8. County Stadium (Milwaukee Brewers)
What I remember most about County Stadium is that it was an incredibly relaxed atmosphere, and the fans were really into the game, but not in the rabid sense that's often associated with places like Fenway Park or Yankee Stadium (though I have to say, that was never my experience in the latter). We saw a good game on a beautiful day, and though the stadium itself was kind of old, and not very elaborate, it was totally comfortable and conveyed a sense of history and tradition (maybe this was partly because I knew the Braves played there prior to moving to Atlanta). Also, I had the best food I've ever had at a sporting event at County Stadium, their famous bratwursts in red sauce. I think I must have had about three, and the memory of those brats would draw me back to Country Stadium at least twice more in later years, once with my dad and another time with my then future brother-in-law Tom. On the occasion I went with Dad, we were in Chicago for the big annual plastics show, and we drove up for a day game. Dad liked the brats, too. I remember afterward driving back just ahead of a torrential rainstorm and listening to traffic reports of how intersections we had passed moments before were now flooded and impassable. The next time, Tom and I drove up from Oregon, Illinois (where my sister was working) for what we thought was an evening game. When we arrived, the parking lot was virtually empty, and one of the stragglers let us know we'd missed a pretty good day game. What hurt the most was realizing we would not be dining on brats in red sauce that day.
9. Tiger Stadium (Detroit Tigers)
The last stop on our itinerary involved a couple of games at old Tiger Stadium. The Tigers were Jeff's team, so he was really excited about visiting their park. I remember before the game driving around and just by chance spotting the original home of Motown Records, with a big sign out front "Hitsville, USA." For the first game, we had seats in the first row of the left field bleachers, with a sidewalk separating us from the fence. In a big back and forth game, Lance Parrish (I believe-- Jeff if you're reading, please confirm) hit a home run that just cleared the left field fence right in fornt of us, bounced once on teh concrete sidewalk, and, as virtually all of us fans in the vicinity lunged for the ball, landed squarely in the mitt of the youngster sitting right beside Jeff. Needless to say, he was quite excited (though we later figured his dad probably snatched the ball and set it in his glove, but that's not so good a story). The next night we were sitting in the right field bleachers, and all I recall is that we had an obstructed view behind a pillar which severely interfered with my enjoyment of the game. This was one of the real old-time parks (hence the obstruction), with a lot of character, and though it was kind of past its prime, it had a lot of funky features, like the way the right field bleachers actually extended out over the field. I also remember be fascinated by the press box sitting atop the roof along behind home plate because, frankly, it looked like it was likely to crack through its flooring at any moment. I'd get back to Tiger Stadium one more time with Jeff before they replaced it with their new field, and often when I'm back east over the summer Jeff and I at least talk about making another visit to see if the new place is as cool as the old one.