With each day that goes by, I miss baseball more and more. I can only hypothesis how well the White Sox would be doing at this point. The prospect of seeing them and the Cubs in the same division thrills me, but I don't care whose division they are in at this point, I just want to see baseball back in action.
As I sit this morning, I recall some of my favorite baseball memories. While several fond moments were had at Comiskey Park, I also enjoyed visiting neighboring ballparks with my family and my friend Skyler. In all, I visited six other ballparks outside Guaranteed Rate and Wrigley, and I hope to visit many more some day. I witnessed some great games and took in some breathtaking views. The list below details my experience at each park.
I had been to Camden Yards once before as a kid, but the Orioles were on the road at the time, so my family and I were just given a tour of the park. I remember how beautiful the stadium was though. It was the first of the modern-era classic stadiums, and as it was built just after Comiskey, the White Sox missed out on the architecture style that defined remodeled parks. When I stopped at Camden a second time in 2014 as the part of an East Coast baseball road trip, the park was full of life. I recall the Orioles belting out "O!" during the National Anthem, something I never heard from any other fan base. The park is a must-stop for any baseball fan. Even though the O's are not a great team right now, it's a beautiful park to take in a game. The Babe Ruth museum is right next door, and a row of bars sits tightly together right next to the park that serves Orioles crafted beer.
Citizens Bank Park
Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia was the next park on the East Coast road trip. The Phillies won off a walk-off base hit that August day in 2014. I remember playing catch in their enormous parking lot before the game, but other than taking in the thrilling game and the joy of playing the game of catch, I was not in awe of the park. Like Guaranteed Rate, the stadium was just surrounded by a huge parking lot and the city appeared miles away. There didn't seem to be anything to really do around there, and there wasn't anything particularly architecturally jaw-dropping about the stadium.
Citi Field wasn't the best park I've been to, but it certainly wasn't the worst. What made Citi memorable was its food. There was a rain delay this game, and I believe I got something called the brisket sandwich. It was so good, I went up for seconds. Like Guaranteed Rate and Citizens Bank, there doesn't appear to be much to do around the park though. Located in Queens, I recall a putrid smell surrounding the stadium, but that may be because it was garbage day there. I unfortunately don't remember too much else about the night we were there.
If you could only go to one park outside of Chicago, go to Fenway. Now, I haven't been to PNC, which I've heard is a gorgeous stadium, but Fenway just has that historic aura about it. Everything in the park is so close, it feels like you're at a neighborhood softball game. We stood in the Green Monster Section, and we were able to move freely among the wall taking in the view from wherever we stood. Near the end of the game, a kind woman allowed us to sit just behind the wall - seats that must have cost at least a half a grand. The view from there was magic. Fenway sits right on Yawkey Way, in a neighborhood that is as fan-friendly as Wrigleyville. You can grab good food or drink at nearly any bar you hit. I had a burger the size of my head at one of those bars and left a very satisfied customer. Make sure you make Fenway a stop on your baseball bucket list. You will not be disappointed.
Great American Ballpark
My family and I were pleasantly surprised by this stadium's beauty. It overlooks the Ohio river and the hills behind it. There was a rain delay there, and I tried Cinci pizza, and while it did not live up to Chicago's, the slice still wasn't terrible. Walking to the park, you can catch great views of the Ohio. It's a great place to take in a game.
While this was a beautiful stadium with the famous bay just beyond the outfield, you shouldn't forget your jacket when you go. We went to San Francisco in mid-June and our family ordered hot chocolates. Keep in mind that we're from Chicago, but by June we're not used to weather in the low 50s. It is a great place to take in a game, but I was surprised that there did not seem to be a whole lot to do outside the park. We did eat at a pizza place a few blocks away, but the brick-oven pizza paled in comparison to Chicago's. A number of homeless flooded the area around the park as well, displaying the great disparity between the rich and poor in San Francisco.
So, that's it. All of these trips brought along with them several fantastic memories for different reasons. I hope to make it out to more parks one day, but for now, I'm glad I made it to the ones I did.