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Q: Why a “bucket list” objective to visit every stadium in the Major Leagues?
A: I’ve loved baseball ever since I was a kid. Although I wasn’t a great player, I enjoyed the sport and really loved watching the game. I have early memories of going to games at Connie Mack Stadium and later to the Vet. I still remember listening to the radio on Father’s Day (June 14th) in 1964 when Jim Bunning pitched a perfect game against the NY Mets. When I had the chance to start going to games as an adult, the idea of visiting other parks took shape. When Camden Yards was built in 1992, I was very excited to see it after all the hoopla about this new era of baseball stadiums. It wasn’t until a few years later that I actually came to see it in person but I thought it was great — so different than the multi-purposed concrete jungle which was then the home of the Phillies at the “Vet”. Finally, going to Fenway Park for the first time was like a religious experience. There was something about the history and traditions which it represented which resonated and gave rise to the interest in seeing other stadiums. Eventually, Marie and I began taking trips to see the Phillies on the road — e.g. to Petco Park in San Diego — and then the serious objective of visiting every park took shape in 2015.
Q: Why now?
A: Why not?? In truth, it seemed like the prefect time, when I had a bit more time and predictability in my schedule (and could manage consulting projects around the timing requirements) and the financial resources (it’s not cheap!!!) and most importantly the personal resolve to make it happen.
Q: How did you decide on the itinerary for the August trip?
A: I made a list of the stadiums I had already seen and the ones not yet visited. I then began to look at how many parks I could conceivably visit from the missing list and when I could check the maximum number off the list. I created a spreadsheet with all the home schedules for these teams in the heart of the season — July and August and crossed off dates which were already not feasible for other reasons. The two week stretch between mid-August and the end of the month offered the most promise so I began to look at logistics — air travel vs. car, lodging choices, etc. and it all came together in the spring of 2016. My plan was to go to 11 stadiums in 11 days — all of which were “new” to me and then added a 12th, which I had already visited, when I realized I would start the 11 day road trip from Florida.
Q: Is any one else joining you on the August road trip?
A: My son, Joe, is joining me in Detroit for a game when the Tigers host the Red Sox. It’s the only weekend in my trip which was practical for him with his work schedule. He will fly to Detroit on Friday eve and then meet me when I arrive from Seattle on Saturday. We’ll go to the Tigers game that evening and Joe will stay in Detroit for the Sunday game as well while I head onwards to Cincinnati. He also hopes to do some touring in Motown and to visit the Mariner’s Church in Detroit http://marinerschurchofdetroit.org/ I invited some others to join me, but everyone has their schedule issues. I am hoping to connect with some other folks I know in some of the cities, but with limited time, I am not sure how many individuals I will actually connect with during the trip. In fact, it was the suggestion of some individuals who reacted that they thought the idea of the road trip was great and encouraged me to blog about it that gave rise to this website and blog.
Q. Did you take any other baseball road trips this year?
A. Yes — Marie and I visited Turner Field in Atlanta to see the Phillies play the Braves in May. We also went to a Houston Astros vs. LA Angels game at Angel Stadium in Anaheim and saw the Phillies beat the Giants at AT&T Park in San Francisco in June. In July, I organized a road trip with my brother, Rich. On that trip, we attended the Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Cooperstown, NY (Mike Piazza and Ken Griffey, Jr. were the 2016 Inductees at an event attended by over 50,000 people). We were able to visit my daughter, Risa and her husband, Jim and our granddaughter, Reagan who fortuitously live in Cooperstown — and were perfect hosts for us. After Cooperstown, we traveled to Toronto and visited both the Hockey Hall of Fame and went to a Blue Jays game at the Rogers Center. Then it was on to Cleveland to see the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field along with a visit to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH. Our final stop was in Pittsburgh where we saw a Pirates game at PNC Park and also got to visit my nephew Chris Gaus at the National Aviary where he trains the Penguins and other critters… very cool. Rich and I were truly “two wild and crazy guys” on a mission to see 3 Halls of Fame and 3 baseball games in less than a week. For Risa’s birthday in August, Risa, her husband Jim and I — went to a game at Citizen’s Bank Park and saw the Phillies beat the San Francisco Giants in an exciting 12 inning walk-off win. As it turned out, two of Marie’s sisters — Terry and Jeannie were also at the same game. I also caught a Dodgers game in LA while on a business trip to LA in early August and am hoping to visit a few other parks in September. To the degree possible, all of these stadium experiences will be captured on the website here eventually as time permits adding them. 2016 has certainly proven to be by far my best “Baseball Summer” of all time…
Q: In addition to this website, is there anything else you are doing to memorialize your baseball road trips?
A: Yes. This past winter, I found out about a pretty cool concept that an enterprising baseball fan developed. He produced a “Major League Baseball Pass-port” which can be validated with a stamp at every MLB Park. There is evidently a similar type of concept for folks who visit all the National Parks and Monuments. So at each stadium I’ve visited this year, I am getting a validation stamp, summarizing the game info and adding personal reflections. I also installed an app on my phone called MLB Ballpark which allows fans to register at each park they visit and get updated info, potential seat upgrades and other offers at each stadium.
Q: What’s next after visiting all the baseball parks? Are you also planning to go to each Pro-Football Stadium or NHL Hockey Arena?
A: No such plans. Somehow they don’t hold the same appeal as the baseball parks for me. I will likely try to see every new stadium that opens in the future. This was the final season that the Atlanta Braves will play at Turner Field, which we visited in May so next year, I hope to visit the new park in Atlanta and others which may open in the future.