Fan Follow Friday puts the spotlight weekly on one of my readers, as they share their favorite ballparks and baseball memories. Hope you enjoy hearing their stories!! This week we check in with Steve Miller, a Miami Marlins fan living in Nationals country:
Name: Steve Miller
Hometown: Kwajalein, Marshall Islands and Fredericksburg, VA (I’ll explain in a bit)
Favorite Team: Miami Marlins
Blog: Fish Fry
How did you get into baseball:
My dad tells me that highlights from an Orioles game were on in my hospital room when I was born–he grew up an O’s fan. As a child, my family lived in the Marshall Islands where every kid played every sport when they were young. I took a particular liking to baseball, and the first team I was on was called the Marlins–so from that time on it was easy for me to root for the Fish.
I continued playing through my youth, and we eventually moved to Virginia. I started going to Orioles and Nationals games because they were convenient. I started my blog several years ago and it took off from there.
My high school baseball career just ended a few weeks ago, but hopefully, I can at least keep playing for fun in college.
PETCO Park in San Diego. The design of the stadium makes it seamlessly fit into the city. And the old Western Metal Supply Co. building exemplifies that perfectly. San Diego is a beautiful city, so watching a game there is a joy. PETCO Park is fan-friendly, and the workers there are some of the nicest in the baseball community. It’s just a shame that the Padres haven’t had a playoff run in some time.
Least favorite ballpark:
Since I can only really judge the ones I have been to, I have to say Marlins Park is my least favorite. The structure is a giant anomaly in the Little Havana neighborhood. The outfield seating is displaced from the field at a distance that makes the viewing experience very un-cozy. The lime green walls and the home run sculpture are blatant distractions, and unless the roof is open, the stadium just feels unfriendly.
Favorite Ballpark Memory:
When I was 12, my dad and I were at Nationals Park about to buy tickets for a Marlins-Nats game that night. He was making ME pay for them because we had already been to a few games that year for which he had paid. As we were standing in line at the box office, a nice gentleman came up and asked if we needed tickets. We responded in the affirmative and he proceeded to explain he had two tickets right behind home plate. I said, “No, I’m sorry, that’s too expensive for us,” thinking he wanted to sell us the seats. “No,” he replied,” they’re on me. He walked with us to the gate, and handed over two tickets for the PNC Diamond Club and said, “I’ll see you at the seats.”
During batting practice, a young Marlins reliever named Tim Wood–a recent call-up–shagged a ball in center field and looked toward the stands. No one knew his name, so he did not have a target for a throw. From left field I shouted his name “TIM!” and he released a long throw right to my glove. We got free tickets, and I got a sweet baseball! To top it off, the Marlins won the game 9-5.
(That’s what it is for now, but tomorrow I get to meet Rich Waltz, Miami’s TV commentator, so I may have a different story then)
Advice for fans visiting your home park:
I go to games at Nationals Park several times per year. Make sure you get there early for batting practice because it is fan-friendly and almost never crowded. I probably shouldn’t advertise this, but seat upgrading is easy to do, especially late in the game. If you’re sitting on the baselines, find an empty row in a section and cut across it. During weekday games, I can generally get down right next to the dugout in the last few innings by cutting across sections.
Also, Shake Shack on the Miller Lite Scoreboard Walk has great shakes. Make sure you get in the short “C-line” for your shakes and ice cream so you don’t get caught in the unnecessarily long hot food line.
****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!!!
Past Fan #FF: