Miller Park in Milwaukee: The roof was closed for no apparent reason. Indoor baseball is weird.
I reached a major milestone in my life this week. After a lifetime of baseball fandom, I visited my 20th Major League Baseball stadium, assuming you actually count the 2005 Tampa Bay Rays as a Major League Baseball team. So here they are, in the order in which I visited them, with a one-sentence review for each one. The ones marked with asterisks either no longer exist or are no longer used for baseball.
Veterans Stadium* (Philadelphia)
For the first 18 years of my life, I thought professional baseball was meant to be played on solid concrete covered by a thin layer of green mini-golf carpet.
Three Rivers Stadium* (Pittsburgh)
This confirmed my belief that professional baseball is played on solid concrete covered by carpet.
Camden Yards (Baltimore)
The first in a wave of new small, baseball-only stadiums, it’s a beautiful place for Orioles fans to sit on their hands while opposing fans take over their stadium.
Let’s get this out of the way: The single greatest occurrence of athletes appearing on TV or in movies is the Simpsons episode, “Homer at the Bat.” And it’s not even close. The episode featured cameos by Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs, Ken Griffey, Jr., Steve Sax, Ozzie Smith, José Canseco, Don Mattingly, Darryl Strawberry, and Mike Scioscia, all playing themselves as ringers on the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant softball team. The moment that clinches this episode’s place as the greatest moment in western culture is singer-songwriter Terry Cashman parodying his own classic song, “Talkin’ Baseball,” with “Talkin’ Softball.”
While no other cameo could ever measure up to that standard, there have been a number of other occasions where athletes have appeared on TV or in movies. In most cases, athletes are terrible actors (see Brett Fav-ruh in There’s Something About Mary), but sometimes they pull it off. Here are a few of my favorites.
The League: “Shiva Bowl Shuffle”
Maurice Jones-Drew, Sidney Rice, Brent Grimes
Hilarious send-up of the Super Bowl Shuffle on one of the funniest shows out there.
People who have sent us helmets out of the kindness of their hearts: Howard Aprill, Lacy Bauer, Ira Bletz, Barb Buse Breen (and her aunt Ellen), Phil Broder, Chris Brown, Jamie Cabral, Matthew Caputo, Scott Castiglia, AJ Chlebnik, Jason D'Agostino, Kelly Farrell (and her sister Camille), Alan Filipczak, Seth Gallagher, John Johnson, Kelly Grimm Joslin, Melissa Kaspern, Sarah Keating, Tom Lappas, Scott & Susan Mealey, Art & Anita Pena, Katie Caputo Roberts, Phil Sexton, Don Simme
Minor League teams that have generoulsy donated helmets to the collection: Albuquerque Isotopes, Altoona Curve, Bowie Baysox, Dayton Dragons, Gwinnett Braves, Lancaster Barnstormers, Lexington Legends, Louisville Bats, New Britain Rock Cats, Oklahoma City Redhawks, Pensacola Blue Wahoos, Toledo Mud Hens, Wilmington Blue Rocks