Sorry for the lack of updates. I have been in Arizona for the last few days enjoying the 105+ degree heat. Actually I have gotten to visit several chess friends, hung out with my 3 year old, and even got to see a baseball game (more on that later).
Tomorrow I am hoping to get down to Tucson, for two reasons, to watch our Chicago Blaze battle the Arizona Scorpions at their den. The other reason is because the best Mexican food in the country is found in Tucson. I need to get to the little Cafe Poca Cosa, or I could even settle for El Charro, or any number of places down there.
Our first match should be enjoyable to track. I think the team will get stronger as we go along, and we will be trying some different lineups nearly every week to get a feel for how the team plays. Arun Sharma gives his predictions on the US Chess League season on their site, which predict us for 6th. We will give it our best attempt to make him look bad. We are a little outrated in this first match, but I still like our chances.
Today I was able to get the Chase Field (formerly the BOB), to watch the Dbacks and the Marlins face off. What a great park and experience! Visiting parks is a hobby of mine, so this was a treat. The seats were great along the 1st base line (angled to face home plate), food selection was top notch, the weather was 105 outside but probably a comfortable 80 or so inside the yard. Misty May Treanor just back from Beijing threw out the first pitch, John McCain was on hand to watch. Of the parks I have visited, here is how I would rank them:
1. Pac Bell, San Francisco: Stunning views, great food, older park feel with newer park convenience, nice features such as the statues and the free viewing area outside of the park through the fence, and a cool lively area.
2. Chase Field, Arizona: Just a really well thought out park. Engineeringwise, this place is amazing, the area is getting more stuff to do. It is kind of like if you were a kid and trying to design the perfect park (natural grass, dome, great food, cool area, very kid friendly, wonderful sight lines, it is all there). The one feature that I don't think most fans care for is the Upper deck looks even steeper to the old upper deck at the current Comiskey park.
3. PNC Park, Pittsburgh: Ok, so the Pirates aren't very good, but the park makes up for some of it. The Megatron with the sound system looks like it was taken from a Vegas casino with the sound and picture quality. Some of the best scenic views of any park.
4. Coors Field, Colorado: This is the most fun stadium to watch batting practice in. An absolutely huge and beautiful park, not very expensive either. The lo-do neighborhood is great to visit.
5. Turner Field, Atlanta: In some ways, very similar to Coors, a really nice looking park, though a bit harder to get to.
6. Commiskey, Chicago: Screw US Cellular, this will always be Commiskey to Sox fans. Yes, I am putting it ahead of Wrigley. This park is convenient, and while I disliked it when it opened, hard not to when we saw the parks right after it but it continuously improves every year.
7. Wrigley, Chicago: Great history, fun neighborhood and that is where the positives end. Parking is terrible, the sightlines are poor, food poor, I don't even know where to start about the bathrooms. Yes, it is a great place to spy beautiful women, but the tickets are costly and perhaps the dumbest fans in baseball that go do games. Disclaimer, I do actually like the Cubs too. I think they use the "Go Cubs Go" song to torture prisoners in Guantanimo.
8. Busch Stadium, St. Louis: Some of the best fans in baseball, a nice downtown location, but a completely non-descript new stadium.
9. Jacobs Field, Cleveland: I really thought I would love this park, fun area downtown, but as I entered the park I noticed a few things. For a newish park, it looks rather run down. The food selection there is poor. Sightlines are average. They do get some points for the yankee stadium style monuments by center field though.
What are some of your favorite parks?