Play Ball! Where to go and how to make the most of your baseball trip.
Thinking of a baseball trip this year? Two-time published baseball author Chris Donnelly and his brother, Window Seat’s own Mike Donnelly, have all your bases covered. Chris and Mike have been to 38 and 39 Major League Baseball stadiums each, respectively, have taken several baseball road trips together over the years, and relay their insight on making your baseball trip error-free.
WS: Top 5 favorite, must-visit ballparks - go!
CD:Wrigley Field - Every baseball fan should get to see Wrigley at least once in their life. The stadium itself is cramped and minus many of the frills of the new parks, but outside of that, it is incredible. It embodies everything you would want a baseball game to be.
Fenway Park - The seats are too small and face the wrong way and if you are claustrophobic, maybe take a pass, but it's Fenway Park for god's sake. The Monstah, the history, the angles...it's fantastic.
PNC Park - They did everything right. Amazing views, small stadium so you are close to the action, great atmosphere around the park on game day.
Coors Field - Great location in downtown and view of the Rockies beyond the outfield wall. Does not have any particular noteworthy feature (like the Green Monster, or the ivy wall, or deep history) but an all around good place to watch a game.
Safeco Field - Little pricey, but a great place to watch a game and within walking distance of downtown and some good bars. Seattle itself is a great city in the spring and summer.
MD: I’m with my brother on his first four. Any stadium list begins and ends with Wrigley; there’s nothing like a ball game there. Fenway is an absolute dump, but, man, it’s so great. PNC in Pittsburgh is the best of the bunch of all the new stadiums; no bad seats and the bridge/city backdrop adds to a great atmosphere. I absolutely love Coors Field. Yeah, it’s not as cozy as some other parks, but it’s smack in the middle of downtown and you can’t beat looking at the Rockies (the mountains, not the players) from the upper deck. For my 5th, I’ll include Petco in San Diego. It’s small enough, like PNC, to be close to the game, but really quirky and the quirks work. I think it’s a neat place and the location is great.
WS: Someone wants to see a few parks over a weekend or long weekend - where do you recommend they go?
CD: D.C., Baltimore, Philly. All within two hours of each other, so easy drive (or train ride), all three have great, newer stadiums, and all three cities have plenty of additional things to see if you have enough additional time to check out the sites (and the bar scene).
MD: On a short weekend, do Wrigley (Chicago) and Miller (Milwaukee) - it’s a real easy drive. On a 3-day weekend, hit PNC (Pittsburgh), Progressive (Cleveland), and either the Comerica (Detroit) or Great American (Cinci). Want to get nuts? Do the entire NYC-DC Metro: Nationals (Washington) on Friday, Camden Yards (Baltimore) on Saturday, Citizen's Bank (Philadelphia) on Sunday afternoon, Yankees (New York) on Sunday night, and the Citi Field (New York) on Monday.
WS: What stadium/city might not be on people’s radar that you think will surprise them?
CD: Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. The stadium location is a little inconvenient (a few miles outside of downtown) but the stadium is a nice, simple place to watch a game. Older stadium, but doesn't feel like it and also doesn't have an abundance of unnecessary frills to take away from the game itself. And was pleasantly surprised by the abundance of bars and nightlife in downtown KC.
MD: I’ll stay in Missouri and say that I don’t think the new Busch Stadium got a lot of hype, but I really liked it here. Fan-friendly, but they didn’t overdo it; awesome views from the upper deck; just a simple, solid place to catch a game. Plus, I, personally, have always liked hanging out in St. Louis.
WS: What stadium/city gets a lot of hype that you think will underwhelm?
CD: Dodger Stadium. As long as I live, I will never understand people's adulation for this place. It's a pain in the ass to get to, it's old, it doesn't give any overwhelming sense of history (like most other older parks do), getting into the park itself is about as inconvenient as you can get (you have to go to a specific gate that corresponds with your ticket, so you can't move down to better seats). I could go on and on. This place ranks at the bottom for me...even worse than Oakland or Guaranteed Rate Field (White Sox).
MD: I knew my brother would say this and I completely agree that Dodgers Stadium is incredibly overrated. So, to be different, I’ll say that I wasn’t a huge fan of the Ballpark at Arlington. It’s way too big, they tried way too hard to make it unique-looking, and it’s way outside of downtown Dallas or Fort Worth making it a pain in the ass to get to.
WS: Anything people might not realize that they should keep in mind when planning a baseball trip?
CD: If you are driving over the course of several days, the last few days can be a drag. If you can, try and allow yourself enough time to recharge somewhere along the way and also to take in whatever city you are visiting.
MD: If you’re going to a city with two teams (NY, LA, Chicago, SF/Oakland), it’s rare that both are home at the same time. So if you’re hoping to hit both, your trip will need span past Sunday into the next week or Thursday into Friday. Check the schedule!
WS: Any final thoughts/tips/tricks/suggestions?
CD: If time allows, do a tour of the park too. Will give you some interesting perspective on the field and some tidbits that will make you sound smart.
MD: Try and figure out where the sun hits the stadium so if you’re going to a day game in summer you can get tickets in the shade so you don’t bake for three hours. Oh, and if you’ve got any food allergies or diet restrictions, check the ballpark’s website to find what concession stands serve what you need so you’re not wandering around when you get there.
Unsure where to go or how to piece your baseball road trip together? Visit us at www.windowseattravelplans.com and let us know what you’re looking for so we can help you plan a custom, personalized baseball trip just for you!
And check out Chris’ two books "Baseball’s Greatest Series" and "How the Yankees Explain New York" available on Amazon.