Stadium and Arena Visits

Reviews and Photos of Arenas, Ballparks and Stadiums in the United States and Canada during Sporting Events

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Eagles Coming Up

Posted by Sean Rowland on October 2, 2015


The general expense and relative short season of the NFL has kept me from visiting many of their stadiums, but that will indeed change as I visit Philadelphia next Sunday (Oct 11) to see the Eagles and Lincoln Financial Field. While NFL stadiums have more of a corporate feel than the pageantry involved with the more enjoyable live college counterpart, I am really looking forward to this game as for one day (and one day only) I can feel what it’s like to be part of the Eagles fan fraternity. They are crazy about their team and while the stereotypes have been written ad nauseam, I’m eagerly awaiting to see the game-day atmosphere and experiencing one of the most passionate fan bases. This will be my third visit to an active NFL stadium and my brother will join me for this one. I’ll be back with a write-up the day after the game. 


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September Stadiums Update

Posted by Sean Rowland on September 22, 2015

For the 2015 season, we have no new college football stadiums as the overlying theme this season is a growing reversal from the last few decades. Instead of increasing capacity, Universities are now removing seats in favor of adding club sections and higher-priced perks. It always boils down to making money and schools are seeing more bang for their buck by adding the specialty areas instead of just selling more seats. Of course, this is happening everywhere. The most significant stadium renovations debuted this season are at Kentucky, Mississippi, Duke and Cincinnati. The Bearcats, in fact, didn’t even play in Nippert Stadium as the overhaul meant a season shared with the Bengals at Paul Brown. But they are back on-campus this year. Other notes include the bizarre fiasco at UAB, where they
dropped football, then a few weeks later reinstated the sport and now will wait to come back for a few years while this all gets sorted out, maybe. At the FBS level, we have the opposite as East Tennessee State is revived after the program was cut in 2003. Their introductory period begins at a high school stadium (Kermit Tipton) in Johnson City before their new stadium is completed in 2017. Also, Kennesaw State begins their inaugural football season in the Big South. They will play out of Fifth Third Bank Stadium, a place originally built a few years ago solely for soccer.

In the NFL, Miami is in the middle of a two-year renovation to Sun Life Stadium. This is the second nine-figure remodel to the facility in the last eight years, which is mind-blowing (at least the owner funded this version). The most interesting aspect of the renovation will be the creation of living room “pods” in the prime lower bowl seats. The four-person box will be created with a home feel as it includes TVs. Sun Life Stadium will be a completely different facility, one that will personify professional sports in the 2000s. Also of note, the Titans’ home has seen a name change to Nissan Stadium.


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LaValle Stadium and the Seawolves

Posted by Sean Rowland on September 14, 2015

LaValle Stadium Interior

With my SiriusXM on Auburn-Jacksonville State to provide FCS inspiration, I was primed for football, but first, before heading to campus, I went to check out Stony Brook for a little bit. This tiny hamlet on the North Shore of Long Island does not have a heart of town, but does have at least a street called “Main” worth exploring. I stopped first at the Grist Mill, which except for seeing the historic building, was a waste thanks to bumbling, unfriendly “Tour Guides” that made me change my mind. So I left there for the Village Center just down the road. Ward Melville’s idea of a bucolic shopping center back in 1941 still lives today and the white-colored buildings look much newer than their real age. I walked around for a bit, grabbed lunch at Fratelli’s and saw the historic Post Office before walking down to the marshy inlet that empties into the Long Island Sound. This area is rich in marine life and is futile ground for the university, which is a major research center. I marveled at the Fiddler Crabs all coming out at low tide before heading out for the game.

I thought going in football parking was $10 and was pleasantly surprised to not see any attendants as it was free (must have been looking at last year’s stuff). For those tailgating, the lot next to the gym is attractive, while for others like myself, I found it easier to park in the lot near the LIRR station. New this year is Seawolves Town, a fan fest section with games, food trucks and other activities. It’s just a small part of the initiative to attract more fans (and eventually money) as Stony Brook embarks on this grand plan to grow athletics. It’s already been a remarkable 20 years as the school made the move to Division I, built fine facilities and even made it to the College World Series. But they want more. “Together We Transform” is a part of AD Shawn Heilbron’s mission to become bigger and football is a significant part of that. He envisions expanding to a 25,000-seat LaValle Stadium and I’m guessing a move up to FBS. My thoughts…they certainly have the student body, the endowment and donor pool, the TV market and the population. But unless they get into the Power 5 conference, just moving up to be a part of The American or something like that is pointless and your chances of a national championship is zilch. If they can do it on their own dime, I’m fine with this transformation. But I will instantly root against them if taxpayer money is involved as it was only 15 years ago that $22 million was used to build this current stadium. In fact, they’ve already tried a sneak attack which was vetoed by Andrew Cuomo. Maybe they tried this after having to play basketball in a high school gym for 6 years while waiting for state funds to renovate their basketball arena. Still of course, no excuse for that crap and this sneaky business will turn locals against the school, becoming counter-intuitive to obtaining their ultimate goal. 

As for LaValle Stadium, it’s a fine facility with an intimate design featuring a lower section of seats surrounding three sides of the stadium and an upper deck on the south sideline that makes for great game viewing. Concessions and amenities are lacking as are any Stony Brook displays, but the place is clean and there is a decent amount of red that tries to add some school color. It’s a shame that the rain began no more than 30 seconds into the game as the fans were ready to go. Pre-game fireworks filled the sky as there was a great turnout by the students, who filled most of the north stands and the rest of the fans were loud and proud. The Marching Band was huge and had terrific sound, enhancing one of the better atmospheres I’ve seen so far at the FCS level. Then the rains came and gradually, fans retreated for cover in the concourse with some trickling out as the game wore on. Keep in mind, it’s been a rough start for Stony Brook as they had their game against Toledo cancelled due to lightning last week. This one would play on and it didn’t begin well with Central Connecticut getting a fluky 51-yard touchdown reception for the early lead. Foreshadowing it was not, as Stony Brook dominated the rest of the game. Their D held the Blue Devils to just 120 yards and Stony Brook’s running game could not be stopped as it was led by Stacey Bedell (22 rushes for 133 yards and 3 TDs). The Seawolves won 38-9 and I spent much of the game at the top row of the stadium, protected somewhat by the rain. It was there that I met Brent Ziegler, who’s son Kyle is a freshman on the Seawolves. Brent himself was a running back for Syracuse in the 1980s and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to stories from his playing days. It was great talking with him about many things as he made a dull blowout in the rain quite enjoyable. I should have a LaValle Stadium review up on the site by the end of the week, then look for a Stadium Journey review a few weeks later.


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Seeing the Stony Brook Seawolves Saturday

Posted by Sean Rowland on September 8, 2015


No offense baseball…but you’ve run its course this season and I am ready to move on to a new genre of sports stadium seeing. I’ve been waiting for the right time to get to a Stony Brook football game and the Rosh Hashanah holiday is it. I’ll be heading to the in-laws on Long Island for the New Year beginning early next week and we’ll arrive on the weekend, where I will keep going down the LIE to Exit 62 for the 6 PM game between the Seawolves and Central Connecticut State at LaValle Stadium. It has been an interesting start for Stony Brook as their first game against Toledo was cancelled last week due to multiple storms in the area. I’ve sat through a few delays in my day and given that there has not been measurable rain on the Island since August 21st, persistence would be welcomed thru this Saturday. This venture kicks off the football season for me as I’ll be at the Philadelphia Eagles game in October, maybe something in November and then (weather-pending), the PIAA State Championship in Hershey in December.



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A Day at the 2015 Barclays

Posted by Sean Rowland on September 2, 2015

2015 Barclays at Plainfield 1

The PGA Tour returned to New Jersey last weekend as the rotating set of courses for The Barclays tournament came to Plainfield Country Club in Edison. With this being the first event of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, it is a great opportunity to see an excellent field as 125 players get in from the season standings. My parents were in town for the coming weekend to see our six-month old daughter, so my Dad joined me at the event. I prefer going to see the PGA on a Friday, as it gives the best opportunity to see players and by going on Sunday, it’s very difficult to actually follow the action. If you care about the results and follow the conclusion, it’s much better to do so at home. Still, I highly recommend spending a day out on the course.

The transportation set-up was very smooth and we dropped $10 to use Oak Ridge Park for parking to reach the shuttle to the course. While operations were smooth, the dry, dust-bowl of the park left some cars looking like they’ve been through a Haboob. Entry gates are conveniently before the shuttle and no water or food is allowed inside, you know, so the PGA Tour can make even more money off of you. Speaking of that, never buy a ticket from their website. This is one of those instances where StubHub helps the customer as so many individuals get company tickets (which for a grounds pass are all the same price) and they’ll sell it for much cheaper if they can’t attend the event. Plus, look for other deals as if you plan in advance MasterCard has complimentary tickets for card holders.

Once we got to the course, I marveled at the temporary city built. We’re not just talking tents on the ground, but entire erector-set bridges, walkways and stores. I guess that’s where the ticket money goes. There are some fun freebies in this area including swing analysis stuff. Plainfield Country Club was in remarkable shape and we started by walking the course to get some perspective and see the layout. This is the 72nd best golf course in Golf Digest’s rankings and I found the course quite wonderful with an intriguing, old-school layout. The best way to see it is by following a group, which we did by following Tony Finau for a good chunk of the Back 9, while it was still pleasant in the morning. Loved watching him as he is going to be winning very soon…big guy, easy-going with a great swing. It’s really best to stay clear out of watching the biggest 10 names in the field as following them means dealing with huge crowds where you can’t see and often those huge crowds contain a bunch of smart-alec morons. These are the dopes that you here on TV and there are many more in person, as I heard comments like “Chicken” for a lay-up, laughing at a shank and someone yelling to Jason Day not to fall again. Absolute idiots and I can’t stand even being in their presence despite it being the minority of the crowd. Again, this only really happens for the biggest named groups or the later pairings on the weekend. Since these are the people that only know pop-culture golf, follow the guys that are still pretty good. A friend who went last year to Ridgefield followed Jordan Spieth with maybe about 20 people. Most casual sports fans didn’t know him, but golf fans who saw him in the Top 10 almost every tournament last season, did. Hope that doesn’t come off too snobish, but either picking a hole and seeing them once or following non-huge groups is the way to watch. As for sitting at one spot, we set-up shop behind #11 green for awhile, which was quite entertaining as the Par-3 provided some dramatics as the guys tried to hold the green. Plainfield is a great course and the event is really worth a day’s visit.

As for some player notes, here’s a few:

  • Finau is going to be awesome and very, very soon
  • Keegan Bradley is awfully difficult to watch as his yips and pre-shot mannerisms are so fidgety
  • Sorry, but Dustin Johnson (who I’m not a fan of) is as aloof as he seems on TV. I caught him staring at Danny Lee’s caddy’s notebook like he was cheating off a test 
  • Bones is the man
  • Rickie Fowler really is a good looking dude



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Potential FBS Road Trips for 2015 Opening Weekend

Posted by Sean Rowland on August 26, 2015

2015 FBS Opening Weekend Road Trips

Four potential college football road trips for the 2015 opening weekend (map from Google Maps)


Guess who’s back. Back Again. Football’s back. With Labor Day being as late as possible on September 7th, that means we have a later start to the 2015 season, so those that salivate months in advance at the first slate of games will have to wait a little longer. At the college football level, numerous home openers are played on a Thursday or Friday. This means good news for us road trippers! This year, the schedule makers have given us a slew of possibilities as all of the below trips are doable. Not only can we see 3 or 4 stadiums in a weekend, but the match-ups are decent too. There’s still time for somebody to make one of these happen, let’s take a look at the options (all times are local)…


1) Thu, Sep 3 at 7:00 PM  –  Oklahoma State at Central Michigan  –  Kelly-Shorts Stadium
….Fri, Sep 4 at 8:00 PM  –  Kent State at Illinois  –  Memorial Stadium
….Sat, Sep 5 at 11:00 AM  –  Stanford at Northwestern  –  Ryan Field
….Sat, Sep 5 at 6:30 PM  –  UNLV at Northern Illinois  –  Huskie Stadium

This is an extremely rare opportunity to check out four stadiums in three days as the MAC and Big Ten is showcased. Start out in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, where Kelly-Shorts Stadium should be packed as the Chippewas get a rare visit from a big time school as Oklahoma State visits. The ride to Champaign the next day is only 6 hours and that is plenty of time for a night game for the Illini. It’s then an early weekend wake-up call to get to Chicago for a TV friendly 11 AM kickoff in Evanston. The day finishes in the outer fringes of Chicagoland with UNLV and Northern Illinois. 


2)  Sat, Sep 5 at 7:30 PM  –  Georgia Southern at West Virginia  –  Milan Puskar Stadium
…..Sun, Sep 6 at 3:30 PM  –  Purdue at Marshall  –  Joan C. Edwards Stadium
…..Mon, Sep 7 at 8:00 PM  –  Ohio State at Virginia Tech  –  Lane Stadium

The Number 1 team in the nation visiting one of the loudest places in all of college football is reason enough to pick this trip. But building up to the Monday main event, there are a couple of appetizers worthwhile. Gameday at Mountaineer Field is quite an event, while goosebumps are likely during the inspiring “We Are Marshall” chant. Plus, much of this trip involves driving around and thru the state of West Virginia. This is beautiful country and the gorgeous terrain will make you say “ahhh” as the scenery is quite peaceful.  


3)  Thu, Sep 3 at 6:30 PM  –  Michigan at Utah  –  Rice-Eccles Stadium
…..Fri, Sep 4 at 8:15 PM  –  Washington at Boise State  –  Albertson Stadium
…..Sat, Sep 5 at 5:00 PM  –  Eastern Michigan at Oregon  –  Autzen Stadium

It’s not easy driving around the spaced out Mountain and Pacific Time Zone, but this trip involves doable separate rides of 5 and 8 hours. Three unique cities should entice visitors along with the actual event as the trip begins in Salt Lake, where the mountains tower over the stadium. Plus it’s a great game to attend too as Miiichigan and Harbaugh come to visit the Utes. The Smurf Turf at Boise is next, where the place should be pumped for a visit from a Pac-10 opponent. Then, travel across the varying terrain in Oregon for a visit to funky Eugene and the remarkable Autzen Stadium. 


4) Thu, Sep 3 at 8:30 PM  –  Duke at Tulane  –  Yulman Stadium
…..Fri, Sep 4 at 6:00 PM  –  Baylor at SMU  –  Gerald J. Ford Stadium
…..Sat, Sep 5 at 6:00 PM –  Arizona State at Texas A&M  –  Kyle Field

The theme with this trip is new, as it begins in New Orleans, where the Green Wave host the newly good Duke Blue Devils. Tulane plays in a new stadium that opened to rave reviews a few years ago. Friday’s game is in Dallas, where things are relatively new as SMU plays in the 15-year old Gerald Ford Stadium. The matchup is enticing too with Baylor coming to town. Finally, it’s on to the home of the 12th Man in College Station. Though Kyle Field was built in 1927, a new renovation completed for this season will push capacity to 102,512. Hard to imagine something louder than this


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Ranking the Maryland Ballparks

Posted by Sean Rowland on August 20, 2015

Camden Yards Interior

With the trip completed to Southern Maryland a few weeks ago, I’ve now made a visit to every Maryland team that plays professional baseball. I found that it is a state heavily influenced by the Orioles, which makes sense given the popularity of both the team and ballpark. As you would expect, Camden Yards ranks at the top of the list (in fact, it is the highest rated stadium out of the 162 I’ve been to). Let’s take a look at how the rest of the Old Line State shakes out:

1)  Camden Yards  –  Baltimore Orioles  –  Ranking: 89.0

Often copied, never replicated. Just a magnificent place that still holds the test of time. Loved everything here and the O’s resurgence the last few years means that Camden did not suffer in the atmosphere rating.

2)  Nationals Park  –  Washington Nationals  –  Ranking: 73.5

This is such an underrated ballpark in MLB that doesn’t get enough mention. The use of steel, pre-cast concrete and glass give it a more modern look and the coloring fits in with some of the monuments and office buildings seen across DC. The team has gained a great following given their short history and intrusion into Orioles country. Loved the Presidents Race as each one has a unique comedic spin.

3)  Arthur W. Perdue Stadium  –  Delmarva Shorebirds  –  Ranking: 65.0

Maryland’s minor league ballparks aren’t all that spectacular (save for the one in Waldorf), but what pushes Perdue Stadium above the rest is their terrific Eastern Shore Baseball Hall of Fame. I could’ve spent an hour in here and really enjoyed this unexpected feature.

4)  Ripken Stadium  –  Aberdeen Ironbirds  –  Ranking: 63.0

If you want to see what will become known as the cookie-cutter Minor League Ballpark, come to Ripken Stadium. It’s a fine place, but maybe I was down on it because by the time I got here in 2013, I’ve seen so many of these designs. One highlight…the food. Check out the menu at Conrad’s Crab and Seafood Deck

5)  Regency Furniture Stadium  –  Southern Maryland Blue Crabs  –  Ranking: 62.5

The design here is awesome. In fact, out of the 52 minor-league ballparks I’ve seen, the interior set-up ranked 4th. So why the mid-level ranking? The location is not great, the food is eh and that darn Tie-Dye Guy kept getting in my way.

6)  Harry Grove Stadium  –  Frederick Keys  –  Ranking: 56.5

I found Northwest Maryland to be an enjoyable place for a weekend with such a rich display of history. Harry Grove is an ok place, but I recommend it as an excuse to visit Frederick. Charming is such an apt description for a terrific downtown that includes a riverwalk and a plethora of decent restaurants to eat at.

7)  Municipal Stadium  –  Hagerstown Suns  –  Ranking: 50.5

I wanted so badly to like Municipal Stadium as I adore the older ballparks and want to see them continue to live and thrive. But, it just struck me as cheap and in need of TLC. While I love an old-school baseball atmosphere, it seemed like it was done here because they’ve given up on Hagerstown and want to be somewhere else. A shame.

8)  Prince George’s Stadium  –  Bowie BaySox  –  Ranking: 48.5

Blah, everything about the BaySox game turned me off. From the moment I walked up to the ballpark (which looks like an old Wegmans), I could tell there wasn’t much to like about this place. An attendance of about 37 people on a perfect early Summer night didn’t help.


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The Citi Open and the Blue Crabs

Posted by Sean Rowland on August 11, 2015

Rock Creek Park Tennis Center Exterior


Seeing a new sport live for the first time is quite exciting and since there are not many left I haven’t seen, this made my first tennis visit even better. I left Jersey around 8:30 AM and with my Dad having the same great planning and timing sense as me, we met within a minute of each other in Gettysburg (he departed from Rochester, NY). After a small and rather terrible lunch (really snack) at the Gettysburg Visitors Center cafe, we then went into the Visitors Center, which was exponentially better. It’s relatively new and the museum does a great job not only depicting the horrific battle, but also the Civil War times before and after battle. Even if you can’t see the rest of the town or battlefields, stopping at the Visitors Center for a few hours is a must-do.

We then drove an hour to Gaithersburg, MD, where we set up shop for the weekend. I researched for a while the best stop and this was ideal for the simple access to the hotel and easy drive to the large parking at the Metro Station in Shady Grove. Speaking of DC’s subway system, the Metro is awesome as a visitor. It’s easy to follow and the stations are straight-forward as they are mostly underground in that brutalist arcing cylinder. Everything is clearly marked as we had no problem all weekend finding our route and following the right line and direction. Plus the SmarTrip payment method is simple. For the Citi Open, we took the Red Line from Shady Grove to Van Ness and after a little looking around, found the 20-seat shuttle bus to Rock Creek Tennis Center. The District’s biggest park has been home to this ATP event since 1969 and we were there for the Quarterfinals. We entered into the grounds where merchandise tents led to a crowded pseudo food court, which featured expensive items, highlighted by a Thai stand (give me Paradorn Srichaphan, one time!). Centering the surrounding outer courts is the Main Stadium, which I still can’t figure out its official name. The facility is older, but the intimacy makes for great views all around. Unfortunately, it’s bleacher seating in the upper level, while the “box seats” down below surprisingly feature temporary folding chairs. For the match, it was John Isner against Ricardas Berankis. Congrats to the Lithuanian for making the Quarters, but I was really hoping to see Andy Murray in his spot. Regardless, this one at least went three sets as it looked like the Big Man was going to dominate after taking 28 minutes to win the first set. Berankis got an unexpected break to win the second, 7-5 and then the best part of the match was Isner’s immediate break back in the third. He went on to win 6-3, 5-7, 6-3. Though I’m not a fan of big serve, short rally  tennis, I very much like Isner and have followed his career closely. He is a genuine, nice, humble person that I wish the best. Look for much more details in the stadium review of the Citi Open later in the week.


The Georgetown Waterfront in DC


Saturday was all about touring DC and though I’ve been at the National Mall twice, it was during my grade-school days when I didn’t have the appreciation I do now. The weather was great…85 degrees with relatively low humidity on a DC August day is a gift. We hopped on the Metro again and the free parking at Shady Grove made that the right choice as we used the Red Line to reach Metro Center and then hopped on the Orange for the Smithsonian. After gasping at the torn-up lawn and our tainted Monument/Capitol views, we checked out the original Smithsonian building in what is essentially a castle. Then it was over to the packed Natural History Museum. Pretty cool, but it’s such a broad overview of everything that I prefer more specific museums that go more in depth into a subject. Still some great stuff in here with the big ticket item being the Hope Diamond. We had a great lunch at the cafe next door and then we walked over to the Air & Space Museum. However, the line to get in was so long that we changed plans and went back to where we started, in front of the National Archives. This stuff interested both of us and we couldn’t go wrong, so we spent the rest of the afternoon here and it was well worth it. It’s more than just historical documents as the displays are quite varied and well done. From there, we went to Georgetown, which is not just the University. This neighborhood is a former city that actually is older than Washington. It’s an up-class section loaded with shops, bars and restaurants along M Street. Tree-lined streets frame the hilly sections to the north and the Georgetown campus has a few impressive photo-ops. Then there is the Waterfront along the Potomac River which has turned from industrial dredge when my Dad was there in the 70s, to a bustling park. We had dinner right on M Street at Clyde’s and the Tuscan Sausage Ravioli was superb. To get back to the hotel in Gaithersburg, we hopped on the DC Circulator bus to the DuPont Circle, which led to the Red Metro to Shady Grove. We probably walked 5-10 miles on the day, but DC is such an incredible city (that many in the East Coast take for granted) and there is soooo much to see. I was glad to spend it with my Dad and take in as much as we could.

The nice weather continued Sunday as we headed our separate ways with my car pointed Southeast. The destination was a section of the state that is quite rural and different from the 95 corridor…Charles County in Southern Maryland, more specifically Waldorf. That’s the home of the Blue Crabs from the Atlantic League, at least Waldorf is the stated city as if you look at the map, getting a true ballpark location is a challenge. There’s not much in this area, but I did see the historical home of Dr. Samuel Mudd, the doctor who unknowingly fixed the broken leg of John Wilkes Booth, just hours after assassinating Abraham Lincoln. The story is fascinating and the scene on this country farmland makes it so easy to visualize what happened 150 years ago. This is such a terrific stop as the non-profit volunteers who run the tours are delightful. This is a part of sports travel that I did not expect when starting out, but have fallen in love with. Getting to stadiums brings you to parts of this great country you wouldn’t normally go and there are always surprises at each stop.

Regency Furniture Stadium Interior

The town of Waldorf is not exactly historic however as the center is a six-lane road that is a national chain store paradise. Go ahead, think of a big-box retailer or a nationalized restaurant and I bet it is in one of the side strip malls lining this road. Not my cup of tea, but it serves this booming area 30 miles southeast of DC. Housing is exploding in the area and that is evident on the drive to Regency Furniture Stadium. The vast parking lot in front of the park leads to a refreshingly different exterior design, which actually resembles a house with its beige siding and red panel roof. Given that this is the Atlantic League and their ballparks are so darn similar, I was expecting more of the same. Instead, I was blown away by such a terrific set-up. Check it out in the picture above as I love how the seats turn inward towards home plate (though you better watch every pitch). I even like the partially enclosed concourse behind home plate as it is not necessary to have the walkway 100% open to the field. The Blue Crabs have a great thing going on with an excellent park, though other aspects could be a little better, like the underwhelming food selection. Also, as unpopular an opinion this may be, I found the on-field MC Ron Lord (the tye-dye guy) to be incredibly annoying. He constantly was getting in the way of watching the game, whether it was standing on the dugout during action or his interrupting comments, I moved seats a few times just to get away. Even while the Blue Crabs were in a decisive moment in the 10th inning, he was loudly spewing some non-sense unrelated to the game. From a neutral perspective, his interactions with the fans were awkward too. While he drove me nuts, I was certainly in the minority as the crowd loved him. As for the game, it was a battle of blue ocean creatures as the Bridgeport Bluefish took on the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. The visitors built a 3-0 lead, but to the delight of the home fans, a Gustavo Molina blast tied the game in the 6th inning. Despite only six runs scored, the game past the 3 hour mark before going to extra innings (note to baseball at all levels: you need to fix 9-inning games that go longer than 3 hours!). We went to the 10th, where a Bridgeport run was answered by Southern Maryland in the bottom half. Casey Frawley was inches from winning the game, but his long shot hit the top of the wall and only one run scored. The Bluefish finally put the game away in the 11th and won 5-4. The trip home was thankfully pleasant as I took a route that avoided all traffic and tolls, getting back to NW NJ in less than five hours. Look for official reviews on the right-side of the page by next week.


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DC Trip

Posted by Sean Rowland on August 3, 2015



I absolutely love tennis and sorely miss my playing days that go back way too long for me to count years. Fortunately, the sport has been fascinating at the professional level for the last decade as the top tier on the Men’s side is full of high drama and memorable matches. The downside is that only the Semifinals and Finals of events (particularly the majors) garner attention as the Big Four beat up the rest of the field. That has changed the last few years as we’ve seen guys like Wawrinka, Nishikori, Berdych and Cilic make things interesting. I’m all for this as long as the newest crop (Kyrgios, Raonic, Tomic) doesn’t join and revert the sport back to the boring 90’s when it was nothing but 3 rally points by big servers. 

Anyway, I have yet to attend a tennis event, despite the US Open being a two-hour drive away for me over the last nine years. With the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center undergoing a massive renovation not to be completed until 2018, I started thinking about making my way to the smaller events, working my way up to New York. Within driving distance there is New Haven, DC and even the Masters events are doable in Montreal, Toronto and Cincinnati. This year, I’ve focused on the Citi Open and I will be in the Nation’s Capital this Friday as the tournament reaches the Quarterfinal stage. I’ll be at the evening session and reviewing the Rock Creek Tennis Center, a 7,500-seat stadium. This will be different as it is my first non-team event that gets reviewed (not too mention a new sport). The Women are also playing the event, but their field is quite weak and I really hope that the two matches in the Friday evening session in the main stadium are on the Men’s side. I’ll certainly be following the progression thru the week as Murray, Nishikori, Cilic, Dmitrov and Isner are in the draw.

Joining me on this journey will be my Dad, who recently retired and is enjoying a very much deserved summer. He hasn’t been to DC since the 70s and is itching to return for a visit to this remarkable city. He’ll be leaving from Rochester, NY early Friday Morning and we’ll meet up in Gaithersburg before convening at the tennis tournament. Saturday is reserved for sightseeing as we’ve scoped out some Smithsonian Museums and then we’ll finish the day checking out the cool neighborhood of Georgetown. Dad will head home Sunday morning while I make the short trip southeastward to tiny Waldorf, MD. That is where I’ll visit Regency Furniture Stadium for an Atlantic League matinee between the Southern Maryland Blue Claws and the Bridgeport Bluefish. Back next week with a recap!


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Stadiums and Arenas Map

Posted by Sean Rowland on July 27, 2015

Finally, after a few years of sporadic work, I completed getting markers for all of the arenas, ballparks and stadiums from
 The List on to Google Maps. In the beginning of this hobby all the way back in the early 2000s, to geographically see the venues on The List, I used Microsoft Streets & Trips, because frankly Mapquest sucked (and still does). I put a pushpin on all the cities that had a facility and this was a great tool to not only see where I had been, but also to make trip plans. I still use this program (a version from 2010, which I hope survives on future computers) as it helps immensely.

But this did not resonate online well and even though, I put screenshots of the maps online, it was a pain and not practical to update. So, very slowly, I built a Google Map with each of the 1300+ arenas, ballparks and stadiums marked. The cool thing is the satellite feature allowing me to put the marker exactly where the facility is (and with a nice overhead shot to boot). Red markers indicate that I have yet to make an official visit to that facility, while the Green ones are for those that I have visited. Blame Google for not being able to sort the markers in each category alphabetically. Extremely frustrating as I’m able to see and do that on the creator’s end, but not as a visitor. It’s also irritating how one can not properly set the default view (satellite and an appropriate zoom). Despite these drawbacks, the map came out pretty well as I’ll be keeping it up to date and using it as a planning guide along with still holding on to old-school methods. Check out the map above (click the brackets in the upper right to enlarge) or go to:



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