Saturday, July 5, 2008

Backyard Baseball 2009 for Nintendo Wii

I tried this game out today and thought it would be something good baseball related to post about on this blog, as I do not have any updates to the trip planning at this time.

I am not much into playing baseball video games because I find them too complex, especially on most console gaming systems, however, I have been a fan of Backyard Baseball for years. I used to play it on my computer, but stopped when the version I had no longer worked on my newer operating system. When I saw the Wii version it seemed like it could be an interesting way to play it.

It was fun for a little while, but it is not as good as the computer versions I have played. The graphics are not any better after all these years and the Major League player selection continues to disappoint me even though it has gotten better. The one thing I do like is the controls have remained relatively simple. The thing is, though, that it does not use the Wii sensor capabilities much at all. You do not even swing it like your batting, but rather just flick it in the same motion as pitching.

Overall it is more enjoyable than Wii Sports Baseball, as you actually get to control your fielding and there are some fun batting and pitching power ups. It is, however, not all that amazing and only worth actually purchasing if you find it for under $20. I for one I am glad I just rented it and did not buy it. I think the computer versions of this game remain great, but their move to the console has yet to create a parallel quality playing experience.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Baseball Smashed Penny Locations

One of the things I have collected over the years is smashed pennies. I tend to just find them along the way when traveling. Having found many over the past week on a cave road trip I thought for next summer's All the Ballparks Road Trip I am actually going to look up what places have smashed pennies. Thus today I went through the Penny Collector Location Database and found all the baseball related penny locations as listed below.

Chase Field/Bank One Ballpark - There used to be a machine here with Randy Johnson, Curt Shilling, Luis Gonzalez, and 2001 World Series pennies, but it has been removed for being out of date. Not a big loss to me, though, since I do already have at least most if not all of those smashed pennies.

Mickey Baseball Player @ Disneyland Paradise Pier Hotel - Do not know if I will get around to getting this one on the trip, but figured I would include because it is baseball themed. Actually think I have this one, but not sure since I know I did not get it at Paradise Pier Hotel.

ESPN Zone at Disneyland Downtown Disney - Another one I probably will not get to one this trip, but including it because it has Los Angeles Dodger and Los Angeles Angels pennies.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - This machine has Angels Logo, Go Angels Rally Monkey, Angels #27, and The A Team! Anaheim Angels pennies.

Dodger Stadium - This one has 2 current machines, as well as two retired machines. The current machines pennies are Dodger Stadium, Bat and Ball L.A. Dodgers Baseball, Heart L.A. Dodgers, Dodgers Fan, Player Dodgers Baseball, Dodger Baseball Established 1958, Dodgers Logo, and My Lucky L.A. Dodgers Penny.

Giants Baseball Stadium - They used to have an Old Navy Splash Landing penny with the name of the series on the other side, but it was removed when the park changed names from SBC Park to the current name of AT & T Park.

Safeco Field - This machine has three different Seattle Mariners logo designs and a Safeco Field penny.

Coors Field - This park used to have two, but now only has one machine, which is better than nothing. This machine has Colorado Rockies logo, Rockies Lucky Penny, Colorado Rockies Baseball Club, and Dinosaur Colorado Rockies penny designs.

Busch Stadium - This park seems to have gone through a lot of different machines between the self serve and attended ones. I have some of the retired ones. The current self serve machine has St. Louis Cardinals mascot, Busch Stadium Est. 2006, St. Louis Arch Cardinals Baseball, and St. Louis Cardinals Baseball Logo pennies. There seems to be a new attended machine every year, so who knows what it will have next year if there even is one.

ESPN Zone Chicago - Will probably try and stop in here for the pennies when in Chicago. They have a Chicago Cubs penny and a Chicago White Sox penny.

Comisky Park - They used to have a machine here, but no longer do.

Wrigley Field - The machine here has three Chicago Cubs logo designs and a Wrigley Field design.

Navy Pier - Should be easy to get over here since we will be staying right next to here when in Chicago. They have a machine with a White Sox design.

Miller's Park - This machine has a Milwaukee Brewers logo design, Mascot design, and two Miller Park designs.

Comerica Park - This park has two machines. Designs include Tigers Number 1, Established 1901 Tigers Logo, Tigers Lucky Penny, Detroit is Tiger Town, Heart Tigers, Tigers Logo, and Comerica Park Home of 2005 All Star Game.

Railcats Baseball - This penny in Gary, Indiana, is one we will not be getting, but thought I would include it since I noticed it.

UPMC Sports Works at Carnegie Center: They have some baseball science exhibits and maybe we will go if we have some free time in Pittsburgh. One of the penny designs is of a baseball.

PNC Park - This machies has Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball Logo The Way Baseball Should Be Played, PNC Park Home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, PNC Park Logo, and Pirate Logo pennies.

Progressive Field - This machine has some famous Indian player, Indian Logo, Jacob's Field, and Cleveland Indians designs. I kind of wonder if it is really still there, though, since it is no longer Jacob's Field.

Cooperstown - There are two what I think are stores in Cooperstown that have penny machines with Hall of Fame and baseball designs. Will probably try and stop to get the pennies. One place is called National Pasttime and the other is Pioneer Sports Cards Store.

Fenway Park - This machine has two Boston Red Sox logo designs, a mascot design, and a Fenway Park design.

Yankee Stadium - They do currently have a machine, but with there being a new ballpark next year it potentially will not be there. Current designs are Yankee Stadium Logo, Yankee Stadium 1923 - 2008, New York Yankees Est. 1903, and All Star Yankee Stadium design.

ESPN Zone New York City - This place has a penny for each of the New York baseball teams, but I doubt we will try to get to this ESPN Zone just for the pennies.

Shea Stadium - Another one that potentially will not be there next year when they have a new stadium. The designs are Mr. Met, Mets Logo, Mets NY Logo, and New York City Skyline "Ya Gotta Believe."

Citizen's Bank Ballpark - There used to be a machine here, but it has been removed.

ESPN Zone Baltimore - They have an Orioles penny here, but probably will not get it.

Babe Ruth Birthplace & Museum - They have four Babe Ruth Birthplace & Museum designs here.

Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards - This machine has three Sports Legends Museum designs and a Camden Yards design.

Camden Yards - This one has a ballplayer design, ship design, mascot design, and Orioles Park at Camden Yards design.

Nationals Park - Oh, I am so annoyed I went to at least five games in the first month of the season at the new ballpark this year and never noticed they had a machine in the Strike Zone area. Anyways they have four designs and I hope to get them when I go to the end of regular season games in September this year.

Turner Field - The four designs here are Turner Field Established 1997, Mascot, Atlanta Braves 1966, and Braves Logo.

Minute Maid Park - The four designs here are Houston Astros with Texas Outline, Houston Astros with Train, Houston Astros pennant, and Ballpark.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

International Bowling Museum and Cardinals Hall of Fame

Just found out that this museum is closing by end of 2008 and moving to Arlington, Texas. Of course, that is just the bowling part and not the Cardinals baseball part. I read the area will be used in the development of Baseball Village, but it appears it will not be open next summer even though St. Louis is hosting the All Star Game. Who knows if, when, and where exactly they will reopen the Cardinals Hall of Fame part, but it looks like it will not be on the 2009 All the Ballparks itinerary anymore. Oh well, at least we did get to this museum a few years ago. Perhaps the new location in Arlington, Texas will be open and we will go to the bowling part while in the area since the three of us all like bowling and bowl in leagues.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

2 New Things I Found to Add to Route

I am currently on a different road trip and as we were traveling I was looking through some tourist things and discovered two more baseball themed things to work into next summer's All the Ballparks road trip.

The first is the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame and nearby League Stadium, where they filmed A League of Their Own. This is a little out of the way to add to the trip, but somehow we will work it in. Perhaps make it a really long day trip out of Cincinnati to the Lousiville Slugger Museum and here or maybe head to Indiana from Cincinnati and then spend a night in Lousiville see the Slugger Museum and continue back on planned route.

The second is the Pujols Westfront Grill in St. Louis. Now this is an easy thing to work in or at least it should be considering it is a place to eat and in it in a city already on the route.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Road Trippers

Here is a brief intro to the three of us going doing the All the Ballparks Summer 2009 Road Trip.


Nickname: "The Documenter"

Favorite Team: Washington Nationals

Collects: Souvenir Baseballs

Her/My Role: I am the doing most of the planning and trip documenting. I am making the route and will be putting together how we can do it in Mik's summer vacation once the MLB schedules are all released. I am also the one documenting the trip through things like blogging and taking photos.


Nickname: "The Taste Tester"

Favorite Team: Arizona Diamondbacks

Collects: Mini Bats

His Role: Mik is my little brother. He will turn 15 during the road trip. I am giving him the nickname "The Taste Tester" because over the years I have photographed him eating foods when we travel. It started as a him eating his way through Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and a Disney Cruise, but has now developed into him posing with different foods in his mouth on all our travels. He will be adding to his food scrapbook by trying different ballpark foods, especially things unique to certain ballparks. Also, he loves to narrate videos with his camera and may be entertaining readers with some video clips as we visit the ballparks. Lastly, Mik has cerebral palsy and, though, he is working on at least walking with his walker again, he will probably mostly use his wheelchair on the trip. Thus he will be helping to give accessibility reviews of the ballparks and other sites we hit along the way.


Nickname: "The Driver"

Favorite Team: Chicago Cubs

His Role: My dad is the one doing the driving. He is also the one who will have to call 30 different ballpark ticket offices to get wheelchair seats to the games.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

All the Ballparks Route Outline

Here is the route outline of the ballparks and other baseball stops that I have come up with so far. Plus, a few natural places of interest I added because I figured we might as well hit them while we are near them.

Leg 1: Tucson, AZ to Phoenix, AZ
Team 1: Arizona Diamonbacks

Leg 2: Phoenix, AZ to San Diego, CA
Team 2: San Diego Padres

Leg 3: San Diego, CA to Los Angeles, CA
Team 3: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Team 4: Los Angeles Dodgers

Leg 4: Los Angeles, CA to San Francisco, CA
Team 5: Oakland Atheletics
Team 6: San Francisco Giants

Leg 5: San Francisco, CA to Seattle, WA
Redwood National Park
Team 7: Seattle Mariners

Leg 6: Seattle, WA to Denver, Co
Dinosaur National Monument
Rocky Mountain National Park
Team 8: Colorado Rockies

Leg 7: Denver, CO to Kansas City, MO
Team 9: Kansas City Royals
Negro Leagues Hall of Fame

Leg 8: Kansas City, MO to St. Louis, MO
Team 10: St. Louis Cardinals
International Bowling Museum and Cardinals Hall of Fame

Leg 9: St. Louis, MO to Chicago, IL
Team 11: Chicago Cubs
Team 12: Chicago White Sox

Leg 10: Chicago, IL to Milwaukee, WI
Team 13: Milwaukee Brewers

Leg 11: Milwaukee, WI to Minneapolis, MN
Team 14: Minnesota Twins

Leg 11: Minneapolis, MN to Detroit, MI
Team 15: Detroit Tigers

Leg 12: Detroit, MI to Cincinnati, OH
Team 16: Cincinnati Reds
Day Trip to Louisville Slugger Factory

Leg 13: Cincinnati, OH to Pittsburgh, PA
Team 17: Pittsburgh Pirates

Leg 14: Pittsburgh, PA to Cleveland, OH
Team 18: Cleveland Indians

Leg 15: Cleveland, OH to Toronto, Canada
Niagara Falls
Team 19: Toronto Blue Jays

Leg 16: Toronto, Canada to Boston, MA
Baseball Hall of Fame
Side Trip to hit Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine (to say we have been to all states except Alaska after this road trip, I guess we will then have to do the Alaska road trip we have always talked about another summer)
Team 20: Boston Red Sox

Leg 17: Boston, MA to New York City, NY
Team 21: New York Yankeees
Team 22: New York Mets
Sports Museum of America

Leg 18: New York City, NY to Philadelphia, PA
Team 23: Philadelphia Phillies

Leg 19: Philadelphia, PA to Baltimore, MD
Team 24: Baltimore Orioles
Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum and Legends Hall of Fame at Camden Yards

Leg 20: Baltimore, MD to Washington, DC
Team 25: Washington Nationals

Leg 21: Washington, DC to Miami, FL
Team 26: Florida Marlins

Leg 22: Miami, FL to Tampa Bay, FL
Team 27: Tampa Bay Rays

Leg 23: Tampa Bay, Fl to Atlanta, GA
Team 28: Atlanta Braves

Leg 24: Atlanta, GA to Houston, TX
Team 29: Houston Astros

Leg 25: Houston, TX to Dallas, TX
Team 30: Texas Rangers
Legends of the Game Museum

Saturday, June 7, 2008

All the Ballparks Road Trip Intro

The idea for the All the Ballparks Road Trip began when my dad and I were driving cross country from D.C. to Tucson in May 2008 when we began dreaming about a real road trip where it was more about the journey than the final destination. That road trip dreaming involved visiting all the Major League Ballparks in a single summer.

Really you can trace this dream a little further back to a small scale road trip we did to the Midwest in the summer of 2004, which involved us touring Busch Stadium (the one they knocked down when they were still working on the current one), seeing a game at Great American Ballpark, and seeing a game at Wrigley Field. During that same summer we also did our normal going to Bank One Ballpark (now called Chase Field) when the Cubs came to town and seeing a game at the then very new Petco Park. Since that summer I in particular have dreamed of one day being able to say I have been to a then current ballpark for all the major league teams.

So, back to May 2008 when we decided we should do All the Ballparks in one road trip. By the time we got home on the D.C. to Tucson road trip I had made a tentative route to do it. As soon as we got home we brought up the dream to my mom (the financier) and my younger brother (the third road tripper). My mom's reaction was along the lines of "Sounds cool. Too bad its too long for me to come with." My brother also thought it was cool, but was like we are taking the motorhome, right?

Well, sure the motorhome sounds like a fun road trip way to go, but we are back to the days of roughing it. He was still on board with the idea, though, when we explained it was totally an unrealistic trip to take if we had to pay for gas for the motorhome. Instead we are going to take Dad's Yukon or do Dad's idea of buying a used Honda Element and selling it when we get home. We will mostly be roughing it by sleeping in the car and/or camping and maybe occasionally using Mom's hotel points to stay at a Hilton or Hyatt (yeah, that would not be roughing it, but it would not add to the trip expense).

So, by now (at least to my dad and I) the All the Ballparks Summer Road Trip 2009 is going to happen. I will try to keep this blog updated with our latest plans and preparations. When we actually do the road trip (may not be 2009, but we will do it one of these years for sure) I plan to post regular updates of our adventures.