Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lists: Sporting Venues

The end of March can't come soon enough. March has been a month of missed opportunities and general frustrations.  Plus, the end of March means baseball, which is a major plus. I have tickets to the Opening Day game in Washington on March 31, then the next morning I'm flying to Chicago to go to Wrigley Field on Opening Day, and then Monday I'm flying back into BWI, which puts me in Baltimore in time for the Orioles' home opener on April 4. So, in all, three games in five days in three cities. Admittedly, I've done this before -- in 2008, I was at the first ever game at Nationals Park, then saw the Nationals playing in Philadelphia the next day and then went to the Orioles' second game the next day, but this crosses another stadium off the list in Wrigley Field.

I don't know whether I'll get to all 30, but it's definitely something I keep in mind when I make travel plans. I'm actually more alarmed at the number of non-MLB venues that I've made it to, considering that my level of interest is so emphatically lower. Hell, I've been to two MLS stadiums.  So here's the list, with the disclaimer that I only count a venue at which I've seen the home team playing a game (for instance, although I've attended concerts and Wizards games at the Verizon Center, I've not seen the Caps, so for NHL purposes, I've never been there). I'm organizing them in order of frequency of attendance.

Thus far:
Philadelphia - Citizens Bank Park (more than 40)
Washington - Nationals Ballpark (about 10?)
Cleveland - Progressive Field (5)
Kansas City - Kauffman Stadium (probably about 5)
Boston - Fenway Park (2)
Cincinnati - Great American Ballpark (2)
Colorado - Coors Field (1)*
New York Mets - Citi Field (1)
New York Yankees - Yankee Stadium (new) (1)
Pittsburgh - PNC Park (1)
Detroit - Comerica Park (1) (added 6/30)
Chicago - Wrigley Field (1) (added 4/1)
Toronto - Rogers Centre (1) (added 7/1)

Former MLB:
Cincinnati - Riverfront (12?)
Washington - RFK (1)

Philadelphia - PPL Park (2)
New York - Red Bull Stadium (1)
Washington - RFK Stadium (1) (added 6/11)

Philadelphia - Wells Fargo Center (probably about 10)
Washington - Verizon Center (2)
Denver - Pepsi Center (1)


Baltimore - M&T Bank Stadium (1)
Cincinnati - Paul Brown Stadium (1)

Philadelphia - Wells Fargo Center (at least 5, probably more)
Buffalo - HSBC Arena (1)
Colorado - Pepsi Center (1)
Columbus - Nationwide Arena (1)
Los Angeles - Staples Center (1)
Washington - Verizon Center (1) (added in April)

Chelsea - Stamford Bridge (1)
Fulham - Craven Cottage (1)

Coors Field gets asterisked because it was pouring rain and we only stayed for a couple of innings (the game was ultimately rained out after 6, it ought never have started, if I'm willing to leave a game because of weather, it's safe to say you are not experiencing conditions in which a sporting event should not be played).

Favorite sporting venue (venue itself): Fenway Park. It's the kind of stadium in which baseball should be played. Yes, there are obstructed views left and right, but it's intimate, it's ramshackle, and it's charming. It's the antithesis of Yankee Stadium, which is my least favorite sporting venue (and not by a small margin).
Favorite sporting venue (culinary): Progressive Field wins. The food is actually nothing special, Cleveland doesn't exactly have a local cuisine that begs for a prominent role at the ballpark. But they have two things no ballpark should be without -- brown mustard and quality local beers. And it just happens that Cleveland has Great Lakes Brewing Company beer in the center field batter's eye pavilion, which is my favorite. So long as you're there at midseason, everything is at its best (my experiences with the opening day cooking were underwhelming). (Rogers Centre wins some major points for their BBQ Chicken nachos and Alexander Keith's, though the absence of any other Canadian beers is disappointing).
Favorite sporting venue (gameday experience): I love PPL park. You can tailgate right outside the stadium, the food and the beer selections inside are astonishing, the only bad seats are those that are reserved for the Sons of Ben anyway, so you're safe with anything else.

I'm not sure what my next stop is as far as stadiums that I really want to see. I should make it to Madison Square Garden for a Knicks or Rangers game someday, but after Wrigley, Dodger Stadium is really the only other stadium I think of as a must-see. If I were an NFL fan, obviously Lambeau Field would top the list, but football stadiums lack any sort of significance, they're just functional.


MTK said...
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MTK said...

You are doing this post a disservice by not mentioning our Cleveland opening day experience in greater detail. After knowing that you would sit through 3 snow delays, it reinforces the significance of us leaving that Rockies game.

Roughly Speaking... said...

Oh, when I get to the lists: most memorable sporting events, that will be one of two different games that didn't take place.