The Twelve(ish) Guilty Pleasures of Christmas

Day two.

Continuing from yesterday’s website theme, the next guilty pleasure is a set of sites I go to at least once a week, and sometimes twice a week. They’re the types of sites that I believe makes the internet such a wonderful place–with so many people of varying interests, it’s great to have well-made and maintained sites that cater to the specific interests of a relatively small group of people, and do so unapologetically.

CaptureOne site is called UniWatch. It’s a fairly simple daily blog run by Paul Lukas who appears to have spent his lifetime collecting and reviewing unique and interesting sports uniforms. He’s done this so well and for so long at this site that a couple of years ago, ESPN.com picked him up as a weekly columnist to write for their site on some of the unique things he sees in the world of uniforms.

I know. Many of you who either don’t follow sports or don’t see anything special about uniforms may ask why a site like this would be interesting. But it is, when you consider that for almost every season these days every sports team at the college and pro levels makes some changes to their uniforms, be they minor tweaks to full-on makeovers. And the site does not hesitate to let their opinions be known about how that latest look works (or doesn’t).

Yes…It’s a fashion blog for sports. Thus it’s manly.

CaptureNext we have the best of a handful of sites about ballparks and stadiums around the country.

I’ve always found ballparks and stadiums to be remarkable and unique buildings. And for a while, I thought it was just me, or maybe a few people in the world who held the same thought. Growing up, I was intrigued to see the differences between baseball parks, football stadiums and the like in different cities, and only as I’ve grown up, I’ve found that there are many out there who have the same interest. So there are a few sites that I hit on a regular basis that serve those needs.

Ballpark Digest has pretty well carved out an exclusive niche in reporting on all things baseball ballpark in the country–from major league parks to the minors, college and independent league news. And while it doesn’t have as many pictures or reviews or data on the stadiums as some other sites, it’s the easiest to use, read and check in on and follow on a weekly basis.

For other stadia news around the world, with a definitely snarky and anti-public funding bent, there’s Field of Schemes, run by a group of people who have put out a book reporting on how public funding of stadiums helps support the profits of individuals and companies who run sports teams, concessionaires, and the like. As such, it’s best to read it through a filter, but it still does a great job of collecting information about the planning, financing and building of these unique buildings.

If it’s just pictures you’re wanting to see, then hit these sites, though don’t expect them to necessarily be user-friendly: Ballparks by Munsey and Suppes is one of my favorites, though it’s updated infrequently.  Ballparks of Baseball focuses on major league ballparks, but is a horror to look at. Digital Ballparks probably has the best collection of pictures of every ballpark out there, but it’s also just a mess. But you have to love the enthusiasm about it.

And finally, there’s Ballpark Reviews, which is a site that I love if for no other reason than it’s run be someone with a true passion about ballparks and sharing pictures and stories about them. The site offers personal reviews of everything in the stadium, from the architecture to the comfort to the atmosphere and concessions offered there. And while the design is a jumbled mess, it’s fun to go look at because it feels like you’re sitting looking at a photo album with the guy while he’s telling you about his visit…And having done that with half-interested people in the past myself, it’s fun to participate in his exercise in sharing.

See you tomorrow.