Tag Archive | "Travel"

A Trip to AT&T Field in Chattanooga, Tennessee


This past weekend I had the chance to make a short little baseball trip down through Tennessee and into Georgia. My first stop along the way was Rock City on Lookout Mountain. I didn’t realize there is so much to see and do in Chattanooga, and if you are ever in the area I highly recommend checking out some of the sites.

Anyway, my only night there I headed out to AT&T Field, don’t get it confused with AT&T Park in San Fran. The stadium opened in 2000 and was formerly known as BellSouth Park until AT&T bought out BellSouth in 2007. It seats 6,362 fans, but wasn’t nearly that full the night I was there.

It is a nice park with some newer amenities, but it was lacking one thing – shade! There was virtually no relief from the sun anywhere at the park. Most of the seating is down the first base line with a large beer garden with a patio down the left field line.

Despite the heat I really enjoyed the park. It sits just a short walk away from the Tennessee River where there is a nice little river walk area for walking, picnics, biking, and even river boat rides.

Sitting at the edge of downtown, Chattanooga is a nice little town that has the feel of a bigger one. The stadium sits up atop a hill overlooking the downtown area.

As you enter the stadium, after going up an escalator to reach the top of the hill, there is a small memorial for the AT&T Field Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame consists of just two inductees, one of which is legendary Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda. I found this a bit interesting and maybe a little over the top as the Lookouts have only been a Dodger farm team for five seasons.

The other Hall of Fame member is a little more fitting. Calvin Coolidge “Cal” Ermer was a former Lookouts manager during the 1950’s.

The outside of the stadium isn’t anything special especially during the day. At night there are baseballs that light up making it a bit more pleasing. But the best part of the outside of the stadium was the sign above the entrance. I’m not a Dodger fan, but I love tradition and as you enter the stadium you pass under signs that say “Welcome to Dodgertown, Tennessee”.

As for the game there were a few things that stood out. First of all, Sean Burroughs was back in the game playing third base for the Lookouts. If you aren’t familiar with his story, I’d recommend you Google it. In short he was a huge prospect (son of former AL MVP Jeff Burroughs and a Little League World Series hero) and he just didn’t turn out to be what everyone had hoped. He eventually found himself out of baseball and into the dark drug world. But he cleaned himself up and is making a comeback. I love to see someone get their life straight and use baseball as a means of helping to do that.

The other thing that stood out was the entertainment of the day, Myron Noodleman. If any of you has seen the movie Bull Durham, and if you haven’t go rent it right now, then you might remember the “Clown Prince of Baseball” Max Patkin. Well Noodleman has taken over that role as the fifth Clown Prince.

Noodleman was very funny. He would do skits on the field with the best being his “Dueling Signals” performed with a coach to the tune of Dueling Banjos. After he performed on the field he would venture into the stands during the game play and interact with fans performing even more comedy. He was very funny and I count myself lucky having seen him in action. You can see about Myron at his website, MyronNoodleman.com.

Another plus about the stadium is the good beer on tap there. Many places have the simple Bud Light or Miller Lite, but here in Chattanooga there were some better beers on tap such as Fat Tire and Lagunitas IPA. And if you are wanting a little something sweet, you can buy one of Chattanooga’s most famous snacks, a MoonPie.

Chattanooga is a great little town. I’m anxious to get back and see more including historic Engel Stadium which was home to the Lookouts from 1930-1999.

Here are a few photos I shot while at the game. To see more, check out my Flickr page.

At&T Field - Home of the Chattanooga Lookouts

At&T Field – Home of the Chattanooga Lookouts

Entrance to AT&T Field - Home of the Chattanooga Lookouts

Entrance to AT&T Field – Home of the Chattanooga Lookouts

AT&T Field Hall of Fame - Chattanooga Lookouts

AT&T Field Hall of Fame – Chattanooga Lookouts

View of Downtown Chattanooga

View of Downtown Chattanooga

AT&T Field - Home of the Chattanooga Lookouts

AT&T Field – Home of the Chattanooga Lookouts

AT&T Field - Home of the Chattanooga Lookouts

AT&T Field – Home of the Chattanooga Lookouts

Lasorda's Landing at AT&T Field - Home of the Chattanooga Lookouts

Lasorda’s Landing at AT&T Field – Home of the Chattanooga Lookouts

AT&T Field - Home of the Chattanooga Lookouts

AT&T Field – Home of the Chattanooga Lookouts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in MiLB, TravelComments (2)

Greer Stadium in Nashville, TN – Home of the Nashville Sounds


Since I have been back in the States, I’ve tried to get out and see a few new stadiums. So one night not long ago, I headed out to see the Nashville Sounds play at Greer Stadium. I was actually excited to see the scoreboard but not much else. I’ve read a lot about Greer Stadium being one of the worst stadiums in the country, and it lived up to that.

Built in 1978, Herschel Greer Stadium leaves a lot to be desired. It is old and definitely shows its age. The seats are old with paint peeling, and not in the best shape. The concourse was small and unexciting. You can not see any of the action while purchasing a beverage or food either.

I went on Throwback Thursday which was fun in a way. The Sounds wear throwback v-neck jerseys that I really liked. They were a cool blue color and it definitely fit with the old stadium. They also had drink and food specials like $1 soda (very small cups) and $1 hot dogs (which weren’t worth a $1).

The stadium holds just over 10,000 people, but on the night I was there, and from what I hear many other nights, there weren’t nearly that many people there. Good seats were easy to find that night with such a small crowd.

Despite the lack of fans, it was a good time and there were a few very enthusiastic fans there as well. Part of the draw was the Sounds were playing the Memphis Cardinals and one of the most highly anticipated young prospects in baseball, Oscar Tavaras.

Tavaras showed in one at bat why he is such a highly touted young player. He hit a line drive back up the middle that from where I was sitting looked like it went through the pitcher and the second base umpire. It was simply smashed, and had it hit the pitcher he would have been seriously hurt.

I enjoyed my time, but more so for the baseball than for the stadium.

I was looking forward to seeing the iconic guitar scoreboard in left field. It was a cool looking scoreboard, but it too shows its age. There are no video boards in it, and it uses a simple low resolution color matrix board. The line score is shown in the neck of the guitar with some room in the headstock for the ball/strike/out count. In the body of the guitar is a small screen to show advertisements and other information about hitters/pitchers and such.

It’s a neat thing that I hope if they ever build a new stadium is moved along with it. It would need to be either upgraded or an additional scoreboard would need to be added to appease today’s fans. However, it fits right in with the Nashville scene and, maybe not as much as the bull in Durham, is one of the things the stadium is known for.

All in all, Greer Stadium is one of the worst stadiums I’ve seen in the US. I know there has been talk in the past of building a new stadium in downtown Nashville along the river. However, in this economy the money needed to partake in such a venture just hasn’t been there yet.

So with all of that said, here are a few photos I took before the game action started up. You can see more photos on my Flickr page.

Outside of Greer Stadium in Nashville, TN

Outside of Greer Stadium in Nashville, TN

Greer Stadium in Nashville, TN

Greer Stadium in Nashville, TN

Greer Stadium in Nashville, TN

Greer Stadium in Nashville, TN

Greer Stadium in Nashville, TN

Greer Stadium in Nashville, TN

Greer Stadium in Nashville, TN

Greer Stadium in Nashville, TN

Greer Stadium in Nashville, TN

Greer Stadium in Nashville, TN

 

 

 

 

 

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Visit to Pensacola Bayfront Stadium and the Blue Wahoos


One of the best places I’ve been to in ages is Pensacola Bayfront Stadium. I had the chance a few weeks ago to head down to the coast and check out the new stadium, and I am glad I did.

I lived just outside of Pensacola for a short time and I’ve had family in the area for over 50 years. I was able to see several Pensacola Pelicans games prior to the Blue Wahoos coming to town.

The Pelicans put on a good show. They played in the American Association during the time I lived there (they also played in the Central Baseball League and Southeastern League prior to the AA). It was always a fun time at Pelican Park, which was the University of West Florida’s field.

However, after a series of events that led to the Pelicans owner selling the team, buying another, then moving that team from North Carolina the Blue Wahoos were born. The Southern League, a Double-A affiliated league, came to town in 2012 two years after the Pelicans left town. And boy was it worth the wait.

Not only have the Blue Wahoos had some of the most exciting players in minor league baseball, heard of Billy Hamilton yet?, they built one of, if not the, nicest park in the minors.

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos play at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium built, well, on the bay. As you are watching the game, you are able to take in beautiful bay front views and enjoy a nice cool breeze if you are lucky.

The stadium is very beautiful and has a lot of amenities to offer any fan.

There is good food. I opted for the hot dog because that’s my favorite thing to eat at a game, and it was very good. But being on the water you can find some things that I’ve never seen before at a game like raw oysters or fresh caught shrimp. And they were no little popcorn shrimp. They were quite large and looked quite tasty.

There is a large scoreboard in right field which is state-of-the-art providing videos and other information for fans in attendance.

There is a large souvenir shop just behind home plate that has just about everything a fan could want, party decks in the outfield, and a great spot to bring the family behind the right field wall, Hill-Kelly Hill.

But perhaps the thing that stood out the most was the kindness of everyone at the stadium. There wasn’t one person I didn’t encounter that worked for the Blue Wahoos that wasn’t kind and polite. It was an amazing change from a lot of stadiums you go to where you can be largely ignored. Even the owner came on the scoreboard with a video message saying if there was anything we thought could be improved to let him or the staff know. He even gave a phone number to call him directly.

I actually got the feeling he was sincere and meant everything he said because of the employees that were there. And to be honest, there isn’t much that I could imagine improving.

A few other nice touches that I noticed included military personnel doing video messages asking everyone to stand for the national anthem. This was a nice touch in a city that is highly dependent on the military base there.

Also including some of the cities history and military heritage is a cannon in center field that goes off when a Blue Wahoo hits a home run and at the end of the national anthem. It’s a nice touch you don’t see in other stadiums that adds a little excitement and surprise if it’s your first time there.

I can’t speak highly enough about Pensacola Bayfront Stadium. If you are anywhere near the P-Cola area, it would be well worth  your time to head on over for a game.

Here are a few shots I took at the game. I hope you enjoy them.

Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

 

Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

A nice little amphitheater behind Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

A nice little amphitheater behind Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

View from CF at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

View from CF at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

Looking down the right field line at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

Looking down the right field line at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

View from our seats down the left field line at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

View from our seats down the left field line at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

If you would like to see more, visit my Flickr page.

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Upcoming Baseball Stadium Trips


I’m excited about some upcoming trips to see some minor league and college baseball action.

My first stop will be in Pensacola, Florida to see the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. I lived a short time outside of Pcola and got to see a few games of the Pensacola Pelicans, the old American Association team. Since I have left the city has built a new stadium right on the water.

The stadium was named the 2012 Ballpark of the Year by BaseballParks.com. I’ve seen countless pictures of the stadium and heard so many rave about it. I can’t wait to get out and see a game there. I’ve wanted to see it since it was built but this is my first time now that I am finally back in the country. Add to it that I get to see some family, and it’s going to be a great trip.

Next week I have a nice double header planned. The Nashville Sounds play an early day game on Tuesday against the Omaha Storm Chasers. The Sounds play in historic Greer Stadium which opened in 1978.

The second part of my double header will be at Middle Tennessee State University. That night the Blue Raiders will host the Tennessee Volunteers. Neither team has had a great season so far, but it should be a heated in state rivalry.

There are a few other stadiums near by that I hope to visit in the coming weeks if I can find the time including the new stadium in Birmingham and perhaps try to make it a double header day if I can catch a day game at Rickwood Field or at least pay it a visit.

The other two spots I have in mind are a trip up to Nashville to catch Vanderbilt in action and/or head down to Huntsville to visit the Stars.

Stay tuned for pictures from my trip to Pensacola tomorrow. Although it might be delayed due to a weekend of golfing with family.

Till next time…

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All 30 MLB Parks in 2013?


So I am back, I guess I never really left, to wanting to plan a Major League Baseball stadium tour for 2013. Now that the schedules are out, I am looking into routes to take.

But the other day someone asked me why I want to do this? It got me to thinking.

The main reason is I have been a passionate baseball fan my entire life. It’s the one thing that I can look back on for as long as I can remember knowing I’ve always loved the game. I love to watch baseball. I love the experience of taking in a new stadium, walking the grounds, seeing the fans, and looking at the game as if it is new again.

Not only do I love the game, but I love the stadiums. The roar of the crowd, the smell of the stale beer and hot dogs, and even the architecture that goes into the new and old ones alike are all things that interest me. The fact that no two stadiums are alike makes me want to see them all.

But it goes beyond just baseball. This is America. Driving to see all 30 MLB stadiums would take me to places I’ve never been. Seeing the west coast, the mid-west, and even Canada are all things I really want to do. I see it not only as a baseball journey, but a journey across America and that excites me as much as the baseball does.

Then the question becomes, why not spread it out over the course of many years. I’d have more time to see the country and the stadiums along with it. True, but I haven’t lived in the States during baseball season for 3 years now. And I don’t think that will change much over the next few years.

The final thing is, I have the money. I’ve never had the money to undertake such a trip before. However, even though I do have it I am reluctant to spend it. This is the first time in my life I’ve had the money and time, but I am worried even still.

I’d love to mark this off of my list of things to do (I hate the term ‘bucket list’). Then I can start to plan my next adventure.

What do you think? Should I go for it?

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Travel the USA or Europe – I Can’t Decide


I’m eight months away from returning home when my contract is finished here in South Korea. I’ve been debating whether to travel through Europe and Asia, or do a tour around the US. Both of the tours would entail watching baseball as the main part.

Lately, I’m really leaning toward staying in the US. Next April when I head home, it will have been 2 years since I’ve been home and right now I’m missing it a bit. I miss road trips, shopping in US grocery stores, so many foods from home, and my family.

For the past few days, I’ve gone round and round with places to see, estimated costs, and so much more as I read a lot of other blogs who have done similar trips. And I’ve found a few events at home that I’d love to see. The problem of course is cost.

My idea of the trip would include the following:

All 30 MLB Stadiums

At least 1 game at the following levels – little league, high school, college, independent league, Rookie league, A, AA, and AAA.

College World Series

NBC World Series – Baseball ‘Round the Clock

Field of Dreams movie site

Hall of Fame and other museums

As well as other sites like national parks

I’ve tossed out ideas of making videos along the way as I meet some great people or maybe even writing a book about what I see on the open road. There are so many possibilities. One thing for sure is I would blog as I travel.

All in all I think it would take me 4-5 months on the road which is fine with me, but it will cost quite a bit. First of all, I don’t have a car anymore since I have lived overseas for the last 2+ years. But that is easily fixed. The big cost I think would be lodging.

I know I can save some money staying in hostels, coach surfing, and even camping in some areas. But I am still looking at spending 120-150 days on the road. Sure I could cut the trip shorter, but part of the idea behind the trip is to see the country. I want to meet the people, experience the cities, and explore the back roads. I can’t do that if I am only gone 45 days and trying to cram in 30 games.

I’ve got eight months to figure all of this out, but it will be here before I know it. What do you think I should do?

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Three Under the Radar Baseball Events I’d Love to See


I love baseball. There is simply nothing like being at the ballpark watching a game as the sun is setting. I’ve been to my share of games over the years, but there are a few things in the baseball world I would love to see. Here are three baseball events that I’d love to see that might be a little under the radar for many baseball fans.

The Midnight Sun Game

The tradition of the Midnight Sun Game started in 1906 in Fairbanks, Alaska. The games is played through the hour of midnight but artificial lights are never used. During a few day each year, the summer solstice, there is no need. The light will fade midway through the game, but then it will come back as the sun never really sets providing light to play. This is very rare but with Fairbanks being only 150 miles south of the Arctic Circle, it is possible here.

The game will start at 10:30 and end around 1:30-2am.

Baseball ‘Round the Clock

Each year at the National Baseball Congress (NBC) World Series, Baseball ‘Round the Clock is hosted. It consists of 17 games in 56 hours over the course of a weekend. Contestants must register and once during each game at an unknown time a notification will be sent and they must check-in at a designated place. Prizes are given away to those who finish as well as a coveted t-shirt, but the people do it for more than that. The NBC World Series is the culmination of some of the best amateur and collegiate level baseball in the country.

Minnesota Townball

Townball, where a team represents a local town or city, is dying in the US but it is alive and strong in Minnesota. There are some 30+ leagues with over 300 teams competing in three different levels throughout the state. It is a throwback to the old days around the turn of the century when baseball was played for the love of the game. It still is there in Minnesota.

Is there an event you’d like to see?

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I Found My #Calling in Korea – To Watch Baseball Around the World


I can remember going to old Arlington Stadium to watch the Texas Rangers play back in the 80s. They were terrible and it might have been the worst Major League Baseball stadium out there, but it was all I knew. I loved every minute of those games.

As the years went by and I got older, I was able to see games in other stadiums around the country. I grew up on the game, and can’t get enough of it. In fact, it is just after 10am on a Monday morning in Korea, and I am watching a live baseball game from back home as I type this.

I love going to games, especially if it’s my first time at a stadium. I love hearing the roar of the crowd and smelling the fresh-cut grass. To me there is nothing better than walking up through the concourse and seeing the green grass on the field for the first time.

Fast forward to 2010, and I am living in Korea about to experience my first baseball game on foreign soil. It was an experience I would never forget. At a baseball stadium in Daegu, South Korea, I can still remember walking up the stairs, through the concourse, and out into the open air again seeing the green field below with the boys of summer playing catch.

I think I found my Calling.

I learned from the fans in Korea. I learned to love the game again in a new way. I was able to watch the game with a bit more passion for the simplicity of the game without all the negative aspects that are sometimes seen in the States. I have been able to meet some great people through the game here in Korea, and I hope to meet even more.

I found my Calling; to travel and experience baseball in other countries.

I’ve spent over two years here in Korea and have been to many baseball games. Each time I am there, I see something new and exciting. You can’t help but feel the excitement in the air with how passionate the fans are. I’ve never enjoyed a game so much than sitting with the cheering Korean fans. It’s simply great how they love the game the way it should be loved.

I have been fortunate to travel to each baseball stadium in the Korean equivalent of the MLB. In just over 8 months, I hope to keep that spirit alive as I travel around the world taking in baseball in as many places as I can. I want to rekindle my love again and again with the game that brought me so much pleasure over the years.

Samsung Lions Mascot - Daegu, South Korea

Samsung Lions Mascot - Daegu, South Korea

 

What is your Calling?

 

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Baseball Traveling – Where Should I Go?


I have finally decided to do some serious baseball traveling.

When I originally came to Korea in late 2009, I wanted to use it as a springboard of sorts to see baseball in Asia. I have enjoyed my time here and have been afforded the chance to see Korean baseball up close.

Korean baseball fans are very passionate. They bring an excitement to the game I have rarely seen in the USA. I don’t know how many places I will travel to and see the same excitement, at least not on the level here. However, I am anxious to get out and see baseball in different countries.

I am not finished in South Korea until early next year. In the meantime, I will be planning my trip.

I have a lot of places I want to go, too many in fact. So over the coming months I will be narrowing down my list. I am very excited to get out and see what the baseball scene is like in other parts of the world.

I hope to see baseball in countries where the game is growing and thriving and in places where it might not be. I want to talk to those who play, coach, or just watch and find out why they do it. How did they find the game and why do they like it?

It’s going to be an interesting journey, and I hope you will follow along with me. I’ll be reaching out to people along the way for information on where to travel to and who to see. So if you know of a beautiful stadium, raucous crowds, or just teams with great history please let me know.

My journey will start in Europe and will take me from western to eastern Europe. After which I will fly or train to Asia. Many of the countries I will go to have established league but not all of them.

Ideally I’d like to make it to Central and South America next, but that may have to wait for another year. It will depend on my financials and if I am still wanting to stay on the road that long.

So far the countries I am looking at are:
Spain
France
UK
Belgium
Netherlands
Germany
Austria
Czech Republic
Ukraine
Thailand
Cambodia
Vietnam
Philippines
Taiwan
China

This list is in constant flux however and I haven’t decided how far in advance I want to schedule. The cities will depend on team schedules for next year as well as any contacts I am able to talk to and the suggestions they have.

What do you think? Would you add a place or take one away?

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The Word for 2013 is……..Travel


I have been in South Korea for over 2 years. One of the reasons I came was to travel, and see some baseball in different countries. In about 10 months I am free, and I’m going to do some traveling. I’m thinking of doing a baseball trip somewhere.

I have found a few companies that take teams of adults to play baseball overseas in countries like China, Cuba, and places in Europe. I am really thinking of doing one of these.

I’d love to do a trip to Cuba (even if the ones I found are only to watch baseball), but the ones I have found leave too early for me. I’m really interested in a few of the trips to China. They run for a week or so and you play baseball around the country against Chinese adult teams.

I haven’t played in almost a decade, but earlier this year I got out and tossed the ball around. I definitely miss it. The thrill of the game is one of the great thrills in life. I miss the teamwork, the drama, and the excitement.

Whatever happens, it’s going to be fun. I plan to see baseball in as many countries as I can and maybe even play a few games.

If you or anyone you know has been on a trip like this before or even knows of one, let me know. I’d be interested in learning more about the trips and/or companies that run them.

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New Era (eFashion Solutions)

Quote of the Month

There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit. ~Al Gallagher, 1971

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