When Jim posted his report of the Phillies Room visit toFenway, I realized that I had never returned the favor. Sure, I posted a wonderful write-up of my visit to PNC Park, but not my visit to Veterans Stadium. What a disgrace! The closest I have come is talking about the scorecard I kept at the game. But, that’s not really the same…is it? So, what was it like? Glad you asked.
I’ve visited four Major League parks in my life. Fenway once or twice, PNC, Veterans, and Olympic. (Hmm…not sure I’ve talked about the Olympic Stadium visit yet either. Guess I’ll have to take care of that at some point as well!) Two beautiful parks, and two not quite so beautiful. Just to mix it up a bit.
When I first arrived at the stadium, my first impression was just how easy it was to do. Right off the highway, and you practically ran into the stadium. As someone who would never just drive right up to Fenway, this was amazing to me. But, when I got out of the car, I saw the downside to that ease. I was surrounded by parking lot. No stores. No shops. No stands. Just cars to walk through on the way to the stadium. It seemed so sterile. I think I’ll take the chaos.
The inside was a bit of a culture shock as well. The concourse was wider, and less crowded. I remember being dumbfounded by the sight of an escalator. I’ve mentioned it before, but my strongest memory of that area was the t-shirt they had for sale promoting the “Battle of the Rookies of the Year.” This was in 2000, and they were promoting that Nomar Garciaparra and Scott Rolen had won the ROY in 1997. It wasn’t even the reigning ROYs. It was people who won the award three years ago, apparently battling it out for the title. Rolen didn’t even play in the game. I really wish I bought one, though. I did buy a pin commemorating the 20th anniversary of the 1980 World Champions.
Then it was time to go check out the field! My first impression was that it reminded me of a high school gymnasium. This was my first experience with artificial turf, and it made the whole ground look a lot more fake than I expected. Not only that, but the height of the stands combined with the overhang over my seats meant that I couldn’t see the sky. It felt small, and enclosed. Like a gymnasium.
To top it off, Pedro was scheduled to pitch that game, but didn’t. He was a surprise scratch, and I ended up watching Tim Wakefield. Even worse, Curt Schilling pitched the night before for the Phillies. So, I was this close to a Pedro-Schilling match-up, but just missed out on both accounts.
Other than ending up a Red Sox loss, the game itself wasn’t terrible. I got to see Nomar’s 100th career home run. (Which shows you just how out of date those ROY match-up t-shirts really were) I also got to see the pitcher bat, with was different…if not exactly entertaining. All-in-all, a good experience.
I should really check out CBP just for comparison.