Prepping for a trip to the Midwest, the Wishman family is getting ready to do something they have been doing for the past 16 years: Visit ballparks.

“Part of the fun of going to all the parks is comparing them to one another,” said Jeff Wishman during a four-way phone call.

Jeff, the father of the Wishman family, lives in Los Angeles, while his son Evan goes to school at the University of Arizona, and his other son Taylor, a Boston College graduate, lives in Somerville, MA.

“We have been visiting ballparks since 1994. Whenever there is a new one we make sure that we make it there that summer.”

This year’s trip starts off in Chicago—Wrigleyville, to be more specific—for a day game at the friendly confines. To their disappointment, there will be no time to mingle with the North Side crowd after the game, because it’s Milwaukee or bust to catch the nightcap at Miller Park.

Taylor, who is skilled in social media networks, has contacted the Foursquare Mayor of Miller Park, who has offered to give them a personal tour. This family knows how to do it right.

After Milwaukee, the Wishman family will trek across the state of Wisconsin to Minnesota to take in two games at brand spanking new Target Field. This is the only ballpark in all of Major League Baseball they have not sampled. “It looks fantastic on TV, but I really don’t know that much about it. Looking forward to seeing it in person,” remarked Evan.

Saying that you have a favorite ballpark sounds much more credible when you have touched them all. Here is the inside information from the family who has trekked to all 30 MLB stadiums.

Sports Trekker: Of all the ballparks, which stadium do you feel best represents the city it resides in? Why?

Jeff: St. Louis (Busch). The fans make it, some of the best in baseball, plus the atmosphere inside definitely represents a beer-drinking town.

Evan: San Francisco (AT&T). Being right on the water is cool, and their food selection really represents the city.

Taylor: Chicago (Wrigley). Wrigleyville just screams Chicago. The fans are there to have fun, drink, and enjoy day baseball. Nothing is more American than taking a half day for a Friday afternoon day game. Plus Old Style Beer is a Chicago staple.


ST: Which stadium has the best fans?

Jeff: St. Louis fans know their baseball and don’t talk smack all game for no reason. Can still remember being there for a Braves-Cardinals game and the fans asking me, “Can you just try and let us win one?”

Evan: San Diego fans are just there to enjoy their team and don’t talk a lot of trash.

Taylor: If you want a party, Cubs fans; if you want baseball knowledge, St. Louis.

ST: Are there any stadiums you have been disappointed in?

Jeff: Cincinnati (Great American). Riverfront wasn’t good either. Also Citi Field was disappointing; it seemed to try and represent the (Brooklyn) Dodgers more than the Mets.

Evan: Anaheim (Angels). The center field is empty. It still felt like a crappy football stadium. You can even still see the tunnels from when the Rams played there.

Taylor: Cincinnati (Great American). There isn’t really anything exciting about it for a new park. Plus there is nothing outside that makes for a fun pregame atmosphere. PETCO has also grown on me, but I was initially a little disappointed in it. The growth of the neighborhood around it has probably helped as well.

ST: What makes for a great pregame?

Jeff: Love inside the park pregame atmosphere at Washington, Philly, and Atlanta. It’s important to be able to meet up with friends anywhere or do something besides just stay in your seat.

Evan: Anything with stuff to do before. Atlanta (Turner Field) has plenty of stuff to do with places to meet inside the park before and lots of space.

Taylor: Depends on age. Now that I am 21-plus there is nothing better than Wrigley and Fenway. But anything that has something to bring the fans together is great.

ST: Most unique way to watch/travel to a game?

Jeff: Watching a game from your hotel room/getting room service in Toronto. We actually went into the stadium for batting practice then left to watch from our hotel room.

Evan: Big fan of watching games in Chase Field.

Taylor: No place better for viewing a game than Dodger Stadium. Great view, can get a cheap ticket, and there isn’t a bad seat in the stadium. Most unique was definitely from hotel in Toronto, but rest of stadium isn’t very great.

ST: Who has the best fans and ushers? Any places that weren’t friendly?

Je ff: Pittsburgh has nice fans, and the ushers let you move around the park. Dodger Stadium is one of the worst because you can’t move down from a section and you are stuck in the outfield.

Evan: Chase Field is well organized. San Diego has crummy ushers; they won’t let you move even in a half empty stadium at the end of the game.

Taylor: Chase Field. Fans are there for a good time, and ushers let them. Cincinnati has bad ushers—seem to be miserable with their bad team and poor stadium.

ST: Which ballparks have the most memorable food?

Jeff: San Francisco and their clam chowder in a sourdough bowl. KC has awesome BBQ.

Evan: Arizona has a great variety of choices. Detroit was great, although it’s hard to top a Philly cheesesteak.

Taylor: Seattle has the widest variety, Dodger Dogs are a classic, Philly has a great BBQ area, and Cincinnati’s Skyline Chili is awesome.

ST: Which ballpark has bad food?

Jeff: Fenway Park is bad. Old Yankee Stadium was terrible.

Evan: Pretty sure the Dodger Dogs are microwaved.

Taylor: Fenway may be the worst. That’s why I always eat and drink before I get in!

ST: What is your favorite stadium? Runners-up?

Jeff: Turner Field followed by Camden Yards, PNC Park, BP at Arlington.

Evan: Arizona’s Chase Field was the best all around.

Taylor: Turner Field, Camden Yards, PNC Park, AT&T, Wrigley, and Fenway all elite.

It’s obvious the Wishman family has established themselves as experts in the realm of sports travel, and the love of baseball and family keep them connected no matter where they live.

Summing it up nicely, Jeff added, “Baseball is the ultimate sports trip because you can walk around and experience so much. We have made a lot of great memories. It’s something that even as we get older we are going to continue to do.”

Have you been to a few of the ballparks yourself? Vote for the best ballpark in the majors! SportsTrekker

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