132 – Ballparks

To my non-US audience, please bear with me. I wanted to post this at the start of the baseball season, but, the game decided to delay for selfish reasons. Baseball has pushed me away from today’s game, yet its lore still rests in my heart. To my non-baseball fans, pass the link on to a fan.

Click the video above for 2 minutes of background waves while reading.

I like walking on the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Today I think about the palaces of the fans known as ballparks to some – baseball stadiums to others. 

Ballparks are those places creating a special feeling when hearing the crack of the wooden bat followed by the roar of a cheering crowd rising to their feet. This is not only a remembrance moment linking people but also a bonding moment between people and the game. 

Photo by Garret Schappacher on Pexels.com

Ballparks are the cathedrals of baseball where people gather to worship with faith and allegiance for their team and yell praise to their cleated heroes. Ballparks are a place for creating memories that someone will tell to the next generation, but also a place for reuniting with those memories.

The ballpark is the place for relaxing, eating popcorn, getting excited, holding their breath, hoping, then moaning or screaming – back to relaxing, then something different will probably happen – and if you watch baseball long enough, something new.

The ballpark is the place for popcorn, hotdogs, peanuts, and Cracker Jacks. The place for standing to sing during the seventh-inning stretch.

Ballparks are the home to legendary teams: the Bronx Bombers, the Whiz Kids, the Lords of Flatbush, the Gashouse Gang, and the Big Red Machine. All and more are the Boys of Summer. 

I think of places before my time: Palace of the Fans (Cincinnati), Ebbets Field (Brooklyn), Baker Bowl (Philadelphia), League Park (Cleveland), and Griffith Stadium (Washington). Yet, there are more.

Many may not remember Wrigley Field (Los Angeles). Not only did it serve as the first and one-year home of the Los Angeles Angels, but also the location of television’s Home Run Derby.

There are the classic stadiums of my youth – Forbes Field (Pittsburgh), Connie Mack Stadium (Philadelphia) – previously known as Shibe Park – plus Sportsman’s Park (St. Louis), Polo Grounds (New York), Crosley Field (Cincinnati), and others. 

All places with their quirks – yet, places of lore. But they are now gone. Places that may or may not have a sign or plaque commemorating its existence. Places may be something else today – a playground, an apartment complex, a shopping area, a group of office buildings, or warehouses.

Let us not forget Braves Field (Boston). After all, much of it stands today. Not for baseball, but as a football field for Boston University known as Nickerson Field. An old ticket booth remains as a tribute to its past. I remember sitting in the stands imagining Spahn and Sain, then praying for rain – or slugger Eddie Mathews and other greats who played there.

A few teams played in temporary facilities while waiting for their newly-constructed home. I remember mosquito-infested Colt 45 Stadium (Houston) and quaint Jarry Park (Montreal). I also remember the Dodgers playing in a make-shift-for-baseball layout within the massive LA Coliseum that included a temporary high left-field fence that made Moon Shots famous.

These ballparks gave way to the circular masses of concrete and steel known as multi-purpose stadiums hosting baseball and football. Fortunately, most of them had shorter life spans than their predecessors. Not only is Atlanta’s multi-purpose stadium gone, but so is its replacement. 

The current generation of ballparks tries to emulate the feel of those ballparks of long ago, but with modern conveniences and design. Yes, Yankee Stadium (New York) still exists, but it is not The House that Ruth Built – yet the city and franchise honor the original location.

Copyright of Yankee Stadium

Baseball history fans are lucky to have Fenway Park (Boston) and Wrigley Field (Chicago) standing as iconic tributes to the past. One has to wonder how long they will last – but for now, there is no end in sight – and for some of us, that’s a good thing.

No matter if baseball is played in the old, new, or bygone, ballparks are places of vivid memories. Ballparks are places where one can close their eyes and recall a past moment, a past hero, a past place like Ebbets or Crosley that stand no more. Ballparks occupy a special place in the minds and hearts of their fans. 

The game has changed, but ballparks remain a special place, and so are beaches. After all, I like walking on the beach because it is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

See what other bloggers have posted about Ballparks

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74 thoughts on “132 – Ballparks”

  1. I have only been in two major League ball parks, the old Toronto Blue Jay’s Exhibition Stadium, no. longer used for that, but they have the domed Roger Center, (Skydome)…and the Detroit Tigers Commerica Park. We have a team here that is a minor league, but I only was in there to see President Bush, many years ago.

    There is for sure an atmosphere of ‘lets go team ‘ in these places. Right now our Tigers are not doing very well, they are more like kittens, LOL! Hope they’ll improve.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ingrid,
      I love the old stadiums, so I know of Exhibition Stadium – a place not built for baseball but they made it work. To be at places that are no longer is an interesting feeling. I recall passing old Tigers Stadium in Detroit as it was close to the interstate, but (regretfully) never added a game there. Minor league baseball is an interesting event all to its own. I know your state has more than a handful of minor league teams. Cheers to them!

      Like

  2. There’s something special about a ballpark, Frank. No pun intended. My favorite now is PNC park in Pittsburgh, even though the team needs some help. Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford is a wonderful little AA park. I remember Forbes Field and Three Rivers Stadium. Good that the later is long gone. This post brought back memories and gave us good things to thing about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dan,
      Thanks for pitching in with some of your memories of ballparks. I remember that I watch TV games from Forbes and be amazed that they stored the batting cage deep in the outfield. It was so dark out there, I feared a mugging! I believe a portion of the outfield wall remains at the university. Three Rivers and others like it deserved to be demolished. I believe one remains (Oakland). Meanwhile, PNC looks like a great park!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There is a bit of the outfield wall remaining behind the Pitt School of Law. A group still gathers there to celebrate Bill Mazeroski’s home run.

        PNC is a fantastic ballpark. I try to get down there for a game every year.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t know much about baseball or ball parks, Frank, but I love reading about and seeing things with a great history. In the now, it feels like such places will last forever… but it isn’t long before they become part of history. And it’s good that the history stays very much alive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tom,
      Thanks for chiming in because I knew this walk had geographically-limited interest. Here in the US (generally), we’ve had 4 generations of stadiums …. the originals, which didn’t last long …. the grand old parks (of which only 2 remain standing) …. a generation of multi-purpose stadiums for football & baseball, but lacking character (all but one is gone) … and the newer ones. The life of the 2nd generation parks were long (most of the pics and references) – then the multi-purpose life was much shorter …. and time will tell what happens next.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Not a baseball fan – I did go to one game in DC a million or so years ago and fell asleep. But that was because both teams playing were beyond lackluster. Anyway, was a football fan for a long time so I know the excitement of watching a team reaching a goal – whether it’s a goalpost in football or home base in baseball. To each his own I say no matter what the sport!

    Pam

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pam,
      There’s no doubt that baseball has its moments of absolute dullness …. especially if the home team is doing its part to instill the boredom. Nonetheless, you said it well …. there is a commonality in the goals no matter the sport. I like that thought! Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dang, I lost my comment. So here goes . . .

    Nice ode to Ken Burns at the conclusion of this epic ballpark post (No sarcasm, It truly loved this). And really, you can never go wrong with Carly Simon.

    As for the old parks, it’s hard to believe Chavez Ravine is the third oldest ballpark in the majors but its true. It’s a classic west coast ballpark. The Royals stadium is going to be fifty next year, and it’s another classic.

    As for Shea Stadium, the Yankees borrowed the place from their crosstown rivals for a couple years while renovations were done on the original Yankee Stadium. Talk about cathedrals, that was one for sure. And I was, am and always will be, against the tear down. The new Yankee Stadium is really nice, but nope.

    Nothing, and I do mean nothing, compares to a baseball team and the digs they call home. Very few other sports teams are ever mentioned in relation to where they play. Like the Celtics and the old Boston Garden. The Lakers and the Forum and the Canadiens and their Forum to the North. But not many. And sadly, the MLB is going that way. They’re trying to become what all the other sports are rather than embracing what made them unique. Sad.

    Thank you for this Frank. It was a great piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marc,
      I’m glad you saw this early because I knew you would enjoy it. Besides, the last pic of Yankee Stadium was my subtle tip of the cap to you. Me – I loved the old parks, most of which have been reduced to a plaque. Camden near you started the retro crazy. What a beautiful place. PNC in Pittsburgh is a place I want to visit someday. I have seen games in all 3 Reds stadiums of my lifetime, Camdem, Wrigley (where I got to sing with Harry), & Candlestick. I regret not going to Tiger Stadium when I had the chance. Thanks for chiming in …. FYI: Merril provided an interesting link to baseball in musicals.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I loved it Cincy.

        Gracias mucho, LOL.

        Camden Yards is a classic park. The only drawback to the place is that unlike Memorial Stadium, the Yards became more of a tourist destination. So the homefield advantage the O’s had at the old place was gone.

        PNC is a beaut! The Zen, or Citizens Bank Park in Philly is very nice. I haven’t seen the new “Shea” but it seems rather generic.

        The Tigers old park was kinda cool. The new one, again, seems rather generic.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I must admit I have never been in any ballparks as large as these pictures feature. I have been in smaller, local ballparks with little league. Of all the sports in the world my favorite is Baseball. I always watched games on television with my father.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peggy,
      The feeling inside a baseball stadium is a unique feeling. There’s just a feeling that I don’t get at venues of other sports … well, unless there is something very special about it. Glad I was able to rekindle the memories of watching games with your father. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Super post, Frank. I worked on the technology infrastructure for Pac Bell Park (Now called Oricle Park) in San Francisco. It opened in 2000 and represents a throw back to those wonderful parks of the past. Was nice to visit the memory.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. John,
      I remember that you worked on Pac Bell. With that in mind, I can’t believe they didn’t name the place after you. Just another example of how big-bucks replaces what one should do! That stadium is one I would love to visit … but I did see a game at old Candlestick.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I love baseball parks when they are empty. They seem to have an aura of anticipation and quiet joy. You can almost smell the sweat and the popcorn on the air and if you listen very carefully you can hear the whispers of adulation and despair. It’s a lovely place to walk to be quiet when there’s nobody there.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Baseball perhaps to us in the UK, is much like Cricket is to many. Lol
    I’m afraid I can’t say I’m a fan of either..
    BUT … I loved the black and white photos and learning more..
    Have a great weekend Frank. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sue,
      Because of my non-US audience, I hesitated on using this post. I have 2 others about baseball, but I’m limiting myself to a max of one per year! But yes – no matter the sport – certain places contain a certain magic. Those stadiums in black and white are now rubble – but some of them were active during my childhood years.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Cindy,
      Cheers for a post that strikes hubby’s passion! …. so I surely hope you passed this along for him to read! I’m with you … .there is something about the combination of the ballpark and its food … Unfortunately, that includes ridiculous pricing. Thanks for chiming in. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m not as into baseball as other sports, but I can empathize with the feelings you’ve conveyed here, Frank. Yes, it’s a special feeling to be shoulder-to-shoulder with like-minded fans, cheering your heart out for your team, embracing traditions, celebrating wins (and commiserating over losses). You’ve captured the feeling well — thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Debbie,
      Thank you … and interesting enough, as I reading your comment I thought about that special venue for the Golden Domers. It may not be a ballpark, must it is a special place – a place with mystique and for memories – therefore it is special! It holds the kind of magic that ballparks hold. Thanks your walking along and sharing. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. As a former rec softball player, I always loved baseball as well, Frank. I also enjoyed watching my daughters play when they were young. I have fond memories of walking to the neighborhood pony league field on lazy summer days watching the boys play and eating sunflower seeds with my friends in the stands. That field is long gone to make way for more homes. The last MBA game I saw in person was a playoff game at the San Diego Padres in 1984. That was pure excitement and allof San Diego buzzed. They eventually lost but it was a great experience. Good times, thanks for the reminders today!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Terri,
      Thanks for sharing a bit of yourself and your tie to the game. Playoff games are so exciting … especially if the home team creates some excitement – let alone win! I’ve been to winning atmosphere for football, but not baseball. Cincinnati is a special place for the game …. especially Opening Day. There is no city that does it like here. The buzz, the excitement, the tradition can’t be beat.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Your first paragraph… I admit to being taken aback. Like you dismissed all the teams north of the 45th parallel… However, I’ll forgive you for that by your including this fabulous Carly Simon rendition of the classic baseball tune everyone knows – whether they are into baseball or not.

    I, unlike you, did not get a chance to see the Expos play at Jarry Park (I guess my father wasn’t much of a fan of baseball…) But I have to admit, I do enjoy going to a ballgame now and again. I can’t watch a whole game on TV. Sadly, we no longer have access here except for special occasions at the Big Owe (as we call our Olympic stadium) which can never have the warmth of a smaller venue.

    Wonderful post, Frank.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dale,
      I was in Montreal I think the Expos first year …. maybe the second. I wanted to go to the game but we couldn’t get tickets. So we went to Jarry Park a few nights later to watch an exhibition NFL game. (found it – Aug 25th 1969) …. Jarry Park was definitely one of those interesting temporary venues. I also know that Montreal had a minor league team at a different location for many years. I believe Jackie Robinson played there. Meanwhile, no intentional diss of the Canadian ballparks. If you noticed, most of the stadiums I mentioned are gone by the way of the wrecking ball. Of course, the first and last ones were today’s stadiums for my team and Marc’s.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, you are correct. Jackie Robinson did play there. And I am totally teasing you on the diss, you know that.
        And yes. Of course. I love that, actually 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I couldn’t agree with you more, Frank. Ballparks are truly temples. We moved from my birthplace of Huntington, West Virginia (not far from you, perhaps?) to Houston when I was less than a year old, so if we went to Colt Stadium and suffered with the mosquitoes during my early life, I wouldn’t remember it. But I went to many a game at the Astrodome and became a huge Astros fan, and cheating episode or not, I remain one through and through. The atmosphere of a ballgame is like no other. I’m sorry today’s baseball has lost you as a fan, but I’m sure I understand why. Thanks so much for linking to my post about the Nolan documentary at the recent Rangers game. I look forward to following you and reading more of your writing! 🙂
    Best wishes from Arlington, TX
    Frank Christlieb,
    Multiplatform editor, The Dallas Morning News

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Frank,
      Welcome first-time commenter to the friendly sands of my beach. Thanks for writing the piece about Nolan Ryan. Wow …. he was quite the player with great longevity.

      You’ve included many nougets. First of all, we grew up with the same TV stations. Being in SE Ohio during the pre-cable days of my youth, I grew up with the 3 stations from Huntington and Charleston. Then again, you weren’t there long enough to experience them.

      The Astrodome was a true wonder when it first opened. I recall it have various issues in its early days. But I also recall The Toy Canon – Jimmy Wynn – he could hit!

      Baseball has a long history with greed …. it wasn’t until the 1970s when players got involved in that chase as well. I’m a Reds lifer. The last lockout got to me … and then Reds ownership trading players to cut costs. (and their recent history of doing that hasn’t delivered good results). I’m trying to outdo ownership … As they save money, I’m saving time and money. I have not yet seen in person or one tv one pitch … not one …. AND I haven’t listened to one pitch on the radio. The franchise remains in my blood, but the owners have taken my interest away … and I have a long history of slogging through thin time … even the lost decade of the Bengals in the 1990s.

      Like

  14. Baseball is okay
    All sports are okay.
    Thing is… they are not what I thought they were.
    You have a sport. You have a home team. The home team is comprised of people from the city/town or school, college they live in/are an integral part of.
    The teams compete, hoping their homespun players…the team will win.
    NOT! Anymore. Athletes are bought and sold, so are the fans.
    It’s a$$$$$$$$ business, not a sport.
    “Mighty Casey has struck out!
    Cheers, Frank!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Resa,
      I know what you are saying. I’ll take it one step further. Today’s sports are actually two separate business attempting to correlate as one enterprise. The two businesses? Ownership and the players. Yes, the players are also a business. Unfortunately, baseball has evolved into a competition between the haves and the have nots. At least the other professional leagues attempt to balance the inequities. But not baseball. Then again, it has had a history of greed. However, despite the today’s woes, the ballpark stands as a field of dreams.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I’m not a huge baseball enthusiast, but my husband and son-in-law enjoy traveling to see some of the major parks. I do admit to enjoying a game much more when I’m in a ballpark. I enjoy the different food vendors, for one thing. LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Debra,
      I recall that hubby loves the game, so I’m sure he recalls many of the venues that I mentioned. I hope you pass this post on to him. Baseball and food help make the ballpark experience …. and today’s the food is much more than typical concession stand fare!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Full disclosure: I am not a sports fan. But I have at some point of another lived in community with many who are: sportsmen/women as well as fans of sporting events. So I do fully understand the thrill of watching a game live in the stadium; although my interest was alway in the peripherals (food, socializing, tail gate parties), they were always good outings with friends. Having said this, I was always moved by the singing of the anthem, the breath-holding moments of gameplay, and the turbulence of triumph & defeat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ju-Lyn,
      Although you are not a sports fan, you have a good understanding of the passion involved for the fans. You get it. I don’t know if it is true throughout the world (but my guess is YES), many stadiums here in the US are special in their own way. Although I focused on ballparks (baseball stadiums), other venues are also magical … and yes – the site of the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Thanks for walking along.

      Like

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