Ten Baseball Stadium Facts and Trivia You Probably Didn't Know
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Miller Park, Milwaukee, WisconsinHome of the Milwaukee Brewers, Miller Park offers up a retractable roof that weighs in at 12,000 tons and is shaped like a huge fan. It can open or close in 10 minutes, which is important because the weather can change quickly in Milwaukee. Maybe it's the climate that makes Brewers' fans a bit loopy, because this is the only ballpark that sells more sausages than hot dogs.
Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, MissouriThe first thing you'll notice at Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals, is the beautiful fountain just past Center Field. The fountain pays homage to all the other fountains around town. In fact, only Rome boasts more fountains than Kansas City. And here's a bit of local trivia for you: Every seat in the stadium is blue except for a single red seat behind home plate. It was placed there to honor Buck O' Neill, star first baseman of the Kansas City Monarchs in former Negro League. Buck viewed Royals' games from that very location for years.
Target Field, Minneapolis, MinnesotaIf you go to Minneapolis, take an extra day to catch a St. Paul Saints minor league game. The team is co-owned by the actor Bill Murray and his sense of humor can be felt in every inning. The antics in the stands are almost as amusing as the game itself. When you visit Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins, be sure to have a drink at the Town Ball Tavern, whose wood floor behind the bar is the actual surface from the Minneapolis Armory, former home of the Minneapolis Lakers before they moved to Los Angeles. It's pretty special!
The Rogers Centre, Toronto, CanadaToronto is a great sports town. You can't miss the NHL Hall of Fame. This interactive center allows you to make shots on real time goalies and take virtual shots from Wayne Gretzky. And when you get to The Rogers Centre, home of the Blue Jays, you may notice that something is missing: It's the only MLB stadium without bleachers. Those traveling with you be impressed with your sense of observation!
Wrigley and PNC Park, Chicago, IllinoisWhen you hit Chicago, you absolutely cannot miss Pizzeria Uno. It's the home of the original deep dish pizza for which Chicago has become synonymous and it's still the best on the planet. Do yourself a favor. Don't look at the nutritional breakdown offered on their website. Let's just say your meal will be in the thousands of calories and leave it at that. It's worth it! When you get to Wrigley Field, home of the beloved Cubs, you'll want to check out the bullpens. Wrigley and PNC Park (home of the Pirates) are the only stadiums where the pitchers warm up on the field of play.
Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati, OhioDon't miss the Rose Garden outside Great American Ballpark, home of the Cincinnati Reds. It marks the exact spot where Pete Rose's record breaking 4192nd hit landed in the old Riverfront Stadium. It's about the only thing the team could do to commemorate its greatest player of all time, as he is banned from baseball for allegedly gambling on games. But they still love him in Cincy!
Babe Ruth was born in Baltimore and his birthplace now houses the Babe Ruth Museum. It's not too far from Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles. In fact, it was close enough that the Babe's adopted father owned a tavern in what is now center field at the ballpark.
Fenway Park, Boston, MassachusettsFenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, is the oldest park in Major League Baseball, having opened on April 20th, 1912. It's a real gem and an easy walk or bus ride from anywhere in the city. If you really want to impress those around you at the ballpark, you'll point out the design element on the right field scoreboard. It looks like a bunch of dots and dashes, but it's really the following letters spelled out in Morse code: TAYJRY. They are the initials of Thomas A. Yawkey and Jean R. Yawkey, the former longtime Red Sox owners.
AT+T Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaThe Giants/Dodgers rivalry goes back over 100 years when both teams were New York based. Having landed in California together in the 1950's continued to fuel the flame. Above right center field in AT+T Park (home of the San Francisco Giants) is an actual cable car with a panel stating No Dodger Fans Allowed. Speaking of cable cars, they have run in San Francisco since 1873 and are the only moving historical landmarks in the United States. Take a ride when you're in town...it's only $5 for a ticket.
Turner Field, Atlanta, GeorgiaThe epicenter for the world of Coca Cola is Atlanta, where the corporate headquarters is located. The company went all out to create the ultimate statement about their brand. You can't miss the 4-D theater (3-D plus moving seats). You'll also find the world's biggest collection of Coke memorabilia and an opportunity to sample 60 different Coca Cola-produced beverages from around the world. When it's time to head out to the Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves, be sure to walk across the street to the parking lot where you'll find the remaining section of Fulton County Stadium's original left field wall over which Hank Aaron hit his epic 715th home run, surpassing Babe Ruth's record.
Coors Field, Denver, ColoradoYou'll want to pay homage to Coors Beer and take a tour of the largest single beer producing facility on earth. It's a fairly comprehensive tour that will leave you thirsty. Fortunately, you will be served some brew at the end. Then, you'll want to head out to Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies. You may notice that every seat is green except for a single row of purple seats in the upper deck of the ballpark. The reason: These seats are exactly one mile high! Oh, and if you need another beer, Coors Field contains the only actual brewery in any MLB stadium. Now you know! Enjoy your journey.
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Stan Fridstein is a lifelong baseball fan. As for his career in baseball, it was tragically cut short when as a 10 year old, he discovered he couldn't hit a curve ball. His book Going Yard is available from Amazon. His financial goal is to "not lose too much money" on the book. However, he believes that helping others realize the remarkable experiences he shared with his son will be reward enough. And if that doesn't work, there's always the good karma that comes out of helping others.
Unless otherwise indicated, all photos by the author