Tagged: Stadiums

Gimme a root canal, please

Ouch.

First, congratulations to the Orioles. This is the first O-Sox game I’ve attended in the six years I’ve been living in the area in which the O’s fans clearly overpower the Sox fans in loudness, tenacity, volume, and sheer pressence. I would, unofficially, estimate that it was almost a 50-50 split of the audience. Or somewhere close. Orange stands out louder and often can be confused with bright red in some lighting situations. Maybe because it was a weekday night game. Maybe because the O’s have experienced a bit of a surge early this season. Who knows. But I am impressed and dutifully humbled.

What a painful game to watch. Primarily because I watched the Sox squander away so many opportunities. And give up so many hits both in pitching and in defensive performance.

I cracked up laughing when I realised that Youkilis was the right fielder. Unbeknowst to those of us at the stadium without access to sources like Extra Bases, Coco was out because of an upset stomach (!?!).

I was kinda entertained by Ortiz’s antics in the ninth, although not so pleased by the O’s fans’ catcalls. I thought Ortiz made the wrong call. But I can relate to his pent up frustration. Heck, those of us sitting behind the homeplate, both Os and Sox fans alike, were constantly furious at the home base umpire by his calls. He had a moving strike zone that no one could identify. Even I had to acknowledge the second ball called when Manny was at bat with bases loaded was a strike. In fact, had Manny sturck out, the Sox might have had one more chance to make something of the opportunity. The only consolation we had was that the umpire was consistently inconsistent.

Aie. Bedtime. Way past, in fact. Hopefully the next game will bring better luck. I’ll be back, sitting in the exact same seat.  

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Orioles Park, here I come!

I treated myself to tickets to both Red Sox-Orioles games this week. Field box seating, leaning more towards the visitor team dugout.

Thank goodness the weather cleared up. Thank goodness the temperatures went up a tad. I was ready to put on my waterproof skiing layers I had to resort to that, although if the rain had continued, odds are the game would have been canceled altogether since half of DC was flooded by yesterday.

So what if the Sox is coming out of a lost series. I’m going to watch the Sox play live! This would make a new personal record of watching the Sox play four times in a year. Add in the Nationals game tickets I have for early June, it’s a record three regular season baseball games and two spring training exhibition games. Hey, I’m getting as much in as I can. The opportunity disappears soon.

Here’s to watching Beckett pitch.

By the way, Lowell’s book is now available in bookstores.

Nats Stadium Wow

No, I haven’t visited yet. But we passed it twice..

First, from the Anacostia. As crew season is kicking up, I steered our 8-man shell past the stadium. What a novel and impressive sight. From the water, it is HUGE. It is right by the waterfront, the non-existant, non-developed waterfront that the city has been struggling for over a decade to revitalise. It was about sunset, on an overcast evening, so getting dark. The stadium stood out in the landscape, and the lighting was beginning to glow. Out of curiosity, I steered pretty close by and passed it. Surprisingly, no major sign of security along the waterfront other than two police cars with their lights flashing.

Just as I turned the boat and start to steer it across and back upstream, a huge roar rose from the stadium. Perhaps the Nationals scored? Wow, that was an impressive sound for a crew that is used to listening to little more than coaches yelling and traffic wizing by overhead on one of the many bridges.

Later on, after practice, I drove three teammates home. We decided to gamble and drive down M Street, which we were warned was shut down at the start of the game. By now, it was dark outside. Well, since it was well over an hour and a half after the first pitch, M St has reopened. And the street the most devoid of casual driving traffic. In fact, other than my car, the places was flooded with District of Columbia tow trucks. (area readers, be warned).

This is the first time all four of us have seen the stadium up close. We were struck by how big it was, and how much of it was visible from the street driving by. I felt like I could do a mental side-by-side comparison between my split-second drive-by glance and the brochures available.

I’ve been driving through this neighbourhood over five years, everyday for six months each year. And I am struck by the change. I hope this will help improve the rather impoverished Southeast neighborhood. Block by block has been going through a little gentrification, but this remained one of the more sketchy parts of town, the worst probably being right across the river into Anacostia.  

The Nats Stadium

I had a fondness for the Nat’s new stadium although I have yet to set a foot on the grounds. As a rower on the Anacostia River, I rowed right past the site every day of it’s construction, barring bad weather preventing me the go on the water, all year last year. I saw the grounds start off as a really unattractive piece of dirt called real estate turned into a massive stadium. It wasn’t completely done when our crew season wrapped up for the winter but the majority of the structure was already up and I had grown accustomed to seeing the sun set behind its silhouette. I truly regret not bringing my camera and snapping shows of the progress of the building from the water.

The stadium brings many changes. The opportunity to revitalise a horrible part of town. The process of growth had started long before the team even came to town. The government buildings being constructed around the Navy Yard has brought more daytime foot traffic and dispersed some of the more shady elements of DC’s population.

The biggest headache for me is traffic. Other than an initial surprise and private grin when I saw small road signs with the Nationals’ “W” and an arrow pointing where to go show up on I-395, I will start spending more time griping about the traffic gridlock. DC has more traffic than its roads are designed to handle. Which is why a practice emergency evaculation a while back went so wrong so quickly. I had to fight traffic from work to the boathouse with RFK traffic since my practice time coincided with the weekday evening games. Now with the stadium directly on the way to the boathouse, I’m not even sure Metro is ready to handle the traffic either.

I do want to check out the stadium, though. I chuckled last night at the first homerun of the stadium. I wondered if the Nats, even with an one-point lead at the time, wished they were still at RFK because that hit would not have been a homerun there. I am kicking myself for calling it a night and hopping into the shower at the bottom of the 8th. I apprently missed the best part, as I inevitably do in my rare decisions to close up early. But my excuse: I was running on 6 hours of culmulative sleep the past three days and I had just had a 16-hour day of travel. I was beat.  

Now, I’ll have to continue my thoughts on the stadium later… off the hit the slopes!

I’m gonna do it.

OK, I changed my mind. I *will* get up early and head to the local pub to watch the game. They better serve ‘darn good coffee.

On ward to my topic of the day: all you can eat. In an age of no more super-size meals, lawsuits against KFC for making people fat (is there one for being born stupid?), and hydrogenated oil bans, this trend surprised me: all-you-can-eat seats.

Featured in:

  • Dodger’s Stadium: Right field bleachers. $35-40. Menu includes hot dogs, nachos, peanuts, popcorn, soda and water
  • Blue Jays: One weekend only May 23-25, right field seats. Menu includes hot dogs, nachos, peanuts, popcorn, soda. $39.
  • Atlanta Braves: Outfield seats or club pavilion. $35-70. Go for basic: hot dogs, nachos, peanuts, popcorn, and soda. You can big-size it to include hamburgers, fries and ice cream. Or, if you so wish to, go for the luxury package of BBQ, pulled pork, wings, corn bread, baked beans, beer, and burgers. (since when are burgers more luxurious than hamburgers?)
  • Cardinals: All over. Prices range from $65 to $140. Buffet style, includes soda and beer. Wonder if water-sippers like myself are SOL.
  • Baltimore Orioles: Left field. $40-60. Menu includes popcorn, hot dogs, peanuts, nachos, ice cream and soda.
  • Rangers: Left field corner, Thursdays through Sundays. $31-38. Food selection includes hot dogs, peanuts, popcorn, and soda.
  • Okland A’s: Upper homeplate pavilion. $30-38. Season tickets available (!!?!) Menu includes hot dogs, nachos, peanuts, popcorn, soda and ice cream.
  • Royals: Right field corner. $35-50. Selection includes hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, peanuts, and soda.
  • Padres: Rooftop and right field. $39-45. Menu includes buffet, no alcohol.
  • Pirates: Right field. $35-40. Menu includes hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos, salads (really?) , peanuts, popcorn, ice cream, and soda.

Thoughts:

– Since when do people go watch a baseball game for the popcorn. How about cracker jacks instead?
– Dieticians must be apoplectic over this.
– Really, just how many hot dogs do you want? Are we trying to upset to Japanese superiority in hot dog eating contests?
– Do you really want to sit being surrounded by people with the buffet-eating style for three whole hours?
– Some of these make decent deals. Compare to the price of a ticket to Fenway….

I’m intrigued, piqued, and flabergasted. And it seems to be growing in popularity. In the meantime, I’ll settle with just simply visiting the new Nats stadium for a game. The ridiculously pricey food simply is a diet supressant for me. Or an excuse to treat myself to a rare and single funnel cake.

*sigh*

In conclusion. Three days is far too short. It’s like getting a lick of an ice cream cone than dropping it on the ground and watching it melt.

The painful part was leaving 30 degrees Celsius to land in 30 degrees Fahrenheit less than 2 hours later.

I did not watch Saturday’s game. Tickets sold out long before I had a chance to buy. Sure, I could buy from a scalper, but I never was a fan of them and what they represent. Instead, I settled with checking out a vastly entertaining Fleamasters Fleamarket and somewhat overpriced but tasty Fort Myers Beach Shrimp Festival.

The pricier but by far nicer place to stay: Sanibel Island. Beware the $6 toll to get on the island (but they are perfectly content to let you off the island without a fee).

My trip revolved around the Spring training games. Sleep in in the morning, go for a two hour swim at the resort pool. Back to the room, breakfast, shower, enjoying some sun on the patio, and a reluctant departure to head out for the day.

The City of Palms Stadium is surprisingly small, and close quarters. View of the field is fantastic. For $26, I sat on top of the visitor dugout. Shell out an addition $5, I sat behing home plate. Maximum capacity for the stadium is somewhere around 7,800. But during the Dodgers game, the tallied total attendance was somewhere around 8,070. Figure that one out.

After the game, I would explore a beach town. Naples on Thursday, and Sanibel on Friday. I did not spend nearly enough time there. Even for a non-beach-goer, I loved it down there. I had a whole list of things I wanted to do and that list grew faster than I was able to check the items off. At least now I know and can prioritise for next year.

Now, I need to convince my father to retire there. I’d go down there every spring to see the So- er, my folks.

Homefield advantage

Remember all the talk about how Wakefield will need to pitch before the games move to Colorado because of the thinner air resistance?

I didn’t even pay attention to that. Instead, I was remembering back when I used to go to Denver for a project several times a year. I spent so much time there that I know that area better than some parts of my homestate. My clients there even joked that they will clear out a broom closet for me to store my ski gear so I don’t have to lug it back and forth every single time. When my cousin was stationed in CO Springs, we met up up in Denver and *I* would be the one showing her around.

With all the traveling I did, I made effort to work out lightly but regularly. Business trips can take a toll on the body. Knowing that impresses on me how baseball players have a toughness about them to be able to endure the constant traveling and the long season of almost daily games. Despite many of their seemingly portly appearances, those athletes have to be healthy to maintain that kind of a grind.

I was floored every time I go to Denver how quickly the altitude would affect me, an avid skiier. Skiing isn’t all that bad in terms of cadiovascular effort. Gravity does most of the work. Jogging, on the other hand, can completely undo me even thought I’m a cold-weather jogger.

Now my big question is how ready is the Red Sox for the altitude, physically? Mentally, the altitude didn’t defer me until my body came to a screeching stop and panted “wait. a. minute. o.x.y.g.e.n! N.e.e.d. o.x-” Granted, baseball is not a heavy endurance, high energy activity like basketball and football, or long-distance runs, but with only one day to travel, little time for the body to acclimate, do we know how our athletes will react? Given the different leagues, Coors Field is not a regular visiting place for the Red Sox.. it’s not something I would imagine the trainers focusing on during the regular season (I don’t know if they do in the other NL teams, for that matter, either).

Add Dice-K to the recipe, who can throw an amazing game but has lately been showing that his endurance is not that high. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not expecting altitude sickness to be a factor, but I don’t want people to underestimate the effects of altitude. We just may see more long balls but also a couple slower runs. I’m happy to be proven wrong, but I’m not ready to dismiss climate changes.

That is why I feel better with Red Sox going into Denver with a 2-0 lead. I’m not ready to dismiss the Rockies. Not when they have the homefield advantage. At least we can make it back to Fenway if we need to get to that point.