Showing posts from September, 2009

Safeco Field in Seattle

While a ballpark tour is not the same as seeing an actual game, I have to compliment the Mariners for the first-rate tour of Safeco Field. I came away with a deep appreciation for both the stadium, the way it was designed -- including a retractable dome -- and its combination of function and understated elegance that makes it one of the best places to see a game. The streetside view features posters of several players, most notably future Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Junior. Below, a sculpture of a glove rivals Yankee Stadium's "bat" as a place to meet. Below, a view you don't get from many ballparks. Safeco's outdoor rooftop patio offers a superb view of the skyline, including Seattle's legendary Space Needle. The retractable roof, which stores neatly over the right field seats, was actually needed for just nine home games this season. It provides the perfect compromise -- an outdoor stadium with great sightlines that never suffers rainouts. The owner's su

Certainly Looks Impressive from I-5

My daughter Dara began college this week at Evergreen State College in Washington State. While time and priorities didn't give me a chance to catch a game at Safeco Field this trip, the ballpark certainly cuts an impressive image when you drive past it on I-5.


When a team is on a roll the way this year's Yankees are, a new hero seems to step forward every night. This evening, it was right fielder Nick Swisher (seen back in May against the Phillies). He smacked a pair of home runs tonight -- they bookended the scoring as the Yankees got by the Rays 3-2. The always enthusiastic switch hitter first connected right-handed in the 2nd inning. Then, he saved his left-handed swing for the bottom of the 9th inning, where he snapped a tie, launching one toward the new Stadium's cozy right field area. Amazingly, these two on the night were Swisher's first home runs in his home ballpark in three months -- and yet he's got an impressive total of 26 for the season. To quote Yankees radio voice John Sterling, "Swishalicious!" Follow-up (Sept. 29): Swisher has enjoyed a productive September at Yankee Stadium, including a home run in tonight's win over the Royals. A little home grown artwork serves as the screen saver on the per

Closing out Trenton's Season

Nothing better than baseball on Labor Day -- today, I made my first visit to New Britain, Connecticut, home of the Twins' Double-A farm team. The lure was another chance to catch the Yankees' affiliate the Trenton Thunder. New Britain Stadium has seen several top Twins prospects blossom over the years, including current major league stars Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. But my focus today was on a likely future Yankee -- shortstop Eduardo Nunez. Fans getting autographs from this talented shortstop had best hold onto them -- in a couple or three years, they'll be able to say they saw Nunez before he was famous (and charging big bucks for his signature!). Both teams lined up on the field for the national anthem before the game. (Above) Nice to see the Twins train their prospects in the almost lost art of bunting. (Below) it's mascot time! Trenton 3rd baseman Marcos Vechionacci has spent several years in the Yankees' farm system. But with Alex Rodriguez only two years in

Home of the Reigning Champs

My first visit to Citizens Bank Park in two years, one of baseball's best neo-retro ballparks. Walking in from the parking lot, I caught this perfect match of scenery -- statue and skyline. The fierce game-day expression of Phllies Hall of Famer Steve Carlton. The Phillies pay tribute with this sign to their beloved voice Harry Kalas, who died just before an early-season game in DC. One of the ballpark's nice architectural features is the stacked bullpen area. Take your seat before the game and catch the starting pitchers warming up. A Phillies game always includes some clever moves by the Phantatic. Below, he's getting into the fun with a dance troupe performing on Latino Family Night. This series focuses on the Giants' bright young star Pablo Sandoval. Above, a high and tight pitch to the chunky Venezuelan who has settled in as San Francisco's everyday 3rd baseman. Below, notice the glove worn by the player nicknamed Kung Fu Panda. Does it sport a panda motif? J