Five Faves: Puh-LAY BALL!
Porthole’s Five Faves
Five Fave Baseball Parks To Cruise To
Take me out to the ballgame, or take you on a sea cruise? Why not both!
With the World Series getting off to an exciting start last night, it reminds me that 1) there’s nothing better than baseball this time of year, and 2) there’s only so much baseball remaining until this season ends and fans are left to stare out that window until pitchers and catchers report again next spring. MSC Divina is hosting an 8-day, 7-night Caribbean baseball-themed cruise in March — with an array of former all-stars hosting Q&A’s, clinics, and more — but if that isn’t enough to get your baseball fix through the long winter, perhaps you can start planning your next cruise around some of baseball’s most beloved ballparks.
Chicago – Wrigley Field and U.S. Cellular Field
With all due respect to the lovely, riding-Cavalier-high town that hosted and won last night’s game, Cleveland’s boat-able waterways — whether that’s just over a mile from Progressive Field in beautiful Lake Erie or further south in a river notorious for having caught on fire — can’t hold a pun-intended candle to what Chicago boasts. Chicago’s broad shoulders are particularly impressive from a Lake Michigan cruise (several small-ship cruise lines embark or call on Chicago during Great Lakes itineraries), and the heart of the city is best experienced from a tour-deck floating along the downtown-slicing Chicago River. Baseball purists will argue that one must choose to seek nirvana at either the White Sox’s stadium to the south or the Cubs’ cathedral to the north — never both — but Chicago’s purifying waterways clearly help the city live in harmony.
San Francisco – AT&T Park
Follow the San Francisco Bay from the Golden Gate Bridge and must-visit Fisherman’s Wharf and you’ll hit the gorgeous AT&T Park, which the Giants have called home since 2000. Home runs hit into McCovey Cove in right field are called “splash hits”; MLB’s all-time career home run–leader Barry Bonds accounted for 35 of the park’s first 45 splash hits. Several cruise lines call on this popular city, either as part of extended world voyages or along Alaskan or Panama Canal cruises.
New York – Citi Field and Yankee Stadium
Both of New York’s baseball teams christened new ballparks in 2009: the Mets with Citi Field in Queens, and the Yankees with the new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. While Yankee Stadium has a bit more in terms of a victorious history to celebrate (and does so with museum-like features such as Monument Park, which displays plaques and retired numbers), Citi Field has more nearby neighbors worth visiting as well, including the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (where the U.S. Open is played) and the iconic Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Park.
Miami – Marlins Park
In 2012, when the Marlins moved into their new ballpark just a few miles west of downtown and the port, the team embraced the best parts of the city: beloved cuisine such as medianoche sandwiches; a people-watching scene in venues like The Clevelander club; vibrant, eye-opening art in the form of a center-field monstrosity that goes off with every Marlins homer; and, after decades spent playing under the brutal South Florida sun, air conditioning! Any line that’s any line comes through Miami at some point.
Tokyo – Tokyo Dome
Though baseball is America’s Pastime, it’s not exclusively “ours.” Halfway around the globe from where the world champion is crowned, but just north of Tokyo’s cruise port, the Tokyo Dome plays host to the most popular team in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league. The Yomiuri Giants are considered the Yankees of Japan, with 22 Japan Series championships to their name. Legendary first baseman Sadaharu Oh played 22 years for the Giants and collected 868 home runs, which is 106 more than MLB-leader Bonds hit over his career.
— Rico Bronte
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