Yesterday was my first day NOT spent in a ballpark since May. So I napped a bunch, and I watched two College World Series match-ups before any MLB games came on, then checked in on about four different games.
“I’m glad you got to watch some baseball today,” my wife said when she got home. “I was worried about you.”
I’ve got about five days before heading to Dodger Stadium with the kids for Fathers’ Day, but I don’t think I’m changing the hashtag to #ElevenStadiumsSeventeenDays.
Here are some final numbers and thought on the trip:
10: Stadiums visited
9: One-way flights taken, in eight days
8: Stadiums visited for the first time (I’ve seen AT&T and Wrigley before)
8-2: Record of the home team in games I attended
15: Different teams seen
3: Teams I saw twice (St. Louis, Oakland, Seattle)
15: Stadiums I’ve now seen (plus Yankee Stadium and the Metrodome, no longer open)
15: Stadiums I haven’t seen yet (next June trip? anyone interested?)
2: Horrible $30 motels I stayed in. (Arlington, St. Louis)
3: Not-bad-at-all hostels I stayed in. (Seattle, San Diego, Houston)
1: Airport benches I spent the night on (Seattle)
1: Friends’ houses I stayed at (Cincinnati)
9572: Miles traveled overall, give or take a few. I tried to use Google Maps to do this as scientifically as possible. But it’s probably more when you add in travel from airports to stadiums, which I think I included in some cases but not others.
Best game seen: Probably the Mariners scoring two in the eighth to beat Tampa 2-1 and give King Felix Hernandez the win. Rays starter Blake Snell, a Seattle native, pitched phenomenally but left after seven innings and then watched the bullpen blow it.
2: MLB Players I personally interacted with. One was the Dodgers’ Joc Pederson, who went on to hit two home runs against the Rockies. The other was A’s closer Blake Treinen, who earned the win against the Royals.
9: Shirtless guys seen, all in Oakland.
0: Baseballs caught. The closest was when a ball in Arlington was fouled off about 10 feet to my left and bounced directly in a woman’s purse.
Best cities for getting from the airport to the stadium:
- Seattle (easy and cheap train)
- St. Louis (easy and cheap train)
- Denver (easy and semi-cheap train)
- San Francisco (easy but expensive train)
- Chicago (cheap trains, but you gotta take two of ’em)
- Cincinnati (can only take bus, but it’s direct and two bucks)
- Oakland (we drove and paid $30 to park but you can take BART)
- Houston (took two buses; cheap but takes forever)
- San Diego (had to Lyft, but not a far trip)
- Arlington (had to Lyft and it’s not cheap. Awful in terms of public transportation)
Favorite ballpark overall (an impossible ranking):
- AT&T Park, San Francisco: that view is just unfair to every other stadium.
- Wrigley Field, Chicago: always magical, amazing fans
- Safeco Field, Seattle: great atmosphere and amenities. Cool roof too.
- Minute Maid Park, Houston: cool feel to the stadium, enthusiastic fans
- Busch Stadium, St. Louis: good baseball town, good food, broiling seats, moth issues
- Petco Park: amazing food and beer but nobody really cares about the team
- Coors Field, Denver: lots of good fans, great scoreboard, fun atmosphere
- Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati: surprisingly strong baseball town, solid views
- Oakland Coliseum, Oakland: not nearly as bad as people say, honestly.
- Globe Life Park, Arlington: Crazy hot. Stupid hot. nice people though.
Best defensive play (tie):
- A’s Marcus Semien makes a diving stop and throws out Whit Merrifield at the plate to preserve an eighth-inning 2-2 tie. Oakland would then take the lead in the top of the ninth. See it here.
- Rangers’ Delino DeShields smashes into the wall to make an incredible catch, plus gets to show off his amazing hair. That one is here.
Best stadium food eaten:
- Hodad Bacon Cheeseburger, Petco Park in San Diego
- Killer Pastrami Dog, Busch Stadium in St. Louis
- Loaded Nachos, Minute Maid Park in Houston
- Chicago Dog, Wrigley Field in Chicago
- Press Box roast beef sandwich and egg drop soup, Coors Field in Denver (note: there is a significant gap between the first four, which were all delicious, and the fifth, which was not)
Best non-stadium food eaten:
- Chicken tacos: Condado Tacos, Cincinnati OH
- Jalapeno Cream Cheese Burger: My Brother’s Bar, Denver CO
- Cheesy Pork and Bitch: Biscuit Bitch, Seattle WA
- Beef Brisket: Dickie’s Barbecue Pit, Arlington TX
- Smoked Salmon Pate Piroshki: Piroshki Piroshki, Seattle WA