Friday, July 25, 2014

Memphis Red Birds

The book that will chronicle the fantastical road trip that this blog covers is now 40% funded via Kickstarter cloud funding. You can be part of history and help bring "Gone to the Dogs" to print by visiting my kickstarter page. At least watch the video and see how handsome I am.

How did you spend National Hot Dog day? I spent mine like every red-blooded American should; downing a dog at the ballpark. Autozone Park, home of the Memphis Red Birds to be exact. It seemed a fitting way to end my expedition. Memphis is the last stop on my planned journey. I have some opportunities to see a few other parks this year, but as far a being part of what has become an 18,836 mile road trip….this is the end. And it was a great place to end it, Autozone Park is often touted as the best minor league ballpark in America. It would be hard to argue against that point. Just a few blocks from the renown blues venue of Beale Street, and nestled between the condos and skyscrapers of downtown memphis, is the awesome red brick park that hosts some hot AAA action.

I really lucked out in Memphis. The Red Birds, if you haven’t figure it out already, are a St Louis Cardinals farm club. After my visit to their AA affiliate in Springfield, Missouri, I am convinced that the Cardinals have the best collection of ballparks in a given farm club system. Their teams also seem to have some steep ticket prices. It was 9 smackers for a GA seat on a grass berm, I guess they have to pay for those sweet stadiums somehow. With the weather threatening rain, grass did not look enticing. Southern hospitality saved me. A gentleman approached me and a group of two other guys and offered us tickets he had that were not being used. Tom likes free tickets. I did mention I was doing this thing a budget didn’t I? Thanks anonymous guy.

Bun-very fresh.
Taste-the Red Birds use a regional frank supplied by King Cotton. Not a bad frank, the taste was just a little odd for my buds.
Toppings-very nice selection, but no kraut.
Price-$5 at a minor league ballpark for a dog is too much. But the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree here. Their parent club charges a whopping $8.
Portability-for five bucks I want better than a cardboard boat.
It Factor-a little thin but they do have the Memphis BBQ Bacon Dog, and the Big Dog footlong.

Location-right where the action is in downtown Memphis. Be aware that action sometimes involves gun shots.
Access-all modes available.
GA Ticket Price-as previously discussed, big issues with a $9 GA ticket for a minor league game.
Fans-I am sure the Red Birds draw better, but there were serious storms to the north and south of Memphis that night. I imagine many fans thought the game would be cancelled. I am giving the team a break on attendance for that, and the crowd was small. They were, like real Cardinals fans, heavily engaged in the game.
Ambiance-real ballpark feel and look. This is what ballparks should be like. Top score.

DogBallparkTotal Dog/Game
Portability3GA Ticket Price3.5
It Factor4Fans5

You probably have Memphis on your list of probable vacation spots anyway. With the blues and Graceland, why wouldn’t you want to come? The fact that they have an awesome ballpark is icing on  your holiday cake. Despite the hefty price of admittance, I would still recommend catching a game here. It ranks consistently among the best ballparks in America. However, the new Nashville park will give them a run for their money. My advice? Wait until next year (2015) and see both and you make the call as to who has the best park. Just don’t forget to grab a dog while you are there.

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