Dickie Dunn

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About Dickie Dunn

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    High above rinkside
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    Capturing the spirit of the thing ... and candlepin bowling.

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  1. Even better schtick would have been, instead of tossing him, Davis tries to touch his head.
  2. Neshek to the Rocks for three minor leaguers, per Rosenthal.
  3. Only one other player in MLB history has had a season with at least 25 HRs and fewer than 60 hits ... McGwire in 2001 (29 HR, 56 H, .187 AVG, .808 OPS). Gallo is at 25 HR/54 H entering tonight.
  4. Nice Yankees debut for Frazier ... grounds into a triple play, that somehow scores a run in the process.
  5. 25. Chase Field, Phoenix Opened: 1998 Photos I made my trek to Arizona in July 2004. Which, I’m guessing, probably isn’t the ideal time of year to be hanging out in the desert. But we certainly had our share of fun checking out the nightlife, and somehow managed not to die playing 18 holes at the TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course. When we got back to the resort afterward, jumping into the 93-degree water of the outdoor pool somehow seemed refreshing. Which brings me to Chase Field, or, as it was called when we were there, the “BOB” (nee Bank One Ballpark). How cool is it (literally and figuratively) that there behind the right-center field fence sits an indoor swimming pool, where home runs can splash-land amongst the bikini-clad fans? Unfortunately, the park’s signature feature can be accessed only by the select few groups who pay to rent it out each game. Guess it’s a good thing there is an enormous roof over the whole place. From the outside, Chase Field looks more like a warehouse than a major league ballpark. But the worst part is that, once you get inside, the impression doesn’t really change all that much. The place is huge and much of the interior look is dark. I know the Diamondbacks don’t draw capacity crowds very often, because I can only imagine how many oxygen tanks it must take to get all the way to the top of the upper level. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen so many rows of seats that high up in any stadium, anywhere. As with most of the modern stadiums, particularly the indoor ones, you certainly are comfortable. The concourses are plenty wide and, at least on the 100 level, open to the field all the way around, which is always a plus. But it’s essentially as you would expect watching a baseball game in a warehouse would be. In hindsight, I’m not sure Chase Field deserves to be above Marlins Park in the rankings. However, the fact that the ballpark is located in the heart of downtown Phoenix is a plus that gives it the edge. We might not be saying the same if we didn’t have cars on this trip, since a cab ride to and from Scottsdale probably would be pricey and not very efficient. But there is plenty of parking in the surrounding area and at least some nearby spots to hit for a beverage or food before or after the game. It’s the little things that make the difference sometimes. I would love to be able to give Chase Field a try with the roof open, but understand that is about as rare an occurrence as it is in Miami. So you can’t fault the D’backs for building such a huge covered stadium. There just wasn’t a whole lot cool about it.
  6. @CST_soxvan 3h3 hours ago White Sox beat writers and Cubs beat writers being separated in the press box.
  7. Guy I know was one of Jordan's teammates in Birmingham. He's been promising me stories from that season, but so far nothing yet.
  8. Not very Safe-co.
  9. 26. Marlins Park, Miami Opened: 2012 Photos I promised that I would get to the current day major league stadiums at some point. However, you wouldn’t think that a ballpark that has been open for only five years would be so low on the list. My group of friends and I have been going to at least one different ballpark per season for more than 25 years. At some point it would become a decision between going to some places we haven’t been (Detroit, Tampa), returning to cities that since have built new stadiums (Philly, St. Louis), or repeating a handful we already have seen. Already there is talk about a return to Miami in the near future. It will be a good opportunity to see if Marlins Park still deserves to be panned like it regularly is. We made our trek to the “Sunshine” State in 2012 … emphasis on the quote marks, because even though we were staying a couple of blocks from South Beach, we never set foot on a grain of sand after a tropical storm managed to hover over the area for the better part of four days. We spent an epic Friday afternoon drinking under cover at the Clevelander’s outdoor bar, then got kicked out when a couple of our buddies had too much and decided to jump in the pool, which of course was closed “because it’s raining”(?). They drank so much that when our cabs pulled up outside the ballpark an hour or so later and they proceeded to lose it all over some neighboring lawn, we packed them into another cab and sent them back to the hotel instead of them going to the game. In hindsight, I think they got the better end of the deal that night. I will say this: It was nice to have an enclosed ballpark in the middle of a tropical storm, just as I’m sure the roof is a life-saver for some of those lovely south Florida hot and humid afternoons. But I’m not sure I’ve ever been more bored at a major league game as I was that weekend, despite sitting somewhere behind home plate for both games. There just was no life in the place. Despite having a 5-year-old stadium, the Marlins consistently remain one of the worst drawing teams in baseball. When the Clevelander inside the ballpark is one of its most appealing features, that’s a problem. At least no one got tossed from this one. I get the impression that it might be a decent place when the roof is open, but that only happens for about 10 games a season. We did get to see the roof open at the end of the Saturday afternoon game so that they could get some light on the natural grass surface, but that was it. And even though the glass panels behind left field can be opened, the fact there always is a sort of overhanging canopy above it probably doesn’t change the feeling that you’re sitting inside a box. That said, there isn’t a bad seat in the place, which makes sense since it was purposely designed to be the smallest in terms of capacity in MLB. The bobblehead “museum” on one of the concourses was kind of a neat thing, while the spinning contraption behind the left-center field fence is every bit the head-scratcher you’ve heard about. At least when you’re inside it looks like a ballpark, because the exterior gives the impression that a UFO landed on top of what used to be the Orange Bowl. I guess the idea was to go with a more “modern” appearance, but in this case the departure from the recent trend of brick-and-iron architecture was a failure. If Olympic Stadium got ripped for the way it looked, inside and out, I can’t see how anyone can give this place a pass more than 40 years later. And of course, the Orange Bowl was right in the middle of a neighborhood, where fans used to pay $10 to park on the citizens’ front lawns. Supposedly there is plenty of parking now in Marlins Park's adjoining garages and lots, but the complete lack of any public transit meant that for those of us from out of town there was nothing to do but stand in a long line waiting for cabs. Throw in the fact there is absolutely nothing of note in the surrounding neighborhood to kill time, and there you go. I tried not to let my complete disdain for Jeffrey Loria and David Samson cloud my judgment. There are plenty of south Florida residents who got conned into paying for Marlins Park who can carry the mantle for that. But unfortunately, Marlins Park just left me feeling a little empty – no pun intended.
  10. You won't regret going to PNC, I assure you of that.
  11. He should have been getting them for his players instead of himself. Then he could have gotten off as lightly as Pitino did.
  12. @MarkPacker 5m5 minutes ago Hugh Freeze proves that you can't spell "escort" without S-E-C.
  13. 27. Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium Opened: 1966 Last used: 1996 Demolished: 1997 Photos In hindsight, I’m not sure exactly why I ranked this one ahead of a couple of others on the list. Because when it comes to the “cookie cutter” era of multi-purpose stadiums, Atlanta-Fulton County just didn’t have anything to make it stand out from the rest. Maybe it is because it was one of the first stadiums I ever visited – after the Jarry Park debut and a trek or two each year to Fenway. My brother moved to Atlanta after he got married in the early ‘80s and, when his son was born, my parents and I made the trip south to see the new little one for the first time. We visited Stone Mountain, the Cyclorama and some other sites of southern history, and on a cool September night we went to see the Braves take on the Giants. My dad had gone to many a Braves game back when they played in Boston. I wish I had gotten the chance myself, but the team moved to Milwaukee long before I was born and old Braves Field was converted to what is now Nickerson Field on the campus of Boston University (some parts still remain, such as the RF grandstand and some of the exterior, ticket booths, etc.). My brother, in his time in Georgia, developed a loose friendship with Phil Niekro that presented him with business opportunities and, down the road, gained us VIP access to Cooperstown during Niekro’s induction weekend in 1997. While the Expos remained my team, I had developed a certain fondness for Dale Murphy during the Braves’ magical playoff run in 1982. And in a strange twist, it was later discovered that a man named Ivers Whitney Adams, who was the original owner of the Boston Red Stockings that eventually became the Braves, hailed from our hometown and is buried there. So that’s a lot of history and personal family connection to the Braves. Which is OK, because I haven’t been able to think about much to say about Fulton County Stadium. I do remember pulling up to the place and being surprised by how low a profile its exterior presented, a fact that made more sense when I discovered the field was sunk below ground level. But beyond that … did I mention it was a “cookie cutter” stadium? If you’ve seen one, well, you’ve seen Atlanta Fulton County. It did have grass, though from stories I’ve read, the conditions of the playing surface were quite an issue even into the later days of the stadium’s existence. Chief Noc-a-Homa and his teepee was an interesting concept that certainly wouldn’t pass muster in this day and age. Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run there. The spot where his 1974 drive off the Dodgers’ Al Downing sailed over the wall was commemorated in the stadium, and later in a Turner Field parking lot after the ballpark met its demise. The final game played there was Game 5 of the 1996 World Series, which is pretty interesting. I can’t think of many other ballparks, if any, that could claim something like that. The Braves moved next door to Turner the next season, but now 20 years later, it’s crazy to think the old place outlasted the other in terms of hosting Braves games by a full decade. They’re building a new baseball field on the old site of Fulton County Stadium, to be used by Georgia State University, which also is converting Turner Field into the school’s football venue. Meanwhile, the Braves have relocated yet again … this time to the new SunTrust Park out north of the city. Someday I’ll have to check out another piece of the legacy of the franchise whose winding journey started in my small hometown.
  14. 28. Shea Stadium, New York Opened: 1964 Last used: 2008 Demolished: 2009 Photos Opening Day is a magical time for any baseball fan. In many parts of the country, it’s a sign that better weather is just around the corner. Hope spring eternal for each of the 30 teams … everyone is starting at zero, and the promise that “this is the year” remains. It didn’t quite work out that way for the 1996 Mets. They finished 71-91, a mere 25 games behind the Braves in the National League East. But things looked pretty good on April 1 that season after the Mets knocked off the Cardinals, 7-6. The immortal Bernard Gilkey had a pair of hits and drove in two runs, plating the equalizer in a decisive four-run seventh and then getting in a rundown long enough to allow Lance Johnson to score the eventual winner on a sacrifice fly. In more than four decades of watching baseball, it remains the only Opening Day game I’ve attended. We were in New York City for the Final Four, which was being played across the river at the Meadowlands. A loaded Kentucky team, having beaten my UMass squad two nights earlier, would knock off Syracuse that Monday night for the national title. But beforehand, a few of us decided to kill the day by heading to the ol’ ballgame. I visited to Shea a handful of other times, before and since. But that probably was the only one where I joined many Mets fans in hopping on the 7 Train and riding out to Flushing. There’s something to be said for stadiums that have easy access from public transportation. But I didn’t give Olympic Stadium bonus points for having a Metro stop located inside the building, so I won’t go too crazy here. And the walk from platform to gate isn’t exactly Kenmore Square or Wrigleyville -- like many of the parks on the bottom of my list, there really is nothing to do outside of Shea before or after a game. Nonetheless, I remember there being a distinct buzz outside the stadium as we approached the gate area. We found a scalper that we could trust wasn’t one of NYC’s finest and grabbed four, which on this day meant a long trek up the endless stream of ramps to the upper deck. Yes, the nosebleeds seats at Shea probably were higher than any place I’ve ever sat. We certainly had a good view of the planes taking off from LaGuardia as they zoomed overhead. But this was an interesting part of Shea that made it different than most of the other multi-purpose stadiums that opened in the ‘60s and early ‘70s. It wasn’t a complete bowl of concrete (like Philly, Pittsburgh or Cincinnati), so pretty much every seat was between the foul poles. To give it the larger capacity (remember, the Jets played there for many years), they had to build it upward. Despite its size, at least it “felt” like a ballpark, open to the elements in the outfield. Granted there wasn’t much of anything to see other than parking lots in the distance, but maybe that concept led the way to the successful trend of “open view” stadiums we enjoy today. Oddly enough, the new park next door seems to be a rare exception. I haven’t been to Citi Field yet, but undoubtedly it is a vast improvement over Shea, as has been the case with pretty much every other multi-purpose stadium built in that era. Maybe a good idea and design for its day, but it’s time had come and gone.