The Baseball Pilgrim: A Phillies Fan’s Voyage

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Let’s talk about life goals. Some people want to travel abroad and live in different cultures. Others find nirvana traveling all over to various music festivals, whatever the genre may be. For the sports fan, a life goal could be to witness their favorite team win a championship series or game live. For “The Baseball Pilgrim,” the goal was to attend a game at every MLB ballpark.

I have a similar goal, which is to go to a game at each NHL team’s home arena. However, to accomplish this feat in one season requires an insatiable hunger for the game. That fits the description for “The Baseball Pilgrim” Dan Keely. He was able to check this bucket list item all during the 2019 MLB season. During his travels, he provided us with his take about each ballpark, ranking them from worst to best.

Yesterday would’ve been MLB Opening Day. This journey is more than worthy of MLB Opening Day exposure in 2020. While we are all stuck at home due to COVID19 putting a pause on the sporting world, let’s live vicariously through the voyage of “The Baseball Pilgrim” Dan Keely:

Tampa Bay Rays – Tropicana Field

It should be made clear that “The Baseball Pilgrim” Dan Keely had a slew of factors that brought him to each decision, based on personal experience. At the top of his list, coming in at number thirty is Tropicana Field. “The Trop” is located in St. Petersburg, Florida and has been home to the Devil Rays since 1998. This is the smallest MLB stadium when measuring seating capacity.

Houston Astros – Minute Maid Park

“The Juice Box,” located in Houston, Texas opened in 2000. This is the first retractable-roofed stadium the Astros have had, which makes sense because it replaced The Astrodome, the first domed sports stadium ever built. The capacity of this stadium is set at 41,168.

Oakland Athletics – Oakland Coliseum

This stadium is a multipurpose stadium, being the last remaining stadium in the United States shared by an NFL and MLB team. Between 1968-2019, this stadium was shared between the Athletics and the Oakland Raiders. It’s the eighth largest MLB stadium for seating capacity and was the second smallest NFL stadium, only larger than Dignity Health Sports Park.

New York Mets – Citi Field

When “The Baseball Pilgrim” Dan Keely went to Citi Field, it was during the tenth year that the field was the home for the Mets. This replaced Shea Stadium. The first home game the Mets played at Citi Field was hosting the San Diego Padres. In 2013, Citi Field was also the host of the MLB All-Star Game.

Toronto Blue Jays – Rogers Centre

“The Skydome” is nearby the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada. This is one of my favorite cities that I’ve ever visited, but the stadium comes in at number 26 according to “The Baseball Pilgrim.” This is the first stadium to have a fully retractable motorized roof with a hotel attached.

Miami Marlins – Marlins Park

The Miami Marlins called this park home in 2012 and was the most environmentally friendly park according to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) the same year. It’s the third-smallest stadium in the MLB for seating capacity and smallest in size. Marlins Park was home to the 2017 MLB All-Star Game.

Arizona Diamondbacks – Chase Field

“The Snake Pit” is located in Phoenix, Arizona. The ballpark opened in 1998 for the Diamondbacks’ first game as an expansion team. This is the first stadium built in the United States with a retractable roof and a natural-grass field. The natural-grass was replaced with turf in 2019.

San Francisco Giants – Oracle Park

Since 2000, this has been the ballpark for the Giants. This is one of the ballparks that I would love to visit because of McCovey Cove. Alongside being the home of the Giants, Oracle Park was once the home of the San Francisco Demons during the first stint of the XFL. The transportation to get to Oracle Park come in different variants, including by Muni Metro and various ferries of the San Francisco Bay.

Chicago White Sox – Guaranteed Rate Field

“Comiskey Park” is the original name, but the current name was decided in 2016. “Old Comiskey Park” was demolished to make parking spots for this new stadium. In the parking lot of Guaranteed Rate Field, the Chicago White Sox still pay a respectable homage to “Old Comiskey Park” with the old foul lines painted in the parking lot.

Detroit Tigers – Comerica Park

This replaced Tiger Stadium in 2000. The capacity of this ballpark stands at 41,083 and sits on the original site of the Detroit College of Law. There are eight tiger statues throughout the park, which include growling sounds and the eyes lighting up when the Tigers hit a home run or win.

Minnesota Twins – Target Field

This ballpark is not only the home of the Twins but is the occasional home of the University of Minnesota baseball team. Since it opened in 2010, Target Field has hosted the 2014 MLB All-Star Game. In 2010, ESPN The Magazine rated Target Field as the best baseball stadium experience in North America.

Pittsburgh Pirates – PNC Park

This is the fifth different ballpark for the Pirates. Opened in 2001 after playing at Three Rivers Stadium, PNC Park was built just east. The ballpark has natural-grass and several tributes to all-time great, Roberto Clemente. PNC Park played host to the 2006 MLB All-Star Game. It’s widely considered one of the better ballparks because of location, views of the Pittsburgh skyline and Alleghany River, and great seats.

Atlanta Braves – Suntrust Park

As of 2020, Suntrust Park is now known as Truist Park. However, when “The Baseball Pilgrim” attended a Braves game last season, they played at Suntrust Park. Just like the New York Mets, the Braves played their first game at Suntrust Bank against the San Diego Padres.

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