Try finding better seats than these
Let's not stop with putting seats above the Green Monster. Here are 10 more dream locations around the majors.
Now that the Red Sox are selling seats atop Fenway Park's historic Green Monster, here are the next 10 stadium locations I most want to watch a game from:
I want to sit inside the webbing of the giant baseball glove at Pac Bell Park, wearing my Rawlings Ken Griffey Jr. model while the stadium's giant glove wears me. Sipping clam chowder from a sourdough bread bowl in my 22-foot-high perch exactly 501 feet from home plate, I will shout, "Hit it here, Barry!'', content with the knowledge that he just might.
I want to wear swim trunks and stretch out on the grassy slopes at Kauffman Stadium while reading Buck O'Neill's "I Was Right On Time'' and drinking ice cold sodas on an insufferably hot August day. When Mike Sweeney homers, I will retrieve the ball and cool myself from such an exhausting chore by dancing through the fountains as if I were eight years old.
After a night so long and so late on Yonge Street that David Wells would have called it quits, I want to wake up in the presidential suite at the SkyDome hotel, roll out of bed and open the window to see the Blue Jays taking batting practice. I will order the Mike Price special from room service, crack open the mini-bar and watch the game play before me. I will never get out of bed except to join the Ministry of Fitness in their traditional stretches during the "OK, Blue Jays'' song.
I want to sit atop Bernie's Dugout in Milwaukee, drinking microbrews and feasting on bratwursts coated with stadium mustard. After Richie Sexson homers to cut the Brewers' deficit to 11-4 and Bob Uecker cries, "Get up, get up, get outta here -- gone,'' I will slip down the slide in a slow, grudging ride that is still infinitely smoother and more enjoyable than a $6 souvenir cup of Miller going down my throat.
I want to be strapped horizontally into the retracted football seats beyond centerfield in the Metrodome, hanging there and facing the ground like a vampire bat, just waiting for that moment when Torii Hunter leaps into my view, reaches over the fence and steals a home run. After throwing the ball back to the infield, he will smile and shout, "How's your seat?'' And I will reply, "OK, except my beer keeps spilling out of the cup holder.''
I want to sit in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium, watching New York rub out another overmatched opponent while I rub shoulders with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. And when the opposing left fielder takes his spot, I will yell, "You suck!'' loud enough to wake Miller Huggins.
I want to sit at an office cubicle by a window in the magnificent old brick warehouse beyond right field at Camden Yards. And when the game begins and the aroma from Boog Powell's barbecue pit floats into the window, I will tell Lumbergh to stuff his stupid TPS reports, yell at Boog to toss up a pulled pork sandwich and watch the game from the window.
I want to wear an engineer's cap and sit in the steam locomotive atop the left field wall in Houston, and when Jeff Bagwell bangs one over the fence, I will shout, "Stoke the firebox and clear the track, Woodrow, here comes the B&B Express!''
I want to roast wieners and marshmallows over the campfire and sing Gene Autry songs amid the boulders of the Outfield Extravaganza at Anaheim. Should the Angels fall behind, I shall call forth Ray-Mo the Rally Monkey by shouting and clapping and stomping my feet until the stadium shudders as if a 6.5 temblor was rolling through Orange County.
I want to sit inside the Wrigley Field scoreboard on a July afternoon, peering out and listening to the crowd roar as Sammy Sosa sends one onto Waveland Avenue in the bottom of the ninth inning. I will slide the numbered panel into the proper slot, raise the blue W pennant and feel as if I'm playing an actual part in the Cubs victory that extends their first place lead to seven games.
Well, a fan can dream.
Boxscore line of the week
Rafael Palmeiro slammed his 500th career home run Sunday, becoming the 19th player to reach that milestone. But in our never-ending goal to bring you the best boxscore lines available, we turn instead to the NAIA level where Spalding University's Jake Ford had an even bigger game last Friday.
Ford set an NAIA record by homering five times against Tennessee Wesleyan in his team's 18-4 victory in the NAIA Region 12 tournament. After homering three times earlier, he set the record by homering twice in the eighth inning but fell one home run short of Florida State's Marshall McDougall's NCAA record of six. The game gave Ford 30 home runs with 108 RBI and a .451 average in 65 games.
6 AB, 5 R, 6 H, 11 RBI, 5 HR
"The last time I rounded third, it felt like I was floating,'' Ford told reporters.
Lies, damn lies and statistics
Steve Avery pitched his first game in the majors since July 23, 1999 on Sunday. In between his big-league appearances, his old Atlanta teammates Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz won 138 games and had 70 saves. ... After his first 10 games with the Atlantic League's Newark Bears, Rickey Henderson was batting .414 with two home runs, eight runs, eight RBI, 10 walks, one stolen base and a .517 on-base percentage. ... As if we needed any further proof that a new stadium was more important than a winning team -- the Brewers, Pirates, Tigers and Reds are all drawing fewer to significantly fewer fans than they averaged in their old stadiums. Even the Orioles are back to drawing fewer fans than they averaged their final couple of seasons at Memorial Stadium. ... The Marlins are the fifth big-league team Jack McKeon has managed (the Reds, Padres, Athletics and Royals are the others). He managed Atlanta in 1964, two years before it became a big-league team and managed his first professional team in 1955 when he was player-manager for Class B Fayetteville in the Carolina League. ... Be sure to pick up this week's issue of Sports Illustrated for the lengthy excerpt from Michael Lewis' new book, "Moneyball.'' Lewis offers a very detailed and very revealing look inside the Athletics' 2001 draft preparation, providing the best look yet into general manager Billy Beane's views on scouting and player evaluation.
From left field
Does Palmeiro belong in the Hall of Fame? Before you answer, ask yourself, Does Fred McGriff belong in the Hall of Fame? Because these guys have remarkably similar career totals.
Both reached the majors in 1986. Palmeiro has 500 home runs, 1,601 RBI, 1,479 runs, a .292 batting average and a .374 on-base percentage. McGriff has 483 home runs, 1,521 RBI, 1,320 runs, a .286 batting average and a .379 on-base percentage. Palmeiro has nine 35-homer seasons and nine 100-RBI seasons, while McGriff has eight 30-homer seasons and eight 100-RBI seasons.
The biggest differences are that Palmeiro is a better fielder and that all his big home run seasons came after baseball's offense exploded following the 1993 expansion. McGriff also twice led the National League in home runs.
They are similar enough that if you say one is a Hall of Famer, you almost have to say the other is as well. And if you don't think one is, you can't really say that the other isn't.
In other words, it's going to be interesting five years after they retire.
While we wait, here are the 10 Hall of Fame-eligible players with the most home runs who are not in the Hall of Fame:
|442||Dave Kingman||He'll lose this distinction when Canseco becomes eligible.|
|438||Andre Dawson||All-around great also stole 314 bases.|
|414||Darrell Evans||First (and only) home run crown came at age 38.|
|398||Dale Murphy||One of only 11 players to win consecutive MVPs.|
|390||Graig Nettles||He and Santo are evidence of Hall's bias against 3B.|
|385||Dwight Evans||Underrated player was one of best right fielders of his time.|
|382||Frank Howard||He hit 10 HRs in 20 ABs over six games in 1968.|
|382||Jim Rice||AL's most feared hitter for decade belongs in Hall.|
|377||Norm Cash||Only one of these 10 who never led league in homers.|
|374||Rocky Colavito||Third most HRs of players with at least one career victory as pitcher.|
Win Blake Stein's money
This week's category: Clubs That Suddenly Are About As Exclusive As The Columbia Record And Tape Club.
Question: How many members of the 500 Home Run Club never led their league in home runs?
Answer: One. Palmeiro. The closest he came was in 1999 when he hit 47 and finished second to Ken Griffey Jr., who led the league with 48.
Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
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