Baseball Stadiums And You

Watching the Dodgers at another stadium is fun, especially when they win.

Yesterday, Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts took his first trip to AT&T Park in San Francisco, and what followed from that in the comments was a nice discussion of various ballparks people have attended.  It made me do some digging and reminiscing about the stadiums I have been to.  What better way is there to spend the off day today than to look back at all the stadiums you have been to? Feel free to give us your ballpark memories in the comments.

Outside of Dodger Stadium, here is my list:

Angels Stadium

I have been here on numerous occasions, but the few that stick out for me are these:

July 18, 1991:  This game was one of the reasons I almost never leave early.  I was 15, attending the game with both of my older brothers, and thus not exactly in full control of the transportation opportunities.  Once Albert Belle broke a 1-1 tie in the top of the ninth off Bryan Harvey, my brothers started to get up and leave.  Stunned, and without a ride home if I stayed, I had to leave too.  By the time we got to the car, it was 4-1 Indians, which had justified the decision by my brothers...until, that is, the Angels stormed back for four runs off four Indians pitchers (including former and future Old Friends Shawn Hillegas, Jesse Orosco, and Jeff Shaw) to win, 5-4.

August 8, 2000:  Sitting one deck up behind home plate, I got to see the tremendous movement on the pitches from Pedro Martinez at his peak, which was a treat.  The Angels somehow scratched together two runs to beat Pedro that night.

October 16, 2005:  The White Sox won the pennant by taking Game 5 of the ALCS, as Jose Contreras pitched the fourth straight complete game of the series for Chicago.  The final out of the series was an unassisted groundout to Old Friend Paul Konerko.  The highlight of the game for me was seeing a family friend -- a huge Notre Dame fan -- at the stadium and showing him my USC shirt one day after the Leinart Sneak / Bush Push game. 

Petco Park & Qualcomm Stadium

I lived in San Diego for the better part of 14 years, and saw numerous games here.  The Dodgers never seem to do well with me in attendance in San Diego, as they are 7-19 lifetime (they did win on July 3 this year though, so I'm on a hot streak).  Two games that stood out:

June 11, 1993:  The very first game I went to in San Diego.  Kevin Gross pitched eight scoreless innings, but the Dodgers -- including rookie Pedro Martinez -- blew a 4-0 lead in the ninth, and the Padres won 5-4.

September 30, 1995:  This was the first time I saw the Dodgers clinch anything, as they won 7-2 behind Hideo Nomo to clinch the NL West over the Rockies (who would win the Wild Card).  There were quite a few Dodger fans at the park that night.

Coors Field

July 27, 2000:  I have only been to one game in Denver, and it was during a family reunion in Colorado.  My cousins and I got picked up at the airport and went straight to the stadium.  This game was nearly four hours long, yet only nine innings.  The Dodgers won 16-11, behind the greatest game of Alex Cora's life.  Cora had two home runs, and a double that hit high off the wall.

Chase Field (Bank One Ballpark)

I have been to three games here, only one of which was against the Dodgers.

July 24, 1999:  I made the unwise decision to drive to Phoenix from San Diego and back in one day, and was rewarded with Brian Anderson outdueling Darren Dreifort.  The D-Backs rode home runs by Steve Finley and Bernard Gilkey to a 3-0 win.

August 22, 2003:  The only no-hitter I ever saw, only it wasn't a no-hitter.  Carlos Zambrano of the Cubs allowed no hits into the eighth inning, then with two outs future Old Friend Shea Hillenbrand was awarded an infield single even though it was painfully clear from my nosebleed seats that he was out at first base.  Zambrano got the next three batters out, so he has a no-hitter in my mind.

AT&T Park

September 30, 2006:  I took a detour on my way home from a business conference to see my first two games in San Francisco.  The first game was the next-to-last day of the season, and Greg Maddux beat the Giants to clinch a playoff spot for the Dodgers (they would end up as the Wild Card, although at this point that was undetermined).  Thanks to Stub Hub, I was sitting in the same row as many of the Dodger family section, including Mia Hamm, Russell Martin's dad, and Carolyn Hughes (who is stunning in person, by the way).

Oriole Park at Camden Yards

August 23, 1996:  I have been to a total of four games at Camden Yards, and truthfully none of them really stand out as memorable games, but the park is awesome.  This game was a 2-0 Angel win, behind home runs from Chili Davis and Jim Edmonds, but I mostly picked this game because I forgot David Wells was once an Oriole.

Network Associates Coliseum

May 12, 2000:  This is a late-inning Matt Stairs home run of which I actually have fond memories, and the only reason was that there are few things better than calling the guy who has a closer who just blew a save in your fantasy league -- in this case Kaz Sasaki of the Mariners -- and letting the crowd noise do the talking.

Safeco Field

October 1, 2004:  This game was memorable because Ichiro Suzuki broke the single-season record for hits in a season with his 258th hit, in the first inning.  Ichiro, who broke George Sisler's xx-year old record, added two more hits in this Friday night game, and went on to collect two more over the season's final weekend to settle the record at 262 hits.

Wrigley Field

June 4, 2003:  My only trip to Wrigley was for a night game, but it was still a great experience.  There are really only a few lights there, so it has a surreal effect of having the stands dark and basically only the field lit up.  Its almost like watching an outdoor play.  This game was the day after Sammy Sosa got ejected for having a corked bat, and the Cubs' faithful, including Jesse Jackson, gave Sosa a rousing ovation before his first at-bat.  Five future Old Friends started this game:  Julio Lugo, Marlon Anderson, and Toby Hall for Tampa Bay; Hee Seop Choi and Paul Bako for Chicago.

That's my list.   A total of 10 stadiums (including Dodger Stadium, and counting both San Diego parks as one).  What's yours?

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