The Tenth Inning
 The Tenth Inning Blog
Periodically, I will post new entries about current baseball topics.  The posts will typically be a mixture of commentary, history, facts, and stats.  Hopefully, they will provoke some  of your thoughts or emotions. Clicking on the word "Comments" associated with each post below will open a new dialog box to enter or retrieve any feedback.
Pursuit to attend a game in every MLB stadium gets a re-boot

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on a lot of things in the past 15 months. Some were more sobering than others. For example, it’s tragic that our nation lost so many lives to the terrible scourge. It’s disheartening that the nation’s children were largely set back in their educational development. But one of the less serious impacts was the disruption in 2020 to my son’s and my pursuit of attending a game in every MLB stadium. Once it was announced that fans could return to attending games in-person this season, we were happy to hit the re-boot button on our plan.


I had 12 stadiums and Lee had 13 on our respective lists of current stadiums we had not been to. Lately our strategy has been to pick an area of the country each year where we can get in at least two new stadiums in one trip, so that we can accelerate ticking them off our lists. For example, in 2019, we went to Wrigley Field and Guaranteed Rate Stadium in Chicago and Miller Park in Milwaukee. The year before, we took in games at Dodger Stadium and Anaheim Stadium in Los Angeles and Petco Park in San Diego.


The Midwest and West Coast offered the best opportunities to continue our approach of multiple cities in one trip. However, MLB didn’t publish the entire schedule for each team at the beginning of the season, so it would have been difficult back in March to plan a trip much in advance of 30 days. Then we weren’t sure about whether there would be disruptions in the MLB schedules because of potentially continued spread of the coronavirus on a large scale. Plus, in March most stadiums were still planning to allow only a percentage of capacity to attend games.


With all these uncertainties, we went to a “simple” Plan B--just go to a new stadium in a single city in the near-term, in order to assure ourselves we wouldn’t be shut out altogether again this year.


Lee routinely travels to the Dallas area and Tampa for his work. Thus, with the new Globe Life Park in Arlington and Tropicana Field in Tampa on our not-yet-attended list, those were our immediate candidates.


 

So, last week we took in two games in Arlington to see the Texas Rangers face the New York Yankees. There was no limit on attendance by the state of Texas’ pandemic rules. I got a double bonus since the Yanks are my favorite team. By the way, this was the third different Texas Rangers stadium I’ve been to.


The Rangers’ new Globe Life Field is adjacent to their previous baseball stadium and is in the proximity of Jerry’s World (AT&T Stadium). The façade of the stadium doesn’t have a traditional baseball stadium look-and-feel. It’s more similar to a super-large airplane hangar.


Watching the game in the new ballpark was a lot like being at Houston’s Minute Maid Field. The stadium features a retractable-roof, and its left field has the large glass windows. Except Globe Life doesn’t have a choo-choo train or an area similar to the Crawford boxes at Minute Maid. But it does have field-level suites between the dugouts, which looked pretty cool. Like Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Globe Life has a large, covered entertainment arena outside the stadium (called Texas Live!) with giant TV screens, bars, and BBQ for pre- and post-game activities. Inside the stadium, we found the ballpark food was only average—nothing distinguishing it from the other MLB stadiums, like the huge Primanti Brothers sandwiches at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park.


The Rangers and Yankees split the two games we saw. We got to see the Yanks’ ace Gerrit Cole, one of the top three pitchers in the majors. However, we were disappointed that the Rangers chased him early in the game with a couple of home runs and several other extra-base hits. We also got to see former Mississippi State star Nate Lowe who plays first base for the Rangers, but he went hitless in the two games. We weren't disappointed when we saw Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman end the game on Tuesday with a 102 mph fastball strikeout. He was "throwing smoke" as they say. We kicked ourselves later for not getting tickets for the third game in the series, because the Yankees’ Corey Kluber pitched a no-hitter against the Rangers on Wednesday night. Oh, well.


Unlike many of our previous baseball trips, we didn’t get to experience any new Italian restaurants. With Lee’s work schedule last week, there just wasn’t any time to fit that in.


So, now there are 11 remaining stadiums on my list which includes Tampa, Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit, Cincinnati, Minneapolis, Denver, Arizona, Oakland, Seattle, and New York (Citi Field). By the way, there are 13 major-league stadiums I have attended which are no longer in use, the first being in 1962 at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium.


I can see a quick Southwest Airlines trip to Tampa to knock out Tropicana Field later this season, or perhaps a six-hour drive to Atlanta to watch a game in their relatively new Truist Park. Lee says we better get busy with our plan, or else he will be rolling me around in a wheelchair.

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