Our Favorite Venues
Certain ground rules prevail when it comes to picking the best places in the world to watch sports: no domes, no condemned buildings, no Hooters
By Richard Hoffer
That's a pretty good deal, and few would trade the advantages of virtual attendance for the nostalgia of actual occupancy (one word: parking). Still, there's something about the crispness of a Dodger Dog, the soft rumble of surf beyond the grandstand at Del Mar, the flash of gold nugget jewelry in the parking lot behind Caesars Palace that television can't digitize. There's something about being there.
And where exactly would you be if you weren't on your couch? Where would you go to register the click of the turnstile, the feel of wooden slats beneath you, the whiff of stale beer?
Wrigley, Wembley, Williamsport. Odd little cathedrals with strange rituals and sacraments (Dodger Dogs!). You'd be someplace that was engineered for sensory overload, not skybox revenue, the smell of peanuts on a summer breeze mingling with the roar of V-8s. You'd be someplace varnished in layers of history, the satiny armrest reminding you that somebody else sat here and saw Babe Ruth hit his 60th. You might be in some abomination of architecture, but you'd be someplace.
So here's where we'd be if we could just take in a game some afternoon. We'd be in one of these places, hunched in a time-polished bleacher, humoring the ghosts in the outfield, trying to remember where the hell we parked. Eating a Dodger Dog, probably.
Years later, when pressed to explain the unique drama of that afternoon -- just smells and sights and sounds, really -- we'd say, You had to be there.
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