Tag Archives: AT&T Park

Sadly, Giants #everyotheryear pace will continue

It’s a day of worshp… tomorrow. We celebrated Easter on Holy Saturday (much like how Black Friday shopping leaked into Thanksgiving gluttony, which first seemed like an afront, but actually makes sense of what Thanksgiving has become if you think about it… bottom line, in this impatient culture we’d have never stood for Jesus in a tomb for three days. You get two-and-a-half and then get your live ass out here, thank you very much). I think God allows me a fair amount of sacriledge when it comes to baseball. She’s a fan too, and likely a Giants Fan. How else can you explain the 2014 playoffs? More on that to come.

No, the holiday I’m now focused on as we enjoy the other side of Easter today (chocolate, family, fun and a teaser night baseball game, which too is early and out of place, but we’ll take it!) is Opening Day!

Opening Day is something of a holiday for me, far more than the Super Bowl or even some of the three-day weekend holidays that crop up expectedly unexpectedly each year. When Opening Day finally arrives each year, I try to turn on the early day games and keep watching until the last one on the West Coast is played. After several months of absence I’m ready for the background music of baseball to re-enter my life.

I also make predictions each year though nobody but me has much invested in the picks. But writing about baseball while watching baseball is about as good as it gets. Come tomorrow as Opening Day launches, I’ll be happily doing both.

Before the pitch is tossed on this season, lets put the last historic and exhilarating season to bed, with a final look at my predictions.

My picks last year were a strange brew of very right and very wrong: I picked all five NL playoff teams only getting the Dodgers and Giants mixed up as division winner. The American League was more of a mess.  I got three of the five playoff teams in the Angels, A’s and Orioles, but none in the right place. The Indians pick was a year premature and the Rays a year or six too late. Eight out of ten is pretty strong but like the rest of the free world, I went 0 for 2 picking in picking the World Series teams and eventual champion. As a Giants fan, I’ll gladly admit I was wrong.

Here’s the rub though. I picked the Nationals to win it all. Had the Giants not pulled off what history will show as one of the great upsets in baseball, the Nationals would have been champs. This is the missing story from the 2014 season and deserves a book of its own to cement the legacy of that incredible turn of events that gave the Giants a third, #everyotheryear crown. They were, at best, the 8th best team in the playoffs last year. Yet they ran the gauntlet of three straight series as the decided underdogs and won by a single run in the 7th and final game. Shoot, I need to write that book.

The Nationals were the best team last year. They far outmatched the Giants at virtually every position. Had Bruce Bochey not schooled Matt Williams like an old Kung Fu master, my pick would have turned out correct. Had the Giants not somehow won an 18-inning game because Williams didn’t let the dominant Jordan Zimmerman finish the ninth, the series would have been over right there. Anyone seeing that lineup of five lefties against the Nationals Gio Gonzalez should know how badly the Giants were over-matched and outgunned. They had huge holes throughout and Triple A guys all over the bench, their highest paid pitcher and their lead-off hitter were injured and yet, they still won. Amazing. Move over ’69 Mets, I think the Giants will take that title now.

And let’s set the record straight over the shibboleth that great managers don’t impact the game in baseball? Look back the records of a Davey Johnson, Buck Showalter, Mike Scoscia, Joe Maddon, Tony LaRussa, Terry Francona and a handful of others who simply win where ever they go. None of this cast of greatness though can match The Boch come playoff time.

Bochey is simply a shaman. He’s the best, which is why the Giants have won a World Series #everyotheryear this decade.

But those holes, that mediocre lineup, the lack of talent on the field at AT&T Park, the lack of depth, the aging, overpaid guys, well their all mostly back which means sadly, the Giants are in no position to repeat. I blame Brian Sabean as much as I exalt Bruce Bochey. The Giants won’t win this year. That much I’ll bet the house on. Their will be plenty of room on the water this October in McCovey Cove.

As for my predictions this year… check back tomorrow. As I said, I love to write about baseball on Opening Day, so I’ll be writing all day as I watch the games that will add so much to the next several months of my life.


Build a SF Dynasty: Quality over quantity

What would be off-season baseball without playing a little general manager. I don’t play fantasy baseball, but I do spend a ridiculous amount of wasted time thinking what I would do if I had the single best job in the world: General Manager of the San Francisco Giants.

This envy is probably why I am certain Bruce Bochey is the greatest living manager and yet Brian Sabean, who by all rights built this team from the ground up, rates barely above George Bush’s approval ratings. I try to be fair, but I can’t help it. I’d sell my soul to the devil to come back to this life in Sabean’s job.

Truth be told I’ve spent a fair amount of my life second guessing the great ones like Terry Francona during Boston’s historic run and Bruce Bochey during every torturous decision over the past five years. But right about the time Bochey put a lineup that couldn’t win a Triple A game, chalk full of lefties against a lefty flame thrower, against the powerful Washington Nationals and won is the time I realized the Bochey is a warlock, shaman and zen master rolled into one. I vowed to never again think I could do his job.

But Sabean… well, I truly believe I could do better so the second-guessing will continue long after both of us are gone.

We dispensed of the bad news in the last post: Sandoval has to go on to other adventures in other places. Take the pebble from my hand Kung Fu Panda and see you in ten years at a reunion where fans will give you the longest of standing ovations. Just don’t put on the uniform as a player again because I don’t want to pay you. No hard feelings.

That sets up the good news. If I was Brian Sabean today, I think I could actually build a team that would win a World Series in an odd number year. Next year in fact. Back-to-back. Remove all doubt about the Dynasty. Cement it.


Here’s how:

First: do nothing. Let Panda go. Do not reach out to Jake Peavy (we already have him signed; he’s named Tim Hudson), Ryan Vogelsong, Sergio Romo or Michael Morse. Each played well, each is in line for a better pay day, and each will find suitors willing to over pay despite the flaws we saw in them over the season.

Thanks guys, see you at the reunion too. Romo is a tough one because he’s been such a staple for the Giants through this whole championship era. But he wants closer money and closer responsibilities and as we found out, he’s a right-handed specialists in closer camo and nowhere worth the $10 million a year his hometown LA Dodgers will give him. Say goodbye.

From the moment I heard Morse using the 1980s classic Ah Ha’s “Take on Me” I knew I loved the guy. His playoff at bats were probably more important than any other player on the roster not named Panda. But he’s lost in the outfield and went a better part of three months with fewer home runs than can be counted on one hand because teams busted him inside and he couldn’t adjust. His future is as an American League DH, so go forth my friend and prosper. We really will miss you.

Second, take all of that money, every last bit of savings and sign one guy. For once, go against the Brian Sabean grain to spread the wealth, win some and lose some philosophy of overpaying veterans trying to catch lightening in the bottle and find one true superstar. We absolutely need a cleanup hitter, and don’t say Nelson Cruz. We need a younger cleanup hitter. Think Giancarlo Stanton. Empty the minor leagues, load up the vault. Pay him the $25 million a year you saved by letting all those other guys go, give away your top three prospects, throw in an Andrew Susac or Matt Duffy (anybody but Joe Panik) and go get Stanton.

It’s exactly what Sabean should have done with Adrian Gonzalez four years ago but never tried.

If that fails try to raid the Kansas City Royals for Lorenzo Cain or go get Yoenis Cespedes from the Red Sox’ crowded outfield. Or if all else fails, open the check book and make sure you sign the next great Cuban, according to the USA Today:

Yasmany Tomas, Industriales in Cuba: Tomas is often compared to other Cuban outfielders like Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig, and Cuban baseball expert Peter Bjarkman said body- and strength-wise he can hold his own with Puig. But Tomas’ plate discipline is even less refined than what the Los Angeles Dodgers star showed in his early days in the minors. And while Tomas, about to turn 24, throws well, he doesn’t match Puig’s arm, speed or zest for the game. Tomas’ size and athleticism, as well as the Cuban lineage, make him appealing – perhaps enough to garner a contract in the $60-70 million range – but he figures to need some time in the minors polishing his game.

I’ll give Sabean credit. He already signed one cheap alternative, Daniel Carbonell, who might become a great outfielder from Cuba. And folks think the Giants are going to make a strong push for Tomas, who baseball writer George King says is better than the Red Sox’ Rusney Castillo.

The Giants have lacked a true cleanup hitter since the retirement of Barry Bonds. One can argue the lead-off spot has been a decade-long problem, but when Pagan is healthy he may not be Rickey Henderson, but the team wins. Signed for two more years, we have to ride with him for now. That leaves the four-spot as the one glaring need that would make everyone else in the lineup fall in place.

Pagan, Panik, Posey, XXX, Pence, Belt, Crawford and 3b.

Admittedly replacing Sandoval will be tough, but this is what Sabean does best: bargain-basement signings. He found Cody Ross and Pat the Bat and even Morse on the scrap heap. He can find a 3b for this year or even let the dynamic Matt Duffy play there despite his absence of power. Or give Adam Duval a real chance to unleash his power. Regardless of who plays there that’s a team that can can dominate with bench players like Ishikawa, Arias, Blanco and Sanchez who are proven role players.

The rotation is just fine: You have to give Tim Lincecum one more chance. Matt Cain should be back and better than ever. Petit earned a chance and is a bargain. Bumgarner is worth two starters. Hudson at 40 is the best end-of-the-rotation guy in baseball. Finally, once the off-season signing hysterics play out, Sabean will find some talent off the scrap heap or some of the talent in the minors will rise just as they did this year.

We don’t need much. We simply need one highly quality linchpin to bring this fabulous team together from overachiever to true powerhouse.

There it is. April 2015 can’t get here soon enough but for now, it’s time I become like Jimmy Fallon in Fever Pitch, the normal winter guy who doesn’t obsess about baseball every waking moment. Let the baseball diet begin. Happy off-season.

Building a SF Dynasty: don’t re-sign the panda

Let’s just get the bad news out there first: Pablo Sandoval, beloved, chubby, enigmatic, playoff heroic third baseman for the World Champion San Francisco Giants should not be re-signed this off-season.

It will be a disastrously unpopular move if the Giants, but it is the correct one. This will feel like John Lennon leaving the Beatles or Joe Montana in Kansas City Chiefs uniform. But it still needs to be done.

The ticker tape is over, the billion-dollar debacle that is Levi’s Stadium is now open and our beloved AT&T Park closed for the winter. The love remains, but if we want to celebrate at City Hall again anytime soon, the tough love part of the thankless job of general manager must begin now.

Yet I know it likely won’t. GM Brian Sabean will likely overpay the Panda out of loyalty and love. For the next six years we will have a ginormous dead weight on the books that will rival Barry Zito’s awful deal. (Note: Barry Zito is a true member of the Giant. He is a better person. He saved us in 2012. His grace under fire proved him a true role model. I love the guy, but his contract remains one of the worst in baseball).

Because that’s what Sabes does. He overpays for veteran talent, even when it’s not ours. Remember Edgar Renteria’s $18 million?

Bill Simmons of ESPN did when he wrote simply of the Renteria signing, “Does Brian Sabean even watch baseball?”

Old, disinterested and slow are not what you pay over-market for a shortshop, but Sabes did and it was disaster right up until the 2010 World Series where Renteria made his last stand as a clutch ballplayer and led the Giants to a historic first championship. $18 million for a World Series is a steal. But toss in Barry Zito’s nine-figure albatross and Marco Scutaro’s millions not to play, Angel Pagan’s $40 million for part-time work and Tim Lincecum’s $35 million for long relief and well, you get the picture. Loyalty pays a dear price, which may just explain why the Giants can only win every other year.

Pablo Sandoval

Of course it sounds ridiculous to expect better than three World Series in five years. It’s astounding and nearly historic. But I’ll say what most everyone really believes: The Giants overachieve and win unlikely championships despite Sabean and his obvious problems in the roster because of sure-fire Hall of Fame manager Bruce Bochey.

The reason the Giants are always underachievers? Because of those loyalty contracts weighing down the roster every single year. The team has a $150 million payroll that in reality is like a small-market $90 million payroll because of the dead wood contracts.

Sandoval is a charismatic talent and a great playoff player. During the season, he is prone to huge slumps, excessive weight gain, up and down years and a decided lack of power for a guy so… robust. Those Octobers makes you see what you miss during most of the season except for a few hot streaks when he single-handily carries the team. We love Sandoval because his energy is terrific, he is a model team player, he comes to play every single day and plays through pain. He loves baseball and plays like it.

He has vastly improved his defense, but remained a guy Bochey subbed for in the late innings. He couldn’t hit left-handers this year. He was a platoon player in disguise. You don’t pay $100 million for a platoon?

But what happens when he turns 30, gains another 30, and his love for other life’s pleasures tips the delicate scales of his unique talent toward debauchery?

Sandoval hitting .330 when he was a spry, agile catcher who had to train to stay in the lineup was a budding superstar. But since moving to 3B, he’s added weight, become a .270 hitter who never really did have much consistent power.  Now he wants — and some fool team like the Yankees will pay him — superstar dollars in excess of $100 million guaranteed. This is a man who ate his way out of the lineup in 2010 and couldn’t keep the weight of this season with a huge contract on the line. Do we really think he’ll stay in shape with $100 million bucks?

Just think of the third, fourth, fifth and sixth years of this deal? For a guy with a clearly neurotic compulsion to avoid waste, the thought makes me anxiously scan Google for a shrink.

I love the Giants. I love Pablo and the Panda hats. I’d hate to see him go, and knowing Sabean’s past I suspect I won’t. Instead I’ll see his contract become dead wood over a painfully long period that will cost the Panda all the love he’s stored up over his wonderful time here in San Francisco. Some good things must come to an end. This is one and it likely won’t and there won’t be much good to come of it.

Thoughts on sobriety do change over time

Yesterday was one of those days. Sun warmed the city like only it can do in San Francisco in October. Then as day headed to sleep, it and the moon conspired to bathe the city in a celebratory orange glow.

It was one of those days. The bitchen ones (to use my favorite old school word). The ones you wish could keep on going.

It was also a day that in the past would have been flavored with alcohol, or more accurately, defined by alcohol.

The Giants were playing in the World Series — the final game of the year at our neighborhood ballpark AT&T Park– and the festivities were underway early. The Giants are a rolling holiday in San Francisco. Few things match the intensity of the fan following, night in and night out. The entire city turns into a festive bar, aka Cheers, where everybody knows your name.

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I wanted to be out in it, amid the jubilee. I wanted to experience it even if I couldn’t dream of paying $1,000 for a pair of nosebleed tickets.

The Bride and I wandered around the park, watching the tailgaters (sans tailgates) lining the waterfront and filling McCovey Cove, both on dry land and on the water itself.

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We stood among the crush of people watching legendary ballplayers like Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson arrive.

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(the true Home Run King… the other one, the Giant fraudulent home run king was also in attendance we learned from a tweet of him with Kanye and Kim Kardashian).

We dodged the lines to neighborhood eateries charging $10 cover with a velvet roped line of people waiting for entrance simply to watch the game on TV across from the park where it was being played.

Then we went to a neighborhood dive that we once loved, sitting on the bay, with good food and plenty of booze flowing. We used to drink a lot there and I hadn’t been back since I went into rehab.

We found a table and ordered. Club soda and a diet coke. We felt guilty, like our server would spit in the drinks. But she didn’t. She was nice. We ordered food and watched the first couple of innings.

The Bride asked me once if I was OK. It took me a moment to realize what she was asking. Did I feel triggered to drink was what she meant?

“I feel great,” I said. And I did.

The Bride said she still felt guilty holding down a table, so we ordered dessert. I tipped her generously. She really never complained. It was all in our head, the past irrationality coming back to life in a boozy setting: That somehow everyone else in the world drinks all the time just because we once did.

The Bride got caught up in watching some very loud people over in the bar area making very loud jokes to each other they alone thought were hilarious. She likes watching the theatrics. They remind her: There by the grace of God go we.

We found a couple standing in the way of the server around the 5th inning. We gave them our table, slipped out and walked home down the harbor. Back at our place we watched the rest of the game, a joyful 5-0 victory for the hometown nine.

I woke up this morning without a hangover. I ran through the still trash-strewn streets and smelled the  faint odor of sour mash and old hops and urine that is distinctly urban after a big night. As the sweat worked its way up through my head I realized I had a great day and didn’t miss out on thing. In fact, the lack of alcohol enhanced the day in many ways, not the least the great feeling when my feet hit the floor after a restful night sleep.

I would have never thought the day would come when not only would I not miss alcohol on a big festive night, but actually be glad I didn’t drink anymore. Five years ago the thought would have been laughable, a punch line or a curse. Now it’s a simple truth.

Days go by and in them are some that I miss drinking more than others. Sometimes I feel its loss and sometimes I feel like I’m living just a bit compromised because of my own problems in the past.

But then more often than I not I think something different. Life is full, far more vast and colorful and beautiful than it ever was in my drinking days. I think, “I am blessed.” I know I’m not missing a damn thing.

Thoughts do change. They do indeed. So take it one day a time as they say, and let your thoughts catch up the sobriety you may only now be learning.

Because if you stay the course, I promise you, you too will think differently. You will see a better day.

The bag is the bomb in enthralled city by the bay

You can’t spend 20 minutes in San Francisco’s downtown and not see someone — or more likely several someones — touting a stylish shopping bag — or several stylish shopping bags — from Bloomingdale’s, Victoria Secret, Louis Vuitton, Diesel or the telltale bag of the all, the little blue bag from Tiffany.  This city we love is known for many things, but we all know that shopping reigns supreme. Ugh.

So it’s no surprise this morning on my jog around AT&T Park a certain bag today topped them all. They were EVERYWHERE! The bag? The orange and brown bag of The Dugout, the official San Francisco Giants swag store.

Less than twelve hours after our miracle hometown nine wrapped up its third National League Pennant in five years ( and it’s second walk-off clinching homer and subsequent “The Giants Win the Pennant! The Giants Win the Pennant” radio call in sixty years) San Franciscans were doing what they do best: They were shopping. Lines at The Dugout in Embarcadero Center were still requiring red rope type security at the entrance late in the Day. By early afternoon, the World Series T-shirts were sold out.

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The massive store at the ball yard itself had folks waiting before it even opened.

In short, this town’s gone mad for its Orange and Black Boys of Summer. How do we express it? We shop till we drop, apparently.

What’s all the fuss, you might ask? The million-dollar boys club of professional athletes and the American Idol-like worship of these often flawed heroes is in many ways as superfluous and surfacey as TMZ and reality TV.

True, all true. I often ask myself why — after finding so many other interesting and productive things to do with my time — why, why do I still get wrapped up in something like  a Pennant Race.

It’s an intriguing question, one The Bride and I both have revisited often this past year. We’ve loved the 49ers since before we met (we jumped on the 49ers in 1980 and didn’t find each other to jump on until 1984) but the team sold its sold for a billion dollar stadium in the burbs that nobody wants to go, the league is wracked with violence, especially against women, and we know its stars are killing themselves with concussions. Why contribute to that? Honestly it gets harder and harder, which is why the 49ers are now about the only football team I’ll watch. The Bride is still protesting the stadium, but she’ll come around by the playoffs I’m guessing.

I gave up basketball more than a decade ago.

But baseball, well, that’s something all together different for me, and few teams I have ever cheered for have ever so embodied what it means for a city to be in love with its team. This overachieving bunch of transplants that have so little in common with the city’s ethos, have come to embody us with its togetherness, teamwork, genuine affection for each other and defiance of the highest bidder franchises like the Yankees and the Dodgers.

Watching them play baseball is like watching something so ugly and odd that it becomes its own work of art. Timeless and memorable. It’s the art of this team — teamwork — I celebrate today along with thousands of other orange and brown Dugout bag toting fellow fans.

I’ve watched baseball ardently for forty years. I can’t recall a team ever — EVER — that was as unlikely to win as this group. Some playoff teams have holes. Some get hot and overcompensate. But if these Giants had Swiss Cheese like weaknesses its safe to say they were more hole than cheese. They just shouldn’t be winning. In one clinching game they started four lefties and a right-handed batter hitting .160 and a pitcher against a lefty pitcher. They shouldn’t have scored a run, yet they won. It made no sense. Still doesn’t. Yet game after game they had no business winning, they did just that.

They won and won and kept on winning.

All year long the team’s slogan as been “Giant Together.”

Watching this team, I see it’s true. Baseball has brought my entire family together many times. We cheer together go to games together, text back and forth during games together and get pissed together. It’s the one game we all love. I have memories at ballparks across the country with my kids. I proposed to The Bride in a ballpark on the big screen. It’s just our place and it means so much more than professional athletes and professional sports and all that is wrong with both.

But when a team in a city comes together and transcends all that professionalism, well it doesn’t get any better than that. These Giants do that. This season has done that. It’s been wonderful and delirious and unexpected and victorious by our team in our beautiful ballpark in a game that is largely unchanged from 100 years earlier. It’s the game of my youth. A game of symmetry and beauty and balance with no clock and yet its ageless.

I love the game. I love this team. I even bought The Bride a sweatshirt, doing something I never do: shop… and stand in line to do it no less. Why not? The Giants won the pennant!

It’s just one of those things you can’t explain, just like our National League Champion San Francisco Giants.

Day ten: Clean eating in a pennant race

Today is one of the days every addict faces when life’s road seems determined to detour your best efforts. Because today is day ten of our 16-day, clean-eating challenge/detox/ break-the-addictive-compulsive fixation on chocolate, dessert- and other-shit-that-makes-me-fat day.

It’s also The Bride’s birthday, which begs for things like Tony’s pizza and a massive chocolate cake with homemade peanut butter ice cream (none of which The Bride wants because she’s nearly as insane about this clean eating challenge as she is about the insanity workout she’s doing).

But see, I’m planning the birthday, so I have plausible deniability if I want to run us right off the rails into a combo pizza big enough to satisfy a Roman god.

Then to make matters worse, part of The Bride’s present today is one of the simple greatest pleasures on this green ball of humanity hurling through space: a day baseball game at ATT Park in the PLAYOFFS with our beloved Giants embarked on another of their tortourous runs to the World Series championship. It’s especially meaningful for me because the first time they won in 2010, I watched alone in a day room of a drug and alcohol treatment facility I was in, while my family made plans to attend the parade back home in Downtown San Francisco.

Needless to say, we’re going to the game today. Day baseball? The Giants? Discount nosebleed seats? Check, check and check.

But interwoven in that check list is also, chili dog, garlic fries and Ghirardelli chocolate sundae. Check, check and DOUBLE check!

eh hmmm… the Bride said a few moments ago. Not so fast.

“I already gave up beers at a game, so I’m not giving up the hot dog. But it will be a plain dog. No extras. And I won’t even order the Garlic Fries!”

I applaud her commitment (outwardly) even while I curse her inwardly. Say goodbye my lovely Ghirardelli. Sigh.

So day ten of this challenge is truly the first that officially BLOWS.  We ate our morning omelette, packed a snack of peanuts and fruit and will swap in only a hot dog. The Bride already worked out. It’s my rest day, so I’ll be back on the road tomorrow. We avoid my secretly desired detour and will finish the race.


But you know what? It’s been great. I don’t obsess about chocolate at night while unwinding like I was. The Bride feels so much more energetic. We both feel like we’ve stopped the waistline creep dead in its tracks. And mostly, and this is the most important reason of all to do this challenge, we’ve recalibrated our meals. We’ve gotten into a routine of five small meals. We’re eating smaller portions again. We like the creativity of the menu ideas, which is helping me break out of the menu standby ruts. Not everything works. Some dinners are like more lunch (lots of salads, which get old) and some dinners are more like the side dish, as if the main course got lost on the way to the plate. It’s not perfect by any means. It’s not even completely sustainable. We will eat SOME bread and A few desserts now and again. Their will always have to be room for Tony’s Pizza. But the framework of sustainability is there and most importantly, we feel back ON track after several months of eating drift.

In short, I may bitch (alot) and I may grouse about a birthday at the ballpark in the playoffs with less than exciting food, but I couldn’t recommend this challenge more, especially before the holidays, before things get really out of control.

Balance. It’s the key to everything. I lost it before this challenge. Now I see it coming back. Follow the Bride on Twitter today at the game. It’s sure to be interesting!



Love of lists turns to love of the game

I can’t help but write today about the greatest game in the world: baseball.

And while I am in such a celebratory mood, I’ll let my mind flow over to my other favorite pastime, making lists. When I’m bored or stuck somewhere and want to pass the time, I make lists. Any topic will do, but more often than not my mind turns to about baseball. My favorite baseball list is listing my favorite baseball parks. I’ve been to most of them. And this debate within myself goes on infernally. It’s elastic. The list changes with my mood and my emotional connection to the park. But as of now, the top five baseball parks of all time are, in reverse order:

All-Time Best Baseball Parks


#5) Seattle Mariners, SafeCo field. This one never stays the same. I love the skyline, the roof is a work of engineering art and it’s right downtown, which is basically a requirement for my list. If you have to drive, it’s disqualified, which painfully removes Chavez Ravine. The Brewers Stadium is fun, but also gone. The Braves.. what were they thinking… sigh, Arlington is a great looking ballpark. All disqualified. So for now it’s M’s, which is AT&T Park on Steroids, and I hate steroids, which makes me want to kick this off the list in favor of St. Louis, Pittsburgh or Detroit. The Rockpile is pretty cool ($1 tickets) and nearly makes the list on that alone.


#4) Wrigley Field – Some days this has ended up #2 on my list. But that’s an emotional decision. The venerable stadium is simply a perfect place to watch a day game. The vibe, the surrounding areas, the EL and the Ivy. When drinks at the Billy Goat Tavern followed the game (a place a bartender kept open until four in the morning for just me and couple of guys) was included in the package, this topped the charts at #2. Now that I’m sober, it’s #4. Still an epic stadium.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards

#3) Camden Yards- Purely the most innovative, art-changing, visionary stadium in this class. It set the stage for every stadium that’s been built and single-handily destroyed the horror story that was multi-use stadiums and domes of the 1970s. If this list was “most important stadiums” Camden would be number 1. It’s a gem.

And the biggest, hardest, emotional decision between #1 and #2, subject to change in a moment’s notice….


#2) AT&T Park- This stadium and the surrounding area is perfect. Crampt and beautiful with the uniqueness of the splash homers to right, Mssrs. Mays and McCovey watching the front and the back… it’s just… brilliant. Absolutely nothing beats a day game in the sun, in my beloved SF. Even when the team sucked (which people forget HOW much they sucked last decade) you can grab a $5 ticket for $3 from a scalper in the second inning and just enjoy the moment. The surrounding area is SOMA, my home, which makes it the very best.

And finally, #1….

Fenway Park

The single greatest seats in any stadium ever is upon the Green Monster. But even when you are behind a post, you are in love with Fenway. Boston is the best–by far!–crowd. The surrounding area is not AT&T standards, but it works and its near the heart of the city in Boston’s Back Bay. The stadium aura is magical. The above view is what I saw when I proposed to The Bride on Fenway’s big screen (corny, yes, but absolutely memorable). Fenway Park is the fulfillment of the Lord’s Prayer: On Earth as it is in Heaven, especially the greatest opening day ever (2005) when The Bride and I watched the 2004 Championship Banner unfurl on the Green Monster. Epic.

Want to argue? Reply below.

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I’m so excited it’s like I’m a kid again. I love, love, love this day.