Blog Archives

An Interview With Baseball Superfan And Photographer Jill Marie Workman

Thursday, December.13/2012

a  a jm 3

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner):

I recently had the privilege to meet Jill Workman on Twitter through a mutual friend.  We started talking about love for the game of baseball and sharing war stories of fandom.  I was extremely impressed with Jill’s devotion to baseball photography.  I think the MLB Fans have a certain rabidness towards the game that is both encompassing and inspirational.  That Jill will spend countless hours, at great individual cost, in order to ply her hobby as a photographer, represents the aforementioned qualities I just spoke of.  After filtering through thousands of her pictures, I wanted the whole baseball community (including our readers) to see her fine work.  I am glad that Jill agreed to do this interview.  There is always a place on this website to express the passionate people who make the MLB the best fans in the World! Read the rest of this entry

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Nick Swisher to Washington: The Nationals Are Looking to Add a Key Free Agent Bat to Their Lineup

Tuesday November 13th, 2012

Kyle Holland:  On Saturday, the Nationals announced that they were re-signing manager Davey Johnson for the 2013 season. With the Nats clearing up the managerial situation it leaves the rest of their offseason for signing free agents. One free agent they will start with is outfielder/first baseman Nick Swisher.

Swisher would be a great fit in a Washington uniform. He just recently rejected the Yankees offer of $13.3 million for one more year in New York. With Adam LaRoche declining his qualifying offer from the Nationals, they could let him walk and sign Swisher. Swisher has been known to play first base along with his usual outfield, so he could be a great replacement for LaRoche. Added versatility is always a bonus in today’s game. Read the rest of this entry

A Book Excerpt from ‘The Fastest 30 Ball Games’ The Great American Ball Park

Monday, July.30/2012

To Purchase this Book please click here

Original Print of the book was June 2011
Book Excerpt writeup By Douglas ‘Chuck’ Booth

“The Book Excerpt for The Great American Ball Park.  As it turned out I would have been disqualified for a dangerous driving ticket had I kept up with this streak attempt anyway.  During this game it was crazy because a rain delay in my favor saved the day.  It was also when I realized doing interviews might actually impede a streak.”

Game#4 Day#3
The Great American Ball Park
Cincinnati, OH
July.04/2008

It felt wrong from the time I made it to the Philadelphia Airport. It was a tough shuttle ride from the parking lot to arrive at a full security checkpoint-even at an early time of a 5:45 AM flight. I had flown out of PHL before-just never the dreaded ‘F’ gate. The fact you have to wait in yet another line for a shuttle to the gate is brutal. This caused me even more panic. I had to catch that flight to Indianapolis on time to make it to Cincinnati on time. One of the things I learned when booking all of these flights was that Cincy’s Int’l Airport (CVG) completely rips you off for fares to and from its fine city. I was at an all time frustration when I became the last person on the shuttle—and virtually sprinted to the jet-way to make it 2 seconds before they closed the security door for my US Airways Flight from Philly. Read the rest of this entry

Montreal Expos Drafting Record Part 2: The Pitchers

Wednesday June.27/2012

Note from Chuck Booth:  I am attempting to bring the history for each of the 30 MLB Franchises into a 5 part series that will focus on 1. The teams history. 2. The hitters 3. The pitchers. 4.  The Team’s Payroll going into in 2013 and 5. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.)  To follow all of the updates, be sure to check my author page with a list of all archived articles here.

Drafted in 1985 by the Montreal Expos, Randy Johnson was erratic in his early days. After trading away Mark Langston to acquire the young fireballer, the Mariners worked him into the rotation and he developed into a Hall of Famer.

Chuck Booth (Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-  When looking back at some of the pitchers that the Montreal Expos have had in their organization, you don’t have go down the list very far to find Randy Johnson.  He is the ‘crown jewel’ of the draft history record for the club.  It is unfortunate the ‘The Big Unit’ was traded to the Seattle Mariners with Brian Holman and Gene Harris to the Mariners for rental player Mark Langston and a player to be named later.  To be fair to the Montreal Expos, they were in serious contention for the pennant in 1989 and were trying to chase down the Chicago Cubs.  Langston was one of the top Left Handed Aces in the Majors and he was available.    Johnson was completely wild in the Minor Leagues and the Expos had a lot of veteran pitchers like Dennis Martinez and Bryn Smith that were on the back end of their careers.   The time to try and win was now and they could not wait for Johnson to come around.  The Expos did not succeed in capturing the pennant and Langston moved onto the California Angels as a free agent while Johnson blossomed into the premier left handed pitcher in his generation.   Speaking of Martinez and Smith, they won 100 and 81 games respectively for the club.  While they were not drafted by the Expos, they are 2nd and 3rd on the all-time win list.

Along with Smith and Dennis Martinez (who threw a perfect game as an Expo in 1991 and note:  Bill Stoneman also threw two no-hitters for the franchise), you have to factor in the career of Pedro Martinez as an Expo for guys that were great pitchers during their prime. Pedro was acquired prior to the 1994 season from the Dodgers in exchange for the Expos departed ALL-Star second baseman Delino DeShields.  Martinez went 11-5 in the strike shortened year and formed an impressive 1-2 ace combination with Ken Hill.  Pedro went onto a 55-33 record and a 3.06 ERA for his 4 year Expos career.   Pedro’s best year with the club was 1997 where he was the NL CY Young with a 17-8 record and a 1.90 ERA.  Martinez finished the year with 305 strikeouts and a ridiculous 13 complete games.  Pedro ended up signing with the  Boston Red Sox before the 1998 season and he ultimately won a World Series with the Beantowners in 2004.  In his post game celebration, Martinez mentioned the Expos franchise and their fans.  Pedro shared his triumph as a testament to them.  It was talent like this that Expos could never afford to resign and would lose outright- or have to trade for prospects based on their economic viability. I will get more into this in Part 3 of the Article Series on Friday. 

For Part 1 of the Article Series, The Hitters: click here

For Part 3 of the Article Series, The Demise:  click here

For Part 4 of the Article Series, The Washington Nationals Franchise 2005-2012: click here

For Part 5 of the Article Series, The Nats Best 25 Man Roster 2005-2012 click here

Read the rest of this entry

Top 10 Stat of the Week ( Career HRs With One Team )

Sunday June.24/2012

‘Hammering’ Hank passed the legendary Babe Ruth as the ALL-Time HR leader in 1974. Some still feel that he is the ALL-Time HR leader with the admitted steroid use from Leader Barry Bonds. –Photo courtesy of goldenagebaseballcards

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-  Seemingly gone are the days where most of the MLB players stick with one team for their whole careers.  As of right now there are not too many superstars that have spent their entire careers with one organization.  Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera are 1st ballot Hall of Famers.  Chipper Jones should make the BBHOF.  Todd Helton is close to retiring but I am not sure the voters will see him worthy.  There are some promising chances that Ryan Braun and David Wright might play their entire careers with their current clubs, however with Braun’s PED fiasco last year I just don’t see him entering Cooperstown.  Wright must re-sign with the ownership hemorrhaging, this will prove hard for the Wilpons funds thanks to Bernie Madoff.  When it comes to starting pitching, the list is shrunken that much further.  Justin Verlander is the active win leader with a player only having played for one team.  He has 114 wins with the Tigers, anybody above him on the active ALL-Time Wins list has pitched for multiple teams already.  The next active leader for one team pitched for is Ervin Santana with 91 wins for the Angels franchise.  Felix Hernandez has 90 wins for the Mariners.  Tim Lincecum, Cole Hamels and Matt Cain have played their entire careers for the same team so far and have CY Young titles amongst them, but have a long way to go in establishing Hall of Fame Careers.

That brings me to my next stat.  There are 9 players in history who have hit 500 HRs or more for one team.  All of them are in the Hall of Fame except for Barry Bonds (who becomes eligible next year.) I am not sure the writers will cast a vote for him because of his steroid use.  When I got the idea for this article, it came to be because I was amazed that Paul Konerko has hit over 400 HRs with the Chicago White Sox.  Again at age 36, Konerko has a look at 500 HRs with the Chicago team.  Right now he can end the season with about 410-420 HRs.  Provided he can play 3-4 years more and have productive seasons, he may reach the milestone.  Chipper Jones is the only other active MLB Player to have 400 HRs with one team.  Larry is slowing down though and will most likely retire after this year.  Read the rest of this entry

Report on the Travel Companies of the 30 MLB Cities

Friday, May.11/2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024) -After logging 65,000 miles from planes, trains, subways, Buses and other methods of transportation in one month, I am left with some thoughts about certain companies.  I don’t believe in trashing a company based on one incident or a rogue employee, so I will leave the negativity for a future travel book.  I will say that my four favorite travel companies helped me tremendously.  I am not just saying this because they helped me out on my trip, I wrote about the same four companies in my book ‘The Fastest 30 Ballgames.’  I am also happy to say that these companies had no blame for the half of dozen mishaps that caused me cancellations or delays during the streak.   The mishaps were a poorly executed plane de-boarding at IAH airport that cost a doubleheader attempt in Texas.  The second plane issue was some sort of mechanical failure that the airline gave up after 30 minutes of trying only in San Diego. The worst blunder was having the seat belt of the first officer not close properly cause an hour delay.  Other mishaps were a failure to understand car rental procedures right in Cleveland costing me an hour delay.  But that wasn’t as egregious as a hotel chain overcharging me three separate time for a hotel booking even though I cancelled way in advance.  All of these are about the average for the amount of traveling .  The four companies that stood above the rest are: Southwest Airlines, Air Tran Airways, Best Western Hotel Chain and National Car Rental. Read the rest of this entry

Chuck Booth’s 30 MLB Park Quest: (Games 16-21)

The Streak stands at 23 MLB Parks in 18 calendar days!!

Chuck Booth:  I am the World Record Holder for-Fastest to see all 30 MLB parks in 24 days (2009)!

In 2012, I am going for 30 MLB Parks in 23 days from: April 6th to 28th.

Follow me-@chuckbooth3024 on twitter

Follow my streak all the through to the bitter end.  Schedule is this link:

http://mlbreports.com/gwr-tracker/ or at my official website for all updates!

fastestthirtyballgames3021.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/30in20/

Tuesday April.24/2012

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

April.17/2012

New Marlins Ball Park

‘Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twiter)- 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. Read the rest of this entry

An Interview with Wrigley Field ‘Expert’ Bob Devries

Follow me-@chuckbooth3024 on twitter

Follow my streak all the through to the bitter end.  Schedule is this link:

http://mlbreports.com/gwr-tracker/

fastestthirtyballgames3021.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/30in20/

Saturday April 21, 2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-  Bob Devries loves baseball, this much is evidently clear when you get to know his story around the game.  I am going to meet Bob in person for the doubleheader attempt of Chicago and Milwaukee.  I can think of no other one person than I would rather hang out for the day in Chicago than Bob.  His spirits were brought back up back in his life by visiting all of the 30 MLB parks.  While my case was entirely different from Bob’s, our common theme is that baseball brought us both back from the depths of despair.  I had the chance to talk to Bob about life, baseball and how we share the unique distinction of being the only two people on the planet to have attended a game in every park as a fan for two consecutive years in a row.

DB: “Welcome to the MLB Reports Wrigley Field Expert Interview Bob Please tell us about yourself and then give us some information on your life as a Cub fan?”

BD:  “I am just your average, soon to be 49-year-old sports fan. I got married last summer to someone who I have known since we were in the 6th grade and reconnected on Facebook. Charlie (Charlene) and I make our home in McHenry, IL. I work for a distribution company as a logistics manager. I have a stepson, Brent, who is of all things, is a St. Louis Cardinal fan. Brent got to live out a baseball fans’ dream this past season. He was at Busch Stadium for game 6 and 7 of the World Series.

My life as a Cub fan started in 1971 when my dad took me to Wrigley Field for my birthday. I often wonder if we would have gone to old Comiskey Park for a Sox game that day would I be a Sox fan today, thankfully we went to Wrigley.

Being a Cub fan, like all Cub fans, has been met with frustration and disappointment but thru it all we have remained fiercely loyal to the Cubs and always will. Why you ask? I don’t know and I ask myself that question every season when the Cubs are eliminated from the playoffs. Read the rest of this entry

An Interview with Turner Field Expert Kurt Smith

Wednesday April 18, 2012

 

Chuck Booth- (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- Today’s expert is Kurt Smith.  Kurt will be the interview subject of the following parks: Citizens Bank Ball Park Tropicana Field and today’s featured expert Article of Turner Field.  Kurt is highly respected in the ball park chaser community for his BallparkEGuides.  After you are done reading this article  I implore you trust in Kurt to deliver up tips and suggestive idea’s on how to make your stadium visits affordable and pleasurable.  I had a chance to ask some questions of the man recently.

CB: “Welcome to the MLB Reports Experts Interview Kurt.  Please tell us about yourself and then give us a bit of background information on your life as a Braves Fan?”

KS: “I’ve been to Turner Field for a few games and a tour, in researching for the Turner Field E-Guide that is available at my website. I wouldn’t call myself a Braves fan necessarily, but there are a lot of things I like about the team. They have a history of great players like Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews, and Dale Murphy, and I loved watching Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine pitch in their prime. Turner Field is a fine ballpark too; they did a nice job tearing it up after the Olympics and on a nice day it’s as good a place as any to see a game. Braves games are very affordable too; the team gives a lot of value even though they are putting a pretty good product on the field. So in a pinch, I could certainly pull for the Braves.

Read the rest of this entry

Sample of what my Friday Travel Blog will Cover

Friday, February 03, 2012 

Douglas ‘Chuck’ Booth (Baseball Writer)- Since writing about traveling to ballparks  is what I know most about, I thought I would take the next 9 weeks (before the season starts) writing articles that extensively go through every part of my expertise.  Over the course of the last five years I have done countless hours of research on this subject matter, so I am going to share my information with you in hopes you may save some time or money this 2012 MLB season.  I am sharing my knowledge of: baseball tickets, maps, frequent flier miles/reward points, car rentals vs. driving your own car, hotels, airports and finally time management & budgeting.  Here is a sneak preview of what I will be posting.

Car Rentals

  The best way to ensure that you have money available on your credit card, (keeping in mind that most rental places take a $200 minimum deposit), is to bid on your car through www.priceline .com. There is a feature where you can bid on your car rental for specific airport locations called ‘BID NOW.’  You can offer a price that you have to pay immediately, but in most cases you will find a serious discount. I have often bid 40% of the average car rental per airport price and had the offer go through.  Anyways, 80% of the time your winning bid will come back to rent from Alamo/National Car Rental.

Car Rentals

 Alamo/National is the best car rental company by far in the United States. Not only do they have exceptional customer service—–they also do not charge your credit card for any $ amount more than the price of your rental. Do yourself a favor and also sign up for ‘The Emerald Club Rewards Program’ from National. They have airport bypass the counter options that enable you to USE self-serving kiosks that do not require you to stand in line at the car centers-rather pick your class of car and proceed to the exit. Other car rental companies have deposit charges that are held against your credit card.  If you are going on a 4 city trip, you can easily have up to $800-1000 dollars locked up in these deposits, this can be harmful in you enjoying your trip. Not all of us have the affordability to have so much money unavailable. An average of 5-8 days is what it will take for the deposited dollars to be restored when your car rental is completed.  National is the only car rental company in which you can redeem a free earned day car rental for a one-way drop off without paying an excessive fee if you have earned a free rental reward day.  I will give you an example.  This means you can rent a car in Los Angeles and drop it off it Albuquerque, New Mexico within the 24 hours for no money extra.  Also with this incredible deal, is that you pay just pennies in taxes for your accrued free rental days, where other car rental places can charge up to $20-30 just in taxes alone despite offering you the free day for a rental reward.  Perfect for that baseball traveler that wants to head in one direction!

Priceline

Priceline is great for bidding on car rentals, but is also fantastic for hotel rentals where you can use the same option to bid for your price of hotels. Honestly, when we are all in the middle of a big baseball road trip, the last thing we want is to spend excessive amounts of money on a hotel we are not going to use other than a quick sleep and shower.   Wouldn’t you rather spend a lot more time at the ball yard?  Again by bidding on the hotel, and paying for it right away you can ensure on a more of a budget/cost certainty. Even if the front desks take a small deposit at time of check in—these transactions are quickly released when you check out. The best to bid  is too low-ball your first few offers, then gradually increase your bidding. Now Priceline does make you alter your bid for every declined request you submit, so the key is to not act aggressive in frustration when you don’t win the bid.  The key here is to be patient.  After 24 hours, you can re-open up all columns to bid again with an increased offer from your first one. Just chart your offers to slightly increase your amount until you have success. I would not suggest you use Priceline for airline flights because the winning bid will usually feature layovers, or more importantly, the times of the flights on won bids may not be conducive to arriving in time for a baseball game in your destination city.

HOTELS

For those economy travelers such as myself, I implore you to use Motel 6 and/or Super 8 as hotel chains to stay throughout the USA. They are decent hotels for the $value you pay. The best feature about these hotels is the ability to check in by 11am-12pm. Most 3-5 star hotels have check in times that start and 3 or 4pm. Again if you are flying or driving in from some other place do you really want to drive around for 3-4 hours sight-seeing because you are simply waiting for a check in time?  Most baseball parks open their gates by 5PM for night games.  Plus with these places cash is preferred, so they do not require a deposit on your credit card. If you are staying in the same city or have sufficient time to stay in one hotel, I would recommend you use Priceline to bid on your hotels. You can save up to 50% off with winning bids on 2-5 star hotels. Keep in mind that most of those hotels can save you money vs the budget hotels, with their free breakfasts.

Travel Note:Traveling to other cities with luggage is hard to finagle sometimes. When arriving in a new city, there may be time constraints or monetary issues that make you think about your luggage. Before you make any purchases for your trip, you must be cognizant of where your luggage will be at all times throughout the travel. You will not be allowed to bring your suitcase through security at the ball parks. Most cities will not even allow you to bring a briefcase into the games. So therein is a dilemma. If you are able to make it to your hotel before the game then your luggage will be okay.  The same can be said if you have rented a car. The toughest games for luggage management are day games when arriving from other cities. For the Eastern Seaboard there is an ally you can use—and it is called ‘Amtrak.’

Amtrak Trains/Greyhound Buses

Both of these methods of transportation are  a great way to see a bunch of baseball games fast while missing a lot of cluttered highway traffic, particularly in: New York-Baltimore-Washington-Philadelphia-Chicago-Milwaukee. Not only will you save gas/traffic scenarios-but Amtrak has a baggage check option at most stations for $3-4 dollars an item per day. All you have to do is have an itinerary, (coming or going) and you can check your luggage items. You will have to monitor the hours of operation for these places-however this option is exceptional when attending matinée games in any of these cities. New York’s Amtrak Station-(New York Penn Station), is a life saver when you can drop off your luggage and avoid renting a car. ‘Greyhound Bus Lines’ is also a good alternative for this in the cities of : Tampa Bay-Miami-Los Angeles-San Diego-Minnesota-Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

Kayak.com

Early morning flights are usually the cheapest airfares. I always use www.kayak.com when booking flights into baseball cities.  If you are flying to cities like Cincinnati-Milwaukee-Detroit-Houston-Atlanta-or Dallas you may be shocked at how much they charge for flights. There is a way to get back at those airlines. I have done the following several times. Since these are hubs for other cities from big airlines,  I would check flights from your starting departure and use your intended city of these listed above as a stop-over and then you can walk off the plane during the stop-over if it is cheaper—-and providing you are traveling without checked baggage—example.  Three years ago I had to fly from Pittsburgh to Detroit during a double-header attempt for the first day of my World Record Chase. I needed a Pittsburgh Northwest Airlines flight that left at 5:15 PM  directly to Detroit that arrived at 6:28 PM—it was the only non-stop flight that I could get that would give me a chance to make the Detroit game on time. There was a problem when the price came back was $500  for what was less than a 500 mile flight!  I went to work with my strategy.  I came up with a flight from Pittsburgh to Chicago-with the 1st leg of the trip being my flight that arrived in Detroit at 6:28 as the layover.  The price for this flight was $130. There are many instances of this. I will explain more in the book how I used this scenario for a flexible schedule in case of make-up games.

Air Lines Best To Fly With:

Southwest Airlines-‘I wanna get away’ feature at http://www.southwest.com is a good price point for all of this airline’s domestic flights.  Southwest might be marginally higher in price than some other airlines, however they do not charge for the 1st 2 checked bags as you may have seen from their steady TV Ad Campaign.  They also do not charge transfer flight fees.  This airline is setting the pace for customer price gouging acknowledgement.

Air Tran Airways-Quite frankly, they are the best airline in the USA for MLB fans.  They are cheap, have newer airplanes with the most leg space for a coach ticket. They also offer more one-way non-stop tickets in the morning.  Oh yeah…They are the official airline of XM Sirius Radio.  You can listen to MLB games live in flight, or during off hours you can catch up on all of your favorite shows on XM Home Plate.  Air Tran only charges $75 in case you have to change your flight at anytime plus the difference in flight.  This price is half of most of the legacy airlines.  Should you miss your Air Tran flight they also let you fly stand-by for the rest of the day on any remaining flights to your city of destination.

This is just the start as I will provide a game plan for all of  the 30 MLB cities.  I will take a look at all facets/methods of travel-that will include money and time-saving tips.   After all, don’t we all want to see as many baseball games as we can without being hit in the pocket-book?

*** Thank you to our Baseball Writer- Doug Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports.  To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Doug Booth, you can follow Doug on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and click here Doug’s website, fastestthirtyballgames.com*** 

 

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