This past week I embarked on a pretty cool experience. I have always loved baseball – and I have always found ballparks to be intriguing. Baseball stadiums are all unique and different – I wanted to experience more of them.
I called up my buddy – Uncle D-Bo – and we decided to check out five stadiums in six days. We covered around 2,000 miles – by visiting every MLB ballpark in California – and came away with quite a few thoughts.
The Best Hot Dog
Prior to this trip I decided that I was going to try a hot dog at every single stadium and give it an unbiased rating. The heavy favorite coming into this was the Dodger Dog at Dodger Stadium. I wanted to see if that lived up to the hype and how it compared to the other hot dogs.
- Dodger Stadium – July 24th, 2019 – 8.1/10: On first look this hot dog was skinny. The bun was a classic hot dog bun, and the dog tasted just right. At a baseball stadium I feel like this is what you would hope for if you were being optimistic. Is this worth the hype and the shitty parking situation? No. Is it good? Yeah buddy.
- Oracle Park – July 23rd, 2019 – 7.8/10: Solid bun. Classic hot dog taste. Could be warmer. All things considered this is a solid hot dog.
- Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum – July 29th, 2019 – 6.8/10: This hot dog had some girth to it. The bun was stale. Overall this thing was not terrible, and that says a lot considering I was pretty hot-dogged out at this point.
- Petco Park – July 28th, 2019 – 6.5/10: The bun on this thing was not good. It was…crispy on the edges. The meat was salty in a beef jerky kind of way.
- Angel Stadium of Anaheim – July 26th, 2019 – 6.1/10: Just a hot dog. About the quality you would expect to get at a JV high school football game. This thing was luke-warm. Did not want to get another one.
Best Fountain Coke
I am a big Coke guy. I’m an even bigger souvenir Coke for $9.50 kind of guy. Just like with the hot dogs I got a fountain Coke at each park.
- Oracle Park – July 23rd, 2019 – 8.5/10: Went down smooth and had good bubbles. Great flavor to it.
- Dodger Stadium – July 24th, 2019 – 7.7/10: I was happy to see that they gave me a lid and a straw – which was very rare in California. However, it was a paper straw. The Coke itself had good bubbles and flavor. It was less Coke tasting than I would want, but still good.
- Petco Park – July 28th, 2019 – 7.3/10: This was some movie-theater-quality Coke. Once again I was given a paper straw, but the Coke was tasty.
- Angel Stadium of Anaheim – July 26th, 2019 – 6.7/10: Whoa, this one came with a sippy-cup style lid. No paper straw needed. The best way to describe the ice would be “wet”. This was a pretty tasty fountain coke and the bubble…age was solid. This kind of tasted like RC Cola.
- Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum – July 29th, 2019 – DNQ (6.7)/10: They do no serve Coca-Cola products at this stadium. RC Cola. Kind of makes me think they snuck me an RC in Anaheim because I also had this at 6.7.
The Best Seat
I am a man that enjoys a comfortable place to sit. Like I have mentioned before – I’m 30 now. Gone are the days of slumming it at a stadium far from the view of the game. Am I going to sit in a section where I have to get my own concessions and wait in line to pee? Not if I can help it.
- Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum – July 29th, 2019 – Lounge 113: This was the best surprise of the trip. We sat in a section that was for season ticket holders. The chairs were plush leather seats – kind of like you would find in a fancy movie theater. In front of us we had a cabinet with cubbies to put our stuff and a TV underneath to watch the game. This was an awesome way to relax and take in a ball game. We also sat in the last row of this section – which kept us in the shade for the whole game. I could have napped here.
- Petco Park – July 28th, 2019 – Premier Club A: These seats gave us access to an exclusive restaurant/lounge area – we didn’t really take advantage of it, but getting our hands stamped made us feel cool. The seats were padded and wider and it felt like we had a good amount of leg room. Another section that was in the shade – hell yeah.
- Angel Stadium of Anaheim – July 27th, 2019 – Saint Archer Brewing Club 350: We actually discovered this area of the park in the middle of the game we went to on the 26th – so we decided to go back for another game the following day. This was the best value of the trip at only $14.50 a seat. We were far-away from the action down the right-field line – but it was awesome to take in the game from these seats. We had a table in front of us – wait service – and free soda refills. It was like going to a restaurant that happened to be at a baseball game – or being at a sports bar.
- Dodger Stadium – July 24th, 2019 – Executive Club Level 235: These were the most expensive seats of the trip. To get to our section we had to walk past all of the private suites. It was honestly kind of a cool area to be in. We had in seat wait service and a concession stand and bar with minimal waiting as well. The seats were comfy and we sat on the rail with a great view of the stadium. To top it off, Tommy Lasorda zoomed past us on his scooter as we were leaving the stadium.
- Oracle Park – July 23rd, 2019 – Club Level Infield 216: We had a great view of the game – we were right behind the plate and in front of Krukow, Kuiper and Flemming. Other than that, there was nothing too special about this spot compared to the other stadiums.
The Best Parking Situation
- Angel Stadium of Anaheim – July 26th/27th, 2019 – This was so easy. They have a huge parking lot and it takes just a few minutes to get in and out of that place. We did not experience a single wait time at either game we went to.
- Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum – July 29th, 2019 – The stadium is right off the freeway and they have ample parking at the park. With the amount of space they have to park it was pretty easy to get out of there. It took us about 10 min to get back on the freeway after the game.
- Petco Park – July 28th, 2019 – Parking was convenient but the attendants were clueless after the game. They forgot to open up one of the exits so we waited there awhile.
- Oracle Park – July 23rd, 2019 – The main parking lot is pretty close to the stadium. Traffic gets very clogged up after the games.
- Dodger Stadium – July 24th, 2019 – Getting into the parking lot was not terrible, but we arrived very early. Leaving the stadium was chaotic and unenjoyable. We somehow ended up in Downtown LA – thankfully my hours playing GTA V helped me navigate our way out of there.
The Best Gear/Team Store
- Angel Stadium of Anaheim – July 26th/27th, 2019 – The Angels get the nod for having the best gear and team stores. What set them apart from the rest was the variety of items they had. They also did the best job with player-specific items – which makes sense with two marketable players in Ohtani and Trout. Another cool thing – they had a value souvenir section for families.
- Oracle Park – July 23rd, 2019 – The Giants have a solid flagship store on street level. The cool thing about their store is it is a quick way into the stadium too.
- Petco Park – July 28th, 2019 – The Padres have a huge store near the Western Metal Supply building. I was also impressed with what the various kiosks had around the park.
- Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum – July 29th, 2019 – Probably the smallest of all of the team stores. Even though it was small they had some cool items. The Green and Yellow is a good look.
- Dodger Stadium – July 24th, 2019 – Being a Giants fan, the Dodgers did not really stand a chance – I didn’t buy anything. For such a good team, most of the stuff they sold was pretty generic. They have a ton of marketable players but unlike the Angels they didn’t do anything about it.
The Team Of The Road Trip
All things considered – we saw 6 baseball games at 5 stadiums in 7 days. We wanted to compile the stats and see who the best players were based purely on games we witnessed.
|P||Asher Wojciechowski||Orioles||7IP, 3H, 2ER, 1BB, 6K|
|C||Pedro Severino||Orioles||4/8, 2R, 2B|
|1B||Danny Santana||Rangers||3/4, 2R, RBI, HR, 2B|
|2B||Jonathan Villar||Orioles||4/11, 6R, 2RBI, HR, 4SB|
|3B||Justin Turner||Dodgers||3/4, R, RBI, HR|
|SS||Fernando Tatis Jr.||Padres||3/4, R, 2RBI, HR,|
|LF||Wil Meyers||Padres||2/4, R, RBI, 2 2B|
|CF||Mike Trout||Angels||4/13, 3R, 3RBI, 3 2B|
|RF||Nomar Mazara||Rangers||2/4, 2R, 2RBI, HR|
|DH||Renato Nunez||Orioles||4/10, 2R, 4RBI, HR|
|PH||Greg Garcia||Padres||1/1, 2RBI|
Honorable Mention: Kole Calhoun, Marcus Semien, Alex Dickerson and Kevin Pillar.
The Best Player
For me, Fernando Tatis Jr. has that wow factor. It is crazy to see what he can do at just 20 years old. One of the most incredible things we witnessed was him getting brushed back with a fastball – and taking the next pitch over the center-field fence.
The Best Baseball Moment
We started the trip off on a great note. After an absolutely terrible game from Pablo Sandoval – he walked things off against the Cubs in extra innings.
All things considered – it was a great experience to visit each and every stadium in California. I know I will be back at Oracle Park sometime in the near future. I would love to spend a weekend or a series watching games at Petco Park. As a regular visitor to the Disneyland, I will seek a break from the crowds at the park by going to Angel Stadium. Hell, if I could snag tickets in Lounge 113, I’d happily visit the Coliseum again. That leaves us with Dodger Stadium. Honestly – kind of disappointing for all the hype it gets. Maybe things will get better after the reported renovations. At least they have the #1 hot dog on the West Coast.