Over the years I’ve seen and done a lot! I’ve been to many different countries and I’ve traveled around the United States quite extensively. When I do travel, it’s usually to places like Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas. Or PETCO Park in San Diego. Aside from all the baseball hoopla that I participate in each year, I’ve also ate at some amazing places and seen some awesome tourist-y landmarks. In this blog entry, although short, I will give you an insider’s view on where to go in each specific city or country that I’ve visited that I think it worth the extra time and money to see.
I call this blog entry, Places You’ll Want to Visit While Visiting MLB Stadiums!!
Naturally, since I’m from Seattle Washington, I absolutely love seafood. And I can never get enough. The Seattle area offers a wide range of seafood for any seafood lover. They have Ivars and Steamers and, of course, the amazing waterfront downtown. When I set my sights on PETCO Park last season, I was actually in for a surprise. Not to discredit Seattle for its awesome ability to create the most lavish, most tasteful seafood dishes in all the land, I’m sorry to say, San Diego has Seattle beat by a freaking mile. I went to this place called the Tin Fish. It’s located katy-corner from PETCO Park about 500 feet from the outfield gates and they serve the best seafood I’ve tasted in a long time. It’s a small bar/restaurant type place with outside seating (or indoor, if that’s what you prefer), and they have a variety of seafood dishes on their menu. I didn’t get too deep in the menu, as I wanted to keep it light for my baseball snagging experience at the stadium, so I settled with a “fish n’ chips” type dish. Check it out:
On the menu was fried cod-fish, cole slaw with tartar sauce and some waffle fries. I’m telling you; this place was delicious. My second day in San Diego I went back for more of the same. And around the restaurant, they had interesting pictures of Tony Gwynn:
Speaking of seafood, if you want fresh, right off the boat seafood, you should travel to Japan! Last March of this year, I traveled there to watch the Mariners and the Athletics slug it out in the 2012 MLB season opener at the Tokyo Dome. I was only in country for roughly four days, but it was probably the best four days of my life so far. Not only did I visit the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo, but I saw some Major league baseball being played overseas! At the fish market that I walked through, there were plenty of shops to buy fresh seafood at. Also, there were plenty of shops that you could sample fresh seafood at. I did just that and I ended up buying some fresh scallops. Here’s the shop I bought them from:
Aside from eating fresh seafood, I also had to turn to my American roots. When I arrived at the Tokyo Dome from walking around Tokyo all morning and afternoon, I had worked up quite an appetite! Luckily, for me, the Tokyo Dome had a few places to eat. The one restaurant that stuck out the most was this place…
…for some of this:
Two of the most juiciest hamburgers/cheeseburgers I have ever feasted my eyes on! These bad boys were so flavorful, it literally had me drooling with each savory bite! The whole meal cost me roughly 800 yen, which isn’t bad for two burgers.
Okay, enough about food. Now I’m hungry! This next place will literally blown your mind. I couldn’t believe the things I encountered when I walked inside. But I’ll assure you; it’s all very authentic! It’s called B’s Baseball Museum and it’s located up the street from the friendly confines of Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies. I kind of found this place by accident, and I’m glad I did! Inside you’ll find so much baseball memorabilia from stadium collector cups, to signed baseballs from ancient players, to the outfield ground drain that Mickey Mantle twisted his leg on during the 1951 World Series. Yes, it’s all there! Here is one item that I thought was pretty awesome. This is what the Detroit Tigers seating ushers used to wear during the games in the early 1900’s:
Pretty spectacular, right? You can find all the information about B’s Baseball Museum in the link provided and you can read all about my adventures in Denver right here as well! It’s such an awesome place and it only costs $5 bucks to get in the door. It’s so worth it if you’re ever in town to watch a Rockies game.
That’s all I got for right now! I’m sure over the course of the next couple of years while I continue my journey to visit all 30 Major League stadiums, I’ll run into a few new great places I’ll end up blogging about. If you have any places you feel would make the top ten list in your book, feel free to drop a comment below and tell me about it! I’d love to hear of some new places to eat or sight see while I’m trekking around the United States!
Recently, I visited the Tacoma Rainiers home, Cheney Stadium, in Tacoma Washington with a handful of my closest friends. Myself and two other ballhawks managed to snag about 12 foul balls from Wednesday’s game. So be on the look out for that blog entry as well. My experience at Cheney Stadium will be combined with the Seattle Mariners home opener this Friday so it will probably be a huge blog entry!
I found this awesome baseball museum down the street from Coors Field as I was looking for a bathroom. (I drank a huge coke from Burger King earlier) It’s called B’s Ballpark Museum. It’s on Blake Street and this place was absolutely amazing. It costs $5 dollars to gain access but after that they have so many unbelievable baseball artifacts that it will literally blow your mind. Anytime you’re near Coors Field I highly recommend checking this place out. The first picture I took was a baseball artifact from Mile High Stadium. The last pitchers’ rubber used at Mile High. Greg Maddux was the final pitcher to throw from that pitchers’ rubber on August 11, 1994. The next two pictures will show you just what a pitchers’ rubber looks like. And what else is unique about these things is they’re dug up and rotated every few months. Take a look.
What really amazed me was not really what the pitchers’ rubber looked like but how the owner of the museum was able to acquire the item. I guess if you know someone who knows someone who knows someone else…
The next baseball artifact I came across was some Yankee Stadium history. In the picture below I have numbered each cubed artifact with a number. It was pretty impressive to see this stuff.
Number one is concrete from Old Yankees Stadium
Number two is wood from the Yankees dugout bench.
Number three is actual grass and dirt from Old Yankee Stadium
And number four is apart of the foul pole from Old Yankee Stadium.
The next series of artifacts was really something special. They’re apart of baseball history and it just floored me how this guy ended up with all this stuff. I didn’t get to meet the actual owner but there was a museum guide that showed me around. He didn’t really have that much information on how things were acquired but he knew quite a bit of information for each baseball artifact on display.
This is how the ushers at Tiger Stadium dressed in the early 1900’s.
In 1971 Tiger Stadium held the All-Star game that year. If you were around to watch it either live on television or you were actually at the stadium you would remember the at bat that Reggie Jackson had that sent a moon shot so far that people claim it would have traveled at least 600 feet or more if it hadn’t of hit one of the light poles on the roof of Tiger Stadium. Al Kaline recalls the moment and said he had the best view from the dugout. He couldn’t believe how far the ball traveled and it had so much steam on it if the light pole that the ball struck wouldn’t have been in the way it would have easily gone farther than 600 feet.
Here is the piece of fence on the light pole that the ball had struck.
Like I said. I don’t know how this guy was able to get some of this stuff. Probably through auctions or private sellers. If you thought the last artifact was totally awesome, wait until you see this.
In 1951 the New York Yankees faced the New York Giants in the World Series. Joe DiMaggio was coming up on the tail end of his career and the young Mickey Mantle had been called up that season to start his own career with the Yankees. Game two of the 51’ World Series, Joe DiMaggio was running to catch a fly ball hit by Willie Mays. With Mickey Mantle covering in center field that game, DiMaggio called off Mantle when he knew he would make an easy catch. As Mantle was putting on the brakes to allow DiMaggio to make that catch, Mantle’s spikes got caught in the outfield drain pipe. Those that witnessed this said, “Mantle dropped like he had been shot.”
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this.
Yes. What you’re seeing is the actual drain cover that Mickey Mantle tripped over. It wasn’t just a season ending injury. It actually plagued his entire career. Every game he played he complained of leg pain. When he tripped over the drain cover it tore ligaments in his knee. Not only that but when Mickey’s father was helping him into the hospital Mutt Mantle collapsed and was later diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. Injuries continued to plague Mantle throughout his illustrious career. Even though he was a 20x All-star and hit over 500 career home runs.
A lot of people don’t know who Joey Meyer is. Well, a lot of people that aren’t Brewers fans or Denver Bears fans or even Rockies fans know who he is. And I’ll be honest. I had no idea who this guy was until I stumbled upon this wonderful museum of baseball lore. There is a lot of speculation about how far a baseball should be measured or is measured. Normally they’re just honest guessed by baseball media personnel. But there are actually accurate, scientific ways to measure a home run ball. For the record, Mike Piazza has the longest home run at Coors field with a 496 foot blast that happened on September 26, 1997. But Joey Meyer is the man who hit the longest home run at Mile High Stadium. His home run was hit on June 3rd, 1987 and the blast reached 582 feet! And Joey Meyer is the ONLY Major League player to ever hit a walk-off home run against Roger Clemens! That happened on August 9th, 1988. Here are the seats that the baseball struck.
That’s not that actual baseball that hit the seats. But it is a signed baseball from Joey Meyer.
The next picture is of the Rockies dugout screen from Mile High Stadium. Check it out.
In 1961 Roger Maris was chasing the near-impossible home run record set by Babe Ruth. The thing was in 1961 is that baseball expanded from eight teams to ten. And also extended the playing season from 154 games to 162. So to break the record, Maris would have to do in in 154 games. When he reached the 154th game, Maris was at 59 home runs. He hit the record-breaking 61st home run on October 1st 1961 at Yankee Stadium in front of 23,154 fans. Tracy Stallard of the Boston Redsox was the pitcher that gave up the hit. I’m not going to go too in-depth of what Roger Maris went through when he was on the verge of breaking Ruth’s home run record. I’ll just say this. It wasn’t as glorious and awesome as the media made it when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa broke the record. Or when Barry Bonds broke the single season home run record. But in this museum there stood the wall that the 61st record-breaking home run sailed over hit by the legendary Roger Maris.
I think those pictures that I posted in this blog pretty much hit on the most awesome stuff there. Some other things I made note of but didn’t take any pictures of were the last home plate used in Old Yankees Stadium, an on deck circle from Mile High Stadium, a bag of top soil from Safeco Field, some foul balls from various stadiums, and stadium seats from Ebbets Field, old Comiskey, and Old Yankee Stadium. And actual light fixtures from Ebbets Field. The place was simply amazing. So I urge you to visit this museum if you’re ever around Coors Field.
Now onto some baseball at Coors Field! Since it was a Sunday game I didn’t except anything to be going on. But the BP cage was up and the Rockies were taking some cuts in the cage. Although, it wasn’t the normal routine of batting practice. All of the Rockies coaches were on the field shagging baseballs. When I ran up to the gates I had about fifteen minutes to spare before they opened up and everyone seemed to be bunched up on the right side of the gates. So I took my place on the left side of the crowd which meant I would be first inside. And as I mentioned before since it was a Sunday game there shouldn’t be batting practice. But there was. So I was pretty excited about that. Here’s what I saw when I ran inside.
As soon as I took that picture there was a deep fly ball that almost reached the warning track. When it hit the grass it just died and I knew I had a shot at getting it because I was the first person in the bleachers, and no one else was around. So I asked for it and the coach that came over to retrieve it generously tossed it to me. Friday’s game I nearly got shutout and I had to literally fight for a baseball thrown by Mark McGwire. Today I didn’t want that kind of outcome for a baseball so I jumped on the first opportunity to get one and it paid off. I played the bleachers for twenty minutes or so until I made my way up into the concourse to wait in yet another line to be allowed into the rest of the stadium at 11:30am. I explained briefly of the stupid rule at Coors field that they only allow fans to be in the left field area until an hour and a half before first pitch in Fridays blog entry. When I was waiting in line I witnessed a foul ball land in the seats in the third base area. On Friday I witnessed a few baseballs being hit into the seats but I never saw anyone pick them up. But when I ran down there to look for them the baseballs were gone. I watched the area intently this time to see what happens to the ball and what do you know…the security guards that were wandering in the sections pretending to wipe down seats scoop up the baseballs and put them in their pockets. I think that is totally a disservice to the fans. Not because finding baseballs in the seats is sort of my bread and butter but when I watch kids find them it really brightens up their day. What does an usher need to pocket the baseballs for? Its possible that they might give them to kids later on but I think it would mean more for a fan if they found a baseball instead of being handed one by a stadium usher. What sounds better? “ Hey, check out my baseball I found at Coors Field!” or “ Hey, check out my baseball I got from some usher at Coors Field!”
When I was finally allowed to roam the entire stadium I quickly made my way to the Rockies side of the field. Rafael Betancourt, Matt Belisle, and Matt Daley were warming up but I was denied a baseball when younger fans asked for the baseballs when the players were done warming up. While I was waiting for a baseball I did notice huge lines through the sections. And then I noticed Rockies players signing autographs on the field. I took a picture of Jose Morales.
I wasn’t going to stand in line for one autograph when some Cardinal players were signing on the other side. So I started to make my way over there. That’s when I was stopped by security. Apparently on Sundays even when 99% of the fans in the stadium are all lined up in three sections to get Rockies autographs, and absolutely nothing is going on, on the field, fans can not cut through the sections. For some reason fans trying to have fun at Coors Field by collecting autographs, catching baseballs, and interact with players is strictly prohibited or at least highly frowned upon. But I didn’t want to give the security guards any trouble. I made my way to the top of the concourse, passed by a few sections and then tried to make my way back down a section that wasn’t crammed full of people waiting for autographs. I was abruptly stopped by yet another security guard and this time I was asked to produce my ticket. I didn’t want to be told I couldn’t have access to the section so I tried to explain my intentions but was told to continue on around the concourse. WHAT A RIDICULOUS RULE. The time was 11:52am. 68 minutes before first pitch and I wasn’t allowed to walk down a section to get to the Cardinals dugout??!! Are you kidding me??!! I expressed my frustrations by uttering some choice words under my breath and continued on around the concourse. When I finally made it down to the Cardinals dugout I hustled towards the left field foul pole where Brian Tallet was signing autographs. I’m not exactly complaining because I got Brian Tallet’s autograph but I was hoping for a more prestigious baseball player after going through all that crap to get to the Cardinals side of the house. Wouldn’t you agree? Maybe If I posted Tallet’s numbers. 16-24 W/L record with a career 4.63 ERA and 331 strikeouts.
After that I wandered back over to the Cardinals dugout, well, I mean behind row ten. I mentioned in Friday’s blog that if you don’t have a ticket for rows 1-10 behind either dugouts you can’t stand there ANYTIME. NO MATTER WHAT. EVER. EVER, EVER. The only other stadiums I know of that do this are U.S Cellular and Great American Ballpark. But U.S Cellular isn’t as extreme as the other two ballparks. They just restrict the first two rows. Great American Ballpark restricts the entire section behind the dugout, I think. Anyway. Tony La Russa was helping out some of the position players field some fungos and when they were done they had about six baseballs. They threw them all into the seats but I was one of the unlucky ones that didn’t get one. Partly because I wasn’t wearing my Cardinals hat. The reason why I wasn’t was because the Cardinals were being so unfriendly with toss ups I didn’t expect them to unload six baseballs into the crowd. I guess I should expect the unexpected.
I decided to keep wandering the ballpark after all those baseballs were thrown into the crowd. As I was crossing through the section I had found myself in row nine by accident! ALERT THE AUTHORITIES! I HAVE JUST COMITTED A CRIME IN COORSFIELDVILLE! At that very moment I made every attempt to get out of row nine as fast as I could. Lives were at stake here, people! I’m kidding. Lives weren’t really at stake. I’m just trying to be funny. And I did make sure I got out of the row so I wouldn’t be hassled by security. Just as I turned to get out of row nine I heard the ever familiar voice of a security guard.
“Excuse me sir…” Said the voice.
I turned to face the security guard face to face. Man to man. “Yes?”
“You can’t be in this row unless you have a ticket.” Stated the guard.
“Yeah, I know. I wasn’t trying to be in your precious row, sir. In fact I was making my way out of your row because I know I’m not supposed to be there without a ticket. I’ve been to Coors Field before and I am fully aware of your rule.” I explained.
“Okay, sir. You don’t have to get excited about it.” He stammered.
I wasn’t about to argue. So I just left it alone and continued on my way. The more diplomatic approach to handle security guards. My seat was up in the 300 level and I thoroughly enjoyed the view. I’d much rather preferred seats in the lower outfield but for some reason Coors Field hiked up the prices to $50 dollars a seat in those outfield sections. I’m not sure why either. The Rockies ended up losing anyway, 4-3, against the Cardinals.
I’m snagging baseballs for charity this year. If you want to get some more information about it you can hit me up at my website. http://www.crowdrise.com/SnaggingBaseballsforPuppies/fundraiser/WaynePeck
Also if you want to follow me on Twitter, you can. Just get yourself a Twitter account and follow me @MLBwayneMLB. Simple enough. I’m also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Wayne-Peck/111399878936587
I had a great weekend at Coors Field but I’ll probably never come back. Security is too strict for my blood, and frankly no fan should have to put up with those ridiculous rules.
Game; May 29th 2011 St Louis Cardinals vs Colorado
Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $33.20 this season.
Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $14.50 this