East Coast (2014)


For the third time in four years, Dan Hyland, Matt Brice and Parker Cleveland embarked on a multi-city baseball trip in the summer of 2014.

We went to four games in five cities over seven days along the U.S. East Coast. The stops included Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, Cape Cod and Boston. We saw some of the United States greatest ballparks and most historic monuments.

The group opened the trip in Baltimore. We immediately ran into a family from Lemont who were also attending the White Sox/Orioles game. Chicago fans do travel well, even White Sox fans. We went to Edgar Allan Poe’s grave, since it’s just blocks from the stadium.

The grave site was a small unassuming area behind. It was perfect for the poet. His gravestone read “Quoth the Raven Nevermore,” and a lonely rose sat on top of the 27-year-old’s headstone.

Then we headed over to the Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

First stop was the old Camden Station. It was converted to a Sports Legends Museum, dedicated to Maryland’s sports history, Oriole history and Baltimore’s own Babe Ruth. The museum closed abruptly in October 2015.

The Chicago crew entered the 22-year-old ballpark from the outfield where the century old B&O Warehouse towers over right field. By keeping the Camden station and warehouse, it added character and history to a stadium built during a time when new ballparks had no character.

The outfield concourse is one of the best, it has statues of Oriole greats and a statue garden of their numbers. It’s like walking on a early 20th century city street with a huge warehouse next door but you’re in the outfield of a modern MLB stadium. It also has a large picnic area for people to eat at a table, which is a rare at a sporting event.

The rest of the concourse around the stadium is huge but nothing special.

We finally made it down to our seats, 3rd row behind home plate for only $45. It was an insane value compared to Chicago prices. The home plate view is in the top 10, the cityscape and warehouse give a vintage ballpark view.

It’s one of the best stadiums in the country and it only cost $110 million to build.

As for the game, Chris Sale pitched six innings and allowed two earned runs. Jose Abreu and Adam Jones both hit home runs. It was a good game and all the superstars performed well.

With the drive to Philadelphia ahead of us, we left the game with the White Sox up 4-3 in the bottom of the 9th. As we got into our car, we hear on the radio that Chris Davis hit a walk-off 3-run home run.

White Sox lost 6-4.

The next day, we picked up Anthony “Tony O” Chicago at the Philadelphia airport. Then we started our historical tour of Philadelphia.

First stop was the oldest bar in Philadelphia, hidden down a cozy cobblestone alley, McGillin’s Olde Ale House. Built in 1860, it is the most authentic pub I’ve been to in the United States. The walls were covered with antiques from every American era since 1860.

It felt like an European pub with Americana flowing through it. The feeling was even more prevalent because everyone was intensely watching the FIFA World Cup, a new sensation for Americans.

After a few beers, we headed over to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.

The line for the famed cracked bell was an hour long, so we went to the viewing window without a line. The Liberty Bell might be the oddest American symbol. It implies that America’s version of liberty is broken.

Independence Hall is one of the most important buildings in United States history. It’s where American patriots debated and adopted the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The quaint colonial building isn’t most grand American monument, but the unassuming hall is the site of America’s greatest ideas.

After spending some time in Hall’s courtyard, we took a 40-minute train ride from downtown Philadelphia to Citizens Bank Park for Marlins at Phillies.

The ballpark is located in South Philadelphia Sports Complex where the Eagles, Flyers and 76ers stadiums share the same parking lots.

We got to our seats in the first row of the 300 level. There’s a decent view of the Philadelphia skyline from the upper deck. There’s a 50-foot-tall mechanical lighted Liberty Bell replica that rung and lit up for every Phillies home run.

Citizen Bank Park was nice but nothing special especially for $458 million.

We saw another good game, where superstars put on show. Although both teams were bad and we had no rooting interest.

Giancarlo Stanton hit a monster home run. Cole Hamels pitched seven innings and allowed three earned runs. And Chase Utley hit a walk-off 2-run home run for the Phillies in the bottom of the 14th.

We left Philadelphia in the morning for our third city in three days. Our estimated “2-hour” drive to New York was a disaster. It took over 3 hours and the tolls cost $45 because we didn’t have the time to avoid them.

In hindsight, we’re idiots for driving to NYC. People always say cars are a hassle in the most populated city in America. We should’ve taken a train or bus to New York, for a tenth of the time & cost.

The American monument tour continued with a boat trip to Liberty Island, the home of the Statue of Liberty. The view from Liberty Island gives a great vantage point of New York’s iconic skyline.

Built in 1886, Lady Liberty is the largest statue in the continental United States. We wanted to go up into the head of the Statue of Liberty, but tickets for access to the head were sold out for six months. It was prime visiting season, the middle of the summer & a weekend.

Next we visited the September 11 Memorial & Museum and the new World Trade Center. You need tickets for a certain time. We showed up late and ended up walking right in without any hassle

The architects created two imprint waterfalls of the former WTC buildings. The imprint waterfalls were so loud they drowned out the sound of the noisy city. They are the largest man made waterfalls in North America.

Finally, we ended up at Yankee Stadium for Red Sox/Yankees, the greatest rivalry in baseball. Not surprising, we got super lost and missed half the game. New York might have the worst and poorly marked public transportation system in the country.

The $2.3 billion Yankee Stadium is the 3rd largest stadium at 50,291, behind Dodgers Stadium and Coors Field. The lower bowl accounts for 2/3 of the capacity.

Yankee Stadium is a rich, modern man’s ballpark. It has an intimidating government-like exterior. And the interior has all the amenities. There is side tables for 100 level seats, private boxes at the top of the concourses. The box seats are lazy boys. There are elevators up to the 300 level was a perk, although TO and Clever did not take it and had to take the ramp up 10 stories.

And Garlic fries were great, not the next morning. As for the game, the Yankees beat the Sox, 6-0.

We went to a Yankees bar after that only played late 90s pop rock. Stan’s Sports Bar is a loud, crowded, charmless swill hole … and you absolutely have to go.

The night continued to a bunch of random bars. Hyland got over served and Matty B ate pizza off the ground in Times Square. Nothing to write home about.

The group woke up slowly, and headed to Cape Cod. They spent the day relaxing and recouping in the upscale Massachusetts resort town.

The next day, we dropped Oral off at the airport and headed to Boston.

Our first stop was the Freedom Trail that passes by 16 locations significant to the history of the United States. It stops by the location of the Boston Massacre, the first American public school and the historic cemetery Copp’s Hill Burying Ground.

Finally our last baseball game, Cubs vs. Red Sox at the oldest MLB ballpark, Fenway Park.

The stadium went thru a $285 million, 10-year renovation that finished in 2011. And the old ballpark looked great and experience was fantastic. It was a capacity crowd with two Cy Young pitchers dueling, Jake Peavy vs. Jake Arrieta.

Arrieta didn’t give up a hit thru 7 2/3 innings until Stephen Drew broke up the no-hitter, who was hitting .176 at the time. We ended the night at Fenway’s Bleacher Bar, opened in 2008, which is one of the highlights of the stadium and a good finale to the trip.

We woke up the next morning, took a boat taxi to the airport and returned home without any issues.