Ballpark Review: Minute Maid Park

Posted July 2, 2015 by Disco
Categories: Uncategorized

Minute Maid Park is strange to me. It looks like an amazing park from pictures and TV, with the facade in left and view of downtown Houston, but it is often much maligned in ballpark reviews and rankings. After visiting, it still feels strange to me- but I just don’t see how some people are so down on it.

1) Aesthetics- 8

Minute Maid Park is beautiful. I love the Crawford seats, I love the facade with the train on top, and I love Tal’s Hill. Minute Maid is extremely unique and that is what makes it so great. Some people hate that it’s disingenuous and quirky (there is no need for Tal’s Hill they say). But who cares? Funky dimensions, fences, and features is what makes baseball and baseball parks so special compared to arenas of other sports. One real interesting feature is how the park is “split in two” due to the roof. In left field is the facade and view of downtown Houston while the jumbo video board takes up the whole of right field.

The only downside to Minute Maid is the roof. While it does get to be REALLY hot in Houston for most of the season, the aesthetics of the stadium would improve without the roof. The whole time I kept thinking, “it’s comfortable in here…but how amazing would this stadium look with the roof open”.

2) Seats/View- 6

From walking around the park pre-game, there are not too many bad seats. But there are a lot of average ones. Where we sat was the first section into the outfield on the first base side. You do feel close to the field and get good sight lines for balls in play and the video board. But you really have to crane your neck to face the pitcher. Moreover, there isn’t much of incline on the first level, so if you’re short, you better hope no one tall sits in front of you.

In right field on the first level you will have a great seat in the first several rows. After that your sight line on fly balls is cut off because of the second deck overhang.

Seats down the third base line are angled in to face the pitcher so you don’t need to crane your neck. But then you can’t see the wonderful out of town score board on the left field fence. As for the upper deck, sight lines are great unless you are at the very top. Then beams and A/C tubes block your vision.

3) Cleanliness – 8

Minute Maid still feels really new even though it opened up in 2000. The concourse was clean and everything still seemed high-tech, although that might just be a side-effect of it being a retractable roof stadium that is closed 90% of the time. I wasn’t a fan of the bathrooms, but I’m not going to let that spoil their ranking here.

4) Food/Drink- 4

The Astro Dog. You can top it with chili cheese, onions, spicy mustard, and more. It’s made with Nolan Ryan beef which has a great reputation. In spite of this, the Astro Dog was terrible. By far the worst ballpark dog I have had and I don’t see another stadium serving a worse dog. The only redeeming quality was the toppings, but the hot dog itself tasted terrible and looked like no hot dog should look on the inside.

As for the other food options- I only got the hot dog but they had some really good concessions like build your own fajitas and BBQ plates. I’m sure I would have liked them if I tried it. But the cost for these dishes were $10+. Beer was also quite expensive, as you pay just under $12 for 24oz. That coupled with the Astro Dog and I walked away as an unhappy camper with this aspect of the Minute Maid experience.

5) Stores/Team Museums/Attractions- 3

On the outside, they only have a tiny plaza with Bagwell and Biggio statues with a few other plaques. But it looks like the Astros almost went out of their way to hide this “tribute” area from the public. Inside, there is no team museum as far as I could tell. And outside the HR Oil Pump in left- an oil pump displaying all the HR’s ever hit in MMP- there wasn’t any special attraction to the stadium, unless you count Tal’s Hill (which I don’t).

The team store was relatively big, but didn’t offer anything too special. Moreover, the organization and layout was terrible leading to overcrowding and insanely long lines.

6) Game Entertainment/Presentation- 7

The Astros do a solid job with their in-game entertainment. There were no mascot races which I liked because too many teams have them while only a few actually do them well. There were your run of the mill kiss cams and whatnot, but the real show is their mascot, Orbit. I believe Orbit is relatively new, but boy is he killing the game. The Phanatic better look out because I think Orbit has a legitimate claim to best mascot in baseball. His best performance when I went was a parody video to the Napoleon Dynamite dance in an effort to get fans to Vote for Jose (Altuve) for the All-Star game.

7) Atmosphere- 8

I know the Astros attendance has been bad while they’ve had losing season after losing season, but with the Yankees in town the game I was at was packed. I don’t think it was a sellout, but the park was at least 90% full. The fans were loud and made their presence known every time something good or bad happened to the hometown team.

My one complaint and the one thing keeping them a tier below your NY, Boston, and Philly tier fans is they don’t respect standing with two strikes two outs. I stood in that very situation with Dellin about to close the game out- and was scolded. Afterwards when joking to my friends about it, they started chirping from up the aisle. Now maybe these were rogue fans unrepresentative of the Astros fan base, but it is a baseball game. You are supposed to stand with two strikes and two outs, at the very least.

8) Local Scene- 3

There is no local scene. There are a couple eateries outside the stadium but because there are only a couple they are extremely packed. Despite MMP being located in downtown Houston, there is nothing to do in downtown Houston. Just walking around the city the next day there are only corporate buildings. I saw no cafes, no restaurants, and few bars. You’ll have to drive elsewhere to find something to do. As for getting to the park- you’ll need to walk if you are staying close by or grab an Uber.

9) Cost- 5

For premium games tickets can be pricey (first level for a Yankees/Red Sox game will probably be around $100) but seats elsewhere in the park are moderately priced and non-premium games run a little bit easier on the wallet. However, both food and drink are priced higher than other stadiums- or at least other stadiums I have been to outside New York.

10) Misc/Personal Opinion- 8

One thing I loved: the out of town scoreboard. It shows the full nine inning box opposed to just a score and what inning it is. You don’t see too many stadiums do that.

One thing I hated: the video board is great- but is a waste of space. In the main, center portion of the board where player head shots, info, and stats are shown, they put a logo of the hitting team. So instead of an A-Rod head shot with player information, it was the Yankees logo.

Watching baseball indoors was weird. But once the action gets going you don’t notice it because you get into the game. It truly is a great park to watch the game and it was a really fun game. Of all the modern stadiums I have been to, MMP might be the most unique and I like that. In fact, the view of left field with the fence, the facade, the train, and downtown Houston is one of my favorite sight lines of any park I have been to.

Overall Score- 60

Ballpark Review: Dodger Stadium

Posted June 26, 2015 by Disco
Categories: Uncategorized

I had the pleasure of attending a game at Dodger Stadium last year. What made it even more special is that Clayton Kershaw was on the mound and the Kings won the Stanley Cup that night, so 20% of the stadium responded accordingly. The rest of the crowd had no idea who the Kings are. Dodger Stadium sneaks up on you with how old it is. It’s been around since 1962, making it the third oldest stadium in use.

1) Aesthetics- 8

Dodger Stadium was built in the 60s and it still has that feeling and look, but in a good way. You definitely get an old-timey vibe being at Dodger Stadium. Not an old-timey Fenway or Wrigley feel, but more 50s/60s. From the hills of Chavez Ravine in the backdrop to the faded blue fence and yellow seats, it does look like you hopped in a time machine. Yet it doesn’t come across as outdated or cheesy like similar stadiums built in the same time period. These days a lot of parks have giants video boards and grand stands in the outfield. Most ballparks are built in cities or the heart of a city downtown. Not Dodger Stadium. It’s out by the woods, with trees as a backdrop. And it is completely refreshing.

2) Seats/View- 5

One of the few flaws is the view, but that is to be expected from an old stadium. Sitting on the first level isn’t bad, but when you are sitting far down the foul lines, you really have to crane your body to see the pitcher and you don’t have a good angle for most balls in play. The bleachers do seem like a great hangout spot if you really want to get down and dirty with the local fans. As for the other levels, that’s where the fights and potential violence takes place. Moreover, you do feel a lot farther away from the action on the higher levels than most stadiums today. Again, it is tough to blame Dodger Stadium because of its age, but it still is a flaw.

3) Cleanliness- 9

This is one area in which I was blown away. I know Dodger Stadium is old and somewhat of a “vanilla” park, but my one major takeaway was how clean it is. You could tell they did some off season renovations because this park was cleaner and shinier than some parks I’ve been to that were built within the past decade.

4) Food/Drink- 6

Ah, the Dodger Dog, arguably the most famous hot dog in baseball. After having it, all I can say is, it’s good. Not great, not bad. Just good. Worth having when you go there, but you won’t be missing much if you don’t have it. The Dodger Dog still doesn’t top the Philly Frank for me.

As for the other concessions, it was pretty much all of the same. It seemed like every stand offered the same things- hot dogs, chicken fingers, fries, and drinks. So there isn’t much diversity here. Moreover, while the food is good, it is nothing special and pretty pricy.

5) Stores/Team Museums/Attractions6

The team store is amazing. Not only is it giant, but there is plenty to choose from. I bought myself a Brooklyn hat and it is honestly the most comfortable hat I own.

As for attractions and museums, Dodger Stadium is a let down. There is a cool mural in the stadium of past players, but there isn’t much to commemorate their team history and legendary players. At the same time though, it is Dodger Stadium. You go there because it is a classic, not because of its team museum or statues.

6) Game Entertainment/Presentation- 2

Why the low score? Because it’s Dodger Stadium! They don’t need between inning gimmicks or mascot races. Just warm weather, good baseball, and the hills of LA in the backdrop. If anything, I wanted to give them a high score for NOT having too much of an entertainment presence.

7) Atmosphere- 9

LA loves their Lakers, but they also love their Dodgers. The Dodgers are definitely an “it” thing to do, but there are also a lot of dedicated, hardcore supporters. The team is usually among the league leaders in attendance and it makes for a fun time at the stadium. Any true baseball fan will have a blast here. And those just hoping for a good time won’t be disappointed either.

8) Local Scene- 3

It’s LA so there are a million things to do. But the low score is due to the fact that the stadium is kind of away from it all. In order to get anywhere post game, you have to drive and you have to deal with traffic. No bueno.

9) Cost- 4

It’s no Yankee Stadium, but the Dodgers are a premium draw that can charge a lot based on team performance, the market, and the lure of the stadium. For weekend games against a top team, expect to spend a lot. But you can find deals in other parts of the park- upper deck and bleachers. However, these value seats aren’t always good seats. As for food and apparel, expect to pay up.

10) Misc/Personal Opinion- 9

Dodger Stadium is a special place and I am already thinking of my next trip back. It is baseball paradise for those who want to grab a dog, a beer, and enjoy a ballgame without the thrills and complexity of modern ballparks. There is no giant video board distracting you or anything else you see at parks nowadays. When you go to Dodger Stadium expect warm weather, good baseball, a good crowd, and a fantastic time. This is arguably the best experience I’ve had at a non-Yankee game in my life.

Overall- 61

This might be one of the lowest scores I award, but this definitely in my current top 3. It’s more of the non-stadium aspects that bring it down- local, entertainment, etc.

Ballpark Review: Progressive Field

Posted June 10, 2015 by Disco
Categories: Uncategorized

When I first told friends I was going to Cleveland, I got a lot of crazy looks. I was even pointed towards this video of Joakim Noah of the Bulls basically saying, “Who the F goes to Cleveland by choice?”. Well, I do Noah, I do. While I didn’t have great expectations for the city, I did have some expectations for Progressive Field. Although it’s been around for about two decades, it was and still is considered one of the best parks around.

1) Aesthetics- 8

“The Jake” as Progressive used to be known really is a beautiful ballpark. It has a gigantic video board atop the bleachers in left and it fits the mold of the stadium perfectly. Beyond the video board in left are city buildings and Quicken Loans Arena, which is a huge plus for me. Something about skylines and buildings in the backdrop of a stadium are just aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Despite the board in left and an upper deck in right, there is open space in center so you don’t feel like you’re in a stadium and you get more city sight lines. The park is nestled on a downtown city block which gives it a really unique field, compared to a stadium like Turner or Nats Park, which are kind of in the middle of nowhere.

2) Seats/View- 8

After walking around the park I concluded there is almost no bad view- except for the bleachers in left. I sat several rows back near home plate the first game I was at and had great sight lines, even on balls hit deep in the outfield. The second game I was equal to the infield/outfield cutoff on first and still felt really close to the action. No matter where you sit (except the bleachers) you will be able to see the video board. The upper deck is angled very steep like Turner, so you have a great view and don’t feel like you are in a nose bleed seat- and you get an even better view of downtown Cleveland! Now- the bleachers. I like that it had back support. But you can’t see balls hit to deep left (the outfield disappears with the high fence) and you you need to do a 180 turn and crane your neck up high just to see the video board.

Recommendation: 100 level, anything on the first base/home plate side. Also, the right field standing room only ticket. Its right by the food court with the brats and sliders and what not, as well as a bar. You get a great view, can still see the video board, and are right by the bullpen, which is built into the crowd so you can be just feet away from pros throwing 90 MPH- a fantastic seat. And I believe standing room only is $13 and comes with a free drink (with beer as an option).

3) Cleanliness- 6

Just like Turner, the cleanliness is what you expect for a stadium in its third decade. Its clean but you can tell it has wear and tear. One thing I liked is how spacious the bathrooms were. Normally it is very crowded but the Prog gives you a lot of personal space at the urinal, which is always nice.

4) Food/Drink- 8

When it comes to topping off your dog, there is a big debate about stadium v ballpark mustard in Cleveland. I am not a mustard guy, but I went with the ballpark mustard and it was better than most mustard I have had in the past. As for the dog itself, it was as average as it gets (but $3!). As far as the rest of the food- holy cow everything looked and smelled amazing. I also got an Italian sausage with peppers and onions which was really good, for a low price ($9 with toppings). The Prog also had a burger stand that smelled incredible in a right field food location that had sliders, the sausages, and other great food. They offer Rally Burgers for $5 and Pierre’s ice cream as well. This is the best value food you will get in MLB.

The drinks were also good. The Washington Post had an article last year stating Progressive had one of the best offerings in baseball and its true. They did have your run of the mill stuff, but offered a lot of local and other craft brews which was really cool.

Another feature I like is that you can walk the concourse at the top of the section and still see the game, and then walk to your right to access the food concessions. They also have food tables at the top of the seats on the first level, so you can sit down and eat your food there and still watch the game before getting back to your seat.

5) Stores/Team Museums/Attractions- 3

One of the few disappoints was this aspect of the park. They had a decently sized team store, but it was poorly organized and the checkout line was placed so it got in the way of people browsing around (in my opinion at least). Heritage Park is the only other real attraction. It’s a location behind the batters eye in center that honors players in Indians history. Now it does a good job highlighting a lot of players and moments throughout the years, but it was only plaques. The area is called Heritage Park and is billed as some grand place that honors their history. Nope. It’s just small area with plaques. To end on a positive, I like how they displayed their retired numbers at the top of the right field upper deck. Some might find it “out of the way” and thus tough to see, but I think it spiced up an area that is typically bland in most parks.

6) Game Entertainment/Presentation- 2

It honestly was like they didn’t even try. They had the shitiest mascot race I have ever seen. It was a straight race and over in 10 seconds. The promotions crew could hardly seem to care about getting the fans (mainly kids) pumped up and each inning ketchup and mustard mascots would dance on the dugout. And the main mascot, Slider, barely had a presence.

7) Atmosphere- 7

Considering the low attendance figures, I was surprised by the great atmosphere. Fans packed the lower levels and bleachers for both games. Almost everyone was in Indians gear (or Orioles gear). I could hear fans all around me talking about the team, trade rumors, and more so it showed the fans were passionate. A lot of hecklers, cheers, and jeers as well. When the super fan with the drum got his beat going, everyone joined in every time- it was really cool. HOWEVER, in both games the stadium started to empty out after the 7th inning stretch. Which was crazy considering the first game was a 2-1 game. If not for that, the score would have been 8 or 9.

8) Local Scene- 8

There isn’t a ton to do, but considering the park is built into the heart of downtown, there was enough cool stuff to do before and after games. On the surrounding blocks there were plenty of bar restaurants to get some drinks and grub. Also nearby is the Browns stadium, Lake Eerie, and the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame which is a must-see when in Cleveland. There is also a casino a couple blocks away if that is your thing. Overall, downtown Cleveland was way cooler than I (and Joakim Noah) would ever believe.

9) Cost- 9

With the- generally speaking low attendance of the past few seasons and mediocre play on the field, seats are cheap. But there are tons of great views and seats, which makes that an even more valuable ticket. As mentioned before, this is the cheapest food I have seen at a pro park- it’s even cheaper than a lot of Minor League ballparks. The hot was $3.50. A 16oz can of Bud was $7.5. A jumbo sausage or brat is $5-7. They had rally burgers for $5. And ice cream for $4!

10) Misc/Personal Opinion- 8

I want to get the negative out of the way. I HATED the use of the video board and lack of game information. For the batter, they would display their picture, season stats, and only show what they did that game via a box score graphic. Most stadiums have info on date of birth, service time, etc- some neat stuff. The Prog does not. Moreover, they only have pitch count and radar on the side LED panels on third and first- but nothing on the giant video board. One thing parks do that I love is show what pitch was thrown (e.g. slider). I couldn’t find that information here which was a big no-no for me. Also, they only display one teams info at a time. When the Indians were batting, you couldn’t look up there and see the Orioles lineup and game info if you wanted to. Also, the out of town scores sucked. They only showed just a few at a time and only had the score, not who was on base and who was pitching, as all other out of town boards always show. I didn’t like that.

HOWEVER, it didn’t take away from my game experience and Progressive was awesome. It felt like a small bandbox but still had the modern, stadium-like aspects to it which was great. Fitting it in downtown Cleveland is amazing as that is so much better than being in the middle of nowhere surrounded by parking lots- you can actually walk to a game here! The food and drink was great, the fans were good, and the views were awesome. The Prog is another must-see stadium.

Overall Score- 69

As Drew Carey once proclaimed: CLEVELAND ROCKS

Ballpark Review: Turner Field

Posted June 1, 2015 by Disco
Categories: Uncategorized

Over Memorial Day Weekend I had the chance to catch two Braves games in Atlanta. When reading ballpark rankings in the past, Turner Field always placed near the bottom. So my expectations were not that high.

1) Aesthetics- 7

From afar, Turner Field doesn’t seem special. But seeing this place in person was awesome. The video board looked nicer, the advertisements looked nicer, everything looked nicer. You can’t see the skyline from the lower levels, but you can from the first base side of the upper deck and it is a great sight. While Turner lacks a skyline like Pittsburgh, fountains like KC, or any other unique part of the backdrop, it still comes together as a whole.

2) Seats/View- 8

In the first game, we sat in the 200 level. This is still the field level but further back than the 100 level. Despite that, it was still a good seat that felt close and gave a great vantage point of the whole field. For the second game, we had the pleasure of sitting five rows back of home plate. These were by far the best seats I have had for a ML game. Even though we sat so close, there was still a good angle to pick up balls hit to the outfield. These tickets also came with access to the 755 Club- which was a blast- as I’ll mention later on.

Before the games we walked around to get a feel for the park and the upper deck was great as well. You don’t feel like you are sitting up too high at all and the top row of the upper deck was just as good as the first row. The vantage point is good, you get a view of the skyline, and the seats are angled so that people sitting in front of you won’t be in the way.

Outfield seats are also nice and are probably the most affordable. Really, there are very poor seats in the house.

Recommendation: 200 level, the sections that align with the batter circle on each side. There were probably 50 fouls hit into these sections each game. A lot of people went home happy with a souvenir as a result.

3) Cleanliness- 6

Turner Field was meh when it came to cleanliness. I mean, it was clean, but you could tell was a 20 year or so old stadium. Some of the bathrooms smelled funky and you could tell the concourse had been through some shit. But it didn’t detract from the game experience.

4) Food/Drink- 9

A lot of this ranking is based on the food I ate, the food offerings, and the beer. To begin- the classic hot dog. They offered a jumbo dog for $6. Take or leave that price, but it was a better foot long dog than I expected. Most longer hot dogs suck, in my opinion. But this wasn’t bad. Not the best ballpark dog, but not disappointing. As for the beer, they just have the run of the mill drink choices. But a 25oz’er for $10 is good for ballpark prices (I once got a 16oz Bud from Yankee Stadium for $12). They offered some southern food and BBQ along with ballpark staples. There was even a Chik-Fil-A stand which is the greatest thing ever. At least it was until I walked around the 755 Club. Food wasn’t free up there, but it was amazing. You could get 5 star, restaurant quality fajitas, pasta, or asian food for $12. Yes, only $12. There are also dessert stands with froyo, cheesecake, and giant cookies. A meal might be $12, but it’s the best $12 I’ve spent at a ballpark.

5) Stores/Team Museums/Attractions- 9

The attractions at Turner Field blew away just about all the other stadiums I have been to. First, when pull up to the parking lot you see they still have a cutout of the old Atlanta Fulton County Stadium, which is really cool. You can go stand on the old pitchers mound or dig into the batters box. Moreover, the spot of Hank Aaron’s 715th career HR is marked off with the original fence. As you walk past this in the parking lot and carry onto the stadium, you see several statues, plaques, and tributes to past players such as Warren Spahn, Eddie Matthews, Greg Maddux, and many more. For a history junkie like myself, this is awesome.

Now once inside the stadium, you have Scouts Alley to the right. For just 10 tokens, you get a free Braves shirt and a chance to take batting practice in a cage or speed pitch. It’s a great gimmick for kids to enjoy their Turner experience, while making easy money. The team museum is also on Scouts Alley and one only needs a token to enter. The team store was very in depth, showcasing uniforms throughout team history, the dugout bench from Fulton County, history on the different cities and eras of the franchise, as well as lockers highlighting awards and stories from past players and seasons.

6) Game Entertainment/Presentation- 4

The one thing I can’t really recall, because of its low presence, was game entertainment. There was a mascot race and a lot of the “Kiss Cam” stuff, but that was about it. Although they did have a unique “oblivious cam” that stayed on a person until they realized they were on camera. Now some people find the lack of game entertainment to be a good thing, but it hurts Turner Field in my rankings.

7) Atmosphere- 8

The atmosphere was fantastic. A lot of people, myself included, rag on the Braves for low attendance figures, even when they were annual division winners. However, both games I attended had to have had at least 30,000 people there. The crowd was into the game and knew when to cheer and boo. Hearing the tomahawk chant in person was great and when it came time to close the game out for a Braves win, the crowd noise was deafening. Braves fans certainly impressed me.

8) Local Scene- 3

There is no local scene at the park other than a rib joint. But downtown Atlanta is a five minute drive and there is more than enough to do there.

9) Cost- 6

Between Scouts Alley, the good food, and merchandise, it can be easy to spend a lot of money at the park. But for the quality of your seats and food, there is good value in the money you’re spending. Their ticket prices and food prices are probably above average, but unlike a lot of places you get your money’s worth.

10)- Misc/Personal Opinion- 8

As I mentioned at the start, I had low expectations for Turner. But I was amazed with the whole experience. If you want to tailgate, you can do so. If you want to catch BP, you are more than welcome to (and A LOT of balls were hit into the LF seats). If you want to learn about the team history, you can do so. If you want to buy some cool gear, you can do so. If you want good food, you will get it. If you want a good seat, you will have one. Turner Field is a great park worthy of visit for baseball fans.

Overall Score- 68

Ballpark Review: Nationals Park

Posted May 10, 2015 by Disco
Categories: Uncategorized

With third ballpark review, I take on Nationals Park. It’s a nice park with some cool aspects to it, but it fails to single itself out from the other modern parks. Despite that, I enjoyed my time and recommend knocking this park out next time you visit D.C.

Aesthetics- 6

I love the scoreboard and the stadium is nice (as it should be when it’s less than 10 years old) but there isn’t anything special about the place. There is no cool skyline in the distance, no unique design to the fence or its alignment, or any other distinguishing feature. It is about as regular as a park can look without being a cookie-cutter stadium. From select seats in the upper deck you can see The Capitol building which is really cool, but only a handful of fans get that view. Moreover, there is a lot of construction and ugly buildings visible in the backdrop, which hurts its rating. That said, it still has a solid look to it.

Seats/View- 7

I sat in the upper deck and had a great view of the game. On the third base side I could still pick up what kind of pitches were being thrown and had a great vantage point of all the players so I could track their movement. From walking around, I could tell there were other great views. I thought the left field seats were really cool. When you walk through the main gate in left, the seats are right there, straight ahead. I’ve never seen a stadium with a design like that, but I thought it was awesome and it gave a great view of the game, the bullpen, and the scoreboard.

Best Seat- Left field

Cleanliness- 9

The park was clean, as it should be when it’s new. The concourse is pretty open and the bathrooms were nice.

Food/Drink- 7

There was a good amount of food choices, especially in right field where they had some boardwalk-esque atmosphere going on. From what I remember though, the food there was relatively expensive. But they had anything from burritos to Caribbean jerk chicken. I ended up with chicken fingers, which were alright, but extremely salty.

Stores/Team Museums/Attractions- 4

Much like The Bank, there isn’t much in the way of anything at the park. The boardwalk area is alright and featured a live band. The team store was really big with a nice selection, but it was the only such store I saw. Also, there is a cool wall with fat heads of the players and a height chart, so that you can measure yourself compared to a Nationals player. As for a team museum, they moved to D.C. in 2005- there isn’t much of a history to promote.

Game Entertainment/Presentation- 10

The Brewers may have started the mascot races in the Majors, but the Nationals mastered it. The Racing Presidents are by far the best racing mascots in baseball and they get physical with it. Some fans might enjoy this more thanthe game itself.

Atmosphere- 7

Even though the team has been good the past few years, I wasn’t expecting much of a fan base. I was pleasantly surprised at the game I was at. Fans were vocal in support and they have even had a special “Nats” chant for each run scored. This fan base has potential so long as the Nats keep winning.

Local Scene- 1

There is none. You have to take a crappy transportation system and the stadium is kind of in the middle of nowhere. There are food carts and a restaurant right outside the stadium, but that is it.

Cost- 5

Tickets are a little bit on the costly side, but it is not too bad and the upper deck tickets are pretty cheap. However, you will find yourself spending a lot on food, drink, and transportation getting there. Otherwise I would have given a better cost score as far as their game tickets go.

Misc/Opinion- 7

I think the park is better than what my overall score will show. As I have mentioned, it is a nice, clean park with a good atmosphere and a couple cool thing aspects such as the player height chart and the boardwalk area. But overall, there is no special quality to the stadium to separate it from the other modern stadiums (like PNC has with the skyline or ATT with the bay). I do recommend a game here.

Overall Score- 63

The Perfect Who Set List

Posted May 2, 2015 by Disco
Categories: Uncategorized

The Who visit Dallas tonight. Although The Who have been rolling out a near perfect set list on their tour so far, here is my perfect set (not including rare, unreleased songs almost nobody knows about such as “Call Me Lightning” or “Relax”):

1) Who Are You

2) I Can’t Explain
3) Substitute
4) Happy Jack
5) Young Man Blues

5) My Generation
6) The Kids Are Alright
7) A Quick One, While He’s Away

8) I Can See For Miles
9) Squeeze Box
10) Slip Kid
11) Eminence Front
12) The Real Me
13) I’m One
14) 5:15
15) Love Reign O’er Me
16) Amazing Journey/Sparks
17) Acid Queen
18) Pinball Wizard
19) See Me/Feel Me/Listening To You

20) Behind Blue Eyes
21) Baba O’Reily
22) Wont Get Fooled Again/Naked Eye
23) Magic Bus

The Who Albums Ranked

Posted April 27, 2015 by Disco
Categories: Uncategorized

For my money, The Who are the greatest band to ever live. They may have been overshadowed by The Beatles (and Rolling Stones and Kinks and Hendrix) in the 60’s, but they were just as influential (feedback, album construction, power chords, lyrical content, stage craft, and more) and the best live band, probably ever.

In honor of their 50th anniversary tour, which I will be attending this upcoming Saturday, I wanted to publish a few Who related articles over the next few days. Here I will give my opinion of their albums, from “worst” to first.

11) Endless Wire

This album was released a full 24 years after The Who “broke up”. As such, you shouldn’t expect much and you don’t get much. But after listening to this again recently, it is better than you think The Who minus Keith Moon and John Entwistle could give you. But it’s still a far cry from their hey-day.

10) Face Dances

This was the first non-Moon album put out by the band and there is an obvious decline of quality. You can tell that by this point Townshend wasn’t giving The Who 100% and the songs lacked any real type of meaning. However, the first side of the album does have some catchy tunes, especially “The Quiet One” which may be the best song Entwistle ever penned for the group.

9) It’s Hard

Both Face Dances and It’s Hard show the band at their worst with Townshend’s disinterest in doing anything Who related reaching a new high. This was the last album released before their breakup and it’s probably a good thing considering their downward trend at this point in time. However, this album does feature “Eminence Front”, a song showing Pete could still write if he wanted to and a song that became an instant Who classic.

8) Who Are You

Many people think the death of Keith Moon signaled the end of the band, but this album is the first album that really wasn’t that good, even though it featured Moon. Then again, his disease with alcohol was at an all-time high and he could barely play the drums on several tracks off the record. But even a “bad” Who album is better than most other albums and there are great tunes in “New Song” and “Trick of the Light”. Moreover, the title track “Who Are You” is arguably a top three of top five song that Townshend ever wrote.

7) A Quick One

I have a tough time putting this at number 7 because it is so good…but that goes to show just how good of a band they were! A Quick One is famous for the ahead of it’s time mini-opera, “A Quick One While He’s Away”. Pete was tiring of the two minute single and wanted to expand his song writing. Thus the 10 minute opera, which while light and funny on the outside, is a dark song about abuse on the inside. As such, it shows the potential Townshend had as a song writer and why his songs were so ahead of his time and influential for other artists. Of the remaining albums, this is the weakest mainly because it had the most collaborative effort within the group. But awesome songs include “Run, Run, Run”, “Heatwave”, “Boris the Spider”, “So Sad About Us” and “Man with Money”. This album could easily be ranked #4.

6) The Who By Numbers

Following a dynamic run of Tommy, Who’s Next, and Quadrophenia, many thought this effort paled in comparison, which it did. But those three albums are three of the best albums ever made! Of course it paled in comparison! But on its own, The Who By Numbers is a great album that you can listen to from start to finish. “Squeeze Box” and “Slip Kid” are the famous songs from the album, but other classics are “However Much I Booze” and “How Many Friends”.

5) My Generation

At the time of its release date, My Generation may have been the most progressive album to be released into the pop-rock industry. While The Who were using feedback and writing about their generation, insecurity, and inward personal problems The Beatles were still a relatively poppy band who hadn’t begun their Rubber Soul/Revolver revolution. In fact the title-track may have been the most influential song released at that point of time with its content, bass solo, and crashing feedback at the end. Other great tracks include “The Kids Are Alright”, “A Legal Matter”, and “The Ox”.

4) The Who Sell Out

This album is the transition album between “pop-art rock” Who and The Who that transformed the industry with “Tommy”. Some tracks sound like their old self with some songs giving you a preview of what was to come on their next album. The theme of the album was very unique, with the songs segued together with ads to make it sound like you were listening to a pirate radio station. The album features another mini-opera with “Rael” and the song that Townshend claims is the best song he ever wrote, “I Can See for Miles”. When the song didn’t become number one, Townshend officially gave up on the single and put all his work into the album. While it may not be the best song ever written like he claims, it’s still a top ten Who track that sounds so far ahead of anything from 1967- which is even more amazing when you release he wrote the song a couple years earlier and was holding it in his back pocket. Outside of this song there no song any casual fan would recognize, but to me, almost every song is a classic- from “Our Love Was” to “Relax” (which has a great middle section) to “Glow Girl”.

3) Tommy

Tommy is the bands most influential work- bar none. It was the first true concept album and full length “rock opera”. When played lived, The Who instantly became the best band in the world. For proof, one needs to look no further than Live at Leeds or Live at Isle of Wight. “Listening To You” is the most hypnotic song of all-time. You can go into the song thinking The Who are the worst, but by the end of that you subconsciously are nodding along to the music. Other great songs on the album include “Overture”, “Amazing Journey/Sparks”, and “Acid Queen”. My only qualm is that it sounds quiet, especially compared to how loud The Who are on stage. But in retrospect, that aspect has actually grown on me.

2) Quadrophenia

At the time Quadrophenia was a bit of a bust, but looking back on it, it is arguably the bands most impressive work. When compared to Tommy, the story is more sensible and concrete, it involved the personalities of each band member, and was their most well produced album. “The Real Me” is Entwistle at his best and a phenomenal way to start an album. “I’m One” is a great song, lyrically, and “The Rock” is the most complex thing Townshend has ever done in studio, with two different tempos playing at once as the four themes of the albums are played on top of each other. Moon’s drumming at the end of “Love Reign O’er Me” is the ultimate.

1) Who’s Next (1971)

It is no surprise this album is #1. It’s their first album to incorporate their stage sound and persona in a studio environment and it was based off Pete’s most challenging project, Lifehouse. While that concept failed, most of the songs he created for it made its way to this album. Unlike Quadrophenia, this album produced a bevy of singles for the radio and concerts. While people love to look at “Baba O’Reily” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again” I love to look at “Going Mobile” and “The Song is Over”. Overall though, this is The Who at their best. Fast, loud, and profound with deep lyrics, complex arrangements, and bursts of energy.


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