A GREAT view of the field at AT&T Park in Chattanooga during their pre-season open house!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Atlanta Fulton County Stadium

What is left of Atlanta Fulton County Stadium is in the Turner Field parking lot. I like the way that, at least a little of it, is preserved. We actually drove the bases. Again, see my previous posts about the Braves organization, touring their park, and seeing their museum.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Joker Marchant Stadium- Lakeland, FL

Joker Marchant Stadium was a highlight of our baseball road trip.

Physically it was not the most impressive park but, over all, it just had a nice feel. Good staff, good fans, and good atmosphere.

The Detroit Tigers coaches and players seemed happy to see the fans, and even interacted well. Check out the photo of Tom Brookens hamming it up for a fan's photo! Awesome!

Unlike some of the other parks we visited, the Tigers were pushing the home town minor league Flying Tigers. The usual home team's merchandise was available in the gift shop, and they had Flying Tiger souvenir cups at the concession stand (you could choose that, or a Detroit Tiger's spring training cup). Oh, and season schedules for the minor league team were available.

To me, ticket prices here were a bit more reasonable. We had a couple of seats in a very nice area near the Tiger's dugout. Stadium staff came around to check tickets before the game. And again, unlike at some other parks, I thought the staff was at least pleasant as they asked people to return to their actual seats. We had a good time chatting with fans in our area!

Check out the picture of the guy who brought his stuffed tiger to the game! it looks like the tiger has his neck turned to check out the action at the plate!

The Tigers were playing the Nationals, and there was a ceremony before the game acknowledging that great 2006 team, as Pudge was on hand now with Washington. It was very nice.

We generally enjoyed the city of Lakeland too. We found a couple of really nice restaurants we liked downtown. Traffic wasn't too bad either. Sometimes you visit a park and think that it is nice, but you have been there and seen it- and there is no particular reason to go back.

We did not feel that way at Joker Marchant.

I would like to go back to see the minor league team, or to catch the Tigers training again.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Luther Williams Field Macon, GA.

I was very excited about stopping by Luther Williams Field in Macon recently. The park is one of the oldest, and it hosted the legendary Macon Peaches for decades. I was glad to find out that an independent pro team in the Peach State League is playing there! I would love to catch a game sometime at this facility. http://peachstateleague.com/

Friday, April 22, 2011

Jim Bouton, Bryce Harper, and Beer

A funny thing happened at my local ballpark the other day.

Jim Bouton tossed the first pitch! I thought that was pretty cool. I also thought it was a bit odd that my favorite team, the Lexington Legends, did not mention Jim's appearance on their web site.

Sure, there was a mention that National's prospect Bryce Harper would be there. In fact, there were adds in the paper about it.

Don't get me wrong, seeing big name prospects is a big reason to to see a minor league game. It is one of the reasons I go to a lot of games.

But come on, there should be some mention of Bouton at the park, right?

They did announce at the start of the game that he would be selling and signing his book for the first few innings.

I went to find the author/pitcher. I was pleased to see a huge line of young people waiting around.
WOW! I figured thats pretty cool! Some young baseball fans (they looked to be college aged) going to pick up a copy of "Ball Four!" How cool is that?

Then I remembered, it was $1 beer night. The kids weren't in line to meet Bouton, they were there for cheap beer.

I walked right up to Jim and bought a new copy his book, and he kindly signed it. There was no line. I did see people coming up after me to buy books though.

I DID email the Legends about the lack of promoting Jim Bouton's appearance.

The Legends are a classy group, and they let me know that THEY only knew about his appearance a few hours before the game themselves. They said that they wished they had known sooner so that they could have promoted it!

So, after getting that email, I sort of looked at things a little differently. For the price of a ticket on this night, a baseball fan could go to the park expecting $1 drinks and baseball prospects. Seeing Jim Bouton was an unadvertised bonus.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Turner Field- Atlanta, GA.

For $12 you can tour Turner Field in Atlanta! I think thats pretty cool.

We stopped by for the tour on our way to Florida.

The Braves are a pretty classy organization. The tours are walk up and pretty much hassle free.

I love it when a park makes it easy for you to check things out, even on a non-game day.

The tour includes admission to the Braves Museum (see my other post). Also, the tour was thorough, including visits through the suites, dugout, and the field.

I love it when I get one of those cool old timers as a tour guide. You know, the guys who know everything about baseball. Well, for this tour, our guide was young, but still knew a lot about the team and the park. I was pleasantly surprised.

In fact, all of the staff here when we went were great. There was a friendly attendant in the parking lot keeping an eye on things (I like that kind of security).

Friday, April 15, 2011

Wild Pitches

Man, the season is here again! I get so fidgety right before the season starts.

There is so much going on right now, it is a good time to be a baseball fan. Well, except here in Lexington- rain has affected baseball in town.

Still, I am glad the season is going again.

I am excited about seeing some new parks, some prospects, and seeing some parks I visit about once a year. There are some great day and weekend trip baseball towns in and around the state. Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana the Virginias and Carolinas all come to mind for me.

Most towns that have a minor league team also have great museums, restaurants, and other attractions. Go see a game somewhere this weekend!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Osceola County Stadium, FL

We took a moment to catch the Astros playing the Tigers this sprint training, at the Astros facility in Kissimmee.

We had a very nice experience at this park, as it only hold 5300 and it feels very comfortable, while a bit minimal.

The promo for this game was a dog and coke with every ticket which was a treat! Oddly, though the park belonged to the Astros, there seemed to be more fan support for the Tigers. That is spring training. The park had a more casual feel than some, so we felt comfortable venturing out and watching the game at different angles.