The Baseball Groupie’s How-To Guide

The Baseball Groupie’s How-To Guide

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Summer is here, and is there anything that says summer more than a trip to the ballpark? The crack of the bats, the seventh-inning stretch, the hot dogs, peanuts and beer:   there really isn’t a summer tradition more beloved than catching your favorite team play nine innings.

For some baseball nuts though, just visiting the local park isn’t enough. They want to see their favorite team play in other parks. From the historic Green Monster of Fenway Park to the Oceanside AT & T Park in San Francisco, the U.S. is filled with ballparks ranging from high-tech modern stadiums to dusty fields.

While some people make an effort to visit all of the major league ballparks over the course of the season, the time – not to mention the expense – of such an undertaking can be prohibitive. You can, however, plan a trip that brings you to some of America’s most storied fields and you might even get to see your team play a game or two along the way.

Northeast

Is there any rivalry in baseball more storied than the Boston Red Sox v. the New York Yankees? Both Sox and Yanks fans make the short trip along the I-95 corridor throughout the season to cheer on their team, and boo the opposition.

Even if you don’t follow either one of those teams, it’s worth a visit to the northeast to catch one of these contentious games. You could also add a trip to see the New York Mets play at Citi Field, as well as a side trip to Cooperstown, New York for a visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Of course, both New York and Boston are packed with attractions to keep the non-baseball fans in your group happy and to help you fill the time before the opening pitch.

If you’re on a quest to see as many parks as possible, consider heading south after visiting Beantown and New York. Visit Baltimore’s Camden Yards, another historic field for an Orioles game; after the game, take the short walk to the Inner Harbor for a meal of Chesapeake Bay crab and then make a short drive down to Washington, D.C. for a game at Nationals Park.

Chicago

If there is any city that rivals Boston and New York for the most rabid sports fans, it has to be Chicago. And Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, is one of the sport’s most famous venues. Take a trip to the Windy City to catch the Cubs in action, then scoot over to U.S. Cellular Field to see Chicago’s “other” team, the Chicago White Sox. If you have the time, make the short drive up to Milwaukee, to see the Brewers in action. Or, just spend a day or two sunning yourself on the shores of Lake Michigan and enjoying Chicago’s famous deep-dish pizza.

Texas

You might not think of Texas as one of the hotbeds of baseball fever, but you’d be very surprised. Head down to the Lone Star State to see the Houston Astros play at Minute Maid Field, or catch the Texas Rangers in actions at Rangers Stadium. Consider finding a hotel in Houston Texas near the ballpark though as Houston is a big place.  While you’re there, visit the Houston NASA Space Museum to learn more about the final frontier or hit the museum district to check out art, history and children’s museums. Of course, the Texas summer heat can get oppressive, so take a side trip to Galveston, about an hour away, to cool off on sandy Gulf beaches.

West Coast

If Cali is your summer destination, you can easily explore several major ballparks as you cruise up the California coast. Start in San Diego and catch the Padres playing at Petco Field, then head north to Los Angeles, to see games at Dodgers Stadium and Angels Stadium. After you’ve had your fill of stars – both on and off the field – head north to San Francisco to see the Giants play at AT & T Park. If you’re adventurous, consider renting a kayak to paddle around McCovey Cove during the game; you might actually catch a home-run ball.

Before you plan your baseball getaway, take a look at the team schedules to make sure you can get tickets when you plan to visit; some stadiums, like Fenway Park, sell out early and seats might not be available. Even if you can’t catch a game, most facilities offer ballpark tours for fans, so ]if you can’t see the team in action, you can get a glimpse of the field and say “I was there!” the next time you see your favorite team on television. So grab your glove, hit the road and catch up with the boys of summer on your next getaway.

This article was provided by travel enthusiast Charles Watkins, who is a writer and freelance media consultant for a Huntsville hotel.  Charles loves to spend his free time exploring the country and writing about what he discovers. Image by WDPG share