Baseball Stadiums: 2016 Recap

I usually write the recap of my baseball stadium visits in September or October at the latest, but unfortunately I got behind with my responsibilities and didn’t get to reflect on the past season until recently.  So it seems appropriate that during the chill of December, I think about the various ballparks I visited during the 2016 season.

I visited three MLB stadiums, and wrote about two visits.  I visited Kauffman Stadium (home of the Kansas City Royals) for the second time, but the first time since I started seriously blogging about my baseball stadium visits (read it here).  I attended an Atlanta Braves game at Turner Field during the club’s last season as the ballpark, but wrote about my 2015 visit.  Although I attend one to two games at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati during my week in town for the A.P. Human Geography Reading, and decided to write about my visit this year (read it here) to watch the Cincinnati Reds because so much changed at the stadium as it hosted the 2015 MLB All-Star Game.

I visited four new MiLB stadiums and revisited four ballparks during the season.  The most exciting part of my summer revolved around a week-long trip to the Carolinas with my now fiancée Katie.  After departing from Nashville, we stopped near Knoxville, Tenn., and saw a Tennessee Smokies game.  Although I’ve seen the Smokies twice at home before this stop, I had never written about my experience at the ballpark (read it here).  The remainder of the ballparks we visited on the trip were all first-time experiences for me.  The next night we attended a Thirsty Thursday game in Asheville, N.C., where the promotion originated with the Asheville Tourists (read it here).  The following night we were supposed to watch the Greenville Drive, but the game was rained out.  So our next ballgame was in Myrtle Beach, S.C., where we saw the Myrtle Beach Pelicans host a Military Appreciation Game (read it here).  After an evening off and my in-person audition to be a contestant on Sports Jeopardy!, Katie and I attended a Charleston RiverDogs game (read it here).  The last leg of our #SCMiLBTour brought us to Columbia where we saw the newly relocated Columbia Fireflies play in the newest ballpark in MiLB (read it here).

Although not technically part of our trip through the Carolinas, Katie and I concluded our journey by attending the previously-mentioned Braves game.  Concluding my visits to Minor League ballparks, the other parks I revisited besides Smokies Stadium were First Tennessee Park (home of the Nashville Sounds), Regions Field (home of the Birmingham Barons), and Bowling Green Ballpark (home of the Bowling Green Hot Rods).  I did not write about my visits to see the Sounds or Barons, but did write about my visit to see the Hot Rods because Katie and I enjoyed the game from a pair of Club Level seats and dined at the Stadium Club (read it here).

In keeping with my map making from last season, I have continued to add my stadium visits to my ESRI Story Map.  I made a change to the design of the map, instead of showing the main entrance to the stadium I changed the primary image to the first pitch as seen from behind home plate.  You can see the updated map here.

Screen capture of my updated Story Map.

As the 2016 season enters the height of the Hot Stove Season, I wrote about eight baseball stadium visits and attended 14 games at 11 ballparks across the MLB, Triple-A, Double-A, Advanced A, and Class A levels.  The only level of affiliated baseball I didn’t watch this past season was ShortSeason-A/Rookie level.

These trips now bring my stadium tally to:

  • MLB = 21 (14 active)
  • Triple-A = 10 (8 active)
  • Double-A = 21 (16 active)
  • Class A-Advanced = 6 (6 active)
  • Class A = 11 (8 active)
  • Class A-Short-Season = 6 (5 active)
  • Independent = 5 (2 active)
  • Spring Training = 10 (9 active)

I have now seen professional baseball games (including Spring Training) in 30 states, the District of Columbia, and one Canadian province (British Columbia).  I attended games in nine states during the 2016 season, and added North Carolina and South Carolina to my list of states.


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