Going to all the baseball stadiums has been a lifelong dream of mine. It wasn't only until my final two years of college I really put the whole idea of going to a different stadium into motion (large in part because of financial issues).
As a kid I was fortunate enough to spend a few summer nights on the old corner of Michigan & Trumbull watching the Detroit Tigers play. My favorite spot to sit? The right field porch in the upper deck. In fact, Tiger Stadium might have been the only stadium where you'd rather sit on upper level than lower level.
I guess it didn't hit me that I really wanted to make forth the effort of going to every stadium until I moved down South. I originally moved over to Birmingham and saw the Birmingham Barons play for two seasons (the main notables I saw play over there were Ray Durham and Michael Jordan-both managed by one Terry Francona). I enjoyed the minor league experience, but it was no Tiger Stadium.
Then I moved over to Atlanta. I went to my first Braves game when I was entering high school and I thought it would be a treat seeing at what the time was probably the best franchise in basball in the Braves. Unfortunately, Fulton County Stadium was so terrible that I hoped never to go there again. I went for another game the year after and had a slightly better experience, but still, not Tiger Stadium.
The year after the Braves moved in to Turner Field. And wow, it was night and day to Fulton County. Seats were much better and it felt like a ballpark. I went to as many games as I could at the Ted, especially during the Braves run of divisional championships. It kinda restored my interest in baseball. When I would watch a game on television, I would see these brand new stadiums such as Coors Field, Jacobs Field (I am not ever going to call that place Progressive Field-ever!), and Camden Yards. It made me wonder, how do those stadiums compare to Turner Field and Tiger Stadium?
I had to wait a few years before I would start my "quest." It really started in 2000. I was dating this girl that was from Minnesota and while I was up there with her, I asked to go to a Twins game. I did (no pictures to show, unfortunately) and realized though it wasn't as bad as Fulton County, it was definitely not a place to watch a baseball game. But still, it made me want to go to other stadiums to see if they were better than the ones I've been to.
I had major financial issues as well as my family so I didn't end up going to any other stadiums for the next 4 years. Thankfully I got to Comerica Park back in Detroit and I was elated to see my Tigers again, but it did feel wierd seeing them play at home that was not called Tiger Stadium. I did enjoy my expereince there though.
After that, and thanks to my upcoming graduation (at the time) as well as being engaged to a woman who knew how to manage money, I was able to start my "Quest" to go to every stadium possible. After college and when I got a job, we had been able to make better trips & such (New York this summer and I cannot wait). It might take me a long time and with a child on the way, it might be longer, but still, the thrill will probably continue to grow.
I guess my thing is, what has driven me to see all the baseball stadiums? I guess it's a combination of things. It's how the stadium looks both outside and inside. It's the atmosphere and the smell of hot dogs roaming the concourses. It's the scoreboards. And I guess as I said earlier, it's how other stadiums do a baseball game differently.
I wonder what drives other Ballpark Chasers to do this quest.