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How to visit all 30 MLB ballparks

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How to visit all 30 MLB ballparks

Last month, I covered the Orioles series at Miami’s Marlins Park. I’ve now been to all 30 major league parks. Lots of writers have done that, but then I started adding up the older parks, the ones no longer in use, and I found that I’d been to 53.

That’s 23 that either no longer exist or host major league baseball.

Many fans I meet have a goal of visiting all 30 parks. It’s a great goal, though not an easy one to attain.

Here’s some advice:

Don’t try and visit all 30 ballparks in one summer.

If you’re a teacher and have the entire summer off, it can be tempting. There’s too much rushing around, and one of the fun things about visiting new ballparks is exploring new cities, and it’s more fun if you spread your adventure around and savor it.

Planning a trip is harder than it may seem. Put lots of thought into it.

Let’s say you’re an Orioles fan, and you’re determined to see the six West Coast ballparks in August.

The Orioles play at Oakland Aug. 3-5, at Anaheim Aug. 7-9 and Seattle Aug. 10-12.

That’s three, but you’re going to have to miss some Orioles games and stay an extra day to see Dodger Stadium, AT&T Park and Petco Park.

That’s a lot of travel to try and get six parks in 10 days. But, you can do it.

Enjoy the sights and the food.

I’m not talking about the ballpark food. Try the barbecue in Kansas City at Jack Stack’s or Oklahoma Joe’s. Eat some real Mexican in San Diego, some clams in Boston and the ribs at Cincinnati’s Montgomery Inn.

If you think that visiting all 30 is unrealistic, which ones do you have to see?

If you’ve already seen games in Baltimore and Washington, you need to see the rest of the East.

On many ratings, Yankee Stadium ranks low. On my scale, it’s one of the best.

It feels intimate, the fans are involved, and the sound system is clear, if a bit loud.

If you see the Yankees and Orioles on Thursday July 23, you can take the subway to Citi Field for the Mets and Dodgers that night.

While Citi Field is kind of forgettable, Yankee Stadium isn’t.

Fenway Park is old and cramped, but with the Red Sox playing poorly, tickets are now easy to come by.

Don’t miss Philadelphia. Citizens Bank Park is pretty, easy to get to and has lots of good food options.

I’m often surprised how overlooked PNC Park in Pittsburgh is. It’s one of the best ballparks in the country. You can see downtown Pittsburgh from the ballpark, and it’s only about four hours from Baltimore.

Any I can miss?

Oakland and Toronto are on everyone’s list of most forgettable stadiums, but I’d add Milwaukee’s Miller Park to the list.

I love eating German food at Karl Ratzsch’s and eating the Commish, a roast beef sandwich named after former commissioner Bud Selig at Jake’s Deli. But, Milwaukee leaves me cold.

I’m not a fan of retractable domes or parks built on parking lots.

Milwaukee missed a great opportunity to build something special, and they didn’t.

What are the most underrated parks?

While everyone justifiably rates Oriole Park, AT&T Park, Wrigley Field and PNC Park highly, don’t forgot about Target Field in Minneapolis.

It’s got the best scoreboard I’ve ever seen with lots of pertinent information on each batter including his Twitter handle.

Comerica Park is in downtown Detroit, and while the skyline isn’t inspiring, the ballpark looks great, and the fans are wonderful.

I haven’t been to Seattle for a number of years, but I have fond memories of Safeco Field.

Most overrated?

Many have Petco Park on their favorites list. I didn’t dislike it, but thought it was pretty unoriginal. Lots of ideas from other parks cobbled together, but its location in downtown San Diego is terrific.

And, the weather isn’t bad, either.

You say that you’ve been to 23 ballparks no longer in existence. That seems hard to believe.

Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium, Veterans Stadium, Municipal Stadium (Cleveland), Tiger Stadium, Qualcomm in San Diego, Candlestick Park, Comiskey Park, Three Rivers Stadium, Cinergy Field (Cincinnati), old Busch Stadium, RFK, County Stadium (Milwaukee), Arlington Stadium (Texas), Fulton County (Atlanta), Sun Life (Miami), Olympic (Montreal), Memorial Stadium (Baltimore), Astrodome, Exhibition (Toronto), Mile High (Denver), Metrodome and Kingdome.

Sadly, my father refused to take me to the Polo Grounds in the two seasons the Mets played there because as a Brooklyn Dodgers fan, he despised the Giants, and the Polo Grounds was where they played.

But, instead my first game was at Yankee Stadium in 1963, and I got to see Yogi Berra play.

Fifty-three ballparks later, I’m still counting.

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Orioles' Adam Jones purchases Cal Ripken Jr.'s former estate, per report

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Orioles' Adam Jones purchases Cal Ripken Jr.'s former estate, per report

Cal Ripken Jr.'s 25-acre, 8,545 square-foot home went up for auction this past Saturday and the highest bidder was......Adam Jones? 

The center fielder is purchasing the Orioles legend's former Reisterstown, Md. estate, according to The Athletic

Placed on the market in 2016 for $12.5 million, Ripken reduced the price to $9.7 million last year but was still unable to find a willing buyer. The estate was eventually put up for auction and sold to Jones for an undisclosed amount. 

The six bedroom home has 10 full bathrooms, a movie theater, a gym that overlooks an indoor basketball court, a pool and a baseball field with batting cages, a locker room and soaking tubs. One of the tubs was taken from Memorial Stadium and used by Johnny Unitas and Art Donovan, but Ripken is keeping that one. 

What makes this purchase even more interesting is that Jones will become a free agent at the end of the 2018 season, but that does not mean he plans on re-signing with the team. The 32-year old, who is in his last year of a six-year $85.5 million contract, is known to dip his toes in real estate investments and his wife, Audie Fugett, is a Baltimore native. 

The deal is scheduled to close on June 11. 

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David Price's complete game shuts down Baltimore's offense

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USA TODAY Sports

David Price's complete game shuts down Baltimore's offense

BOSTON -- One strike away from a four-hit shutout, David Price happily settled for a complete game and his strongest outing of the season.

Price struck out eight and held Baltimore to five hits, including two in the ninth when the Orioles broke up the shutout before the Boston left-hander finished them off in a 6-2 victory for the Red Sox on Thursday night.

"He was amazing," Boston manager Alex Cora said. "He was outstanding. You saw it. Bad swings, up, down, in and out, changeup, cutter, sinkers ... that was fun to watch."

J.D. Martinez hit a two-run homer in the first, and Xander Bogaerts homered with two on during a four-run fifth, giving Price more than enough cushion against the struggling Orioles.

Price (4-4) struck out eight and didn't walk a batter while winning consecutive starts for the first time this season. He cruised through the first eight innings before Andrew Susac led off the ninth with a double, the first Baltimore player to reach second base in the game.

Manny Machado spoiled the shutout bid with a two-out homer, but Price finished off Baltimore on Jonathan Schoop's pop-up to center as the Red Sox improved to 4-0 against Baltimore by taking the makeup game that was rained out on Patriots' Day.

"They're a free-swinging team," said Price, who threw just 95 pitches. "You can go out there and do that or you can go out there for three innings and give up a bunch of runs."

Danny Valencia had a pair of hits for the punchless Orioles, who have lost three of four and have the second-fewest wins in the American League. Valencia nearly had a double in the fifth, but got thrown out at second by left fielder Andrew Benintendi, one of several strong defensive plays that helped Price go the distance.

Hanley Ramirez also caught a foul pop on the top step of Boston's dugout in the second and Mookie Betts ran down a fly ball that was headed to the wall in right.

"The defensive plays that I had today, it makes everything a lot easier," Price said.

Kevin Gausman (3-3) went 4 2/3 innings for Baltimore, allowing six runs and eight hits while striking out six and walking two. He was pulled after Bogaerts drove a high fastball out to left with two men on during Boston's four-run fifth.

"We just got into some sticky situations where we just had to dig ourselves out of a hole and we just couldn't," Susac said.

The Orioles also weren't happy with the strike zone, which Susac said forced Gausman to throw some pitches the Red Sox pounced upon.

Manager Buck Showalter agreed with his catcher.

"I'm very biased, but I didn't think he got a fair shake tonight," Showalter said. "There were a lot of pitches that could have and should have gone his way."

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