In which two guys travel the country watching baseball and we get all jealous…

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Steve Gebhardt and John Tramutolo, two editors from Manhattan-based COED Magazine, set out on a wild trip around the baseball world this summer.  They’re hitting all 30 major league cities in 30 days, watching a game at every stadium and talking to locals about pregame bars and good ballpark eats.  Oh, and they’re blogging about all of it.

The fellas passed through St. Louis on Thursday and I had the opportunity to express my jealousy with a quick round of questions. 

A little background first: Where are you guys based?  What teams do you root for?

John
and I are both from the NY/NJ area and we now work in Manhattan at COED
Magazine where I am the Editor-in-Chief. I grew up in Randolph, NJ and
my parents brought me home from the hospital in a mini NY Yankees
jacket so I guess you can say I’ve been a diehard fan for life.

Where have you guys been so far and where are you headed now?

We
started the trip on Friday, July 16th at Yankee Stadium and have seen
Fenway, Camden Yards, Wrigley, Target Field, Busch Stadium and Great
American Ballpark in that order . We have visited 7 parks so far and
will be hitting one stadium each day for the next 23 days.

Overall, what’s been the best stop?

Hands
down St. Louis. We were so well received by the Cardinals Nation! Our
Twitter followers were extremely active, the Cardinals organization was
very receptive, B.J. Rains (of FOX Sports Midwest) helped us out a ton by spreading the word to
his contacts and we even got a shout out on TV during the 4th inning.

How much planning went into this, or is a there a “let’s just wing it” aspect to the trip?

It
took a few strenuous days to get the scheduling right. We typically
have a ‘fly by the seat of our pants’ attitude so this is the first time
where we have every day for the next 3 weeks of our lives broken down
by the hour. With that said the “let’s just wing it” attitude certainly
comes into play when we are in the middle of a 9 hour drive between
cities. As you could imagine timing is extremely important on this trip
but luckily Nokia provided us with a couple Nuron smartphones so we’ve
been using Ovi Maps to help direct us from point to point.

Of the ballparks and cities you’ve yet to visit, which one (or ones) are you looking forward to most?

Steve:
Definitely San Francisco’s AT&T Park. I’ve heard great things and if I
can find a boater to take me into McCovy Cove during batting practice
my trip will be complete.

John: At the beginning of the trip I
was looking forward to Kauffman in Kansas City the least but after
talking to a few people at Mike Shannon’s about cool ballparks in the Midwest it is now turning out to be my most anticipated. Where else can
you play a game of wiffle ball in the stadium while watching an MLB
game?

You can follow their daily travels on COEDMagazine.com, Facebook and Twitter.

The Braves are banning outside food. And they’re probably lying about why they’re doing it.

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Here’s a thing a lot of people don’t realize: there are a lot of ballparks that allow you to bring in outside food.

Not all of them, but a lot do. They don’t publicize it, obviously, because they want you to buy their expensive food, but if you go to the concessions policy page on most team’s websites, you can get the scoop. It often lists “soft-sided coolers” under “permitted items,” which is code for “yes, you can bring your own food in.” Some may specifically limit THAT to sealed plastic water bottles, but for the most part, if you can bring soft-sided coolers into the park, that means it’s OK to bring in grandma’s potato salad and a few sandwiches. They may check your coolers, of course, to make sure you’re not bringing in alcohol or whatever.

The Atlanta Braves have always allowed food into the ballpark. But thats going to change in shiny new Sun Trust Park. The AJC reports that the Braves have announced a new policy via which ticket holders will not be allowed to bring in outside food. Exceptions will be made for infant food and for special dietary restriction items.

Which, OK, it’s their park and their rules. If they want to cut out the PB&J for junior and force you to buy him a $9 “kids pack” — or if they want you to forego grandma’s potato salad to buy that pork chop sandwich we mentioned yesterday — that’s their choice. Everything else about the Braves new stadium has been about extracting money from fans, so why not the concessions policy too?

My beef with this is less about the policy. It’s about their stated reason for it:

The changes are a result of tighter security being put into place this season throughout the league, said the Braves spokesperson.

This, as the French say, is horses**t.

We know it is because not all teams are prohibiting outside food. If there are tighter security measures across the board, other teams are implementing them without the food restriction. Even the Yankees, who take security theater to extreme heights as it is, are still allowing fans to bring in their own food.

The Braves, I strongly suspect, are using these measures as an excuse to cut down on competition for their concessions. Which, like I said, go for it. Just be honest about what you’re doing and stop blaming “tightened security” for your cash grab.

Yadier Molina says Adam Jones “has to apologize to the Puerto Rican people”

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After the U.S. won the World Baseball Classic on Wednesday night, Adam Jones told a reporter that he and his teammates were motivated in part by the fact that Puerto Rico already had championship t-shirts printed up and plans for a parade/celebration in Puerto Rico in place beforehand.

Which, OK, whatever you need to motivate you, Adam, but all of that seems complicated by the fact that (a) ALL teams playing for a championship have pre-printed gear, thus enabling them to be put on moments after the final out; and (b) Puerto Rico’s celebration plans were not contingent on winning or losing. In fact, they went ahead and had a parade/celebration even though they lost. The WBC was a big deal to them in ways it simply wasn’t to the U.S., so it makes sense.

Yadier Molina of Team Puerto Rico did not take kindly to Jones’ comments. He tells ESPN Deportes this:

“Adam Jones … is talking about things he doesn’t know about,” Molina told ESPN. “He really has to get informed because he shouldn’t have said those comments, let alone in public and mocking the way [preparations] were made . . . He has to apologize to the Puerto Rican people,” Molina said. “Obviously, you wanted to win; he didn’t know what this means to [our] people.”

Kind of a messy little controversy, eh?

My feeling about it is that Jones probably didn’t know the whole story about Puerto Rico’s plans and misinterpreted celebration for arrogance. I also suspect that most players motivate themselves in all manner of irrational ways like this, but we just don’t hear about it all that much. Jones can do whatever he wants to psych himself up, but it changes the equation a bit when you talk about it to the press. Perceived slights that an athlete uses internally can seem petty once exposed to the light of day.

Either way: Jones does not have a reputation for being insulting or disrespectful, so I seriously doubt that was his intent here. I also think that, while Molina has a right to be miffed, the “he must apologize to the Puerto Rican people” thing is laying it on a bit thick. Maybe Jones can just text Molina and some P.R. players and say he was sorry, followed by a “we’re all good, man” and this can end? That makes the most sense.

If not, well, the Orioles do play the Cardinals in an interleague series this summer, so maybe we’ll see some fireworks.