Posted by Mike Wendt on May 22, 2011 Jump To Comments
If you’ve been keeping up to date on current events, you’ve probably heard something about the rapture that was supposed to happen yesterday. How someone figured out exactly when the “saved souls” will be called up to heaven is beyond me. Keeping in tune with that theme I thought we’d take a look at the top five sports venues you should visit before the rapture, or you could call them the five most heavenly stadiums in sports. Ok, so maybe I’m reaching for a connection just a little.
#5 Madison Square Garden
Self proclaimed “the world’s most famous arena”, Madison Square Garden has been home to the Knicks and the Rangers since 1968. For 43 years, MSG has been hosting some of the most memorable sporting events, but it has also hosted some of the greatest concerts of all time. The Garden has hosted Billy Joel, The Rolling Stones and the king himself sold out the arena when Elvis visited in 1972. Heck, even the Pope has made a pit stop at Madison Square Garden. Garden is the oldest venue in professional hockey, and the second oldest venue in professional basketball, and its also home to the prestigious Big East basketball tournament. I’ve never been to MSG, but it’s on my bucket list.
Memorable Games at MSG
Syracuse beats UConn in the Big East Tourney in six overtimes.
Mark Messier scores Stanley Cup clinching goal in Game 7 in 1994.
Willis Reed returns to the lineup in Game 7 on a bad knee as the Knicks win their first title in 1970.
#4 Wrigley Field
It hurts to put a venue from Chicago on the list, but no list would be complete without Wrigley field. Wrigley has been home to the Cubs since 1916, and fans are seemingly transported back to that era the moment they step into the ballpark. Most baseball stadiums of this era are decked out with high-tech luxury boxes and state-of-the-art Jumbotrons, but not Wrigley. The Friendly Confines has a huge scoreboard, but it’s not digital, it’s made out of steel, and scores are manually changed by hand as they come across the ticker. Wrigley has a few traits that separate it from every other stadium. When thinking about Wrigley Field, the first thing that comes to mind is the ivy-covered outfield wall. Planted in 1937 by General Manager Bill Veeck as part of the bleacher beautification project, the ivy is now a defining characteristic of Wrigley. Sprinkle in the rooftop seating outside the stadium and the trough urinals inside the stadium, and Wrigley is truly a sight to behold. Just don’t be like this poor Cubs fan.
Cubs clinch only division title at home in 2007.
The Steve Bartman Game.
#3 Augusta National
Augusta National is the most picturesque golf course in America, and the course draws the attention of the world for four days in April every year. Founded by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts in 1933, the major offers its winner one of the most unique prizes in all sports, the Green Jacket. While a trip to watch the Masters in person is a must at least once in your life, there’s something special about sitting with family on a lazy Sunday afternoon watching the best golfers compete for golf’s ultimate prize. Unlike the other majors in golf, the Masters is always held at Augusta National, so fans and players alike can get familiar with her over the years. Amen Corner, which stretches from the second shot on the 11th hole until the end of the 13th hole, is often a make-or-break stretch for Masters hopefuls. To be a truly great golfer, you need to conquer this course at least once in your career.
Memorable Moments at Augusta
Tiger decimates the field to shoot -18 and win by 12 strokes to earn his first Green Jacket in 1997.
The Golden Bear Jack Nicklaus captivates the world as he shoots a 30 on the back 9 in 1986 to become the oldest golfer to win at Augusta National at the age of 46.
In 1996, Greg Norman dropped a six stroke Sunday lead to lose in one of the biggest collapses of all time.
#2 Fenway Park
Opened in 1912, Fenway Park is the oldest ballpark in major league baseball today. The iconic stadium boasts one of the most unique features in all of professional sports in “The Green Monster”, the huge left field wall that is spotted with dents from Babe Ruth to Manny Ramirez. Much like Wrigley Field, Fenway Park is a flash into a simpler era, and it too boasts a manual scoreboard. Apparently the Green Monster also has a restroom in it, as any baseball fan will remember Manny Ramirez running into the wall to relieve himself during a pitching change in 2005. The ballpark just has the look of a historic venue, with the Green Monster in left, a deep center field also nicknamed “The Triangle” for its tricky angle that connects with the bullpen, and the short porch in right that brings the fans as close as they can get to the right fielder. Fenway has been sold out for over 640 straight games, so although no baseball fans’ life is complete without a trip to Fenway, it may be tough to get a seat at a fair price.
Memorable Games at Fenway
Roger Clemens strikes out 20 batters in 1993.
Carton Fisk wraps a home run around the foul pole now named for him in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series.
David Ortiz helps the Red Sox climb back into the series they’d eventually win with two walk off hits in October in 2004.
#1 Lambeau Field
Did you really expect any other venue to top the historic Lambeau Field? Lambeau was the first “modern” stadium built solely for a football franchise in 1956. To truly understand the sheer awesomeness of Lambeau, you need to visit the stadium in November or December. Walking through the tunnel to see 40,000 screaming Packer fans decked out in green and gold (and the occasional hunter’s orange) is a slight to behold. Another cool thing about Lambeau is that the stadium isn’t named after a giant sponsor or corporation. Instead, Lambeau Field gets its name from Curly Lambeau, the founder of the Packers and head coach for 31 years. Considering there are stadiums across the country with names like The KFC Yum Center, Taco Bell Arena and Whataburger Field, it’s refreshing to see a team honor its founder in the name of their field. Another cool feature about Lambeau Field is that unlike out neighbors to the west and east, they don’t play in a stinking dome! No NFL team wants to travel to northern Wisconsin in the middle of January for a playoff game. Nobody is afraid to go into the Metrodome (fail) or Ford Field to play a team on heated field turf. Lastly, Lambeau is the top sports venue in all of sports because of the mystique surrounding the stadium. The rich history of the Packers is reflected all around Lambeau Field, from the ring of honor to the Packers Hall of Fame. You can’t help feeling a part of the Packers’ historic past every time you step into Lambeau Field.
Memorable Games at Lambeau
The Ice Bowl
The playoff win over Seattle in the blizzard. (Also Favre’s last win at home)
So there’s the list of the top five sports venues in all of sports. If you have your own rankings, or just want to talk Packers, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me @MikeWendt7.