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Baseball Road Trip: Game 13 in Cincinnati

The famous saying goes,”All good things must come to an end.”  Unfortunately, this was true for our trip of a lifetime.  Our final stop on this tour of America’s great ballparks brought us to Cincinnati and the Great American Ballpark.  This home of the Reds is situated right up against the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati.

We made the trek across Ohio from Cleveland and arrived in downtown Cincinnati with plenty of time to spare.  We even had time to make the quick jaunt across the river and add Kentucky to our list of states visited on this trip.  While we didn’t have time to see much in our five-minute drive in the Bluegrass State, I am sure that there are tons of great things to do and see there (except for Major League Baseball, of course).

To take full advantage of the river view, we bought seats in the upper deck right behind home plate.  Because the demand for Reds tickets is not exactly off the charts, we were able to score some handicap seats so we didn’t have to check Chiquita’s stroller.  These seats not only afforded us a great view of the field, but they looked out over the river.  Had it been sunny, the view would have been more spectacular.

As our luck would have it, we found ourselves in a rain delay after the first inning.  However, the rain delay experience at the Great American Ballpark was unlike any other we had seen. We got to experience some of the hardest, densest rain we had ever seen.  Fortunately, we made it into the covered concourse area in time to avoid the downpour and lightning.  Paul Brown Stadium, where the Bengals attempt to field an NFL team in between jail terms, sits about a half mile west of the ballpark.  On a sunny day it can easily be seen from the upper concourse.  Not on this day.  The silhouette disappeared as the rain fell in massive amounts.

After huddling in the upper concourse for a while, we made our way down to the field level and were very pleased to find a large wall full of flat screen TVs playing all the other games from around the league that night.  Due to the rain delay, the area was packed with soaked fans, but the sight of seven simultaneous baseball games brought smiles to our faces.  After at least an hour delay, the game against the Braves eventually resumed.  Since we had a two-hour drive ahead of use, we had to call it quits in the fifth inning.

Leaving that last stadium was a bittersweet moment.  We had begun to live the dream of seeing America’s pastime in all corners of the country.  The teams, players, fans, conversations, bratwursts, rivalries, subway rides, stadiums, and baseball had taken us on a great journey.  We have aspirations to visit the remaining ballparks in the next couple years (I think there are ten left).  If the opportunity presents itself for this type of trip, there should be no hesitation.  You never know what you will see in America’s ballparks.

Enjoy the slideshow of our great trip’s last game.

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

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

Baseball Road Trip: Game 6 in Washington D.C.

We switched gears from Canadian baseball played on fake grass to the just-opened Nationals Park in Washington D.C. for our sixth stop on this roadie.  Having just opened its doors and field for play at the beginning of the 2008 season, this is one of the most beautiful parks we have seen on this trip.  You might be thinking that it just seemed nice since we had just come from Toronto, but this place was great.

We ended up at this park on Tuesday, June 9, the same day as the MLB first-year player draft.  So we were greeted with free Draft Party 2009 shirts as we walked in the gates.  Leave it to the perennial cellar dwellers to have a party for the draft.  We were right at the gate as they announced Stephen Strasburg as the first pick, by the Nationals of course.

Unfortunately, we caught our nation’s capital on a bad night.  There were heavy thunderstorms rolling through from about 5 o’clock until around 8:30.  First pitch was delayed from 7:05 to 8:50 so we had plenty of time to check out the features of this new park.  There was a great kids area complete with hitting and pitching activities and a display for us nerds on the physics of baseball.  They also had a SingStar game set up (basically video game karaoke) which we could have done without, but overall, if you have to be stuck in a rain delay, this is a good place for it.

We scored from half price tickets that night through a twitter friend’s tip (thanks @khudak11 and @Teddy26Nats ) so when the game finally got started we got to enjoy our front row seats on the field level.  We ended up just on the foul side of the left field foul pole.  We didn’t get any action down there as far as foul balls go, but we had to leave after the 5th inning so Chiquita could get her beauty sleep so we could have missed something in one of the later innings.  Overall this ballpark is high on the list of fan-friendly venues.  Although it is unfortunate that the team has played so poorly, as it would be nice to see this facility getting some good use, it’s nice to see America’s Pastime finally at home in such a nice ballpark in our nation’s capital.

Oh yeah, in addition to baseball, there are a few other things to see while you are in DC – some old buildings, museums, and tons of security guards and police officers.

Here’s our photos from this game…
http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=71649

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

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