30 MLB Parks in 23 Days WR
MLB Reports: “Chuck Booth wrote the most comprehensive article series ever chronicled during a baseball journey to all 30 MLB parks. This is a dedicated page for those people interested in following Chuck’s successful Guinness World Record Attempt journey through his game and park recaps. Here is a link to Chuck’s website here that has all of the 30 MLB Park Previews of how he prepared with travel to these parks, the scheduled pitchers, pictures from his own collection from previous trips, and the travel methods of which he arrived at each of the parks.”
Chuck Booth: “I broke my old record of 24 days by being- The Fastest to see all 30 MLB parks in 23 days- from April 6th to 28th in 2012! If after you read all of these updates and you want to see the rest of the 63 Articles that were part of the trip (Including 30 Park Previews and 3o Park Experts) Please click here to take you to the table of contents at my own personal website.”
The New Guinness Book of World Record will look like this: 30 MLB Parks in 23 Days (2012)
Game#1 Day #1 Friday. The is game was retro-activated as substituted for April.7 Game as Game #1
April.06 Chase Field in PHX 4:10 PM (Chase Field Season Opener Completed: Arizona wins 5-4)
Game # 2 Day # 2 Saturday April.07 Angels Stadium in Anaheim 1:05 PM
(Completed LAA loses 6-3 to KC)
Game # 3 Day # 2 Saturday April.07 Petco Park in San Diego 5:35 PM
( Completed: San Diego loses 6-5 to the LAD in 11 innings)
Game # 4 Day # 3 SUN April.08 Minute Maid Park in Houston 1:05 PM
(Completed: Houston wins 3-2)
Game # 5 Day # 4 MON April.09 Citizens Bank Ball Park in Philadelphia 1:05 PM
(Citizens Bank Ball Park Season Opener) (Completed: Philly loses 6-2 to the Miami Marlins)
Game # 6 Day # 4 Monday April.09 Citi Field in New York (NYM win 3-2 over WSH)
Game # 7 Day # 5 Tuesday April.10 Dodgers Stadium in Los 1:05 PM
(Dodger Stadium Season Opener) (Completed: LAD wins 2-1 over Pit)
Game # 8 Day # 6 WED April.11 The Ballpark in Arlington 7:05 PM (Completed Sea Wins 4-3)
Game # 9 Day #7 THU April.12 Coors Field 1:05 PM (Completed SF Giants win 6-3)
Game #10 Day # 8 FRI April.13 AT&T Park in SF 1:35 PM (AT & T Park Season Opener)
(Completed: SF Wins 5-0)
Game # 11 Day # 9 SAT April.14 Target Field in Minnesota 12:10 PM (Completed: Texas wins 6-2)
Game # 12 Day # 10 SUN April.15 Rogers Center in Toronto 1:07 PM (Completed: Toronto wins 9-2)
Game # 13 Day # 10 SUN April.15 Yankees Stadium in the Bronx 8:05 PM
(Completed: New York wins 11-6)
Game # 14 Day #11 MON April.16 Fenway Park in Boston 11:05 AM (Completed: TB wins 1-0)
Game # 15 Day #11 MON April.16 Nationals Park in Washington 7:05 PM
(Completed- WSH wins 6-3)
Game # 16 Day #12 TUES April.17 New Marlins Ballpark 7:05 PM (Completed: wins 5-2)
Game # 17 Day #13 WED April.18 Turner Field in Atlanta 12:10 PM
(Completed: Atlanta wins 11-6)
Game # 18 Day #14 THUR April.19 Safeco Field in Seattle 7:10 PM (Completed: CLE wins 2-1)
Game # 19 Day #15 FRI April.20 Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City 7:10 PM
(Completed: TOR wins 4-3)
Game # 20 Day # 16 SAT April.21 Wrigley Field in Chicago 12:00 PM (Completed: CHC wins 6-1)
Game # 21 Day # 16 SAT April.21 Miller Park in Milwaukee 6:05 PM (Completed: MIL wins 9-3)
Game # 22 Day # 17 SUN April.22 Comerica Park in Detroit 1:05 PM (Completed: TEX wins 3-2)
Game # 23 Day # 18 MON April.23 O.co Coliseum in Oakland 7:05 PM (Completed: CWS wins 4-0)
Game # 24 Day # 19 TUES April.24 Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay 7:05 PM (Completed: TB wins 5-0)
Game # 25 Day # 20 WED April.25 PNC Park in Pittsburgh 12:35 PM (Completed: COL wins 2-1)
Game # 26 Day # 20 WED April.25 Progressive Field in Cleveland 7:05 PM (Completed: KC wins 8-2)
Game # 27 Day # 21 THU April.26 Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati 12:35 PM
(Completed: SF wins 6-5)
Game # 28 Day #21 THU April.26 US Cellular Field in Chicago 7:11 PM (Completed: BOS wins 10-3)
Game #29 Day #22 FRI April. 27 Busch Stadium in St. Louis 7:15 PM (Completed: STL wins 13-1)
Game# 30 Day # 23 SAT April.28 Oriole Park at Camden Yards. 7:05 PM
(Completed: BAL wins 10-1)
The Full Game Reports and Streak Updates
The First Five Games of the Streak
Game#1 Day #1
KC 6 @ LAA 3
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-Well, I finally get a chance to breathe for one second. Too bad it was at the expense of the events that transpired yesterday. Contrary to popular belief, this world record streak is not a walk in the park. Traveling is a hard thing to do at the best of times. I will break down the trip synopsis game by game. I am breaking down the travel games at Parks day by day.
I started off the day by eating at Wendy’s restaurant and then heading to the BIG A. I parked at a place I know for zero money across from Orangewood Ave. I had an awesome Dodge Charger for a car rental this day. I was poised for a quick exit. When I entered the facility, there were religious people preaching about Easter and so forth. They were really upsetting the vibe of the fans. I actually yelled at the guy because he was giving me a headache. I had traveled from New York to Boston by Greyhound and then flew to Phoenix the day before. After a nice rest in Phoenix following their home opener, I made the hour flight to LAX. Life is sailing along pretty good and then the 1st pitch is thrown. 20 minutes into the 1st inning I am contemplating why I have set out in the World Record Mission in the first place. My nerves are running wild. Albert Pujols then grounded into a double play. I screamed ‘yes’ as Angel Fans give me a dirty glance. I am cheering for nothing but outs baby. I have a 90 mile ride to Petco Park hanging in the balance.
The Royals looked like a team ready to make the next step. Gordon, Moustakas and Hosmer can really rake. If they can ever get a couple of pitchers in the rotation look out for these guys! Pujols had a horrific day. Good for me because he hit into a double play and was gunned out at home plate. Yes, the replays say he might have been safe. I think it will take the Angels a while to click as a team with all the new faces. Bobby Abreu really looks old out in the field and at the plate. Vernon Wells is a wild card and Torii Hunter is racing versus father time. The staff will carry the Angels until they can piece together a good line-up. Luke Hochevar was pretty solid for the Royals. Like I said in my previous article, I think the Royals will have a good season and finish over .500. As for the game, I met up with Steve Fekete in Angel Stadium. Like me, Steve is a member of ballpark chasers.com and their Facebook Page. We talked about a good game plan for my impending drive to Petco. The game was abruptly ended when the Angels grounded into yet another double play. A foiled comeback was reason for me to get excited. I ran for a mile to parking spot and high tailed it out to the 5 Highway South.
Game#2 Day #1
LAD 6 @ SD 5 11 INNINGS
As I started out driving down I-5 highway South, I noticed that I was making great time. At about half way through, to the tail end of the trip I was weaving as much as I could in congested but moving traffic. 5:35 PM was looming large. Boy I am I glad that I started the day by renting a brand new Dodge Charger at National Car Rental. I need the extra get up and go. At 5:10 I was still a little ways out and started to panic. I still needed to arrive at the Park for 1st pitch otherwise I could not go in the building. You must be present for every single pitch in order to qualify for Guinness Book of World Records strict events rules policy. At 5:24 I had one more turn to make. I actually had shot by my exit. I did recognize Market Street from past trips to San Diego. This is one clear-cut advantage I have in traveling. I have driven in the cities several times and remember how directionally positioned they are. There is no doubt that had I not has this experience, I would not have had a chance on this day. This picture was taken as i was clearly out of breath and in pain. Hard to tell from this picture, but I was ecstatic about following through on this bid.
The merge lane provided a hostile 5 minutes. To complicate matters more, people were slow at their left hand turn. I entered the Padres Parkade. It is located on 440 11 AVE. I then had to drive up 9 levels to find the last spot. It is now 5:30 PM. I race to the elevator and it gets me down at 5:32 PM, I also can’t believe that it was already on my floor, that was a 11% chance! I sprint to the right field access gate. The time is 5:33 PM. I was ticket cleared at 5:34 PM. I actually had the ticket sweeper sign my travel log. As I do this, Ken Lee is texting me. I took a picture of the scoreboard and it only had one pitch by the time I snapped the shot. Now, it is impossible to not be in the park with only pitch thrown-so I should be okay. I wrote down the name of the employee and his email address in case there needs to be more information submitted to the fine people of Guinness. I made the doubleheader in which I said I had about a 30% chance to capitalize on.
I sent Ken Lee the photo I took at myself just a few minutes after, plus before I sent the picture to Ken, I texted him that I was in the park on time. Ken Lee will verify that I sent him the text at 5:34 PM. After accomplishing this feat I was physically and mentally spent and took refuge on the grass for a few minutes. The game itself started out with the LA Dodgers taking a 5-0 lead. The Padres and Dodgers lineups are futile. With the exception of Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, the Dodgers have no one else who can hit homeruns. The Padres are not much better. Both teams are filled out players that would hit 6th-8th on other baseball clubs. The Padres responded with a 5 run inning. By the time the 8th rolled around, I knew the game was headed for extra innings.
Amongst 20,000 fans (with half of them rooting for LA) I witnessed a 4 hour game that ended at 9:40 PM. I ran back to my rental car and began driving to Los Angeles. The traffic heading in to the city was proving troublesome. I only made it to Santa Ana by 12 PM. I was sweating. I filled the car up with gas and continued. Steve Fekete texted me that there was a big delay on the 405 highway headed towards the airport and I should drive another way. I had my directions for how I arrived at Angel Stadium in the car and I had to follow the exact opposite in reverse. I have spent about 25 days in Los Angeles driving before so I nailed the drive in order to arrive at National Car Rental at 12:30 AM. I was waiting in the shuttle bus area for 5 minutes until a lady came to pick people up. I struck up a little side deal in order for her to leave early without any other passengers. I couldn’t wait any longer for my 1:20 AM flight. I made it to the airport by 12:45 AM and was happy to see the gates were still open at 1:05 AM for my impending flight. It was a day of near misses and a frenetic pace. As for the pace of the streak, it was just starting.
Game#3 Day #2
COL 2 @ HOU 3
Minute Maid Park
I was already feeling bag tired when I arrived at DFW for 6:00 AM. I had to buy a plane ticket that read traveling to Boston from Los Angeles via a layover with Dallas. Let’s just say I never walked on to the second phase of that trip. The price differential was $450. I was going to have to rent a car in Houston anyway, so this was the best option. I pre-purchased a half tank of gas at National Car Rental at DFW and was on my way. Fueled by a 5 hour energy drink and a gallon of water, I drove to Houston. I made the 270 miles in 3 hours and 45 minutes. This left me enough time to practice a trial run to the airport with the rental car.
After my confidence level was at an all-time high, I parked in a location aimed towrds a quick getaway for $10. I still had to buy a game ticket for $5. Once inside the yard, I went for a long walk around the concourse that lasted until game time. I have not bought any concession food for the last 4 games. By doing this, I hope to avoid gaining a pound a day like in 2008 and 2009. The game saw a nice pitcher’s duel for the most part. This Nicasio starting pitcher guy for the Rockies can throw! I also saw one of the XM Home Plate Radio heroes play in Jose Altuve. The guy is about 5 foot 6 and swings harder than anyone in the Majors. Mike Ferrin and Morgan Ensberg actually came up with a new homerun measurement record. The homers being hit are measured in feet first, then divided by 5.6 feet at a time-hence “Altuve.” If a ball gets hit 400 FT, this registers about 75 Altuve’s on the chart. I think this is the best way to determine a homerun.
The Rockies did not have Todd Helton starting in this matinée. I take it that this might be the case all year with him sitting out one game a week. Jason Giambi took his place. I watched the entire game from the concourse. The NL games are so much easier to end early with the pitchers having to hit. The only time the game looked like it would hit the 3 hour mark was when the Astros came back from a 2-0 deficit to tie it at 2 momentarily in the bottom of 8th. I was pacing all around. The Rockies had given up the lead and I was staring down extra innings yet again. To my delight, the next batter laced a single to the outfield scoring another run. I went from being tied, to the home team taking the lead into the 9th. I always cheer for the home teams in 1st games of double-headers because this can shave off 10-14 minutes from the home team batting in the bottom of the 9th.
Brett Myers came running into to start the top of the ninth. He gave up a double to the 1st batter. This was not good. Not only would a run mean a tie game, but it mean the game would see a bottom of the ninth. My worries quickly turned into cheers as Myers retired the side. I chugged to my car a mere few blocks away. From the time the game ended until I reached security, only 40 minutes of time had elapsed. By practicing the route earlier, it saved me several minutes. As I was sweating profusely, I was happy to be in the airport. It all changed when I saw the flight delay time posted up at my gate. All of my planning and execution could not save me from this. My flight was delayed to inclement whether and I was mad. I take solace in the fact I did the best I could on my part. I have recovered over the idea that I missed out on the Houston and Texas Rangers yet again to a flight delay(just like in 2008′s record attempt.)
Game# 4 Day #3
MIA 6 @ PHI 2
Citizens Bank Ball Park
The day started off very cold and windy as I touched down at the Philly Airport. I took a cab to the Sports Complex in Philly and met up with Lori Martini-( our prize new acquired writer and the first female to visit all 30 MLB Parks herself) at the park. Lori scouted a great position to park once the game was over. She thinks like me in this regard. After I shook off the morning cobwebs and saw what real tailgating is about, Lori and I entered the park. Immediately we headed for Tony Luke’s’ to buy and inhale the best singular food out there today in MLB Parks. I am referring to the Philadelphia Cheese Steaks
Lori and I headed up to our seats in the 306 section and viewed the season opener for the Phillies. What we needed was a fast game. The idea was that if the game went past 4 pm, then I would take a cab to the Philly-30th Amtrak Station and take an express train into New York, before taking the 7 train all the way in to Citi Field. Lori would drive herself to the game and hope to make first pitch just like me. What we ended up seeing is a young Marlin club start to strut offensively. Seldom that there is a 2 homerun day for Omar Infante, but he connected on two shots this day, plus the Marlins pounded on Cole Hamels and the rest of the staff to the tune of a 6-2 final score. The Phillies offense looks really anemic right now without Howard and Utley. If you throw in Raul Ibanez and the departed Werth from 2 years ago. then you are talking about your 3,4 ,5, 6 hitters all out of this year’s lineup. I think it will be tough for the Phillies to start the year. They just better hope the pitching saves the day.
It was 3:50 PM when the game ended. I received my proper documentation when the game was finished. Lori used the Tony Luke lineup barricades to do the limbo with and I followed. That little maneuver shaved off a few precious seconds. As we raced to the car, we knew that the fun with traffic had just begun.
Game# 5 Day #3
WSH 3 @ NYM 4
Nothing is more rewarding in these record streaks then nailing a double-header. Thanks to Lori (Andretti) Martini, driving and weaving along the NJ Turnpike, before entering the hostile New York traffic, we made it to Citi Field in just over 2 hours. This was a work of mastery on the road. I seriously hope that Danica Patrick is ready if Lori decides to join NASCAR, because she can drive and actually act too. I posed for some pictures in the front before entering the building. Citi Field has been a lucky place for me completing back to back Doubleheader attempts with Philadelphia in 2009 and today. I truly have to thank Lori for taking care of all my New York needs. It has truly taken the pressure off of me to navigate one of the hardest cities.
After knocking back a couple of Nathan hotdogs, I was ready to watch some more baseball at Citi Field. We had a great view from our 100 level section tickets. We saw Mike Pelfrey struggle to a 3-0 deficit, before starting the comeback when he laced a double to the outfield and scored in the inning. ‘Citi Captain’ Kirk Nieuwenhuis drilled a 2 run homer in the bottom of the fourth. All of a sudden neither team could score, so even though I didn’t have another flight for hours, I was starting to see sleep and down time head out the window. Cue Daniel Murphy and his big 9th inning. First he made a sensational defensive stop to end a Nationals rally in the top of the 9th. Lori Martini, the ‘Prognostic Kresken,’ stated that a great defensive play usually rewards a player when he goes to hit. Wouldn’t you know that Dan Murphy did just that, in hitting the game winning run in. It sent the fans home happy and I am now officially at 5 games in 3 days. BTW, Lori Martini had the highest views for the Expert Series for her Citi Field Interview she did here. Also, Lori wrote a report up for the New Marlins Ball Park that is one of the highest viewed reviews in all of the internet here.
My thoughts on the Nationals is that they are a young club just trying to find their way and keep improving. Once they see Bryce Harper, plus several other top prospects enter the fold, this team is going to be one to reckon with. As is stands now, as long as Stephen Strasburg stays healthy all year, I believe this team has a chance to be competitive. The offense should be there all year too. As for the Mets. The start of 4-0 is not enough sample size of a season, but they might just fare better than anyone predicted. David Wright looks as locked in as he has been in years, added to that mix is a solid bullpen and the starting pitching has been buoyed by the return of Johan Santana.
I am carrying a 5 games in 3 days streak so far which is outstanding. I will say goodnight and catch a few hours of sleep before I hit Dodger Stadium tomorrow. The streak of 30-20 is now 30-21. I can live with the result. I must remain focused at the task at hand while keeping the mind fresh. I still have 19 days to go at least. So I am moving the Rangers game to the 27th of April to add to the streak’s end. It is a 17 hour drive from Chicago should I choose to drive. I am not buying a flight in advance because I may need to add another game to the list.
Game and Streak Updates for Parks 6-10
MLB Park #6 Day #4
SF 4 @ ARI 5
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- In what technically is Park #1 on Day #1 of the streak after a retro-active option I capitalized on, this game is the 6th write-up. So let us go back to April.5th First. I watched the New York Mets Season Opener with Lori Martini and we were both interviewed by Sports NY. After the incredible Adrenaline rush of being on camera for an extended interview, the Mets won the season opener on a well-pitched effort by Johan Santana of the Mets. Directly after the game, Lori and I were taken to Dom Peps in Brooklyn by her friend Mike. This place serves great Italian platters and was featured on the hit TV Series “Entourage.” A nice meal with some great new friends then saw me make the trip to Boston. I had to take a Greyhound Bus to Boston(for only $15) because that airport was the only one in the radius that Southwest could fly to Phoenix in time for the opener.
I spent 6 hours on the Bus, before flying another 6 across the country to make it to Phoenix. I was officially on my own to start the streak. I quickly made my way o National Car Rental where I have 20 free rental days for the trip. I picked out a brand new Ford Edge out of the Executive Selection Row at Phoenix Airport. I then drove about 8 miles out to a ‘Waffle House’, where I ordered Gritz, Ham, Bacon and Eggs. It was a huge meal and I left satisfied for the tune of about $10. I then drove towards Chase Field. Having been to all of these cities before makes it easy to navigate without a map. I pulled into a garage lot and parked for $10. The place was no more than 150 feet from the Park. I entered the facility and walked around the concourse.
One of the things I really respect about the Diamondbacks is their ability to make things cost-effective for their fans. Year in and year out they are always voted amongst the best for their ticket sales department by MLB. At the concession stands they have a kids menu to order from. Most items like hotdogs, popcorn, pop and peanuts are $1.50. The best part is that these prices are available for everyone to use. Sure they are bite sized miniatures of the real sized concessions, but at least they offer that little bit to the consumer.
The game started off with a bang. 49000 people cheered as Chris Young hit a home run. I started tweeting like mad from the park. MLB Reports tweeted to me-Paul Goldschmidt with about four of these!!!! For emphasis. I honestly got the feeling that I was in a time warp because Goldschmidt destroyed the next offering from Lincecum out of the yard. It was total Uforia throughout Chase Field. MLB Reports had prognosticated correctly. I enjoyed this game so much more because the roof was open. It was my 5th game at Chase Field. This structure is in the bottom 3rd overall of the MLB Parks, however I might have to re-consider for what transpired in this contest. Tim Lincecum pitched well in the 2nd to 5th inning but bookended the night with giving up runs in his last inning. Boy the D’Backs look pretty decent as a club. Jason Kubel might be one of the best off-season pickups no one is talking about. If they can get Stephen Drew back in good time, they will have a great chance to win the NL West.
The SF Giants will have several days like this, The pitching could not hold down the opposition and they could not generate any runs themselves. On a bright note, Melky Cabrera homered and doubled in his 1st game with the club. If he hits like this, everyone will realize that the trade for Jonathan Sanchez was not so bad after all. I left the Phoenix downtown area and stayed at a Best Western just outside the city. I had a great rest and made it to the airport really early for my flight to Los Angeles. In hindsight, I am so thankful that I did this game before the streak in case I needed it. I had long debated whether I should have gone to San Diego. In the end, I was really confident in making one of the San Diego double headers. Now with those flight cancellations and the one delay, I am lucky I went to this season opener!
MLB Park #7 Day # 5
PIT 1 @ LAD 2
Something felt off all day. Perhaps it was the all night stay awake maneuver I pulled in Brooklyn, NY before flying out of JFK. I went to the wrong airline to check in. it was an amateur mistake by a jet-lagged guy. So I then go to the Air Tram-which happened to be out of service. I know what the airport can do to impede one`s progress so I had arrived at JFK 2.5 hours before the flight. I finally got myself together and went to the United Terminal. I slept the whole non-stop flight to LAX. When I came upon the car rental center in Los Angeles, it cued up error # 2. This day was the one of two car rental days in the trip where I am with someone other than National Car Rental. After fighting with the National people for 5 minutes, I recalled I had booked this reward rental with ALAMO. I apologized to the National staff and quickly went to the Alamo side of the building. I still managed to receive the same car I wanted because it is the same rental company. It was a Chrysler 200 and was a sweet ride.
Now that I had wasted 30 minutes, I felt an urgent rush to drive to Dodger Stadium. It was 10:45 AM. My goal was to find another Wendy`s restaurant so I could start eating healthy again. The previous day I put away a cheesesteak, 2 Nathan`s hot dogs and a Quesadilla for the Mets/Phillies doubleheader. I am hell-bent on not gaining a bunch of weight for this trip like I have on previous streaks. Los Angeles was flooded with traffic everywhere. Seeing what I was up against made me panic. I settled on a $5 Large Pepperoni Pizza from Little Caesars Pizza (not exactly a picture of health but not that bad overall.) I continued onto the 110 freeway. It was a nightmare!! What seemed so routine in my planning-now was turning into a circus act. I was 2 miles away with 75 minutes until 1st pitch and not moving swiftly anywhere. I would have been so embarrassed had I not made the game. At 12:45 PM, I found a situational parking spot I had previously purchased. I always thought that I would be needing that San Diego game all along. Now that I didn’t need it-I was still curious about what if I had needed.it. I was going to race out of the game and give it my best shot. My flight was out of San Diego at just before midnight anyway.
The Dodgers game was completely boring. I don’t mind Opening Day at any park, but with the temperature at around 80 in the sun I crusaded out into the concourse. I actually spent $7.25 on a lemonade if you can believe it! As I kept walking into the sun to heat up and walk to the concourse to cool down, it was apparent I was not into the game that much. This does happen occasionally while doing the streak. I was happy to see the 8th inning roll in quite fast but it was still tied at 1. Clayton Kershaw had thrown a masterpiece of a game for the Dodgers. The Pirates roster featured a bunch of averages that would make a bakery proud with all of those bagels on the board.
Andre Ethier was celebrating his 30th birthday on the day. I was praying for this game to be over. The drive to San Diego was still going to be a tough negotiation. The gods smiled down on me when Ethier impaled a baseball for a go ahead 2-1 homerun. It was over in the 9th fast for the Pirates. I treated it like I needed the San Diego game. I barreled down four flights of stairs, definitely not a swift as I would normally be since I ate a Large Pizza earlier in the day, but I made good time to the car and swerved flawlessly out of the parking lot onto Highway 5. It was gridlock from that point forward. I pressed on. At 7:00 PM, I drove by Petco Park. I would have been okay to see the start of the game. Fortunately for me, I did not need this it. It would have been a bloody fluke if the next things all would have went down had I needed to count it. That San Diego game ended up going extras and drawing near a 4 hour contest. The flight going out of San Diego was cancelled for mechanical failure. I highly doubt I would have made that flight to Cleveland, so this will add to the story. If I watched the 4 hour game and then missed the scheduled flight, I would have been mad that I couldn’t get to Cleveland. Yet another weird thing, is that the flight cancellation (that actually happened to my bitterness) would have benefited me and I would have been happy to not have missed the flight with the airline picking up the tab for the next flight out. A day of ticket to an outward city might have cost me $600 .
I was left to think that but I dealt with the real reality. The flight was cancelled to Cleveland. That next day matinée game ended at 3:15 PM. My pending flight was at 4:20 PM from Cleveland to Baltimore. I would give myself about a 30% chance to have made the 25-30 minute drive-dropped off the rental car-got through the security line-ups before sprinting to my Gate. I say it right now, I would have missed that flight to Baltimore. Much like my 2009 Record Chase, things seemed to have worked out for the better. I received a free flight back to makeup The Texas Ranger game, and with switching out 5 different games I actually will save $200-300 in operational costs. The best part about Indians/Orioles not coming on this day of the streak- is that they both play after the streak is over. I wrote a blog about the changes here so I will move onto the next game.
The Dodger still need the need ownership to influx some payroll into the club to bolster the offence. Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and 7 punch and Judy hitters is not going to win the pennant in my view.
MLB Park # 8 Day # 6
SEA 4 @ TEX 3
The Ball Park in Arlington
I already knew it was going to be a long day. I had stayed at the San Diego Airport after re-arranging my trip before writing some articles. I did not want to risk oversleeping at a hotel despite being offered one for the flight cancellation. Worse than this, I am positive that the TSA-found their way to a fallen bunch of paper inside their screening x-ray machine that contained $18 worth of food vouchers as my compensation for the cancellation as well. It won’t be the last disappointing loss during the airports travel. I arrived at DFW at 1:35 PM. The car rental place I had to go with shall remain nameless. I don’t feel it is good karma to rip them.
The problem was that no car rental place had a lot of cars because a great deal of their fleets had been ravaged by the tornadoes earlier in the week. I was lucky enough to secure a car reservation. The problem is that it was only a reservation. I saved myself about $7 on a cab ride by hopping onto a shuttle bus for a hotel that happened to be nearer to the car rental places destination. I wasn’t about to pay the $23.50 minimum to take a cab out of the Fort Worth Airport. I tipped the hotel shuttle bus driver $3 so he probably didn’t care anyway. I went for a bit of a walk to blow off some steam from the night before. 30 minutes into the walk I called a cab. It was a good move. I was at the car rental place at 3:30 PM. The first thing the guy said was that they did not have a car. Great!! Just my luck.. I was on a waiting list. To the places credit they did offer my a SUV for $100 for the day in which I declined. AT 5:00, I decided to cab it to the park, also meaning a cab ride to the hotel and back to the airport after! Had I received my daily rate for the car I booked, paid for parking and gas it would have run me about $75. Instead I forked out $125 in cab fare for the city of Dallas. Not only that, I had to wait for a cab 90 minutes after the game.
At 5:25 PM, I arrived into The Ball Park in Arlington. 20 hours straight had worn me down, but I was at an MLB game. I knew about the lengthy Cleveland game which put my mind at ease a little about the day’s events. I would have only made one baseball game on the day anyway! I saved myself from a 7 hour drive from Cleveland to Baltimore in the process. I was into this baseball game. It was $1 hotdog night at the yard. This was perfect and I ordered a few dogs. If it is that price at any game I ever go to, I will probably buy a few hotdogs. The Rangers flexed their muscle on the Mariners early. Back to back homers from Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus had the place rocking. The night’s temperature was perfect. I set up at a table with my luggage and all resting comfortably. I wanted a fast game in this AL Contest.
The Rangers lineup is deadly. They didn’t even have Napoli in the lineup and Nelson Cruz and David Murphy were the 6 and 7 hitters. Texas is scary good on offense. The Mariners looked dead the whole night other than Ichiro sprinting his tail off in some great defensive moves. The top of the 9th came around and Joe Nathan entered the game. It looked so weird with him being in the Rangers gear. I don’t think he felt great either as he proceeded to give up the lead and then the game outright. The Mariners surprised the Rangers with a 4-3 comeback. I will say this: the Mariners young players actually have a pulse now. Smoak was making good contact, Dustin Ackley looks like the real deal and Mike Saunders made some great contact. Jesus Montero is the key to that team. I really like Ichiro in the 3 hole as well. He should make great contact and drive in some runs.
After the game was over, I had a meager 5 hours at the hotel before boarding a flight to Denver.
MLB Park # 9 Day # 7
SF 5 @ COL 2
You talk about a different vibe from a different city. I felt great about Denver. I received a nice upgrade from National Car Rental and they even comped me another free day because they were unable to provide me with a car in Dallas the day before. I told them about my experience with the other company and how I knew that these guys would have given me the SUV at a Mid-Size Rate. I drove out of Denver Airport recharged and ready to tackle the city. I stopped at a Wendy’s restaurant for my chili. I then drove to Coors Field early enough to relax. I found a parking spot about a mile from the Field for $5. It was 60 degrees out and sunny. There was a nice wind blowing cold air for me to walk in. I casually made my way to the ticket office and purchased a $4 Rockpile ticket.
Once inside, I met up with fellow ballpark chaser Meg Minard. When I wrote my book “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” Meg was one of the featured chasers. The reason I picked her is because of her extensive travel history. Meg has now seen over 150 MLB and MILB Parks combined. I met her before the game for a walk around the park and a couple of pictures. While I felt great, I was tired so I told Meg that we would meet up after the game. If I felt okay, we could grab a bite to eat. If I was dog-tired I would retreat to my hotel for the night early.
Jamie Moyer was towing the hill for the Rockies. The man is incredible. At 49 years old, he is still doing wind-sprints before the game. I was so ecstatic when he made the roster. I missed him by one game in Houston the previous weekend. I ended up watching the game from the main concourse just walking around. Jamie Moyer pitched like he always does, from 67-80 MPH, changing his placement of the ball and scattering out hits. If it wasn’t for Dexter Fowler botching a routine foul ball, maybe Jamie would have stayed in the game until the Rockies could hit him back in. It was still nearly a quality start with 111 pitches and 65% of them were strikes. He gave up only 2 earned runs in 5 2/3rds innings of work.
Madison Bumgarner started the game by throwing 5 no-hit innings. He would go onto lead his team to the victory. This was my second time seeing both teams. One thought I had was that the Colorado Rockies bench is really strong right now. They are playing Shawn Colvin at first which frees up Todd Helton and Jason Giambi as tough pinch hitters to face. I love this aspect about NL teams. That is why I want someone to pick up Vlad Guerrero. What team wouldn’t fear him coming in the game late to do some damage? The Phillies have Jim Thome for this role.
I felt good after the game, so Meg and I went out to the Wynecoop Brewery for a meal. I wanted to visit with Meg since it would be my only shot at it for my trip. She was very instrumental in helping me swing back into writing this winter. The letters I sent out to do potential sponsors were edited by Meg. It was a great cheesesteak dinner West-Coast Style. I am glad to have spent some time with Meg talking about baseball, travels and Denver. I walked back to my car thanking the baseball gods for giving me a nice relaxing day that followed a warpath of travel obstacles. I went back to the hotel to have a good nights sleep before heading to San Francisco.
MLB Park # 10 Day # 8
PIT 0 @ SF 5
AT&T Park Season Opener
I was feeling confident about San Francisco the whole day. My flight arrived 15 minutes early. 10 minutes later and I was on the BART Train headed for downtown San Francisco. I caught a connecting bus onto 2nd street and was at the 21st Amendment Brewery to meet Tike Narry and his family. I friended Tike through Ballpark chasers.com. I was able to help him with some premium Toronto Blue Jays for half of face value the year before. When I put out my streak schedule, Tike informed me he had 4 season tickets and only 3 tickets were spoken for during this season opener. Tike saved me some serious time, money and effort and they were great seats.
Tike was with his wife Dawn, and their 7-year-old son Patrick. This family exemplifies ballpark chasers. Dawn works at O.co Coliseum for games. Tike has been a season ticket holder at AT&T Park since 2000-and has been a Giants fan forever. Tike also did a most impressive job as the expert of AT&T Park in the MLB Reports Article Series view it here. It was nice to walk the Park with this family. I think that AT&T is the best park in the Majors anyway, so they did not need to convince me of much.
The seats were in the 3rd level right behind home plate. In a touching pre-game ceremony the Giants paid respect to the 1962 NL Championship team. Willie Mays and Willie McCovey were both at the park. Jon Miller was the M.C and sounded great on the microphone. Brian Stow, the fan almost beaten to death by Dodger fans in LA last year made an appearance on the Jumbo Vision to say thanks to the SF fans for supporting him in his recovery and to coach his young son on how to throw out the 1st pitch for him.
The game was over in 2 hours and 15 minutes. It was a nice stress less game for me to watch. It wasn’t without excitement though. Matt Cain retired the 1st 17 batters before losing his perfect game by issuing up a single to the Pirates pitcher of all people. Cain would go on to be perfect the rest of the way on a 1 hit shutout. Cain struck out 11 and walked no one, a completely dominant performance. In a second occurrence for me, Aubrey Huff hit a laser homer out to right that landed in the Ocean. It was another splash zone hit. For a game that was 70% likely to rain, we received nothing but sunshine.
The game was over at 3:45 PM. Tike and Dawn offered to take me to dinner before driving me to the airport. We stopped at this nice restaurant called Joe’s of Westlake. This place is like 3 separate restaurants into one. They have a bar/dining lounge, a family side restaurant side and a high class dining area at the other side. I had a full plate of ravioli and spaghetti. Tike and Dawn took good care of me in San Francisco as hosts and I thank them for it. The pressure was definitely off for anything. They dropped me off at the airport and wished me well, another formation of friendship that will last a long time created by the game of baseball.
I now sit in the MSP Airport in Minnesota at 6:00 AM in the morning. I am awaiting my car rental to head to my next park conquest.
Game and Streak Updates for Parks 11-15
MLB Park # 11 Day # 9
TEX 6 @ MIN 2
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024)- I was excited about this game from the time it hit the itinerary. I had only seen 6 innings of a game from Target in 2010 before. After a long flight that stretched from San Francisco through Phoenix and onto Minneapolis, I had hours to burn before the game so I caught up on some writing at the airport. It was going to be a long travel day. Flying out of Minnesota the next day towards Toronto was extremely risky with only one flight being available to arrive in Toronto before the 1:07 PM start time. I picked out the rental car for the day at National. It was a brand new Black Toyota Camry. To achieve a cheaper, more time friendly plane fare, I was driving all the way to Chicago whenever I was done at Target Field.
Once I located where Target Field was, I found a Wendy’s restaurant nearby and stocked up on some chili. I have about $100 in gift cards left to spend there and I will. With my stomach full, I bought a $13 ticket. I was proud to say I walked a half mile from the park to gain a $5 parking spot. This was pretty good economics on my part. I took as many pictures as I could and also walked the concourse several times. Target Field has a lot of menu items for purchase. I like that you can order slices of ribs and roast beef. Porkchop on a stick rounded out my first time appearance at the park in 2010. This time around I was not eating a thing there.
The game was not very competitive. Yu Darvish managed several ‘Hoodini’ acts in picking up his second straight win. Twice the man left the bases loaded for the Twins only to master a way out of it. The Asian pitchers are comfortable with pitching to no contact at all. Josh Hamilton hit 2 doubles and a behemoth moonbeam homer to right field that is still traveling towards I-94! I believe Josh Hamilton will have another MVP season again as he is completely healthy. The Rangers have an incredible mixture of veteran talent and exuberant young players. Having Mike Napoli as your 8th hitter in the lineup is incredibly good! I really think that the Rangers are the class act of the AL again for talent.
The Minnesota Twins do not frighten anyone at all for their offense. I must say that I agree with using Justin Morneau solely as a DH-why risk having him hurt in the field? Joe Mauer is starting to look like his old self again too. I think a solid year for Minny is about a .500 mark, The weather was perfect for April, 77 degrees at game time with a nice breeze. The Minnesota fans have shown they truly care about the game in recent years. It wasn’t too long ago that the club was thought to be a candidate for contraction. What I see at Twins games more than any other park-is a high female young fan base from ages 16-29. Packs of girls flock to the park together to cheer on their heroes.
The Rangers spanked the Twins 6-2. Joe Nathan came in for some mop up duty in the bottom of the 9th inning. It must have been extremely weird to be pitching against his former club. The guy looked shaky with the first few batters before retiring the side. This experience will help him in future appearances down the road. I had previously booked a hotel for the night. Since I was leaving almost right away, it gave me a chance to shower, do some laundry and catch up on some internet. When I finished up at 8 PM-it was time to hit the road. I had a 7 hour drive ahead of me to Chicago. The first 3 hours went really smooth. That is when rain and lightning showers followed me for the last 4 hours of the trip. It both motivated and frightened me. I thought that flights out of Chicago-(including my pending morning flight) were going to be affected. I finally made it into Chicago at 3:30 in the morning. My fees for the one-way rental car at National were $3.15 because of my free rental day. Having free days with a free 24 hour airport one-way drop fee has been a life-saver for this trip. I will always be on board with National Car Rental as my company of choice!
MLB Park # 12 Day # 10
BAL 2 @ TOR 9
Skydome(or Rogers Centre)
I snuck in a couple hours of sleep on the flight. Any thoughts of worrying about flight cancellations were suddenly not even in my mind’s fore front. It all worked out. I arrived in Toronto at 9 AM. I awoke from my plane ride with my ears clogged up. I prepared for this to happen a few times. Normally I would chew gum to help the situation out however I chewed gum for 7 hours straight while driving and any more chewing would lead to headaches. I also have a little head cold. This also occurs about the midway point of every journey like this. There are just too many flights piling up where I am at risk in an enclosed environment with bacteria running rampant. I was still clearing the cobwebs out when I arrived in Toronto. I am a Nexus Card Holder for Canadian-American travel. This gives me a great advantage on the general public for security lineups when border jumping. I was establishing the game plan for Toronto. I picked up my boarding pass for the afternoon flight. I then called Jonathan to pick me up at the airport.
I have really been looking forward to this for a long time. Jonathan Hacohen has been very instrumental in helping me have my writing career become back on track. It is rare that I find a Canadian citizen that shares the kind of dedication and passion that I like to display towards the game of baseball. So 10 months after first chatting with the MLB Reports Founder and lead baseball columnist, Jonathan was able to be part of this record chase. I have to give another shout out to Andrew DeBaeremaeker. Andrew is a Toronto Blue Jays fan who has been following my trip throughout. He took it upon his self to ask around the CTV Sports Department if they would be interested in my story. Andrew sent me the contact information and I followed up on it. At 11:30 AM this morning, I was part of an interview with CTV Sports about the streak. They also filmed Jonathan and I entering the Skydome. Later on this day, I will have another interview from the Citi Field home opener air at the same time in the States as this segment was going to air in Canada. I was doing the international doubleheader for media along with the baseball doubleheader of Skydome and Yankee Stadium.
Jonathan and I talked about the MLBReports.com and baseball in general as we scouted out our escape route after the Toronto Blue Jays game. Jonathan is a cagey veteran of the Blue Jays scene. We figured out our best plan of attack. He would leave around the 8th inning and be waiting for me outside of Gate 5 as I witnessed the last pitch. The game we watched was moving with laser precision. Brett Lawrie and Adam Jones exchanged towering bombs to start the game. Halfway through the game we were on pace for a 2 hours and 15 minute pace. Toronto exploded on the Orioles for 6 runs, including using Kevin Gregg as the ultimate batting practice pitcher. Edwin Encarnacion blasted a two run homer to solidify the home town team’s lead.
I was becoming excited about the prospect of the game ending in a timely fashion. Baltimore played their part, and basically waved at sub –par pitches with their less than stellar offence. One of these years Baltimore will have to luck into a good season, I just don’t think it will be this year. The Jays added a couple of late runs with some heavy shots to the outfield. The Jays continue to improve their lineup on offense. Kyle Drabek looked impressive in his second straight outing and might just stick with the big club for a while. I ran as fast as my two feet could carry me onto Spadina Ave. Jonathan timed the meeting point like a master. 40 minutes later and I was in my boarding gate for Lu Guardia Airport.
MLB Park # 13 Day # 10
LAA 6 @ NYY 11
I was in the plane heading for Lu Guardia and I knew the plan was executed perfectly. I touched down at the airport at 6:40 and was in line at Yankee Stadium by 7:15 PM. On the way over to the game-the cabbie let me off at River Ave and 153rd street. On my 8 block walk I stumbled upon Stan’s Bar and Grill. Posted was a sign that said “Baggage Storage and you take the key for a nominal fee.” I rented a locker for $10, took the key and was walking freely with a large walk-on travel bag and a briefcase full of stuff no longer in my midst. I walked through the gates promptly at 7:25 with about 40 minutes to spare. This is the second time I have completed an International Doubleheader with TOR/NYY. I have never heard of someone else even attempting this feat. It was a big moment.
To add to my awesome day, was that I finally got to see my favorite team the Yankees play. This series was against the Angels and Albert Pujols. I was sitting in the 400 level deck. I made my way up to my seat. I was meeting a fellow ballpark chaser in Roger Ratzenberger. Roger was one of my featured profiles in the book “The Fastest Thirty Ballgames.” He also was the featured expert for the Oriole Park at Camden Yards here. I was happy to finally meet Roger for this game. I also was able to meet RJ Breisacher. RJ is a war veteran in the USA Army. Last September he purchased a Kindle Version of my book and we have been communicating ever since. RJ is going to all of the 30 MLB Parks by car and is raising awareness for other Veterans of the US Army. I was able to meet and chat with RJ for a few innings.
I will get to the game action in a second. Yankees fans are simply the most entertaining kind of fan in my books-period! Halfway through the game, the people in my section stumbled upon a locust or a beetle running down this one aisle. What happened next was hilarious. The thing was eating peanuts and other foods before he was flung to the lowest aisle possible. The beetle/locust spilled over beer of one of the fans. The thing began ingesting the beer at a rapid rate before spinning and flinging around on his liquor bender. He looked dead on several different occasions before he would spurt back to life with an electric bolt. Finally he was thrown to the next rows of fans when he upset one of the guy’s girlfriend’s. We saw one more final run for the locust/beetle in that aisle before another fan squished him by walking up the stairs.
Derek Jeter and Mark Texiera had big games for the New York Yankees in building an 8-1 lead. In what always seems to be a sub-category, Howie Kendrick hit a triple, double and single heading into his last at bat. The Yankees were up 11-6 and the fans were actually cheering for the guy to hit a homer. Howie blasted a ball to right field and missed out on a cycle be a mere few feet. Next we had Torii Hunter working on 3 strikeouts in the last inning. The fans were cheering “Golden Sombrero.” There is just something funny about the Yankees fans that it makes them picking on the other team unique.
The Yankees looked good this night. Raul Ibanez hit another homerun and served notice he is a force to be reckoned with at home, I love the signing. Between him smashing up right handers, while Andruw Jones clubs left-handers, they might just make a prolific DH tandem. A-Rod did not look in season form and was about the only Yankee to not make solid contact. The Yankees bullpen was also stronger than the Angels. Mark Trumbo had a homer early in the game and is making a case to garner more at bats with the club. Albert Pujols is having a slow start to his campaign.
MLB Park # 14 Day # 11
TB 1 @ BOS 0
I hate it when plans take a nosedive. I pride myself on putting forth awesome road trip plans. You are at the mercy of the system though. I had pre-purchased a 7-Eleven Greyhound Bus Ticket for $15. The ticket was so microscopic that I misplaced it with in the sea of receipts that is my wallet. I called Greyhound to see if I could receive a replacement ticket at New York Penn Station. They notified me that this would be no problem if I had photo identification. I finished watching the marathon Yankees game and ended up at NY Penn Station about 1 AM. I was taking Greyhound Bus so I could write my reports on the drive to Boston.
I headed to the ticket office and requested the replacement ticket. The lady informed me that I had to speak to the bus driver, but that it should be fine. I have been in this predicament before. I made my way back to the office after 30 minutes to clarify the ladies verbiage to me. She wasn’t there. I half think she was trying to get rid of me because her shift was just ending. A guy was now at the ticket wicket. I told him the same story as I had with the girl however he presented me with a different outcome. It forced me to end up buying a ticket for $35. What was worse is that I was on stand-by. I actually had to sweat out this night. I had one kind of knowledge none of the other people standing by for the trip knew-I was one of the confirmed passengers on this voyage, I just didn’t holster a proper ticket. I made it on and have to now fight for restitution because of more ineffective staff at travel company.
I caught up some writing and then met Lori Martini in Boston for the game at Fenway. Lori was in the Boston area for the Boston International Film Festival. When she realized this we made a plan to watch this game together. So you had a die-hard Mets fan and an ultimate Yankees fan in Fenway. We were cheering for the Boston Red Sox because a home team win means 10 minutes less on the official game clock. The temperature came out to be 87 degrees. The downtown core of Boston was overcrowded because of the annual Boston Marathon. I would have to fight my way to the Boston Airport after the game through this maze of people. I loved the 11:05 AM start for Patriots day. I was able to combine this early start with an impending night game at Nationals Park in Washington.
Lori and I had both been to Fenway 5 times each so it was not foreign to us. I still like to see people just as excited as I get when visiting some place historic as this. If it wasn’t so damn hot, I would have enjoyed it so much more. We were witness to a pitcher’s duel despite the game taking forever. Tampa Bay was the visitors and they forced home a run late to take a 1-0 win. James Shields continues to be a thorn in the Red Sox side. He was the winner of the combined 4 hit shutout.
I took my travel bags, said good-bye to Lori yet again in the trip, before braving the crowd that had conversed on Commonwealth Ave for the marathon. I fought on-lookers, I fought runners themselves, train conductors and unusual re-routing of zones to be at the airport at 3:30 for my 5:00 PM Flight. This was the first time I used the T-Line and I executed the task nicely, it has been the theme of the streak. I was on my way to Nationals Park.
MLB Park # 15 Day # 11
HOU 3 @ WSH 6
Ben Fallon (of Ballpark Chasers) had the kind of game plan down perfect for what I am trying to do. Early on in my planning stages Ben informed me he was game to help out. We smashed the execution out of the park. I arrived at 6:31 and called Ben, for he was waiting at the Cell Phone Lot area. I knew what kind of Truck and Model Ben was driving and ran to his vehicle. It was a 3 minute pick up. I entered the Park at 6:48 PM. Ben parked in the Lexus Parking lot that was closest to the yard. I can’t thank him enough for his hard work in this matter. Ben was also the featured expert for Nationals Park here.
I actually ate ballpark food for a change from Ben’s Chili Bowl. I ate a half smoke dog that was fully loaded and a bowl of chili that really hit the spot. Back in our seats watching Stephen Strasburg pitch, and we had a great conversation. There was also Ben and his friend Lee and I talking about the Nationals history. We talked about some of the players and the current roster team. There was one subject that had us all laughing in stitches. That was the Nationals botched promotion ideas.
Like I had talked about in my book, with full credit going to Grant Paulsen of Minors and Majors, our favorite promotion gone wrong for the Nationals were cannons that shot chili dogs wrapped up inside T-shirts into the crowd. Only there was a malfunction at the junction. The cannons were shooting too hard and the chili was exploding all over the patrons of the park. I can only imagine how crappy that I were to feel if I were hit with wayward chili in the air!! There was another story about Fireworks that saw the Fire Marshall have hot ashes fall on him during another season Opener. There were misspelling of names on promotions, and the list goes on…
What isn’t a joke is how decent the Nationals look so far. Strasburg picked up his second win of the year and was economical with his pitches. Ben and Lee agreed that when Strasburg takes a little off of his pitches is when he is the most effective with them. The Nationals have a bevy of young players coming and the core they have now is already solid with some nice veterans already in the mix. This team will see Bryce Harper very soon. I was surprised to see how many #34’s there already are in the park.
Ben dropped me off at the airport to catch my morning flight. In another crazy occurrence for me at traveling, I was supposed to stay at a hostel, however since I had the Baltimore game domino affect some of my built in reservation that could not be reversed, one of those reservations was with the same hostelling company. They operate like an airline, if you no-show for the 1st leg of the trip, they automatically cancel the rest of your itinerary. I always learn something new every trip. This is what makes these streaks so hard. One missed flight can ravage plans for the rest. I conquered games 11-15 with a sense of expertise to arrive at the halfway mark on pace for a 30 Parks in 22 days result.
Game and Streak Updates for Parks 16-21
- Ken Lee, Chuck Booth and Doug Miller all at Safeco Field for the game #18 in 14 days on April.19/2012. (They would later be featured on TV several times above the King’s Court Seats. ) Chuck also had a special welcome wave from the TV Jumbo Tron and was given a free gift bag from the Seattle front office.
MLB Park # 16 Day # 12
CHC 2 @ MIA 3
New Marlins Ball Park
Douglas ‘Chuck’ Booth (Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- It was a great day for a new baseball park. During this trip, anytime that I have had a single game only for a day, I have felt a little bit more relaxed while watching the action. I flew into FLL (Fort Lauderdale Airport) really early and caught up on some writing. I was fully rewarded with my National Car Rental to the tune of a Chrysler 200 that was black in color. I made my way to my Best Western Hotel near the airport. Check in time was not till 3 PM, but I was able to coerce the staff to let me take a room early. I really appreciate the professional way the Best Western staff always helps me in the travels.
I left for downtown Miami at 4 PM. I had nice directions into the ballpark. I have not driven into Miami very many times in my life so it is still fresh. Once I hit around the 7th street area, I scouted the same parking spot that Lori Martini had told me about near the park. I parked for $15 and the spot was a mere 50 feet from the entrance. Lori is also right that the people who designed the area were not very smart. Having parking spots that back into grass is going to turn into car quicksand when the tropical rains hit. It was sunny today so I was cool with it.
I began entering the facility from the outside. Latin music was blaring at high decibels. I think this is a little overkill for the team to do this, so they must remember that they are still in a rural area of town. Other than the residents who are profiting from creating parking spots for the public, the rest of the people that live in vicinity must hate the new ball park. Although I am sure they won’t be that disappointed when the real estate appraisers come around to value their houses.
The concourses from first to third base on the main level might be the nicest in baseball. I really like the blue ‘theme’. It is clean, looks very soothing to the eye, plus the sightlines are really good. Where the first half of the park looks great, the back half of the field is atrocious. It is a shame that the park is so nice only to have the ‘puke’ green walls on the outfield tamper with the perfection. As someone has problems with bright colors because of prior concussions, this is not what I call a good thing. I had to wear my shades in the bleachers the whole time.
They also have every second staircase fitted to only seat children, ants and smurfs. There is barely enough room for one person to go up and down these said staircases let alone two. Then you have the homer ‘contraption’ that is quickly sweeping the nation as the ‘worst’ iconic visual in professional sports. It’s big, doesn’t even make sense and needs to be removed. Not to mention that the retaining wall before it is curled throughout the fence. If a player runs into this wall to fast he may be ten seconds from a toe-tag.
The game itself was pretty good. The Marlins had solid efforts from Josh Johnson and Hanley Ramirez to take out the CUBS 3-2. The Marlins will go as far as these 2 can carry them. Josh Johnson needs to have a CY Young like year and Hanley Ramirez needs to resemble the back of his bubble gum baseball card. The Cubs on the other hand, look futile this year and there is no end in near sight. They would be smart to trade every possible veteran on offense and continue to build on the pitching side.
The New Marlins Ball Park was a nice experience overall. I am glad that they opened up the roof for the game. It added a lot to the enjoyment to have fresh air. On another positive note, the fans were quite electric and excited to be there. The rabid fans were always drowned out by the ultimate concrete force that was Dolphin Stadium. There is no doubt that the long term viability of the franchise is much more stable by at least having a function-able stadium. Now they just need to hire a demolition crew to blow up the homer contraption!!
MLB Park # 17 Day # 13
NYM 6 @ ATL 12
Nothing like stepping off a plane and seeing rain in the surrounding area, so I pressed on with my daily plan. I had a day/night doubleheader with St. Louis. To increase my odds of making an afternoon flight, I actually purchased two afternoon flights from ATL-STL. One plane left at 4:30 and the other left at 5:46 PM. Both of the flights would give me a chance to make Busch Stadium in time. Obviously I wanted to make the 1st flight in order to have some freedom to decide my method of transport to Busch. I was pleasantly surprised that Atlanta has recently implemented a ‘CAR RENTAL FACILITY’ accessible by Air Tram. I made my way to National Car Rental.
I drove off in a brand new Ford Fusion. I turned onto I-85 South and made sure to note the exits and turnoffs in reverse from the field. Rain still persisted. By the time I scouted out my exit strategy and parked near the park, rain kept pelting down feverishly. I was in contact with Ken Lee and Lori Martini for updates. I knew Lori was listening to the game on radio because her beloved Mets were playing. Both of my fellow chasers said that the game was going ahead as planned despite threat of continuous rain. It is always risky to enter a park with rain looming. Had I been a little more worried, I would have waited until about 5 minutes within the game start before entering the park.
I bought a $1 skyline ticket and walked in when the gates were opened. This park is not one of my favorites at all. I waited for the game to start. After what felt like forever, the game was underway. I had to watch RA Dickey and Jair Jurrjens work slow, walk batters and then ultimately pitch long innings. I knew that I was in for a long game. I pat myself on the back that I had purchased two flights to get out of the city. Jason Bay kicked around a routine fly ball in the game to further make me upset. The end verdict was a 12-6 win for the home ball club. The time elapsed was 3:22 in length. With nothing to lose and everything to gain, I sprinted to my parking spot to drive to the airport. 18 minutes later I was on the tram to security. If you take the exit the highway says, you would always miss the car rental facility by 2 miles. I knew this much.
At the 25 minutes mark I was at security and had a sliver of hope to reach my gate. The stupid lineups at security for this airport always give a misleading look at how long the lineups are. At 4:25 PM the prospect of the 5:46 looked to be the saviour. I still made it to the Air Tran gate at 4:32 PM in case there had been any small delay. I was informed I had missed my flight. I was okay with this. I pulled off a great attempt. I know had 75 minutes before my next flight and had already cleared security. I bought some Popeye’s chicken and made my way to the next flight.
I was boarded and was feeling great about my chances in St. Louis. It was 5:45 PM and we were set to leave.
The captain of the flight came on the speaker. “I am sorry to inform that our 1st officer’s seat belt is not coming all the way down to secure him in the cockpit. We have called a mechanic and we will let you know when we can get back to the flight. It should not take more than 15 minutes.” I was at full attention in row 21. My eyes were steadfast as I watched this progress. My adrenaline spiked to a fever level. Any long delay would make all of the hard work I did this day a moot point. At 6:18 PM the mechanic had left the area. I felt optimistic. With the plane leaving just a few minutes later, it would still arrive about 6:45 PM in St. Louis and give me a chance to flag down a cab for the game.
The captain came back on the speaker: “We are sorry to inform you that we were not able to fix the part, so we are sending the mechanic out to go and find this part in the other side of the terminal. We are estimating about another 30-45 minutes in the delay.”
“Damn!!!: I said pretty loud for all to hear, and then muttered an obscenity under my breath that people right around me still heard. This was the 3rd mechanical failure that had cost me a doubleheader attempt. I was mad because I nailed everything perfect from my end. This miss means I need to run the table in order to break the record. I was so fired up to do anything I cancelled my hotel room and wrote for 8 hours straight at St. Louis Airport. At least I was going to my home park on the next day.
MLB Park # 18 Day # 14
CLE 2 @ SEA 1
It was a nice feeling to breathe West Coast air and be close to home. While it was cold and raining, I would not be in a bad mood. for I had a dome stadium to watch the game and weather wouldn’t be an influence. Ken Lee met me at the SEATAC Airport and we made our way to Marysville, Washington where he lives. I made sure I eat yet another helping of Wendy’s chili to make my stomach nerves feel at ease. I had also dropped off a fresh suitcase of clothes at Ken’s the previous month. Marysville is only 80 miles from my house. Having Ken there for this day and for the next 2 weeks after was a good feeling. It all had worked out to perfection with the schedule. The Seattle game was his last day of tax season as a General Manager at Jackson Hewitt. The other schedule euphemisms will be chronicled as we write along.
I managed a snooze for a couple of hours before it was time to leave for Safeco. The weather might not have any effect on the impending baseball game, but that didn’t stop it from wreaking havoc on the drive along highway 5 towards the ball park. Ken tweeted the Mariners in between stops. It was a shot in the dark and boy did it pay off. The team made arrangements to find me in the mid-innings and were willing to acknowledge my journey on the Jumbo Scoreboard. I was excited at this prospect. I mean chasing down ballparks for 5 years has afforded me dozens of media requests for interview on TV Radio, and newspaper, but this highly different. Having this knowledge in our heads was a great motivator. At 5:45 PM, Ken and I decided to park in the Edgar Martinez parking lot for $20. It was a bit more than what we wanted to pay, however for that lot it wasn’t that bad at all.
Doug Miller quickly joined us to enter the gate. Doug was our Safeco Field Expert and it was great to finally meet another quality West Coast guy. We got together for some great pictures behind home plate before we headed to our seats. Doug and I have a lot in common when it comes to likes in a ballpark. We also remarked that some of the record holders for ballpark chasers include Canadians and fans from the Pacific Northwest. The reason why we have to plan out our road trips so carefully is that we are forever away from other ballparks. We are talking 800 miles away from OAK/SF and over 1200 miles away from Coors Field. It not only takes diligent planning but also serious financing to carry out a life as a PAC NW chaser.
Felix Hernandez was lights out for the first four innings. He was actually throwing a perfect game. ‘THE KINGS COURT’ is a section at Safeco Field that are hardcore Felix Hernadez fans. In a stroke of pure luck, Ken Lee had purchased us 5 seats directly above this raucous crowd. We are hovering just over a huge banner hanging from the rafters between the 1st and second deck. Unbeknownst to us, we were receiving some serious TV coverage. It was simple, as the park resembled the 1st scene in the movie Major League for attendance at the game. This King’s court section was completely full and was great for the home team’s TV broadcaster.
The M’s forced home a go ahead run and we were watching King Felix showcase his mastery on the mound. At the end of the 5th inning, a group of young women came up to our section and presented me with a SWAG BAG of goodies. The next thing I knew, I was on Camera as the PA announcer was announcing my baseball journey. The classy Seattle fans gave me a great round of applause as I stood there waving like I was a presidential election candidate. It was a really surreal moment. The game seemed to be one of destiny. Despite the Mariners losing the game, it was another success for the streak. It was another quick sleep before Ken and I woke up for a flight to Kansas City.
MLB Park # 19 Day # 15
TOR 4 @ KC 3
This was always going to be weird. At least it worked out from a practical sense. There was a chiropractor convention and a big event at the Kansas City Speedway both killing the chance to rent a normal car. It did not even matter that I yielded several free car rental days left from National Car Rental. When planning one of these trips, there is a hierarchy of events that unfold from the normal routine. To fly from Kansas City or St. Louis in the morning was not only an expensive option but a risk. I hate taking chances with the city of Chicago, as they are so prone to have airport delays due to inclement weather. So that meant exercising one of my free car rental days in order to secure a one-way car rental. The distance from Kansas City to Chicago was over 500 miles and about 9 hours on the road. I eventually exhausted all options. That is when I threw out a Hail Mary. I was at Alamo’s site and requested a truck with a one-way drop. It shot back at $107. I was in.
When I looked at the grand plan, I was going to pay $80 for a car rental in KC anyway. This little maneuver actually paved the way for Ken Lee to come aboard the trip. I told him I had A Chevy Silverado to rent for the trip. That soon had the hamster wheel moving. Soon enough, we hatched a plan where Ken could join me for 9 games. Amongst the duties was to drive me around for several cities. For this, I was able to help compensate him money wise for a car rental. So much so, that Ken is going to nail 23 out of the 30 MLB parks himself as part of my run and then onward to his own journey. There is nothing like a plan coming together! We arrived at the KCI Airport. Ken was not part of my crazy travel world. He stayed back for his luggage and I fetched the Truck we were going to use for the trip.
THEY HAVE GAMBLING ALL OVER
Another execution to the travel gods, I soon told Ken of my ultimate decision. I insuranced up to the highest degree, so we could ‘beat the tar out of the car!” Ken and I went to Oklahoma Joe’s just inside the Kansas State Line for lunch. While in this process, I had to get Air Miles on the phone to organize two more car rentals for the next week of the trip. I had been trying for over 2 hours in the previous two days, to get a customer representative on the phone to cash in my free car rental days. Wouldn’t you know that at the last possible time I could book the reservations the operator finally took my details down! I now had car rentals for Oakland and Cincinnati comped for free.
Ken and I also had to face a bit of bad luck when Ken’s GPS tracker started failing on day one. The plug in was fried and it was not working. Between the both of us we had the wherewithal to realize how to navigate our way to Kauffman Stadium. You just had to hit I-70 all the way. We were at the park by 5 PM. Ken has a handicapped parking placard and as such we were going to use it to our advantage at any time we needed it. For Kauffman’s general parking this worked out perfectly. I grabbed us the cheapest ticket for the game versus the Jays(not aided by a 30% dynamic pricing tactic the team implored). Still we were happy to be at Kauffman Stadium. It was $1 hot dog, peanuts and pop night. I stocked up on the food knowing the next time I ate was likely the next day.
Ken and I snapped pictures before checking out the bar in left field. Ken has some bad early trip luck with a stale premium beer and a watered down pop. These things happen sometimes. By game time, we sat in the bar stools hovering over the left center field wall. The water falls were directly to our left if we were looking towards home. We were awake for the game. In the first few innings not much really happened and then Wham! The Royals hit a double, and then a guy was walked before Ken and I saw a triple-play!! It was hard for us to be verified on this as we collected our thoughts. We were pretty sure, however there was not scoreboard notification and not one of the people in attendance clapped. The fact the outcome did not produce a buzz within the park made it harder for us to be sure of what we saw. A bunch of our baseball park chasers confirmed this for us via twitter. Ah..the social media has struck yet again.
Toronto took a lead into the 9th inning. Ken and I were actually sweating the outcome of this game because it was nearing the 10:30 PM range. We had time to get to Chicago yes, but I was dead tired to begin driving and would need pockets of quick rests. We also had to drive this truck to O Hare Airport and then organize a car flip flop where Ken was going to be the driver for a full size car from a different car rental company. This seems to have been happening throughout my entire trip. I was ready. Ken left in the 8th inning. When the last pitch was done, I was out of there lickety split! We were given a reprieve by the fireworks shooting in the air and people wanting to stay and witness them.
MLB Park # 20 Day # 16
CIN 2 @ CHC 6
The night drive to Chicago started off haywire. At least we were smart enough to abandon the Google Maps directions in which it had about 9 turns before a proper highway. Ken and I realized I would not have gone 9-9 and we would have lost any time made up. We opted for the I-70 East to I-55 East 1-2 combo. The rental truck was showing PSI troubles with two tires. I knew this to be just neglect from the lot guys not checking the tire pressure. No one ever takes ownership of these vehicles and eventually the tires lose air. Ken thought I was just a wayward driver. Once we had that problem resolved the energy drinks started flowing. I was a lot more tired than I thought and was worried about my ability to set forth on this long drive. It is a mental and physical grind going through the rigors of marathon like this.
I have dealt with travel fatigue before. I know all of the tricks to stay awake. I chewed gum, froze myself with air conditioning, listened to comedy radio just to laugh and keep focused. It was all I could do to keep moving forward. Looking back now, I should have had Ken as an extra driver for this mission. For $10, it could have been different. I wasted that much money in Lizzard Fuel via energy drinks. I persevered and came up with a bunch of energy once the sunlight hit. By the time we hit Chicago traffic it was 8:45 AM. Ken and I had a great game plan for O Hare Airport. I dropped him off at the rental car shuttle zone-and braved security yelling at me (and other people being mad) to get Ken as close to the shuttle as possible. I then backtracked to the Alamo return site. I had been there only 6 days previous with my National Car Rental car from Minnesota. I cleared out the Truck and headed up on the shuttle. About 2 minutes after I was dropped off, Ken came driving into the same area I dropped him off. Some quick yelling at us again did not make us turn angry. We started out for Wrigley Field!
I told Ken that money for parking this day was not an issue. He parked at the Taco Bell across the street for $35. This was the right move. Never had I seen a parking spot so close. We headed over the bar across from the bleacher entrance called Murphy’s where we met up with Bob Devries. I had finally met Bob after nearly 2 and-a-half years after we almost met in Florida. It was nice to finally talk in person. Bob took my doubleheader attempt like it was life or death. He had mapped out a getaway exit and found a situational parking spot. There was an alley, a boulevard, a drive and a game plan similar to the BLUES BROTHERS. All we needed was for the Chicago Cubs to cooperate.
Our tickets were in the right center field bleachers section and we chose the last row to sit on, Wrigley Field still maybe the greatest place to watch a game live. We are talking about no frills, very little commercialism and that green ivy just sells the park as a baseball purist could attest to. The Cincinnati Reds scored a run to take the lead early. This Reds team features some prolific hitters in the lineup. Joey Votto might also be the best all-around player in the league right now. The Cubs fans were treated to an offensive explosion in the bottom of the 6th when the home club north siders tacked on a 6 run inning. The game was not in doubt after this. I was just praying for a quick resolution and little traffic between Illinois and Wisconsin.
A funny thing that happened while we were waiting for the game to end, a friend of a guy was collecting money in order for his buddy to pay the ultimate price of dousing his head with a helmet full of nachos. The friend has gone to all of the bleacher creatures and had raised $254. The crowd was sparsely chanting ‘nachos.’ Security was alerted to the side affair going on and was watching for any sign to kick people out. The raised funds were finally placed in a jar and the buddy rammed his friends cap down on his head and the nachos flung over his hair. I think this was partially a scam since the food didn’t cascade down the hair an ears on his clothes. It was a funny occurrence and we left the area. We were 4 large men leaving at the same time. We had been occupying almost an entire row. Because of this, we had taking the brunt of a fierce cold wind that was sweeping in through the concourse. When we left, the 6 girls in front of us all were hit with a sudden chill. It was just another routine day in the bleachers.
The game ended in decent fashion and I raced out to where Bob was parked to start heading towards Miller Park.
MLB Park # 21 Day # 16
COL 3 @ MIL 9
It was so easy that it actually took the adrenaline kick out of the entire experience. We made it to Miller Park by 4:30. They hadn’t even opened the gates for the general public yet. We didn’t speed. It took us 1 hour and 45 minutes to drive to our destination like the maps said it would. Bob also was able to pass all of the tolls very quickly with his EZ PASS. Ken Lee had left the Cubs game at the 8th inning and was first on the tailgating scene. I am still so impressed that not only does Miller Park encourage tailgating on their premises, but they give away a free beer fridge to the best tailgate party in their parking lot. Oh yeah… They also give away a bushel full of beer in this said fridge.
We entered Miller Park and headed straight up to the clubs eats. Bob Devries wife Charlie made me the most incredible sandwich this day and I was feeling pretty good with a full stomach. It was yet another example of a bunch of people hosting me in their city and making me feel at home. I was well taken care of in both of these cities. It is all unique to the game of baseball, that all of us have met through our passion for the game. All of the friends I have made in my adult life tend to be surrounding the fandom of baseball. Our seats were nicely situated in the club level. Even for 4 big guys like us, we were able to sit comfortably.
I was a little too comfortable and passed out for a couple of innings. I am not ashamed to admit this. After 45000 Airmiles and nearly another 4000 miles on the road, I am entitled to be tired. This happens for 2 or3 games for every streak. Luckily for me I awoke when my name was flashed on the scoreboard as a special guest. I also never really missed anything. Drew Pomeramz had been flirting with a perfect game early on, only to have imploded in the 6th inning onwards. Ryan Braun destroyed a pitch over the wall and continued to serve notice that he will be okay this year. His homerun traveled 440 Feet.
The game was dragging on well past the 3 hour mark. Having been on the go for nearly 40 hours straight, Ken and I made yet another exit strategy since we wanted to capitalize on any sleep we could muster from the Priceline hotel we had waiting for us.
When the game ended I ran out to where Ken was parked. It completely benefitted us that Ken used his handicapped placard. We navigated a dedicated line out using the handicapped parking spaces. Despite the constant road repair that was presented to us in driving to the 94 West, we managed to get out of the area pretty much unscathed.
On the way to the hotel we even found a Wendy’s restaurant to further help our hunger cause. On this night, we stayed at an American Best Value Inn. It was a cheap alternative to spend just four or five hours. 3 AM was going to arrive mighty early. I was scheduled to catch a ride with Bob Devries to Detroit city. In a most awesome gesture, Bob offered to drive me to the Michigan because it was kind of track for him to drive home to Columbus. Ken Lee was very happy with this because he is completing his own version of all 30 MLB Parks and was slated to hang out at Target Field next. This was not my original city on this day. When the schedule was first posted I was supposed to fly to Phoenix. I was able to retro-activate Phoenix when all that San Diego mess came about. I moved Cleveland to team up with an easier doubleheader opportunity in coming from Pittsburgh. This moved Detroit into this slot. I did have one-way car rental free day in reserve, however Bob helping me out with the transportation made way to use this free day on another special occasion.
Game and Streak Updates for Parks 22-24
MLB Park # 22 Day # 17
TEX @ DET
Douglas ‘Chuck’ Booth (Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024)- The passenger exchange was made at 4:30 AM near the Forrest Lawn Oasis. I jumped from the car that Ken Lee was in to Bob Devries rental car. We were on our way to Comerica Park via Highway 94. Through the course of the drive, Bob and I realized we know everything there is to know about rental cars. I rent cars for 365 days a year and Bob rents cars every weekend. It is not often people can relate to all of my car rental stories. I haven’t even owned a car since 2009. If the market was ever to drastically change I would be out of a job and a car. The day was going to be sunny from our drive in. After arriving into town early we headed towards HockeyTown and Cheli’s. We then moved onwards to a Bar Called ‘Bookies’ off of Elizabeth Street. This bar was ideal because it was where we parked for $5.
I had a BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich with curly fries inside the Sandwich. It was tasty and hit the spot. Bob had the local IPA Beer. About an hour later we met up with the Salter Family (Joe, Dianne, Anthony, Jake and Robert). These guys have been part of every one of my streaks. I met them 1st in 2008 at PNC Park when I almost broke the World Record the first time around. In 2009, the Salter’s were there with me front and center when MLB Park #30 was completed at Comerica. I call these guys my good luck ‘surrogate’ baseball family. I was happy that Bob was there to meet them as well. We all took pictures and headed up to our seats.
Comerica Park is listed as #5 in my baseball book for a reason. The Park has an incredible aura of history, is great for taking picturesque shots in the daytime and especially at night. The food is also good. We sat in the 300 section and had plenty of space. The seats all end in a degree angle where they meet other sections. This kind of concept should be a no brainer for clubs to follow as it leads to a lot more room for the end of the row tickets. Bob and I were privy to these exact seats. It is almost like extended seats.We also had a chance to meet Andrew DeBaeremaker and his friend Scott from Toronto. Such a thing as social media these days that it makes it so easy to connect with anyone. Andrew was responsible for setting me up with A Nationally aired Sports Interview on CTV Sports in Canada. Bob and I met these guys in a cold and chilly concourse and we talked it up about: baseball, travel and Canadian issues while traveling in the USA.
I was happy to be in attendance for yet another Texas Rangers baseball game. Josh Hamilton continued his mastery of hitting with a belted homer to the right field stands early. This would be a game in which he had 3 more hits and a sacrifice fly. The guy is the Natural. I saw a tweet that made perfect sense; “Josh Hamilton is the modern-day Mickey Mantle.” I think truer words may never have been spoken. The game was long and slowed by some cold weather. Where we had seats the sun was helping out with the warmth. It was a good omen to have the only section where we did not freeze. Bob left just before the 7th inning stretch. It will not be the last time I see Bob as there is a Social Media Suite in Cleveland that is hosting he, Lori Martini, Ken Lee and I for the game on Wednesday April.25.
The game went extra before mercifully ending in the 11th inning with the Rangers taking the game 4-3. I was beginning to doze off. Something about being extra jet lagged and traveling another 1000 miles in 2 days tends to do that after already logging nearly 45000 Air Miles in the air. The Salters and I then headed to Malarkey Sports Bar in grill on the south side of Detroit near where they live in Flat Rock. It was an awesome pizza dinner and was a great chance to catch up with these guys. Later that evening, Anthony Salter drove me the hour and a half north to the Flint Michigan Airport. Since I had to cancel a flight with Air Tran, this was my only way to fly into San Francisco. I would still have to drive to Oakland.
MLB Park # 23 Day # 18
4 CWS @ OAK 0
One of the things that I can’t control on these kind of trips is when the travel sector lets me down. On the previous week to this trip I had my jacket stolen right out off of a flight to Minnesota. I never had a chance to replace the jacket until I flew into San Francisco this morning. My one way car rental had me starting the day in San Francisco and returning the car to Oakland International Airport in the morning. It is a free airport to airport deal I discovered through National Car Rental in the States of California and Florida. Now that I had several hours before the 1st pitch in Oakland, I was able to spend some time down on the Fisherman’s Wharf.
I parked on the street for a few dollars and proceeded to buy 2 San Francisco jackets and a named brand pair of shoes for under $50. The Pier 39 area always has superb prices for high quality clothing. This is exactly why I waited until SF for purchasing new items. I had ripped up my dress shoes while sprinting for double-header attempts. There are always Casualties of War on the road such as this. I have a motto adapted from my old man, ‘replace it right away and just keep moving on. You are on vacation so you may have to buy some new things.’ I also ate at one of the best restaurants in the world in the Boudin Sourdough Restaurant. They have the best bread on the planet.
With a full stomach I made my way to Oakland. This is the 30th ranked facility in the Majors. There is no dressing this park up in any fashion. To make matter worse, the club staff always seems to have attitude even though are only pockets of people at the game that care about the team. The game itself was not a bad pitching matchup with Jake Peavey against Bartolo Colon (who has found the fountain of youth). Halfway through the game Adam Dunn launched a gargantuan blast into the right field stand for the lead. Adam Dunn is showing everyone that he can put last years utter catastrophe behind him and be a contributing factor to the White Sox.
I also was able to see Yoenis Cespedes in the flesh for the first time. This kid can swing it like “Helen Keller” at a pinata party. He will strike out 200 times this year and probably club 30 HRs for the team. I am also thinking he will end with a Jack Cust like .240 average. Still this was a good signing for the Athletics. Everyone will always watch this kids at bats with sheer excitement. I think the A’s are made the right decision to scale the roster back even more until they have a new stadium to support a bigger payroll. Give the Rangers and Angels 3 or 4 more years to age and then take a run at the AL West. There was no real danger of missing anything this night. I parked for free at the game and had a short drive to the Concord Best Western to stay. The next day was yet another single game to attend.
MLB Park #24 Day # 19
5 LAA @ TB 0
I like Tropicana Field. It may be the 29th ranked baseball park amongst experts, but it is a family atmosphere inside and quite cozy. The team has been one of the better on field performers in the last 5 years. Solid ownership and crafty scouting has this team competing with the big boys. I flew all the way from Oakland to arrive at Tampa International Airport at 4:00 PM sharp. The drive in was aided by an awesome car rental from National. I was fully upgraded to a Nissan Altima that only had 5000 miles on it and drove smooth. After another hearty meal at Wendy’s that featured a family sized chili(both healthy and put out the vibe for stadium purchases) I secured a great parking spot for $5 just up the street.
The game was not going to be threatened by rain and for this I was happy. There are certain two-day stretches in every streak where I give myself a reprieve from bad weather chances. When you put Oakland and Tampa Bay back to back this late in the game it helps to be in warm climates. I was seeing David Price pitch on this night, so this was another reason to be excited. It is my belief that he may be the best young Left Handed Pitcher in the game today. Price continues to gain confidence every year.
It is weird to see Albert Pujols struggle so much in this early season. In fact, heading into the month of May, I have the exact amount of home runs of as the big slugger. I will tell you who was hitting the hell out of the ball that night. Carlos Pena, Luke Scott, Desmond Jennings and B.J Upton all hit solo home runs. Seeing this game almost reminded me of the game I watched on TV in 1987 in which the Toronto Blue Jays pounded out a Major League Record 10 home runs at Exhibition Stadium. It is still kind of rare to see a game in which a team hits 4 home runs. I kind of liked it. I was happy the game ended on time and I made it back to a free upgrade from Best Western. It was a smooth game and end of three consecutive days where I only had to watch single games in three straight days.
The Record Streak: MLB Parks 25-30
MLB Park # 25 Day # 20
COL 2 @ PIT 1
Douglas ‘Chuck’ Booth (Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- My stay in Tampa Bay was a nice one the night before(despite having to commandeering a neighboring hotel just to do some laundry at midnight.) I was too fired up to sleep and there was no chance at all I would risk sleeping in on this day. I had known for a while that this was going to be an epic day. Since the fallout of the missed doubleheader for Cleveland and Baltimore was first established on that San Diego flight, I looked forward to this day thoroughly. The plan was put together the previous week. Once the Cleveland Indians had invited myself and 3 others to their baseball suite, I made some magic fly. Lori Martini flew into Pittsburgh with me via a connector flight in Baltimore on Southwest Airlines. I had not seen Lori since the Boston Red Sox game on Patriots Day. We boarded the flight to Pittsburgh and kept reviewing the plan of the impending doubleheader.
When we landed in Pittsburgh, Ken Lee was waiting for us and we made it PNC Park with plenty of time to park and buy tickets. Lori and I walked the whole concourse and saw all this beautiful park had to offer. Amongst the only few drawbacks n the park, was that the really need to give the place a fresh coat of paint and repair the weather-beaten scoreboard. On the menu for the morning were Buffalo Wings and pizza from Diamond(the pizzeria directly in the left field stands.) The Pepperoni pizza was a pretty good deal in being an 18 inch pie for $21. The Buffalo Wings from Steak and Lube were satisfactory.
The seats we had are one of the better valued price tickets in the Major Leagues. Left Field bleacher tickets for $13 each. It is General Admission seating so there were plenty of seats. Even with the extra 30% added for this being considered a Premium game(don’t get Lori Martini started on this rant-lol) the value was still good. The game was going at an incredible clip. James McDonald was throwing a no-hitter through the first 5 innings. He was the same guy who broke up Matt Cain‘s potential perfect game the week before. During the entire streak, I had a pitcher do this about 12 out of the 30 games I witnessed. It was not to be. Colorado tied the game up in the 8th inning to throw a quick wrench into our plans.
I can explain the adrenalin phenomenon to people as much as I like for these doubleheader scenarios, unless it actually comes to fruition during the game, then people just don’t have a clue. Ken Lee was already waiting in the parking spot just across the street waiting for Lori and I to come sprinting out once the game was over. Lori and I started pacing near the home plate exits. It was all too familiar for me. Without any doubt, an extra inning game with a lengthy time period would be devastating. We were to be special guests of the Cleveland Indians and I didn’t want that to be compromised in any fashion.
While Ken and Lori could have gone into the game at Progressive after the 1st pitch was thrown, I might have had to listen to it in the car. This also meant only tying the record. Stressful situations were playing out in my mind. Lori was just as stressed as me, that is why we never noticed that Colorado actually took a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the 9th. We cheered for the visitors so vehemently that we drew the ire of some of the Pittsburgh fans. We bolted out of there when the last pitch was thrown. We were on easy street to make 1st pitch in Cleveland.
MLB Park # 26 Day # 20
KC 8 @ CLE 2
If ever there was a game on the field that secondary to what was going on in the park, it was this game. Ken Lee, Lori Martini and I headed up to the Indians Social Suite to meet up with Anne Keegan. It was nice to put a face to a name that we had been communicating with. Within 2 minutes of meeting her, we can see why everyone that has ever met her completely raves about her attitude. She was so accommodating as a host. Anne talked with each of us individually in order to have our stories down straight. She had said that there would be a special guest coming into the suite soon after the game started. After we all ate in the Press Room next door, (which was an incredible assortment of food) the game started. There were about 7 other guests in the suite with us. The Indians pride themselves on this new social media suite. The place is reserved for special fans that are contributing to the game in a positive manner. They encourage using Facebook and Twitter in the suite and to follow some of the Cleveland Indians players and front office. In my opinion, all of the MLB teams should adopt the blue print set forth by this forward thinking organization. About 20 minutes after the game started in walked the guest. It took me about 2 seconds flat to realize that it was Indians team president Mark Shapiro.
The man could not have been any cooler. Mark knew my record streak, all about the games and the days and was genuine in wishing me the best to beat the record. I was in awe of how down to earth he was. I stood there engaged in conversation for a lengthy one on one chat with former General Manager. Soon I introduced Mr. Shapiro to Lori Martini and watched as he further demonstrated all his insights on her resume as a ballpark chaser. Right in the social media suite was now Miss Martini’s bobblehead doll from her short film ‘Caught’. Lori had already sent a press kit to all Major League Baseball teams and their affiliates at the end of March of who her and I were. That I was doing the streak this year and Lori is going for the women’s record in 2013. The Indians soon made the connection when we started emailing who was going to be with me for the trip. Not only did we get our picture taken with Mark Shapiro, we all talked to him for an inning. To this date the Team President has retweeted several of my posts and I am thankful each time. I am hoping to meet Mark Shapiro again one day and talk more baseball and about all of the parks.
After Mr. Shapiro left, Matthew Van Wormer interviewed Lori and I from “DidtheTribeWinLastNight.com.” It was an interview that talked about the new term of ‘ballpark chasers’ and what our trips all mean in the grand scheme of things. Lori was able to explain that this kind of trip should be made into a webseries on TV-and that we are just the people to do it next year. You can read the article here. The night was still not over. The Cleveland Indians also had Lori and I do a video interview that will be displayed on their website shortly. By the time this all ended the game was becoming a runaway for the Kansas City Royals over the Cleveland Indians. The Final score of 8-2 flattered the Indians. Ken Lee, Lori Martini and I left this facility having a higher regard for the ball club and its PR Department. This new-found information propels the Park into the top 15 of all MLB Parks now. If this is the kind of staff that are running the whole park then the team just needs to be competitive again before all of the people come back. The fans all need to know how much this staff cares about them, I would work for these people in a heartbeat and I am a Yankees fan! There was a minor scare at Cleveland airport that I will talk about in the book version of the trip. I do not want to take any positivity away from this exceptional night at the park.
MLB Park # 27 Day # 21
SF 6 @ CIN 5
Great American Ball Park
The previous night in Cleveland had been such an upper. By the time Ken Lee and I left the Cleveland area it was well after 5:30 AM in the morning. We hauled down the highways of 71-75 and 70 to arrive at the Great American Ballpark for 10:30 AM. We were both tired and had a tough time getting geared up for this game. Technically, we were not seeing the game together as Ken drove onwards to Chicago right away. I needed him to pick me up from the ORD Airport. Initially I was supposed to head up to the CVG Airport for a rental car but it was not going to work out due to weird circumstances (yet another post-mortem deal that will be explained in a book somewhere.)
In a trip that has all happened for a reason, I was let out of the car right in front of the cab area after the game. I asked a couple of vendors if the area where the cabs all sit and they replied ‘yes.’ I needed a fast getaway. At the very least, I was without a bunch of luggage and traveling light. The game featured Ryan Vogelsong vs Homer Bailey for the Reds. I was watching the entire festivities from the 3rd base concourse. I met up with a couple of locals. They used me as a person to get a secondary beer since I don’t drink. Apparently the new rule around baseball is that your are only allowed to get one drink per id in the parks. This must have been mandated out of New York.
I really like the park at the Great American Ball Park. The Ohio River is an incredible backdrop. This is the 1st franchise ever in MLB. Absent from the park is #14 Pete Rose, the lifetime ban also includes no mention of the player in the park and his number is not retired on the wall. If you go to the Cincinnati Hall of Fame across the street you will see much homage to the ‘Big Red Machine.’ Highlighted by the museum are 4192 baseballs cascading throughout the 5 stories of the place. These baseballs are not all of the baseballs he hit naturally, it is simply to show you how many hits that he punched out in a marvelous career. The Cincinnati fans are ready for a winner and the park exemplifies this. With Albert Pujols moving to the American League, this should even out the playing field for the Reds.
Fast forward to the top of the ninth, the Giants were trailing 5-3 on homers by Scott Rolen and Jay Bruce. Homer Bailey had come up with a quality start for the Reds scattering 3 runs. The Giants worked the 1st two batters on baseball and made me panic. At worst though I have an advantage. As long as the visitors take the lead outright or lose when trailing then I am okay. The only result that cuts like a knife is an outright. Angel Pagan had me cheering with a 3 run home run to take the lead 6-5. How quickly the pendulum can swing, I was now cheering for the SF Giants to close the game out with their closer. The game was nearing the 3 hour mark. I am so happy that the Reds schedule their day matinée’s at 12:35 PM. Realistically, I would be okay until the 4 PM area. It should only have been around a 20 minute ride to the airport. I never was in doubt the game would end quick. I raced out to the cab 19 seconds after the game ended. Ken Lee told me he was in gridlock traffic 100 miles out of Chicago. This party was just started, I would have to worry about everything in Chicago.
MLB Park # 28 Day # 21
BOS 10 @ CWS 3
US Cellular Field
The picture says it all. I made 1st pitch of Game #28. It would be the last doubleheader of the trip and I executed on 7 out of the 9 days. In the four attempts all time, I closed out 25 doubleheader opportunities with 19 converted doubleheaders or 76%, 7 out of the 9 doubleheaders this year is 77.7% conversion rate, so it was within the average numbers. Ken Lee gets full credit for waiting out a huge car-transportation truck fire in which 10 luxury cars blew up in a fire wreaking havoc on traffic. Ken made it to ORD by 5:45. We were still looking to be in some trouble. At 26 miles out from the yard, we had log-jammed traffic. Enter GPS Navigation System. Ken bought a brand new GPS system in Minnesota the week before. It served us well traveling in and out of the rural areas. When we were fully back onto highway 90/94 again Ken and I decided to gun for it. GPS wanted to steer us out by the rural area gain. We didn’t listen to her and made it to the park with 20 minutes to spare.
It was so cold in the game I had a tough time keeping warm. US Cellular Field is going to plummet down the rankings of the parks. Strike 1: Tickets at their facility are $25 at the cheapest, which is the same as the price of parking. Strike 2: You are pigeon-holed into your designated ticket area, meaning if you want to see all of the park you must buy a field level ticket for the price of about $50. Strike 3: for Us Cellular Field is that the warmest place during a cold night is the friggin mens washroom. How about hot zones in the concourses fellas! Your park goes in to the bottom third of the league. The game was a snoozefest and the yada, yada yada, the Red Sox won. At least Ken Lee was happy because he is a big fan.
MLB Park # 29 Day # 22
MIL 1 @ STL 13
Nobody was watching the forecast more in the month of April than me. Ken Lee and I had stayed at a cheap motel in Monee IL after the successful doubleheader attempts two days in a row. Halfway into the drive to Cincinnati the day before Lori Martini called me to tell me that she had my driver’s license because the Best Western we all stayed in Cleveland, had failed to return it to me when checking in or out. I know I should have been more careful. Thank goodness that Lori checked out 4 hours later than Ken and me. I was able to organize a one-way rental for Lori from Cleveland to LGA at National Car Rental. She got to drive a DODGE CHARGER all the way back to New York City for $10. Ken and I were still in our rental car that we both chipped in for from ORD. Now I am telling everyone this as to show what we were up against in the next 29-32 hours here.
The Game at Busch looked like weather was going to play a factor. Ken Lee drove the 5 hours to St. Louis from Monee IL. The next days drive was going to be 14 hours from St. Louis to Baltimore. Ken would try to get 2 hours of sleep before the game. Ken and I arrived at Caleco’s downtown at 4 PM. Ken was more nervous about the weather than even me. I honestly try not to worry about anything unless it is happening right in the timeline of the game. At one point we were discussing all plausible scenario in the event of a rain out. Ken and I ate our lunch and then found a great parking spot right next to the gate we were walking into. Ken was battling fatigue. I too usually run into a few walls after about 8-10 on the road. Ken was experiencing this. He did not need to see every out like me so I told him to pick up his 4 1/2 innings before retreating to the car. Ken texted me I may have to do some driving. I agreed to do this before so I was cool with it. Actually having 7 hours of straight sleep the previous night boded well for me.
The sun prevailed before I entered Busch and the threat of rain was non-existent. I really like the St. Louis Cardinals this year even with out Albert Pujols. Yadier Molina is one of the best hitting catchers, David Freeze is one of the better hitters in the NL if he can stay healthy at all, Matt Holiday is a solid hitter. You add the usual cast of characters with solid pitching and you will see these guys compete for the NL Central crown this year. The Milwaukee Brewers replaced Prince Fielder‘s contract with the signing Aramis Ramirez for third base. The problem is that Ramirez only seems to hit in the second half. A couple of players like Corey Hart and Nyjer Morgan had productive and timely hitting seasons last year. I am not sure Nyjer Morgan will have an average near.300 and with less protection, Corey Hart may not duplicate his strong offensive out put. Hart to his credit, has started out with decently. The Brewers had no fight in this game as they lost 13-1. I only had one game left to see. I took the driver’s side door and we left the city of St. Louis. All that stood in the way of the record was some weather and a 14 hour drive.
MLB Park # 30 Day # 23
OAK 1 @ BAL 10
Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Douglas “Chuck” Booth (Baseball Writer)- The game had wrapped up in Busch Stadium for what was game #29. My wing-man Ken Lee, had done some great driving work to help me with 2 straight double-header even before heading to St. Louis. As we left the city on I-70, I took on the duties of driving. Ken had exhausted himself in the process of helping me. I started the 1st 8 hours of driving towards Baltimore. This would be park number 30 in only 23 days. For me I knew this would mean another world record. In the back of my mind it was a long time between cities so I was gearing up to face the challenge. I was rested up as much as I had been in several weeks. The driving was actually a nice change from being a passenger.
I have driven the same stretch of highway several times in my life. I was thinking about the entire trip thus far and how it had tested both of my mental and physical fortitude like no other trip in my life ever had. I was earning this last game with an 840 mile car ride. Ken and I switched seats after a hearty breakfast at a Waffle House right outside of Columbus Ohio. We were monitoring the weather report for Camden Yards through Ken’s phone. It looked more and more like rain was to play a factor at the park. I had been so lucky up to this point of the trip, because only 4 games out of the 29 games had come under rain alert and 2 of those parks had dome’s(TOR and SEA).
Ken Lee and I made it to Camden Yards at 5:20 PM and we were immediately greeted with a monsoon of rain. We were soon joined by Lori Martini and Roger Ratzenberger. We all watched the pregame ceremony that honored the Baltimore Orioles greats of Earl Weaver, Eddie Murray and the guest of honor: ‘Frank Robinson.’ The clouds still persisted on and rain flooded down on us. At times I was becoming a little unnerved by it all. A rain out would be devastating. It meant I could only tie my Guinness Book of World Record. Or…. If the game had started and then was suspended, I would be disqualified if there was not a final. The only way I could avoid this was if they resumed the exact game the next day and even that would mean I just would tie the record.
The game started under crazy rain. Thank goodness that Ken Lee had received a free umbrella as a giveaway promotion at Target Field, otherwise we would have all been soaked. Lori and I had purchased food from the restaurant closest to the Warehouse building. I ate a BBQ pulled pork sandwich with bacon and fries, while Lori ate a crab cake sandwich. Roger and Ken both made purchases from Boog’s Barbecue pit in right center, with Ken eating a Turkey Sandwich and Roger buying a double meat BBQ pork sandwich. Our seats were in the 1st row of section 96.
I love the national anthem at Camden Yards because the crowd yells ‘O’ when the song goes, ‘o say’. It was really nice to see 26000 fans at this park. If the Baltimore Orioles maintain their early start-then the fans should come back to this beautiful baseball cathedral. The pitching matchup was not a good one with Tyson Ross of the A’s hurling against Wie-Yin Chen of the Orioles. The 1st few innings were just painful to watch because of the rain and slow pitching. All I needed was the game to hit the bottom of the 5th inning with the Baltimore Orioles winning and the record was mine. Baltimore amassed a 6-0 lead heading into the 4th inning for which I was very happy. I keep telling for all to hear, that a home team win saves about 10-12 minutes because they don’t have to hit in the bottom portion of the inning when the game is over.
The rain finally let up in the middle innings and we all started to breathe a little easier. Once the bottom of the 5th hit people were texting me and tweeting me congratulations. I was happy for this but Baltimore was leading 6-0 at the time. As funny as it seems, the game was not entirely over. If the A’s scored 6 runs to tie the game before a postponement, the game would go down as a no-contest and thus I would be disqualified from my streak. I had a similar occurrence to this is 2008. Flashback: (I was watching a game at US Cellular in my second game of the trip when the Sox blew a 9th inning lead and the game was tied at 5-5. The rains came down with a feverish ferocity. If I was an umpire, I would have called for a delay. I couldn’t watch or listen as the Sox batted in the bottom of the 10th. Enter A.J Pierzynski to the game. He swung at the 1st pitch offered and crushed a thunderous blast into the mezzanine at US Cellular Field to end the game. It was a scene out of a movie. I never saw where the ball landed but the crowd went beserk while my streak was preserved,) but let’s get back to this game though.
There was not much else that would stop me and the game ended with an Orioles 10-1 win. I beat my old record of 2009 by 1 day. I saw a MLB game in each of the 30 MLB Parks(for every single pitch of each contest) in only 23 calendar days from April.6th to April.28th. I have traveled 55000 miles in the air and about 10000 miles on the ground by car, train, bus, Subway, Taxi’s and walking. I endured 3 mechanical plane delays that cost me a chance to attempt 3 more double-headers, but that it the way it goes. I told most people, I thought I would bring in a 30-23 attempt anyway. This is a record I think that will never be broken. This schedule was unique this year in that more clubs scheduled matinee’s because the season ends on October 3rd and the clubs all like to give themselves every chance to complete a game should there be a delay. I have looked at the MLB schedule for 4 straight years and never even an attempt that bested 30-23.
While chasing down this record, it was my goal to prove to Major League Baseball that the best marketing tool they have is watching games live in person. I wanted to show them that by going to all of the parks and using Social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter, that I could create a buzz. Yes, it also helps that I write for this website here. That is why I can’t thank Jonathan Hacohen enough for his fandom of baseball. Jonathan and I first met when I was interacting with last year’s MLB Fancave guys Mike O’ Hara and Ryan Wagner. I sent him a copy of my novel chronicling the last streak I went on in 2009. From there, he wrote a great review for it and a follow-up interview. I then wrote a guest article for the World Series and then by January, I was writing full articles on a weekly basis. At the end of January, floated the notion to him that I was thinking about another record trip. I explained to him that I wanted to do a 93 article series with previews, expert interviews and post-game write-ups for each park. He was game for the coverage. I finally met Jonathan in Toronto for a game. His passion for the game is unlike any other I have seen. I am happy to be writing for this website because Jonathan embraces fandom like his. We are pleased to say that we will be chronicling baseball journeys with a dedicated page always at the Reports.
So from the time I bought my first tickets and plane fares on February.26 until now, it has been an incredible ride. A lot of people thought I was crazy in going for this record again, and for this I understand. I was lucky enough to have some help from Southwest Airlines, National Car Rental, Best Western Hotels and Air Tran Airways. These four companies are simply the best travel companies in the country and their dedication to customer service is a big reason why I was able to pull this off. Southwest not having bag fees or change of flight fees saved my life when I had to change 5 game dates and flights during a hard travel night in San Diego. It was a night where I had to think fast on my feet and my rescheduled plan worked out perfectly.
Now it is time to thank the people who helped me. It is a countless amount of ballpark chasers around the country. I will start with the chasers that attended games with me. Ken Lee went to 9 games with me and was my driver for the last third of the trip. Bob Devries was with me for 3 games. Roger Ratzenberger was with me for 2 games including the finale. Ben Fallon, The Salter Family and the Narry Families were with me for games in San Francisco and Detroit. I visited with Meg Minard in Colorado and Doug Miller joined Ken Lee and I in Seattle. I also met RJ Breisacher in New York for the Yankees game and he was able to pass along the news of how awesome the Cleveland Indians franchise was in hosting him and celebrating his own baseball journey. I also met Steve Fekete in Angel Stadium, who was not only there with me until last pitch in LA but called me to alert of a traffic jam at near midnight when I was driving back from San Diego for an over night flight from Los Angeles. Had Steve not phoned me with this information I would have missed this flight to Dallas that night.
Then there is Lori Martini. This incredible baseball fan really brought my level of enthusiasm up for this streak like no one ever has! Lori has been to 41 MLB Parks in history (including all 30 current MLB Parks and 11 defunct parks). I had asked her in 2009 to be part of my featured profiles for my baseball book that came out last year. Inever knew her last name or information so it wasn’t to be but ironically enough, she replied to that message I left her on the same day the novel went live in 2011. Last June we sent a few messages back and forth and agreed that it would be awesome to meetup in Miami for a game when her Mets were to first visit New Marlins Ball Park. We thought that a meeting amongst some of the most extreme ballpark chasers would be a good way to really nail down a review of the new park. (Lori has since written a review of the New Marlins Ball Park that is amongst the highest viewed online and can be found here)
Lori sent me a message this last February that she would be unable to attend the Mets game in Florida because her short film ‘CAUGHT’ was playing in the Women’s International Film Festival in late March. She would be attending an exhibition game during that weekend. I sent her back a message explaining I was probably going to have to cancel because of my streak pursuit. Lori was so fired up about the prospect of my streak that she fully had me pumped to finally pull the trigger 100% on the trip and make it epic. As I continued to relay messages back and forth with this lifetime Mets Fan (funny because I love the Yankees), I realized Lori was adamant about wanting to do this streak herself one day and set the record for Females. I told her about the parameters of such a streak chase and what it entailed. From that point forward it has been an incredible wave of sharing baseball knowledge and working as a team on my trip, with a look forward to Lori’s impending trip in 2013.
Since March.15, Lori and I have been on a media blitz. We first were interviewed as top ballpark chasers by the Miami Herald Newspaper. Since then, we have done countless interviews for the streak in the form of Radio, TV, Newspaper, Podcast and blogging networks. Lori has been on a roll with her music and film career as well in addition to finally receiving recognition as the top ‘Female Ball Park Chaser’ of all-time. Lori attended 7 ballparks with me on this journey. She was part of two successful doubleheader attempts. I say that she had brought ‘lady luck’ to this attempt. It was a good demo sample for her to see the entire scope of what one of these trips brings forth. Lori has since joined this website as a writer and we are fortunate to have her. She is pretty, smart, witty and is the most talented person I have ever met.
So to Lori Martini I write: “I simply can’t thank you enough for your dedication in helping me achieve my dreams once again. Your exuberance, energy and loyalty through this entire process helped keep me level, focused and striving towards my goal. You are the only one that I have ever met that has chased their-own dreams with as much determination (or more than me.) With my trip being officially over now, I now pass the torch over to you for your baseball record attempt in the summer of 2013. Just like you were there for me for this trip in 2012, I will be there for you in 2013, sharing my wisdom and expertise with this category so that you can finally see the recognition you deserve!
Lori Martini at PNC Park-1 of 7 games she joined Chuck Booth for
Chuck Booth and Lori Martini @ Yankee Stadium 5/1/2012
Douglas “Chuck” Booth (Baseball Writer)- The road baseball games are done for the year. Sure I will still see about 5-6 more games at Safeco Field, but nothing beats going to games on the road! It is has been 10 days since I officially broke my own Guinness Book of World Record by going to all 30 MLB Parks in 23 days. After the streak, I decided to slowly wane myself off of baseball by watching another 5 games in 4 Parks during 8 days. Those parks were Citizens Bank Ball Park, Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium and Citi Field for 2 games. We are talking about 4 awesome places to watch baseball. Lest we forget the Season Opener I also went to at Citi in case of a retro-active decision.
Ken Lee and I continued our journey together by watching a game at Citizens Bank Park in Philly. I have this parked rated about 13th in the Major Leagues. It was a hot sunny day after we had experienced a bunch of rain in Baltimore for the finale of the streak. Ken is seeing all 30 MLB Parks himself this year and I promised him to accompany him to Philadelphia, Boston and New York if I was done the streak in time. I was thankful that it turned out that way. Really, as if fate stepped in, I was able to hold all of my promises with fellow chasers in the midst of still reaching my goal. We witnessed the Philadephia Phillies continue to struggle to the anemic Cubs club. It was the first time I had left a game early all year, however there were no Guinness Rules to adhere to. Ken and I made out way to Wethersfeld CT. We would stay in the same hotel for 2 nights in a row, as the place was almost perfectly in the middle of New York and Boston.
At Fenway Park, we had Upper Deck Roof tickets. Half of the fun this day was driving to the game. Ken and I picked up his nephew Sean from the next town over from our hotel. We dined at a local fast food restaurant in order to save a few dollars. On the way to the game, we drove right up to the vehicle of Carl Beane several times-(he is the voice of Fenway Park-and has a spare tire cover that features a baseball). In a trip that seems to have been all determined by fate, it was a sign of things to come. We parked at the closest spot to the right field bleachers. Yes it cost $50, but all 3 of us were tired of fighting Boston traffic. Thankfully our tickets were bought at less than face value. We made it to the right field upper deck roof level and met up with Brian. Lori Martini and I had met Brian a few
weeks prior on Patriots day and it was nice to see him once again. He is a real character in person. About 3 minutes later, and I am not making this up because we have pictures, team president and partial owner Larry Lucchino is standing right behind us. Ken motions for me to turn around. I graciously extended my hand to Larry and told him of my story. He congratulated me on a job well done and thought my record was cool. Ken is the biggest Red Sox fan I knew and it was nice to see him meet Larry as well. The whole game was secondary but the Boston Red Sox won 11-6 over the Athletics. Brian had purchased three of my books “The Fastest Thirty Ballgames” and I signed them for him. Brian introduced us to all of the people at Fenway who work in the area. Whenever I come back to Fenway Park,(even as a Yankees fan) I will always buy tickets for the RF Upper Roof Deck.
Next on the docket was Yankee Stadium. I was happy to see the Yankees as I had only seen them once during the streak. I missed my only chance to see them in Baltimore when my flight was delayed in San Diego. Ken and I stopped for lunch before heading to New York. We were picking up Lori before going to the game at Yankee Stadium. That is when chaos ensued. We had stopped in Brooklyn for something to eat and misread the parking signs. We exited the place we were eating at to find the rental car was gone! To make it a bullet style point here, the car was towed to the Brooklyn Navy Lot and it cost an arm and a leg to get it out. There was a wait time that fully jeopardized us from making first pitch in the Bronx. We finally were released the car and picked Lori up. I am happy to say that we made it through the turnstiles with 3 minutes to spare before opening pitch. Again with no real rules on the line here, Ken and I still preserved our own streaks of making 1st pitches at games we have attended in MLB Parks. I am about 150 games into this streak and Ken has never missed a 1st pitch to my knowledge. We met up with Roger Ratzenberger for the game, thus began another baseball game for us 4 chasers to attend.
5 days later we would all met up in Citi Field for my final game. In some what dramatic fashion due to a New York Cyclist race, we were pressed to make 1st pitch. Lori, Ken and I walked through the special Delta Sky Box entrance to gain access to the building at 1:09 PM. Talk about leaving everything until the last-minute. Lori and I had gone to the Mets game the previous day as well and met up with Marc Smilow and his family. Again, I must say that the best part of this entire baseball journey is all of the friends and new people I have met. Haley Smilow is Marc’s daughter and she has done some interviews of Major League players. Marc also brings his wife and son out to different ballparks and they all talk about their experiences on their dedicated website. It is a great idea and I hope to see them all at the yard next year when Lori establishes the new Guinness Record for Females attending all 30 MLB parks in the least amount of days.
Back to Sunday’s game. The Mets won the contest 4-3 and I am officially 4-0 for the home team in games attended at Citi Field. Maybe they should hire me to stay in the States and watch all of their games? Despite being a Yankees fan at heart, I would gladly take any other opportunity to watch baseball. For the third time in 9 days, Roger, Lori, Ken and I were at a different ballpark together. Maybe we can all see some more baseball next year. So now that my huge journey is over I will avert my attention back to the baseball that is played on the field a little more. The adrenalin of making first pitch or catching that method of transportation will be put on the back burner for a while The good thing with baseball is that there is always tomorrow to look forward to and another season!
The gang got back together for one more game at Citi Field.
The Original schedule of games for the 30/20 attempt that was later switched to what ended up being the final schedule of 30/23.
Game # 1 Day # 1 Saturday April.07 Angels Stadium in Anaheim 1:05 PM
Game # 2 Day # 1 Saturday April.07 Petco Park in San Diego 5:35 PM (I Have 2 doubleheader attempts with SD as Game 2 of the day)
Game # 3 Day # 2 Sunday April.08 Minute Maid Park in Houston 1:05 PM
Game # 4 Day # 2 Sunday April.08 The Ballpark in Arlington 7:05 PM
Game # 5 Day # 3 Monday April.09 Citizens Bank Ball Park in Philadelphia 1:05 PM (Citizens Bank Ball Park Season Opener)
Game # 6 Day # 3 Monday April.09 Citi Field in New York
Game # 7 Day # 4 Tuesday April.10 Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles 1:05 PM (Dodger Stadium Season Opener)
Game # 7 Day # 4 Tuesday April.10 Petco Park in San Diego 7:05 if necessary **** (2nd attempt at SD)
Game # 8 Day #5 Wednesday April.11 Progressive Field in Cleveland 12:05 PM
Game # 9 Day #5 Wednesday April.11 Oriole Park in Camden Yards 7:05 PM
Game # 10 Day #6 Thursday April.12 Coors Field 1:05 PM
Game #11 Day # 7 Friday April.13 AT&T Park in San Francisco 1:35 PM (AT & T Park Season Opener)
Game # 12 Day # 8 Saturday April.14 Target Field in Minnesota 12:10 PM
Game # 13 Day # 9 Sunday April.15 Rogers Center in Toronto 1:07 PM
Game # 14 Day # 9 Sunday April.15 Yankees Stadium in the Bronx 8:05 PM
(Game # 15 Day #10 Monday April.16 Fenway Park in Boston 11:05 AM
Game # 16 Day #10 Monday April.16 Nationals Park in Washington 7:05 PM
Game # 17 Day #11 Tuesday April.17 New Marlins Ballpark 7:05 PM
Game # 18 Day #12 WED April.18 Turner Field in Atlanta 12:10 PM
Game # 19 Day #12 WED April.18 Busch Stadium in St. Louis 7:15 PM
Game # 20 Day #13 THUR April.19 Safeco Field in Seattle 7:10 PM
Game # 21 Day # 14 Friday April.20 Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City 7:10 PM
Game # 22 Day # 15 SAT. April.21 Wrigley Field in Chicago 12:00 PM
Game # 23 Day # 15 SAT. April.21 Miller Park in Milwaukee 6:05 PM
Game # 24 Day # 16 SUN. April.22 Chase Field in Phoenix 1:10 PM
Game # 25 Day # 17 MON. April.23 O.co Coliseum in Oakland 7:05 PM
Game # 26 Day # 18 TUES April.24 Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay 7:05 PM
Game # 27 Day # 19 WED. April.25 PNC Park in Pittsburgh 12:35 PM
Game # 28 Day # 19 WED. April.25 Comerica Park in Detroit 7:05 PM
Game # 29 Day # 20 THU. April.26 Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati 12:35 PM
Game # 30 Day # 20 THU. April.26 US Cellular Field in Chicago 7:11 PM
Friday Apr.27/2012 Day #21 ****** If Necessary to make up a game.
Saturday Apr.28/2012 Day #22 ******If Necessary to make up a game.
Sunday Apr.29/2012 Day #23 ******If Necessary to make up a game.
Monday Apr.30/2012 Day#24 ******If Necessary to tie the Guinness Book of World Record.
NEWS MEDIA ARTICLE BEFORE THE STREAK
By Jacllyn Tersigni of The Toronto Star April.5/2012
Record-holder aims to visit 30 major-league parks in 20 days — with help from his rewards program
In 2009, baseball aficionado Douglas “Chuck” Booth set a Guinness World Record when he toured all 30 major league baseball parks in only 24 days. On Thursday, he is setting out to break his own record. And he’s doing it with the help of Air Miles.
MICHAEL DESJARDINS FOR THE TORONTO STAR: Baseball fan Douglas “Chuck” Booth of B.C. has amassed roughly 10o,000 Air Miles in 20 years of collecting. He says he gathers 500 to 600 a month with basic spending.“I’m trying to make it in 20 days,” says Booth, a courier and baseball blogger based in White Rock, B.C. “And I’m using Air Miles for a lot of my hotels and car rentals.”
During his 2009 streak, Air Miles earned him 10 one-night stays at Best Western and 15 car rentals.
“Air Miles is (something) that people should get more accustomed to using because for travelling, it’s a lifesaver,” Booth says. “It’s one of the better rewards.”
Booth puts the total estimate of the 20-day trip at $10,000. He predicts Air Miles will cover up to $2,500 of that.
For those who prefer to travel by land more than air, rewards programs still offer great benefits.
“Usually the rules are for any sort of travel,” says Patrick Sojka, founder of Rewardscanada.ca. “You can book a hotel and redeem your points against that charge. You can book car rentals. And you can go beyond — you can book a tour or a cruise, [and] redeem points against it.
“(With) programs like Air Miles, you can redeem your points for gift cards for Shell. Or you have your Esso Extra, your Petro Points, the gas programs which definitely favour . . . the people on the road a lot.
“I’m going to save about $1,000 in car rentals and I’m going to save about $1,000 in lodging because I have the Best Western gift cards (purchased with Air Miles),” Booth says.
He amassed roughly 100,000 Air Miles in 20 years and 10,000 Miles were of collected and saved without redeeming, before he made his first attempt at the record in 2008. He narrowly missed the record that year, when he saw 30 games in 29 days.
“I’ve never quite gotten back up to 10,000 again,” he says. “As of right now, I do still collect about 500 or 600 a month with basic spending.”
Recognizing good deals is key to making the most out of your Air Miles, Booth says. “It’s knowing what an Air Mile is worth when you’re going to shop.” It’s also knowing the best offers for redemption. Booth looks at car rentals in each state to find the best deals, and calls Air Miles operators to hear the one-night rates at Best Westerns in each city. Best Western is one of many hotels that also offer loyalty program cards. “If you are a huge road warrior — on the road a lot and in hotels — look at hotel reward programs because they are flexible, they’re very rewarding and very easy to use,” Sojka advises.
Beyond redeeming Air Miles for hotel stays and car rentals, Booth has figured out a way to turn his miles into cash. When the Jays were on a hot streak in 2008, Booth redeemed points for ticket vouchers, which start at about 50 Air Miles for 500 level seats at the Rogers Centre. He then sold them on ebay, though for less than face value, a stipulation of Canadian law.
He used the profits to pay for all his lodging during his world record attempt that year.
“(Those) Air Miles helped me get about $3,000 in ticket sales,” Booth says. “You can really make them work to your advantage.”
Air Miles collectors no longer have to sell their reward items to get cash. The program now allows a choice of rewards as cash back or as miles to redeem, or a combination of both.
Booth leaves for his 2012 baseball road trip on Thursday. He will aim to see 30 games in 20 days.
“It’s kind of nice chasing your own record because you still win even if you don’t win,” Booth says. “I’m putting my travel expertise to the test in this one, for sure.”