This past weekend the guys from The Blown Lead took a baseball trip starting in Baltimore, then on to Philadelphia, and finishing up on Sunday in Pittsburgh. On our last episode, which can be found at www.theblownlead.com, we discussed the trip, including a ranking of the stadiums we've been to. Below are my personal rankings from all the parks I've been to. We try to go on a trip every year, so I'd love to hear some suggestions!
1) Miller Park - Milwaukee provides an all around unique experience. It starts with an awesome tailgating experience outside of the stadium. The park itself is very unique with the high walls and retractable roof. They place went pitch black when Trevor Hoffman took the mound with Hell's Bells playing over the sound system. Miller Park is the only baseball stadium I've been to that could pull this off.
2) Great American Ballpark - This isn't be being a homer. I truly enjoy the GABP experience. The are making improvements to the stadium almost every single season. With The Banks, there is now a much improved surrounding environment also. The Reds also do a really good job with fan interaction, from the between innings events, to the flames after a strikeout.
3) PNC Park - This is probably the only good thing about Pittsburgh. The first thing that stands out about PNC is the city backdrop with the yellow bridge in the outfield. The Primanti Brothers stand also adds some points. There doesn't appear to be a bad seat either.
4) Oriole Park at Camden Yards - You have to respect the original throw back. Oriole Park is 21 years old, but you would never guess that based on how clean it is. The concourse is wide open and there are several unique vendors serving local favorites. Oriole park loses a few points because when walking the concourse around the infield, you can't see out to the field. It has a basketball arena feel to it. Probably one of the disadvantages of being the first throw back.
5) Wrigley Field - I'm sure a lot of people, especially Cubs fans, will be furious that Wrigley is not higher on the list. Wrigley was a cool experience because of the nostalgia that goes along with it. The Ivy walls and the old school scoreboard add to a fun experience. However, I will take my top of the line scoreboard and cleaner facilities more often than not. Wrigleyville is a fun place to hang out before and after the games as well.
6) Progressive Field - Cleveland was also one of the first throw back stadiums. The one issue I have with the design is the inability to walk the entire way around the stadium once you are inside. Other than that it is a nice park with several bars and restaurants near by.
7) Nationals Park - Washington's park is similar to all the new style stadiums, and I didn't notice anything that made really made it stand out. It was very clean, and easy to get to from the train. The president's race was pretty entertaining also.
8) Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia is last so far on my short list. It's not that it's a bad ball park, it's just lacking. The stadium is not really close to the city, and surrounded only by parking lots. The concourse is alright, but they have a brick wall in the outfield where the batters eye is, so a large portion is blocked from view if you are getting a Philly Cheesesteak. The fans seemed to hardly pay attention and about 25% left after the end of the eighth, when they were only losing by 1! Needless to say I was less than impressed with the Philly "Phanatics".
So there it is. Feel free to tear it apart. We are definitely looking for ideas for future trips as well. Also, if you haven't already, give us a listen. We are on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and at our website. Also follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Thanks Redleg nation!