The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Streets of Philadelphia

Baltimore did not prevail against Los Angeles last night, which, being typical, explains the two-thirds of seats at Camden Yards without people in them. I've pushed on to Philadelphia where the game starting in two hours may coincide with thunderstorms, also forecast to start in two hours, even now forming ranks just east of Harrisburg like the Bears' defensive line. As a practical result of this, I will not be taking my 20D to the game, so I won't have the same quality of photos from Citizens Bank Park as I got from Camden Yards.

As promised yesterday, I'll have photos from Baltimore and Philadelphia tonight. I have now firmly decided that WiFi access at a hotel is not only required, but stands as an adequate proxy for a great many things.

Just a few quick hits before I dig my umbrella and baseball tickets out: first, the Northeast Corridor rail service rivals anything Europe has to offer. It's fast, frequent, clean, efficient, inexpensive, and mostly on-time. I love walking 10 minutes, hopping a train, and getting off two states away in a little more than an hour.

Second, I appreciate what Camden Yards did for baseball: it brought back what was good about the jewel-box parks (like Wrigley) and improved on the model. Contrasting that with the K (1974) or (ugh) Shea (1962) simply isn't fair.

More geasing to begin

I'm flying out today to begin a four-day tour of baseball parks in the Northeast. Tonight: Angels at Orioles, Camden Yards, Baltimore. (The cheezy graphic is from

The Orioles (48-54) are in last place (and want you to know that there are still seats available at the park for tonight's game). The Angels, at the moment, have the best record of any team in baseball, 63-39. (The Cubs' record is 60-43, second best overall and top of the National League.)

Photos from the park may have to wait until Sunday evening as I've got to scoot to Philadelphia Sunday morning to catch the Phillies (54-49) host the Braves (49-53) at 1:30.

Indians, rock, and art

The Cleveland Indians sold out 455 games in a row from 8 June 1995 to 3 April 2001, a record likely to stand as long as baseball itself. But on Thursday of this week, having dropped ten in a row, only 22,665 showed up, only 52% of the park's capacity. Too bad, really, because the Indians tossed the Tampa Bay Rays into Lake Erie, 13-2, including a 7-run 8th inning with 11 at-bats.

I went to the game to chalk up Park #9 on the 30-Park Geas with a friend who works for Progressive. It turned out to be the first time she'd ever sat through an entire major-league ball game, this despite growing up in Boston. After this experience she might go to another some day.

(By the way, I thought it odd that the only deal Progressive gives their employees is for 2-for-1 tickets in two sections of the park. Every seat has great visibility, but still? After paying $56 million to put their name on the thing possibly they could have gotten a skybox? Not that I'm complaining. We sure got our $12 worth from those tickets.)

Almost as strange, the Cleveland fans seemed quite subdued. I'm used to Wrigley Field which sells out every game and packs us in a lot more tightly, but still: these fans hardly made a peep until the 5th inning. Even more disturbing, when a fan tossed back the home-run ball Tampa Bay hit in the 3rd, security ejected him. Tossing back the visitor's ball is part of baseball! What's wrong with these people?

Still, the home team won, my friend and I had really good beer from local Great Lakes Brewing Co., and the crowd worked up more excitement once it became clear the Indians had broken their streak.

That left us in a pretty good mood with an entire day to bum around the city.

Cleveland surprised me. The afternoon before the game my friend and I walked to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Great Lakes Science Center, both constructed in the mid-1990s as part of a massive redevelopment of Cleveland's waterfront.

Friday morning we hit the Cleveland Museum of Art which partially re-opened in June after a major renovation.

And Friday afternoon, before heading to the airport, we swung by Progressive's headquarters. (There's a story about why they moved to Mayfield Village instead of downtown Cleveland, but that will have to wait.)

I don't know whether I'll ever go back to Cleveland, but I left with a totally different impression of the city than I had 19 years ago.

High hopes for tomorrow's game

As of this morning, the Cleveland Indians (my next stop on the 30-park geas ) have dropped their last 9, putting them two games out of next-to-last place in the American League Central. In fairness, four teams (Seattle, Washington, Colorado, and San Diego) are doing worse. Right now, though, the tension mounts: will they drop their 10th today? Will I see them win tomorrow?

Stay tuned.

Oh, right, forgot: the Cubs are still in first place, as they've been since April, and are the second-best in all of baseball right now, after the Red Sox. What a World Series that will be, eh?

Need a ruling: 30 or 31 parks?

Shows you how much I keep up with the news.

It turns out, this is Shea Stadium's final season. I first went to Shea when I started school in New York in 1988, but I haven't been back since 1990. I hate Shea. It's uncomfortable, ugly, and the Mutts play there.

Only, I just found out they're tearing it down after this season, so next season the Mets will play in their brand-new Citi Field next door.

Now, I already knew about the new Yankee Stadium, and I'd decided that visiting the old one would count for this geas. So I guess I have two, mutually-exclusive questions:

  1. Does the 30-park geas require me to visit all 30 parks that existed when the geas started this season, counting the five I'd already been to?
  2. Or, conversely, does the quest entail visiting all 30 parks regardless of whether I've been there before?

Either way, which Shea counts?

The geas continues

Just jiggled the 30-Park Geas schedule a little. After discussing with my cousing the pros and cons of visiting Miami in August, we decided to hit two Cubs games in Atlanta, whereupon I'll pop out to San Francisco to see Dad and catch the A's-White Sucks series.

(Sox. White Sox. My mistake. Sorry, I live north of Madison.)

So, with eight parks down, and seven scheduled, we go into the bottom of 2008. National League 9, American 6.

Meanwhile, back at Wrigley

My cousin and I have a 9-game package at Wrigley Field, game 7 of which was Tuesday night against the Braves. The Cubs won—despite dropping three runs in the first, never a good sign—on a warm but not sticky evening at one of my favorite places in the universe. Here's Fukudome stealing second:

I have to say, though, that not every seat at Wrigley is good. Example: Section 525, any row, seats 1-2, look like this:

Character. It's about character.