Running the Bases: Our Stadium Challenge

The phrase “relationship goals” is more than a hashtag and goes definitely beyond any projected meme that features your favorite still in pop culture history, like pre-apocalypse Andrew Lincoln holding cue cards with phrases about what love actually is.

Since early November, my partner and I have found a good mix of similarities and differences, which aren’t really different aside from some specifics. We’re both active, but she’s definitely more athletic than I am; and we both love art and performances, which I have an edge. We love a variety of music and similar bands, but her adoration of country music parallels my preference for the heavier stuff. Where we favor Syracuse University athletics and the Rangers, she prefers the Tigers and the Bills to my Yankees and Giants.

There is something about baseball. The humming of the lights and scoreboard. The cool, warm and hot temperatures. The crunching of popcorn and aroma of pretzels. Stretchy nacho cheese. Ice cream in plastic helmets. Families of all sizes, relationships of all kinds.

Watching the sport, similarly to many athletic events, is better live. It was decided during one of our conversations: One of our things is to hit up every baseball stadium. We’re allowed to go a stadium on our own, but that box doesn’t get checked until we attend a game together.

Dodger Stadium. [Photo by C. Malone]
The two of us took an extended weekend/short holiday to Los Angeles this past weekend, which proved to be a necessity. Aside the few days in New York City or a couple days in the Adirondacks, I haven’t taken time away since, I think, 2013, when I hit up New Orleans. This current trip finally brought me to California, and the furthest west I’ve ever gone in the U.S.

We stayed with her architect/graphic designer brother and hit up a variety of food joints, breweries, alcoves and baseball stadiums. Plus, an afternoon-evening trip to Joshua Tree was worth the couple-hour drive.

On Friday, April 20, we hit up Dodgers Stadium and then ventured to Angel Stadium the following night. We checked off the two close, yet different stadiums to get the ball moving with our goal. Plus, they are two of the five oldest baseball stadiums; Fenway is the oldest (and we’ll be headed there mid-May for third).

Dodger Stadium, the third oldest stadium built in 1962, aside from the clusterfuck of a parking process, is a wonderful venue to watch a game. The atmosphere is intimidating for an opposing team, but it’s definitely fun for the patron. The fans are rightfully loud and friendly, the sound system is louder and the between-inning entertainment is energetic. Our right field seats gave us a great view and an opportunity to sit next to the speakers, which, yes, provided great sound.

The ultimate wiener — a fully-loaded Dodger Dog. [Photo by C. Malone]
Although the Dodgers lost to Washington, there was a lot to celebrate about the “opening pitch” to our stadium challenge. Their Dodger Dog won the heart of my stomach. Katey and I got our 10-inch hot dogs pulled pork style. Shredded, barbecue-smothered pork on top of the standard dog, plus onions and jalepeños, cradled in a Kings Hawaiian roll. Eating the dog was a flavorful messy delight. It’s a must-consume, especially on a cooler evening in the stands.

Angel Stadium, which was built in 1966 and the fourth oldest stadium, feels like a classic baseball stadium. The evening was a bit warmer for this baseball battle, but the crowd was cool. We held great conversations with the fans around us in left field. A beautiful sunset colored the sky, which was fitting to go with the iconic rock-and-stream aesthetic in center field.

Sunset at Angels Stadium. [Photo C. Malone]
Albert Pujols then stepped up to the plate.

Katey and I were talking about how baseball games and concerts. Even if you’re not a fan of the band or the team, music is music and baseball is baseball. There is a song you want to hear, and it sounds better live. You see a clutch player, and you want them to prove themselves and smack a ball out of the park.

Doesn’t Pujols fill our expectations? One great bat-ball connection sent the ball soaring. The crowd roared. The fire exploded from their spouts in center field’s Pride Rock. We all got off our feet, cheered and clapped. The Angels gained a “W” against their neighboring Giants.

Plus, the sunset that evening was gorgeous. And the walk to the park was quick.

Noble Ale Works brews. [Photo by C. Malone]
We parked at Noble Ale Works, which allowed first-come-first-serve patrons to station their car for the game. Of course, we enjoyed the brewery’s line of grog, which was impressive.

Each stadium we hit up, we’re rooting for the home team. (If they don’t win, it is a shame.) As previously stated, in less than a month we are hitting up Fenway Park, the 1912 and oldest stadium. I will abide by our non-negotiable rule, I will be rooting for Boston — something I’ve never done. The exceptions to the rule are Tigers and Yankee games.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s a love-hate relationship with the BoSox. Without them, baseball would be nothing. The relationship with the Yankees, there isn’t a rivalry as comparable. Not even Syracuse and Georgetown.

(Yes, I went there.)

At the end of the day, good baseball is great baseball. Plus, traveling to these stadiums are automatic opportunities to check out the rest of our country and Toronto. Go out for a game and take in some culture.

The innings and the possibilities are endless.


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5 thoughts on “Running the Bases: Our Stadium Challenge

  1. Great for you and Katey, Chris! Baseball stadium visits are magical, indeed. My dear wife Karen and I have checked off Citi Field and Yankee Stadium (for a Mets-Yankees game!) and the parks in San Francisco and Cleveland on the major league circuit. On my own I’ve done Toronto, plus the now-gone stadiums in Montreal (Expos now transplanted to the Nationals), Baltimore and Philadelphia as well as old Yankee Stadium and my beloved and most-attended Shea Stadium. I wish you two a happy and fulfilling baseball journey!

      1. You’ve put a pretty good dent in the list! Keep going, right?

        It’s easy and simple thing to do when stadiums are close, too. It may seem ridiculous to some, but a nice relaxing baseball game is a great way to end any evening.

        Thanks for the encouragement. We’ll get the stadiums done, not sure how long it’s going to take us, but we’ll just make the most of it. Can’t wait for Fenway.

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