Ah, Baseball in America.
Nothing says America more than a ballgame on a Saturday afternoon, hot dogs, and maybe a beer. Or a Coke.
I’ve always loved baseball, and as an adult I have tried to visit every ballpark in any city I was visiting whether for business or pleasure.
I have been to many, but this story focuses on what I consider to be the top three iconic ballparks in the country.
Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, and Wrigley Field.
Let’s start with Fenway.
As a boy growing up in Massachusetts, I started faithfully following the Red Sox in 1965. They didn’t have a very good team then, but I wanted to see Fenway Park so bad.
When I finally got a chance to go, well, let’s just say I remember it as if it was yesterday. When you enter Fenway park from the outside, you have no vision of the field. It looks like any other downtown brick structure.
We entered, handed over our tickets at the turnstiles, and entered the concession area. It was pretty dim lighting, very dungeon-like. Of course I bought a hot-dog and a coke. Didn’t have a lot of money for eats, but once I had my food and drink in hand, I followed the signs for my section. I was in the cheap seats of course. As I approached the ramp to my section, a small sliver of grass became visible. Oh my goodness, I had never seen such green grass before. I was awe-struck. I stopped in my tracks, and just stared. I remember it as if it was yesterday. I ventured out further and the left field wall came into view, the fabled Green Monster. Thinking back now, it is still an emotional feeling. Once the field was fully exposed, that was it, a Red Sox and Baseball fan for life. My life goal was to be a ballplayer. It wasn’t meant to be, but my love of baseball endures. Fenway will always be my number one ballpark, but I have a deep appreciation for the history of other iconic ballparks, so when I had a chance to visit Yankee Stadium, I jumped all over it.
Yankee Stadium – The house that Ruth built.
I think it was our second visit to New York City.
It was in the summer, and it was an obvious time to visit Yankee Stadium. I went online and bought tickets, at a very reasonable price I might add. The seats were in the upper deck, just on the third base side of home plate. Boy, were they high! It took awhile to get up there, and once we were in our seats I could not believe the view. As a Red Sox fan, I went to many Red Sox – Yankee games at Fenway. I saw first hand how hostile the Red Sox fans were to Yankee fans, and I really didn’t understand the point of that. I mean, it’s one thing to root against the Yankees, but open hostility towards their fans I do not understand. Live and let live. And let’s face it, for many years there really was no contest. The Yankees dominated the Red Sox most seasons. And when I visited Yankee Stadium, I expected the same hostility. But frankly, it never materialized. They were perfectly civil to us. I think it had to do with the fact that Yankee fans just knew come season end, they would be on top. It puts things in a different perspective for them. And it makes it easier for them to “tolerate” us. Of course that dominance ended in 2004, when the Red Sox finally won a World Series. Haven’t been to Yankee Stadium since then, but I’m pretty sure it’s a different atmosphere now. But I absolutely love Yankee Stadium.
And now on to Wrigley Field.
I was in Chicago on business, and my hosts asked if I would like to see a Cubs game. Are you kidding me? The Cubs and Wrigley Field are legendary. They were the last park to add light which enabled night games. They had Harry Caray, the legendary announcer and the voice of the Cubs. And since the Cubs play in the National League there is no inherent competition for my Red Sox, so I became a Cubs Fan at that game, Cubs Jersey and all.
The area around the ballpark is just as iconic as the stadium. We must have walked around outside the stadium for at least an hour. The buildings over the left field wall have their roofs dedicated to Cubs game seating. You can see some of them in the photos in this post. absolutely amazing. They offer a great view of the game, albeit distant, and they charge for the seats.
The day we were there was rainy, and that put a bit of a damper on the game itself. But the experience was not diminished in the least. It is one of my fondest memories. The Red Sox General Manager who orchestrated the 2004 World Series win is now the GM of the Cubs. I hope he works the same magic with that historic franchise. I would relish a Cubs-Red Sox World Series. That would be an epic sports event for sure. And since the Red Sox have a few more World Series Championships under their belt since 2004, I just may be rooting for a Cubs World Series Victory. Maybe.
Some Statistics from Wikipedia: