A Drive up the Coast

Trip Start Jan 31, 1996
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , California
Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ellen and I have arrived in San Diego. We've got a car and are going to drive up to San Francisco. Last night we went to see a game at San Diego's new ballpark. There's a fabulous spot behind the left-field foul pole. It's an old building of some sort that's been converted into a restaurant and high-end seating area. Beyond the outfield fences there are old-style condos that are, it seems, part of the stadium property. What could be better than watching the Padres from your bedroom? The stadium staff are very friendly but overly officious. Even though the seats were half-empty the staff walk about checking tickets to make sure you're sitting where you're supposed to.
Over-all it was a good experience in a great downtown setting. Seattle's ballpark - I can't keep track of the ever-changing corporate names - ranks number 8 on my all-time list of best major league stadiums. Here are my top 10:

1) Tiger Stadium
2) Old Comiskey Park
3) Wrigley Field
4) Fenway Park
5) Pittsburgh's new ballpark
6) Detroit's new ballpark
7) San Francisco's new ballpark
8) San Diego's new ballpark
9) Cleveland's new ballpark
10) Yankee Stadium

My rankings have probably as much to do with what's going on outside the confines of the ballpark as what's happening inside. Numbers 1 thru 4 are the only remaining old-time ballparks. The ambiance outside the gates is and was mesmerizing. Pittsburgh's new stadium is in my mind, top's, when it comes to retro-parks. That, and it's got beautiful views of the city over the right and centre-field fences. Detroit's new park comes close to Pittsburgh's for the same reasons. But sadly, as the sun goes down, the lightless skyscrapers of downtown Detroit give an ominous feel to the experience. San Fran's new retro-park is in a swanky part of town and what could be better than watching a right-field home run land in the Bay. Cleveland's new park is also right downtown. If you've got time, check out the old historical cemetery just down the street. Almost every baseball fan on the planet would give Yankee Stadium a higher rating than I have. After all, it's the house that the greatest player of all time built. It's the neighbourhood more than anything that places Yankee Stadium tenth. Looking over the outfield fences, decrepit high-rises stand. They remind me of our own, albeit larger version, of Regent Park. If only the Bambino could have convinced Colonel Rupert to build his house in Manhattan. 

Toronto's Skydome and old Exhibition Stadium rank 17 and 18 respectively.
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Vickie on

Hi Jack - just getting around to reading your travel blogs. Hey - what about Camden Yards? P & I love it there! I'm sure you're abreast of the World Series, but if not, Giants over Tigers 2 - 0 (in San Fran). Tonight they go to Detroit.

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