Baseball Pilgrimages
Baseball Pilgrimages
2013 Ballpark Briefs
Joe Mock, of Baseballparks.com, has been naming a Ballpark of the Year for all new or rebuilt pro parks since 2000. On August 20, the 2013 winner was announced: Birmingham's Regions Field... Waffle House is ubiquitous in the South, so it makes sense that the Atlanta-area based always open breakfast restaurant chain would open a location at Atlanta's Turner Field, which they did on July 26. However, the Ted's Waffle House is only open during Braves home games, making it the first ever non-24 hour locale.

2013 Big League Ballpark Schedules
Knowing when the home team is at home is of paramount importance to anyone traveling to one of Major League Baseball's 30 ballparks, so creating calendar schedules for them that show the exact dates each team is playing at their homes in 2013 is certainly a useful aid to any on-the-road baseball fan and trip planner. That's what Baseball Pilgrimages has done, and you can see the team by team and ballpark by ballpark results on the new Major League Baseball Home Schedules page, which also includes links to each team's and ballpark's monthly schedule.
 2013 Schedules by Ballpark

Rickwood Field Hosting its Annual Classic on May 29
The 18th annual Rickwood Classic is set for Wednesday, May 29. On that day, 103-year old Rickwood Field in Birmingham, AL will host its annual regular season Southern League game, with the Double-A Birmingham Barons (White Sox) playing the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs). Game time is 12:30 and this year's guest of honor is Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins. The 2013 Classic will pay tribute to the 1948 Birmingham Black Barons, with the modern day Barons donning the same unis as Willie Mays and other Negro Leaguers did 65 years ago, when just about every day during the baseball season was game day at what's now the nation's oldest pro ballpark thanks to the now traditional Classic.
 Read up on Rickwood | View the Rickwood Field Photo Gallery

2012 Baseball Travel Map Released
The baseball fan on the go will always be in the know of what's nearby thanks to the Baseball Travel Map. The 2012 edition shows the location of every major and affiliated minor league team (259 in all) on a collapsible map of the United States. Also featured are 67 baseball attractions, so the map pinpoints museums and the like for the roving fan and compiles the contact information for every destination on its backside. Released on March 23, the map is clever, compact and convenient...and just $8.95. The link to buy the map or read more about it is below:
 Baseball Travel Map

Grapefruit League Ballpark Guide, Reviews and Schedules Prepare Fans For Florida Spring Training
February 9, 2012
Hope shall spring eternal yet again in 2012 for each of the 15 teams that train in Florida, where 30 of the last 36 World Series winners have trained, with the opening of Grapefruit League camps in February and play in March. Information on each of Florida's 14 spring training ballparks can be found on Baseball Pilgrimages, along with a just-released comprehensive guide that covers them down to the smallest detail. Games begin on February 29, so check out the master schedule or each of the individual ones on the ballpark profile pages to help you plot or plan your trip. The link to read more about the guide to help you do it is below:
 Florida Spring Training Ballpark Guide

Tour de Ballpark: Fan is Biking to Them All
June 21, 2011
A 24-year old baseball fan is pedaling his way to every major league ballpark in 2011. Darren O'Donnell of Bellingham, WA began biking to the ballpark on April 8, with Seattle's Safeco Field the first stop on his 170-day, 10-500-mile, 30-ballpark by bicycle tour, which is scheduled to end on September 25 in St. Louis. Quitting his job and using money he saved up for graduate school, the Western Washington University economics and accounting grad is now majoring in something really cool, albeit grueling. You can follow Darren's Baseball Biking Tour on Facebook and read more about his quest in articles published on The Seattle Times and ESPN websites.
 View Tour Map

Cactus League Ballpark Guide Now Available
January 31, 2011
For all fans flocking to Arizona for spring training baseball, the 2011 Arizona Spring Training Ballpark Guide is what you need. The book intimately details all 10 of the Cactus League's ballparks, including the new Salt River Fields, and has all the schedules and etceteras you could ever want to help plan your trip. To use baseball lingo, it's a steal of a deal at just $18.95 for nearly 200 pages of essential, fan-friendly information.
 Buy the book or read more about it

Spring Training Schedules Posted
January 31, 2011
Between Arizona and Florida, 489 spring training games are scheduled to be played in preparation for the 2011 season. Full coverage of the Cactus and Grapefruit leagues can be found at Spring Training Connection, but the full schedules for each of the 15-team leagues can also be found at Baseball Pilgrimages:
 2011 Cactus League Schedule
 2011 Grapefruit League Schedule

Innovative Baseball Board Game Makes Debut
November 12, 2010
Billed as baseball's ultimate home game, the Ballpark Classics Baseball Game is sure to draw friends and families together for game room action that plays like real baseball. Every generation of fans has had a strategic simulation game to play -- notable examples include All Star Baseball and Strat-O-Matic -- and the Ballpark Classics game is the most modern option, hitting the market in 2010. With its scale replica ballpark game board, baseball fans finally have something that compares favorably to air hockey and foosball.
 Learn more about the game

Future Ballpark Preview: Salt River Fields
October 1, 2010
The newest brand new spring training stadium will have an unusual location, as Salt River Fields at Talking Stick is being built on an Indian reservation just east of Scottsdale. Funded entirely by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, construction of the $100 million complex is on track to be completed in February and when the new training grounds to be jointly used by the Diamondbacks and Rockies is ready all 15 teams in the Cactus League will officially be training in metro Phoenix.
 Read the article

Baseball and Dad: 2010 Father's Day Contest
June 20, 2010
For the 10th straight year, Joe Connor's Modern Era Baseball sponsored a contest where fans of all ages could submit, by e-mail, their most memorable father-son or father-daughter baseball memory. Writers of the top three 600 words or less submissions won a slew of baseball prizes and had excerpts from their brief essays posted at ModernEraBaseball.com on Father's Day.

Hot Diggity Dogs
April 6, 2010
Ballpark concession fare is as varied as the ballparks themselves, but there has always been a love affair upon the grounds of America's pastime with a classic American food staple: the hot dog. In a tempting piece at Delish.com, The Best Dogs from America's Baseball Stadiums are shown and then described for 22 of Major League Baseball's ballparks. Fun facts are interspersed throughout the slideshow, such as "Miller Park is the only stadium in Major League Baseball where sausages outsell hot dogs." While 910,000 sausages are projected to be consumed in Milwaukee this season, Fenway's franks are the most bought in baseball, as a National Hot Dog and Sausage Council survey found that 1.67 million hot dogs will be bought in Boston. All told, the NHDSC anticipates 21,378,064 hot dogs will be served at a Major League park in 2010, while hot dog's "close cousin," the sausage, has sales projections of 4,933,853 units.
 See the slideshow or read the NHDSC press release

10 For '10: The Top 10 Baseball Pilgrimages Fans Can Make in 2010
March 18, 2010
In anticipation of the upcoming baseball season, we've prepared an itinerary of sorts for fans of the sport. Specifically, the 10 best baseball pilgrimages a fan can make in 2010 are detailed. See which games, events and places make the list then start planning your ballpark road trip.
 Read the article

Cactus League Ballpark Guide Now Available
February 22, 2010
The just published 2010 guide book to the ballparks of the Cactus League is exactly what fans heading to Arizona need. From where to sit in the shade to get autographs, the Arizona Spring Training Ballpark Guide has got it all covered with 181 pages of detailed information on the Cactus League's 11 ballparks.
 Buy the book

Grapefruit League Schedule Posted
Spring training games in Florida begin on March 2nd and end on April 3rd. Over the course of those 33 days, 239 exhibition games will be played in 14 ballparks. To see who plays where and when, check out the 2010 Grapefruit League schedule, which was posted on January 2.

Cactus League Schedule Posted
From March 3rd to April 3rd, 225 Major League Baseball games will be played in Arizona. None of them will count, but well over a million fans will attend. If you're one of them, then check out the 2010 Cactus League schedule, which was posted on December 28 for all to peruse.

The Best Baseball Pilgrimages of 2009
I covered a lot of ground on and between the first day of spring training (February 25 in Goodyear) and the last day of the regular season (October 4 in New York). To recap 2009, I present a personalized countdown of the best baseball pilgrimages I undertook during a season that saw me see 47 games in 40 ballparks in a dozen states.

Top 25 Blogs For Baseball Fans
December 14, 2009
Well it's nice to be recognized. Baseball Pilgrimages was ranked at #8 on a rather impressive list of online baseball resources, and was one of only two ballpark-related sites to make the cut (the wonderful Clem's Baseball is the other, at #25), according to Nicole Adams. Her Top 25 Blogs For Baseball Fans is published in an odd place -- a blog dedicated to construction management -- but it was well-researched and put together...even if Baseball Pilgrimages is more old school in its format (i.e. Web site vs. blog).
 See the list

Marlins Near Deal to Play Home Series at Hiram Bithorn Stadium
November 23, 2009
Puerto Rico's Hiram Bithorn Stadium might be back on the major league schedule soon. The 19,000-seat San Juan stadium hosted 22 "home" games for the Montreal Expos in both 2003 and 2004 and may briefly be considered the home ballpark for the Florida Marlins in 2010, as the New York Daily News reports that the Marlins and Major League Baseball are close to an agreement with a promoter to move a regular-season series there, one most likely involving the Mets as the visiting team.

Bowl Game to Be Played at Yankee Stadium
Yankee Stadium will become the 5th Major League venue to host a college football bowl game starting in 2010. Following in the footsteps of AT&T Park (Emerald), LandShark Stadium (Orange), Rogers Centre (International) and Tropicana Field (St. Petersburg), the yet to be sponsored "Yankee Bowl" is targeted for a December 29, 2010 debut and will pit a Big East team versus one from the Big 12. The Yankees will reportedly spend $16 million over the initial four-year agreement to host the game and plan to make that back (and then some) through sponsorships and concessions. The football field will extend from behind home plate towards center field, although the bowl game won't be the first time the gridiron will be used, as Army and Notre Dame will play in the stadium's first football game on November 20, 2010. The original Yankee Stadium hosted many football games but only one bowl game, the 1962 Gotham Bowl, which drew a paltry crowd of 6,166 and was never played again.
 Read the full story

Talkin' Ballparks With Tulsa Drillers GM Mike Melega
September 16, 2009
In 1981, Terry Cashman recorded his classic tune "Talkin' Baseball." That same year Drillers Stadium in Tulsa opened. Twenty-eight years later it closed and Drillers' GM Mike Melega talks about his team's longtime home and its replacement, ONEOK Field, in the first interview of our Talkin' Ballparks series.
 Read the interview

15th Annual Rickwood Classic to Be Played on June 2
Ballpark aficionados should "save the date" of Wednesday, June 2, as that's when the historic 15th annual Rickwood Classic will be played at Birmingham's Rickwood Field. The 2010 game is historic because the old, yet revitalized ballpark is celebrating its 100th birthday this year and the Birmingham Barons will wear uniforms from the 1910 season as a tribute. Their opponents, the Tennessee Smokies, will also wear throwback unis from Rickwood's inaugural decade. Just like in the old days, game time is in the afternoon, specifically at 12:30 p.m. At that time, Rickwood Field will become the first ever 100-year old ballpark to host a professional baseball game. Rickwood was the regular home of the Barons through the 1987 season, after which they relocated to the nearby suburb of Hoover. The team has returned to their longtime former home for a single game each year since 1996.

Bulls to Play Game at Durham Athletic Park in 2010
The legendary former home of the Durham Bulls will be their current home again. For one game at least. After the city spent $5 million to restore and renovate Durham Athletic Park, which opened in 1926, the team announced in a press release on September 13 that they will play the Toledo Mud Hens on Monday, May 10, 2010 at the historic ballpark, made famous in the 1988 film Bull Durham and last used by the Bulls in 1994. The game will start at 7:05 p.m. The DAP will also see a permanent return of baseball on its premises in 2010, as the North Carolina Central University baseball team will call the 83-year old stadium home.

Huntington Park Named Ballpark of the Year
For the past ten seasons Joe Mock of BaseballParks.com has visited each new ballpark and awarded the best of the group with what's now the prestigious Ballpark of the Year award. Using superior design, attractive site selection and fan amenities as his barometers, Mock announced on August 12 that the best new ballpark in 2009 was the 10,100-seat downtown beauty in Columbus, Ohio. Huntington Park, the $42 million home of the Triple-A Columbus Clippers, beat out the new New York homes of the Mets and Yankees for the award, which 12 ballparks were eligible for.
 Read the full story at the Columbus Dispatch

Yankees Tie Record For Most Wins In A First-Year Ballpark
The Yankees' 4-3 loss to the Royals in the new Yankee Stadium's regular season finale on September 30 prevented them from setting the record for most home victories in the inaugural year of a ballpark. The 2009 Yankees ended up going 57-24 at home. The 1912 Red Sox opened up Fenway Park with a 57-20 (.740) record, while the 1901 Boston team opened the predecessor to Fenway, the Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds, with a 49-20 (.710) record. The two Red Sox teams are the only ones to have a better first-year home winning percentage than the Yankees' .704.

Tiger Stadium To Be Completely Torn Down
The Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy tried, but they failed to save what's left of Tiger Stadium. A judge in Wayne County lifted a temporary restraining order on June 8 that had prevented the complete demolition of the former home of the Detroit Tigers after the Conservancy couldn't come up with the $33.4 million for a redevelopment project they had proposed. Most of Tiger Stadium was demolished last year. What remains will now be destroyed.

Take Me Out to the Ball Games
Those of you who fly American Airlines can read this article in print, but American Way, which is available to every passenger on every American Airlines flight, wrote about the ultimate baseball pilgrimage in their April 1st issue. And by ultimate, they mean seeing all 30 Major League ballparks in one season.

Another good article on the subject matter, Heaven, hell and the ultimate baseball road trip, was posted on NBCSports.com on May 28 and details the experiences of a few fans who attempted the trip.

Best Ballpark Eats
Forget Zagat ratings. Head to the ballpark, where for at least 81 days per year some of the best food found in a Major League city happens to be served. Recognizing this, on May 10 the wise guys at the Bleacher Report picked the Top 10 treats from around the Majors.

Baseball and Dad: 2009 Father's Day Contest
For the 9th straight year, Joe Connor's Modern Era Baseball sponsored a contest where fans of all ages could submit by e-mail their most memorable father-son or father-daughter baseball memory. Besides winning a slew of baseball prizes, the top three 600 words or less submissions were posted at ModernEraBaseball.com on Father's Day.

Rickwood Classic Set For May 27
For the 14th straight year the Birmingham Barons will return to America's oldest ballpark, Rickwood Field, to play a regular season game. This year's Rickwood Classic will take place on Wednesday, May 27 at 12:30 p.m. when the Barons host the Mississippi Braves at the 99-year old stadium in the city’s West End. The 2009 Classic will pay tribute to the 1982 exhibition played between the Atlanta Braves and Southern League All-Stars. As a special bonus, the first 1,500 fans through Rickwood's turnstiles will receive a commemorative "big ticket" that duplicates the ones used for the '82 exhibition.

On the Road Again
The 2009 season is underway and the baseball pilgrimages have begun. Gabe Scheinbaum has visited and reviewed Isotopes Park in Albuquerque, Cashman Field in Las Vegas and Wrigley Field, while Graham Knight returned from his spring training odyssey and has written up the two new parks in the Cactus League, Glendale's Camelback Ranch and Goodyear Ballpark, and the completely renovated Charlotte Sports Park.

Book Excerpt: Ballparks of the Deadball Era
Ron Selter has written a comprehensive account about the 34 ballparks that were used in baseball's "Deadball" era (1901-19) and what effect each had on batting. The best hitter's park of that era, Burns Park in Detroit, was used for just 23 games. In an excerpt from his book, Selter explains why Burns Park was seldom used and what made it so appealing to hitters.

Trop Ends Playoff Drought
Built in 1990 and first used for Major League Baseball in 1998, Tropicana Field was the oldest ballpark to have never hosted postseason baseball prior to the 2008 American League Division Series. In fact, prior to then The Trop was the only AL ballpark yet to host a playoff game. On the National League side, Miller Park finally got its first taste of the postseason thanks to the Brewers winning the wild card. But there are still three NL parks that have yet to make their postseason debut: PNC Park (opened in 2001), Great American Ball Park (2003) and Nationals Park (2008). Pittsburgh fans have clearly suffered the most. The Pirates haven't had a winning season in the eight years since they departed Three Rivers Stadium.

The Last Night in the Bronx Zoo
The last nine teams to close their home stadium had lost their finale. That streak ended in Yankee Stadium's finale on September 21 with the home team beating the Orioles. Face value tickets for that game ranged from 14 to 400 dollars, but that's only a fraction of the price that the Yankees will receive for the actual seats once the stadium closes, as those that are put up for auction are expected to bring upwards of $1,000 per seat. That's a far cry from what they sold for after the 1973 season, when the original Yankee Stadium was completely renovated. Fans needed only to pay $7.50 then. That, and five empty packs of Winston cigarettes was all that it took to claim one of the Stadium's original wood and cast-iron seats from Korvette's, a New York City department store chain that bought them to use in a promotion. If Korvette's had merely held onto the seats they might have been able to stave off their 1980 bankruptcy. Today the same seats that they sold for $7.50 fetch around $4,500.

That's Why They Call Them Baseball's Best Fans
With a sellout crowd of 46,045 showing up at Busch Stadium for Albert Pujols bobblehead day on September 7, the Cardinals have once again topped the three million mark in home attendance. St. Louis became the fifth team in 2008 to top three million, following the Yankees, Mets, Dodgers and Cubs. The Cardinals have now drawn over three million fans in St. Louis for five straight years, and 10 of the last 11. The only year that was an exception was 2003, when "just" 2,910,386 fans passed through the original Busch Stadium's turnstiles.

50 Million Served
They don't pack the place like they used to, but someone in the sell-out crowd of 48,515 on August 19 became the 50 millionth fan to pass through the turnstiles of Camden Yards. That someone happened to be a 24-year old named Kevin Gracie. For his "troubles," Kevin received two Orioles season tickets for the next five years plus a check for $50,000. "Fifty thousand is great; five years of season tickets is amazing," said the University of Baltimore law student. As for the ballpark, the 17-year-old home of the Baltimore Orioles reached 50 million faster than any in baseball history.

A Hot Ticket in Milwaukee
Who says one player can't make a difference? On the day the Brewers acquired CC Sabathia from the Indians his new team sold more than 27,000 tickets. On a typical day the Brewers sell about 3,000. Among the stash sold on July 7, Sabathia's first day with the Brew Crew, were 9,000 tickets for his debut the next day at Miller Park. Sabathia faced the Rockies on July 8 in front of a sold out crowd, as the remaining 3,500 tickets for the game were quickly sold due to something you never see in Milwaukee on a Tuesday morning: fans waiting at the ticket windows when they opened at 9 a.m.

Baseball and Dad
Winners of the 8th annual Father's Day Essay Contest have been announced and for the first time there are co-winners. Read both essays (they're short and poignant) at ModernEraBaseball.com.

Omaha to Replace Rosenblatt With New Stadium in Time for 2011 CWS
The road to Omaha will have a slightly new destination address beginning in 2011. On June 10 the Omaha City Council officially approved a contract to build a new $140 million downtown ballpark after the NCAA agreed to a 25-year extension with the city to hold the College World Series there. Rosenblatt Stadium, home to the CWS since 1950, will be torn down after the 2010 season, with its land slated to become a parking lot for Omaha's zoo.

More Than Just Peanuts and Cracker Jacks
Peter Meehan wrote an excellent article in the New York Times (Buy Me Some Sushi and Baby Back Ribs) on June 8 about the evolution of ballpark food. He noted that in the new ballparks, "food and beer offered are no longer an afterthought to the game." Peter thoroughly sampled the concession fare at 12 major league ballparks and reported on what he tasted.

Marlins to Get New Ballpark (and Name) in 2011
Five times the Florida Marlins failed to obtain state funding for a new ballpark, but the sixth time was the charm. The Marlins will play in a new 37,000-seat retractable roof ballpark that will be built in downtown Miami on the former site of the Orange Bowl. Groundbreaking and construction on the $525 million ballpark is tentatively scheduled for November. The team is responsible for $155 million of the cost (about 30%), with Miami-Dade County and the city of Miami paying the rest. As part of the deal, the Florida Marlins will change their name to the Miami Marlins in 2011, when the ballpark is scheduled to open.

Reds Become Second Ohio Team to Flock to Arizona
The Cincinnati Reds are joining the Cleveland Indians in their exodus from Florida, and by 2010 the teams will share a new spring training complex in Goodyear, Arizona. The Reds will spend one more year in Sarasota before joining their Ohio neighbors in the Cactus League. The Indians will begin training in Goodyear in 2009.



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