Category Archives: Disgruntled Fan Feature

Slightly-erratically scheduled, full-length commentaries on major issues in sports.

A View From The Park: Philadelphia

NOTE: This post is the fourth in a series of Features describing the author’s first visits to various MLB ballparks around the country. After stopping in Pittsburgh on my trip across the country to take in a Pirates game at PNC Park, I finished my drive east at my birthplace of Philadelphia, where a week spent among my relatives culminated in a visit to the Phillies’ home, Citizens Bank Park.

My gameday experience at Citizens Bank Park was unlike my other ballpark visits this season, for several reason. For one, I was not alone in Philadelphia; I was joined at the Phillies’ game against the Boston Red Sox by several of my relatives. Indeed, one could fairly say that I joined them, as my aunt and uncle bought the tickets and treated me to the evening at the park.

That fact—that I did not buy my ticket—also meant that I did not choose my seat but took what was given to me. As it turned out, we were destined for the park’s “Hall of Fame” club area—a mezzanine level that fronts a high-end, restaurant-style facility that sits within a section of the concourse devoted to greats and memorable moments from the team’s past. All well and good, I suppose, but that’s the sort of thing one can appreciate on a leisurely second or third or thirty-eighth visit to the stadium; for my purposes, my primary interest lies in the fan’s experience in watching the actual game. And so my focus remains, for this as well as future reports.

Speaking directly to that focus, I can report that the fan’s experience watching a game at Citizens Bank Park is…OK. Not spectacular; just OK.

Pregame Citizens Bank Park Panorama
A panoramic view of Citizens Bank Park from my seat in the Hall of Fame level just before game time

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A View From The Park: Pittsburgh

NOTE: This post is the third in a series of Features describing the author’s first visits to various MLB ballparks around the country. The first two visits, to San Diego and Anaheim, happened during an April visit to Southern California. The third stop, at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park, was the first of several stops planned during a cross-country trip from California to Philadelphia and back.

I screwed up.

I was in Pittsburgh on Saturday, June 10th, having arrived in the Steel City the day before after four days of cross-country travel. I woke up early enough to take in downtown Pittsburgh’s Saturday morning scene, including a walk down to the Fort Pitt site at the famous confluence of the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers, before returning to my hotel room for a little relaxation and a pre-game nap.

The nap part, it turned out, was a mistake.

Roberto ClementeThe great Clemente stands guard over Pittsburgh at PNC Park.

I set my alarm for 5pm, certain that that would get me to the ballpark in plenty of time for the game. Unfortunately, that night’s game was actually that afternoon’s game, with a 4pm start. When I woke up, they had already reached the third inning, and I had to hot-foot it back through downtown and across the iconic Roberto Clemente bridge to join the game in progress. By the time I found the available open entry–most of the gates were closed by the time I arrived–got up to the third level, bought my food, and settled into my seat, it was already the top of the fourth inning and the visiting Miami Marlins were ahead 3-1 over the homestanding Pirates. Continue reading A View From The Park: Pittsburgh

A View From The Park: Anaheim

NOTE: At last! Here’s the long-delayed second in a series of Features describing the author’s first visits to various MLB ballparks around the country. In this post, the author visits Anaheim’s Angel Stadium, just a couple of days after the first in this series, a visit to San Diego’s Petco Park. Further posts in the series will come during and after a major road trip planned for June of this year. Keep watching this space for further updates from the road.

Angel Stadium, the longtime home of the not-so-longtime named Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, stands only about a mile away from the hotel where I was staying after my quick sojourn in San Diego. I decided to avoid the parking and/or transit fee and walk my way over to the park for a Tuesday night game between the Oakland A’s and the homestanding Angels.

As with my visit to Petco Park two days prior, this was my first time seeing a game in Anaheim’s stadium, so the whole experience was new to me…except that, in certain ways, it seemed strangely familiar–and not necessarily in a good way.

Angel Stadium Panorama
A panoramic view of Angel Stadium from my seat in the left field corner before the A’s vs. Angels game on April 25, 2017.

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Puck Of Confusion

Have you been feeling unsettled, confused, and discombobulated lately? If so, you’re certainly not alone. There’s so much weirdness going on in the world these days: missiles in North Korea…madness in Syria…passengers being dragged off planes by United Airlines…the on-going antics of the “Commander-in-Cheeto”…hell, even Twin Peaks is coming back, because apparently the world just isn’t weird enough these days. It’s all a ball of confusion for sure.

The Pittsburgh Penguins: The only sure thing skating around with the Puck of Confusion?

You don’t even get to escape the confusion if you flatten out that ball into a disc-shaped piece of hard, vulcanized rubber and turn your attention to the Stanley Cup playoffs–because that hasn’t exactly been a model of things going according to plan, either.

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The Bell Tolls In Bristol

If, at any time in the last several years, you invested heavily in ‘ESPN/schadenfreude’ futures, then last week was the moment when you became a very wealthy person.

I, of course, preferred to wait a decent period to comment on last week’s layoffs, out of respect for those…

Oh, who am I kidding? I was laughing my ass off over “The Worldwide Leader” and its problems. Not so much over the people laid off; most of them deserved better, I’m sure, and for the ones who were just doing the job of covering their beats–like Ed Werder or Ethan Sherwood Strauss–I have varying degrees of actual respect. They weren’t the ones who were creating the clown show; they just happened to be the ones who paid for it.

No, the main theme is a simple one: ESPN brought a lot of its woes upon itself–and if you tuned in to last night’s Sunday Night Baseball–while the ink on the pink slips was still not dry–you could see exactly why the network is having its problems.

Continue reading The Bell Tolls In Bristol