Seventh Heaven: America’s 7 Best Ballparks - United Hub
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7th heaven: America’s 7 best ballparks

By Bob Cooper, July 22, 2016

Baseball stadiums are like people: some are ordinary and lack personality, while others radiate energy and character. These seven ballparks are in the latter group, standing out like home-run sluggers in a lineup of .220 hitters. Fortunately they also field teams that have a shot at the playoffs this year and are all in cities worth exploring between games. If you're tired of watching the home team in the same stadium every year, these seven ballparks are worth the trip.

The entrance of AT&T Park in San Francisco

AT&T Park (San Francisco)

Not only do the Giants lead the majors in recent years, with World Series titles in the last three even-numbered years, they play in what many say is the best ballpark —walking distance from most San Francisco sights. “Splash hits" are the splashiest quirk, as sluggers can send right-field home-run balls into San Francisco Bay on the fly. Also beloved by fans is the baseball-themed kids play area behind left field and the local edible items available for purchase, like crab sandwiches on sourdough and Napa Valley wines.

View from above home plate at Wrigley Field

Wrigley Field (Chicago)

The Cubs may be best-known for their all-time-awful streak, with no world titles in 107 years, but guess what? Their early-season record was the best in baseball, so the drought may end soon. Meanwhile, Cubs fans never give up, largely because it's such a pleasure spending time in one of the last two “jewel box" stadiums left standing. Built in 1914, “The Friendly Confines," as Wrigley has been nicknamed, is known for its cozy grandstands (41,268 seats), wooden seats, hand-turned scoreboard and ivy-draped brick outfield wall.

Statue outside of Fenway Park

Fenway Park (Boston)

Every true baseball fan should make a pilgrimage to Fenway, the oldest stadium in Major League Baseball. Like Wrigley, it's a “jewel box" with a cozy capacity (37,949) and a hand-turned scoreboard. But the most unique feature is the Green Monster, a 37-foot-high wall in left field that was part of the original construction but not painted green until 1947. Red Sox fans are known for their exuberance and they've had plenty to cheer about in recent years; the team is the second-most successful in the Major Leagues this millennium with three titles since 2004.
View of the scoreboard and city in the background at Camden Yards

Camden Yards (Baltimore)

Oriole Park at Camden Yards was the first of the “retro" ballparks, which now account for three-quarters of all MLB stadiums. They were built to evoke the spirit of landmark stadiums like Fenway and Wrigley, which the Orioles stadium does nicely with seating close to the field and a downtown location a few blocks from Baltimore's bustling Inner Harbor. Just behind the bleachers is Eutaw Street, lined with restaurants and shops, where dozens of the longest home-run balls have landed — so heads up.

Surrounding view of the PNC Park stadium

PNC Park (Pittsburgh)

Whenever there's a break in the action — like during one of those tedious “instant" replay reviews — Pirates fans can lift their chins and admire the view beyond their cozy retro stadium. What they see is the downtown Pittsburgh skyline just across the Allegheny River. Game days can be an all-day treat, with a riverside concourse, restaurants surrounding the stadium and an easy walk across the Roberto Clemente Bridge — named after the Pirates legend when the stadium opened — to 300 more restaurants in Pittsburgh's robust downtown.

View of the entrance of Coors Field in Denver

Coors Field (Denver)

Colorado residents and visitors, when they aren't bagging peaks in the Rockies, like to kick back with a Coors, in the stadium named for that beverage, and watch the baseball Rockies from the rooftop deck in right field. That “party deck" is the downtown retro stadium's most unique attribute, but also special are the number of homers that fly into the bleachers, thanks to the thin mile-high air. If you don't see a homer at a Rockies game, you weren't paying attention.

Right field view of the field in Kauffman Stadium

Kauffman Stadium (Kansas City)

Defending world champions. It's a title that gets you noticed, but Royals fans have been noticing how sweet their stadium is for a while, especially after a $250 million renovation was completed in 2009. Befitting the “City of Fountains," the stadium's fountain and waterfall display, called the Water Spectacular, is its signature feature. The falls flow constantly and the football-field-sized array of fountains gush before and after every game, as well as between innings. Also behind the outfield is another KC specialty: an ongoing barbecue picnic.

If you go

United Airlines flies to all of these cities. Visit united.com or use the United app to plan your road trip.

Adjusting to Customer Demand, United Adds New Nonstop Service to Florida

By United Newsroom, August 12, 2020

CHICAGO, Aug. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today announced plans to add up to 28 daily nonstop flights this winter connecting customers in Boston, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, New York/LaGuardia, Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio to four popular Florida destinations. The new, nonstop flights reflect United's continuing strategy to aggressively, and opportunistically manage the impact of COVID-19 by increasing service to destinations where customers most want to fly.

Entertainment for all

By The Hub team, August 04, 2020

Our Marketing Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity team and Bridge, our Business Resource Group (BRG) for people with all abilities, partnered together to test and provide feedback on our award-winning seatback inflight entertainment (IFE) system.

Aptly named "Entertainment for all," our new seatback IFE system offers the an extensive suite of accessibility features, allowing for unassisted use by people of all visual, hearing, mobility and language abilities.

"It's nice to know that I can get on a plane and pick my favorite entertainment to enjoy, just like every customer," said Accessibility Senior Analyst and Developer and Bridge Chief of Staff Ray C., who is blind.

"As a deaf employee, the closed captioning availability on board our aircraft is something I value greatly," added Information Technology Analyst Greg O. "The new IFE further cements United's visibility within the deaf community and elsewhere. It makes me proud to be an employee."

Accessibility features of the new IFE include a text-to-speech option, explore by touch, customizable text size, screen magnification, color correction and inversion modes, and alternative navigation options for those unable to swipe or use a handset. For hearing-impaired and non-English-speaking passengers, customization options provide the ability for customers to be served content and receive inflight notifications based on their preferences and settings —with closed captions, with subtitles or in the language of their choice from the 15 languages supported. Our "Entertainment for all" system won the Crystal Cabin Award in 2019, and recently, the Dr. Margaret Pfanstiehl Research and Development Award for Audio Description by the American Council of the Blind.

"This really showed the benefits of partnering with BRGs in helping us improve products and services for our customers and employees," said Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Senior Manager Corinne S. "Even though we have been recognized with awards for our IFE accessibility features, we are not resting on our laurels but continuing to work towards improving the inflight entertainment experience for all of our customers to ensure entertainment is available for all."

Shaping an inclusive future with Special Olympics

By The Hub team, July 24, 2020

If your travels have taken you through Chicago O'Hare International Airport anytime since October 2019, you may have had a friendly, caring and jovial exchange with Daniel Smrokowski. Daniel is one of four Service Ambassadors thanks to our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics. This inaugural ambassador program aims to provide Special Olympic athletes employment opportunities within our operation, affording them a unique and meaningful career.

Since 2018, our partnership with Special Olympics has become one of United's most cherished relationships, going beyond the events we take part in and volunteer with. While the plane pull competitions, polar plunges, duck derbies and Special Olympics World Games and other events around the world are a big part of our involvement, the heart of this partnership lies with the athletes and individuals supported by Special Olympics. To advocate for their inclusion in every setting is one of our biggest honors, and we take great pride in the role we play in the organization's inclusion revolution.

Aiding in the success of Special Olympics' mission to create continuing opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, throughout the two-year partnership, United has volunteered over 10,500 hours and donated over $1.2 million in travel to the organization. The impact of this partnership is felt at every level, both at Special Olympics and within our own ranks.

"The Inclusion Revolution campaign, led by our athletes, aims to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. United Airlines has joined in our fight for inclusion, empowering our athletes with the skills needed to succeed and opportunities to contribute their abilities as leaders," said Special Olympics International Chairman Tim Shriver. "United Airlines believes that people with intellectual disabilities should be perceived as they really are: independent, world-class athletes, students, employees, neighbors, travelers, and leaders who contribute to make this world a better place."

Our Service Ambassador program is just one of the many ways Special Olympics has impacted not only our employees, but also our customers. "I see every day how our Service Ambassadors connect with our customers the moment they walk into the airport lobby," said Senior Customer Service Supervisor Steve Suchorabski. "They provide a warm, welcoming smile ad assist in any way they can. To see these young adults hold positions that a society once told them they couldn't is truly the most heartwarming part of my job," Steve continued.

"The opportunity to be a part of the United family means everything to me," Daniel said. "I feel so much pride showing up to work in a Special Olympics/United co-branded uniform, working among such a loving and supportive community. The relationship between these two organizations is truly helping to shape my future while letting me use my gifts of communicating and helping others. Hopefully, I can spend my entire career at United," Daniel added.

In honor of Special Olympics' Global Week of Inclusion in July, we're asking our employees, customers and partners to sign a pledge to #ChooseToInclude at jointherevolution.org/pledge.

And be sure to check out Daniel's podcast The Special Chronicles.

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