Saturday, August 11, 2012

Seeing Strasburg Pitch in Nats @ Dbacks Game - August 10, 2012

Nats @ Dbacks, August 10, 2012All year we have been wanting to see a Washington Nationals game with Strasburg pitching.  Earlier this year at the last minute we tried to catch a game in Atlanta on the way to seeing the new Miami ballpark, but by the time we knew the day Strasburg was pitching there were no handicap tickets available to purchase.  Since then Mik and I were desperately hoping he would pitch one of the three games the Nats were at the Dbacks this season.  Mik was really hoping for the bobblehead Saturday game, but finally on Thursday it was confirmed that Strasburg was the pitcher for the Friday game (it was not official, but we unofficially were sure for about a week just by guessing the rotation stayed the same).

Nats @ Dbacks, August 10, 2012
Usually we do not like sitting close to the action because for one it is expensive, but it is also hard to see the whole field and all the action.  However, this time we were mainly going to see a pitcher, so we decided to try and sit in the section that is right next to the visitors dugout.  We sat here right by 1st base years ago when we bought tickets day of game for a last minute decision to see a Cubs game.  That was actually the first time we ever got handicap seats.  Mik loved it back then, although he was too young to now remember ever sitting that close to the game.  Thus, he was not all that excited about the seating I choose because he really wanted to dine in the Arizona Baseball Club instead, as that is the best experience he remembered at Chase Field.

Nats @ Dbacks, August 10, 2012We ended up sitting on the other side of the visitor's dugout (Section GW), which at first I was not sure about, but it actually turned out way cooler, as we were right behind the Nationals on deck circle.  Thus, we really got to see the player's up close during the game, although during batting practice we could see nothing, but their feet viewed by looking underneath the vehicles.  Of course, it was also a great view for watching the pitching.

Getting down to the section was a little confusing with the first elevator we got to have an employee say it would get us were we wanted to go, but we actually had to go to a different one.  At least the elevator operator checked our tickets and sent us in the right direction before we went down to the wrong area.  The actual elevator requires an escort to take you to the section, as you go across the tunnels that lead to the clubhouses.  Once at the section, though, there are restrooms including a family/companion one and it appeared you could have food and drinks delivered to your seat in this area.
Nats @ Dbacks, August 10, 2012

The game itself was pretty good in my opinion, as Strasburg pitched 6 innings and only allowed one hit, although he did walk several batters leading to the one hit allowing a run to score.  Plus, we got to see Bryce Harper.   We ended up leaving right after he did not come back out for the 7th inning, but the Nats went on to win 9 to 1.  Thus, Mik was not so happy with the end result, although he had fun and was glad we left before the Nats scored the last 4 in the 9th and the post-game fireworks.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Cashman Stadium: Las Vegas 51s

Cashman Stadium
Dad and I went to a game at Cashman Stadium since we were in Las Vegas for a bowling tournament and the Las Vegas 51s were in town on June 16, 2012.  Now that we are all up-to-date and will be for at least the foreseeable future on MLB ballparks we are going to start trying to hit Triple-A ballparks.  Not really going to try to hit them all anytime soon, but we are going to try to work them in when we can, which really means when we are traveling without Mik, since he is done with any baseball besides his Dbacks for now.

Cashman Stadium

Cashman Stadium is an interesting one with it being quite multipurpose like a lot of stuff in Vegas.  They have a theater and a conference center on one side of it, so it was kind of odd to park on the theater side of the ballpark and it not even looking like you are at a ballpark.
Cashman Stadium

We opted for the cheapest seats, which is called the reserved section, but is basically bleacher seating on the baselines.  It was hot (not much different than a Tucson Padres game, though) and the plaza seating for a few bucks more looks tempting with its shade and misters.  However, it is all behind the home plate netting, which I hate, so kind of a toss up if it would have really been better, except that it would have been because the reserved bleacher seating was extremely uncomfortable and usually I like bleacher seats.
Cashman Stadium

Overall Cashman Stadium was kind of a bore.  Yeah, I do not expect much from a Triple-A park, but there was not much to like, especially with the game being mostly a lot of walks, hit-by-pitch, and just dumb luck that anyone was scoring.  The food selection was also pretty disappointing, as it was mostly hot dogs, although they had quite a few different preparation styles.  The garlic fries sounded good, but ended up very oily and not really garlicy.  However, they did have Ben & Jerry's and Dippin' Dots, which is nice for hot games.  If your into alcohol at a ballgame, though, they do have a full bar.  Better yet, they totally do cutoff people they think are getting drunk, although that led to the guy next to us being a totally jerk for an inning before he finally decided to just leave.  I guess the only really interesting thing about the ballpark is that they sell inflatable aliens.

Cashman Stadium

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mik's Mini Ballplayer Collection: Jose Reyes

Jose Reyes FigureLast week at the Dbacks game I got Mik a LEGO style mini figurine of Ian Kennedy because I thought it would be fun for his miniature collection.  Well, apparently this is a new thing for more than just the Dbacks, as at the Marlins game I spotted some Marlins ones and he ended up getting a Jose Reyes one.  They sure are expensive at $14.99 a piece, but since we are not actually going to any more ballparks this year I let him start a Mini Ballplayer Collection that he can slowly build over the years if they keep making more series of them or he can just end up with the two being cool additions to his overall miniature collection (mainly mini bats and miniature landmarks of the world).

Monday, June 4, 2012

Accessibility Review: Marlin's Park

Marlins ParkAfter seeing the Nationals lose to the Marlins at Marlins park on Monday, May 28, 2012, we can again say that we have seen a complete game at every current MLB ballpark.  This time we should stay current for quite a while as even if Oakland ever does get their new stadium it is probably 5 years away.

I have pretty mixed feelings about the whole Marlins experience.  The first thing that really annoyed me is their website info before tickets were released for the season gave a number to call for wheelchair seats and when Dad called on the day tickets went on sale they said go buy them online.  Yes, in fact I was able to end up buying them online, but I was not pleased with ending up with crappy printed tickets and still having to pay for that as a delivery option on top of the fact they charge a convenience fee per ticket (it sure is not convenient when online was the second way we tried to buy the darn tickets!).

We did have success turning them in for real tickets at no charge for my ticket collection at the box office today, but I am further annoyed at them referring us online and wasting our time when we first called for tickets because the A to Z guide at the game says to call the number for the tickets.  That just makes it totally confusing, so I do not know if they decided online does not work or if they are back to selling the handicap sections over the phone along with the online option.

The Marlins parking also ended up annoying me.  I pre-purchased the parking pass with the tickets.  I am overall glad I did, as most of the garages had signs saying parking only for prepaid passes.  No parking was open when we ended up there at 9:30 a.m. because the last hours of driving to Miami took less time than expected.  Not being open at 9:30 a.m. for 11:40 a.m. gate opening is not an issue, but what is an issue is by the time we had driven around the ballpark all the parking garages were opened except the Home Plate one where we had our pass for.  We waited about 15 minutes before deciding to just go waste an hour at a nearby Target.  It ended up being a better option, as we still got to the park 15 minutes before gates opened, but it was frustrating that nothing says when the garages open and the different garages have at least a 20 minute difference in opening time.

Marlins Park
There was one good thing about the parking, though.  We already had the handicap tag up when we pulled up to the the first traffic director and they noticed the tag and directed us to the far left lane and notified the person up ahead to direct us to the handicap parking area.  It was nice that they were observant and we did not have to ask where handicap parking like Dad usually does.  The parking is also quite roomy, which is good for speed demon Mik as seen in the photo.

Getting into the park was also somewhat confusing, but not too bad.  We ended up going in the 3rd Base Gate, which clearly said elevator access.  When we got to elevator and he saw we were sitting in the upper level, he said we could have gone in at the home plate suite entrance since the 3rd base elevator only goes to main concourse and we had to walk to get home plate one up to the upper area. I had noticed the handicap entrance sign by the suite entrance, but it made it seem like that was handicap entrance for the suites only.  Actually, it is for suite access along with those needing the elevators, as the elevators are right inside.

Marlins Park Not a big deal to end up on the main concourse and then go up again at the other elevator, though, as the main concourse is worth checking out at least for the bobblehead museum, which is not far from the home plate elevators.  Also, the entrance near 3rd base is kind of interesting with the Marlins letters in a buried sand style along the path.  The other nice thing about the elevators is that they are all controlled access to, so they not only direct people to the nearby escalators to reduce the amount using them, but also they manage what levels they are called to help more efficiently keep it flowing.
Marlins Park

Overall once we were in the park, Marlins park was good.  The staff was very helpful in directing, except when we actually got to our section.  Just like at the old ballpark there was no one there to help figure out where to sit, which is kind of annoying because the wheelchair section just has a bunch of folding chairs and no numbers anywhere to designate where your seats are.  Sure, you can count the seats and try to figure it out, but it is confusing with some seats ending up being pushed aside for wheelchairs and not actually being removed.  It worked out fine, but it could easily be confusion and moving around as the section did end up filling up and it seemed just luck that no one ended up needing to rearrange despite figuring out later that we totally counted wrong for our actual seat numbers.

Marlins Park
We sat in section 309.  The view of the whole field was good.  At first Mik was like I cannot see first base, but he was at least foot from the bar.  I told him he was being silly and if he just pulled up so he actually could reach the cup holder (first thing he looks for anyways) he would also see the whole field.  Overall the section was great, but Mik did get lost when he zoomed ahead of Dad on the way back from the bathroom (found companion one right by home plate elevator on our level).  It is a little odd that the access to the handicap row and the lower rows of the section are kind of hidden behind the stairs to the upper rows, but what really happened was a guy was standing in the way and a concession stand is right there, so he missed noticing it the first time he went past.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Accessibility Review: Chase Field Section 140

To celebrate the last day of school Dad decided we should go to a Dbacks games, especially since we have not been to one this season. We ended up sitting in the wheelchair row in section 140. It is located behind left field and while you cannot see the scoreboard it does provide a good view of the field and we like this section and the others next to it.

I am not sure if we have ever sat specifically in this section, as Mik was surprised that we did not exactly have the typical ballpark seats, but rather the companion seats were bleacher style. It is actually kind of cool that they are set up that way because it blends in with the rest of the section being bleachers. The only problem with the set up was that we had the end of the section and the wheelchair spot is next to that seat and no way to get out without Mik having to back entirely out of his space. Probably would have been more annoying with the manual chair, as at least with the power one he could back himself out when told it was clear behind him.

This was Mik's first ball game with his power chair. He has not gotten much of a chance to get used to maneuvering it in crowds, so it was good it was a midweek game with somewhat low attendance. He did great and it was a good move towards getting him to at least be ready to give it a shot for parts of Disney World next week. That may not work out well, but at least he is now more comfortable with it and will use it when we go to the new Marlins ballpark on Monday.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

RedHawks Field at Bricktown

Dad got stuck in Oklahoma City for days this week waiting to get the car repaired on way back from Chicago with Mom.  He sent me a bunch of photos from walking around the outside of RedHawks Field at Bricktown.  Below are the photos and his accompanying text.

Oklahoma City RedHawksBricktown

"Downtown OKC, in the Bricktown District, is the minor league ballpark of the Redhawks. Outside the stadium is a tribute to famous ball players with Oklahoma roots: Warren Spahn Plaza, Mickey Mantel Plaza, and Johnny Bench Plaza. I walked around the ballpark yesterday."

Warren Spahn Plaza

Warren SpahnWarren SpahnWarren Spahn
Warren Spahn

Mickey Mantle Plaza

Mickey Mantle PlazaMickey MantleMickey Mantle

Johnny Bench Plaza

Johnny Bench PlazaJohnny Bench

Friday, August 5, 2011

Oldest Remaining Ballpark: Rickwood Field

Rickwood FieldThis summer we finally got to see Rickwood Field even if it was just from the outside.  Rickwood Field is the oldest ballpark still in use having been in use since 1910.  It is barely used nowadays, but the Birmingham Barons do play one throwback game here every season called the Rickwood Classic.

Despite being over 100 years old, Rickwood Field is kept in good looking shape.  Kind of amazing considering it also is not even actively used by any team.  Although, I guess it is easier to keep a ballpark looking nice if you do not have a sell out or near sell out crowd coming in so often like the Red Sox and the Cubs have had over the years.
Rickwood Field
We only got to see the outside and peak in through the fences in a few spots, but was still worth the slight detour on our way from Kentucky to Florida.  They supposedly do have daily self guided tours, but the place was totally locked up when we got there.  Probably because we got there too late in the day.