Well that was fun. What was once only a dream became reality as we accomplished what so many told us was impossible and hit all 30 MLB stadiums in one summer. I know it has been a few weeks removed from the end of the trip, but I did want to give a final recap on the summer.
I have probably been asked the same questions roughly 200 times over the last few months as I have been explaining the trip to whoever is willing to hear about it. What’s your favorite stadium? What’s your least favorite? Best food? Best city? Most expensive ticket? Best seats? How much did it cost you? How is your car doing? Are you crazy?
I’ll try and give a quick breakdown of the questions:
Favorite Ballpark: This is hard. Really hard. What I first need to say is that I am mightily impressed with so many of the parks that are now standing for the 30 MLB stadiums. There are so many spectacles and cool looking parks with more to do then I could have ever imagined that to narrow it down to one would be almost impossible. As a biased Red Sox fan, I will still say that my favorite place to watch a game is Fenway Park. I can’t give an unbiased answer to that, but there really is just nothing like a game at Fenway. But for everything about a stadium, my winner would have to be AT&T Park in San Francisco. The atmosphere at the game, the aesthetic look of the place, the ocean backdrop, and everything else about the park really stood out and if I had to pick one to be my favorite, this would be it.
Least favorite: This is a toss up between 2 stadiums. And there is no close 3rd. It is between the Oakland Coliseum and Sun Life Stadium in Miami. Both are far and away the 2 worst facilities in baseball. There was a bit more to do in Miami, but only barely, to probably give the title of worst stadium to the Oakland A’s and their Coliseum. It is sad to think that just a few miles away sits such a gorgeous park in San Francisco and here the A’s have to play in this dump. It doubles as a football stadium and also hosts the Oakland Raiders but I sure hope the A’s can move out sometime soon. It is a shame that all those A’s fans have to endure this kind of park when nearly the entire league is playing in a giant modern stadium with so much great stuff happening at the park.
Food:It’s hard to say what my favorite food was. Due to budget restraints and my new diabetic diet, I was not able to eat a ton of ballpark foods so this is tough to answer. My favorite hot dog was in Minnesota and my favorite specialty food was probably the skyline chili dog in Cincinnati. I was amazed at how many specialty stands and foods are now at ballparks.
City:My favorite city was probably Chicago. We didn’t get to stop and spend time in every city but we were able to spend a few days in Chicago and I really loved the place.
Ticket: The most expensive ticket we had to buy was in Minnesota and again there was no close 2nd. I don’t think we paid more then $30 for any other ticket but in Minnesota we paid around $60 for standing room only seats. The novelty of a new park combined with a beautiful Saturday night and a 1st place time will do that.
Seats: The best seats we had were in Tampa as we sat a few rows back of the Rays dugout courtesy of our family having some good connects. We also had some great seats in Kansas City, Detroit, Los Angeles, and of course in Boston. Most of the time we sat in the upper decks for much of the game and would sometimes move around during the game depending on how strict the ushers were.
Cost: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “how the hell can you afford this” at some point this summer. The truth is it was not as expensive as some think. The key to this was the amount of connects we had in all of the cities for hospitality. This is the unpredictable part and why I tell everyone that the cost will be different depending on how many nights you need in a motel. I believe that on the 60 day voyage we stayed in a motel about 12 nights, which means that the other nights we were either in the car, with friends or with family somewhere in the country. We were very fortunate to have so many different people help us along the way by offering their homes or apartments, providing us food, buying us tickets, and joining in on the fun. This brought the total cost of the trip down a lot. A rough estimate would say that between my brother and I we spent a combined $5,000 for the 2 months. It was somewhere around $2,500 a person between the gas, the food, the lodging, the tickets, and miscellaneous costs. Not too bad for the summer of a lifetime.
Car: The car is doing well. The ’97 Corolla suffered a minor fuse problem early but other then that there were no real issues with her. She endured the heat of Florida, Texas, and Arizona. She made the coastal drive up California. She climbed the hills in San Francisco. Then the mountains in Colorado. She cruised along through the Midwest. Traveled into Canada and up to Toronto. And then all the way back to Boston where she left 2 months prior. A real unsung hero of the trip as without her there would be no trip, a special thanks to the ’97 Corolla for taking us around the country.
And for all of those who have called me crazy for just thinking of this trip, you may be right, but I will say that these 2 months were easily the best 2 months of my life. I got to see the whole country, got to see every Major League Baseball stadium and watched baseball as a fan almost every night. What more could you ask for on a vacation.
I would like to give a special thanks to everyone who made this possible. From the donators who generously donated $$$ for my college graduation, the many many people who let us stay with them in their city, the people who saw us in their city and got to be apart of history, and to my blog followers who continued to show support throughout the summer, I genuinely thank everyone who was involved in some way over the last few months. I really could not have done it without everyone involved.
And I know I keep saying I, I, I, but although he was not writing the blog, I want to give a special thanks to my brother Alex who was with me throughout the trip. He endured the same long drives, grueling schedule, and sporadic eating schedule as I did. Again, the trip could never have occurred without another person as I could have never made these drives alone. So a special thanks to Alex for deciding to give up his summer of making roast beef at the KRB and coming along for the journey.
Well I could go on and on but this is starting to sound like an Oscar speech. I’d like to get into some lists before I sign off for the final time. Here is a breakdown of some of the things we saw/ate along the way.
Hot Dog Rankings
2. Los Angeles
3. Tampa Bay
4. San Diego
5. New York (NL)
9. Miami (Florida)
14. San Francisco
15. Chicago (NL)
16. Chicago (AL)
17. St. Louis
19. New York (AL)
22. Kansas City
25. Phoenix (Arizona)
30. Arlington (Texas)
• Some of these were eaten on dollar dog night and may not have been the same hot dog that the stadium usually carries.
1. AT&T Park (San Francisco)
2. PNC Park (Pittsburgh)
3. Camden Yards (Baltimore)
4. Comerica Park (Detroit)
5. PETCO Park (San Diego)
6. Safeco Field (Seattle)
7. Angel Stadium (Anaheim)
8. Rangers Ballpark in Arlington (Texas)
9. Target Field (Minnesota)
10. Great American Ballpark (Cincinnati)
11. Busch Stadium (St. Louis)
12. Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia)
13. Progressive Field (Cleveland)
14. Turner Field (Atlanta)
15. Nationals Park (Washington)
16. Coors Field (Denver)
17. Yankee Stadium (New York)
18. Kaufmann Stadium (Kansas City)
19. Citi Field (New York)
20. Chase Field (Phoenix)
21. Miller Park (Milwaukee)
22. Minute Maid Park (Houston)
23. Rogers Centre (Toronto)
24. Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles)
25. U.S. Cellular Field (Chicago)
26. Tropicana Field (Tampa Bay)
27. Sun Life Stadium (Miami)
28. Oakland Coliseum (Oakland)
You will notice that I did not rank Wrigley Field or Fenway Park. After much thought, I felt that it would be unfair to rank these amongst the other stadiums. They are so different and great in different ways that I did not want to compare them with the rest of the league. I also purposely left a gap for the final 2 symbolizing how much worse they were then the rest of the league.
The rankings are mostly based on look of the park and have less to do with amenities at the stadium. Tampa Bay probably had the most going on in their concourse which was very surprising, but I could not rank the stadium higher because I just don’t like the place.
I think that about wraps things up. If I think of something else that I forgot to post or say I will come back and make another post. But this could be the end. It has been so much fun and so great to interact with everyone this summer. One last thank you to all who were involved and followed. Make sure to follow me this fall when I go to 30 NBA arenas in 60 days! Kidding! But for real, if anyone ever is planning a baseball road trip or has any questions feel free to ask. As much as I wrote on here this summer, there is so much more I could say about everything I saw.
I will now be working away in Ithaca, NY as a grad student in Sports Management. Not everything I did this summer was for entertainment; I also met up with some front office executives to discuss social media trends which I will now be using at school for a project. I look forward to rehashing all of my notes and getting the chance to relive some of the memoires I had this summer. Another thank you to all of the executives who took time out of their work day to meet with me throughout the summer.
I know this is sad but it had to come to an end at some point. I will be still be tweeting off of 2010stadiumtrip and checking back on this blog every so often. Just leave a comment if you want to get in touch with me and I’d be happy to talk. And be sure to check out many more pics via the Facebook page on the sidebar.
For the final time…So long summer. So long fans. So long 30 Stadiums in 60 Days. It was fun!