St. Louis, MO
I never thought anything was going to equal the previous day. We had arrived back at my brother’s house to spend a quality morning with my nieces and nephew—and Trent’s wife Kristy before returning to the road. It was a quick trip from Philadelphia to St. Louis. It was going to cost us a fortune to all take the shuttle into the Hilton at $17 each-so I got us on the next transportation shuttle bus, and then negotiated a deal with Budget to give me an extra few hours head start on the 24 hour time line airport rule—so I would not have to return after the St. Louis game to pick up the Mini-SUV, which had been the original plan.
Budget was awesome to let me have this deal early. I am a Fast Break member with them-and have/had spent a lot of money with them. We got a Mitsubishi SUV. My brothers thought it was a little small, but for a $65.00 rental that started out in St. Louis and ended up the next day in Minnesota-it was a great deal. Yes we had a five-hour drive from St. Louis to Chicago tomorrow, but we were all tough guys. I once again told them-“welcome to my world.”
That day in St. Louis was myopic. My brother Trent knew a guy at head office St. Louis, and that gentlemen made a few calls and arranged for my dad and I too receive ‘Field Passes’-and to be interviewed by Fox-Sports Midwest. I was almost in disbelief of that option, but it was now going to happen later that day. This experience was even better because none of us had been to new Busch Stadium-so all of us were there for the first time. Overall it was my 29th stadium so I only had “The Ballpark In Arlington” for stadiums left to complete my active 30. Much like Coors, Safeco and AT&T Park, the red-brick around the whole Stadium at Busch Stadium is top-notch. Read the rest of this entry
US Cellular Field
I had a tip from my brother Trent early on in the planning stages, that the United States airline companies often ‘sand-bag’ their flying times to destinations to take jet-way delays into consideration. More often than not, the airlines are able to beat the scheduled arrival time by many minutes. I actually used a tool on the internet called ‘Flight Tracker’ to watch the very flight I was on to see if this was a correct statement. I watched this exact flight land 4 weeks in a row, all approximately 15 minutes earlier then the 6:32 PM time it was supposed to arrive on that day. That day I was not as lucky. It was after all a ‘Chicago Airport.’ Still at a 6:30 PM arrival-I had about 40 minutes to first pitch. I had called in a sedan service to pick me up from ‘MIDWAY’.
True to their word, there was a young guy in his twenties waiting for me in the arrival gate and he escorted me through to the limo stand at a running pace. I saw it had started to rain and weather was something I would always keep my eye on during transportation throughout the trip. Read the rest of this entry
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- At first look you might not think that Vancouver could support a Major League Baseball franchise, but there are a few things to consider. With a surrounding area population of 2.5 Million, it is one of the biggest cities in the USA or Canada not to have a team. Of course when you are looking at the viability of a franchise submission/or relocation, you must look at the facility that the baseball would be played in. With newly renovated B.C Place Stadium-(see http://www.bcplacestadium.com/,) and its $600 Million Dollar Renovations, it is one of the most impressive structures in North America now.
The building itself is estimated to be worth over a billion dollars. It’s clear, retractable roof, with an incredible look to detail inside the building with 22 inch stadium style seating has all of the modern amenities that a new age fan would want. The facility features several new Skyboxes for corporate suites, and brand new concession stands that would be an extremely good revenue generator. The stadium’s surface is made up of Field Turf, and could be converted to meet baseball specifications. This stadium is a turn-key situation unlike any other in North America when it comes to a baseball ready facility.
Major League Baseball has gained in popularity over the last 20 years in the Lower Mainland with turning out MLB’ers like Larry Walker, Jeff Francis , Ryan Dempster and Brett Lawrie all coming from this area. Also in Canada, you have 3 TV networks that have an all-sports format in www.thescore.ca, www.tsn.ca and www.sportsnet.ca that would gladly love to fill content on their networks by bidding for television rights on a new baseball team in Canada. There are enough talented sports personalities to fill in solid coverage. Read the rest of this entry
Tuesday April 24, 2012
Chuck Booth- (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- Today’s expert is Kurt Smith. Kurt will be the interview subject of the following parks: Citizens Bank Ball Park, Turner Field and today’s featured expert Article of Tropicana Field Kurt is highly respected in the ball park chaser community for his BallparkEGuides. After you are done reading this article I implore you trust in Kurt to deliver up tips and suggestive idea’s on how to make your stadium visits affordable and pleasurable. I had a chance to ask some questions of the man recently.
CB: “Welcome to the MLB Reports Experts Interview Kurt. Please tell us about yourself and then give us a bit of background information on your life as a Rays Fan?”
KS: “Well I’m not a Rays fan per se, but wouldn’t they be a fun team to root for? They consistently come out on top or near the top in a division that includes behemoth spenders like the Yankees and Red Sox; and last year’s finale was one of the most exciting regular season games in history. It’s too bad this team has so much trouble getting people to come out and see them, because they really are an exciting team to watch. And I love the cowbells. It’s great to hear the ringing in a dome when an opposing batter has two strikes on him.”
CB: “As one of the ballpark experts who takes it to the extreme, how do you rank Tropicana Field versus the rest of the Ballparks?”
KS: “Tropicana Field isn’t a great venue; of all the ballparks I’ve visited I’d put it at or near the bottom. I don’t like indoor baseball, and I really dislike artificial turf, probably like most fans. The Trop is the only non-retractable dome left in baseball now that the Metrodome is gone, so you’re inside regardless. It may be okay to have the air conditioning and protection from thunderstorms in July or August, but who wants to go indoors to see baseball on a beautiful April Florida day? The timing of Tropicana Field’s construction couldn’t have been worse. A dome seemed like a great idea at the time, but just a couple of years after it opened Camden Yards debuted and completely turned ballpark construction upside down. Suddenly indoor baseball on artificial turf couldn’t be less cool.
If the Tampa Bay area’s government had listened when baseball told them not to build a stadium, they would probably have a retractable dome today.But the Rays signed a lease, so for the moment they’re stuck with it. And it’s not all bad. The humidity of Florida summers is nothing to sneeze at, so the air conditioning can be pretty nice. And at least you know you’re going to see a game whatever Mother Nature says, which is of great benefit to a road tripper.”
CB: “Despite the Rays being one of the best franchises over the last 5 years, the team still does not draw well. Why do you think that is Kurt?”
KS : “Here are the reasons that I’ve heard, all of which I think have some merit:
1 – Location. The ballpark is in St. Petersburg, and it’s not all that close or easily accessible from Tampa, where much of the fan base is or should be. It’s also in Florida, where there are a lot of New York transplants, so Yankees games draw well but the team has had a hard time establishing its own fan base.
2 – Entertainment Competition. Tampa Bay is not far from beaches or from Orlando, so there isn’t much elbow room for promotional people to convince residents to come to a ballgame rather than go to Universal Studios. The venue doesn’t help; on a beautiful day most people might rather go to a theme park in Orlando or a beach than go indoors for a game.
3 – Venue. I don’t know if I necessarily buy this one; a good team usually draws no matter where they play. But the Trop isn’t on the bucket list of most ballpark trippers, so that doesn’t help matters any. People get enthused about a game at Wrigley Field or Camden Yards, they don’t get enthused about a game at Tropicana Field.
4 – Weather. The indoor venue notwithstanding, perhaps people just don’t want to go somewhere and be outside for at least a short time in a climate where they may be dealing with hurricane-level thunderstorms or oppressive heat.”
CB: “The Rays seem to have a lot of gimmicks to promote a family atmosphere what have you seen Tropicana Field do in order to boost attendance?”
KS: “It is to the Rays’ great credit that they’ve made the Trop more entertaining for families and adults. The Rays tank is an especially popular attraction. You can reach into this tank in right center field and pet the slimy rays that are swimming around in it—all while watching the game go on. The concourse areas of Tropicana Field are like nothing you’ve seen in baseball—comic book style murals of baseball history, picnic areas and tons of interactive games for kids. On my last trip there, the Jumbotron showed a hilarious video of a cat “mixing” on a turntable.There’s also several party areas, like the Everglades BBQ in the batter’s eye in center field, the Center Field Street Brewhouse (with drink specials before games!), and several lounge areas where people can enjoy a “Blue Storm” drink. Baseball buffs should get a kick out of the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame, too. Unfortunately the Rays can’t do fireworks, but they do get some big name acts to play after games.
CB: “What is your favorite method of transportation to and from Tropicana Field?”
KS: “Well if I lived close enough, I’d ride a bicycle, because there’s a lot of nice bicycle paths in the area and a place to lock up your cycle at the ballpark. But as it is, the only way most people get to Tropicana Field is by car, and it’s right off the interstate and easy to find. So I’ll just add that I’d find some people to carpool with, because the Rays offer free parking to the first 100 cars with four or more people in them. Free parking is always a great deal.
There is a new service for Tampa area fans called the “No Excuses Tour”. It takes riders to the game from a couple of local taverns, and I think the price is very reasonable. I believe they serve beer on the bus but the bus doesn’t have a bathroom, so there’s some kinks to be worked out there, but it’s a great idea.”
CB: “Tell me something about the surrounding area of the Ballpark?”
KS: “Well, I haven’t heard any horror stories, but some people say it’s not a great neighborhood. You’re not far from the downtown pier and its attractions, so that’s a possible post-game hangout area. I would say that you’re better off staying east of the ballpark towards the pier, and perhaps it’s not so nice west and south of the ballpark.
The popular pre-and post-game venue is Ferg’s, an indoor-outdoor tavern that is converted from a warehouse. They have game day specials on beer, and I haven’t tried the wings but I’m told they’re very good. If you’re the type that likes a drink or a snack before or after the game, Ferg’s is as good as anything here. They are walking distance from the ballpark and have cheaper parking, too.”
CB: “What advice would you give for somebody experiencing Tropicana Field for the very first time?”
KS: “Don’t pay more than you have to for a seat. If you can live with anything in the upper level you can get tickets there dirt cheap directly from the Rays, and it’s usually not a problem to improve your lie during the game. Wander around and see all of the party areas and make sure you check out that big ballplayer sticking out of the wall. Get yourself a cowbell so you can distract the opposing hitters when they get two strikes on them. If you’re a history buff you’ll want to see the Ted Williams Museum.
And don’t complain about seeing baseball indoors, because it’s a mighty good thing during July and August in St. Petersburg.”
CB: “How is the food at Tropicana Field? What is your favorite ballpark food there?”
KS: “Tropicana Field has everything from soup to nuts in the food department, like most ballparks these days. The nice thing is that there’s a lot of brand names, for better or worse, at least with Papa John’s, Outback Steakhouse and Checkers you know what you’re getting. They have a deli with great Boar’s Head sandwiches, and they even have a gluten-free stand, great for celiacs like my wife. The hot dogs are from Kayem, the same purveyor of the Fenway Frank in Boston, although the dogs here are different.
When I’m in the Trop I go for a Cuban sandwich at the East-West Delicatessen near the main entrance; the Cuban is not something you find at a lot of ballparks. It’s a hot pressed sandwich of ham, pork, Genoa salami, Swiss cheese, pickles and yellow mustard. I don’t know that it’s the go-to item at the Trop, but it would be my first choice. Gooey cheese is always a winner.”
CB: “What is your favorite all time game that you have been in attendance for at Tropicana Field?”
KS: “Well unfortunately I wasn’t there for September 28, 2011, when the Rays came back from a 7-0 deficit to defeat the Yankees in 12 innings and take the wild card spot right out from under the Red Sox.
So I’ll just go with my first game there in 2002…the then-Devil Rays pulled off a 5-4 victory over the Orioles, and I was with a group of friends sitting down the right field line making jokes about seeing the relief pitchers from behind.
Despite being indoors on a gorgeous April day, a good time was had by all.”
CB: “Thank you very much Kurt.”
***Thank you to our Tropicana Field Expert- Kurt Smith for participating in today’s article. to learn more about Kurt Smith and his website click here***
***Thank you to our Lead Baseball Writer- Chuck Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports. To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Chuck Booth, you can follow Chuck on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and you can also follow Chuck’s website for his Guinness Book of World Record Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 days click here or on the 30 MLB Parks in 23 days GWR tracker at the Reports click here. To Purchase or read about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book, ” please click here ***
Please e-mail us at: email@example.com with any questions and feedback. You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook. To subscribe to our website and have the Daily Reports sent directly to your inbox, click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.
Like us on Facebook hereFollow @mlbreports
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
The debate for whether or not Jack Morris belongs in the Baseball Hall Of Fame has heated up to an ALL-Time high with the big vote going down tomorrow. 575 members of BBWAA fraternity will decide whether or not the big man from Minnesota will enter one of the hardest Hall Of Fame’s to enter in pro sports (if not the hardest). Morris will need a 75% (432 Minimum Votes) of them to write down his name on their ballot for enshrinement into Cooperstown. Last year, Morris received 66.7 % of the writers votes in his 13th year of eligibility. He will have his name on a 14th ballot this year. He has been trending up in recent years, so if he can improve with the same amount of 2011-2012 jump of (+13.2%), then he will make it in. If he fails to reach the Hall this year, 2014 would be his last year of eligibility for the BBWAA Vote. He could still make it via the Veterans Committee after that.
Jack Morris was a winner, a true throwback pitcher who came after hitters with reckless abandon. He pitched based on what the score was – and had no personal regard for his own personal statistics. It is this very reason why the debate has hit epic proportions on social media hubs, amongst bloggers, former players, analysts, broadcaster and statisticians. I intend to prove the case for the guy in a manner that will have some similarities to other pieces you may have read, yet promote a big look into the numbers that I have been bouncing around in my head for months. I even have had a #JackMorrisAwarenessWeek on Twitter and have been having feuds with people on the other side who don’t think he belongs in Cooperstown- while I have been Retweeted by his biggest supporters. Let the battle lines be drawn!
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-I had a lot of fun prospecting for the best interview experts amongst the friends network that I have in at http://www.ballparkchasers.com. I must say that I knew that Stephanie was a big fan of the Twins, I just didn’t know how far back her fandom went with the club. I was asking questions about the team since the Metrodome days us until now. Stephanie has been a fan since the team moved there from Washington. It was then I knew that having Stephanie as an expert for the Twins was the right decision!
CB: “Welcome to the MLB Reports Target Field Expert Interview Stephanie. Please tell us about yourself and then give us some information on your life as a Twins fan?”
SC: “I’ve been a Twins fan since I attended my very first Bat Day at Metropolitan Stadium in 1971. (With thousands of bats pounding against the old metal decks, I remember it being extremely loud!) As a kid, I would listen to the Twins game on my transistor radio after I went to bed; now, as a middle-aged woman, I keep track of the Twins via radio, TV and/or Internet.” Read the rest of this entry