Ballpark Reviews · Baseball Games · Baseball Road Trippin' · The Majors

Baseball Road Trip: Game 2 in Chicago (Cubs)

Yesterday morning we walked around Lincoln Square, the neighborhood where we are staying, had lunch at the tasty Bad Dog Tavern, and even got a little taste of Chicago’s Mayfest as well (thanks random guy for giving us a few free food tickets!).

Chiquita took a good nap and then we headed out to Wrigley Field. We got to take the “L” train, which is Chicago’s mostly-elevated train system. Taking public transportation is something we really enjoy; unfortunately so does the rest of Chicago. We had to wait for a second train to Wrigley because the first was too jammed-full.

After a nice treat at the Starbucks across the street from the ballpark (free, thanks to our friend Melissa who used to work there!), and a quick gander at the Wrigleyville Fire Department (the “fighter-fighters,” according to Chiquita), we entered the hallowed grounds the Cubs call home.

This was the only game where we’ll get to see the Dodgers on our trip, and it was a good one for the L.A. fans! This was our third game at Wrigley Field, but did include some first for us– our first with Chiquita, our first Cubs night game, and our first time seeing the Dodgers play there.

Here’s the photos from our first day in Chicago…
http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=71649

Unfortunately, Chiquita came down with a bit of a tummy ache last night, so we’re taking it easy today and hoping we can still make it to at least part of the White Sox game if she’s feeling better later today. Travel can be hard on a little one but hopefully she’ll be up on her feet again and ready to go soon.

Ballpark Reviews · Baseball Games · Baseball Road Trippin' · The Majors

Baseball Road Trip: Game 1 in Milwaukee

We’ve officially begun our road trip! Thursday night we flew in to Indianapolis, then drove to stay the night with family about 45 minutes away.

Chiquita got to play with her cousins the next morning and then we headed out on the road up to Milwaukee! The Brewers game was great. We really liked the extremely family-friendly ballpark, Miller Park, and were surprised to find a sell-out crowd and an exciting game.

The only downfall to this was we didn’t have tickets for this game yet. Thankfully, we were able to snag a couple of “standing-room only” tickets which worked out fine with the stroller. You’ll be able to see from the pictures how much fun stuff Miller Park has to offer. You’ll also notice that the guy from those funny “Miller High Life” commercials was there to throw out the first pitch and sign autographs which was pretty appropriate considering the ballpark’s namesake.

After the game we drove down to Chicago where we are staying a few days with a friend. Unfortunately, we had a bit of a sleeping incident that night; since Chiquita took a nice 2-hour “nap” on the drive, she was wide awake when we arrived in Chicago and decided to stay that way until 3 am. Eventually she gave in and we were able to sleep in and almost get a full night’s sleep.

Here’s the first batch of pictures…
http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=71649

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter for live updates as we go!

Ballpark Reviews · Baseball Games · The Majors

Padres at Dodgers~ May 1, 2009

We had a great time as usual at Dodger Stadium! This was our first time taking a toddler, and despite the age of the stadium, it was pretty doable with a stadium. A couple of downfalls for a young fan was the lack of elevators (only a couple at the whole place!) and unfortunately no kids’ concession stand so we had to settle for buying Chiquita a $5 hot dog.

For the first time ever, we got there before the gate opened! We were stoked to get to see a little bit of the Dodgers’ batting practice and then also hung around to watch the Padres practice for my brother’s sake. Dodger Stadium now opens up the center field wall so fans can get a warning-track view of the players getting warmed up. What a treat for the baseball-loving family!

We went on a fireworks show night and it was a great choreographed show with a Las Vegas theme. We’ve been to a few fireworks nights at other locations and I must say that I’ve never seen a ballpark allow the fans down on the outfield grass during the fireworks! We couldn’t make it all the way down there from the Top Deck with a stroller but we still had a great view.

Here are some pictures from the game!

http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=71649

Ballpark Reviews · Baseball Games · The Majors

Petco Park Strikes Out

Daddy's Girl

Here’s the first installment of our review of ballparks from the family perspective.  As you will see from the letter below, we received less than average service and flexibility from the ballpark staff at Petco Park.  This is the actual letter that I emailed to the Padres.  I will keep you posted on whether or not they provide a response.

Unfortunately, I have two pieces of negative feedback regarding our experience at Petco Park on Tuesday, April 7, 2009.  I attended this game with my wife, in-laws, and 23-month old daughter.

Let me preface my first comment by stating that I understand the stroller check-in policy at Petco Park.  Upon arriving at the landing below our seats in section 315, we noticed that none of the wheelchair companion seats were occupied.  As we have done at the accommodating and family-friendly Coors Field in Denver, CO [more on that in a later post], we pulled the stroller next to some of these unoccupied seats in hopes of leaving our daughter in her stroller during the game.  We were told by an usher that we had to purchase special tickets in order to sit in these seats.  While the usher told us exactly where to go to purchase upgraded seats, we were completely baffled by the unwillingness to be flexible and accommodate our family, which includes a small child.  Additionally, it was obvious that the game was not a sellout and we were completely sensitive to the fact that someone may eventually occupy the seats.  As it turns out, the seats were never occupied during the game.

I can anticipate that your reaction to my first comment will be something like,”Our ushers are trained to send customers to their ticketed seats” or,”We agree with the usher’s recommendation to direct you to a ticket window.”  I want to reiterate that I understand the ballpark ticket policies, but we were extremely disappointed at the ballpark staff’s unwillingness to be flexible, given our situation.

While the ushers were quick to make sure that we did not occupy the wheelchair companion area, they failed to provide us the proper service once we checked our stroller in and took our seats in row 10 of section 15.  As you know, this is actually the second row of this section.  All throughout the game (especially during play) spectators were going up and down the stairs at the bottom of the section, standing at the top of the stairs, and holding cell phone conversations while obstructing our view and the view of several other fans around us.  I spoke to an usher regarding this activity and she told me that it’s “hard to control” at the upper level.  She explained that it is controlled at the lower levels of the ballpark.

In addition to the obstructions created by the uncontrolled spectators, our seats did not provide a complete view of the playing field.  Our view of home plate was obstructed by the railing of the heavily traveled stairs and our view of right field was cut short by the lower portion of the third deck.  We believe that the seats should be discounted and say “obstructed View” on them.

It is our hope that you will use these comments to provide a better experience for future visitors to Petco Park.  I look forward to hearing your response to our concerns.

Despite our complaints, we still had a great time at Petco Park during Opening Week. That was our first time visiting the Padres’ ballpark with Chiquita, and that always makes for a very different experience than just going by ourselves. The photo above is one of my favorites. It really captures how our daughter is definitely becoming a baseball fan at a young age.

Petco Park does have some great amenities for families such as the Park in the Park (the grassy area out behind the outfield), a kids’ concession stand, a mini baseball field, a sandy “beach” area right behind the right field wall, and fun Petco mascots. They also have an amazing food deal right now where you can get 5 items (hot dog, coke, cookie, popcorn, & peanuts) for only $5! Not to mention, it’s in a great location, being right downtown in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter.

Here’s the slideshow from the game.
http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=70933

And I still haven’t forgotton about more Spring Training details, that will be coming soon!