Nothing against MLBlogs, but I saw no sense in updating two blogs all the time, so I have moved the Ballpark E-Guides Blog to the Ballpark E-Guides site, which in my mind makes pretty good sense.
Check out the new blog here: http://www.ballparkeguides.com/ballpark-e-guides-blog.php
Thanks for reading and stay tuned!
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For all of the information contained in “The
Ultimate Baseball Road Trip: A Fan’s Guide To Major League Stadiums“,
authors Josh Pahigian and Kevin O’Connell fail to answer the one question I had
while reading this book.
And that, of course, is how they persuaded a publisher to
pay for this venture. THAT is something I want to know.
But that said, this book isn’t short on information about
any ballpark destination you may have, at least any ballpark that opened before 2004. Josh and Kevin traveled across the country and visited all 30 major
league ballparks in 2003. At least I’m guessing it was mostly 2003, the book does
include chapters for Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia and Petco Park in San
Diego, both of which opened in 2004. If there’s one regret they may have, it’s
that they didn’t go on this trip in 2012, when the only stadium left to replace
will be Oakland’s.
There is a chapter dedicated to each ballpark; in each
chapter the reader learns some of the history of the team, where and how to get
a good seat, how to get to the ballpark, some places to eat or drink at before
and after the game, some features of the ballpark, and some comments on the
overall experience. Overall each of these is covered pretty well; if there’s an
obstructed view seat, they’ll probably let you know about it. They’ve even
ranked each stadium’s hot dogs, with San Diego’s as the worst, while Oakland of
all places produced the best. A matter of opinion of course, but still fun.
All of this, I can tell you from experience, would be
painstaking work if it were actual work. They obviously enjoyed doing it as
much as I do.
And for the most part Josh and Kevin have done a terrific job.
This book would be very handy if you were going on a trip to four or five or
more ballparks as a vacation. It’s also an enjoyable read for any baseball fan on its own.
It is all written in an easily readable style, as if they
were talking to you and giving you the scoop in a non-condescending way,
occasionally interrupted with eye-rolling jokes shared between the two.
If I had a complaint about the book if would be that there’s
just a tad of braggadocio in it; for example, the introduction asserts that “You
hold in your hand the best guide on the market for the kind of road trip you’re
envisioning”. True, probably, although you could substitute the word “only” for “best”. Which isn’t their fault, of course. Still, this is a minor complaint. I received this book as a Christmas gift, and haven’t spent a minute
wishing I’d asked for something else.
If the publisher were willing to pay for an updated version
in order to include Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, Busch Stadium, Nationals Park, Target
Field, the new ballpark for the Marlins that opens next year and the renovated
Kauffman Stadium and U.S. Cellular Field, I wouldn’t say they hadn’t earned the
right. This stuff changes constantly, as I well know.
So while adding the shameless plug for comparison; The Ultimate
Baseball Road Trip is very good for that, a road trip. The book doesn’t go into
the detail that a Ballpark E-Guide
does, and the reader probably won’t learn much new about his own home ballpark, but then they don’t have the luxury of updating things for the reader like I
do. But even with eight of the chapters in this book becoming dated, it’s still
a worthwhile purchase.
Take it from someone who is insanely jealous of the authors.
“And, for the cost of $5.00, it’s a bargain at twice the price.” – Christine E., Boston Red Thoughts
Of course you’ve heard the expression “you get what you pay for”. It is a generally accepted accounting principle that applies beyond commerce to all walks of life. You get the garden you’ve cultivated. You get the business success that you’ve put your effort into getting. You get the relationship you’ve worked at.
In other words, life is fair, right?
“You get what you pay for” is a general tendency. It is by no means assured. No one understands this better than baseball people. Did the Yankees get what they paid for with Hideki Irabu? Are they getting what they paid for with A.J. Burnett? Will they get their money’s worth from a declining Derek Jeter in the upcoming years? I could do this all day of course, with any team. But the Yankees, for all of their success, are the easiest target.
When I was a younger and single man I had a part-time bartending gig. I won’t say where it was, but one thing we were told to do when we ran out of Absolut vodka was to bring up the bottles to the attached liquor store. The manager would take them into another room, out of our sight, and refill them. He would run some bullsquat at me, like “we get paid on the return”, but everyone knew they were filling the Absolut bottles with cheap rack vodka.
And every so often someone would make a point of demanding Absolut vodka in their vodka-and-cranberry, and I’d hand him the fifty-cents-extra-for-“premium”-vodka drink, which he would sip with a satisfied exhale. And I’d laugh. He got what he paid for, as far as he knew.
People in general have so assimilated the “you get what you pay for” principle that we just accept being ripped off sometimes. We have it burned in our minds that if we don’t pay the ridiculous price for parking at the ballpark, that we risk getting our car stolen or towed. Why? That may be the case in some cities, but many times it is not. Baseball fans pay upwards of $4 for a small bag of peanuts or a soft pretzel at the park, not even thinking twice about the possibility that they could get a similar quantity outside for a quarter of the price–without the clumps of salt that make you thirsty enough for a $5 soda. People rarely imagine that a ticket agency or reseller or scalper might offer a bargain on tickets, and in reality that is very often a better option than paying face price from the team itself.
If there is one thing I’ve learned researching the ballparks I’ve researched, it is that I have been paying too much and experiencing too little at ballgames. Although, I suppose you could say that by researching, you get what you pay for in time and effort. Fair enough. But I’ve never subscribed to the notion that you must pay more for quality or even an acceptable outcome.
Ballpark E-Guides not only provide plenty of helpful tips for you and save you the time and effort finding them for yourself, they’re just $5. Less than most tickets, less than parking, less than most items available at the ballpark these days–and who hasn’t felt ripped off after paying for tickets, parking or food at the game?
Hopefully with a Ballpark E-Guide, you’ll get more than you paid for.
I live in South Jersey, which is unequivocally Philadelphia sports country. Nobody around here is a Giants or Rangers or Knicks fan, and the occasional Devils fan you find is not very vocal about it. People here bleed Eagles green, Flyers orange and Phillies red, and no one cares too much about the 76ers.
I don’t live and die with the Flyers’ fortunes and care much less about the Eagles, but I must admit that the new, revitalized sports complex in Philadelphia is quite the sight, especially driving by it on I-95 on the way to or from the Philadelphia Airport. The outside of the new hockey/basketball arena is impressive to look at, Lincoln Financial Field is beautifully in your face off of the highway, and if you’re heading north (as you would be coming from the airport) it saves the best for last, the view of the stunning relatively new home of the Phillies, Citizens Bank Park.
The designers got just about everything right–from natural grass to the red brick façade to the unique octagon shape. From the scoreboard to the sightlines to the counters in the concourse areas. From Bull’s BBQ to Tony Luke’s to Harry The K’s restaurant. Even the ushers are as nice as can be–which wasn’t always the case at their former home, Veterans Stadium. Citizens Bank Park is modern and humble at the same time, and that’s a more difficult feat to pull off than it looks.
To many baseball people, the only flaw of the Bank is its location away from the heart of the city. But they certainly maximized what they had, with ample parking and an Ashburn Alley that may not have happened in the cramped quarters of Center City (downtown for you non-Philadelphians).
It’s great that the new ballpark in Philadelphia was so well done. Philly’s reputation as a harsh, unpleasant sports town full of perpetually surly fans was worsened by the Vet, a concrete artificial turf donut known more for its jail cell than its baseball ambience. With its new baseball-only ballpark, people come to Phillies games and think of beloved local heroes like Harry Kalas and Richie Ashburn, both of whom are nicely honored in the team’s new home. They see great pitchers who are also likable fellows in Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, who could have gone anywhere. They see a father who hugs his daughter after she throws the foul ball he caught back on the field. And if Philly is good enough for them, how bad could it be?
It also doesn’t hurt that the Phils are fielding an exciting team these days, a team that is full of colorful personalities and piling up winning seasons. The Phils are going to be one tough ticket this year, with perhaps the strongest starting rotation this writer has seen in his life.
I’m fortunate enough to be living just a 20-minute drive away, but wherever you live, you really should make the trip to Citizens Bank Park to see a Phillies game. You won’t regret it, especially if you’ve been to the Vet and can compare. Philadelphia went from having one of the worst venues in baseball to having one of the best, and now seeing a game is always a much more enjoyable experience.
And if you go armed with some knowledge, you can avoid the considerable traffic, park in a spot that will get you out easily, take the train without stopping everywhere, find a pretzel and drinks outside, get a hot dog for $1 and a gluten-free dog for your lovely celiac afflicted wife, decide which brand of cheesesteak at the game suits your taste, drink a free soda, and find a beer much cheaper than the ballpark price.
Believe it or not, despite having gone to close to two dozen games at Citizens Bank Park since its opening in 2004, I did not know how to do any of these things before researching for the Citizens Bank Park E-Guide.
Now you can too. And you should. The Bank is not to be missed.
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Video games became a craze just before I entered my teens,
and few kids in Willingboro were welded to their Atari 2600 like I was. Space
Invaders, Asteroids, Warlords, Kaboom, Pitfall, I played them all for thousands
Even better was when I could finally persuade someone with a
car to take me to an arcade, where I could pour any money I happened to have
into a Tempest machine. Some people miss the lack of responsibility of
childhood, but I’ll take being able to go to an arcade without having to beg anytime.
Being a competitive sort even then, I would get my hands on
any strategy books I could find, hoping to get a little more playing time for
my quarter. And many of them were worth every penny. But even with the added
benefit of getting more value for your two bits, many of those books were just
enjoyable reads, if for no other reason than the “A-ha!” moments.
It would be nice to have strategy guides for lots of things
in life, wouldn’t it? I see lots of potential video games in the daily
tribulations we experience. Like getting from one end of a crowded mall to the
other in the shortest period of time. Or finding a reasonably fast route to
work that doesn’t involve construction, traffic, or potholes. Or getting all of
the supermarket items in your cart without having to double back.
If these things were popular video games, there would be a
market for strategy guides for them. And you could get better at it with less
practice and experimentation–not to mention time and money. (Those of you old
enough to remember, let’s face it, who found that secret message in Atari’s
“Adventure” cartridge without some outside help?)
A Ballpark E-Guide can be seen as a Strategy Guide for going
to a ballgame. Sure, you could learn many of these things on your own going to
enough games, and there may be some pleasure in discovering these things for
yourself. A ballpark isn’t a Rubik’s cube (there I go, living in the 80s
again!); learning how to go to a game and get the most enjoyment for the least
money doesn’t take supercharged intelligence. But like the cube, it’s a lot
easier with a book to guide the way! Even after hundreds of games of Tempest, I
still learned some things I didn’t know in the reading material that I
I’m not suggesting that by reading, say, the Fenway Park E-Guide,
that you will “solve” Fenway Park. But hopefully, like I did, you will enjoy it
more. Maybe learn something you didn’t know, or confirm something you thought
you knew. Or just have an “A-ha!” moment or two.
We all love going to ballgames just like we love playing on
the PlayStation. And we’re always being told to keep educating ourselves in
life; I don’t know about you, but I would rather learn about something fun! A Ballpark
E-Guide is almost infinitely cheaper than a college education.
And it’s just my opinion, but I think it’s worth more, too.
You’ve heard it a million times. You’ve probably thought it a million times. You think it every time you pay about six times what it would cost to make the same meal at home at any sporting event.
And you’re right. Athletes’ salaries being what they are, jacking up the cost of food at the ballgame is how owners pay for .300 hitters. The prices for ballpark food spiral out of sight; pushing customers to the brink every time, just to the point where they grumble but still pay. Yankees fans may love having Mark Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez on their team, but they earn it at the concession stands.
I don’t blame fans for being outraged at this development, even if it is still supply and demand. I’ve often wondered why teams don’t reduce the prices of concessions and presumably sell more of them, but apparently they’ve figured out the maximum profit point and know better than I do about conscience-free food sales.
Still, of late there have been some positive developments in ballpark eats. Many teams offer ways to save on food, like all-you-can-eat sections and discounts for early-arriving fans. Most ballparks will allow you to bring in your own food if you’re strapped for cash.
And many of the new ballparks today offer a popular hometown delicacy; this certainly is an attractive new option for out-of-town fans that can save a trip to an established hole-in-the-wall while they’re in town. Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia offers several variations on the popular cheesesteak with Tony Luke’s, Campo’s, and the Schmitter, and you can also get the ever-popular Chickie’s and Pete’s fries. Citi Field in New York gathers long lines of fans for Shackburgers at the Madison Square Park based Shake Shack and leftover fans can go to Mama’s of Corona for a big sub. PNC Park in Pittsburgh now sells the Primanti Bros. sandwich, famous for fries and coleslaw actually piled onto the mess. And at Wrigley Field in Chicago, the holiest of holy hot dog cities, fans can go to the Chicago Dog kiosks and get a wiener on a poppy seed bun dressed up Chicago-style, or “dragged through the garden” as locals call the dog dressed with numerous toppings.
The one drawback is that the local delicacies tend to cost a little more than the standard fare, making it decision-time again. I got to thinking about this last Saturday night, when I was lucky enough to attend a Flyers game at Wells Fargo Center in Philly. There were Campo’s cheesesteaks and Chickie’s and Pete’s fries available…instead I went with a generic hot dog and fries, because I didn’t want to wait in line or pay more.
The dog was bland–and suffered from the indignity of unavailable spicy brown mustard. The fries were also surprisingly subpar, somehow not salty enough. I ended up regretting the decision, probably more than I would have regretted the extra few bucks and minutes I would have spent getting something worthwhile. Not a professional cost-benefit analysis, I know, but this isn’t supposed to be work!
So there you go. If you have ever had a favorite restaurant that always has a long wait, you know it’s worth the wait rather than to go to a lesser joint. As far as the cost–well, that’s up to you. You’re going to overpay anyway. A mushy generic hot dog is still going to be overpriced. You might as well pay a couple bucks extra for something half-decent with local flavor.
Ballpark E-Guides provides the skinny on most of the ballpark food, so you can have a plan going in or get the scoop before going to wait in line for unique local chow. How many times have you gone into a park and just looked for the shortest lines or the cheapest items? With a Ballpark E-Guide, you’ll know just what and where everything is…and you’ll be less likely to feel like you got burnt, like I did at the Flyers game. Whenever possible, Ballpark E-Guides will show you how to save money on such items, too.
Yes, ballgame food is too expensive. So my advice is to get something at least in the ballpark of your money’s worth.
Well, it’s official…Ballpark E-Guides is open for business!
You can now go to the Ballpark E-Guides website and for just $5 apiece order in-depth, loaded-with-information PDF format guides for Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Citi Field and Yankee Stadium in New York, and Fenway Park in Boston!
Learn where to park…how to use public transportation…how to get tickets…where to sit…what to eat…and much, much more.
And while I’m on a historic kick…(it will be easy to remember 10/10/10 as the day I opened the business)…I believe that makes me the first of my siblings to venture into the world of entrepreneurship!