Sunday, September 16, 2012

Getting Lost in the Ivy Wall

Wrigley Field
We began this part of our adventure in Chicago.  For this trip we would be visiting three stadiums in total.  We would begin with Wrigley Field, moving to Miller Park and ending at U.S. Cellular Field.  This may seem like an odd route however this trip was really to visit Stephanie's family in Wisconsin.  We were just lucky to have baseball parks along the way there and back.

Wrigley Field is one of the most well know baseball parks in the MLB.  It is also at the top of many people's list to visit when in Chicago.  For Stephanie, visiting Wrigley Field was very important to her because of family history.  Stephanie's grandfather played semi-pro baseball and was able to travel to many major league stadiums.  However only a few remain standing, Wrigley Field being one of them.  It was awesome for us to be able to stand in the same stadium that her grandfather once played in.

Gino's Pizza
When we began planning for this trip everyone was giving us advice on where to eat in Chicago and we kept hearing the same two places over and over again, Gino's and Portillo's.  We knew that if everyone was saying the same thing that we had to eat at these places to see what all the fuss was about.  Due to time constraints we would have to go to Portillo's later in the trip so we will not discuss that until our post about the White Sox.  Gino's is a must if you are in the Chicago area.  The pizza is out of this world amazing and not expensive. Daniel did almost yell at the waitress when the pizza arrived because he did not know that Chicago style pizza come with the cheese under the sauce.  Luckily he cut into it first. Make this a part of your plans whenever you are headed to Chicago.

Parking anywhere near Wrigley Field around game time is nearly impossible unless you pay.  We did not want to get ourselves into a bad position traveling to Chicago with little time to spare finding a parking spot so we used Park Whiz.  We have to give credit to Stephanie's mom for finding this site because she was afraid that we wouldn't find a parking spot anywhere near Wrigley Field.  Park Whiz lets you search game by game to reserve a parking spot for a fixed price, many of these spots are owned by individuals and it is a great deal.  This also relieves the stress of finding the cheapest most secure parking spot.  Security was a big issue for us as well considering all of our luggage was still in the car since we still had a few hours to travel after the game.  The parking spot that we got from the site was great and only a couple blocks away.

Tim Hudson Saves the Day
We were able to get to the ballpark early enough to see the Atlanta Braves batting practice, where Stephanie  almost lost her life.  While standing near the right field line watching players warm up, we were directly behind Tim Hudson.  The player tossing with him threw the ball high and hard and it was coming straight for Stephanie's face.  Instead of Daniel jumping in front of Stephanie he ran away like a little girl.  Heroically, Tim Hudson leaped just high enough to snag the ball before it hit her in the face.  

After watching the Braves for a while we began to explore the ballpark.  It is noteworthy to mention that of all the ballparks we have been to thus far, the ushers at Wrigley Field are by far most friendly and most helpful.  There is a booth to get a first time at Wrigley Field certificate that is handwritten and a nice piece of memorabilia. The shops around the ballpark are small and there really was not too much variety in food choices.  
Outside Seats

Our seats were toward the top of the stadium on the first baseline, but at Wrigley Field, TOP does not mean too high up.  The stadium seems small compared to others we have been to because it goes out more than up.  If your ticket says "obstructed view" then that is what it means.  Those seats literally have a beam directly in front of them that you cannot see around. It would also be cool to sometime go and sit on top of one of the buildings around the stadium. Those seat had their own personal chef.    

The game itself was exciting.  The Braves lost but there were still 4 home runs over the Ivy Wall between the 2 teams. The Ivy Wall which has been growing since 1937 is the only in-play foliage in the Major League.  Unlike the rest of the season, the Cubs played very well that night.
Ivy Wall
This ballpark is different because it is old.  This may be stating the obvious but it is important that people understand that you will get a different experience than other ballparks because of the age.  To start with there is no Jumbo Tron for entertainment, updates and replays.  Also the sound system was terrible at Wrigley Field. You could barely hear the announcer update.  All of the music was from an organ.  With all this said it created a more nostalgic experience to the game, like it was 1940 again.  The night ended with a rowdy rendition of "Go Cubs Go" and us heading to see the Brewers.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Turner Field


The Atlanta Braves moved into Turner Field in 1997 after it was converted from Centennial Olympic Stadium.  Centennial Olympic Stadium was originality built for the 1996 Summer Olympics. After the Olympics, the Stadium was redesigned to fit the needs of the Atlanta Braves who were in search of a new home, as they had out grown Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.  The new "Home of the Braves" has become a staple within the baseball community for stadium design.

Turner Field

The first thing we learned about Turner Field is not to eat anywhere directly around the ballpark.  While Turner Field is known for its expensive concessions it is not in the best of neighborhoods. The Wendy's we went to before the game was on the south side of the park and we were scared!  If you don't buy anything from the concession it is still fun to check out all the catchy names they have for their items like the "Frankly My Dear" hot dog.  It is also good to know that Turner Field allows you to bring in sealed bottled water and food.

We were able to find a parking on the side of the park in a grass lot for $10 and all we had to do was walk across the street to get to the park.  We think this is probably the best idea for parking because it is cheap, close and monitored. There are other options though, since Turner Field does have official parking.  The official parking is more expensive however it is the most secure option for anyone who is concerned.  Also Park Whiz has been very helpful to use on this adventure.  Only, because we were not aware of this site when we went to Atlanta, we didn't use it.  We have to give credit to Stephanie's mom for finding this site because she was afraid when we went to Chicago that we wouldn't find a parking spot anywhere near Wrigley Field.  Park Whiz lets you search game by game to reserve a parking spot for a fixed price, many of these spots are owned by individuals and it is a great deal.  This also relieves the stress of finding the cheapest most secure parking spot.  Any way you choose expect to wait in traffic.

What to See
Gates open 2.5 hours before game time.  Once you have arrived at Turner Field, we suggest that you walk around the "Grand Entry Plaza" located beyond the outfield. There sits Monument Grove.  In this area you will find Statutes of Hank Aaron and other Braves greats.  Included in this area is the former field's outfield fence that Hank Aaron's record-breaking 715th  home run was hit over. 

Fun Facts about Turner Field:
  • You can receive a first time visitor's certificate at the guest relations booth at aisle 146.
  • You can see Hank Aaron's 715th home run ball in the Braves Museum. The Museum and Hall of Fame are located near aisle 134.
  • At the time of its installation in 2005, the high-definition video screen in center field was the world's largest.
  • The playing field is twenty feet below street level.
  • Scouts Alley, located under the left field stands, has interactive games for kids.
  • Tooner Field, located in the main entry plaza, has games and souvenir shops.

Helpful Links:
Atlanta Braves Ticket Pricing 

Our Experience 
You can read about our experience at Turner Field in our previous post "Honeymoon with a Tomahawk.Overall our experience at Turner Field was awesome and we would definitely recommend others to go and visit.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Honeymoon with a Tomahawk

This project was truly an adventure from the start.  Our honeymoon began and ended in Gatlinburg, Tennessee with a short trip to Atlanta, Georgia for the sole purpose of seeing a Braves game at Turner Field.  For Daniel this was important because even though he is a Reds fan, he grew up watching the Atlanta Braves on TV long before the Reds games were so televised.  Daniel hates it when the Reds and Braves play each other because he does not want either of them to lose.  The game we would go to was at Turner Field on Friday August 13, 2010.  So our adventure to Atlanta started with a trek over the Great Smokey Mountains then way down yonder on the Chattahoochee.

Once we were in Atlanta, we had to stop by the Coca-Cola Museum before heading to the game.  Here is our first helpful hint!  DO YOUR RESEARCH!  We got to Atlanta quite a bit early and had to kill time between the museum and ball game.  At this point, we decided we would go eat before the game.  Not knowing the city at all, we ended up at the most sketchy Wendy's we have ever seen or could have imagined.  Put it this way: they could tell we were from out of town so the police officer came and sat next to us (true story).  

Finally we arrived at Turner Field.  We parked in a grass lot right next to the stadium for $10.  We then went and explored Monument Grove where all the statues of Braves greats stand. After Daniel got his picture taken with the statue of his 5th grade research paper topic, Hank Aaron, we followed the marching drum line into the ballpark.  Once inside, the pregame entertainment was a softball home run derby.  We didn't know softballs could be hit so far!  After the derby finished came the most important part of the day, Game Time.  We sat at the first base line where we got a great view of the field and the huge jumbo-tron.  On top of the left field stands was a giant Coca-Cola bottle that had a spinning label and next to that was a Chick-fil-a cow in a Braves hat trying to get us to eat more chicken.  The atmosphere was great.  The fans went wild the whole game.  They were all dressed up with Chief feathers.  The big tomahawk on top of the jumbo-tron led the Braves war chant; our arms turned into tomahawks after each big play.   

The game was against the Los Angeles Dodgers.  It was a pitcher duel with a 1-0 Braves victory off of a Brooks Conrad home run to deep center.  It even rained a little but none of the fans left.  They all stayed through the end.  Tim Hudson got the win and Billy Wagner got the save.  After the game there was a fireworks show above center field.  Once the show concluded it was time to head back to Gatlinburg.  The traffic around the stadium and Atlanta was heavy for a long time, so in the future we might try to wait out the traffic by staying at the ballpark for as long as possible.  Daniel drove all the way until it was time to cross the mountain then Stephanie drove from there.  Crossing the mountain we almost hit two bobcats at different times during the drive, but we made it back to our hotel safely and with a ballpark checked off our list.

Our next post will be more about Turner Field itself and the things we learned that we think will help you on your trip to the ballpark.  Please leave your comments.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Our Dream

Welcome to our blog about our attempt to fulfill our dream of visiting all thirty Major League Baseball parks in the United States (and that Canadian one).  This blog will follow our journey as we continue our travels; as we have already been to a few of the stadiums.  Not only will we record our adventures but we will also be giving helpful hints along the way to fellow ballpark goers.  No two ballparks are the same and all have their good and their bad that we explore and critique.
Our names are Daniel and Stephanie Fessler and we are from Northern Kentucky and will be married for two years in August.  Our dream began to unfold on our honeymoon.  Daniel is a huge Atlanta Braves fan (Stephanie is a Cincinnati Reds fan) so Stephanie, being a wonderful new wife, bought Daniel tickets to a Braves game for their honeymoon. We had such a great time and love baseball so much that we decided we should make it a goal to travel to all of the MLB ballparks.
We will be posting about the ballparks that we have already had the chance to experience since we began this adventure.  Also we will be posting about future experiences as well as helpful hints.  Please comment!