If the money tree in my backyard had more foliage, I’d buy a baseball cap at every new ballpark I visit. But as much as it’s tempting to do so, it’s not very practical financially. Still, I’ve bought a handful of caps over the last two summers of traveling.
I typically buy a cap for a couple reasons. First, the look is important. I’m particularly partial to MiLB caps because most people in Canada have no idea what cap I’m wearing. Second, the price has got to be good. I’m not a fan of spending $40 on a hat, so if I find one that I like and is a good price, look out!
Here are the caps I’ve bought, in chronological order:
This was the first cap I bought on my travels, and arguably my favorite. I love the giant mustache on the ‘A’ emblem, which is the team’s alternate logo. I wore this one an awful lot until a bird had his way with it outside Syracuse last summer. (As you can see.)
New Hampshire Fisher Cats
I bought this cap in September of 2010 during a visit to New Hampshire for a playoff game. The team has since changed its colors, and given that I saw the last game of 2010, this one was on sale for $15.
I’ve liked Harrisburg’s logo for a while, so I couldn’t pass up the chance to get this hat. The downside is it’s a little big, but I think the logo and the blue look great.
This hat was a big steal at $10, and even though it only fits comfortably when my hair is short, I’m still glad I got it. The home of the IronBirds, Ripken Stadium, is outstanding. This is a great souvenir of an awesome ballpark.
Vermont Lake Monsters
When a friend and I visited Vermont last summer, we each bought hats. I liked the white panel on the front of this one; kind of reminds of me collegiate teams’ caps. The lone strike against this one is I’m not partial to cap logos that don’t include a letter. Call me a traditionalist, but I think caps should have a letter on them.
My brother and I visited Cleveland last fall and had to make a stop at the team shop. I like the team’s alternate logo, and given that batting practice caps are significantly cheaper than game caps, I went with this one.
PS: It feels like I’ve bought way more than five caps during my travels. Since I’ve been so responsible, I might just have to treat myself to a few more this summer!
I’m a huge fan of taking in the entire ballpark experience every time I watch a game. For me, this typically means trying to snag a foul ball, getting a handful of autographs and eating some unique food. It also includes grabbing a game program and checking out what it has to offer. My stipulation, however, is that I rarely get programs if you have to pay for them. I’m not big on paying for something I’ll likely only flip through once, and if I buy one, I’m less likely to want to throw it out later.
I don’t have programs from every ballpark I’ve visited, but I have a handful that range from amazing to bland. Here’s a look at them.
For a Short-Season A franchise, Aberdeen’s “First Pitch” program has a lot to offer. For one, it’s printed specifically for the game you’re attending. (Most teams print programs per series, week or homestand.) It’s got a clean, attractive cover and a preview of the night’s game. Because the program is printed for each game, all the standings and stats are up to date, which is a huge bonus for a stats guy like me. A couple standout features in this edition of “First Pitch” were a list of IronBirds with Twitter accounts and a well-illustrated diagram of pitcher Aaron Wirsch’s four pitches, along with commentary from the pitcher himself.
Baltimore’s AA franchise in Bowie provides a program called “Baywatch” for each home series. This one had a decent fan guide to Prince George’s Stadium, a list of former Baysox who’ve made the Major Leagues and a discussion between the team’s infielders on turning a double play.
The Indians’ “Batter Up!” is given out free and printed for each series. Of course, you can also buy a more in-depth game program, but this one’s worth picking up. It’s got a good concession directory, a fan guide to Progressive Field and a couple interesting articles. I was also impressed with the full-page ad for Cleveland’s Midwest League affiliate, the Lake County Captains, who play just 15 minutes outside of C-Town.
A South Atlantic League franchise, the Shorebirds program “Play Ball” is one of the shortest I’ve seen. Still, it contains a couple interesting stories on Shorebirds players, a decent look at the team’s opponents and a nice, comprehensive breakdown of each team in the Baltimore Orioles system.
Fort Wayne TinCaps
Fort Wayne’s “Gameday” program is printed each homestand, which is pretty much the norm in the Minor Leagues. This one had pink as a dominant color, given the theme of the team’s homestand, Turn the Park Pink for breast cancer awareness. This program featured a thorough, five-page guide to Parkview Field’s food and interesting features such as a tutorial on how to score a game, a map showing the location of each Midwest League franchise and a couple articles about the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
New Hampshire Fisher Cats
New Hampshire offers an amazing fan experience, but there wasn’t anything to write home about in the “Inside Pitch” free program. The schedules, stats, rosters and promotional schedules were all handy, but they’re all things you’d expect to find here. The worst part was the ads, even though I know they’re necessary. Early in the program, 22 out of 23 straight pages were full ads. Ugh.
The P-Nats, as they’re often called, provide a standard gameday program for free. It’s got all the things you’d expect, but a few interesting pages are the breakdown of the Washington Nationals’ farm system and a look at the Carolina League franchises. Additionally, this program isn’t overly laden with ads.
Rochester Red Wings
After spending two sentences explaining how I don’t buy programs, I’ll quickly recant that statement to say I spent $1 on Rochester’s yearbook during my first ballpark trip in 2010. Simply put, it’s one of the best programs I’ve ever seen, and for $1, it’s a real bargain. This baby is more than 100 pages long and contains a ton of interesting information — not just ads and more ads. The highlights of this edition were a look at the Red Wings’ uniforms throughout the years, an article about Stan Musial’s time as a Red Wing, in-depth player profiles, a pretty good guide to Frontier Field and an ultra-thorough map of the where to find every food item sold at the ballpark. (In case you’re wondering, the cover is damaged because I spilled water on it. Oops.)
The big perk to the S/W-B Yankees’ “Play Ball!” program is like the IronBirds, it’s printed for the game you’re attending. Although it’s relatively short in length, “Play Ball!” has an interesting game preview, a “This Date in Yankees History” page and an interesting section about the players to watch from the visiting team.
Toledo Mud Hens
It’s a toss-up whether Toledo or Rochester has the best program I’ve seen so far on my travels. “The Muddy Times” is amazing, and might get the nod over Rochester because it’s free. This book is giant, measuring 9.5 by 12 inches and numbering 112 pages. The pages are newsprint, but they’re thick and in full color. I love the cover shot, as well as the in-depth player and coach profiles, the 2010 season review, some good player Q&As and an awesome two-page spread on the Detroit Tigers’ top 10 prospects, written by Baseball America. This is the type of program you’d spend $5 on and still feel as though you got your value.
Like Cleveland, the Nats hand out a free game program to complement their paid program. “Inside Pitch” (which is the same title as New Hampshire’s program) is printed on thick paper, which is a definite upgrade over the newsprint in some programs. This one has an extensive Nationals Park fan guide, a guide on how to score a game and even two removable player cards (Jason Marquis and Michael Morse).
I’ve taken several thousand photos since I began traveling and compiling research for TheBallparkGuide in the summer of 2010. (If you’re new to this blog and are curious about where I’ve visited, look at the tag cloud on the right side of the menu or click here.) The vast majority of my photos focus on the elements of each ballpark I visit, but one thing I’ve noticed is that I’ve missed getting photos of myself in most locations. I often travel alone, and while it’s possible to hold the camera at arm’s length to shoot myself, some of these photos don’t turn out that great.
That said, I’ve got a handful of photos taken at different locations that I’m posting below. Click the date to read my blog about the visit.)
The second ballpark I visited, back on July 17, 2010, was Auburn’s Falcon Park. While I was snapping shots of the front of the ballpark, the man who lives next door to the facility offered to take my shot:
Later that summer, I traveled to Cleveland for two games on Aug. 7 and Aug. 8. During the second game, I got a few autographs around the visitors dugout, and then had my photo taken by another fan while sitting on the Indians dugout:
… and a day later, took one of me along the fence during batting practice. I snagged two balls here:
I toured around Michigan in May 2011, and watched the second of two Detroit Tigers games on May 25. Unfortunately, this game was called because of the rain after a few innings. While the tarp was still on the field, an usher took my photo:
On June 27, I watched the Hagerstown Suns play at Municipal Stadium. Bryce Harper was hurt and didn’t play, but that didn’t stop me from finding his truck in the parking lot and taking a photo of myself in front of it:
And on the second day, up on a deck in the left field corner:
The third-last game I watched in 2011 was on July 31 at Hadlock Field, home of the Portland Sea Dogs. Before entering the ballpark, my wife took a photo of me out front:
The Sea Dogs are the AA affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, and Hadlock Field is equipped with a mini green monster. During our visit, fans were able to play catch on the field before the game. Here’s me in front of the scoreboard:
And while throwing balls off the wall and catching them:
And pretending to relay them to the imaginary cut-off man. (I can’t lie.)
As always, thanks for reading. If you don’t do so already, check me out on Twitter.
It’s still several months until I’ll be blogging about my 2012 baseball road trips. Fortunately, I still have a lot of interesting things to share from the 27 games I attended during the summer of 2011.
One neat souvenir I’ve got from each of those games is my ticket stub. Now, ticket stubs are admittedly uninteresting to some people, but I think they’re great. And I think my wife approves, as they don’t take up that much space. I like how, for the most part, every ticket stub is different.
Anyway, enough talking. Let’s get to them, in order:
May 19: Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto Blue Jays
I bought the top ticket in advance of my first game of the season, and it’s pretty plain. Midway through this game, a lady gave me the lower two tickets for the section behind the Jays dugout, as she was leaving early. The design on these tickets is much nicer; they’re likely from a set of season’s tickets.
May 20: Houston Astros at Toronto Blue Jays
My second Jays game of 2011 had the same style of ticket as my first game.
May 21: Bowling Green Hot Rods at Lansing Lugnuts
I think the Lansing Lugnuts offer one of the sharpest-looking tickets in the minors. I like the checker plate background, the large, stylized team name and how the ticket takers stroke out the side of the ticket with a Sharpie, rather than tear it.
May 22: South Bend Silver Hawks at Great Lakes Loons
The simplicity of the Great Lakes Loons ticket is perfect. The Loons play in the small town of Midland, MI, and the design of this ticket is reflective of that rural setting.
May 23: Fort Wayne TinCaps at West Michigan Whitecaps
This West Michigan Whitecaps ticket is pretty standard: faded image in the background and the classic “ticket font” in the foreground. I do like, however, the vertical strip down the right side, featuring the ballpark and team logos.
May 24: Tampa Bay Rays at Detroit Tigers
I bought this Tickets.com ticket in advance of my first visit to Comerica Park; obviously, there’s not much to see here.
When I misplaced the above ticket while in Detroit, I was given a reprint at the ticket office. This one’s a little better, but the green (which, in its defence, is used to identify the ticket as being a reprint), looks weird when associated with the Tigers.
May 25: Tampa Bay Rays at Detroit Tigers
The next day, I bought this ticket at the Comerica Park ticket office. As you can see, it’s virtually identical to the reprint from the day before, but has an orange/red border instead of the green one.
May 26: Durham Bulls at Toledo Mud Hens
The Toledo Mud Hens have a sharp-looking ticket and the pinstripe background is the first such design I’ve seen. From the stylized Mud Hens wording in the center of the ticket to the logo on the right, I’m a big fan of this one.
May 27: Great Lakes Loons at Fort Wayne TinCaps
While I loved my visit to Fort Wayne to watch the TinCaps, this ticket design lacks interest. The gray TinCaps logo in the bottom right corner blends into the background, which isn’t great. On the plus side, I like how the ticket identifies the name of your section and the Parkview Field wording stands out well.
May 28: West Michigan Whitecaps at Lake County Captains
The Lake County Captains offer one of the most unique tickets I’ve seen. The right side is ripped off upon entry to the park, but even with this subtraction, the ticket is massive. The top part tears off, if desired, and the blue color and team logo give this ticket lots of visual impact.
May 29: Reading Phillies at Erie SeaWolves
This Erie SeaWolves ticket is perhaps the most underwhelming I’ve encountered. It’s certainly got all the information you need, but its design is super sub-par. There’s some sort of baseball image in the background, but it’s virtually impossible to discern.
June 23: Norfolk Tides at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees
This ticket is simply designed, and has large “Yankees” lettering in the background, although it didn’t show up in the scan. I’m still a little bitter about the price I had to pay for this game.
June 24: Altoona Curve at Harrisburg Senators
Stephen Strasburg is depicted on this Harrisburg ticket, which is cool. I also like the 25-year badge and the 6-time EL Champs lettering.
June 25: Staten Island Yankees at Aberdeen IronBirds
The IronBirds offer one of the plainest tickets I’ve seen thus far, but I like their sense of humor. See where it says “Fashionably Late”? That’s because I bought it on game day. The “SRO” lettering means standing room only.
June 26: Binghamton Mets at Bowie Baysox
On the surface, this Baysox ticket looks fine, but the odd thing is that the team uses orange and black as its colors. (The team has a turquoise third jersey, however.) If this ticket had an orange tint to it, I’d call it a winner.
June 27: Lakewood Blueclaws at Hagerstown Suns
Although the sunglasses on the Hagerstown Suns logo scream 1991, this is a catchy ticket. The fonts are a bit small, but I realize saying that makes me sound like a bitter old man who complains about neighbors who make noise at 7 p.m. The $8.80 price is a bit bizarre, too. Virtually every other ticket’s price is an even dollar value.
June 28: Greensboro Grasshoppers at Delmarva Shorebirds
Plain Jane is the best adjective for this Shorebirds ticket, which features no color and minimal graphical elements. I like the silvery shimmer of the logo in the center, but this ticket would be augmented with a splash of color.
June 29: St. Louis Cardinals at Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles offer a bland ticket, but like other MLB teams, the look of the ticket improves if you’re a season’s pass holder. The B&O warehouse is depicted in the background, which is neat.
June 30: St. Louis Cardinals at Baltimore Orioles
July 1: Winston-Salem Dash at Potomac Nationals
I’m not a fan of the way the Potomac Nationals rip your ticket upon entry, but this ticket is neat because it features a background image of the P-Nats’ 2010 Carolina League championship team.
July 2: Pittsburgh Pirates at Washington Nationals
Like the Blue Jays and Orioles tickets I showed above, the Washington Nationals use a standard ticket template for fans who buy at the ticket office.
July 3: Pittsburgh Pirates at Washington Nationals
Ditto. But I like the price on this one better.
July 4: Portland Sea Dogs at Binghamton Mets
The background color of this Binghamton Mets ticket certainly catches your eye. The Mets logo on the upper right of the ticket is nice, but I find the other team logo gets lost behind the visitor’s name. Still, a nice ticket.
July 28: Reading Phillies at New Hampshire Fisher Cats
The New Hampshire Fisher Cats have a tear-off Modell’s coupon on the left side of their tickets, but the rest of the design is sharp. I like the Fisher Cats logo in the background and the 2011 Eastern League All-Star Game emblem in the bottom left corner.
July 31: Altoona Curve at Portland Sea Dogs
The Portland Sea Dogs take an interesting approach on their tickets, showing an image of the team’s alumni jersey wall in the background. With a sharp eye, you can catch the jerseys of David Ortiz, Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury and Jonathan Papelbon, among others.
August 21: Hudson Valley Renegades at Vermont Lake Monsters
I find that the Green Mountain Coffee coupon on the left of the Lake Monsters ticket takes up a bit too much space, but I like the background image of the team celebrating.
September 23: Minnesota Twins at Cleveland Indians
Not to sound like a broken record, but the Indians’ standard ticket is pretty similar to the other MLB teams in my list.
As a bonus, I thought I’d share the tickets from the games I attended in 2010.
Ready? Let’s go!
July 16: Indianapolis Indians at Rochester Red Wings
This ticket’s special to me because it’s the ticket I bought for the first ballpark I visited for my website, TheBallparkGuide.com. I bought it in advance, so it’s got my name printed across the middle, which is sort of neat. The ticket itself features an overhead view of Rochester’s Frontier Field.
July 17: State College Spikes at Auburn Doubledays
I absolutely love this ticket. It helps that my visit to Auburn was amazing, but I love the simple design of this ticket. The Doubledays are publicly owned, and have a tangible community-oriented feel. This one-of-a-kind ticket just supports that.
July 18: Pawtucket Red Sox at Syracuse Chiefs
The Syracuse Chiefs used this ticket in 2010 to commemorate their 50th season as a modern-era franchise. Although it’s hard to see on the scan, the design includes baseball card images of past Chiefs.
August 6: Columbus Clippers at Buffalo Bisons
This 2010 Buffalo Bisons ticket is pretty generic. There’s a standard crowd image in the background, and if it weren’t for the red/orange seats, I wouldn’t know it was taken at Coca-Cola Field. Of note is the angry-looking guy to the left of the world “Buffalo.” I think the team could’ve done better.
August 7: Minnesota Twins at Cleveland Indians
Virtually the same ticket the Indians used this summer.
August 8: Minnesota Twins at Cleveland Indians
Another standard Tribe ticket.
August 9: Aberdeen IronBirds at Mahoning Valley Scrappers
The New York-Penn League’s Scrappers have a simple, effective design on this ticket from 2010. The background image features the team celebrating in the infield after a win. And I have to chuckle at the “No Outside Food/Beverage” reminder in the bottom right.
August 10: Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays
This ticket featuring Adam Lind is nicer than the plain tix the Jays sold in 2011.
August 11: Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays
These two tickets show Vernon Wells and Aaron Hill. I also like how the tickets indicate the time that the stadium opens. The baseball stitches along the right side are sharp, too.
September 10: Trenton Thunder at New Hampshire Fisher Cats
The ’10 Fisher Cats ticket is very similar to the ’11 version. The chief difference is the change in the team color and ballpark name.
September 11: Brooklyn Cyclones at Tri-City ValleyCats
I don’t like how the side of this ticket got ripped off, but the design is nice. Because I’m such a fan of ballparks, it’s neat to see Joseph L. Bruno Stadium depicted in the background. This ticket works well.
When I travel for my website TheBallparkGuide.com, I take the bulk of my photos with my Canon. Occasionally, when it’s not convenient to use my camera, such as while driving (yikes) or when I want to Tweet or email a photo immediately, I’ll use the camera in my iPod touch.
This past summer, I amassed a few dozen shots on my iPod that I thought are worth sharing. They don’t have the same resolution quality as those shot with my real camera, but they still help tell the tale of a great summer of baseball travel. So, let’s get started!
I snapped this photo of an interstate exit outside of Syracuse back on May 3. Is it just my sense of humor, or does the name “Tinker Tavern” sound a little shady?
That visit to Syracuse was a total fail. The game was rained out, which meant about seven hours’ driving time for naught. With time to kill, I visited a few sports stores in town and saw this sick Mizuno first baseman’s glove:
As I said, it was a pretty rainy day. It rained the whole way home, including on the bridge back to Canada:
My next baseball game had better results. I visited Toronto on May 19 and enjoyed this perfect view out my hotel window:
I stayed in town to watch the Jays against the Astros a day later. On my walk to Rogers Center, I took a couple photos, including the Renaissance Hotel and the statues up high on the stadium wall:
A few days later, I was in Midland, Michigan to watch the Great Lakes Loons. I arrived in town early, so I ate a little picnic on the grass outside Dow Diamond. If you discount the liter of liquid sugar behind the broccoli, it was a healthy lunch:
I also took the opportunity to photograph the two balls I’d gotten on the road trip — a Midwest League ball the night before in Lansing and a Major League Ball in Toronto:
When the Loons game began, it didn’t take long for me to get another ball. This one was a foul that almost brained me, as I was reading a plaque at the time:
A few innings into the game, a crazy storm dropped a ton of rain on the ballpark. The Loons grounds crew did a great job of getting the field ready, and the game was underway a little more than an hour later:
My next stop was in West Michigan to watch the Whitecaps. When I was shopping for some food at the Wal-Mart in Grand Rapids, this beer caught my eye:
In the Whitecaps team shop, I couldn’t resist snapping a photo of the team’s road cap, as it features my dad’s initials (and, yes, it also stands for West Michigan):
In the early innings of the game, I managed my second foul ball in two days:
Late in the game, there was an awesome sunset that I captured:
The next day, on May 24, I arrived in Detroit for two Tigers games. I stayed at the Greektown Casino Hotel and had an amazing view of the city and Comerica Park:
When I booked the hotel, I got a $10 voucher for the casino itself. I snapped this photo looking back at the hotel as I walked along a bridge toward the casino …
… where I quickly went up $5, cashed out and went back to my room. Take that, Greektown Casino Hotel!
A few days later, I set off to Fort Wayne, Indiana, to watch the TinCaps for a game at Parkview Field. The rain, which seemed to be a theme on my trip, was bonkers on this drive. The radio was blaring “take shelter” warnings, but I continued driving. In some places, the water was freakishly close to the road:
That’s not a river, by the way. It’s a farmer’s field. Yikes. In other places, the roads were completely flooded:
After Fort Wayne, I drove to a suburb east of Cleveland to watch the Lake County Captains. As I passed through C-Town, I managed a photo of Progressive Field, home of the Indians:
A self-portrait in Classic Park, home of the Captains:
Fast forward a month, and I was hitting the road for my second big trip of the summer, which first took me through Pennsylvania. Yes, rain was the theme again. This was my view on the way to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to watch the Yankees:
It wasn’t all rain, though. A day later, the sun was shining in Harrisburg as I watched the Senators play at their gorgeous ballpark. The visit was even better thanks to the two balls I snagged:
The next day, I visited Aberdeen, Maryland, to watch the IronBirds, which are owned by Cal Ripken, Jr. Here, I found the best ballpark food I’ve ever eaten: A crab cake sandwich:
On June 27, I hung out with Bryce Harper’s truck in Hagerstown, parked behind Municipal Stadium:
(If you want to read about my incredible adventure trying to get Harper’s autograph, click this link.)
The following day, I watched the Delmarva Shorebirds after snagging 12 balls during batting practice. The ball at the lower right of the picture, however, was out of my reach:
On the way out of Salisbury, Maryland on the way to Baltimore, I crushed some Sonic hot dogs for breakfast. I’d say it was lunch, but that’d be a lie. It was breakfast:
It’s the ceiling in the D.C. Metro, which I braved on two straight days.
My final iPod photo is the rather odd pathway to a bar in Vermont’s Centennial Field:
As I blogged about, you get the impression you’re in a forbidden area, but you’re not. You take the path between the two structures, walk through the facility’s batting cages and the area opens up into a bar called The Cage. Pretty cool.
As always, thanks for reading. I’ve got a ton more random content to share throughout the off-season. Please bookmark my blog and follow me on Twitter.
Believe it or not, I still have one game to blog about from this past summer. I know, I know, one of the big rules about blogging is to be timely. But instead of offering excuses as to why it’s taken me a few months to write about an amazing visit to Cleveland, I’ll just get right to it.
Every fall, my brother and I visit a different NFL stadium. This year, we went to Cleveland, and even though I drove through C-Town this past summer and went to two Indians games in 2010, I wanted to check out Progressive Field again. We were in luck, as we’d be in Cleveland for the September 25 Browns game against the Dolphins, and the Indians were also home that weekend. The plan was to see the ball game on Friday night, which was also Jim Thome Night.
The drive down was rainy, which didn’t bode well for the possibility of the game that night:
When we got into town around mid-afternoon, we could see Progressive Field’s bright lights illuminating the gray skyline:
Inclement weather not withstanding, I was pumped to hopefully see my last baseball game of the 2011 season. For me, approaching the stadium is an exciting experience. So, sitting in the car, in traffic, with this sight ahead of us was cool:
We parked a short walk from Progressive Field and by then, the skies were even darker:
No worries, though. We walked around the perimeter of the stadium, stopping briefly to take a picture of the front sign …
… my ticket …
… our tickets …
… and a pretty deserted “Rally Alley”:
After waiting in line at Gate C, and upon entering, we were handed Jim Thome posters:
The posters were neat, but with rain falling and given the size of the posters, we had to fold them to put them in my backpack.
This was my brother’s first visit to Progressive Field, so I played the role of tour guide and showed him some of the stadium’s neater features, including the Ridgid Jobsite bar:
The team shop, where we saw this game-used Indians helmet for $50:
And Heritage Park, which had a new wall honoring HOFer Bob Feller:
Unfortunately, there was no action on the field, unless you consider the tarp action:
New this season is the Food Network concession stand, which was selling a Cleveland Steak Sandwich and Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese:
Despite being pricey, I waited in line to find out both were temporarily sold out. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, depending on your point of view, it was $1 hot dog night. So we got two each …
… downed them quickly and then continued touring around. I can’t get enough of Progressive Field’s amazing scoreboard:
We also spent a little more time in Heritage Park, where my brother took a pic of me next to Feller’s plaque:
Our last stop before finding our seats waaaaaaaay up in Row X of Section 570 was a visit to the concourse overlooking the players’ parking lot; and yes, that’s a Bentley:
On the way to our seats, my brother nabbed two more hot dogs:
That’s six total dogs between us, for those keeping score. By the time we made it up to our seats down the third base line, the sky was dark, to put it mildly:
The grounds crew was in the process of putting the tarp back on the infield after removing it perhaps an hour earlier and this was the panoramic scene:
With the status of the game uncertain, Thome, his families and a bunch of dignitaries took to the field around home plate to honor the veteran who hit his 600th career home run earlier in the summer:
Here was the display on the scoreboard during the on-field festivities:
After the presentation, the Indians confirmed the night’s game would be delayed. It wasn’t all bad, though; they showed the Blue Jays/Rays game on the scoreboard:
During the Thome presentation, the team announced that the slugger will be recognized with a statue located behind the left field corner. Staff unveiled a mural of the future statue during the presentation, so we took a walk over to look at the area during the rain delay:
The game finally began following a lengthy delay, and we spent a few innings up in our seats and a few more standing behind a railing beyond right field, where we had this view:
We also managed to grab four more hot dogs …
… and Indians rally towels that were being passed out in the area:
A few minutes after being handed the towels, we got a perfect opportunity to wave them. Thome came to bat and launched his 604th career home run (and, as it turned out, his last as an Indian) over the fence in right-center, just to our right. Amazing!
Soon, we moved into the bleachers in left-center and spent the rest of the game there with this view:
All in all, it was a great game. I have no idea how many home runs Thome has left, but it was awesome to see him hit his last as a Cleveland Indian.
Now, if only Opening Day would come sooner!
I’ll have a number of other blog updates over the off-season, however. Keep checking back to see a bunch of neat extras from my 2011 road trip season.