the day, we took in the views from the iconic, and disorienting apex of the Gateway Arch. A tiny carousel-looking elevator takes you up to a compact room at the top, where you could take in the sights of downtown from tiny windows along the top of the walls. From there we ventured to Pappy’s Smokehouse, a BBQ joint off Olive Street featured on Man vs. Food. We gorged ourselves on smoked meats, and to punish ourselves further, then made the trek over to Krown Kandy Kitchen, where Adam (from MvF) took the milkshake challenge.

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MLB Parks Tour #9 – U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago, IL – 2009

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

As I said in the previous installment on Wrigley Field, Yvette and I really loved Chicago. I think we were surprised to like it as much as we did actually. We have always been huge fans of Boston and of New York City as well, but Chicago always had that tertiary “oh yeah” quality to it. That faded very quickly as we spent time there. The trip from our hotel in the Northwest O’Hare Rosemont area to the more southern “Comiskey Park II” was an interesting one. We decided we wanted to visit the University of Chicago as well, and that train ride took us on a very unique journey through the different cultures and communities of Chicago. That train ride alone is a blog post all it’s own.

U.S. Cellular Field was built in 1991 season, after 81 years in the original home of the White Sox, Comiskey Park. It was initially named Comiskey Park II, until 2003 when U.S. Cellular bought the naming rights. It’s gone through many iterations and renovations over the years, some due to fan complaints, namely the very steep upper deck (which we sat in) that was the subject of many fan’s scorn. On the other side of the coin, perhaps one of the most recognizable features of “The Cell” are the pinwheels on the centerfield scoreboard, a holdover from Bill Veeck’s original installation at the original Comiskey Park. They make up part of the “exploding scoreboard” that was one of the first to feature a combination of fireworks and lights when the Sox would score home runs.

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MLB Parks Tour #8 – Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL – 2009

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

Chicago is an undeniably unique and wonderful city. From Sears Tower to Lincoln Park to El-Trains to that big, shiny, reflective bean thing in Millennium Park, Chicago is bursting at the seams with culture. And no Chicago culture tour would be complete without visiting one of America’s most iconic ballparks…Wrigley Field. You simply cannot look out from the seats of the “friendly confines”, see the ivy walls, the old scoreboard, and the unofficial rooftop seats, without feeling transported to the glory days of classic hardball. Wrigley was stop #2 in our 4-stop summer road-trip through Kansas City, Chicago, and St. Louis. In short, Chicago did not disappoint.

Wrigley Field was originally named Weeghman Park when it was built in 1914 to host the Chicago Whales. In 1916 the Cubs began use of the park, when chewing-gum billionaire William Wrigley, Jr bought the park in a trust with Weeghman. The field went by Cubs Park from 1920-1926, until it was finally dubbed Wrigley Field. It’s the oldest National League park in Major League Baseball, and the second oldest park in all of the MLB to Fenway (1912). The iconic Ivy was planted in the outfield in 1937, and has served as one of the most recognizable stadium features in baseball ever since. I could go on and on.

We had a great time at Wrigley, and sat in some of the oldest seats in baseball. Can’t beat that.

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MLB Parks Tour #7 – Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, MO – 2009

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

The trip that involved Kansas City was a really exciting one for Yvette and I. We had already been a lot of places, not to mention stadiums, but for some reason, the idea of getting on the road again across middle America had us in stitches. Kansas City was the first stop in a three-city, four stadium tour in the summer of 2009, which also included St. Louis and both Chicago ballparks. Kansas City is an underrated place, teeming with great food and culture. Even though we didn’t stay long, and it rained incessantly, we enjoyed our time nonetheless.

Kauffman Stadium was built in the early 70’s, but underwent major renovations starting in 2007 and going through the summer of 2009. The game we attended was in May of 2009, and the park just felt brand new. Adding to the sheen of everything was the incredible amounts of rain we received during the evening, making everything appear brand…spanking…shiny…new. We were concerned that the rain would ruin our parade, as we were leaving the day after for Chicago, but luckily we got the game in after a 2.5 hour delay.

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