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The Dead Stadium Tour

Apr 1, 2014, 10:36 AM EDT

CAC Road Trip

Sometimes I have lottery fantasies. One of the top things I’d do if I suddenly won, like, $50 million, would be to devote my life to driving around. Just driving. After a while, though, you’d have to develop a plan of attack, because otherwise you’re just a drifter, so I think up themed road trips.  This is a great themed road trip:

Nearly every baseball season for the past 25 years, he and three buddies from law school and college have taken in a major-league series at an “endangered” ballpark. They call it the Dead Stadium Tour.

The four baseball junkies, of whom Ondrovic is the official archivist and photographer, have visited 18 now-defunct Major League parks. They’ve seen Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Tiger Stadium in Detroit, the Seattle Kingdome and many spots in between.

I’d take a bottle with me to each one and pour one out for those who used to call those parks home.

Here’s their website.

  1. Old Gator - Apr 1, 2014 at 10:47 AM

    A genuine Dead stadium tour needs a theme song:

    All the years combine, they melt into a dream,
    A broken angel sings from a guitar.
    In the end there’s just a song comes cryin’ up the night
    Thru all the broken dreams and vanished years.

  2. sdelmonte - Apr 1, 2014 at 10:57 AM

    Isn’t Oakland a Walking Dead Stadium by now?

    • Old Gator - Apr 1, 2014 at 12:29 PM

      Yeah, but Macondo Banana Massacre Field is usually filled mainly with Idoru and the ghosts of Dolfeen and University of Macondo fans from the Orange Bowl of ages past.

  3. drunkenhooliganism - Apr 1, 2014 at 11:01 AM

    I used to do this with a few friends. We would make a trip to see a few stadiums a year. I think we saw the Cubs play an afternoon game, followed by the Brewers at night one year. The next night (memory’s a bit hazy), my buddies and I were in a bar in wrigleyville and we watched the game that ended Ripken’s streak with a 20 or 21 year old Kerry Wood and his harem of about six women and no one else.

    Wood was a really nice guy. But not nice enough to share.

    My friends and I no longer do this. Because we got married and had kids.

    Don’t get married and have kids until you’re ready for your dreams to die. But don’t worry, the dream of saving up enough money to do march madness in vegas may be gone, but it’s replaced by different dreams. Like sleeping through the night without a little f’er getting into your bad and stepping on your balls at 3:00 am.

  4. raysfan1 - Apr 1, 2014 at 11:05 AM

    I’ve seen games at Memorial Stadium (Baltimore), Tiger Stadium, Atlanta-Fulton County, Stade Olympique, and the Astrodome. I’ve been to Turner Field too, so I guess it gets added to my “dead stadium” list in a couple years.

    • nfieldr - Apr 1, 2014 at 11:39 AM

      RaysFan, I’ve got you beat. I’ve actually played at Atlanta-Fulton County, Tiger Stadium, Shea, and Riverfront thanks to a variety of “fantasy camps” in my younger days. I also went to games at the Murph, Candlestick, Milwaukee County, and my first MLB game at Crosley Field in mid 60s.

      • raysfan1 - Apr 1, 2014 at 12:35 PM

        Very cool. My own baseball fandom started in 1970 when I was 7. I grew up a big Reds fan, still my favorite NL team, especially Johnny Bench. However, the games I went to of theirs were Grapefruit League games at Al Lopez Field in Tampa. It, too, is a “dead” field, its remains being beneath the Bucs’ football stadium. I never got to any regular season games at either Crosley or Riverfront.

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 1, 2014 at 12:13 PM

      Candlestick Park, Mile High Stadium and Kingdome are my only dead baseball stadiums, and all of them were awful baseball venues so good riddance lol

    • natstowngreg - Apr 1, 2014 at 12:44 PM

      Cleveland Munincipal (Mistake by the Lake; several times, 1963-1969. My first live baseball)
      Baltimore Memorial (3-4 times in late ’80s; good seats in upper deck for 6-7 bucks. And nachos.)
      The Vet (1988; dreary weather, dreary ballpark. Phillies fans booed Mike Schmidt)
      Atlanta Fulton County (1988; Reds beats Braves something like 21-6 before 5,000 people)
      Busch (1991; pre-renovation, football lines on the Astroturf field)
      Forbes Field (1992; actually, the remnants–home plate, LF wall)
      Astrodome (1999; one of the Astros’ last games. Dreary place, indoor fireworks not so good)
      RFK (couple of exhibitions in 1991, a few dozen Nats games, 2005-2007. Very dreary; best thing was being able to stomp on the moveable wooden football stands down the 3B/LF line.)

    • umrguy42 - Apr 1, 2014 at 1:41 PM

      Huh, granting that I can’t recall how “official” it is yet, apparently they missed the Turner Field thing. Would’ve been an obvious choice for this years instead of Coors…

      • rso34 - Apr 1, 2014 at 4:58 PM

        Turner Field will be demolished after the 2016 season (it’s official). We will visit there in 2016.

  5. nolanwiffle - Apr 1, 2014 at 11:19 AM

    Fare thee well all ye Brokedown Palaces.

  6. coloradothistle - Apr 1, 2014 at 11:28 AM

    This story is one of the reasons I come back to hardballtalk every day. I might never know about this or the bacon hat of the Iron Pigs.

  7. beepbeepbeeplgb - Apr 1, 2014 at 11:53 AM

    if u knew anything about the dead you’d know friend of the devil was usually only 5-7 minutes. come on now Craig.

    • Old Gator - Apr 1, 2014 at 12:26 PM

      Well, the original country-style banjo-led version from American Beauty was within that range, but the later, more fully arranged and jam-infused electric version from, say, Dead Set was much longer than that. I have a live bootleg version somewhere that was nearly eighteen minutes long, and am only sorry it didn’t go on for another eighteen minutes.

  8. TheMorningStar - Apr 1, 2014 at 12:54 PM

    Makes perfect sense, law school grads have lots of free time these days since there is no need for more lawyers.

    Have fun fellas, and take all the time you want, there’s no need to rush back to the unemloyment line.

    • rso34 - Apr 1, 2014 at 5:02 PM

      Actually, 2 out of the 3 of us lawyers are now retired, with one becoming a priest and the other becoming an expert at drowning worms. For some reason I continue to own a law firm but I guess I have to keep working since being a priest doesn’t do it for me and I like sushi but not enough to catch it myself………

      • TheMorningStar - Apr 2, 2014 at 9:36 AM

        Hi Rso34. Congratulations on having your own legal practice, as well as your friends retirement. Didn’t realize you cats were of a vintage age!

      • rso34 - Apr 2, 2014 at 9:01 PM

        I wouldn’t consider mid-50s quite vintage yet but we are getting up there. After doing this for 25 years we are bound to age a year or two……

        The three of us who are lawyers reached 25 years of practicing at which point one left the corporate law firm he founded in Princeton to join the seminary. The other left his government position and opted for early retirement. I still enjoy the courtroom so no reason for me to walk away yet and let my associate attorneys get the benefit of my hard work at this time.

  9. DJ MC - Apr 1, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    Makes me want to read From Dodger Dogs to Fenway Franks again.

  10. deepstblu - Apr 1, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    I went to the first game at a now-defunct park (Veterans Stadium). Also less famous games at Connie Mack Stadium, Comiskey Park (a LOT of fun, on a good day) and Milwaukee County Stadium (kind of a county-fair park made large).

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