Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Happy 100th Birthday, Wrigley Field!

Since last fall we had been planning to go to a game at Wrigley Field during the 100th Anniversary season.  Mik choose that we go when the Dbacks were in town. We had settled on the Wednesday game of the series since Dad always has Wednesdays off and thus would not have to take as much time off to go.  I did not even realize until looking about when tickets go on sale back in February that we had decided on the actual 100th anniversary date.

We left for the ballpark around 9 a.m. thinking it would be best to get there before it was crowded.  On the way Mik was a little hesitant about us ending up there too early, but in the end we were there by 9:30 a.m. and only a few people from the front of one of the lines in.  By the time we got in the ballpark and were walking up the ramps to our seats we saw the line wrapped around through the parking lot, so it was totally worth getting there early.  Plus, Dad and Mik got the souvenir shopping done at the Cubs store across the street to avoid the small crowded store inside the park.

We also got to check out the Wrigley Field ballpark cake that was on display by the Ernie Banks statue, which was also dressed specially in a Federals jersey.

Once in the ballpark we got our favorite food in the whole MLB - the Northside Twist Pretzel.

We also enjoyed eating the free cupcakes we got on the way into the ballpark.

The weather was not so enjoyable, as it was in the low 40s.  Waiting to get in the park was not bad, as it was in the sun, but once we got to our seats it was cold.  We told Mik he just had to make it to the first pitch as his feet were already cold.

The pregame stuff was kind of interesting with some of the past players (football and baseball) going out on the field and a 1914 ball being used for the ceremonial first pitch.  The coolest thing, though, was seeing Bud Selig.  No, not seeing him down there on the field.  After the pregame ceremony, he walked right by us on his way up to the executive suites.   That made up for us not being able to see the flyover from our seats.

We left after the first pitch as promised, although I have to admit Mik did say he would stay as long as I wanted.  Really, though, he already knew I was also could and I was not going to go back on my promise that we could leave after the first pitch because it cannot be good for him to have his feet so cold when he cannot move around much to stay warm.

We ended up watching the game from the condo.  It was sad to not be there for the Happy Birthday in the fifth and the seventh inning stretch being led from the field, but we would not have noticed the balloon release from our seats.  Seriously, if not for the Bud Selig encounter, I would have totally regretted the seat selection as you also cannot see the scoreboard (the best part of Wrigley!) from the wheelchair row at the top of 208.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Kj's Baseball Collection: Huntsville Stars

The only souvenir baseball option at the Stars was a white one with the Hunstville Stars logo.  Actually a really cool logo, though, so I'm glad I got one for my collection before the team leaves after this season.

Mik's Mini Bat Collection: Huntsville Stars

Dad and I choose a navy blue colored mini bat with the Huntsville Stars logo for Mik's Mini Bat Collection when we went to the team's final opening day in Huntsville.  The team shop did not have much overall, but they did have six to eight different colors of mini bats to choose from.  The red one also looked good, but we decided Mik has a lot of red mini bats and not many blue ones.

Opening Day 2014 at Joe W. Davis Municipal Stadium

Yesterday Dad and I attended Opening Day for the Huntsville Stars at Joe W. Davis Municipal Stadium.  We had been meaning to go to a game ever since we moved to Huntsville last year, but never got around to it last season.  Now this year is the team's last season here, so we were more seriously planning to get to a game this season.  I had given up on planning in advance a few weeks ago because I could not figure out how to buy tickets (turns out they gave up on selling tickets online because of glitches in previous years and the whole stadium is now general admission other than some season ticket seats).  Yesterday we just decided to go when Dad read about it being Opening Day in the paper.

We arrived at the park a little more than an hour before the game and located the ticket office just by guessing the little windows under the stadium name must be it. We then joined the small line to get into the park, which was shortly let in.

After stopping at the gift shop for a mini bat and souvenir baseball, we walked the small concourse area to scope out the food options.  Pretty much just standard ballpark fare, but they do have tater tots are the stand on the first base side.  I got the regular and Dad got the ones loaded with chili and cheese on top.

We decided to sit in the upper section about in line with third base.  It ended up being a good view of the whole field as well as the highest row where you could sit in the front row to avoid having someone tall block you.
Overall an enjoyable game even though we only stayed until the end of the fifth inning because I did not want to stay out late having a lot to do this week and Dad getting cold.  Mostly a rather plan and boring ballpark, although they have some murals in the hallways between the concourse and the seating sections.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Mik's Food Scrapbook: Nats Ice and Boardwalk Fries

Since the only thing Mik has had at Nationals Park is a pretzel dog and food at the Diamond Club, he was not sure what to try this time.  I told him that I used to enjoy getting Boardwalk fries when I came to games during the park's inaugural season.  He decided to go with the fries and ended up enjoying them.  He also spotted Dippin' Dots and even though the weather was not that warm he also enjoyed some Nats Ice (similar to rainbow ice flavor, but has red, white, and blue dots).  Afterwards he was full and said he has to come to another game because he still has not had just a hot dog at Nationals Park.  Plus, there are plenty of other appealing food options here.

Mik's Mini Ballplayer Collection: Screech

Since it was Opening Day the team shop was very crowded and I did not have a chance to really look around for the mini figs, so I do not know if they had any specific player ones available or not.  What I did easily spot was the generic Washington Nationals one and Screech.  The generic one is rather boring just representing the team in general with the uniform and the number 00 on it.  The Screech one is actually kind of cool, though, as it is at least the team mascot.

Accessibility Review: Nationals Park Section 141

For Opening Day 2014 we ended up with tickets in section 141.  I would have preferred to be up a level, but certainly better than when Mom and I had seats one row from the top for the Opening Day six years ago when they opened Nationals Park.  Also, good seats considering we only finally decided to go to Opening Day versus another game while in DC this weekend and this game ended up being a sellout with the second highest Opening Day attendance for this park.

The main downsides to this section are you cannot see the scoreboard because you are under it and you cannot see plays that happen deep in the outfield in front of you.  However, they do have TV screens showing the game, which are nicely placed sideways instead of straight in front of you. Thus, they are not obstructing the view, but are still easy to look over at.

Mik was of course happy with the section because there were cup holders.  The section had a standing view are behind it, but it was nicely separated and you did not feel crowded even though the concourse was very busy and we were on the end of the row.

Overall section 141 was good, but I still like the view of the park best from the right field terrace level (sections even numbers between 222 and 236) and in particular 224. Maybe, I'm biased just from having sat there so many times when I had partial season tickets during the park's inaugural season, but I have sat in 236 and in left field mezzanine level (203 I think) and 224 remains my favorite.

Mik also said he preferred the view from 224 at least based on his remembering it from the brief few minutes we sat in 224 before getting to go to the Diamond Club on the ballpark trip.  Also, Mik found the speakers in 141 to be too loud and they really bothered him before the game when they are constantly on. I remember him having that issue a few years back at Chase Field.  Both times those were seats on the main level covered concourse area and I don't think he would have a problem with the open area upper levels like 224 is.