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A review of AT&T Park

AT&T Park

Since my first Indians game on August 2, 1995, I’ve attended — by my best estimate — between 75 and 100 MLB games. In all of those games, I’ve never caught a home run, foul ball or any ball from the field of play. Doing so requires good seat placement, some honest effort, and a little luck, and so far I’ve lacked all three. I don’t tend to sit in areas that get a lot of foul balls or home runs, because I prefer the view from around the home plate area, which is either too high for most foul balls or behind the screen that protects fans from foul balls of the more lethal variety. Even when I’ve been in a high-trafficked batted ball area, my luck hasn’t been great. I’ve only been in an best possible position to get a foul ball once: I was sitting in the first row of the mezzanine deck on the first base side at Jacobs Field (now the club seats), and the ball hit the auxiliary scoreboard mounted to the facing of the deck directly in front of and underneath my seat. If I had gone for that one I’d have probably fallen out of the mezzanine deck and into the lower deck, which would have put a serious damper on the rest of the evening.

And even when I’ve had the right luck, I don’t tend to give it a ton of effort. The next best opportunity I had for a ball came when I was sitting with some friends behind the first base dugout at Jacobs Field, and an errant relay throw from the second baseman skipped off the first baseman’s glove and into the stands right next to the left foot of a friend sitting directly to my left. If I really wanted that ball, I could have dove across her and might have beaten the guy sitting in the row behind me to the ball. But my friend would have been (rightly) angry at the fact that the nacho cheese she was eating was now all over my shirt, and I made the split-second decision that going for that ball wasn’t worth it.

But it all came together last Tuesday night at AT&T Park. I had been looking forward to visiting AT&T Park for years, and after visiting the Coliseum two days before I was ready to watch a game at a real baseball stadium. AT&T Park surpassed all of my expectations and more: it’s a beautiful park, in a beautiful city, and the owners seem to recognize exactly what fans want from a baseball experience in San Francisco. And not only that, AT&T Park will forever be the first stadium from which I got a home run ball from the field (kind of). The story and my review are after the break.

Sizing up an unforgettable 2010 season

Jim Thome was a big part of why the Twins repeated in the AL Central.

Jim Thome was a big part of why the Twins repeated in the AL Central.

The summers always seem to fly by faster now that I’m working through them rather than relaxing, and while it seems like just yesterday that the 2010 Major League Baseball season was getting underway, Sunday marked the last day of the regular season. Crazy. It must be the odd-numbered years: in 2007 and 2009, I picked the World Series champions before the season started; in 2006, 2008, and 2010, I picked teams that didn’t even make the playoffs, with my pick this year, the Cardinals, starting strong but unable to hang on down the stretch.

I shouldn’t really be surprised though: the 2010 season was unforgettable in many ways. 2010 saw an unprecedented 5 no-hitters in the same season, including 2 perfect games within the span of a month. The only reason there wasn’t 6 no-hitters and 3 perfect games was the famous botched 27th out call on June 2nd, where Jim Joyce called Indians shortstop Jason Donald safe on what would have been the 27th and final out of the perfect game, admitting later that he blew the call. 2010 saw the rise of Jose Bautista, the return of Jim Thome, and a legitimate Triple Crown race in the National League between Albert Pujols, Carlos Gonzalez, and Joey Votto.

2010 also saw a return to the postseason of two teams who have each had long droughts: the Texas Rangers, whose last appearance was in 1999, and the Cincinatti Reds, whose last appearance was in 1995. The Rays, Braves and the Giants also return to the playoffs after shorter droughts, while the Yankees, Twins, Phillies return. My review of the 2010 season, as well as my preview of October 2010, otherwise known as the Major League Baseball playoffs, after the jump.

I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain

Like every winter, I’m anxious for this one to end. Not particularly because it’s been cold here in Columbia, SC, but because the end of winter means the beginning of baseball season. Pitchers and catchers for many teams reported to Spring Training today, and while the Indians aren’t required to report until next week, many of them are in Arizona already preparing for the upcoming season.

Which is why, when I read the title of this article, I smiled a bit and started to read.

Wake me up when September ends

Albert Pujols

Today is August 27th, which means football season is nearly upon us. More importantly, though, we’re just over a month away from the baseball postseason. It’s been a pretty odd season (actually, it’s been a pretty odd month of that season), so I figured I could look back at my predictions from before spring training and see how they’re stacking up. In fact, I’ll be classy about this and get started…wait for it…after the jump! (I’ve always wanted to say that.)

A Super 72 hours

I always have an hour break between my first two classes on Wednesday, and I think typing this blog is the only way I’ll be able to stay awake, so a couple cool things from the past three days to discuss.

First, the Super Bowl. People are calling it one of the greatest upsets of all time, and while I’m not sure about that, I am sure that it’s the greatest Super Bowl game I’ve ever seen, and probably will see for some time. Good for Eli Manning, too. Finally, he can get some of the critics off his back. The play that defined it for me was the one that probably defined it for everyone, where three Patriot pass-rushers had Manning sacked, and he somehow wrangled away from their grasp, set his feet, and threw a perfect pass to David Tyree which he pinned against his helmet as he fell to the ground. What a game.

As everyone knows, Super Tuesday was yesterday. I didn’t get to watch much of the coverage (AI is gonna’ kill me), but I was able to tune in to CNN and Fox News last night as I was going to sleep. Both networks seemed absolutely flabbergasted that Huckabee won anything, much less pretty much swept the south. It was fun to watch, because the media is doing all it can to get the Republicans down to a two-horse race, and Huckabee pulled himself into contention again yesterday (it’s a longshot, but there is a lot of backlash against McCain right now and it’s building). Also, way to go, Romney, suggesting that Huckabee concede; turns out he might have been right. :) As for what happens from here on out, I think it may be too late for Huckabee or Romney to win the nomination outright, but I think what might happen is that they could combine for enough delegates so that no one reaches the target of 1191, meaning that the Republican nominee would be decided during the Republican National Convention this summer.

As for the Democrats, it was good to see Obama continue that momentum. He’s still trailing, but this race was supposed to be over by now, so the fact that he’s very much alive definitely has to be a postiive for the Obama campaign.

Personally, I’m just working through all of the coursework of being a junior at Case. The aforementioned AI assignment was a rough one; it involved implementing three types of path-finding algorithms on grids that have obstacles and may vary in size. A cool project, but I didn’t finish until about 10 PM last night, which, considering the fact that was due today, was cutting it a tad close.

Speaking of code, I finally got hosting over at DreamHost, and created my cool little homework repository last night, as well as a repository for my projects (non-website code and video-editing stuff). I’m still working on ways to utilize all of that space; right now, I’m using about 600 MB of about 500 GB that I’m given, so I’m open to ideas.

That’s all I got for right now; should have some interesting project-related news in the near future.