Category Archives: A2 Ballparks

Atlanta and Texas get the Bird and Turner Field gets Garbage.

Congratulations to the Cardinals and Orioles for winning the Wild Card Games and advancing to Divisional Play in the postseason.   As usual, I don’t comment on play-by-play.  You can read about the particulars on every sports page, but I didn’t want to pass up an opportunity to comment on our wonderful baseball fans.    Take those at Atlanta’s Turner Field for example.

Okay let’s admit that there was a rather unorthodox call out there in the field in the 8th inning, with bases loaded no less. I mean how many times have you seen an infield fly rule called in the outfield?   You can see some of the takes on it below, but in the end the play called by the umpire stood over protest and the Cardinals ended up winning the game 6-3.

Umpire Joyce & Galarraga “after the call”.

No doubt this was a huge disappointment for the Braves fans, but this has happened before and guaranteed it will happen again ~ questionable calls by the umpires I mean.  One call in particular that comes to mind was the Jim Joyce call on an otherwise perfect  Armando Galarraga game in Detroit.  If ever fans had reason to throw something, anything, it would have been during that game.  But they didn’t.  Those Tiger fans had class.

Turner Field Trash

I always enjoyed watching the fans at Turner Field,  especially during those 2010 playoffs. That tomahawk “chop” was an awesome display of fan support and the constant chant from the stadium was like a war dance or something and it was deafening.  And that’s what fans do in support of their team and that’s what they did tonight at Turner Field in Atlanta.   But that’s when the nice Atlanta Braves fans story takes a different turn.   They started throwing things.  I mean bottles and things onto the field.  It was so bad that the St Louis Cardinals, who had  every right and reason to celebrate, for safety reasons, had to take their celebration off the field and  into the clubhouse.

Chipper Jones Final At-Bat

All season long during every game I watched the Braves play in, it was all about Chipper Jones.  Chipper’s last season, Chipper’s last at-home game, Chipper’s last hit.  Well this was sure a grand way to send Chipper out the door.  Good job Braves fans.   I somehow wonder if Chipper isn’t just a little bit glad to be going.   I know I would be.

Rating the Best Baseball Ballparks.

Here’s a great read courtesy of Dan Lindsey’s “Diamond Baseball Tours” Facebook page and reprinted from the New York Times “Five Thirty Eight” Column by Nate Silver.  My home park is AT&T in San Francisco and it’s without a doubt one of the very best.  

“Classic Primanti Bros Sandwich” includes salad and french fries piled inside”

However, I can understand the PNC Pittsburgh #1 ranking.  I was there in 2010 and the first clue was the accessible parking.  We were on a tour bus and the bus parked less than a 5 minute walk away from the main entrance.  Ordinary tour buses dropped us off and then we walked a marathon to get back to the bus, if we could even find it!   Second great thing about the park was the food.  “Primanti Bros.” may sound familiar.   They’re on a “100 Things To Do Before you die” list.  It’s a beautiful park with friendly staff. 

“Fenway’s Wooden Scoreboard”

The #2 Ranking to Boston’s Fenway Park is also understandable.  I’ve been there twice and both times it was an emotional experience.  Probably the park’s history, and I don’t know why, but the “Sweet Caroline” and “MTA” songs that were played both times brought the house down with everyone singing at the top of their lungs.  I can’t explain it ~ neither song has anything to do with baseball.  It’s just one of those things.   It’s an old and beautiful wooden park with a lot of class and truly devoted fans, where they still post the daily baseball scores on a wooden board by hand. 

So it was easy to acquiesce those two parks to my beloved AT&T.  Good read and a great job Nate Silver, bringing us right up to the 2012 playoffs.  

Worst Ballpark Food? You Decide ~

Last month ESPN held a contest to decide the “Best Ballpark” in the major leagues.  Miller Park in Milwaukee won the contest while AT&T Park in San Francisco came in a distant second.  You can read about it in the “Related Articles” section below.  But when I read this I couldn’t help wonder if the ballpark food entered into this, because everyone knows AT&T Park is hands-down the winner in that category.  Here’s a sampling of the food at Miller Park I found this morning at “My Boyfriend Fatty’s Blog“.    I would categorize these as  “Worst #1 and Worst #2.  See what you think.

Worst Ballpark Food #1.   This is called the “Crazy Meatloaf Sandwich” from the Comet Cafe, near the Milwaukee Brewers Miller Park.  It may not be the worst, but it sure looks like it!

Worst Ballpark Food #2.  This didn’t actually look too bad until I realized what’s in it.  It’s called a “Pulled Pork Parfait” and I can only begin to wonder what the cream-colored filling is made of.   This little gem is available at a concession stand at the Brewers Miller Park.

Peanuts and crackerjacks anyone?

“Giants Garlic Fest” or Garlic Fries and Baseball at AT&T Park!

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 “First Annual Giants Garlic Fest”

What a hoot!  When I first found out about the Garlic Festival to be held at AT&T Park I knew I had to be there.  I mean how many blogs are out there about this very subject?  And a book entitled “Garlic Fries and Baseball” no less.  To be perfectly honest it wasn’t about the garlic fries so much ~ I’ve eaten plates full.

“Herbie at home on my bookshelf”!

I’ve been to the Gilroy Garlic Festival many times and to tell you the truth, when I found out they were going to have “Herbie” the bobble head, I had to have one.  So I dragged my dear husband to the ballpark today and we got in line at the Will Call, and again at the Main Gate and the food court and finally at the bobble head give-away table.  And I got my bobble head.

Special Pungent Garlic Fries!

There’s something really special about being out in the warm sunshine, on the waterfront at AT&T Park, well any ballpark really, but especially at AT&T.   We met some really nice people, talked a little baseball and talked a lot of garlic. Smiles were abundant and today the smell of that yummy garlic was everywhere.  Garlic fries were the best of course, but the garlic bread and incredible sauce slathered all over the tender tasty pieces of calamari was to die for.   I knew my husband would share his calamari with me (he thinks it tastes like rubber bands) and that I’d have to give up a little bread and fries in the trade, but it was okay.  It was all good.  I love this stuff.

2012 Gilroy Garlic Festival, July 27, 28, 29th

I understand they’re planning on making this an annual event.  I sure hope so.  We’ll definitely be back next year.  We didn’t stay for the game; instead headed back on Caltrain around 5:30 and arrived home just in time for the first pitch on the telly.

The first pitch this time turned out to be a home run for Cincinnati.  I was rather relieved for Matt Cain.  The way I look at it ~ the prospect of a no-hitter, one-hitter, and perfect game were no longer issues and he could relax and enjoy the game with the rest of us.   Final score was Cincinnati 5,  Giants 1, but you know what?  It was okay.  After these past few weeks, the Giants have treated us to some really special moments and right now, at least for today, they’re standing alone in 1st place in the National League West.

Life is really, really good.  Don’t you just love it?   Garlic fries and baseball I mean.

“Safeco Field” ~ Who Does the Mow Job?

I just returned from an Alaska cruise and was perusing the photos I took.  One of those special shots that really stood out had nothing to do with the cruise.  In fact, it was a photo of  Safeco Field, taken on Friday night, May 25, 2012, before the cruise and during a game between the Mariners and the Angels.

The Seattle Mariners Safeco Field

Take a look at this picture.  What prompted me to even take this shot was the unusual designs all over the field.  In just this one picture, you can count over seven different diagonal directions the field was mowed.  What I really want to know is how long does it take the groundskeeper to mow the darn field, all of it, and what kind of equipment does he use to mow it with?

Okay, I know, it’s a pretty lame question, but I just thought the field looked really great and wanted to share it before I fall into bed fast asleep.  It’s been a rough week, having spent a good part of it tossing around my cabin with patches on my ears, bands on my wrists, and frothing at the mouth from being sea-sick.  Our poor captain had to face headwinds of 42 knots while sailing at 20 knots.  I hope I got that right.   Knowing about knots is not my forte.  Alaska’s a beautiful state but next time I might try the Trans-Alaska Highway just to be safe.

As for Safeco Field and the Mariners ~ they played a great game and were ahead until the ninth.  I don’t know, maybe they took just a little too long to admire the field instead of focusing on the game and old Albert what’s-his-name.  I know that’s what I was doing.

Capitalism Alive and Well in Baseball!

“Courtesy of Money Ball”

Last week I was perusing the San Francisco Giants website looking for tickets.  I  settled on two $46 tickets in the Premium Lower Box section, went through the hoops and hit the button only to find that the $46 tickets were now miraculously $150!   Here’s the Disclaimer that was shown on the page:

“Market pricing applies to all tickets. 
Rates can fluctuate based on factors affecting supply and demand.  Lock in your price and location today!”

What the heck is that all about?  I mean if you list something for a certain price shouldn’t that be the price you pay for it?   I’m just as much in favor of capitalism as the next guy, probably more so, and I’m not an attorney,  but shouldn’t this be considered false advertising?

I understand having different prices for different games.  For example,  a June 4th game between the Giants and the Dodgers is priced at $56 for a lower box seat but a game on August 3 between the Giants and the Padres is only $32 for the same seat.   I get it.  Nothing wrong with that.  But to buy a ticket advertised at a specific price and then find out “at checkout” that it’s three times the price you agreed to pay for it 10 seconds ago?  I don’t think so.  I wonder if other teams are doing this.  Ticket prices  should be published at the beginning of the season and remain the same throughout that season, or at least until you get a chance to click the purchase button.

“AT&T Park not the only game in town” Photo Courtesy of Gerald Carpenter

Needless to say, I cancelled the order I was working on and instead I’m flying down to San Diego in June to watch the Padres and Rangers at a price we agreed upon.  Okay, I realize with the air fare, hotel, meals, etc.,  it’s going to cost me a fortune.  But this is a protest purchase you know?  And it’s the principal of the thing.  I mean how many times do I have to keep paying for Zito’s salary?  Enough already.

One bright spot in the week.  We received an email from the Oakland A’s a few weeks ago offering $12 Field Level tickets on Mother’s Day.  And that’s exactly what they cost.  These were great front row seats, beautiful weather, friendly fans, and extremely friendly vendors and staff, and a beautiful pink rose to boot!  Needless to say, we’ll be back.

And we’re flying to Seattle and attending a Mariners game week after next.   If this is perceived as being disloyal, so be it.  I love my San Francisco Giants but I love baseball even more and I’m going to the games one way or another.

Like I said, it’s the principle of the thing.

Best Food at the Ballpark in 2012? ~ You Decide!

"Strasburg: Last year's version with butterflied hotdog on top"

I found a great little ditty this morning at the Washington Post.  The Nationals are going to highlight special food from the visiting team’s home town each time they play in Washington.   I recommend you take advantage of  San Francisco’s special food “Garlic Fries” this year, especially since the Giants will be playing at Nationals Park on the 4th of July, and not just because they’re our namesake, but because they’re really, really good!

But for sure you gotta love the special food presented by the Washington Nationals this year, honoring their special pitcher, Stephen Strasburg.  I hear it includes 12 pickles, representing the twelve strike-outs the Stras got in his first outing.   Great article written by Dan Steinberg, from the Washington Post.

Nationals Park introduces 8-pound ‘StrasBurger’

By , Washington Post  Posted at 02:06 PM ET, 03/12/2012

 

The new 8 lb. Strasburger includes fries and a coke! Courtesy "Yardbarker"

(Marvin Joseph – TWP.) As the baseball season approaches, you know what that means on this here blog: lots of updates on the concessions available at Nationals Park.

Our first update concerns the Red Porch, and a brand-new menu item that will get lots of attention from media and fans: The StrasBurger. Via my favorite friends in Nats PR:

Weighing eight pounds total (including toppings), the StrasBurger is a monstrous all beef burger (combination of ground brisket, chuck and short ribs). The burger is served on a large burger bun with our secret sauce, American cheese, shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, sliced red onions, pickle chips and served with a cone basket of fresh cut fries and a pitcher of your choice of soft drink. This signature dish is the perfect entrée to share at this affordably-priced family restaurant.

In case you missed the key phrase, this burger WEIGHS EIGHT POUNDS TOTAL, which is a lot of pounds. Even if some of them are onion pounds. Every TV station in this market will have hosts merrily attempting to grapple with the StrasBurger next month. At least, I hope so.The Red Porch will also feature special food and beer pairings that will spotlight area brews, including those from Dogfish Head and Flying Dog. Any time I get to type “Dogfish Head,” I consider that a win.

Also, the Taste of the Majors stand — which has spotlighted a few items from other MLB cities — will now feature a special dish from the city of each visiting opponent while they’re actually in D.C. Those items will all be limited time only offers, obviously.  The list:

Atlanta:   Smothered Fried Chicken Platter
Baltimore:  Pit Beef Sandwich Platter
Arizona:  Dog Platter
Chicago:  Dog Platter
Cincinnati:   5-Way Cincinnati Chili
Colorado:  Mile High Burger
Houston:  Houston Nacho
Los Angeles:  Dog Platter
Miami:   Cuban Dog
Milwaukee:   Beer Brat Platter
New York (Mets and Yankees):   Coney Dog Platter
Philadelphia:   Philly Chicken Cheese Steak Platter
Pittsburgh:   Pitts Burger Platter
St. Louis:   BBQ Rib Platter
San Diego:   Fish Taco Platter
San Francisco:   Garlic Fries and Shrimp Platter
Tampa Bay:  Salty Dog Platter

Geez, this is all making me hungry!  Only 23 Days to Opening Day ~  See you at the ballpark!

Braving the Fan Fest at AT&T Park!

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Photos courtesy of KNBR and Ronni Redmond

I made up my mind last year that no matter what happened, I was going to the Fan Fest this year!   And I did.  We, my husband and I, always take Cal-Train to Giants games at AT&T Park just to avoid the parking and we did the same today.  It’s a few blocks to the ballpark from the train station and it’s the perfect way to travel stress-free to the games.

All the stories about the crowds proved true again this year.  Rumor has it the crowd was around 35,000 but to tell you the truth we avoided all of that.  I leave the autograph-seeking to the youngsters  so we headed up to the club level and found a perfect spot, a little to the right of  home plate,  front row, seats 1 and 2.  And we settled in for the day with our perfect seats for some perfect photo’s and perfect weather.  I loved this.   And we had a fantastic view of the KNBR Broadcast Stage and could hear the interviews and conversations as though we were sitting right there with them.   We had a great time at the park today!

Baseball season is finally here.  Almost.  But it’s close enough you can reach out and touch it, feel it.  Tomorrow’s Super Bowl Sunday which is probably great if you’re a football fan.  Oh okay,  I have to admit I did get a little taken up with the Tebowing  thing this year, but honestly can you truly say there’s anything better than spring training and opening day of baseball?   I’ve been waiting for this since the 7th  game of the world series last year and it’s just as good as I’d hoped it would be.  Thank you God. Baseball, one of the many pleasures in life.

You might remember a Bill Cosby video many years ago that included a story about little Jeffrey.  “Little Jeffrey” on the airplane.   On the one and one-half hour ride home  we had a little Jeffrey on the train.  Little Jeffrey screamed all the way home finally de-training just one stop before we did.  I watched him as his poor drained parents stepped off the train and  carried him past our window, little Jeffrey all smiles.  Our children are all grown now and gone, with children of their own.   But I remember the days.  Thank you again God.  Retirement, one of the many pleasures in life!

The World Champs ….. Taking a Break in 2011!

Giants & Padres at AT&T Park

The 2011 postseason began today but something’s different this year.  One of the most exciting times in baseball all of a sudden seems like it’s just another day.  Could it be that I still haven’t recovered from the postseason play of 2010?

The media had been inundated with the 2010 San Francisco Giants Cinderella story.  It was magic.  But the stories of late haven’t been so much about the magic of  last season as it is about the everyday mundane normalcy of this season.   How could this happen or more-so why did it have to happen?   I have a theory.

Historically the World Series champion has only won back-to-back championships on three separate occasions with exception of the Yankees.  They don’t count.    The returning 2011 Giants were basically the same team that won the 2010 World Series.   That 2010 team played their heart out.  When they realized in August they had a shot at the division title they went for it.  They scratched and clawed and mowed down everything in sight and they won.  And then they won again and again and they won the Pennant.  Then they won again and again and again and they won the Championship.  And then they returned to the adoration of a million fans screaming their hearts out in appreciation of what they had done.   After it was all over in mid-November, they went back to their individual homes across the country and they collapsed.  They were exhausted.  They rested for 6 weeks and then they started all over again.   And they were still exhausted.

And I believe that’s how it is for World Series Champions historically.  I understand all of this because, you know, I was exhausted too.  As fans we went through all of those torturous games with our teammates and we laughed and cried and shared the joy of the entire experience with each and every one of them and we were tired, worn out, and exhausted too.

I’ve been reading a lot of gibberish this week about the fall of the San Francisco Giants kingdom and it’s just that.  Gibberish.  It seems everyone’s placing blame somewhere, on someone, and it’s getting really personal, you know, about individual players.  They’re paid too much, not paid enough,  too slow, too fat,  too lazy.  Ugghhh!

The 2010 Giants were not an extraordinary team.  They were an okay, average team with a really good pitching staff.   The reason they won their division had more to do with the San Diego Padres choking  than it did with the Giants winning.   But they did win and found themselves in the post season and we were thrilled.

But now its over and its okay.  I’ve written comments throughout this season  exclaiming my euphoric state and happiness that the Giants were World Champions and if they never ended up in post season play again, ever, I could easily rest  on my (well okay, “their”) laurels.  It was that good.

And I think maybe the San Francisco Giants may have felt a little of that too as they began spring training, not really sure what had happened that previous season, and not really wanting it to end, still in a euphoric state of mind, just needing and subconsciously taking a little break.

At least that’s what I think probably happened and that’s how I’m going to always  remember it and its cool ~ the San Francisco Giants just taking a little break in 2011.

Garlic Fries and Baseball: The Book

Update:  Now available at Amazon as Book and Kindle.

Finally it’s here!  My book’s been in the works since February and  it’s being published today.  It’s available for sale here first, and will be available on Amazon.com early next week and in Kindle form  soon thereafter.

The book’s a compilation of some of my favorite blogs, some in expanded form, with a few little ditties added in and formatted in such a way you’ll hardly recognize it!  I have to admit ~ writing a book is a great experience, but it’s much easier writing a blog!

Let me know what you think but please be kind.   This is my debut you know ♥   Ronni

Dodger Fans ….. On Saving the American Flag!

Happy 4th of July!

This YouTube video was uploaded by giramino on Jun 10, 2008, and this is an excerpt from the comment that was posted with the video:

“On April 25, 1976 at Dodger Stadium, Rick Monday of the Chicago Cubs, grabbed and secured the American flag from two individuals as they were attempting to burn our flag in the middle of the playing field. It was an outstanding display of American Patriotism.”

I particularly liked that this incident took place at Dodger Stadium, because it’s been in the news lately as being maybe not such a great place to attend a ball game.  But great fans are everywhere including Dodger Stadium and little things like God Bless America, sung  by the home team fans, the Dodger fans,after the incident, is symbolic of baseball fans in every stadium.  And even though this happened over 35 years ago, it’s a reminder that patriotism is alive and well in the USA.   Happy 4th of July everyone!

Cleveland Indian Fans ….. Fair Weather? Not Even!

Jacobs Field is one of the most beautiful ballparks in America.   It sits spectacularly in the middle of downtown Cleveland, surrounded by high-rise buildings and, of all things,  Quicken Loans Arena, home to the Cleveland Cavaliers.   It’s within walking distance to the Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where I was once given a  T-shirt with the words “If I can hear it, it’s too loud!” by my 13-year-old grandson.  This was during the 2004 Baseball Tour we took that included a Cleveland Indians game at Jacobs Field.   We arrived at the ballpark early and walked around the stadium taking pictures and enjoying the fantastic views of the skyline and other parts of the city, from inside the stadium.   The design of the stadium gives you an intimate feeling of a small ballpark because every seat is a great seat and you’re almost on top of the field no matter where you’re sitting.   I mention all of this because, back in 2004, I remember mentioning to Dan Lindsey, Diamond Baseball Tours owner, what a shame it was to have this spectacular ballpark and no one’s there.  This was a day game in the middle of June, and the weather was beautiful, and still, where’s the fans?   And this was back in 2004, when attendance was still relatively good. 

I mention this because today the Cleveland Indians have the best record in Major League Baseball.  Well, okay, they’re tied with the Phillies, but still.   And they’ve maintained this standing from almost the beginning of opening day.   For the past two years they’ve finished 4th in their division, but not this year.  This year they’re all by themselves at the top.  And still ….. no fans!    Cleveland is a diverse sports town.  They have it all;  Baseball, Football, Basketball, Hockey, Soccer.  Could it be that they’re probably the smallest city to host three professional sports franchises and, therefore, are not able to sustain them?  But a lot of cities have this same mix and are able to bring the fans to the ballpark.  Baseball, in general, is thriving throughout the rest of the country. 

Last summer we met a couple from Ohio, and they were bemoaning the state of baseball in Cleveland.  The die-hard fans are in constant worry they’re going to lose the franchise.  What causes this?  Why Cleveland?  Opening day this year showed a sell-out crowd of over 42,000 and now,  five weeks later, they’re showing less than 10,000 a game.    A really great blog about Cleveland and Ohio in general is entitled “WFNY”,”Waiting for Next Year“.   An article from that website, written by Jon Steiner on April 5,  offers some light on the subject.   Jon’s currently investigating the claim that “the Indians are a real team, with uniforms and everything.”  

You don’t have to convince the rest of us.   You just have to convince the fans.