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 Chuck Booth, a Yankees/Nats fan and season ticket holder for the Seattle Mariners:
Name: Chuck Booth
Hometown: White Rock, B.C. Canada (110 Miles north of Safeco Field in Seattle)
Favorite team(s): New York Yankees (AL), Washington Nationals (NL)
Twitter handle: @mlbreports
Blog or website: MLB Reports
How did you get into baseball?
I played all while growing up and had a chance to play NCAA Baseball at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA, however, concussions and knee injuries forced me to retire prematurely.
After about a decade of wallowing in self misery I went to Safeco Field in 2005 – and totally received the itch to view all 30 Parks as quick as humanly possible.
4 world record attempts later (of 30 park tours from 2008 – 2012), with a year-long tour planned in 2015, and now owning a website devoting a great time to the parks. I am hooked. I have a fever…and the only prescription is chasing ballparks!
Favorite ballparks (and why):
My #1 favorite ballpark (and I have been to all of them at least 5 times each) is AT @ T Park in San Francisco. The background drop is amazing with the Bay Bridge, Port Of Authority and of course the iconic symbols of the Giant Baseball Glove and the Coke Sign.
I have arrived there by light rail, BART, bus, car, walking, cab and trolley, and will one day do the boat arrival. San Fran also has the best ballpark food in my view.
There are over 70 different kinds of sandwiches, a Safeway deli downstairs in the OF – and they were the 1st park to implement a coke vending machine ( a lifesaver for those people not wanting to buy food, and simply plunk down $3, to buy a cold 20 oz soda.
Of course, he team has also won 2 of the last 4 World Series too.
Least favorite ballpark (and why):
Turner Field. I wouldn’t say it it the worst park, as o.co Coliseum and Tropicana take the cake on that one, however Turner Field is just a huge amount of concrete, and I have no time for their ballpark staff.
Here is another thing I hate as a touring ballpark fan. Right in your face is a discount of what season ticket holders pay versus the single game ticket holders.
It is something small and mundane, but just to know that you pay more for a single game viewing sucks. I understand rewarding the people fronting the bill, heck I am a season ticket holder for Safeco this year, but be quiet about the discounts.
I also think the “Tomahawk Chop'” is the dumbest park traditions. Close 2nd is the fans counting down from 10 – 1 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto and cheering (even when losing 7 – 1).
What is your top ballpark memory (and why):
This one is easy. April 28, 2012. This is the date I broke my own world record for visiting all 30 MLB Parks in 24 days with a 23 day mark (every pitch mind you of every game) in Baltimore at Camden Yards with several fellow ballpark chasers that I have met over the years.
Holding that distinct record of that honor, for the last 5 years (with 24 now 23 days) is mind blowing, but on that particular year, I was on full display showing my traveling acumen the whole way via social media, and that was a blast!
That year’s trip saw me have friends to meet in almost every single contest. I actually had a 30 – 20 shot, and if it weren’t for 3 plane delays, I could be home and cooled with a record of all 30 MLB Parks in 20 Days.
I nailed every single game-plan for transportation (land and air) to and from each park to perfection. Planning that kind of execution in every city took a great deal of time and preparation.
Advice for fans visiting your home ballpark (how to have in your opinion an authentic experience):
This would Safeco Field. Okay, seriously I have been going to the park for 10 years now, and am a season ticket holder. This park has the best sight lines from the concourse in the Major Leagues.
My advice to someone coming in for 1 game is just to buy the cheapest ticket possible and walk around the park for the entire game.
Everyone must visit the Dave Niehaus statute in the CF bleachers. (broadcaster for the M’s from 1977 – 2010). You can also park for free on the following streets, Occidental Ave and Lander Ave, as well as the alley directly behind the Paper Mill on 1st Ave (adjacent to the Krispy Kreme Donuts place).
A must visit if you have the time is to visit Red Mill Burgers for the best burger and fries joint on the planet.
If you are at the stadium, Edgar’s in LF is awesome for ‘TEX MEX’ kind of eating. There are also garlic fries (called Rally Fries, but they are not as good as Gilroy’s in San Francisco).
If Felix Hernandez is pitching on a game night, you must attend.. Do yourself favor, spend the $30 – $40 or the ticket, and you receive and ugly yellow t-shirt and “K” Card.
If you are a fan of beers, you should also visit the “Pyramid Ale House” across the street from Safeco.
The Mariner Moose is one of the coolest mascots there is around, so be sure to have your picture taken.
The park is among the nicest in the MLB, and I have it ranked as #6 out of the 30 overall. I also encourage every aspiring fan to check out the chaser guide written up about Safeco Field. It is a collection of information from the worlds greatest ballpark chasers, narrowed down into a page.
****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!!!
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