I have truly loved baseball for 56 of my 63 years on this earth. I played partially through high school and coached my three sons for a decade. Most people don’t fully appreciate the critical thinking involved with every pitch and some may even think it’s boring. From experience I know that the best way to capture the magic of the sport is by seeing a game in person, and here are three of my favorite stadiums in which to watch our National Pastime.
1. Fenway Park
Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox and the Green Monster is my first choice. Fenway is the oldest surviving major league stadium and was originally constructed in 1912. Over the years it has been home to Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, Pedro Martinez and many more excellent players. The 86-year gap between World Series victories was gut wrenching, given their rivalry with the New York Yankees, but the passionate fans never gave up hope. If you are fortunate enough to see a game at Fenway, make sure you plan ahead and reserve seats on top of the Green Monster, the wall in left field. It will be a bucket list experience for any true baseball fan.
2. Dodger Stadium
Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine, Los Angeles was home to a classic moment in baseball history that I was also fortunate enough to see in person. It was Game 1 of the 1988 World Series and I was sitting in the second deck even with the first base line. I saw manager Tommy LaSorda motion for a pinch hitter with a runner on first in the bottom of the 9th inning. The Dodgers were one run behind and Dennis Eckersley, one of the greatest relievers ever, was on the mound for the Oakland Athletics. Out limps Kirk Gibson with both knees injured and every fan in the stadium was tense, knowing that if Gibson hits a grounder he cannot run it out. On a full count, Gibson proceeds to hit a game-winning homerun and can barely run the bases. I sat in awe along with the rest of the country and watched this spectacle for two hours before leaving the park. It is for this moment, along with hundreds of others, that make Dodge Stadium a must-visit park.
3. Yankee Stadium
Yankee Stadium home of the New York Yankees is my last nominee and for a simple reason. Growing up, this stadium was home to Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford and Roger Maris with Casey Stengel as manager. They were simply the greatest! Between 1949 and 1962 this team won 9 out of 14 World Series, Lost 3 more and only missed the 1954 and 1959 Championships. A record that is still unmatched to this day. In addition, there is no other stadium that erects the monuments and preserves the history of the game as well as Yankee stadium.
What is your favorite stadium and why does it hold that place in your heart?