Trigger warning: Branding sports analogy ahead… Ever take a look at the craftsmanship of a baseball? And what a beautiful cracking sound it makes when it’s struck by a bat! Number one grade cowhide, polyester/cotton yarn, 3-ply gray wool yarn, 4-ply gray wool yarn, red rubber, black rubber, and cushioned cork. Branding is like a baseball—it has a lot of layers. Imagine your customer touchpoints as the cowhide. Built for toughness and grip, your touchpoints are the surface of your brand where your customer sees/feels/experiences who you are as a brand entity. Right below the surface is a polyester/cotton wrap that gives the baseball a smooth perfectly round finish. This represents the final design execution before your touchpoints go to the marketplace. Under that are several more layers of yarn that give the ball proper size and weight. Let’s equate this to your internal cultural, and the adoption of your brand standards by your employees. Finally, there’s the core (red rubber surrounding black rubber surrounding cushioned core… so the ball sounds right!)—your values and your essence that can’t be duplicated by anyone. Every layer needs to be perfect, nothing neglected, or else the baseball would be defective. There is no part of your brand that should be overlooked, no rushing to the ‘final design’ stage if you don’t have an internal culture that believes in you or the tools to understand your target audience. No reason to even start building a brand if you don’t have your core values in place. Now that baseball season’s underway… Well, you better get ready for a ‘brand’ new day!
For the home stretch… Here are my nine (can you guess why just 9?) personal favorite baseball stadiums in America!
Oracle Park, San Francisco Giants
San Francisco, California
I don’t see what the hype is about for San Francisco. The Painted Ladies? The trollies? So over it. The stadium is where you want to be (beautiful views of the San Francisco Bay). It has a Wrigley Field slash Fenway Park vibe, which is why I like it but let me not get ahead of myself.
Nationals Park, Washington Nationals
I’m from the DC area, so I gotta say I like this stadium. The best way to get there is to take the DC Metro. Although there’s not much of anything around it, so if you want to continue the fun after then game, take the subway into downtown. BTW I always get giddy when I see Nationals Park in the opening credits to House of Cards.
Busch Stadium, St. Louis Cardinals
St. Louis, Missouri
Do you like beer? Okay then, make sure you get a hotel and stay for two back-to-back games. Yo, be ready to day drink, night drink, and sweat and make some new friends. Ballpark Village is the place to be (conveniently located adjacent to Busch Stadium). Live bands, entertainment, fun crowd. Note: If you are a first time visitor to St. Louis, there is no reason to visit any of the city (except for a few local breweries).
Chase Field, Arizona Diamondbacks
Before you go, know that they got some serious booze control. One beer purchase at a time, they stop serving by the 5th inning (this is how I remember it). First time I was in an indoor ballpark. It’s a cool and dark experience to have. The fans are lit though, it makes the whole game a ton of fun. Very family-friendly environment.
Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati Reds
Yaaas girl, you want dugout seats. The new dugout lounge (Scout Club & Boxes) is worth it. You might just want to chill there the enter time. If you want to sit in the outfield, you should know there is no shade (unless you are throwing shade).
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles, California)
So retro-chic I can’t get enough! Plan ahead cause the best access is through the buses. LA is sunny—all the time—so if you’re sun-sensitive, get seats under the roof. If you want to be in the bullpen, it’s located is located in front of sections 9-15, and the visitor’s dugout is located in front of sections 6-10. The Dodgers bullpen is located between sections 53, 167, and 301. The visitor’s bullpen is located in front of sections 52, 168, and 302. You are allowed to bring your own drinks if they are unsealed plastic bottles of water/non-alcoholic, 1 liter or less.
Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore Orioles
Come hungraaaay, cause there are three reasons to go to O’s Park: The food, the food, AND the food. The mac n cheese on pawrk dawgs, oh man! Make sure to have time to check out Eutaw Street—that area is located between the Warehouse and the ballpark—has all kinds of brew pubs and BBQ.
Fenway Park, Boston Red Sox
Would you like some Fenway Park FUN FACTS? 1) The stadium was named after ‘Fenway Realty Company’ (might be the first corporate-named baseball stadium in America. 2) The 1912 Fenway Park opener was overlooked in the news because the Titanic sinking took all the coverage. 3) They didn’t have their first Sunday game until 1932. 4) Fenway was the site where Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his final campaign speech, November 4, 1944—three days later he became President. 5) The Green Monster was originally conceived in 1910 to block fans from getting a free view from beyond the left-field wall, but it wasn’t painted forest green until 1947 after a fire required renovation. 6) The CITGO sign is not part of Fenway but it’s becoming a beloved historical landmark in Boston. 7) You can get married at Fenway at a cost somewhere between $5,000 to $25,000, “I promise to love you until the end of my days, As long as you stay out of my baseball plays!”.
Wrigley Field, Chicago Cubs
You’re walking into history. It’s a field of ivy dreams Chicago style. This ballpark is a yearly tradition for me. My favorite spot to sit is way up underneath the wooden scoreboard. Can you just imagine being here when the Bears used to share the ballpark—my goodness it gives me the feels. Grab a 312 and a Chicago dog with the pickles and the peppers. Go to a sunset game, doesn’t get any better. And yo, get there to tailgate and bar crawl—an unforgettable experience.