A good woman is better than baseball.
I haven’t lured my ideal woman yet, but I am certain this is true.
I believe this because if you take the most romantic woman you’ve ever met — the type who knows the entire screenplay of “The Notebook,” but stopped reciting it to you because she wanted to cry — she will ask you if you will go to the ends of the earth for her.
Only she doesn’t really mean it.
Baseball, on the other hand, does mean it. How many men have you met who privately yearn to — only when we’re retired and the kids have gone off to college, honey — rent a Winnebago and visit all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums in all four corners of the country?
I’ve met quite a few.
Last weekend, I finished a tour of all MLB stadiums. Ladies, if you think watching that much live baseball is stupid, you’re right.
Absolutely right. Your man might not need to behave like that platonic friend who joins you for mani-pedis, but he does need a more compelling life goal. I am writing to help you convince your man that there are far better pastimes to consider than the national one.
I do not believe women are stupid, despite my terminal bout of the singles. I am content being by myself, but even then I get it. Men, you do not need to go to all 30 ballparks, for Pete’s sake. Maybe a couple, because only a few are fascinating.
What will be coming in the next month are reviews of the stadiums I have attended with the sincere belief you are better off doing anything else.
Some background: I am a former sportswriter for a national news outlet (Gannett News Service). My work primarily appeared in The San Bernardino Sun with a few bylines in other papers across the country. As a scribe, I did go to a number of stadiums. I will not be looking at these parks as a reporter, though, because sportswriters are idiots. When you work in the press, you get a special parking pass. Then you are led to a special entrance with an elevator that takes you directly to the press box, which is one of the best seats in the house. Then you often get fed for free, so of course, Petco Park is going to get a five-star review.
That’s bogus. You and I have to see if the place is affordable, comfortable and fun. That is the lens I am going to use.
I started my little trek to these ballparks purely by accident. I had seen all of the stadiums in California when I lived there. Then I moved to Florida. Along the way, I would catch a few games — Arizona, Texas, and so on. Then, if I was angry at my employer — which happened often — I would rent a car for the weekend to get away and next thing I knew, I was in Baltimore.
This is part of my point that ladies should make to the men in their lives. Is visiting Houston really that important? Really?
Having been to St. Petersburg, Fla., Oakland and Cincinnati, naw son, it ain’t.
Tell your significant other to keep this in mind, too. Anyone who embarks on this quest will watch a lot of bad baseball. The Red Sox and Dodgers aren’t going to be at every stop. You’re going to see far more of the Chicago White Sox and Miami Marlins than you realize. Hell, thanks to interleague games, you could see the Chicago White Sox play the Miami Marlins and I wouldn’t wish that on an enemy.
Some ground rules: I will not be reviewing or ranking “who has the best hot dog?” It has been written that we only utilize 10 percent of the human mind. I believe I will be on the fast track to dementia if I spend any time taste-testing Fenway Franks and compare them with Dodger Dogs.
It’s ballpark food. It’s supposed to be awful.
What does matter? Is it somewhat affordable? Is it comfortable? Are the people nice? And most important, can you make a memory there, not just the game, but the city?
Finally, these reviews will come in an order from worst-to-first. Dodger Stadium will be the last entry, by the way. It is my personal favorite. Having said that, I admit my bias as a Dodgers fan. I also won’t entertain any “You ranked my stadium too low” arguments. I’m not driving back to Detroit to hear you out, because this is not about who is in the Top 10.
This is about talking some common sense to you.
Visiting all 30 major league stadiums is a bona fide stupid idea.
Your wife/girlfriend is right.
Now sit down, shut up and get that mani-pedi.