Favorite Places To Watch A Game

Ranking what would be your favorite places to watch a game (even if you haven’t ever been there) can make the time fly by. So here we go…
(In no order)

Fenway Park – Opened in 1912. It’s great for all of the reasons already known. Not to mention Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band played there in the summer of 2003 during their Rising Tour (This had to be included). I haven’t heard many people say this wouldn’t be on their list of stadiums to go see in their lifetime. Plus it could be entertaining for one inning to hear the guy sitting in front of you complaining about how the Yankees can afford anybody they want.

Camden Yards (Oriole Park) – I don’t get it why this one doesn’t get more talk. I’ve never been there but every time there is an Oriole game on T.V. or I see a photo or highlight of it, it just looks too cool. I liked to play my video games of MLB in this stadium in the nighttime. Camden Yards is like the Bruce song “I’m Goin’ Down.” It’s great, but for some reason it flies under everyone’s radar and/or goes completely unspoken of.

Metrodome (in the playoffs) - The Metrodome (for baseball) is not good. However, the Metrodome come playoff time is much, much better. The white Homer Hankies combined with the white ceiling combine to make the dome a wild place to be in the playoffs. ESPN Classic showed the 1991 World Series Game 7 with Jack Morris and the Twins against a young John Smoltz and the Atlanta Braves the other night and it proved that the Dome can actually look pretty cool. The dome’s ceiling can be a humorous aspect of home field advantage as well.

The Old Chicago Stadium (Chicago Bulls) – I think I’ve told myself subconsciously that this would be on my list. The Bulls won championships here and Jordan kissed the floor goodbye. Seeing a game in the 1993 Finals against Charles Barkley would have been great.

Williams Arena (Minnesota Gophers) – The hoops here used to have duck tape on them. Many seats have a pole in their face. It’s strange that so many students out of 60 some thousand don’t go to the games.

Wrigley Field – For a long while, Wrigley never built a lighting system so games were always played in the afternoons. Now they have lights and the games in the night seem just as cool as the games before night fall. Thankfully WGN is aired outside of Illinois.

PNC Park – If the Pirates were more competitive, this stadium would jump into everyone’s minds much faster. The big bridge in the background out from centerfield and the river make it one of the coolest looking ballparks.

LA Coliseum – Home of USC Trojans football. The final shoot-out scene from” Money Talks” featuring Chris Tucker was also filmed at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Note: The Rose Bowl makes the list, too.

AT&T Park (San Francisco Giants) – Much like Kenny Mayne did in the 2007 home run derby, I’d want to spend the first 5 or so innings in a kayak out in the bay and then spend the last innings in an upper deck seat overlooking the bay (on a 75 degree day or night only). Also like Kenny Mayne, I wouldn’t mind being interviewed by Erin Andrews.

Others include the Xcel Energy Center, Cameron Indoor Stadium for a Carolina/Duke game, Boston Garden for '09 Cavs/Celtics KG/Lebron playoff game, Coors Field at sunset, Yankee Stadium in the playoffs vs. the Minnesota Twins or Boston Red Sox.

The Perfect Match

The Perfect Match

I was searching through channels one evening last week and came across the movie “A Walk To Remember,” starring Mandy Moore on TNT. For the next hour, I watched it. (Look, “That 70’s Show” wasn’t on it’s usually hour due to Channel 45 switching it’s time slot with “Frasier.” So shut it tough guys). In the movie, Mandy Moore’s character falls in love with her perfect match. This got me thinking. What other matches in sports or otherwise have been perfect?

Match 1: Jerry Sloan and the Utah Jazz. Jerry Sloan is a no-nonsense, non-headline making coach. This fits perfectly with the aura that surrounds the Utah Jazz. The last time popular culture got a hold of the Jazz was in 1998 when Webster’s Dictionary officially made “Stockton-to-Malone-for-2” one word.

Match 2: Doug Heffernan and Carrie Heffernan in the “King Of Queens.” Doug is funny and Carrie is hot. Add Arthur Spooner in there and you have one of the best half-hour sitcoms ever made.

Match 3: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band and the Super Bowl Halftime Show. First, I will add a disclaimer. Springsteen doesn’t necessarily seem to like the commercial-ness that goes with these things. But there is no one anywhere that will make for a better halftime performance. It won’t be as good as if you went to one of his normal concerts because the halftime show tends to feel somewhat forced, but he’ll be as good as it gets. His instincts will be to play 10 songs even if the T.V. people cut his microphone after 3. He’s that good. I can foresee police officers storming the stage trying to get the band to stop playing and Bruce will still call for the band to fire into “Dancing In The Dark.” The Super Bowl has been smart the last few years with Prince, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and now the E Street Band. Furthermore, has there been a bigger transformation in a single year than the halftime show going from Nelly, Kid Rock, Puff Daddy, Jessica Simpson, Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson, and Janet Jackson’s breast in 2004 to Paul McCartney in 2005?

Match 4: “King Of Queens” re-runs on Channel 45 in the 6 o’clock to 7 o’clock time slot. It’s right after dinner time and when the time comes, right before Lost and Prison Break.

Match 5: Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, Ron Gardenhire and the Minnesota Twins. They are three of the most entertaining players/coaches in the Majors Leagues in my mind and fit the state of Minnesota greatly. Justin Morneau likes hockey and we have a lot of it. Joe Mauer likes Land O’ Lakes Milk and we have a lot of it. And Ron Gardenhire because you couldn’t find a more fitting manager in baseball who’s personality and coaching philosophy fits this well with Minnesota. He’s also an avid bowler and there isn’t too much that sounds more working class than that. Unfortunately, we have lost two other perfect matches in Doug Mientkiewicz and Brad Radke (both of whom love to fish.)

Match 6: Rachel McAdams and “Wedding Crashers.” Without her performance in the “Notebook” (Mentioning the Notebook and A Walk To Remember was not planned), she may not have been known enough and been chosen for her role in “Wedding Crashers,” where she had a great performance and broke into the minds of the male population. Every now and then it comes to our minds that there are some actors/actresses in some shows/movies that we can’t see the show or movie without. For me, it’s Michael Kelso in “That 70’s Show” (or their whole cast), the cast from the “King of Queens,” Sawyer, Jack, and Kate in “Lost,” Michael Scofield and Lincoln Burrows in “Prison Break,” Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn in “Wedding Crashers,” Frank in “Old School,” Hamilton Porter in “The Sandlot,” Sainka in “Cool Runnings,” Tony Perkis in “Heavyweights,” and Adam Sandler in “Happy Gilmore.”

Match 7: Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Throughout their NFL history, the Steelers have been known as a tough, cool team. Once Bill Cowher called it quits, I didn’t think they would find another coach who matched what Cowher gave to the Steelers brand. Then they swept up Mike Tomlin from the Minnesota Vikings and started a new, refreshed brand identity. This is like Burger King refreshing their brand by unleashing “the King.” But if they keep it up with their new “Whopper Virgin” campaign, I take back my analogy. Mike Tomlin chest bumps players running off the field and fires up his team better than any coach I’ve seen outside of Bob Knight, who also has the ability to scare the hell out of his players. By the way, Bob Knight is great on TV. I don’t care if he is monotone. I enjoy watching whatever game it is he is announcing. But Tomlin has refreshed the Steelers brand in a way that I’m sure surprised the people of Pennsylvania who thought Steelers glory was taking a long break after Bill Cowher left. Now we just need to get Cherry Coke to re-make those black cans with the red cherries from a decade ago.

Match 8: Charles Barkley and TNT Basketball. I don’t think there is anyone more entertaining on sports TV than Barkley. If Barkley was at a 6th grade traveling basketball game and overheard a mom telling her kids team “wonderful try today guys” after a loss, couldn’t you see Barkley telling the same kids on the same team that they played piss poor and had their heads up their butts for the whole 3rd and 4th quarters? Hopefully he makes a quick return to TNT. Television needs him back.

Match 9: USC and the Rose Bowl. Every year it seems, Southern California loses to a team that they shouldn’t have lost to and wind up being placed in the Rose Bowl. This is followed by people, including myself, assuring themselves that USC could beat any team in the nation, whatever they may be rated. But everything good comes from this. The Rose Bowl is just too soothing to the senses. And USC feels like college football at its best. I don’t care if Southern Cal doesn’t make it to a national championship game as long as they make it in the Rose Bowl (the bowl system is lousy anyway). What’s better than Brent Musburger starting the Rose Bowl off with “…You’re looking live…?” Keith Jackson was great announcing the game with sixteen “Whoa, Nellie’s!” and Musburger is just as good. The combination of USC and the Rose Bowl is just too good and that’s all there is. It’s the Ray Allen Jump Shot of college football. Speaking of “Whoa Nellie’s,” if you have ever been lucky enough to hear this Keith Jackson expression during a game, you’d know that you can’t go 7 straight days without repeating it. My dad and I once used the “Whoa, Nellie!” at a wedding when I was 10-years-old after the groom kissed the bride. It can be used at any time and almost anywhere.

Match 10: (For the time being), the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Since Boston can no longer be looked upon as the David, the Rays take their place. Now that the big bad Yankees got their way with Sabathia and Teixeira, we have another season of what could be more David vs. Goliath, or John Beckwith vs. Sack in Wedding Crashers where you couldn’t wait for John to kick the hell out of Sack and take his girl. I like watching certain players on the Yankees, but when it comes to the team as a whole, I like watching them lose. But it is weird to see them not in the playoffs. Anyway, speaking of this coming baseball season, isn’t it interesting that every time spring training time rolls around, we feel that we are the ones going to spring training? You go to MLBshop.com and Lids.com to check out the new training camp practice caps and click through pictures of the Grapefruit and Cactus League baseball stadiums on Sports Illustrated while listening to “Is This Love” by Bob Marley and the Wailers. There is a certain romantic feeling you get when baseball season begins. And this all takes place in March. It’s the best month in sports.