“Reid ‘Em & Weep” (Weekly Sports Musings 1.1)

This is the start of some serious sportswriting. I’ve been so busy recently that I wasn’t able to write but today is the start of a new column called “Reid ‘Em & Weep”. This column will be similar to Mike North’s bi-weekly columns in the Chicago suburban newspaper “The Daily Herald”. I’m not sure I’ll write twice a week like North or simply once a week or even more randomly. I like the brevity of his articles though and how he usually attacks two to three topics per column. My goal is the same. So here we go with some quick takes on Summer sports!

Copa America logo

  • International Soccer – As I get older, I just love watching these International soccer tournaments. I find it fascinating the way these other countries watch soccer. It is so much different from the way we watch American sports. They seem to be partying in the stands the entire game. They wear goofy fan gear and don’t seem very stressed out like we would during an important football or basketball game. I guess it’s more like how we watch regular season baseball games but with more standing, cheering, and waving their countries’ colors. It’s awesome!

National Lampoon's Summer Vacation

  • So we’ve been busy traveling on our annual Summer vacation. This year we drove around Lake Michigan up through the UP all the way West to Minneapolis. We traveled almost every day for 2 weeks which meant a different hotel room with a different TV with different channels and everything. So every night after check-in I had to figure out what sports were on. It was tough to watch all these sports but the fun part was seeing different regional Fox Sports channels. I saw a lot of Tigers and Twins game and was able to enjoy new broadcasters. When we finally returned home to northern Illinois I wanted to watch USA vs Columbia in the Copa America 3rd Place Game. I was dismayed in not finding it on TV anywhere with our AT&T U-Verse cable package. Really? C’mon man! We pay so much money for this cable and the only place I could find it was on a Spanish language Telemundo station. Seriously? How is the USA 3rd Place game not on network TV? Did I miss something? I just did a quick online search and it looks like it may have only been on SI.com. That’s just plain dumb. Did the networks really think that English-speaking USA fans just wouldn’t earn ratings high enough to broadcast it on a real network? No wonder soccer never catches on here in America. Geez!

Target Field

  • Target Field/my list of MLB Ballparks – So I mentioned that my wife and I just took our two kids on an old-fashioned Summer vacation. This is something we started the last couple of Summers and we plan on doing for the next decade or so. We drove our van around Lake Michigan starting here in Mundelein, IL and headed East down around the southern tip of Lake Michigan, up North all the way to Mackinac Island, then the Upper Peninsula (the UP) of Michigan, then West toward Duluth, then on to Minneapolis and finally back home to Illinois after stopping at my wife’s alma-mater St. Olaf in Northfield, MN. We took two weeks and it was a memorable trip. One of the things I was looking forward to the most was going to see Target Field. We saw the Twins vs the Phillies. Wow, talk about some bad baseball teams. These squads gave new meaning to “meaningless” Summer baseball. Anyway, we weren’t there for the game as much as for the stadium, and what a park it is!!! Target Field vaulted up my personal list of MLB ballparks. This was our 7th MLB park that we’ve hit over the last 4 seasons since my kids gave me a MLB Passport Book for Father’s Day 2013. It’s a perfect gift for those of you that enjoy visiting all the baseball stadiums. We’ve gotten 7 stamps so far out of the 30 major league stadiums. Out of the 7 parks, I would have a hard time ousting Target Field from the top spot. As of now, here’s my list:
  1. Target Field (Minneapolis, MN)
  2. Rangers Ballpark (Arlington, TX)
  3. Busch Stadium (St. Louis, MO)
  4. Comiskey Park (Chicago, IL)
  5. Miller Park (Milwaukee, WI)
  6. Minute Maid Park (Houston, TX)
  7. Wrigley Field (Chicago, IL)

Other ballparks I’ve visited prior to 2013 include:

  1. Pac-Bell Park/SBC Park/AT&T Park (San Francisco, CA)
  2. Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles, CA)
  3. Safeco Field (Seattle, WA)
  4. old Busch Stadium (St. Louis, MO)
  5. old Comiskey Park (Chicago, IL)
  6. old County Stadium (Milwaukee, WI)

Overall compilation of current parks:

  1. Pac-Bell Park/SBC Park/AT&T Park (San Francisco, CA)
  2. Target Field (Minneapolis, MN)
  3. Rangers Ballpark (Arlington, TX)
  4. Busch Stadium (St. Louis, MO)
  5. Comiskey Park (Chicago, IL)
  6. Safeco Field (Seattle, WA)
  7. Miller Park (Milwaukee, WI)
  8. Minute Maid Park (Houston, TX)
  9. Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles, CA)
  10. Wrigley Field (Chicago, IL)

Target Field

I know what you’re thinking………Wrigley in last? Yeah, part of it is my Sox bias against the Cubs, but honestly Wrigley is just not that good no matter how you look at it. The weird truth is that almost all the current MLB ballparks are good and modern. There are 5 old Stadiums: Wrigley Field (1914), Fenway Park (1912), Dodger Stadium (1962), Anaheim Stadium (1966), and Royals Stadium (1973). All the other parks were built since 1989 and so they are cleaner, more convenient, have bigger concourses, more food, more and better bathrooms, more and better parking, etc. Sure Wrigley is beautiful on a late Summer afternoon, but then again, what ballpark isn’t? If you like the team, you probably like the park. If you love baseball like me, they are ALL awesome and worth the price of travel and admission.

As of today I will keep San Francisco’s AT&T Park (boy AT&T is getting a lot of play here in this column….they should be paying ME to watch their cable!) at the top of my list but Target Field made a strong case and after I go to these Parks multiple times I may adjust my rankings. I find it important to go multiple times because sometimes variables such as the weather or your health can really change your personal experience. For example, I never particularly enjoyed our first visit to new Busch Stadium and thus didn’t rate the Park that highly. In retrospect it was because the game time temperature was 98 degrees (I think this is an old boy band name by the way which reminds me to promote my column on band names called “Band Aid”) and our son Trev got sick so we spent part of the game in the infirmary (just kidding it was called First Aid). The second time we attended Busch it was a beautifully pleasant day and our kids didn’t get dehydrated. PLUS we visited the Cardinals Nation area beyond left-center field and it was extraordinary. After our 1st visit I may have listed Busch toward the bottom of my list. If we had only gone to Busch on our 2nd visit I may have been tempted to put it near the top of my list. So you can’t truly judge a Park with only one visit. Overall after two visits, I decided to throw Busch in there at #4 of 10.

CFL logo2

  • CFL (Canadian Football League) – I’m really starting to enjoy watching the CFL, especially in Summer when we don’t have any American football. I enjoy seeing the different cultures and people from “Up North”. Their game is similar yet has some weird intricacies such as the bigger field (110 yards plus the two 20 yard endzones for a 150 yard field vs our 120 yards), 12 on 12, 3 or even 4 men in motion running toward the line of scrimmage allowed, 3 downs per possession, and some other weird scoring opportunities. To be honest, I’m still trying to figure it out. I was watching a game on ESPN the other night…..I think it was “Stampeders vs Roughriders ehh?” and in a mid-field Hail Mary situation at the end of the game I saw a team throw a short screen pass and then the WR punted the ball! I know! He punted it and the DB caught the punt and fell down on his own 5 and the game was over. What was the WR trying to accomplish there? His team was down 8 points so they needed a TD and a “convert” (as the CFL announcers said in between their “aboouts” and “dooowns” and other strange comments). So if he punted there must have been a way to score a TD, right? Was he hoping the DB fumbled the punt and then one of his fellow WR’s team fell on the fumble in the end zone for a TD??? I don’t quite understand yet but can’t wait to watch more games this Summer!

CFL map of teams2

I hope you enjoyed “Reid ‘Em & Weep!” Until next time!

Pacific Bell Park

 

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3 Comments

  1. Great entry… although Wrigley is never coming out of my #1… I have seen Camden, Citizens Bank, and the Nationals Park, besides Comiskey and Busch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comments Chad! I can’t wait to visit those East Coast parks such as Camden Yards, Citizens Bank, Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, and Nationals Park to name just a few.

      Like

  2. I saw you list Wrigley Field as #7 and was fully prepared to ask you why, and then you addressed it. I kinda figured that the appeal with places like Wrigley and Fenway is more towards the historical nature of the place rather than the actual comfort of it.

    I loved the paragraph on the CFL. You should write more about it this summer. I know I already plan to write about it soon. Anyways, I’ll try to explain why the guy punted it after catching a screen pass when they’re down by 8 hahaha. In the CFL (maybe also in the NFL?), the receiver can catch the ball and then kick it downfield, like rugby, and any player who is onside at the time of the kick, can go retrieve the ball. I rarely see it happen as its normally saved for final desperate plays like that.

    The CFL was originally the Canadian Rugby Football Union so maybe that punting rule is just specific to us, I’m not sure.

    Another crazy thing I’ve seen is the game is tied with a few seconds left on the clock in the 4th and instead of going for a field goal to win it, the team will send their punter out there and try to kick it through the end zone so they can get 1 point. So what the defending team will do is put about 3 guys in the end zone and one of them is their punter, so if the ball comes to him, he can kick it back down field out of the end zone. I once witnessed two punters kick the ball back and forth 3 or 4 times, it was nuts.

    Hope that all made sense!

    Liked by 1 person

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