ALL POSTS TAGGED "[sports]"

There are no more “win and in” situations — the NFL Super Bowl is finally set! With just 2 teams left, it’s an all-out war, with each player hoping to make their childhood dream come true — hoisting the Lombardi trophy over their head, and becoming a Super Bowl champion.

With less than a week until Super Bowl XLVIII, and tens of thousands of fans planning to flock to MetLife Stadium for the big game, if you haven’t booked your travel arrangements yet, check out our list of the best discount travel sites, because now is the time to act … and fast! READ MORE

 

Baseball legend Ted Williams greets visitors at the Hitters Hall of Fame. (Photo by Darren Garnick)

First-time visitors to Tropicana Field might be surprised to see a Ted Williams Museum across from the concession stands. After all, why would a legendary Boston Red Sox star be celebrated in the home of the Tampa Bay Rays? Doesn’t this museum belong at Fenway Park?

It turns out that Williams, aka “The Splendid Splinter,” spent much of his retirement years in Citrus County, FL, and helped raise funds for a baseball diamond-shaped museum that opened there in 1994. Poor attendance — the rural county is far off the tourist radar — forced the museum to relocate in 2006. The Rays offered to house the 10,000-square-foot facility when it was clear that the Red Sox didn’t have the space.

The quality and rarity of the baseball memorabilia at the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame is on par with the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. Williams’ childhood baseball bat and glove are here, as are his fishing tackle box (he’s also in the Fishing Hall of Fame) and artifacts from his service in World War II and the Korean War. Yet, there’s also plenty to see for the fans of the other 29 Major League Baseball teams.

The Hitters Hall of Fame honors the greatest offensive players in history, including both current and retired players. “Kids want to see the stars of today,” explains executive director Dave McCarthy. “Once they get pumped up about players they can relate to, there’s a window for them to get excited about the history.”

The 2013 Hitters Hall of Fame inductees were Darrell Evans, Lou Piniella, Ryne Sandberg, Roberto Alomar, Sandy Alomar, Jr. and Sandy Alomar Sr. (Photo by Darren Garnick)

When you first walk into the museum, which is only open during Rays home games, appearances can be deceiving. The first floor is a small group of display cases and a painting gallery by artist-in-residence Justyn Farano, whom on most days visitors can watch in action. But at the back of the room, a staircase leads to an exhibit area 10 times as large.

“A lot of visitors tell us that they enjoy us even more than Cooperstown,” says McCarthy. “I don’t think we have a more impressive collection, but I think people love seeing this stuff in a ballpark setting. For every wine and cheese guy out there, there are 100 beer and hot dog guys — we’re a museum that caters to the beer and hot dog guy.”

Another difference from Cooperstown: This Hall of Fame honors all-time hit leader Pete Rose, who was banned from the MLB for gambling on Cincinnati Reds games while he was the manager. McCarthy says he’s been flooded with compliments for including Rose.

“Most fans feel that he should be forgiven. The crime doesn’t fit the punishment. He didn’t throw games. He bet on his own team to win,” he says. “The steroids era is another story — we’re steering away from that whole mess for now.”

Tropicana Field’s “Touch-A-Ray” Tank looks like it is spilling over the centerfield wall, but that is an illusion. The rays’ swimming area is confined to the observation deck. (Photo by Darren Garnick)

Outside the gates of the Ted Williams Museum, there’s a bevy of family-friendly activities. Kids can pose for their own Topps baseball cards for $5 each and there’s a coloring wall where they are challenged to draw Raymond, the blue furry mascot of the Rays.

There’s also a giant fish tank in the centerfield stands, teeming with real rays of varying sizes. Staff from Tampa’s Florida Aquarium instruct fans how to safely touch and feed the animals without disturbing them. Lines are usually long, so be sure to show up early.

With the Tampa Bay Rays currently fighting for one of the Wild Card berths in the playoffs, the Hitters Hall of Fame could potentially be open for business deep into October. Regardless of how the Rays do, fans planning the ultimate baseball road trip should mark February 1 on their calendars. That’s when the new inductees are officially honored.

In addition to the ceremonies for the Class of 2014, which has yet to be announced, the Ted Williams Museum hosts a fundraising dinner on the Tropicana baseball diamond and invites fans to participate in photo and autograph sessions with up to 2 dozen retired and current stars. So far, confirmed guests include Cy Young Award winner David Price, Grant Balfour, Tony Oliva, Denny McClain, Ron LeFlore, Darrell Evans and Oscar Gamble.

“Players tell me that they’ve never had dinner on a Major League Baseball field before,” McCarthy smiles. “It’s a night when they become little kids again.”

For more information on the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame, visit TedWilliamsMuseum.com.

By Darren Garnick

 

Getty Images

If you think watching sailing is less than exciting, think again. America’s Cup finals, a regatta legend, has landed back on US water for the first time in 18 years. San Francisco Bay is currently playing host to the world’s top 2 teams — Oracle Team USA and Emirates Team New Zealand — as they compete in the best-of-17 series that runs until September 21. Wearing lifejackets and helmets, these world-class sailors foil above the water and carve through massive white caps, led by their captains and tacticians to manipulate 72-foot catamarans. Not impressed? Here’s a video that might change your mind.

But this particular America’s Cup is even more intriguing than fast boats and a prestigious reputation. Oracle Team USA, the defending champions, started the regatta under major scrutiny, and so far it’s showing in the results.

Just days before America’s Cup started on September 7, an international jury fined Oracle $250,000 and slammed the team with a 2-race penalty. Why? In a cheating scandal dating back to an America’s Cup World Series warm-up event in 2012, the jury found a sailor and 2-dock crew guilty of adding lead pellets to the forward posts of a 45-foot catamaran. Yikes. It’s the most severe penalty ever dolled out in America’s Cup history and — fair or not — the fall out is such: USA must win 11 races to retain the trophy, and New Zealand only needs to win 9. So far, New Zealand has trounced team USA in every race but one. Perhaps USA will pull it together to keep the trophy from the Kiwis. But one thing’s certain: given the off-and-onshore drama, this is a regatta to watch. Here’s how.

America’s Cup Course Loop

The course races 2 loops across San Francisco Bay in a semi-figure-eight pattern from the Golden Gate Bridge past Alcatraz to the finish buoy in front of the Bay Bridge.

Where to Watch

You can glimpse the race from the viewing areas along the northern and eastern San Francisco waterfront. America’s Cup Village, located at Marina Green, has bleacher seating. Or, do what I did and head right to America’s Cup Park at Piers 27/29. This area lines up perpendicular with the finish buoy. Giant TV screens track the boats and provide pretty cool graphic images of wind analysis throughout the race. Watch the finish from the waterside railing behind the park, and hang around for the second race (2 run per race day). Grab a glass of Napa or Sonoma wine at one of the bars in the park areas and kick back on the faux grass with a mix of USA and New Zealand fans. Free entry.

 

By Patty Hodapp

Patty Hodapp is a freelance writer and solo traveler reporting from the intersection of fitness and adventure. Her slew of expat addresses runs deep — most recently, a tropical Spanish island in the Mediterranean. She covers endurance sports, outdoor gear and adventure travel. Besides Travel Channel, she has written for Outside, Men’s Fitness, Shape and several other publications.


You May Also Like:

Go Sailing Around San Francisco

National Parks Near San Francisco

San Francisco Weekend Trips

 

Tonight on at 9|8c, Adam Richman heads to the Indy 500 for a full dose of Fandemonium! Since the first running of the race in 1911, the Indy 500 has become the largest single-day sporting event in the world, with a staggering 600,000 fanatical race fans making the pilgrimage to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, aka the Brickyard, each year.

And as Adam finds out first-hand, the tailgating scene is equally massive. From an out-of-service ambulance turned into a rowdy party vehicle to Bret Michael’s own rocked-out RV, the Indy 500 superfans take their parking lot parties to new levels.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway holds race events year-round, so if you’re jonesing for a little race action of your own, check out our Indianapolis travel guide for a few tips!

 

Photography by Whit Richardson / Aurora Photos

You work hard, you play hard. So when it came to planning your mountain-biking vacation, no other place would do but Moab, UT. More »

Want to get in on the Spring Fling action, but having a hard time since you’re … you know … single? Then grab a buddy, and fling about the nation’s ballparks!

Baseball season is in full swing, which means you’ve got one more thing to add to your sightseeing list while on vacation: rooting for the home team. While there are plenty of people who have “visit all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums in the country” on their bucket list, you don’t have to be quite so ambitious to make your trip ballin’.

Tips for Navigating the Wilds of Baseball Travel:

1.     Download the MLB’s At The Ballpark app. With it, you have access to every team’s full schedule, the ability to buy tickets and find promotions, as well as a map and a full A to Z guide of anything and everything you could need while at the park.

2.    Call the team’s front office ahead of time.  On the team’s website, search for an employee directory and contact the person who has something “community”-related in their title. They’ll be able to tell you if tours are offered or they might be able to hook you up with a special experience of some kind. (One-on-one time with the mascot, maybe?) Hey, it doesn’t hurt to ask! Just let them know how big of a fan you are.

3.     Explore the city! Keep a few days available, just in case your game gets rained out. But while you’re there, check out the landmarks, search for an awesome restaurant, find a baseball museum (chances are pretty good there’s one nearby).

4.     Don’t make a beeline to the first hotdog stand you see. Walk the entire perimeter of the park and survey all your options. In fact, ballpark food is more varied now than ever. At Camden Yards in Baltimore, keep an eye out for the Jack Daniel’s Grill and their slab of whiskey-glazed, thick-cut bacon on a stick. Or how about some frozen custard from the Shake Shack at Citi Field in New York? You never know what you might find!

5.     Speaking of things you never knew you’d find, a few parks have unexpected perks. A pool and Jacuzzi at Chase Field in Phoenix? Sure, why not? An aquarium at Tropicana Park in Tampa Bay? Lead the way!

If you’re having trouble narrowing down your list of must-see ballparks, let our picks for Baseball’s Greatest Stadiums help you out!

Football fans unite! The big game is heading to The Big Easy, where 2 of the most dominant defenses in the last decade are set to square off. The culmination of the 2012-2013 NFL season comes down to one final game between the San Francisco 49ers, led by head coach Jim Harbaugh, and the Baltimore Ravens, led by Jim’s brother, head coach John Harbaugh. In a game that’s being dubbed “The Har-Bowl,” football’s biggest stage is set, and you better believe N’awlins will be hoppin’ more than NOLA’s Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest.

New Orleans may be the destination for the big game, but these 2 teams hail from opposite ends of the country. And although the Lombardi trophy may be the ultimate prize for winning the Super Bowl — both San Francisco and Baltimore are filled with plenty of prized attractions.

From the National Aquarium, to the Sports Legends Museum, to delicious food in Little Italy, Baltimore is so much more than just a football town. Check out some of our picks for the best things to see and do in our Baltimore travel guide.

Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered if you’re looking for fun in San Francisco.  The City by the Bay is a foggy wonderland of attractions that include the Painted Ladies in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, Ghirardelli Square, and Golden Gate Bridge.

And don’t forget about the delicious Creole cooking featured in our New Orleans travel guide for those of you who’ve made your way to the Crescent City. Cafe du Monde is still serving up the best beignets you’ve ever tasted, and Cochon is still dishing out some of the city’s tastiest traditional Cajun delights.

If you were lucky enough to score tickets to the big game, we’re sure you’ll need a few recommendations on where to go for the perfect place to tailgate or where to find the best spirits and best sports bars in New Orleans. Travel Channel’s got what you need to get you ready for one heck of a Super Bowl.

Photography by Gabe Rogel / Aurora Photos

Head to Sicamous in British Columbia, Canada, where the resort town celebrates Sicamous Snow Days late January through early February with bonfires, cross-country skiing events and snowmobile races. More »

On 2, on 2. Down. Set. Hut. Hut! Weeden drops back, has Watson over the middle, fires to the back of the end zone — TOUCHDOWN! That’s the sound of 9-year veteran Ben Watson catching his second touchdown of the afternoon on the road against the Dallas Cowboys in their 3-million-square-foot, $1.5 billion stadium.

But how did we get to this point? How did the Browns get to Dallas and what preparations had to be made in order for the game to be played? Find out tonight at 10|9c on an all-new episode of NFL Road Tested.

Before the game in Dallas, the Browns organization gets some free time during their much-needed bye week. Journey inside the life of an NFL player as we get an exclusive look at tight end Ben Watson, kicker Phil Dawson and other members of the team at home with their families.

When the bye week is complete, it’s back to business as usual. As practice begins on Wednesday, Simon Gelan, the operations manager, has already landed in Dallas to prepare every detail of the team’s visit. From planning meals to facilitating a stadium walkthrough, Simon works around the clock in the days leading up to the game to make sure everything goes off without a hitch.

Cowboys stadium also plays host to a high school football game on Saturday night, making the job of the equipment staff even tougher than most game days. After getting to stadium at 5 a.m. on Sunday morning, the staff works diligently to shine helmets, clean cleats and set up the lockers before the players arrive.

Will the staff be able to get everything together while operating on a tight schedule? Will the Browns shock the Cowboys and pull off a stunning upset? Catch an all-new episode of NFL Road Tested, tonight at 10|9c.

 alt=

All my rowdy friends are here on … Tuesday night? Nope, that’s not a misprint and it’s not country legend Hank Williams Jr. singing the wrong lyrics to his Monday Night Football anthem. For the first time ever, the NFL will air regular season football on a night other than Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday or Monday. READ MORE

Latest Pins on Pinterest

  • Placencia, Belize

  • Top 5 Last-Minute Getaways For Under $200

  • Sandy, Oregon

  • Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa