The MLB stadium list

 

If you’ve read this blog for more than three seconds, you probably have realized a couple of things: I like to share stories/videos/cool things and I like lists.

On Thursday, I watched a little bit of the Reds and Brewers. I saw the end of the Padres and St. Louis. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with the Twins during a pretty difficult road trip to star the season.

Just as how I like to see cool golf courses, I like seeing other MLB stadiums. I’ve never gone on a guys week-long baseball trip, but I try to see baseball during my travels. That was especially the case when I used to travel a lot more. I went to the Braves season opener on the day of the national championship game when the Final Four was in Atlanta. My only trip to Shea Stadium came when I was in New York for the NBA Draft and it goes on from there.

So here’s my list of MLB stadiums that are currently in use:

American League:

Camden Yards, Baltimore

Rogers Centre, Toronto

US Cellular Field, Chicago

Progressive Field, Cleveland

Target Field, Minnesota

Comerica Park, Detroit

Kaufmann Stadium, Kansas City

Angels Stadium, Anaheim

Oakland Coliseum, Oakland

Rangers Ballpark of Arlington, Texas

National League:

Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia

Turner Field, Atlanta

Busch Stadium, St. Louis

Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati

Miller Park, Milwaukee

PNC Park, Pittsburgh

Wrigley Field, Chicago

AT&T Park, San Francisco

Chase Field, Arizona

Coors Field, Colorado

Total: 20 of 30

Past stadiums:

Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, Atlanta

Busch Stadium, St. Louis

County Stadium, Milwaukee

Metrodome, Minnesota

Metropolitan Stadium, Minnesota

Riverfront Stadium/Cinergy Park, Cincinnati

Shea Stadium, New York

Totals: 7

Others:

I have taken the tour of Fenway Park. I covered basketball at Tropicana Field. But neither of those count.

What I want to see:

I have seen most of the parks that I really want to see. I should say that I want to see a game at Fenway, but I just don’t get that excited about the Red Sox. I feel the same way about the Yankees and the new Yankee Stadium.

The two that I’m probably most interested in seeing are Safeco Field in Seattle — which everyone says is the best retractable roof stadium — and Dodger Stadium. Safeco is supposed to be cool and is often mentioned by friends as their favorite. Dodger Stadium just seems so retro cool that it makes the list.

What’s on the agenda for this year:

Obviously I’ll be at Target Field a bunch between the upstairs 20-game package and working a little bit in the press box.

There are plans for a summer trip that very well may include stops at Miller Park and Comerica Park. Neither would be new, but that isn’t the end of the world. I really enjoyed Comerica last time and I think it is underrated. That rating might have been influenced by the fact I was there on a lovely Sunday afternoon.

So how many stadiums have you been to? Any big plans for summer baseball road trips?

 

 

Chris Jones on the inspiration of opening day

If you don’t have the blog of Esquire writer Chris Jones, well, you should.

The dude can write and and he understands what is interesting.

His latest post talks about the inspiration he finds in the beginning of the baseball season.

His theory is about how if you live to be 81 years old, an “inning” is nine years long. And with the beginning of the baseball season, it reminds him what else he wants to accomplish.

Give it a read.

The dangers of having two work sites. Or Jeff is a moron.

As some of you know, I have multiple worksites for my job. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been almost exclusively at one location because of a specific project. But as a general rule, I spend Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in Bloomington and Tuesdays and Thursdays in St. Paul.

So this morning, I had a 9 a.m. meeting. It was organized by one of my colleagues in St. Paul. The last meeting like this that we had was in St. Paul.

As a result, I got up this morning and drove to St. Paul. I parked my car, walked to the office, but it was locked. I figured my colleagues were already down in the meeting room. I hung up my coat, pulled a couple of things out of my bag and pulled out my phone to figure out what room the meeting was in.

You know where this is going, don’t you?

I unlock my iPhone to see where the meeting is and guess what? Yep it was in Bloomington.

Yeah, not the best start to my day. Yeah, I was late. Yeah, I felt/feel like an idiot.

Best news of the day: A MN course opening

I just got an email from a course called Wedgewood Cove Golf Club in Albert Lea.

The news: They are opening for the season on Saturday.

To the best of my knowledge, this is the first that I’ve seen of  a Minnesota course opening.

I have not played Wedgewood Cove, but a friend has and he said it is decent. It’s fairly new, so it probably has decent drainage. In terms of a golf course, it can’t be too awful as the Minnesota Golf Association is going to hold a State Amateur qualifiying event there this summer.

Will I tee it up in Albert Lea on Saturday? The weather forecast right now doesn’t look super great, but I’m not going to rule out the possibility.

Why I think some gamers are going to be bummed out

I admit that I am excited about the release of Tiger Woods 12. I preordered my copy and it should be at my house when I arrive home from work Tuesday night.

I also think the folks at EA Sports have done a great job creating buzz for this game. Between Tiger Woods being on Jimmy Kimmel, constant video updates on Facebook and their site, Twitter driving traffic, media relations all over the place, the placement in the Best Buy weekly ad and the like. It has been a remarkable job.

The idea of being able to play Augusta National Golf Club — one of the most exclusive clubs in the United States and the course that golfers watch year after year — will be an automatic hit for EA.

I know people who aren’t as sick as me and don’t buy the new Tiger Woods game as soon as it is released who are fired up about this release. They are buying it for the first time in years. They are fired up.

But don’t be surprised if you see a little complaining later this week. Because there’s a little something that seems to being lost in the excitement.

That is that golfers aren’t going to be able to open the box, pop the disc in and suddenly tee it up at Augusta National. Like other Tiger Woods games, there’s much content that has to be earned. From what it seems, that will be the case with Augusta National.

I’m excited about trying to build up my career and tee it up at Augusta National. But I’m guessing there will be a lot of more casual players aren’t going to be so excited.

When I know I’m in a real pizza place

I love pizza. It is a fact that is undisputable.

Like everyone, I like going to a place that makes a fantastic pizza. But I love pizza far more than that. I will order pizza at a bar. I will buy pizza at a sporting event. There are even plenty of frozen pizza options out there that are excellent.

I’m not sure there is such a thing as bad pizza. OK, that might be going a little too far.

But as a fan of pizza, nothing makes me happier than to see this:

Take a close look at this small glass container filled with crushed red peppers. Do you see the slots on the top? That is what I am talking about.

Nothing frustrates me more than a pizza place that puts the lid with the small holes in the shape of a star on the jar with the crushed red peppers. Why? Because you can’t get anything out of them. It’s great for parmesean cheese, but not for crushed red peppers.

Yes, I realize that this is a completely ridiculous post. But it is my simple way to applaud those forward-thinking, pizza experts who realize that a customer who gets his or her crushed red peppers on their pizza is going to be a happy customer.

Interesting story about language and baseball and a reporter

How important is it for a reporter covering Major League Baseball to be able to speak Spanish?

Is it important?

I’ve spent some time in baseball clubhouses. It is a place where about one in four players comes from somewhere outside of the United States. They are from Latin America, Asia and even places like Canada, Australia and the Netherlands.

There are guys who are difficult for English-speaking Americans to communicate with. That’s the reality. Many of them learn English pretty well — Francisco Liriano was tough to communicate with as a rookie, but his English is pretty good now.

So here’s the interesting story: Jerry Brewer from The Seattle Times is going to try to learn Spanish. His goal is to be able to conduct an interview by the end of this season in Spanish.

It’s kind of a cool story. We’ll see if he can learn the language and if it helps him as a journalist.

 

In honor of the Sweet 16 starting: The greatest team photo ever

I don’t care what anyone says, if there is a contest for greatest team photos ever, everybody is competing for second place.

Why? Because of the 1977 Marquette Warriors.

I’m pretty sure it doesn’t get any better than this. Because not only are the tuxes awesome (especially the baby blue), but for you youngsters out there, this team also won the national championship.

I don’t anticipate Marquette winning the title this year (sorry, DeRusha), but I’m not going to miss a chance to post this photo.

The 2011 golf debut: A road trip to Des Moines

Course: Waveland Golf Course

Location: Des Moines, Iowa

Course stats: 6,544 yards, par 72.

Website: wavelandgolfcourse.org

The first round of golf in 2011 kind of came out of nowhere. I had certainly had enough of winter.

blogged about the idea of driving to Iowa last week. I didn’t really think it was going to happen. It seemed a little bit crazy to be honest.

On Friday, I didn’t think it was going to happen. I was planning on hanging out on Saturday, going to GolfZone and hitting some balls and wishing I was playing golf. But my friend Jason sent me a message on Friday afternoon saying that he was down for the drive, he would pick me up at 7:30 the next morning.

Crazy? Perhaps. Fun? Absolutely.

As we left, there were actually some snow flurries in the air and we didn’t have a tee time in Des Moines. By the time we reached Mason City, the snow was gone and I had secured us a tee time just before noon at Waveland.

We certainly could have played a course that is a little more upscale than Waveland. But Jason grew up playing this parkland course. I didn’t really care where we played, I just wanted to get out and knock the little white ball around.

Playing golf at Waveland is like going back in time. This summer is the 110th anniversary of the course, but it is more than that. In some ways, it is like going back to what public golf used to be prior to the boom of golf course construction in the late 80s, 90s and 2000s.

On the wall of the pro shop is a framed Golf Digest page. I couldn’t see a date on it, but I’m guessing early 80s. The page featured the top 50 public courses in the United States. Waveland was on it. The guy behind the counter then showed me this coffee table book from that same era that had pictures and words about great courses. Again, Waveland was featured.

The actual golf course at Waveland sits on a nice piece of rolling property as you can see in the photo above. This is the fourth hole, a 371-yard par 4 that doglegs to the left. The fairway slopes from right-to-left off of the tee and if you end up in the left rough, you will be forced to hit a draw/hook and will have at least something of a blind shot.

I didn’t really take a lot of photos from Waveland as the weather wasn’t awesome and I was simply trying to work the rust off of my game. Without a driving range, it took a little while to get comfortable. I actually hit the first two greens in regulation and then bombed one off of the planet on the third hold and made a smooth 8.

With all that rust and with the wind blowing like crazy for much of the day, it was tough to get a full sense of the place. Aside from the first par 5 which forces players to essentially hit it down a hallway off the tee before an awkward second shot, I though the rest of the par 5s were good. Unlike a lot of municipal courses, these required a little strategy in terms of where to layup, etc. (getting to these greens in two wasn’t really an option as the course was not firm and fast and because of the cool temperature).

I also liked No. 8, a 182-yard par 3 in which you have to hit it over a valley to a green that appears to sit a little above tee box. This played into the wind and probably played about 200 yards.

How good is this course? First, I must preface by saying we paid $20 to walk. I thought it was a pretty good municipal course. It was much better than any of the Minneapolis city courses. A Twin Cities comparison would be Keller from my perspective. Was it the greatest course I ever played? Not even close? Was it fun? Certainly. There are a number of good holes, a few bad holes (note to Waveland, cut some trees on No. 14 so you don’t have to hit a duck hook off of the tee) and a few holes that aren’t really memorable.

But I got the added bonus of Jason pointing out where a dog once stole his ball and where someone had relieved him or herself on a green. How can you go wrong with that?

The only real complaint I had was that the greens needed some work. There was still quite a bit of top dressing on them (including some rocks to go along with the sand). Because of that (and because I doubt they had been mowed since last fall), the greens were super, super slow. It reached the point where missing the green turned into a better strategy than hitting them.

But it was fine for a season-opening round. While not firm, I was pleased/surprised that the course wasn’t a muddy mess. There were a few mud balls, but nothing major And after getting a bunch of snow here in Minneapolis last night, I would gladly putt this weekend on sandy, slow greens. In a second.

After our round, we stopped and got some food and made our way back to Minneapolis. About 13 hours after leaving, I was back at home. The trip back in time was complete and my first round of 2011 was in the books. I slept great that night and was certainly a little sore in spots after the first 18 holes (walking and carrying) of the season.

Yes, a one-day down-and-back trip to Des Moines for a single round of golf might be a little excessive. But it hit the spot and allowed me to get a little bit of a fix as I patiently wait for spring to arrive here.