“People ask what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” –Rogers Hornsby
If you’re like me—someone who regards the Super Bowl merely as a marker for the return of baseball season—then you’re probably starting to get that itch that begins every February. All of a sudden you’re hearing phantom cracks of a bat echo in the distance and you’re dying to yell out, “LET’S GO [insert your favorite team name here]!” CLAP, CLAP, CLAPCLAPCLAP. Chances are you’re seriously craving a stadium dog and a way-too-big bag of peanuts as well.
News from spring training might satisfy your baseball appetite until April, but why not take this off-season opportunity to visit your favorite team’s stomping grounds and go on a ballpark tour?
After recently learning that most ballparks offer public tours, I went on a tour of AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants (my home team and the 2010 World Series champs—in case you hadn’t heard).
The tour was a great behind the scenes peak into areas that normally only players and employees have access to. For an affordable $12.50 ticket, the tour includes a visit to the press box, a luxury suite, the indoor batting cages, the visitor’s clubhouse, and even the dugouts! Being able to get a player’s view of the field was priceless, as was the chance to appreciate the park’s stunning views without hordes of screaming fans in the way.
A ballpark tour is also a unique and fun activity to add to any vacation itinerary, and it’s even somewhere you can drag the most anti–sports minded person. To get them there, you can reason with them that the hour-and-a-half tour is much shorter than an actual game, and ultimately they’ll appreciate getting a small taste of the city’s history. Who knows, maybe it will even make them a newborn baseball fanatic.
Below are just a handful of ballparks that offer public tours—and for those looking to splurge, these parks also offer private tour packages that can include lunch, sightseeing trips around the city, and even meet-and-greets.