Category Archives: national league

National League ballparks.

Coors Field

Coors Field, Denver, CO

Number of Games:  15
First Game:  May 10, 1995 (Rockies 8, Giants 5)
Most Recent Game:  August 9, 2008 (Padres 8, Rockies 3)

Straight up:  I love Coors Field.  This may be sentimentally impacted by the fact I grew up in Denver or the way I’ve seen it change downtown Denver from a place that everyone deserted every night to a place that I can actually go hang out with friends.  I have fun memories of meeting my mom at her work and walking the two blocks

to the game–serious, serious family outings.  But I suspect I’d love it anyway.  The pine trees in the bullpen, the pavilion in left field, the views of the mountains…you could be nowhere other than Denver when watching a game.

The talk has died down recently, but in the first few years of the Rockies’ existence, and in 1995, Coors’ first year, a lot of people talked about offensive statistics in Coors Field being somehow illegitimate.  I remember Mark Grace predicting that the person to break Roger Maris’s home run record would probably be a Rockie.  He was wrong, but that’s not the point–the point is the uproar it caused among some media and fans.  Well, before I continue, I would like to defend Coors Field and the statistics of the players who play there.

–First off, you never hear people talking in reverse, about the horribly deflated pitchers’ statistics of Astros or Cardinals or Marlins or Dodgers or whatever. 

“Sure, Nolan Ryan pitched 7 no hitters, but they were all at sea level.”  “Bob Gibson’s 1.12 ERA in 1968 isn’t legit.  Do you think he could have done that if he’d played in Atlanta or Yankee Stadium?”  “Sandy Koufax did all of that in a pitchers’ park!  Let’s add a point to his ERA before we truly compare.”  Ridiculous.

–Second, a whole lot of players have inflated batting statistics from hitting in bandboxes.  The Polo Grounds was only 257 feet down the right field line.  Mel Ott’s career numbers are therefore unfairly high, and Ott would not have succeeded as well in another ballpark.  Should we give him an asterisk?  No.  Neither should we tinker with Andre Dawson’s 1987 MVP award for the Cubs or Jim Rice’s career home run numbers.  You play where you play, and you can’t penalize a player for exploiting his environment.

–Third, Coors Field already has very, very deep dimensions…over 330 down the lines and quite deep in the alleys, 5-10% more than most other stadiums.  Scientists tell us the ball travels 5-10% farther at a mile high than at sea level.  I will grant that people will hit the ball more often at Coors, because curves

don’t curve as much, sliders don’t slide as much, and knucklers basically don’t knuckle at all.  But what are you going to do, back the foul poles up to 360 or 370?  Make Coors lead the league in triples and inside-the-parkers instead of in traditional homers?  Again, ridiculous.

–Finally, let’s take the case of Andres Galarraga.  Some believe Coors saved his career.  Remember when Galarraga hit a home run of over 500 feet, way up into the third deck (and still rising), that original estimates put as the longest homer ever, longer than Mantle’s?  So do I.  It was at sea level.  In Florida.  Off of one of the best in the biz at the time, Kevin Brown.

So let’s stop talking about this altitude crap, okay?  Okay.  (UPDATE 2009:  The use of the humidor has totally removed all relevance from this argument I wrote so testily in 2001, of course.)

Now that that’s

off my chest, let’s talk about Coors again…

Dad had season tickets the year of my semi-obligatory Overeducated Generation X Member’s Return To The Parental Home.  I sold bets at a dog track (yes, really) and generally was surly and eagerly awaiting saving the money to get out of the folks’ basement.  The trips to Coors were among the few bright spots of that year.

We sat in the 25th row, just to the first-base side of home plate most days, right behind what clearly were seats set aside for family and friends of the visitors.  Somebody’s cousin from Colorado Springs or somebody’s buddy from Boulder was always in front of us, silently rooting for the opposition. 

One group was having a lot of fun.  It was the brother of an opposing infielder I won’t name and all his friends.  They asked us all to shout Happy Birthday to him simultaneously.  I did it.  I mean, what the hell.  But they were mostly boorish creeps.  When I’d see this player on TV later, I’d tell my dad this was the guy whose brother he hated.  He’d roll his eyes at the memory.

Twice we got foux-foux tickets in wonderful places.  Dad got tickets from the hospital in the second deck, right at first base, which included–honest to God–a buffet.  So I assembled a ham and cheese sandwich on a sourdough roll and settled into my seat, where an usher let me know that if I wanted anything else, I should just wave a menu.  Dad arrived a few minutes later and asked me what I thought of the seats.  I announced that the quality of the seats had convinced me to go to medical school.

Another time Dad’s testosterone got the best of him at a charity auction, and he outbid all comers for a set of four three-rows-behind-home-plate seats and restaurant privileges for a game against the Reds.  I took Jennifer, the namer of the original Erotic Love and Baseball Stadium Tour.  Jennifer elected not to tell the then-boyfriend that she was going to a game with me, which made me feel special–like a threat.  Dad took Mom (as usual–at least I never saw him with another date).  I love being behind home plate, and hated leaving it for the middle innings to dine behind plexiglass near the top of the right-field foul pole.  Who the hell wants to watch a (live) baseball game at a restaurant?  You can’t really cheer, even home runs, since everyone’s having conversations at their table.  The plexiglass makes the game seem like just a rumor.  There’s nowhere on the table to put my scorecard.  (I announced that I was going to “score under the table.”  Dad said I could do that if I wanted, but it was best not to share such personal information with him.)  In the stands, I engage in long, blissful, not-baseball-related conversation with whomever I’m with, all while both of us look forward at the game.  In the restaurant, this feels rude…I feel like I should make eye contact with the people at the table while talking to them, so my equally unappealing options are to ignore my friends and family to watch the game, or to miss the game to talk to my friends and family.  I’m anal enough about scoring that this is actually a fairly tough call.

Lots of memories from just 12 games, lots of family and friends, and lots–I mean lots–of home runs.

All in an unmistakably Rocky Mountain setting.  It’s a great ballpark:  one of my favorites.

UPDATE 2008:  After a 10-year hiatus, I returned to Coors for a few games in 2008 as I introduced my wife to the locations of my Colorado youth.  It is interesting to re-visit this park with new eyes; all of my previous visits had been before this website existed.  The ballpark remains one of my favorites.  The way that downtown Denver peeks up beyond

the home plate stands and that the mountains are visible in the distance makes this an unquestionably Colorado experience.  The home runs have been reduced since MLB gave the Rockies permission to keep their baseballs in a humidor (soggy baseballs don’t fly as far).

I noticed some stuff in the ’00s that I would have missed when I was a regular in the ’90s.  First of all, they’ve added some art (or at least I’ve noticed it for the first time).  My favorite piece was a mural behind the batter’s eye that depicts what life might have looked like on the site of Coors Field from Native American times to the first pitch in 1995.  It’s a cool progression of history.   They’ve also added a plaque to commemorate the 1998 All-Star Game, including winning manager “Jim Hargrove,” who I guess was a last-minute replacement for then-Cleveland manager Mike Hargrove. The purple row–row 20–near the very top of the

ballpark which marks exactly 5280 feet of elevation remains in place and remains a highly distinctive touch to the ballpark.  I got to do one of those big circle-comes-to-a-close moments with Jennifer when we tried to attend a rained-out ballgame with my wife and her live-in-love-of-her-life.  The namer of the Erotic Love and Baseball Stadium Tour meets the woman who will love me forever, erotically and baseball-wise!  Great time there.

And, incidentally, if anyone wonders where Santa works during the summer, it’s in the Coors Field elevator by the left-field foul pole.  Here he is with my wife, who is both naughty and nice (after all, she’s 3 month pregnant for this photo).  Check it out…his name tag actually says “Santa–North Pole” and co-workers actually call him that.  “Ho, ho, ho!  Only 136 days left!” he told us.


Game 1 of the 1995 NLDS.  Braves 5, Rockies 4.  Chipper Jones hits two homers, including the game-winner in the ninth. The Braves turn four double plays. The Rockies do just enough to Greg Maddux to stay in the game–including a Vinny Castilla home run.  But Don Baylor goes to his bench too often, so that by the time the bases are loaded with two out in the ninth and the pitchers’ slot due up, nobody is left to pinch hit.  He uses Lance Painter, a pitcher, as a pinch-hitter, and he strikes out against Mark Wohlers to end the game.

Bryan Rekar wins in his major-league debut.

Andres Galarraga goes 6-for-6 in a game against Houston.

I see a game in which opposing pitchers, Kevin Foster and Marvin Freeman, homer off of each other.

Barry Bonds homers.

In my 2008 return, Lastings Milledge hits two home runs in one game for the Nationals.

Greg Maddux picks up a win for the Padres–13 years after I watch him pitch here in a playoff game for the Braves.

(Written July 2001.  Most recently updated July 2009.)

Mile High Stadium


From “Ballparks of Baseball” website.  Used by permission.

Mile High Stadium, Denver, CO

Number of minor league games:  A dozen or so (no stats or results survive–just a few memories)
First minor league game:  Probably late summer 1978 (Denver Bears 8, Wichita Aeroes 5)
Last minor league game:  Probably August 1991 (Denver Zephyrs vs. Iowa Cubs)

Number of Major League Games:  4
First Major League Game:  June 5, 1994 (Pirates 4, Rockies 3)
Last Major League Game:  June 28, 1994 (Padres 11, Rockies 3, 11 innings, 2nd game of doubleheader)

Mile High Stadium was demolished in 1999.

It has been destroyed along with so many other multipurpose stadiums, but I’d have to say Mile High Stadium is probably the best multipurpose stadium I’ve ever seen.  It’s because of those awesome movable East Stands, which actually glided on water to move from a cozy football position to a more distant baseball position.  And for a time, after Coors Field opened, there were a few people bemoaning the loss of Mile High, which averaged more in attendance than Coors could seat.  But those third-deck seats in Mile High were really, really up there–quite far away, especially if you were down the lines.  And those seats in center field…my, but they were a million miles away (although I liked that they sold them for a buck).  So Coors is a definite improvement, but I don’t think there was too much wrong with Mile High.  It was wonderfully quirky, in fact…homers to left were insanely easy, but homers to right were very difficult (I think it was something like 370 feet down the right field line, and the wall quite high.)

My very first pro baseball experiences were here.  The first pro game I ever attended would have been in the late summer of my 2nd or 3rd grade year…likely 1977 or 1978.  My T-ball team headed there one night to see the Montreal-affiliated Denver Bears beat the Wichita Aeroes 8-5.  I’m 99% sure that’s the score because I remember the linescore:

Wichita 050 000 000
Denver   111  111   02X

There was a bell to signify how many runs the Bears scored in each inning, so we kept hearing “The toll for the inning…[ding!]…one run.”  All else I remember from that night was missing a home run while in the bathroom, being uncomfortably near a foul ball, and being amazed that I was out at the ungodly hour of 10PM.

I recall snippets from the next 16-17 years of American Association baseball, through Expos, White Sox, Reds, and Brewers affiliations: a ceremony to honor Tim Raines’ record 77 stolen bases in a year (1980), Lloyd McClendon hitting for the cycle, several “let’s impress the major league teams and show that we love baseball by having a bunch of people show up at the park” nights, and singing the national anthem with my high school show choir.  Darryl Hamilton was signing autographs before the game on that anthem night, and I remember how game he was, signing whatever words we asked (I had him write “thanks for the tips!”, fellow HS singer Sheila had him write an elaborate love note along the lines of “you are my life…”) and how gracefully he handled it when Sheila asked him to prom.

Those minor league memories set the table for my major league experiences at Mile High, which were exclusively during the 1994 season.

I enjoyed one of these games with friends Michelle and Robby.  Robby scores the games too, but he uses wacky hieroglyphics only decipherable to him.  Archeologists could unearth my scorebook in ten thousand years, and would have no trouble whatsoever determining exactly what Eric Young did in the eighth inning that June day.  If they unearth Robby’s scorecard…well…they’ll probably think it’s some failed architectural plan.

Mile High was also host to my only-ever scheduled doubleheader.  I figured, hey, how could it get any better than this?  A doubleheader with dad.  That there is some father-son bonding.  But there’s a problem…Rockies pitching.  The doubleheader lasted absolutely forever.  It resulted in one of only two times in my life I’ve been compelled to leave a game early…the damn 11th inning of the damn second game was positively–and unprecedentedly (see below)–endless.  So I took pity on my Dad sometime during the eighteenth pitching change of the eleventh inning and let him take me home.

As much as I like the idea of the doubleheader, and as much as I laud suggestions that scheduled doubleheaders should be made more commonplace (this will never happen, however, as owners need each of the 81 games of revenue), I have a suggestion:  schedule no doubleheaders between teams whose earned run averages, when added together, are higher than 9.  We can’t handle that many walks and hits.


In the first game of the June 28 doubleheader, the Rockies come back from an 8-run deficit to win, a Rockies record at the time (over the year and a half they’d existed).

The Padres set a record in the second game for most runs scored in an 11th inning (since 1900), lighting the Rockies up for nine.  It’s the only 11-3 pitchers’ duel I’ll ever see.

(Written July 2001.  Last updated July 2009.)



Astrodome, Houston, TX

Number of games:  3
First game:  July 26, 1993 (Reds 6, Astros 1)
Last game:  May 18, 1994 (Astros 4, Giants 2)

The Astrodome is no longer in use as of the end of the 1999 season.

The Astrodome might be the eighth wonder of the world, but it’s the worst of all the baseball stadiums I’ve been to.  I’ll grant that, by the time I saw the Astrodome, it was 30 years old, and the original ooohs and aaahs (look!  they’re playing baseball indoors!  how cool!  and look!  the scoreboard explodes!) were passe’ and even quaint.  And I’ll grant you that, even for baseball, air-conditioning might be better than sitting in a muggy Texas afternoon or night.  But here’s what I remember about the Astrodome–it smelled like mold.  All three times I walked into the place, I thought the same thing.  I never was in a crowd that reached even 20,000, so it always felt terribly cavernous, even more so than other multi-purpose stadiums.

All three visits were during my two years living and teaching sixth graders in the sticks of west central Louisiana, which is another memoir entirely.  Loved the teaching, hated west central Louisiana.  Me and my fellow young visiting-teacher friends would drive the three hours down to see whatever ballgame was on–once, even on a school night.  We were that desperate to escape.

My first trip, however, was solo…heading down from my place during the summer to make the Astrodome the tenth stadium in the original Erotic Love and Baseball Stadium tour…the only stop without a connection to any woman.  Well, a guy needs a break sometimes.  I remember three things from this game–a suddenly-not-hot Darryl Kile getting shelled, but nevertheless getting a standing ovation when he was pulled; a very impressive Chris Sabo home run, and my second encounter in a week with Kevin Wickander.

As I told you back in the Riverfront game, Wickander lost his good buddies Steve Olin and Tim Crews in a boat accident that March at Cleveland’s spring training, and had been traded to Cincinnati in the hope that new surroundings would get him back on track.  And I felt for the guy.  His public struggle with grief was breaking my heart, especially after I saw him throw eight pitches without a strike at Riverfront.  So, for my second consecutive game, I shouted wild support when Wickander entered the game, this time with a 6-1 lead to close it out in the ninth.  “All right, WICK!!!” I shouted, as the few Astros fans who were left wondered why I was hollering in support of the enemy.  If they’d asked, I’d have told them, and we’d have seen what kind of empathy they had.  Anyway, at least Wick got an out in this one, getting Ken Caminiti to fly to center.  Indeed, at least he threw a strike in this one.  But after Caminiti’s fly out, Wickander walked the next two batters and was pulled.  It was awful.  Again, I was stuck watching a guy go through horrendous personal grief in a public venue.  He had an awful year; his ERA was close to 7.  But, giving a look, it looks like there may be a happier ending to this story…he wasn’t in the majors in 1994 (minors?  mental health?) but came back to have a strong year (ERA under 2) for Detroit and Milwaukee in 1995.  He struggled a bit more for the Brewers in 1996, and doesn’t appear to have been in the majors since, but by then, I’d hope it was due to mechanics or injuries and not due to the broken heart that was so clearly dogging him when I watched him pitch the summer of 1993.

**April 2003…I have received two separate emails about Kevin Wickander’s life since his retirement from baseball, one from a college and minor-league teammate of Wick’s and another from a distant relative.  I’m afraid his life hasn’t developed as positively as I thought/hoped…it appears he developed a drug problem, has endured a divorce, and is now in prison for drug-related offenses.  I appreciate the people who sent me the update, although in some ways, I wish I didn’t know the sad truth.

My choice to drive to that game alone left me driving the three hours home all alone until 2 in the morning, very tired, picking up distant sports talk stations, even stopping and looking for rural payphones considering a call in.  The topic was low morals among athletes.  I don’t remember what jerk du jour the guy was worked up about, but I wanted to point out that there are good guys even in New York sports, like Jim Abbott and Anthony Young.  But then it occurred to me…I was choosing two guys in the middle of bad seasons, and Young was in the middle of a record-setting losing streak.  I might unintentionally have made the point that you have to be a jerk to win.  When it occurred to me–maybe you do.  Which made me depressed as well as tired on the trip.  Kids–don’t try this drive at home.  If I had to do it again, no matter how broke I was at the end of my tour, I would have stopped for accommodation in Livingston or Woodville.

At another game, I went with two friends, one of whom, blessed with magazine-cover looks, said “Well, I don’t like baseball, but I once dated a Montreal Expo, so this game (against Montreal) will be especially appropriate.”  We watched Mark Portugal warm up just a few feet away from us, and when I stepped away for some food, buddy Dan got Astros’ pitching coach Bob Cluck to autograph my program.  “Hey, this’ll be great, can you sign this for my friend???”  Thanks, Dan and Bob.  And I remember Mark Portugal failing to lay down a sacrifice in the fifth inning, and just as he was running by us down the first-base line, he shouted out the loudest f-word I’ve ever heard.  Mark!  There are kids here!

Was it worth making the six-hour round trip on a school night to sit at this terrible indoor stadium?  Yes.  But I’m glad they finally opened the new place.  It’s not my favorite, but it’s far better than this was.


Darryl Kile has a nine-game winning streak snapped.

Mark Portugal, in one of his last starts for the Astros, sets personal career high with his 14th win and 8th in a row.

Mark Portugal, in his first start in Houston against the Astros, loses to Doug Drabek.

(Written August 2001.  Revised July 2005.)

Riverfront Stadium


Don Turner. Used by permission.

Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati, OH

Number of Games:  1
First and Last Game:  July 19, 1993 (Cubs 6, Reds 4)

Riverfront Stadium was imploded on December 29, 2002.

First the stadium:  see Busch, Three Rivers, the Vet.  A circle.  Turf.  Boring.  There.  That’s all I have to say about the stadium.

I was in the front row at Riverfront for a good game against the Cubs.  I was down the right field line.  You know that point where the seats jut out, where doubles down the line hit and sometimes ricochet back towards the infield, or suddenly turn left and zip in front of the right fielder, forcing him to change direction, making a double into a triple?  I was right at that point.  First thing I did was called my folks in Colorado and asked them to tape the game on WGN so that there would be hard evidence of (a) my presence at the game and of (b) any foul balls I would be able to grab.  As it turns out, (b) didn’t happen.  I came close (about 5 feet away) on a Rick Wilkins smash foul in the 9th inning.  I forced my poor family to watch the foul ball repeatedly, repeatedly seeing me reach out from my seat to miss the ball by, well, a lot.  But I made the effort, and I was on TV trying.

This will go down in my memory as the Larry Luebbers game.  Larry Luebbers was making his third major league start, and his first start at home in Cinicnnati, where he grew up.  I was sitting with every friend, relative, and neighbor of Larry’s (they all called him “Chip”) from Cincinnati, except for Larry’s dad, who had a different (and, I assume, better) seat.  I habitually root for the home team at every game that doesn’t involve my Mariners, and at this game, it was more intense than usual.  My seat was very near the Reds’ bullpen, and I was just a few feet away from Larry as he paced before warm-ups.  I remember thinking he looked nervous and was trying to cover it with a look of intense concentration…and failing.  Well, still, he had won his first two starts on the road, so I figured he had something going.

I cheered for Chip with his friends and family.  Some of them might have even figured I grew up in the area…I was Chip’s high school buddy or some neighbor they didn’t recognize who’d faced Chip in Little League.  Alas, a Chip Luebbers victory was not to be…I think Chip’s nerves got to him a little bit.  He gave up five runs and walked 6 in less than 5 innings.  One of the Luebbers’ neighbors went away for a couple of innings to find Larry’s dad and congratulate him for his son’s making the majors.  “I told him that no matter what happens from here, Larry’s made it way further than anybody else.”  Very true, but probably very unsatisfying for Larry that night.

Now that I think about it, I may have been the turning point for Larry’s career–for the worse.  He was 2-0 before I sat with his family and friends–and he finished the season 2-5.  He then went back to the minors, and I lost track of him and figured he was finished.  Not so…six years later, in 1999, he was back in the majors with the Cardinals, for whom he went 3-3.  He returned to the Reds as a reliever in 2000, but I could not find him on a major league roster as of July 2001.  Isn’t that admirable?  To get a taste of the majors, then toil for six more years to make it back up again?  Way to go, Larry.  Sorry I couldn’t see you win in front of your buddies.

This game also was my first of two consecutive opportunities to root for Kevin Wickander.  Wickander started 1993 with the Indians, when his good friends, Indians pitchers Steve Olin and Tim Crews, were killed in a boating accident that March in Cleveland’s spring training.  He was devastated, and suddenly couldn’t pitch.  Mike Hargrove and the Indians’ brass thought that Wickander needed a change of scenery…you can’t pitch while everyone and everything you see reminds you of the death of your good friends.  So they traded him to Cincinnati for future considerations…this, entirely a mental-health move on Wickander’s behalf.  Just a little while before seeing him pitch, I had read a touching Sports Illustrated article about the tragedy and the Indians’ (and particularly Wickander’s) recovery from it…and then, that night, there he was, warming up a few feet away from me.  He ran out to the pitchers’ mound, and I shouted as loud as I could…”All right, WICK!  Go get ’em, WICK!”  Here’s a guy who needs something good to happen to him.  The subtext behind his appearance…well, it made it one of those moments that transcends baseball, at least to me.  Ryne Sandberg was on second after a leadoff double, and Wickander was to face the lefties that followed in the Cubs’ lineup.  He threw 8 pitches.  All 8 were balls, and one was a wild pitch. He wouldn’t do much better a week later in the Astrodome.

It was one of the most poignant and tragic things I’ve ever seen.  It was like watching somebody at work trying to do his/her job after a personal tragedy, doing a terrible job, but with nobody having the guts–yet–to say that he/she probably should take some time off.  Except this guy was going through it in front of 31,587 people.  Fortunately, nobody scored that inning, but Wickander didn’t throw a single strike.

Possibly more than any game I’ve ever been to, this one demonstrated that the guys out there are, in fact, human beings, like Chip and Wick–blessed with friends and families and facing their own demons just like the rest of us.


The Reds almost pull off a comeback win, cutting an early deficit to 5-4 with nobody out in the 6th and a man on second.  Then Reggie Sanders hits a fly ball to right-center, where Sammy Sosa, playing center, waves off rookie Kevin Roberson.  He guns down Hal Morris trying to tag up to third, and the Reds never recover.

Kevin Roberson hits his second career home run.

Larry Luebbers is tagged with his first major league loss.

(Written August 2001.  Updated July 2005.)

Veterans Stadium

Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia, PA

Number of Games:  1
First and Last Game:  June 22, 1993 (Phillies 5, Braves 3)

Veterans Stadium was demolished on March 21, 2004.

First the stadium:  see Busch, Three Rivers, and Riverfront.  A circle.  Turf.  Boring.  The Phillies have since moved out of here, and that’s good.  No reaction whatsoever to this cookie-cutter ballpark.  That’s it for the stadium.

The Vet, however, marks the first time I ever took a date to a baseball game.  When you’re as much of a glove-wearing, game-scoring nerd as I am, the first game is a little bit of a worry.  The general rule for me is, unless the woman spontaneously indicates an affinity for baseball, to wait until I know her at least a month before letting her see me in this context.  Shelly met this standard.  I’d known her for a couple of years.  She was a close friend of the woman with whom I was to be living in sin that summer–the one whose breakup with me sent me fleeing to the stadiums in the first place.  Shelly did the absolute best thing possible for a man in my situation…she seduced me (or let me seduce her–the line is awfully blurry).  This love connection, I believe, was very good for me and probably not so good for her in the long run.  She volunteered herself to be the primary stop on the Erotic Love and Baseball Stadium Tour.  She flew down to Pittsburgh from her place outside of Cleveland, drove with me across the state to Reading, where we house-sat for friends of hers, then drove with me back to Cleveland.

This would be the only week I would ever spend with her one-on-one.  We spent one day of touristing in Philadelphia.  Me and the tall redhead.  We looked good.  We looked happy.  We must have been stopped ten

times by horse-and-carriage-ride offers. We saw everything there was to see.  We tried to get to the stadium and accidentally wound up in New Jersey.  She put up with my reaction to the stress of being lost in a strange town.  We righted ourselves and put ourselves in the left-field bleachers.  She did the Kids’ Page in the program…every maze, every fill-in-the-blank crossword.  She said the Phillie Phanatic was sexy.  She took me back to Reading.  She took me to bed.  She drove with me to Cleveland–even went with me to another game there.  She listened to me rant.  I was a mess.  She took me for a weekend at a condo by Lake Erie (actually very beautiful in the summer).  She took me to back to bed.  She kept my car at her place while I took the train across the country to Chicago, Milwaukee, and Montana.  She picked me up at the train station at 2:30 AM when I returned.  I was still a mess. She took me back to the lake, back to the condo, back to bed.

How does this all turn out even?  This relationship where I whine about my ex nonstop, and this brilliant, gorgeous woman not only puts up with it, but does so much more?  Maybe she intentionally did this to set up her life so that she was owed so much relationship karma by the time we were through that she would be due a fantastic permanent Prince Charming.   Our inevitable ugly falling out came a few months later, and she went on to become a minister at an inner-city church.  Maybe this betrays that she has a thing for the needy, because that’s sure what I was that summer of 1993.

I don’t want to make Shelly out to be a saint–she had some significant problems that were especially evident in the ugly falling out.  And now that I gather my thoughts on my time with Shelly to write this, it all looks terribly messed up, but it surely didn’t feel that way at the time, perhaps because of our youth.

They’ve since knocked down that worthless hunk of cookie-cutter concrete, and good riddance to it.  But I’m not going to remember it for its obvious flaws.  I’m going to remember a tremendous game.  I’m going to remember one or two specific moments in time–which is, in the end, what we all remember from any place or any person.  That’s how I’ll force myself to remember Veterans Stadium, and that’s how I’ll force myself to remember Shelly, the center of the Erotic Love and Baseball Stadium Tour.  Shelly, my first baseball date.


The Braves/Phillies matchup turned out to be a preview of that year’s NLCS, and the Phillies’ victory anticipated the result.

Pete Incaviglia hits the difference-making three-run homer in the fifth inning.  My fellow left-field fans cheer him passionately when he runs out for the following inning.

Francisco Cabrera hits an absolute monster homer into the upper-deck above me.

Mitch Williams gets the save.

(Written August 2001.  Updated April 2004.)

Three Rivers Stadium


Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, PA

Number of Games:  2
First Game:  June 19, 1993 (Pirates 8, Mets 3)
Last Game:  July 1, 1994 (Reds 4, Pirates 2)

Three Rivers Stadium was destroyed in 2001.

I’ve been to over 100 major league games, and these two are not among the most memorable.  Not even the box score jogs my memory much about what happened on the field.  The stadium itself was cookie cutter, carpeted, and bland–identical to Riverfront,, the Vet,,and Busch. Nothing to remember there.  But, to be honest, I probably wouldn’t remember much about the games anyway because I attended them with my college buddy Rob, and we tend to screw around to the point where the games, especially bad ones like these, become nothing more than background fodder for our jokes.

Thankfully, at the Mets game, we sat a couple of rows away from any other people, and nobody could get annoyed at our strange rituals.  We looked like a couple of major nerds, each wearing team T-shirts, caps, and gloves (although we turned out to be so far down the right-field line and in the second deck that even Barry Bonds would have had trouble reaching us, that is, if he’d still been a Pirate).  Rob and I have one of those senses of humor where, if it’s funny once, it’s way funnier on the 19th time.  I think we get it from David Letterman.  Anyway, Frank Tanana was starting for the Mets that day and getting shelled (this was his last major league season, and, as of when we saw him, he would only win three more games in his career–but lose 11).  So, as he was warming up, I started singing the introduction to Paul Simon’s “Diamonds On The Soles of Her Shoes.”  “Sing Ta-na-na…Ta-na-na-na…Frank Tanana’s pitching tonight.”  Rob, of course, would jump in with harmony every time.  So, eight years later, this is what I remember of the Mets game:  Frank Tanana getting shelled, and Rob and I singing Ta-na-na every time Frank did something, culminating in “Sing Ta-na-na-na…Tanana’s in a world of shit.”  He was yanked soon after.  Quite funny.  Maybe you had to be there.  Thankfully nobody else was.

Oh–and somebody hit a SCREAMING line foul to the lower deck beneath us, which a studly linebacker guy caught with one bare hand.  I still remember that slapping noise.  “PSHH!”  After everyone roared their approval, Rob actually shouted to the guy:  “Give it to your girlfriend!”  The guy turned around to Rob…maybe not hearing what he said…and shook his arm at his side, mouthing the word “Ow!!!!” beneath a giant grimace. Good to see a studly linebacker guy admit to pain. But that’s it.  That’s all I’ve got besides the box score.

After the game…oh my.  Rob and I wanted to catch SportsCenter before we went back to the hotel.  So we looked in the program for a sports bar, and picked Hooters because it had an address we knew we could find.  God as our witness, we had no idea that it was an establishment centered on tight, low-cut T-shirts.  We’d never heard of it (remember, this is 1993).  We didn’t even clue in on the name. So the only trip to Hooters I’ve made in my life was quite the experience.  To reiterate, Rob and I looked like complete nerds.  We’d taken off the gloves, but we still had the hats, and I still had my scorepad and pencil, and, well, we probably look like nerds every day of our lives, even without the accoutrements.  And maybe I’m being paranoid, but I swear when our waitress saw us, her face fell, as if to say:  “You mean I’ve got to serve these guys?”  Then–and this is the absolute truth–they seated us on the opposite end of the restaurant, as far away as possible from from all the drunken idiot boys, with countless empty tables between us…and even farther from the bachelor party.

Rob and I had gone there to watch SportsCenter, but they had beach volleyball on the screen by our table.  We wanted them to switch our set to SportsCenter, but not if it would switch every TV in the joint.  Beach volleyball…if we wanted to see breasts, there were plenty of the live version walking past carrying potato skins; why bother with the TV?  But we didn’t want to ask our server who was so disappointed to have us.  We picked out another server who I’ll call Siobhan.  We decided, based on her carriage and attitude, that she was a college woman making her tuition money by wearing low-cut T-shirts here.  We figured we’d have a better shot getting her to listen to us than our supercilious waitress.  We flagged her down and asked her if she could switch just our TV without changing all the others…and got the most inarticulate drivel in response.  I swear she could barely talk.  I said:  “So much for the college theory,” and Rob and I laughed a fairly mean and spiteful laugh at Siobhan’s expense.  But she got our TV switched.  Our server, who seemed to hold us in such contempt, surprised us at the end of the night.  She sat down and chatted with us a while when we paid the bill, asking us if we liked Pittsburgh, telling us about her Budweiser modeling gigs, talking about the etymology of Siobhan’s name.

It was quite a bizarre social experiment, dropping a couple of nerdy boys and a scorepad in the middle of Hooters.  Rob and I had so many questions on our ride home:  did they intentionally segregate us from the less-nerdy crowd?  why did our server sit down to talk to us?  was she required to do that?  did she believe us to be safe?  better and nicer than, for instance, the drunken boys at the bachelor party?  had we somehow grown on her?  what exactly was her attitude towards us, anyway?  were we just nerdy enough to get lucky?  We almost talked ourselves into going back for lunch the next day to solve the mystery of why the large-breasted Budweiser model who seemed to dislike us so much would sit down and chat with us.  I was 23 then. I’m 31 as I write this, and sometime in those 8 years, I have realized that that (the return trip) was exactly their goal, and surely the premeditated purpose of the conversation at our (and, no doubt, every other) table.  I have not been back to a similar establishment since.

As little as I remember from the Mets game, I remember even less from the Reds game.  I was there with Rob and a friend of his the weekend I was looking for an apartment in Pittsburgh (where I did a year towards an MFA in poetry…so the writing you see here is, in fact, the result of a little training.  Can’t you tell?).  The only detail I remember from this game is missing a scoring decision on a wild pitch/passed ball by Lance Parrish, whom I was surprised to see was still alive and hitting .284.  Rob and his friend missed the scoring decision too.  The high school kid sitting to our right said he thought it was a wild pitch.  I told him that I’d write it down that way, and if he was wrong, I swore I would find him and kick his butt.  His response:  “You’ll have to get in line behind my father.”  Come to think of it, I never did check to see if he was right or wrong.  Let me look at the box score…it was a passed ball.  Hmmm.  It’s been 7 years, and this kid is no doubt a productive member of society by now, and he’s forgotten me.  Perhaps he thinks he’s safe, but nothing matches the wrath of a scorer given bad information.  He will certainly be surprised when I break down his door and beat the living hell out of him.


Precious little. Every team was bad.

Fred Toliver’s last major league win…he threw three pitches, got Darren Jackson to pop out, then was pinch hit for in an inning where the Bucs scored 5 runs.

Lance Parrish allows two passed balls to get by him in the 1994 game.  He is, I believe, the last player I saw in my 1980 Major League debut that I see in action in a later Major League game.

(Written August 2001.  Updated December 2001.)

Wrigley Field

(Click on photo to make larger.)

Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL

Number of Games:  3
First Game:  June 16, 1993 (Cubs 6, Marlins 4)
Most Recent Game:  July 19, 2004 (Cardinals 5, Cubs 4)

Okay–Wrigley Field is nice, but it’s not my favorite ballpark, even among the old ones.  I like it, sure, but I like Fenway Park a little better, and even Tiger Stadium gives it a run for its money.  The reasons why–well, I think they’re a result of me being of the MTV generation.  I love the old-fashioned hand-operated scoreboard, but I’m young enough also to like having something that can give me replays and information more readily.

When there’s an amazing catch or double play or monster home run, I like the chance to see it again to see if there was any aspect of the play I missed.  Maybe I was focused on a base-runner and didn’t see an outfielder bobble the ball.  Probably I have no idea the location of a pitch that a ballplayer just smacked out of the park.  Usually, I’m a bit of a traditionalist, but this is a case where progress actually has been good for spectators’ enjoyment of a game.  Tiger Stadium didn’t suffer from its DiamondVision scoreboard.  I’d say that only the deepest of the purists objected to its installation.  The scoreboard allows me to see big plays more carefully and deeply than a first reaction will allow.

Also–and maybe there was just a technical flaw that day–I felt the PA sound was difficult to hear.  This doesn’t matter unless there’s a tough scoring decision I need to put into my book.  For instance, at the first game, I had a question as to whether a play was a wild pitch or a passed ball.  The PA guy reported it, but from my seat under the overhang and behind a pillar, it just sounded like a mumble.  With no scoreboard to look at and an unintelligible PA guy, I missed the ruling, and that bummed me out.  Please don’t attack me–I like Wrigley Field, its charm, its atmosphere, the ivy, the massive hand-operated scoreboard.  I just think that, in its efforts to stay pure, it has missed a couple of positive changes that would have made me enjoy the game a little more.

I certainly enjoyed the ELABST game plenty, in good part because I saw it with college buddy Josh (whose mother’s close personal friendship with Oliver Stone would cost me Comiskey Park lodging two weeks later).  He scored the game, but he did it differently from the way I did.  On the bottom of his scorecard, he wrote:  “Today is the 100th anniversary of Cracker Jack.”  And indeed it was–we all got a free sample for showing up.  When he stopped paying attention to his scorebook in about the third inning, he wrote on his scorecard:  “If ever I need to know what happened in this game, I will call Paul.”  You can still do that, Josh–I still have all relevant information.

Josh also introduced me to the art of moving down to better seats.  Did you know that this is an ethical thing to do?  Randy Cohen, who writes the New York Times “The Ethicist” column, responded to a eleven-year-old boy from Houston who was embarrassed by his dad’s practice of moving down to better seats, and asked if it was ethical.  Cohen says it is.  He chastised major league stadiums for being “gated communities.”  I agree with him.  It used to be that a ballgame was one of the only places where different social classes truly mixed as equals–the workers rubbing shoulders with doctors and lawyers, everybody rooting for the same team.  I think of Jackie Robinson’s first couple of seasons, where major league stadiums provided rare moments of racial mixing in some cities.  But that’s not true anymore, what with so many “Diamond Club” seats with buffets and everything else like that.  I’ve certainly enjoyed my time in such seats at Coors Field, PacBell Park, and Jacobs Field, but I’d gladly trade that for ticket prices that enabled everyone to sit in the best seats–and be together.

Not that it was some Marxian desire for social upheaval that caused Josh and I to try to move to better seats.  The main cause was, well, that our seats sucked–so far under the overhang that we couldn’t see the big scoreboard or a fly ball of any height.  Josh scouted out the seats, and then we serpentined our way down to the fourth row, avoiding the radar of the usher/guard.  I thought we were home free until the rightful ticket holders showed up in the fifth inning.  Fifth inning! Even for a weekday afternoon game, that’s inexcusable.  The usher kicked us out, and said “I was looking for you ever since I saw you scouting for seats earlier.  I guess I missed you.”

“Well, we’re good,” Josh replied.  Fun guy to be with.

And a fun stadium on the whole–although I might get flamed because it’s not my number one favorite.  But then, the Fenway people would flame me if I preferred Wrigley.  People take these things way too seriously. (But then, I should talk.  I’m the one spending all these hours writing this stuff.)

I didn’t return to Wrigley for nine years after the first visit, and when I did, I did a matinee there followed by a White Sox game that night.  That was quite a fun experience, and one that enabled me to make some comparisons between the two ballparks and the fans within them.  If you are so inclined, you can read about the two-Chicago-ballparks-in-one-day saga here.


Florida catcher Mitch Lyden becomes the 68th person in Major League history to hit a home run in his first major league at-bat.  He hits it over the screen and onto Waveland Avenue.  His major league career lasts a total of six games.  He finishes his career with only the one home run–and his name in the record books.

Cubs’ Matt Clement pitches a strong game, striking out 12.  Not that I can be too sure–it was so cold that I can barely read my scorecard.

A marvelous Cubs/Cardinals game in 2004.  Carlos Zambrano hits Jim Edmonds with a pitch.  Next time up, Jim Edmonds homers.  Words are exchanged.  Benches clear.  Things are intense.  Next time up, after giving up what turned out to be the game-winning homer to Scott Rolen, Zambrano hits Edmonds again.  He is ejected.  He also appears to be a highly unstable young man. Cardinals win 5-4.

(Written August 2001. Updated August 2004.)

[Old] Busch Stadium

[Old] Busch Stadium, St. Louis, MO

Number of Games:  2
First game:  June 14, 1993 (Cardinals 8, Pirates 3)
Last game:  May 30, 1997 (Cardinals 2, Dodgers 1)

Busch Stadium was demolished after the 2005 season.

Busch Stadium is an argument for stadium improvements.  Between my first visit in 1993 and my most recent visit in 1997, they’d made some changes that made Busch less cookie-cutter and more interesting.  In 1993, Busch was more or less an exact copy of Riverfront, Three Rivers, and The Vet, except that Busch had those nice little arches around the rim.  Now, although it doesn’t have the charm of a baseball-only stadium, it feels a lot nicer…real grass, mostly, and the removal of a section of seats to put in retired players’ pennants.  (At least I think that was done since 1993.  And I like the idea of a player having his own pennant.  Feels right.)  And there are an awful lot of pennants up there, which reminds you of the rich baseball history in St. Louis.

Which is a lot of the point.  St. Louis has a reputation as a great baseball town.  As I recall, in the heat of the Mark McGwire business in 1998, Sports Illustrated called it the best baseball town in America (which, I assume, means in the world).  And my experience in St. Louis backs that up.  I like the feeling of a crowd getting riled up late in the count in a crucial situation, all the while maintaining that Midwestern politeness I like so much (St. Louis has figured it out–at a baseball game, you can be polite and loud at the same time).  I like the way the ballpark is hard by downtown and that you can see the Gateway Arch rising above the ballpark–it therefore passes the “is there any question what city you’re in” test.  I would be happy to call Busch my home park, and I hope there doesn’t come a day when the Cardinals’ brass decides to abandon Busch Stadium for something more cutting-edge that produces more revenue.  (2005:  Alas, that day has come since I wrote those words four years ago.)

Also, Busch Stadium seems to understand the “less is more” idea of ballgame entertainment.  I don’t remember being ordered to cheer so often as I have been at other ballparks.  And my favorite part of each game was the immediate aftermath…no PA guy saying “thank you for coming,” at least not

immediately, but right away–DiamondVision highlights with Jack Buck’s call.  No “We win!” foolishness on the scoreboard…just the plays you want to get a look at in case you don’t catch SportsCenter.  It’s obviously run by somebody who understands that baseball is the entertainment instead of some excuse to make a theme park.

It was there that I saw Tim Wakefield at the nadir of his career, which came exactly one season after his huge 1992 debut.  He had been moved to the bullpen because he was suddenly losing.  He came on in relief in a blowout loss.  His knuckleball wasn’t finding the plate, so hitters would wait on that 2-0 or 3-0 70-mile-an-hour fastball, and they’d hit it.  Still, even when they’re not doing well, I love watching knuckleballers.  You expect to see this Pedro Martinez-style delivery–WHOOSH!!–and instead you get…whush.  The ball seems to flutter even from a distance.  I also like knuckleballers because, for a non-athlete like me (the fastest I’ve ever thrown a baseball is about 58 miles an hour), the knuckleball would be my only chance to make the major leagues.  I don’t care how much I work out, my genetics will not allow me to hurl a baseball the 88 miles an hour it would take to be even a borderline major leaguer.  But a knuckler–well, it’s a non-athletic move that beats athletes.  I remember Steve Sparks saying in an interview how he would slow down his pitches, then slow them down again, to make a huge guy like Chili Davis look ridiculous.  He said something like:  “Chili gets frustrated because he knows he’s a way better athlete than I am, and he still can’t hit me.”  Which is a fantasy I’ve had since elementary school…the idea that brains could beat brawn on the playing field.  It can’t…brains-with-brawn beats just-brawn.  Except for knuckleballers like Sparks or Wakefield striking out massive weight-room-enhanced power hitters.

So, on the whole, I was sad to see this ballpark fade away after the 2005 season.  It was somewhat charmless, sure, but now that the four worst of the cookie-cutters (Busch, Three Rivers, Riverfront, and Veterans) have all gone the way of the dodo, I do miss the dullness of them somehow.  In many ways, it’s preferable to the theme parks, especially in a baseball town like St. Louis.  I bet I’ll like the new place, but since the multi-purpose cookie-cutters were the rule of my youth, with all their problems, I’ll miss them a little.  Sentimental and foolish?  Sure.  But true.


Andy Van Slyke, then a Pirate, broke his collarbone jumping for a catch at the center field wall.  The ball ricocheted off his glove and over the fence for a home run, and Van Slyke was out for most of the rest of the season.

I saw an awesome, awesome game–one of the best I’ve seen–in 1997.  Ramon Martinez and Andy Benes were in a pitchers’ duel, but each delivered the key hit for his team…Benes a drive to the wall for an RBI double, Martinez a lucky roller down the third-base line for a leadoff double…he eventually scored.  It was 1-1 on those plays until the bottom of the ninth, when Gary Gaetti almost hit a homer to win it…caught at the wall.  Then St. Louis loaded the bases, Los Angeles brought on Mark Guthrie to face Delino DeShields, and he walked him on four pitches to end the game.  A little bit of a letdown, but that actually only added to the game’s charm somehow.

(Written August 2001.  Updated December 2005.)

Dodger Stadium


from "Ballparks of Baseball" website. Used by permission.

Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, CA

Number of Games:  3
First Game:  July 5, 1992 (Phillies 9, Dodgers 3)
Most Recent Game:  August 5, 2000 (Brewers 4, Dodgers 2)

Quick–what are the oldest stadiums currently in use in the majors?  The first two are easy–even a non-fan could name Fenway Park or Wrigley Field, of course.  And then there’s Yankee Stadium, although it’s been completely remodeled and changed to the point where it doesn’t feel old (edit 2009:  well, now its nonexistence gets in the way…).   What’s the next oldest stadium in the majors?  The answer might surprise you.  It’s Dodger Stadium, and it’s an absolutely fine place to watch a baseball game.

I hate L.A.  Absolutely endless freeways all leading to the same strip malls, and I’m sure those mountains are beautiful, but when will anyone ever get a chance to really see them?  It’s an exaggeration to say that all of the fans are laid back to a fault, arriving late and leaving early, but that element is certainly there.  (Next time you see footage of Kirk Gibson hitting his game-winning homer in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, cast your eyes above the right-field stands and into the parking lot.  That’s right–you’ll see brake lights of at least two cars leaving early! World Series, home team down by one, bottom of the ninth, and people are leaving!)  But once I’m in Dodger Stadium…with those wonderful multiple decks, with virtually all seats very good seats…well, I find myself as enveloped in baseball as I am anywhere.

The park passes the is-there-any-question-where-you-are test, meaning that while sitting in the ballpark, there’s no question that you’re in Southern California.  I especially like the HOLLYWOOD-like sign on the hill beyond the outfield wall…it reads “THINK BLUE.”  The fans that stick around–the ones I talk to–are affable, knowledgeable, and loyal.  There is ample food easily obtained.  And I was there for two only-at-Dodger-Stadium promotions.

In 1993, I was lucky enough to catch old-timers’ day.  Saw every Dodger hall-of-famer you could think of.  Tommy Lasorda played.  The 1993 Lasorda was a somewhat svelte version, but it was still something to watch him run around the bases.  He scored from second on a single, diving into home with a head-first slide.  This was indeed an interesting and comical thing to see.  When the groundskeeper saw Lasorda diving on his way home, surely he worried that he wouldn’t be able to fix up the damage before game time.  On the scoreboard–Dodgers against Dodgers.  And every batter that reached base–no matter how egregious a fielding miscue got him there–was awarded a base hit.  And I can say something not too many people of my generation can say–I saw Don Drysdale pitch.  Yeah, it was an old-timers’ game, but I did see him pitch.

I enjoyed that game about six weeks after I graduated from college, as I was undergoing crash teacher-training in preparation for being a sixth-grade teacher for two years in rural Louisiana.  Laurie, a new attractive female friend (now attending graduate school in educational administration at Harvard), joined me, and didn’t complain when we took three buses about a thousand miles to get to Dodger Stadium.

Seven years later, I returned as a part of the Erotic Love and Baseball Stadium Tour–West Coast Swing.  Saw games on consecutive nights as I tried (and failed) to secure a tryout for a game show.  This time, I enjoyed Hollywood Stars Night.  I arrived two hours early in a too-hot L.A. early evening to see Hollywood Stars play ball.  Let’s just say that the Dodgers’ definition of a “star” differs a little bit from mine.  When the first player they introduced was the voice of the Taco Bell Chihuahua, I knew I wouldn’t exactly be seeing a battery of Neve Campbell and Reese Witherspoon, with Nicole Kidman batting (well, I’d continue to see that in my mind).  Nope.  My favorite actor in the bunch, Gordon Clapp, struck out.  Tony Danza pitched against Corbin Bernsen.  Adam Corrolla and Dr. Drew Pinsky each played.  And Lisa Guerrero, then the obligatory babe on the Fox Sports game show at the time, did an amazingly stupid gag.  She grounded to the pitcher, but ran to third instead of first.  The pitcher threw to first, and the third-base umpire ruled her safe.  Ha ha, how funny, the umpire let the gorgeous silicon-laden babe be safe.  It was awfully stupid, and there wasn’t anyone on the field who was more than a C- or D-list star.  But still, it was an Only In Hollywood kind of moment, where being the voice of a popular fast-food spokesdog will let you play where Koufax and Drysdale once played.

I was stoked to see Kevin Brown pitch, and Kerry, my longtime friend whom I sorta have a past with, is almost as obsessed with Kevin Brown as she is with Mike Sweeney.  (She leads our fantasy league in harassment suits and restraining orders.)  So I called her from the stadium, got her machine, and said “This is Kevin Brown.  I know I’m pitching in a few minutes, but I can’t get you out of my mind.  So tonight, I’m going to go out and pitch a shutout FOR YOU.  It’s FOR YOU.”  And he almost did.  It would have been unbearably cool if I’d actually foreshadowed a shutout for Kerry.  She got a cute miniature teddy bear with Kevin Brown’s number on the back.  That’s actually not a bad souvenir for ten bucks–I recommend it.  They’re on sale for many different players in many different parks.

The people were incredibly nice.  The first night I was there for my ELABST West Coast Swing, a woman did something I’ll never forget.  She saw me scoring the game, and said “You must really be quite a Dodger fan!”  I explained that I wasn’t, explained that I was touring the West Coast stadiums, and she asked a few questions.  Four or five innings later, she asked if I planned on going to Oakland County Coliseum.  I did (although it didn’t pan out–I ran out of money, and a friend’s free accommodations fell through at the last minute).  Right there on the spot, she pulled out her cell phone.  “I have a sister who works at the stadium…maybe I can get you a behind-the-scenes tour before your game.”  Amazing!  She didn’t have to do that.  I could have been an axe murderer.  But she chose to be kind to a passing traveler.  Although she didn’t reach her sister, I am highly grateful that she would take that chance.  The family behind me the next night was just as nice and just as talkative.  So thumbs up to the people of L.A., who were kind to me on consecutive nights.  I’m so grateful to them, that if I could, I’d send them the money to move to Seattle or Denver or somewhere where they actually could see the beautiful mountains they live next to.


Mike Williams gets his first career win in his second career start.

Eric Karros homers.

An awesome pitchers’ duel between Kevin Brown and Paul Rigdon, won on a tenth-inning homer by the Brewers’ Henri Blanco.

(Originally written August 2001.  Last updated July 2009.)