For as long as I can remember I have loved the sport of baseball. Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of the sport of football too, but baseball will always be number one for me. With this love for baseball, I also love baseball stadiums. I can’t even drive past a youth league, high school or college field without wanting to stop.
You probably won’t be surprised that, whenever I travel during baseball season, I want to check out the local baseball field or stadium.
Part of this dates back to my youth when I was able to visit the old Ponce de Leon Park in Atlanta. We would drive into Atlanta to see the Atlanta Crackers play and I was in awe of the ballpark. I still drive by that spot on Ponce de Leon Avenue and wish there was a ballpark sitting there.
Ponce by public domain via wikimedia commons
When I was around 9 or 10 years old I took a trip with my Uncle Tom and his family. We dropped my aunt and cousins off in New York City so they could board a ship for my aunt to visit her home in Germany. On our way back to Georgia, my uncle had to stop in Washington, D.C. on business. As my big treat on the trip, he took me to the old Griffith Park in D.C. to see the Washington Senators play the New York Yankees. My only regret was us leaving the game before it was over and my missing a home run hit by Mickey Mantle.
So where are some of the places I’ve been to see baseball? My sons and I took a trip to Texas years ago and part of the trip was a visit to the Astro Dome. The Braves were in town playing the Astros, so that made it a double treat. We drove south from Dallas just to go to the game.
Some years later, our family traveled to Toronto where we took in a ball game at what was then called the SkyDome. I was fascinated by the hotel rooms in the outfield overlooking the playing field.
A few years later I got to visit the SkyDome again, to see a World Series game between the Braves and Blue Jays. This trip was for business. A co-worker and I were given the chance to take a couple of clients to the ballgame. We caught a chartered flight in Atlanta, flew to Toronto, saw the game and flew back home that night. I can’t say I have ever had the chance to do something like that since then.
Skydome by Bachrach44 via wikimedia commons
A few years later our family visited Washington, D.C. and drove over to Baltimore one evening to watch the Orioles play in Oriole Park at Camden Yards. I really enjoyed this stadium because of its throw-back feel. I’m glad that other major league stadiums have followed this trend with their newer stadiums.
I have not seen the new park in St. Louis, but I did get a chance to see the Cardinals play in Busch Memorial Stadium which had been opened in 1966. This was one of the multi-purpose round stadiums that were built after Atlanta’s old Fulton County Stadium. I would love to visit the current Busch Stadium.
When I vacationed in the Tampa area, I did get out to a ballgame at Tropicana Field. This was back when the team was called the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. I thought it was a pretty nice ballpark, but I know there has been a lot of talk about needing a new stadium. There was even talk about moving the team to Montreal, but for now Tampa remains the home of the Rays and I would be glad to visit their stadium again if I was in the area.
MSBraves by Jmblakely via wikimedia commons
I don’t just try to visit major league parks. I have been to minor league games in Daytona, Sarasota and Pearl, Mississippi. My favorite though was seeing the Helena Brewers play at Kendrick Legion Field. It is a neat old stadium, but the best part was my son working in the front office for the Brewers at the time.
I hope to visit many more stadiums in the future. Major league, minor league, college, high school or youth sports all draw me in to the magic of baseball.