Ballpark hopping is big among baseball fans because each park is so unique. That wasn't always the case for NFL stadiums, but the days of pro football fields all looking alike are long gone. Today's fans will be amply rewarded with a visit to any of these 10 unique venues.

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In its 21st year as a U.S. Open partner, American Express has created a mega-Fan Experience just inside the East Gate. The 20,000 square foot building includes a variety of options for all sorts of U.S. Open attendees.

"We know we have two types of fans: Fans who are serious about tennis and play it and fans who may not be as strong players, but like to watch it," says Michele Carr, American Express Director of Sports Sponsorship and Strategy. "We are dedicated to providing the most enjoyable experience for both groups."

The 2014 U.S. Open Fan Experience features both hands-on attractions and technological advancements. American Express invited ThePostGame to take a stab at them and find out what the Fan Experience is all about.

Modern technology is a beautiful thing. Right now, you can listen to a customized playlist on your iPod while watching the World Cup on your iPad while Skyping with your friend in China while Facetiming on your iPhone with your grandmother across the country.

One may think urban transportation would see similar evidence of high-tech progress. According to a New York business group devoted to improving New York City area airports, this is not the case. Global Gateway Alliance found riding a bike may be among the quicker forms of city travel.

On June 30, Global Gateway Alliance Executive Director Stephen Sigmund hopped on a CitiBike, New York City's bike rental provider (Chicagoans, they are almost identical to Divvy bikes), and made a beeline for LaGuardia Airport. LaGuardia, located just nine miles by car from Midtown Manhattan in Queens, is the closest airport to the Manhattan borough. Meanwhile, six interns tested different routes.

Of the seven tracks, Sigmund's cycling journey (keep in mind CitiBikes are not as speedy as most purchasable bikes) lasted 49 minutes, the fourth-fastest route. He was beaten by a yellow cab (25 minutes), a shuttle bus from Grand Central Terminal (44 minutes) and an UberX (a narrow 48 minutes).

The three interns behind Sigmund took a straight subway (56 minutes), the Long Island Railroad to the Q70 bus (56 minutes) and a subway-to-bus route (61 minutes).

Perhaps the most intriguing part of the study was price. Sigmund's CitiBike trip, which lasted between the 45 and 75-minute rental window, cost him $2.50. That tied for the cheapest total with the straight 7 subway line intern.

Bad news for Uber riders: the UberX trip was the most expensive at $44. For reference, the standard New York City cab cost $33.

Sigmund admitted he put in some extra elbow grease, considered red lights "optional" and there is no CitiBike drop off to finish his rental at LaGuardia. For travelers, luggage must also be considered, which means a CitiBike may only be a legitimate option for day-trip travelers.

With that said, the study puts two aspects of urban airport travel in perspective. First, traditional biking may be faster than multiple forms of public transportation, not to mention a cheaper option. Second, forms of urban travel need to be improved to get people to the airport faster.

Oh, and by the way, none of this factors in delays, security checkpoints and checking baggage.

[H/T Bloomberg Businessweek]

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South America is making a statement this FIFA World Cup. Chile is 2-0-0, eliminating Spain 2-0 in its latest victory. Colombia is 2-0-0 with a goal differential of +4. Argentina is 1-0-0 and host Brazil has a win and a draw. Uruguay has one win and one loss, but its victory Thursday came in dramatic fashion over soccer powerhouse England. Ecuador has a one loss in one match, but if it can straighten its game out, South America could have all six competitors reach the knockout stage.

With the FIFA World Cup being played in South America, it is perhaps no surprise the host continent is thriving, and massive in-stadium fan support also should not be a surprise.

But the road for World Cup fans has not been easy this first week of action. The hotels of Brazil, many of which are being primed for the 2016 Summer Olympics, are constantly running out of space.

Chile's significant edge in fan support against Spain was mentioned on-air by ESPN's Ian Darke, although some went too far with their enthusiasm when they stormed the press center. An estimated 20,000 Chileans fans saw the team's 3-1 victory over Australia on June 13, and likely a larger contingent showed up for the Spain win.

A further example of their dedication is that about 3,000 of these Chilean fans are staying at a campsite, according to The Washington Post. The Chilean supporters came together on Facebook to form the camp in Cuiabá, the Brazilian city where the team is based. (During the World Cup, teams are assigned cities for training in between games).

South Africa had 309,000 foreign tourists for the 2010 World Cup. Given its relative proximity to soccer-mad nations, Brazil is expecting 600,000, and the chaos is leaving some people in the dust.

Along with camping, some of which has been done on the beach, foreign fans have taken to living in hostels, renting houses and renting apartments. Former Brazil National Team star Ronaldinho put his Rio de Janeiro mansion up for $15,000 a night.

Airbnb, the Internet service that links travelers with hosts offering rooms, apartments and houses, is now a large part of the World Cup experience. Airbnb says it will host 120,000 tourists from more than 100 different countries.

This all comes in a city that had a 2012 murder rate of 25.2 per 100,000. In comparison, the U.S. rate is 4.7 per 100,000.

As for the connection to the pitch, having fans in the stadiums cannot hurt. In addition to the success of the South American nations, CONCACAF –- North American/Central American -– teams are off to a good start, as well. The United States, Mexico and Costa Rica have already won a match.

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A recent Pew Research Poll showed that six out of 10 Brazilians are against the idea of their country hosting the World Cup, largely because of the waste involved in the preparation.

Brazil has spent a total of $11.5 billion on stadium and other infrastructure construction, with little return on investment. Only one quarter of a $1.3 billion international terminal at Sao Paulo's Guarulhos Airport is operational, according to Brazilian officials.

The travel problems do not stop at the airport. Find a taxi in Brazil requires waiting up to two hours outside of Guarulhos. The waiting times for taxis has drastically increased due to a strike by Transit Union subway workers.

The strike, which has already lasted five days, could continue past the opening ceremonies of the World Cup. The Transit Union initiated the strike after demands for increased pay were ignored by the government. The negotiations between the government and union officials broke down after 42 workers were fired on Monday. The union then scheduled a vote Wednesday on whether continue the strike Thursday, the opening day of the World Cup.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the state government would add more buses to offset the effect of a subway strike.

Sao Paulo is not the only Brazilian host city to suffer unrest due to strikes and riots. Rio de Janeiro metro workers have also threatened to walk off the job unless their demands for higher pay are met. In Recife, the host city where the United States will conclude the group stage against Germany, police walked off the job. This caused riots and looting until the police returned three days later.

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Brazilian surfing champion Maya Gabeira has joined the campaign to prevent further pollution of the ocean. Gabeira, who has been featured in ESPN The Magazine's "Body Issue," released a public service announcement with Oceana, the largest international ocean conservation organization. The theme is for everyone to help the "oceans catch a break."

Here is more of Gabeira's story in her own words:

For more information, check out the Oceana website.

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Consider this itinerary: Playing a soccer game in Italy. Driving to airport in Milan. Flying to London. Changing flights and flying to Boston. Not bad if you have one week to complete the journey. But what if you had just 24 hours? And you had to play another game as soon you landed in Boston?

Former U.S. national team soccer star Alexi Lalas logged lots of miles during his career, but this might have been his craziest trip. He played for his Italian club team, Padova, on the front end, and then represented his country against Nigeria in the 1995 U.S. Cup. Lalas made it to Foxboro Stadium in time to play the second half.

"One of those memorable and epic trips that I think about," Lalas told ThePostGame. "I don’t recommend it."

At least Lalas got a ride from Massachusetts state troopers in a police cruiser from the airport to the stadium. Most travelers don't have that luxury. But Lalas also couldn't sink into a nice soft bed immediately after his trip because he had to compete first. It's having personal experiences such as this one that makes Lalas a nice fit for Marriott's Defenders of Travel campaign, which pegged around the U.S. national team and the World Cup.

"I spent most of my life traveling when I was a player or now with ESPN," Lalas said. "It’s what I do."

Marriott isn't an official World Cup sponsor. But it is the official hotel sponsor of U.S. Soccer, and the company hopes to capitalize on the increased interest in the sport during the tournament.

“I partner with people that recognize the power of soccer and have a passion for it," Lalas said, "and Marriott fits that bill."

As part of the campaign, Lalas and Omar Gonzalez, who could be playing for the U.S. at the World Cup, will be asking fans to share their favorite travel experiences on social media using the hashtag #TravelVictories for a chance to win prizes. There is also an instant-win game, Marriott Penalty Kick Challenge, on the website.

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The Boston Red Sox are adding another monster to the outfield at Fenway Park.

With the Green Monster stationed in left field, the Red Sox are building a "Monster Sled" in center field for fans to enjoy around New Year's. According to Boston.com, the sledding hill will be 20-feet high and will run 75 feet.

The sledding and tubing ramp, which will be open for Boston residents and hourly rentals for groups of up to 100, is a part of the 2014 Frozen Fenway event. Frozen Fenway runs from Dec. 28 through Jan. 13. For more information, see here.

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As you might have heard, the 49ers are set to move into Levi's Stadium in 2014 in Santa Clara. But you might not have known that the 49ers have actually called Santa Clara home since the late 80s. The team's headquarters and training facility is located at 4949 Centennial Boulevard in Santa Clara. The new stadium, which has been selected to host Super Bowl 50 in February 2016, will be just around the corner.

California has not hosted a Super Bowl since Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003 when the Buccaneers beat the Raiders 48-21 in San Diego.

Here is a sneak peek at the construction of Levi's Stadium:

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Qatar's hosting of the 2022 World Cup has been riddled with controversy from the get-go. From allegations of bribery and corruption in the bidding process to reports of abuse and exploitation of migrant workers in preparation for the tournament, there has been no shortage of outrage.

Even something seemingly as innocuous as the unveiling of the stadium's design has generated a stir. Here's the animated video that AECOM Technology Corporation released to showcase the project:

The inspiration of the design is a "dhow" boat, which is the traditional Qatari vessel for pearl diving.

But Buzzfeed had a decidedly different take on it, saying Al Wakrah Stadium resembles female genitalia. The stark critique quickly gained traction online over the weekend, which can't be welcome news for organizers already saddled with the issues cited.

This isn't the first flap involving plans for a stadium. In 2011, the Qataris announced plans to produce
artificial clouds to provide shade for fans in the stadium.

It's actually a smart move, if the technology can be put into practice, given that temperatures can reach 120 degrees in July and August, the usual summertime slot for the World Cup. This has been another huge headache for soccer, and some officials have pushed for the 2022 World Cup to be shifted to the winter.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter told Al Jazeera that "if it's possible to play at another date, it will be better but they will not play the World Cup in January or February" because it cannot conflict with the 2022 Winter Olympics.

As a contrast to what was just released, here is a model of the stadium that Qatar used in 2010 during the bidding process:

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