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Oct 2014 Stadium of the Month – Franklin Field

Posted by Sean Rowland on October 28, 2014



Sick of college football games lasting over 4 hours? Tired of financial greed and the almighty dollar dominating FBS? Then it’s time to jump down a level and check out a game in FCS, where there are some good teams and more importantly, a decent assortment of unique stadiums to visit. That is no more apparent than in the Ivy League, where historic teams play in often ancient facilities that retain charm, size and character. I’ve been to five out of the eight and it’s hard to pick one as this month’s Stadium of the Month, but when pressed, I have to go with Franklin Field in Philadelphia. As home of the Penn Quakers, this venue dates back well over a century and has plenty to like.

With an absence of luxury seating, the double-decker horseshoe stadium provides great sightlines and that is despite a track that surrounds the football field. This isn’t just any track as the famed Penn Relays are competed annually with huge crowds. A great backdrop of Philly’s skyline greets those in the South stands and the venue itself sits next to another place that makes jaws drop, The Palestra. Be sure to walk around Franklin Field as there is a good deal of historical murals and statues worth viewing and there are many quirks in this historic venue. My favorite are the unique seats formed at the back of the first-level seating as the design is nothing like what you would see today. While crowds aren’t exactly large for Quaker football, the fans that are there still hang on to tradition and the Toast Toss is a sight to behold before the start of the fourth quarter. Philadelphia has a ton of sporting options, but be sure not to look past this one and take some time on a Saturday afternoon to enjoy a refreshing day of football.


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Hockey Update – The Wheels Are Set In Motion

Posted by Sean Rowland on October 21, 2014


The new ECHL, which includes teams from the now-defunct CHL. Just two teams away from the ability to become a true AA league with affiliates for each franchise (image from ECHL)


The biggest story in the hockey world regarding franchises, leagues and active arenas is the potential colosial restructuring coming of the lower leagues. With the western teams in the NHL understandably wanting teams closer to home base, the whole design of the minor leagues could be in flux. The wheels have somewhat been set in motion this season with the very recent absorption of the 7 CHL teams into the ECHL. Remarkably, this happened right near to the start of the season, but somehow the league re-did the schedule and divisions in a tight timeframe. The ECHL now is a 28 team league, just two short of having a legit AA imprint and partnership with the AHL-NHL. It should be noted that the San Francisco Gulls only lasted a season and a half in the practically empty Cow Palace and replacing them is the Indy Fuel, which will play in a renovated, historic and awesome Fairgrounds Coliseum. Also gone from this season are the Las Vegas Wranglers as they leave Orleans Arena and their idea of putting a new hockey rink on the roof of a casino didn’t exactly work out. From the CHL, there were 10 teams playing last season and with 7 making the move to the ECHL, the other three folded. Two of them are hoping to return next season, but for now the Arizona SunDogs and the Denver Cutthroats go dark, along with their respective arenas on The List. The Family Arena, former home to the defunct St. Charles Chill, will remain thanks to indoor football playing in the facility.

In the AHL, the historic league retains it’s general make-up for at least this year (and for selfish reasons, I hope for much longer), but there are still a few very notable moves. Ironically, the most recent western expansion move did not work out and the Abbotsford franchise folded. That leaves a $66 million, relatively new 7000 seat building tenant-less and unfortunately off The List (with probably a lot of pissed off taxpayers). The Flames affiliate sets up shop in Glens Falls, where the Phantoms have left to be just an hour outside Philly as the brand new PPL Center has been completed in downtown Allentown. Lehigh Valley is a true AAA market with both the AHL and IL baseball now in town. I’ll give it a few years to work the kinks out, but I can not wait to visit the Phantoms and PPL as I now will have AHL hockey just an hour drive from me. In Portland, the lease issue has been settled between the Pirates and the Cumberland County Civic Center. Hockey returned to a near sellout crowd last week and the building has been renamed Cross Insurance Arena, in conjunction with renovations that include premium seating and enhanced concessions. Renovations also finished in another older arena as Binghamton added a new video scoreboard above center ice. This goes with the replacement of every arena seat last year. Their naming rights is a little strange as the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena not only pays homage to the veteran Maines, but it is also a deal with the family owned Maines Paper and Food Service company, which is paying $75,000 a year for Floyd’s name on the building. Lastly, Hamilton sold out and got rid of a pretty good name (Copps Coliseum) for a generic corporate one (FirstOntario Centre).

Down in Juniors, a new arena has opened in the league that I have a long-term plan to see every team play a home game. The OHL’s Niagara IceDogs move into the Meridian Center in Saint Catharine’s. It certainly is a pricey building at $50 million for an arena with just around 5000 seats. Also of note, the Ottawa 67s return to the Ottawa Civic Center as they were forced to depart last season due to renovations for both the arena and the attached stadium that houses this year’s expansion CFL franchise. Annoyingly, both the arena and stadium will be called TD Place.

America’s top junior league featured a few franchise changes as the USHL welcomed the Madison Capitols. Veterans Memorial Coliseum (inside the bigger Alliant Energy Center complex) will host the team and this a homecoming of sorts as the Capitols played in the same league and arena from 1984-1995. In Sioux Falls, the Stampede move into a surprisingly large and state-of-the-art arena given their location and region. With a capacity of 10,450, the Denny Sanford Premier Center not only will host regular hockey, but also may put in a bid to host the First Four games in the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Of course this makes absolutely no sense given South Dakota’s remoteness and poor accessibility given travel is a big consideration for those games. Researching this new arena, it was challenging to actually find out about it because the whole thing is a huge complex and it was actually built around the existing Sioux Falls Arena, which will still host events including Augustana College basketball games. That makes Augustana the very rare college, let alone D-II, to have two basketball arenas on The List as their split on-campus home meets capacity requirements. 

Wrapping things up at the college level, Rochester Institute of Technology just opened a 4,000-seat building on campus. The Gene Polisseni Center gives a RIT a first-class facility that should be filled with orange many nights. Though they are from my hometown, I can’t quite root for them as I was at plenty of RIT-Oswego (my alma mater) games back when the Tigers were Division III. Given the power of their program and a beautiful facility as well, I’m surprised the Lakers have not followed suit and moved up to the D-I level yet.


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Posted by Sean Rowland on October 16, 2014

Heinz Field in Pittsburgh (Photo Credit: Stadium Journey)

Heinz Field in Pittsburgh (Photo Credit: Stadium Journey)

– What in the world is with all of the empty seats at Heinz Field? We are used to seeing Steeler fans infiltrate road stadiums and make lots of noise, but where are they at home? Dating back to last year and the first few games this season, it is quite notable the amount of yellow plastic showing up on the TV screen. We all know that in terms of popularity, the Steelers are at the top of the league, so what is going on? If cost of tickets was a reason, that would be awesome, because I would hope it starts a movement by fans (in all of the major leagues) to lower prices. But given that most seats at that stadium are season ticket holders that have already paid for their seat earlier in the year, I doubt that’s it (though they can certainly try to make some of that money back in the secondary market). It can’t be that the team sucks either, because that was not an excuse in Week 1, where I would rank emptiness of stadiums as following: Dolphins, Buccaneers, Rams, Steelers. I have no idea what it is and would love for someone with more connections and resources to take a closer look.

- On the subject of football…how much does Phil Simms suck? Words aren’t enough for his suckitude and I hate watching one of his games. How he has been on a #1 announce team for well over a decade is beyond me. Probably my biggest irk with Simms is how he constantly contradicts himself when trying to make a point. This happens so often when the replay comes up and he casually shifts sides as the evidence is clear he is an idiot. It drives me nuts there is not more video evidence of this on YouTube and I vow to make a compilation the rest of the season. 

- Plenty has been written on the failures of the US Ryder Cup team and what needs to be corrected. As a passionate golfer and fan of the sport, the answer certainly is muddy. Better strategy? Better team spirit? Better players? I think all the guesses are useless if some of the best golfers and golfer minds in the country can’t figure it out yet. No matter his ineptitude and disconnect, I certainly did feel bad for Tom Watson during that incredibly awkward press conference. After each painful loss, two years seems so far away and I’m hoping once we get back to Hazeltine that we can make a turnaround. The more we lose, the more pressure builds and those that golf certainly know that pressure is not exactly a positive feeling when trying to hit a golf ball.

- Coming full circle on empty stadiums, I’m sure many saw those pictures of the Florida Panthers game played in front of almost nobody at the Sunrise Center. To be fair, it was a Monday afternoon on Columbus Day, but there were plenty watching in Boston playing at the same time. Anyway, the Panthers troubles are well documented, along with the overall failure of Bettman’s southern expansion. I’ll apologize in advance if anyone indeed is a passionate Panthers fan because moving a team is nothing to joke about, but where would you like to see the Panthers play instead of Florida. There are certainly options, but my preference is Quebec and then Hartford. While I know the Whalers will never come back without a new arena, the remarkable interest of a team that left almost 20 years ago is undeniable. Quebec has the benefit of a new arena opening next year and everything seems in their favor to become a leading candidate. Man, seeing that classic logo on a sky blue jersey come alive again would be awesome.


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Colgate Football

Posted by Sean Rowland on October 7, 2014

Andy Kerr Stadium.

It was a rainy morning as I left Syracuse and it looked like all the rain gear I brought with me would be put to use for the Colgate game. It took about an hour to get to Hamilton and though the drive was awkward having to use country roads, it did allow me to pass through some pleasant little towns like Cazenovia and Morrisville. Hamilton was similar as this tiny village of just 4,000 sported a main intersection at the center with very development on the outskirts. However, this primary meeting of roads represented a charming little downtown of brick buildings. The theatre and the college bookstore are most notable, while the white-painted Colgate Inn oozes history. Several places beckoned for an early bite to eat, but I chose 22 Utica Street Cafe. Trip Advisor reviews of this are spot on as the cafe looks like it should be good…but my roast beef ‘special’ wasn’t all that and I’m not a fan of a place that does not put prices on their menu. $15 for a sandwich, homemade chips and a drink seemed a bit much. The owner also gave a lot of phony ‘sweeties and honey’s’. It is still an acceptable spot to eat, but my shortness on time led me to change plans for a quicker bite to eat here after originally planning on eating at the Inn. Another good place is the Good Nature Farm Brewery and Tap Room. After walking through the farmers market at the nearby park, it was time for some Raiders football.

The rain thankfully stopped and the soggy grass lot had a handful of both Holy Cross and Colgate tailgaters before the game. It was an odd entrance into the stadium as to get to the main stands, both the ticket stand and those checking tickets can be found right near the parking lot entrance. I had an odd encounter walking past the gate without even realizing and went through without even knowing I was in a ticket designated area. A little strange. Anyway, the main home stands arches upward with all bleachers and the visitors side contains a set of bleachers with a small press box on top. The best part of the experience is that beautiful surrounding view as the vibrant hills in the area are lit up with color in October. It certainly is a pleasant setting for football. The crowd was held back likely because of the weather and the laid-back game day setting applies to the crowd too. The game was refreshing as it is so great to watch football without incessant media timeouts. Colgate went old school as they used ground and pound to perfection in the second half. First, the Crusaders jumped out to a 17-7 lead and a key point of the game was Colgate cashing in with just :04 left in the second quarter as Alex Greenawalt hauled in a 14 yard pass to cut the deficit. A huge interception late in the third quarter led to a 14 play drive that QB Jake Melville finished off with a 1-yard run and the Raiders had the lead 20-17. With Holy Cross driving again deep into opposing territory, Peter Pujals made is second huge pick of the game to keep the Crusaders off the board. Then Colgate finished off the clock with a remarkable 15 play, 7:35 drive that ran the clock out for a victory. Every one of those plays was a run and the Raiders had 55 total rushes for 224 yards. A little bit of light rain and colder temperatures in the second half did not hamper the event and it was an enjoyable game in a nice football setting best seen in October. Look for a full review in a few days, along with a write-up over at Stadium Journey.


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My Rise and Fall with Syracuse Athletics

Posted by Sean Rowland on October 5, 2014

Carrier Dome

Lawrence Moten, Donovan McNabb, John Wallace, Marvin Harrison, Otto the Orange. These are just a few of the guys that were a big part of my sporting life while following the Syracuse Orangemen an hour and a half away in my hometown of Rochester. It was my favorite team, up there with the Bills and Sabres and that passion continued as I went to school in Oswego and got to attend both football and basketball games at the Dome. The culmination was that magical night on April 7, 2003 when I screeched and ran around campus after Kirk Hinrich’s shot fell short and Jim Boeheim raised his hands up as the Orangemen won the National Championship.

After making a career-move to New Jersey and following the incredible sharpshooting of G-Mac, Syracuse Athletics slowly started to evolve just like other Big-Time Athletics in the NCAA. Growing more towards the Kyle Whelliston school of thought, these were small things at first that were just annoying: Branding themselves as “New York’s College Team”, advertising in Yankee Stadium, following the college football fad of having matte helmets with crazy, funky designs and changing uniform colors. Then came the bombshell…A-C-C. Along with Pittsburgh, they were one of the first on the East Coast to make a major league switch and the conference change was for that almighty Benjamin in addition to more exposure (as if they didn’t have enough). With my frustration for the Power 5 conferences growing, along with my deepening love for smaller schools playing in geographically sensical leagues, the Syracuse Orange part of my life was fading. In 2012-2013, I was having a hard time enjoying their games and in basketball season, found myself openly rooting for Montana in the first round of the tournament. Last year, I stopped following ‘Cuse cold turkey and didn’t miss it. Not even my friends back home knew about my disloyal jumping of ship. Ending a favorite sports team relationship is so rare (and out of my character), but I just could not stomach being a fake fan of a team/school. All of the new directions from the program rub me the wrong way and yeah, I miss the good ol’ days, but continuing to follow and root for the Orange wouldn’t be honest to myself.

All of this brings me to today, where I returned to the sight of so much sporting change in my life. Being back amongst the Orange faithful did make me do some reconsidering as I got caught up in the pageantry of game-day, however my visit and review of Syracuse football comes from a purely neutral perspective. I will say though, it did give me great enjoyment to buy a $30 face value ticket (not including exorbitant TicketMaster fees) for just $8.25 on StubHub. Take That! My day in the Salt City began around Noon and I started downtown in the trendy Clinton Square section. Syracuse’s roads are surprisingly bad and misleading as twice I had to detour. The first was on my arrival as the garage I needed was on a road being repaired. Once parked, I ate at Kitty Hoynes and though I didn’t have the Reuben Fritters that Guy Fieri sampled…I did go with a Reuben, which was just meh. The pub did make for a good place to catch the Orioles-Tigers Game 2 playoff game. After wandering the area on a beautifully warm October day, I stopped at the free Erie Canal Museum. It was surprisingly enjoyable that improved by the exhibit, highlighted by the replica Line Boat and the displays inside. I still remember the song Low Bridge that I needed to learn in the 4th Grade. I also made a stop at Destiny USA, a shopping mall whose plans to become the biggest in the US were often delayed and cancelled when I was in college. Well they finally followed through with some plans, just not to the grand scale that was foreseen in the early 2000s. The third floor features an entertainment section with go-cart racing, bowling, restaurants, kid adventures and a Dave & Busters along with some other stuff. It was dead on a Friday afternoon, but it looks like I found a pit stop in several years for future kids on our way to see family.

I made my way towards the Carrier Dome pretty early for picture purposes and that means taking a shuttle bus from the Skytop parking area. Given that it was a Friday, tailgating was limited and I was one of only a few people on the bus at 5 PM for a game starting at 7. If one is not familiar with the area, it can be a little confusing as the shuttle also acts as a regular college transportation system and the Dome is not visible from the drop-off point. Usually first-timers can just follow the crowd, but this was not the case just yet. I spent a little time around with the diverse campus and I always loved how the Dome is right in the middle of it. However, I can never get a decent exterior shot and the surrounding hillside exhausted my efforts to find a good shot. After passing through the revolving doors and feeling that suction of air, I made a couple passes around the generally dank concourses. There are pictures on the walls to help liven things up a bit and it wasn’t until the very end that I found a few display cases worth perusing. Food remarkably remains terrible with practically every stand selling the same worn options of Hoffman’s Sausage Subs or German Franks. The beer on the other hand is flowing with different options all over (keep in mind, this is a rare on-campus facility to offer beer). I still love the Carrier Dome as a football stadium with the seating being intimate and the design decent. While the bleachers may be uncomfortable, pretty much anywhere offers a fine sightline. They don’t call this place the Loud House for nothing and the enclosed Dome setting makes it roar. I’ve been to Wisconsin, Penn State and Notre Dame and when it comes noise, I think Syracuse is loudest with less than half of the fans. This ACC opener only featured a stadium about 3/5ths full, but it was still very noisy, especially as everyone got up on third downs. Just imagine if the program did get back to prominence. The game was a sloppy affair as both turnovers and penalties hurt the Orange. A bad play call gave Louisville a safety in the first half and then poor clock management by QB Terrel Hunt led to time running out at the end of the first half as Syracuse was one yard from the end zone. The second half was not much better as a wide-open Jarrod West dropped a gimme touchdown. Louisville added on more (including another safety) and they won 28-6 as the Dome was empty with a minute left in the game. It was a fun event as I met up with my college roommate and friends and we finished the night by tailgating after the game. Ah the good ol’ days.


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Upcoming Football Doubleheader

Posted by Sean Rowland on October 1, 2014

trip logos


This weekend represents the only football I will be able to see this Fall and the power of ESPN has set up a nice doubleheader in Central New York. Friday Evening, the Carrier Dome plays host to Syracuse against Louisville. This game will stir a lot of mixed emotions (to be explained in a future post) as it is the first time in nearly a decade that I return to the home of the Orange. Though the Dome is most known as a basketball facility, it is truly a football stadium and the review is geared towards Syracuse football. This is one of those places where I badly need digital quality pictures, so that’s the primary purpose of this re-visit as I try to complete getting back to all of my old stadium visits and replace with digital quality photos. I’ll be in Syracuse catching up with some friends and spending the day in the city before going to the 7 PM game.

The next day, Colgate plays Holy Cross at 1 PM and Hamilton, NY is just an hour to the east. The weather looks dicey with a period of showers or even steady rain for at least a few hours on Saturday. We’ll see if the timing works in my favor, but this rain may be in that morning to mid-afternoon timeframe, right during game time. I’ll be ready with a poncho, hoping for the best and some dry time. Anyway, this quaint and quiet section of Central NY should be great to visit with the changing leaves and this will be my 4th Patriot League football game. I love that conference and it will be a pleasure reviewing Andy Kerr Stadium for both here and Stadium Journey, while enjoying some Colgate football.


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2014 Football Stadiums Update

Posted by Sean Rowland on September 24, 2014


The Green Wave return back to campus at Tulane’s brand new Yulman Stadium (Photo Credit – Stadium Journey)


As the NFL tries to play God and almost forcibly attempt to get every team into a modern, sparking and expensive new stadium, there are several updates in the league this season. The biggest of course is out on the West Coast, where Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara replaces Candlestick in San Francisco. The Stick was a cold, windy, ugly dump and this certainly is a needed update as few will miss the old stadium. The commercialization cracks me up…check out the official “R” trademark on the Levi’s name at the stadium’s website. With a price tag over $1 billion there are some crazy technological features at The Field of Jeans. In Minneapolis, I am saddened to see the Metrodome deflated (I really loved that bubble) and the Vikings will spend two seasons at the University of Minnesota while their stadium is built. Several renovations took place that altered the seating capacity involving five teams. Jacksonville built the biggest scoreboard in the world, Cleveland finished Phase 1 of their plan, Philly teched up the Linc, Carolina made some pricey tweaks and additions, while Buffalo made a lot of changes in trying to keep the Ralph up-to-date (and yet at the same time continued ridiculous discussion on a media-fueled new stadium in the middle of a $100+ million renovation to the existing stadium!). Lastly, in Houston, Reliant is no longer the naming-rights sponsor as the Texans’ home is now called NRG Stadium.

On to the college game, where a lot has happened. Three new stadiums have been built, all in the deep south and the most notable likely is in Waco. McLane Stadium, new home to the Baylor Bears, has opened to rave reviews and this terrific facility sits right on campus along the Brazos River. In fact, “Sailgating” has become popular as many are taking boats up to the stadium. The new place is a departure from their neighborhood stadium located in the Beverley Hills section of Waco and it is undecided on what the fate of Floyd Casey Stadium will be. Also in the Lone Star State, is the new digs for the Houston Cougars as TDECU Stadium replaces old Robertson Stadium. In New Orleans, Tulane football has come back home! No longer will the Green Wave be playing in a cavernous, empty SuperDome, they instead will play in the intimate Yulman Stadium, which has been very well received thus far. Check out the Stadium Journey write-up on it as Lloyd Brown has already made it to a game with a full review.

There is a helluva a lot more than just new stadiums as renovations are plenty this year and I’ll go threw them with a one sentence blurb about each one…The Cincinnati Bearcats will spend a season in the city’s NFL stadium (Paul Brown) as Nippert Stadium is re-done…At UMass, the team finally returns to campus for games at a renovated McGuirk Stadium, but its only for 3 games (the other 3 are stupidly a couple hours away in Foxboro, where the school thinks the rest of the state actually cares about them)…Ohio Stadium is now the third-largest in the US as the Buckeys can play in front of an official 104,851 each Saturday….At Purdue, they are setting up future renovations at Ross-Ade Stadium by knocking out seating and replacing it with a temporary party deck (the scene will surely look different than Jacksonville’s)…A couple of Sun Belt teams saw expansion: Georgia Southern’s was made because of their move up to FBS, while Louisiana-Lafayette is going through a huge facilities upgrade campus-wide…Finally, the SEC, where holy crap do they have some money (not a ground-breaking statement). Four of their 14 teams had more seats added, particularly in the premium seating/club/suite department. Most notable is both LSU and Texas A&M as they will exceed the 100,000 mark with their latest renovations.

Stepping down a level to the FCS, things are much more tame. The only new stadium is at Houston Baptist University, where they also are just beginning their football program. The 5,000 seat Husky Stadium is too small to get on The List, but all the best to HBU as they begin life in the Southland. Elsewhere, a couple renovations changed the seating capacities on a pair of stadiums. Missouri State did a nice job improving their facility by bringing seats closer to the field, adding a party platform and enhancing the atmosphere with things like a bear statue. At Austin Peay, Governors Stadium actually lowered their capacity to just 7,000 as a renovation for luxury seating on the west grandstand led to the removal of many seats.   

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Sep 2014 Stadium of the Month – Apogee Stadium

Posted by Sean Rowland on September 17, 2014

The Ballpark at Old Orchard Beach (Photo Credit - Stadium Journey)

Apogee Stadium (Photo Credit – Stadium Journey)

I have always been intrigued by the nickname “Mean Green” and the athletic teams of North Texas University certainly get their name out there with this unique moniker. While the school may play in athletic obscurity compared to all of the other big-time DI colleges in the Lone Star State, it should be noted that this is a huge school with over 30,000 undergrads. Located north of Dallas in the college-city of Denton, UNT recently opened a new football stadium in 2011. Apogee Stadium is a modern venue that is a terrific place to watch football. The seating bowl is quite intimate and close to the field, while the character of the facility is really highlighted by the fanned-out V section the in the North End. This represents an eagle’s wings in flight (the eagle is the mascot of the Mean Green). The stadium also includes “The Hill”, a great place for fans to meet and tailgate. While the transportation and fan atmosphere aspects of the stadium experience lack some, the overall aesthetics and building design make this an excellent new stadium for football.

Not only is North Texas a mean kind of green, but they are also an environmental type of green. Apogee Stadium received a LEED Platinum Certification, a rarity in sports facilities. Three wind turbines help to visually illustrate this and the turbines actually power the entire stadium, helping to eliminate the CO2 that it would have emitted. Other forms of technology including recyclable materials and limited water consumption have helped to set a new standard for stadiums. Apogee is one of my favorite kinds of stadiums, a place that the general public does not know about and a place that usually elicits a pleasantly surprised expression upon entering.  


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Stadiums I Need To Get Back To

Posted by Sean Rowland on September 9, 2014


A lot has changed since my 2003 visit to Montreal…namely a camera that does not use film!

While my ultimate goal if I’m able to visit a stadium is to see one I have never been to, there is also a part of me that wants to go back to an old place. Of course there are amazing home team venues that I could experience a game in over and over (The Palestra, Camp Randall Stadium, Providence Park, etc.), but the facilities that follow below are ones that I feel the need to return for a specific review reason. Most of the stadiums on my return list are because they pre-date the digital camera era, so I desperately want to get cleaner pictures. Two of those, I plan on taking care of within the next few months: Syracuse’s Carrier Dome and Montreal’s Bell Centre. In addition, here are a few places that I’d like to work in a return:

1)  Madison Square Garden  –  New York Rangers

A three-year renovation transformed the Garden with a lot of changes. Concourses are wider, while the seating bowl is unfortunately more a standard arena set-up. I’ll have to see if the atmosphere has changed for myself.

2)  PNC Field  –  Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders

I’m struggling on whether this qualifies as a new stadium altogether as opposed to a renovated one. Former Lackawanna County Stadium closed for a year and essentially was re-built. The team went through a new branding as well. I’m leaning towards making this a new stadium, but we’ll put that decision off until later.

3)  MCU Park  –  Brooklyn Cyclones

This is the highest rated minor-league ballpark out of the 48 that I have been to and I think the fan support/atmosphere has a lot to do with that. While the Cyclones are still a huge draw, I’m curious if the game atmosphere is what I thought it was ten years ago, when I quite early and green in my travels. Regardless, still a great ballpark, just a pain to get to.

4)  Reilly Center  –  St. Bonaventure Bonnies

Another one with a re-evaluation of the atmosphere, but I mainly want to go back because it was a snowstorm during my visit way back in 2002. I didn’t get a chance to see much of the exterior and we were relatively late so there was not much time to roam the Reilly Center.

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Football is Back!

Posted by Sean Rowland on September 1, 2014

Start a month of football travel with a trip to billion dollar JerryWorld

Finish up a month of football travel with a trip to billion dollar JerryWorld (picture from Stadium Journey)

Ah yes, American-Style Football is back! This country’s most popular sport always brings excitement this time of year as fans gear up by setting up tailgates, having fantasy football drafts, buying new TVs or actually going to games. This is a stadium site, so of course I advocate heading out to the game, though the dragging out and over-commercialization of the 4 hour FBS events make it a little challenging. While exposure has placed different games on non-traditional days, that also means good news for road-trippers with trips that allow for multiple games and stadium. Here some tempting, great football trips to ponder making this month.


1) Thu, Sep 4 at 8:00 PM  –  Arizona at UTSA  –  AlamoDome
….Fri, Sep 5 at 7:30 PM  –  Lee at Jefferson  –  Alamo Stadium
….Sat, Sep 6 at 7:30 PM  –  BYU at Texas  –  Royal Memorial Stadium
….Sun, Sep 7 at 4:25 PM  –  Washington at Houston  –  NRG Stadium (formerly Reliant)

Texas is an easy state to find a great four-day stadium trip and this one is pretty good. It starts in one of my favorite cities, San Antonio and includes a High School Football game, which is a must when in the Lone Star State. Plus, 74-year old Alamo Stadium just completed renovations to upgrade, yet preserve the historical facility. Afterwards, check out 100,000 wearing burnt orange at a Longhorns game. For Sunday, Houston and Dallas are the same distance from Austin, so you can go to either NFL city. I only went with Houston here because I saved Dallas for a late September trip. 


2) Thu, Sep 11 at 8:25 PM  –  Pittsburgh at Baltimore  –  M&T Bank Stadium
…..Sat, Sep 13 at 12:00 PM  –  West Virginia at Maryland  –  Byrd Stadium
…..Sat, Sep 13 at 6:00 PM  –  Colgate at Delaware  –  Delaware Stadium
…..Sun, Sep 14 at 1:00 PM  –  Jacksonville at Washington  –  FedEx Field

I love this one…Enjoy one of the best NFL rivalry’s on Thursday Night, then take the open day Friday to either tour Charm City or the Nation’s Capital. Traffic is always a tricky thing to gauge in Maryland, but without it, the drive from College Park to Newark is very doable (1:30). That should be enough time to see one of the most well-supported FBS teams in the country. Then its back down to the DC area to check out a second NFL game. 


3) Fri, Sep 19 at 7:00 PM  –  Holy Cross at Harvard  –  Harvard Stadium
…..Sat, Sep 20 at TBA  –  Maine at Boston College  –  Alumni Stadium
…..Sun, Sep 21 at 1:00 PM  –  Oakland at New England  –  Gillette Stadium

While New England is more of a baseball-town, there is also good football and historical stadiums. A visit to an Ivy League game is a must-do at least once and Harvard is a great place to get a taste of the Ivies. Meanwhile, in Chestnut Hill, Alumni Stadium is an intimate and cool facility. Then the tour of Boston suburbs ends in Foxborough with the Pats.


4) Thu, Sep 11 at 10:00 PM  –  UCLA at Arizona State  –  Sun Devil Stadium
…..Fri, Sep 26 at 8:00 PM  –  Fresno State at New Mexico  –  University Stadium
…..Sat, Sep 27 at TBA  –  TCU at SMU  –  Gerald J. Ford Stadium
…..Sun, Sep 28 at 8:30 PM  –  New Orleans at Dallas   –  AT&T Stadium

Lots of driving on this one with a total of 15 hours in the car, luckily Albuquerque is in the middle of the trip and it splits up the days nicely. Hopefully, that TBA is not an early start or else it may be a little tough getting to the Metroplex. Otherwise, this trip is a great mix of college venues and cool places to hang out (spend some time in Tempe or Scottsdale after the game). The weekend is topped off in Billion-Dollar JerryWorld.


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