Starting a new post series for Fridays to spotlight some of my reader’s favorite ballparks and share their baseball memories. Hope you enjoy hearing their stories!! Helping me kick off this set of posts is Braves fan, Bryan Mapes:
Name: Bryan Mapes
Age: Currently 29, though sadly when you read this, 30
Hometown: Brookfield, CT
Favorite team(s): Atlanta Braves
Twitter handle: @IAmMapes
Blog or website: 3u3d.mlblogs.com
How did you get into baseball?
I grew up around it with my Dad being an umpire in Daytona Beach, Florida. I’d watch the games while I was really little while he would call the game and it grew from there.
Favorite ballparks (and why):
Fenway Park. I love the history, I love the area surrounding the ballpark, I love the uniqueness, and I love the energy around the ballpark before, during, and after the game.
Least favorite ballpark (and why):
All-time? Shea Stadium. Had the worst amenities of any park I’ve been to, plus the planes flying directly overhead from LaGuardia was the worst. Current ballparks? The fans will kill me, but it’s O.co Coliseum in Oakland. The fans are the only good thing about the place.
What is your top ballpark memory (and why):
I was on a family vacation and we drove from Nashville to Atlanta on our way to Florida. My parents drove me past what was then Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium and it was currently empty. I started bawling my eyes out because I wanted to go to a game so bad there. Hours later, we came back to the ballpark to “see if there were tickets.” Turns out they had already gotten tickets and we went to the game. I got to meet longtime umpire Harry Wendelstedt and his crew and got their autographs, even though the Braves lost, it’s still my most memorable game.
Advice for fans visiting your home ballpark (how to have in your opinion an authentic experience):
If you’re visiting Turner Field, make sure you get their early, traffic can be pretty bad if you’re driving in and tailgating in the lots is plenty of fun. Ticket prices are usually pretty good, I sat in the lower level for the same price it costs me in the upper deck/bleachers at Yankee Stadium. Bleacher seats are fine in Atlanta, but you’re better off sitting anywhere with a view of the giant screen in center. And of course, eat at the Waffle House and do the chop to your heart’s content!
****Would you like to be my next Fan Follow Friday?? Just email your responses to the bold questions and a couple of pictures to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t worry you don’t have to be a baseball blogger, just a baseball fan!!