The Smörgåsbord Tour

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So far, this ballpark tour has been relatively easy. I spent three days in Cincinnati for Opening Day, made a day trip to St. Louis for the Cardinals home opener, and live in Kansas City. Three games down. Twenty-seven to go. And the next twenty-seven will be way more difficult than the first three have been.

I leave Saturday for what I’ve been calling “The Smörgåsbord Tour.”

As I put together my itinerary for this summer, I started to realize that there were about 10 ballparks that were going to be way harder to get to than the rest. The reason: geography. A lot of ballparks simply aren’t close to any others. I decided early on that I needed to get these out of the way while the season was young and my morale was high. It’s a hodgepodge of five ballparks – ATL, TEX, HOU, ARI, SD – connected by a string of one way Southwest flights. I leave Saturday night and get home Friday morning.

I hopped online this morning and checked the pitching match-ups for the next week. Here’s where I’ll be and who’s on the mound over the next week:

  • 4/13: Washington @ Atlanta (Gonzalez vs Harang)
  • 4/14: Seattle @ Texas (Elias vs Perez)
  • 4/15: Kansas City @ Houston (Ventura!!! vs Harrell)
  • 4/16: NY Mets @ Arizona (Gee vs McCarthy)
  • 4/17: Colorado @ San Diego (Anderson vs Kennedy)

There are a lot of things that excite me about this stretch of games.

First, I like the Gonzalez/Harang match up. Neither are true aces, but both have looked the part thus far this season. Should be low scoring. Obviously, I’d love to see Strasburg go for the Nats, but this should be an awesome matchup. I’m also pumped to be in Atlanta a week after the anniversary of Hank Aaron’s record breaking home run. I’m also curious about the Braves decision to leave Turner Field for the suburbs after the 2016 season.

I’m excited to see Robinson Cano and Prince Fielder in their new uniforms, and I’m hoping for a slugfest in Texas. Young pitchers going for each team could make this very very possible. Last time I went to the Ballpark at Arlington (now, Globe Life Park) I saw Mike MacDougal close for the Royals. I’m going with my cousin and my high school small group leader, both of whom live in the DFW area.

Well, I can’t be angry about the Royals skipping Ace Ventura’s first start anymore now that it means I’ll see him pitch in Houston. So far Lucas Harrell is 0-2 with an 11.05 ERA and more walks than strikeouts (6 to 5). If Ventura looks anything like he did on Tuesday night, this one should be a slaughter. Also, does anyone know if the public can check out the Astrodome at all? Even just walking around outside? I was born in Houston and went to my first game on a Sunday afternoon at the Astrodome in April 1986. I have no memory of it – i was only 3 weeks old – but I’d love to check it out if possible.

To be honest, I’m most excited about the last two games on this list because I get to see one of my closest friends who recently moved to Phoenix. We’ll be hitting Chase Field and Petco Park together on Wednesday and Thursday. As far as the game goes, I’m really excited to see these two parks. The rock pile in Arizona and the old Western Metal Supply Co. building in San Diego are both so cool. I’m excited to check them out.

Be sure to check back often next week for (probably) daily post game reflections!

-apc.

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