Clem's Baseball home

My ballpark visits:
Before, during, and after MLB use




Chronology of baseball "grand tours"

Although I have visited ballparks during vacations for several decades, not until 2008 did I make a long-distance trip with ballparks as a primary destination. The table below excludes the two stadiums in Washington, D.C.: RFK Stadium and Nationals Park.

Month, year #1 #2 #3 #4 $5 #6 New York, Chicago stadiums
October 2008 New York:
Shea Stadium
New York:
Citi Field
New York:
Yankee Stadium
New York:
Yankee Stadium II
Chicago:
U.S. Cellular Field
Chicago:
Wrigley Field
August 2009 Baltimore:
Camden Yards
Pittsburgh:
PNC Park
Denver:
Coors Field
Kansas City:
Kauffman Stadium
St. Louis:
Busch Stadium III
Cincinnati:
Great American Ballpark
August 2010 Minneapolis:
Target Field
Minneapolis:
Metrodome
Milwaukee:
Miller Park
Chicago:
U.S. Cellular Field
August 2011 Kansas City:
Kauffman Stadium
St. Louis:
Busch Stadium III
August 2012 Chicago:
U.S. Cellular Field *
Chicago:
Wrigley Field
Cleveland:
Progressive Field
July 2014 Arlington (Texas):
Globe Life Park
Phoenix:
Chase Field
Omaha:
TD Ameritrade Park
Kansas City:
Kauffman Stadium
Cincinnati:
Great American Ballpark
July, August 2015 Toronto (Canada):
Rogers Centre
Detroit:
Comerica Park
Chicago:
U.S. Cellular Field
Kansas City:
Kauffman Stadium
St. Louis:
Busch Stadium III *
August, Sept. 2016 Philadelphia :
Citizens Bank Park
New York:
Citi Field
Boston :
Braves (Nickerson) Field
Boston :
Fenway Park
March,
August 2017
Miami:
Marlins Park
Ballpark of the Palm Beaches Chicago:
"Guaranteed Rate Field"
Chicago:
Wrigley Field
Indianapolis:
Victory Field
Cincinnati:
Great American Ballpark
Bold face indicates I saw a game there.

Chronology of visits to ballparks:
Games, guided tours, and mere "peeks"

My father (Alan L. Clem, who passed away in April 2016) took my brother Chris and me to our first-ever major league game in August 1963: Roberto Clemente and the Pirates against Ernie Banks and the Cubs! Not until 1998 did I pay another visit, when the Cubs were out of town. In 2008 I stopped there during a train layover, and took some nice exterior photos with clear blue skies. I finally saw my second game there in 2012, and a third game in 2017, when the lighting conditions were better, but my favorite team (the Nationals) lost, 7-4.

My first game at Memorial Stadium was in 1979, not long after I moved to Washington, D.C. I saw more baseball games there in the 1980s, as well as a football game -- the former Balitmore Colts! I remember how long it took to get through through the back streets of north Baltimore, and of feeling disoriented by the steep slope (pitch) of the upper deck.

I first saw Busch Stadium (II) from atop the Gateway Arch on the return leg of my cross-continent trip in the summer of 1987. Unfortunately, it was rather cloudy that day, not good for photos. Not until another trip, in August 2002, did I actually visit there. I parked right next to it, in fact, but it was already dusk so I couldn't get a good photograph.

Jacqueline and I saw our first game at Coors Field in 1998, watching the Rockies take on the Chicago Cubs, whose slugger Sammy Sosa was in a neck-and-neck race to set a new home run record. The stadium was then only three years old. I saw another games there in 2009, once again between the Rockies and the Cubs, along with my father, who has since passed away.

I walked around Fenway Park after attending American Political Science Association annual meeting in Boston in both August 1998 and 2002. It's amazing how short it is, only about four stories tall, but that's just a reflection of having only one main deck. After another APSA meeting on September 5, 2016, I finally saw the interior of Fenway Park on a guided tour. Unfortunately, no games were being played during any of my three visits there.

Although I did see a football game at RFK Stadium in 1986, it was not until 1999 that I saw a baseball game there: an exhibition match between the Cardinals and the Expos, who were being considered for relocation to Washington. Not until six years later, in 2005, did I see a "real" baseball game there: the brand-new Washington Nationals beat the New York Mets, 5-3 in a rain-shortened game. During the three years the Nationals played at RFK, I saw a total of seven games there, plus the one exhibition game.

Jacqueline and I saw a Braves-Cubs game at Turner Field in 2001, just a few days before the 9/11 attacks. The stadium was then only five years old. It was raining on our way into Atlanta, and I was amazed that they were able to play the game. I had hoped to see one last game there in 2016, the last season the Braves will play there. I now hope to see it in 2017, by which time it will be converted into a football stadium.

I remember driving by Kauffman Stadium during long trips I took in the 1980s and 1990s, and I finally took the time to take a tour there in 2002. There was a severe drought at the time, and the green field was a stunning contrast to the surrounding brown hilss. In recent years, I have seen games in 2011 (Yankees vs. Royals) and 2014 (Indians vs. Royals), and stopped briefly for "photo ops" a couple other times.

I vividly remember seeing Yankee Stadium during the initial stage of my cross-continent trip in the summer of 1987. That was just a quick "drive-by," however. I finally saw a game there on July 22, 2004, with Jacqueline. We had seats in the upper deck near the right field corner, and I took a few photos during and after the game. The only run in the game was a home run in the bottom of the ninth by Ruben Sierra. I assumed I would have a chance to see more games at Yankee Stadium, but never managed to do so. My final visit was in October 2008, joining Yankee fan Brian Vangor in taking a guided tour, after the last game ever played there.

I was planning to see a game at Tiger Stadium in the late summer of 1999, the last season played there, but teaching obligations made that impossible. I did pay a visit five years later, while the structure was still in "limbo," and took a few photos before heading over to the Tigers' new home in downtown Detroit. In July 2015 I visited the former site of Tiger Stadium, the field of which is being preserved (for the time being) by a volunteer citizens' group.

I saw the Tigers play the Rangers at Comerica Park on August 5, 2004, enjoying nice weather with bright blue skies, but the visiting team won, 2-1. That was after they had moved in the fence in left field but before they moved the bullpens from right field into the new "void" in left field. Then on July 21, 2015 I saw the Tigers beat the Seattle Mariners, 5-4. That was an evening game, so my photos weren't that good.

I first saw Aug. 2002 (under construction. On my way back east on August 15, 2004, I stopped to see a game at Great American Ballpark. It was the Padres vs. the Reds, and once again, the visiting team won, 7-2. I remember watching Adam Dunn at bat and wondering if he would repeat his recent feat of knocking a ball clear out of the stadium beyond center field, bouncing toward the Ohio River. I stopped there briefly on Aug. 15, 2009, since the weather was perfect for taking some photos. My second game there was July 27, 2014, as the Washington Nationals beat the Reds, 4-2.

The very first game ever played by the Washington Nationals (the former Montreal Expos) took place in Citizens Bank Park, on the south side of Philadelphia. I was at that game, along with Phil Faranda, who came down from New York. The Phillies won, 8-4 but the Nationals came back to win the next two games and take their very first series, on the road. I returned on August 31, 2016 to see the Nationals play once again, and this time the visitors prevailed, 2-1.

For over a decade I boycotted Oriole Park at Camden Yards to protest the efforts of the Orioles' owner, Peter Angelos, in blocking the relocation of the Montreal Expos to Washington. Once that actually came to pass, my boycott ended. On August 5, 2006, Jacqueline and I toured Baltimore, and were treated to an embarrassing lopsided shutout defeat of the New York Yankees, who failed to get any hits after the first inning.

In October 2008, I took a train north to New York City, in hopes of getting tours of the two stadiums that had just ended their MLB lifetime. On the first day, I tried but failed to get into Shea Stadium, and contented myself with a few external photos of it. The early stages of demolition had just begun, and I could peer inside next to the scoreboard and see that many of the seats had already been removed, presumably for sale to Mets fans.

By the time I got there on October 2, 2008, Citi Field appeared to be about 90 percent completed. There was very little space (20 feet?) between it and the center field fence of Shea Stadium. This was the third MLB stadium I had seen while under construction. I returned to see a Nationals-Mets game on September 4, 2016, and the Mets won, 5-1.

Likewise, Yankee Stadium II appeared to be about 90 percent completed when I visited there in October 3, 2008. Yankee fan Brian Vangor inspected the perimetry during the half hour or so we had before the tour of the original Yankee Stadium was to begin. I was somewhat surprised that they were able to squeeze this new behemoth next to the old behemoth without unduly disrupting the mixed-residential neighborhood, and without causing too many trees to be cut down.

On my way west on August 2, 2009, I saw the Nationals play against the Pirates in beautiful PNC Park, "The best ballpark in America." Indeed! With just two main grandstand decks, an interesting outfield layout, nice brick-and-steel architecture, and a jaw-dropping view of downtown Pittsburgh beyond the outfield, PNC Park ranks at the top in just about every way. In the game I saw, the Nationals broke out of a slump and began an eight-game winning streak, thanks in part to a home run by Josh Willingham.

After visiting South Dakota, I headed north and then east toward Minneapolis, where the Twins were hosting the Seattle Mariners at Target Field on August 1, 2010. To my surprise, the last tickets sold out while I was standing in line, and I had to resort to a scalper. The unique stone exterior and "post-modern" roof support design, along with the cozy confines of the double-decked grandstand in left field, make this a unique ballpark experience. The skies were partly cloudy, but seemed to clear up after the game. The star attraction was the Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki, but the Twins managed to prevail anyway, 4-0.

I had a glimpse of the Metrodome in the late 1980s, but only saw it up close one time: right after the Twins game on August 1, 2010. I asked very politely, but couldn't persuade the workers to let me inside. During a long layover at the Minneapolis airport in January 2014, I had a chance to see the Metrodome one last time before demolition began, but decided against it.

I had lunch at the TGI Friday's restaurant in left field of Miller Park on August 2, 2010. I didn't have enough time to wait for the next tour that day, but I did get a nice view of the stadium with the roof wide open on a beautiful sunny day.

I did a quick "drive-by" of Busch Stadium III on August 15, 2009, and then had a guided tour on August 17, 2011. There was lots of Cardinals history to cover, and it was obvious that the architects wanted to emphasize that franchise's proud past. It's a huge brick square-shaped fortress, much like Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas. After going to the top of the Gateway Arch on August 10, 2015, from whence I took a fine aerial photo (in contrast to 1987), I did a second "drive-by" on my way out of town.

The first time I saw Progressive Field, in February 1998, it was only four years old, and still called "Jacobs Field." It has long been one of my favorites among the "retro / neoclassical" stadiums. My second time there, on August 7, 2012, the skies were bright blue, but the shadows already covered most of the field by the time I got inside. Still, it was very impressive aesthetially, with cheap, nearby parking.

I stopped to visit Globe Life Park in June 2014, accompanied by my father on a long-distance automobile trip from South Dakota to the Southwestern USA. Luckily, there was some kind of community event going on, so I was able to get a quick peek inside without paying for a guided tour. (I did buy a few souvenirs, however.)

I saw the Arizona Diamondbacks host the Cleveland Indians on June 25, 2014, one day after . There are many Native American "Indians" in that part of the country, and some of them showed up outside to protest the Indians' name and/or mascot image. Temperatures exceeded 100 degrees that day, but it was nice and cool inside. How much do they pay for electricity?There are many positive aspects of Chase Field, especially the colorful exterior, but it's obvious that it is much too big for the fan base in the Phoenix region. The top twenty or so rows of seats in the upper deck are virtually empty.

On July 19, I saw the Blue Jays play the Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto's famous Rogers Centre, formerly called "Skydome." I spent a lot of time inspecting the "innards" of the huge structure, and figured out most of the architectural mysteries that had befuddled me. For some reason I could only get tickets in the upper deck beyond the left field foul pole, but there were many empty seats much closer to the diamond. Very strange. Parking in downtown Toronto was a hassle, and I wasted about $15 because of a technical glitch.

After driving by (or riding by on a train) several times, I finally paid a visit to U.S. Cellular Field on August 2, 2010. About five years later, on July 21, 2015 I saw the St. Louis Cardinals beat the White Sox, 8-5. My seats were in the upper deck near the right field foul pole, only a few rows back but still way too high up to see the field very well. Parking is convenient though a bit expensive ($20), and the upper-deck fans are "segregated" from the lower-deck fans. Not much trust, apparently.

On my way back from South America in early March 2017, I visited south Florida for a few days, and stopped to take photos of Marlins Park on two consecutive days. This photo was taken in the late afternoon on March 6, just a few days before an early round of the World Baseball Classic was played there.

Wrigley Field 2017 1963 (2017) : Wrigley Field 1979 (1986) : Memorial Stadium 1986 FB (1999): RFK Stadium (1987)* 1998 : (et.) Busch Stadium II 1997 (2012) : Progressive Field 1998 (2009) : Coors Field 1998 (2016) Fenway Park 2001 : Turner Field 2002* (2014) : Kauffman Stadium 2004 : Yankee Stadium 2004 : (ext.) Tiger Stadium 2004 (2015) : Comerica Park 2004 (2014) : Great American BP 2005 (2016) : Citizens Bank Park 2006 (2009) : Camden Yards 2008 : (ext.) Shea Stadium 2008 (2016) : Citi Field 2008 : (ext.) Yankee Stadium II 2009 : PNC Park 2010 : Target Field 2010 : (ext.) Metrodome 2010 : Miller Park 2011* : Busch Stadium III 2014* : Globe Life Park 2014 : Chase Field 2015 : Rogers Centre 2015 : U.S. Cellular Field 2017 : (ext.) Marlins Park

NOTE: Stadiums are listed in chronological order, based on my first visit, using the names in effect at that time. For stadiums I have visited more than once, parentheses indicate the year the photo was taken.


Coming Attractions

* (asterisk): Previously seen on the outside only.
+ (plus): Previously been inside.


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