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MLB Reports ‘Junior Reporter’ Haley Smilow Interviews Padres OF Will Venable

venable

Will Venable  Q&A With Haley Smilow

The Padres OF recently had a chance to talk about some things with our Junior Reporter Haley Smilow.

The questions covered a lot of parameters that Venable is not asked on a regular basis.

He is a baseball lifer, coming from a long standing tradition of baseball that goes back to his dad Max.

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – April 10, 2013

Dodgers Padres Baseball The Padres and Angels were the last teams to have home openers. Naturally they wait to have the cities with the best weather open last. I talk about that on The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast along with the fact that I think the Luxury Tax has worked wonderfully so far. Also I determined that Cliff Lee, Will Venable, Nick Tepesch and Miguel Cabrera owned baseball on April 9, 2013. Subscribe on iTunes HERE. Players who owned baseball for a Day Clayton Kershaw – 2 Cliff Lee – 2

Madison Bumgarner – 1  Miguel Cabrera – 1 Robinson Cano – 1 Shin-Soo Choo – 1 Alex Cobb – 1  Zack Cozart – 1  Yu Darvish – 1  Chris Davis – 1  Jacoby Ellsbury – 1  Prince Fielder – 1  Adrian Gonzalez – 1 Carlos Gonzalez – 1  Gio Gonzalez – 1  Bryce Harper – 1 Matt Harvey – 1 Felix Hernandez – 1  Adam Jones – 1  Jed Lowrie – 1  Justin Maxwell – 1  Will Middlebrooks – 1 Bud Norris – 1 Gerardo Parra – 1  Andy Pettitte – 1  Brandon Phillips –  Albert Pujols – 1 CC Sabathia – 1 Ervin Santana – 1 Drew Smyly – 1  Nick Tepesch – 1 Justin Upton – 1 Will Venable – 1 Adam Wainwright – 1 Barry Zito – 1

Confessions Of A Ball Park Chaser: 2013 Edition

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Friday Apr.05/2013

Chuck and Cat at Angel Stadium after driving all night from San Francisco

Cat and I at Angel Stadium after driving all night from San Francisco.  We drove by or watched a game in all 5 California Parks.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

Last year at this time, I was embarking on an all 30 MLB Park Trip in just 20 Calendar Days.  I was attempting to best my own World Record of 30 MLB Parks in 24 Calendar Days in 2009.  I managed to put forth a 30 – 23 Record Streak, plus than celebrate with attending another 6 games the next week.  You can read about that here.

I initially planned to do a similar trip this year – however I decided to invest my baseball time and money into this website instead.  It is a choice I have wondered about for the last 4 months.

Last Sunday I boarded a flight from Seattle to Oakland – and then proceeded to hit Oakland, San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles.  The whole purpose of the trip was to witness the Season Opener at Dodger Stadium on April Fools Day.

Dodger Stadium Opening Ceremonies:

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Anthony Rizzo’s Time Is Now

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Thursday, February.14, 2013

Rizzo had  a decent rookie campaign - with a 3 Slash Line of .285/.342/.805 with 15 HRs and 48 RBI in just 337 AB during the 2012 season.

Rizzo had a decent rookie campaign – with a 3 Slash Line of .285/.342/.805 with 15 HRs and 48 RBI in just 337 AB during the 2012 season.

By Alex Kantecki (Cubs Correspondent):

One winter ago, Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer acquired First Baseman Anthony Rizzo from the San Diego Padres in exchange for hard-throwing Right-Hander Andrew Cashner, one of the Cubs’ top pitching prospects at the time.

But this wasn’t Epstein’s and Hoyer’s first go-around with the 6-foot-3, 220-pounder, who – along with Cubs Senior Vice President of Scouting and Player Development Jason McLeod – drafted Rizzo while serving as Boston’s GM and Assistant GM, respectively, in 2007. The threesome reunited four years later and brought the 23-Year Old star-in-the-making over to the North Side:

“We believe Anthony has the potential to be a middle-of-the-order run producer for the Cubs for a very long time,” Hoyer said (link here). “He still has some development left. We feel what he’s done at age 20 at Double-A and Age 21 at Triple-A was remarkable.”

Anthony Rizzo Highlights From 2012: Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is advised:

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San Diego Padres Roster In 2013: State Of The Union

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Thursday January 10, 2013

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v San Diego Padres

Jake Dal Porto (Baseball Writer)

The San Diego Padres haven’t made a move that will conceivably make them contenders in a competitive National League West division. San Diego went 76-86 in 2012, which was good enough for fourth place in the NL West.

A move could still be made, and Padres’ pundits have went as far to suggest some type of signing and/or trade before Spring Training. Still, their aren’t a ton of options that would fit into their constrained payroll, especially after they signed Carlos Quentin and Huston Street to extensions.  They still have a decent bullpen anchored by Street and set-up man Luke Gregerson.

Pending a significant addition, San Diego should be a bit better in the win department. Some of their key starting pitchers will be returning from injuries, and a couple of top prospects could take the fast track to the Major Leagues and make an impact by season’s end.  Most notably, they will need Clayton Richard to improve to the next level, having won 14 games in 2 of the last 3 years – while holding an ERA under 4.00.  Eric Stults was the surprise of the Starting Rotation of last season – posting a 8-3 Record, with a 2.92 ERA in 14 Games Started.

More importantly, they went on a nice streak in the final few weeks in 2012. Perhaps this could fuel a hot start in 2013.

Let’s preview this young team.

Chase Headley2012 Highlights for the NL RBI Champion

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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

Us Cellular Field: Book Excerpt from ‘The Fastest 30 Ball Games.’

Wednesday August.01/2012

Baseball Park World Record Chasing All-Started for me at US Cellular Field. I had my first retro-active game if needed) on July.1/2008 of my first ever streak chase. I also finished my 30-29 at the CEL.’ I had gone to 40 Baseball Games in 35 Days overall.

     Game#2 Day#1

US Cellular Field

Chicago, IL

July.02/2008

I had a tip from my brother Trent early on in the planning stages, that the United States airline companies often ‘sand-bag’ their flying times to destinations to take jet-way delays into consideration.  More often than not, the airlines are able to beat the scheduled arrival time by many minutes.  I actually used a tool on the internet called ‘Flight Tracker’ to watch the very flight I was on to see if this was a correct statement.  I watched this exact flight land 4 weeks in a row, all approximately 15 minutes earlier then the 6:32 PM time it was supposed to arrive on that day.  That day I was not as lucky.  It was after all a ‘Chicago Airport.’  Still at a 6:30 PM arrival-I had about 40 minutes to first pitch.  I had called in a sedan service to pick me up from ‘MIDWAY’.

True to their word, there was a young guy in his twenties waiting for me in the arrival gate and he escorted me through to the limo stand at a running pace.  I saw it had started to rain and weather was something I would always keep my eye on during transportation throughout the trip. Read the rest of this entry

Canadian Residents May help USA Residents with Free Car Rental Days via Air Miles

Friday, May.25/2012

Its Travel Blog Friday:

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-Renting cars in all 27 MLB cities is an expensive proposition.   Some of the bigger cities can charge from $50-$90 per weekday for just your run of the mill economy car.  Throughout my travels in the last 5 years I have discovered many new ways to combat such prices.  Earlier this year, I stumbled upon the latest nugget that I will share for you here.  Air Miles is a Canadian reward that people have been collecting up here since 1991.  It is designated with many of sponsors in order to collect Miles to redeem them for various redemptions.  Most of the time these rewards are personalized to the cardholder themselves.  I found a rare exception.

I learned that Canadians can transfer Air Miles, (in exchange for car rental redemptions towards USA Residents in any of the USA Airports.)  Not only that, but the Canadian cardholder doesn’t even need be present as part of the rental.  The rates are start at 230 Air Miles for an economy car, 250 Air Miles for a compact and 310 for a Full-Size Car.  The only state that the rental rates are cheaper belong in Florida where the economy car rental goes for only 175 Air Miles for an economy car, 200 for a compact rental and 250 for Full-Size Car.  The daily rate of the car rental in each airport is covered, the only thing that you would be responsible for are the taxes.  I will give you an example.  I rented a car in San Francisco Airport that carried a daily rate of $49.99, but was about $77 after taxes.  I used 230 Air Miles to redeem for the free day, all that was left was about $27 in taxes once the redemption was made. 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 GWR Streak (Parks 25-29)

The Streak ended at 30 MLB Parks in 23 calendar days!!

I broke my old record of 24 days by being-Fastest to see all 30 MLB parks in 23 days  from April 6th to 28th!

Sked is here: fastestthirtyballgames3021.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/30in20/

Follow me-@chuckbooth3024 on twitter

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

Friday May.4/2012

Chuck Booth and Lori Martini being interviewed by ‘Did The Tribe Win Last Night’ Blog at the Social Suite at Progressive Field.

MLB Park # 25 Day # 20

COL 2 @ PIT 1

April.25/2012

PNC PARK

Chuck Booth (Lead 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.

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A New GWR Record and Many New Ball Park Chaser Friends

The Streak ended at 30 MLB Parks in 23 calendar days!!

I broke my old record of 24 days by being-Fastest to see all 30 MLB parks in 23 days  from April 6th to 28th!

Sked is here: fastestthirtyballgames3021.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/30in20/

Follow me-@chuckbooth3024 on twitter

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

Monday, Apr.30/2012

Ken Lee, Chuck Booth, Lori Martini and Roger Ratzenberger after the final pitch in Ball Park #30 in 23 days for Chuck Booth’s New World Record. Camden Yards is the sight of this picture.

Monday April.30/2012

MLB Park # 30 Day # 23

OAK 1 @ BAL 10

April.28/2012

Oriole Park at Camden Yards

 

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- I am going to do this segment in reverse.  I am jumping right ahead to the last game of the streak.  Sure I have eight other recaps (besides this one) to still post that were technically before this game, but I need to write about this game first.  I will post parks 22-24 on Wednesday and 25-29 on Friday.  I will also have the Expert Interviews for Chase Field, Miller Park, US Cellular Field, The Great American Ball Park, Busch Stadium and PNC Park updated by the week’s end.  Eventually all of this information will be available on my website at www.thirtyballgames3021.wordpress.com. 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.

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PNC Park Book Excerpt from ‘The Fastest 30 Ballgames’ Novel

Wednesday April.25/2012

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

“This was the first of two visits to PNC Park during streak chases of 2008.  This date was on July.7/2008.  The events that happened right after this game caused me to restart the Guinness Streak on July.08/2008.  A little diversion from a closure in the Lincoln Tunnel heading towards LGA cost me a flight from New York to Dallas.  Hmmm..  I have not had a lot of luck in flying to Dallas have I?”

Game #7 Day #6

PNC Park

Pittsburgh PA

July.07/2008

It was not my first time to see the Pirates play at ‘PNC’, the previous year I watched a doubleheader featuring Barry Bonds last games to be played in Pittsburgh—for awhile I was thought he might pass Hank Aaron for the all time Homer list for the games I was attending. Barry had surpassed Aaron a week earlier but I was still glad to see him in the starting lineup.  Now I was back less than a year later. 

I was ready to rebound from the day before.  I drove 340 miles from my brother’s house in New Jersey—to arrive in Pittsburgh with lots of time to spare. 

I parked in a business building across the “Roberto Clemente Bridge.”  PNC Park is very convenient for parking, as they close off most of the bridges directly nearest to the ballpark.  The park looks immaculate from the bridges and especially in reverse from the park where you can see the bridges. 

Pittsburgh is a blue collar town but it a beautiful city downtown.  The crowd was not bustling that night.  There were 13,223 fans for the game and half that many were there when I arrived.

There may not be a better new ballpark when it comes to respecting the history of their team.  There are statutes for just about any significant member ever associated with Pirates.  There is a great amount of history of the World Series Runs of 1971 and 1979.  The area my ticket was in was the left field bleachers section for a $9 price.  Quite simply it is the best value in the majors considering it is general seating.  You are right on top of the left fielder. 

I made it over to “Greentree Pizza”—located just behind the huge scoreboard.  I was staving so I ordered the large fourteen inch Pepperoni Pizza.  It is made on a light thin crust and is one of the best singular foods in the majors.

Around the park, people were texting each other on their cell phones as the Pittsburgh Pirates display between every inning on their scoreboards.  This is a fun thing to do—and very fan interactive. 

They have two mascots that are running around the empty park.  ‘The Pirate,’ (who will steal your food if you are not looking and/or opposing team ball caps that fans wear) and ‘The Parrot,’ (who is a lot more kid friendly and usually can be found occupying seats in the empty lower bowl.).  I was pleasantly surprised that the ushers were so nice to me when I told them about my record streak.  The lady talked to me for thirty minutes about the ballpark and even asked if I had time for a tour while in the city, she said she could call her boss if I wished.  I politely declined as I had a long drive back to New York City.  It was then I realized I actually needed a quick game.

It was one of the plane fares bought before the trip started and impossible to change because it was too costly.  I would have about six hours to drive back to New York for a five and a half hour drive.  There was not much wiggle room.

One of the coolest things about the PNC Park-is the size of left field center scoreboard.  They play a four minute introduction at the start of the game that shows years of Pirate highlights and it always pumps me up.  Then there is a segment where a cartoon pirate is away at sea with his crew and they come across the opposite team boat. A 3 minute battle ensues with the Pirates crew eventually taking ownership of the other boat.  The pirate laughs and then it is game time. 

 The scenery is beautiful with the backdrop. The big green fence in right-center field has ‘Pirates’ perfectly hedged in shrubs.  The only thing that is kind of weird is you can’t walk in the general area entirely across the outfield sectors.  The seat’s in right field are in the 3rd level and is quite a shot from home plate to hit a  home run.  It is even a better sight at night with the bright lights of all the bridges illuminating the park.  If only the franchise was in better shape.

The food courts are impressive for the limited amount of people attending.  They are quick with the vendors—and have some of the longest serving staff of any in the majors. 

In the left field bleachers there is a sit in restaurant that features live performances out on the patio deck including ‘mariachi band’s’ and groups that sing ‘a cappella.’  There is not much going on downtown directly around the park inside of the bridges that does not pertain to the ball game. 

That night began sunny but soon clouds over giving me the worry of a rain out.  The Houston Astros ran out to a 3-0 lead on a towering homer by Carlos Lee.  The Pirates responded with a 4 run bottom of first. The inning took about forty-minutes and I was in time trouble again.

Fast forward to the 4th inning and it was 10-7 Pittsburgh—and we were already nearing 9:15 PM.  I was sweating the game big time.  If I left about 10:30 PM—I would be in massive trouble.  I had done the drive from Pittsburgh to New York a few times before so I had some confidence to make good time. 

It is a scheduling nightmare the certain Monday and Thursday baseball games on the condensed nights of the MLB when you are chasing this record. 

There were not too many other nights I could see the Pirates playing.  Again I was thinking about the July.9th restart option.

I was happy to see a quick 5th and 6th inning.  The only thing that made me happier then that—was the game went the last 5 innings—only with one hit, and no runs after 17 runs in the 1st four innings. The last 5 innings only elapsed 40 more minutes in time. 

 I thanked the ushers for signing my logbook and ran out of the southwest corner near the ‘Clemente Bridge.’  I was happy at this moment it was Pittsburgh—as the crowd was smaller to navigate back to the highway.  I had 7 hours in order to make it there for an hour before my flight.

I had prepaid the parking fare in the business garage, and was horrified to see the PT Cruiser I had rented the previous week in New York had now been keyed by someone.  I was relieved that I had added the extra insurance to the car rental-which I usually forego however, because of the New York City garage experience the last time I had been to New York—I took the insurance. 

This was still a concern.  The car rental place would certainly want to discuss this.  Just like some other rentals the scratches were not too visible and for a minute I thought they had been there the whole time.  The scratches were on the passenger side so I had not seen that area much in the week.  I pressed on.

I was revving on adrenaline as the time and miles wore away.  I stopped at the edge of NJ State to stop for gas.  All I had to do was go through the Lincoln Tunnel merge onto the ‘FDR’—in order to merge onto the 495-S Long Island Expressway.  It was just after 4:40 AM-when I was headed for the tunnel.

“You have got be friggin kiddin me!!!! I yelled as I approached the tunnel which was closed for construction.  I was at a loss for what was next.  I knew the FDR would take me to the bridge I needed to take over.  I then remembered the “Holland Tunnel” would work.  I starting making way in that direction as panic set in.  It was only starting to become daylight.  At 5:00 AM-I made it to ‘Times Sqaure.’ I then finally made it to the FDR before merging onto the 495—and was on the Brooklyn-Queens-Expressway within reason. 

Then the fun began.  LGA is an airport dropped into a rural neighborhood.  I made it to the airport okay—the problem was the car rental place was up the street.  I arrived into ‘Thrifty Car Rental’ at 5:25 AM-with the flight leaving at six sharp I had a chance at that point. 

I was on the shuttle bus awaiting the driver to leave for the airport which would have taken about 5 minutes—maybe another 10 minutes for early morning security and then I would have 10 minutes to run to the gate.  The shuttle was away.

 “Yes, I am going to make it,” I pronounced—it would be the closest miss yet.  The shuttle driver had informed me that there was not much of a lineup for people traveling without checked baggage.  The sun popped out and all of a sudden I loved New York City.  Despite a small detour, I had overcome it by feeling out my way through it like I did as a courier back home.

A knock on the loading window stopped the shuttle bus smooth–and a grey haired, tall lanky old man with glasses came on the bus and pointed in my direction.  “There is damage to your Cruiser. We need you to fill out an accident report.”

“Sir, I have full insurance and have a plane to catch, there is no time.  I will be back this way next week watching a baseball game at Shea Stadium can I fill it out then?”

“Son, I could get in serious trouble for that.  If you hurry there is another shuttle leaving in 5 minutes.”

I knew if I left the shuttle I would miss my flight.  The only saving grace was that ‘Air Tran Airways’ are nice enough to their travelers—by letting them fly stand by on remaining flights to their original destination should they miss their flight.  It was a stand-by option good for one day only.  I knew there were two more flights to Dallas that day—both had a lengthy stop over in Atlanta.  The first flight arrived in Dallas at 3:30 PM.  I had designated that flight the first time I was going to book the flight.  I then mistakenly thought the drive from Pittsburgh was only 5.5 hours-like it was from my brother’s house to PNC Park.  I had the two confused in my final booking of the flight! 

I opted for the earlier flight because I would arrive in Dallas at 11:00 AM-and could check into the Motel 6 right away to catch up sleep.

 I filled out the accident report and made the next shuttle to LGA. Like I was a possessed addict chasing an addiction I ran to the ticket window at ‘Air Tran’.  It was 5:45 AM.  The system had already shut me out of the flight.  I ran to the window were a mid-40’s gentleman was typing a keyboard and looking at me running at the same time.

“Flight to DFW right?” he questioned, he knew the answer.

“Yeah, I thought that you could print out the tickets up to 10 minutes before?” I answered, somehow gaining a glimmer of hope that he could radio ahead, stop the plane until I got there.  I heard stories growing up of this happening.

“Actually you need to be in the boarding area 10 minutes prior to gates closing-we cut off the boarding passes 20 minutes before sorry.”

“Ah, man.”  I was pissed, I half-wanted to race back to the car rental facility and drag the manager out into the street and beat him to a pulp.  “How does the next flight look to Dallas?”

 “Lemme check that for you.”  The man typed quickly as he could, a man who was late for the same flight I was—came in line to be helped next.  “The flight is oversold and there are 7 people on the waiting list ahead of you.”

If there is one thing I know is waiting for stand-by on flights.  My step-mom had worked in the airline industry for 25 years.  I was able to fly whenever I wanted, wherever I wanted provided there were available seats.  7 seats was a lot for a 9:00 AM Flight.  It would have been different if it was the flight I had just missed.  I had to try it.  New York traffic had swallowed me up that morning, maybe it would swallow up others.  “Print me the pass, I will try.”

“You never know sir you might also get a family that does not want to fly separately. You are a single traveler so you have a better chance than others.”

I grabbed my new boarding pass and headed trough security, and pressed onward to the gate.  There was not much open for breakfast so I was happy to have polished off that huge pizza in Pittsburgh the night before.  I needed to call the airlines to see if I could arrange other travel arrangements to Dallas. 

I searched for the internet at ‘LGA’ which was non-existent at that time.  I called every airline up.  It was going to be $600 or $700.  Day of flight’s prices sky rocket on same day sales.  My plan was simple now.  I would see if I made the next flight before another decision was to be made.  I called Visa in the meantime and I was appalled to see that I had little credit left with all of the pre-authorizations against the car and hotel rentals.  I was awaiting a payment to go through as well.  I had $450 left.   I was stuck.  Not only was I in danger of missing my game in Texas—but my streak reset needed to start over in San Diego the next day.

It was a lost cause at ‘LGA’ and I left the airport at 10:00 AM-by boarding what I thought was a charter bus in between ‘LGA’ and “JFK.” I wanted to be at JFK incase I was stranded-since there were more amenities and late night domestic flights.  At 10:30 AM-the charter bus let me off downtown in Manhattan.

 “Wait a second I purchased a bus-ride all the way to JFK.”  I said to a heavy set German fellow.

“You boarded the wrong bus.”  The man replied.

“No I didn’t.” I was right–the man had forgotten to switch the template on the bus signage based on what I had seen back at ‘LGA’- he had deceived me. 

“I paid for a ticket to JFK, and that is what your sign said.  I know you are going to try to stiff me,” I was being rude back to the rude New York people now, “so why don’t you tell me how I get to JFK, it has been a brutal morning.”

The man radioed a bus a block away, “hold the bus for a minute, I need to drop a passenger for you to take to JFK, I made a mistake, no charges either.”  The man actually smiled and nodded at me.  I was relieved but knew that New Yorkers were good at nearly breaking you and then surprising you with doing the right thing.

I made it to JFK at noon in the hot heat, it was approaching 90F.  I was still not ahead of the game.  Like LGA-JFK did not have internet accessible terminals anywhere.  I was running out of options.  I called my buddy Dan Dion.

Dan Dion and his brother Justin had given me the time off delivering newspapers for the trip.  I had known them both for eight years.  Justin was doing one of my routes for me while I was away.  I had to forfeit the second route because of the timing, but was promised a different route when I returned in August. 

 Dan was in Langley, British Colombia, and was in front of his computer.

“Dude, It’s me, missed my flight to Dallas because of an idiot car rental worker and a bridge closed for construction, I need your help, are you online?”

 “Ya, I am online right how. Where are you?”

 “I am on the Air-Tram at JFK circling the gates and don’t know where to go because I don’t have a plane ticket yet, I need you to go to the site www.kayak.com.”

 “10-4 man.”

 “Man, I am glad you are home.  Okay click on the flights icon and then enter JFK letter into the: ‘from part’-and ‘SAN’ letters in the: ‘to’ part, and don’t forget to make this a one-way flight.”

“How is it in the big crapple?” Dan was laughing and typing at the same time.

“Dude, this is a brutal city sometimes, good thing I always had the reset option, knew I was probably going to need it after that Philly/New York doubleheader miss anyway.”  Some girl left here tote-bag on the seat next to me and I was going to hand it in. 

Some old man freaked out on me saying I was stealing it.  All this was happening while awaiting results.

“Cheapest flight is $545.”

“Not good, okay try LAX from JFK, I need to return there tomorrow night anyway so it will work for a car rental.”  The man scoffed a look of disgust at me again.  If I was not on a good will ambassador tour I would have sworn at him for his ignorance.

A few seconds elapsed, “Dude, I got an American Airlines flight leaving at eight your time arriving at just after eleven in LA-price is $160.”

“That is awesome, book that dude, click on it for me and I will give my credit card number to buy it-and then you can give me the confirmation code, then I will need to hit Budget Car Rental’s site next.”

Dan helped me for the next fifteen minutes and I was now going somewhere again.  I had several hours before the flight to kill.  I was fortunate enough to have the reset option.  The new attempt was still 30-26 days.  I had a grueling stretch of 4 doubleheader attempts in 5 days: SD Padres-Los Angeles Dodgers, followed by a Detroit Tigers-Cleveland Indians attempt; followed by Chicago Cubs/Milwaukee Brewers; then Toronto isolated by itself before a Washington Nationals/New York Mets attempt to hit the all-star break. 

If all were hit all games I would be at 9 games in 5 days, even with the 3 day penalty for the all-star break I would have a chance on the other side of it.  I arrived in LAX without a hitch.

I had just enough credit on my visa to rent the car and I had $150 cash.  I knew there was lots of deposit money coming off by the next night at midnight eastern time.  I had to make it the next 24 hours with the money I had.  There was $30 for parking/probably $20 for gas and $100 left for food and shelter.  I drove to San Diego right away.  I tried the Motel 6-but no there was no vacancy.  I wish I would have known about the hostel downtown then.  I decided to keep all my money.  I had an idea to shower at a ‘YMCA’ in the morning.  Besides I had to spend money on batteries for the digital camera-plus I needed some health and beauty aids. 

 I ate 7-Eleven food for dinner and drove around San Diego for a few hours before resting at a ‘Rite-Aid.’  I slept for a few hours and finally it was open. A homeless man was outside and needed some money bad to eat.   I only had $60 left after the drugstore but decided to give him $5. He was so thankful.  I talked to him about my day in New York City. He informed me that my day was about to change for the better.  After I drove away somehow I finally believed it.

Great American Ball Park Book Excerpt from the Fastest 30 Ballgames Novel

US Cellular Field Book Excerpt from “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” Novel

 ***Thank you to our Lead Baseball Writer- Chuck Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports.  To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Chuck Booth, you can follow Chuck on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and you can also follow Chuck’s website for his Guinness Book of World Record Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 days click here  or on the 30 MLB Parks in 23 days GWR tracker at the Reports click here. To Purchase or read about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book, ” please click here ***

Please e-mail us at: mlbreports@me.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.  To subscribe to our website and have the Daily Reports sent directly to your inbox, click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

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

You Shake, Rattle and Roll On A World Record Chase

Tuesday, April.11/2012

 

Chuck at Dodger Stadium

 

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and- @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- My step-mom is a retired executive from Air Canada.  Back when I was a teenager, Nancy taught me how to travel properly, by how to pack, schedule and always be able to adapt when things go awry.  I am pleased to say that she had an incredible influence on me becoming a travel expert now.  Her slogan was always; “You gotta learn how to shake, rattle and roll when traveling.” My dad (Tom Booth), helped teach a proper demeanor for my 3 brothers and me while on vacation that I also implement.  He said to us “You guys are going to encounter several things when traveling.  “If you break, lose or-your items are lost for you, just replace them immediately and don’t let it consume you.  After all, why should you be miserable on vacation?”  These are motto’s I live by while traveling.  I perpetually move forward and don’t look back.  While I am glad this trip has generated a lot interest, really the passion here is baseball and traveling.  If by some chance I don’t best my own record, I will have fun watching a baseball game in every city again.  “You have nothing to prove in this world other to anybody but yourself!”

 I have encountered numerous ways of being delayed in chasing baseball parks.  Last night was no different.  I sat in the San Diego Airport ready to embark on my flight to Cleveland that was supposed to be part of a Progressive Field/Oriole Park at Camden Yards day-night doubleheader. Out of all the 10 doubleheaders that I placed to attempt during this World Record chase, this particular one I would rank the second toughest.  The only doubleheader I thought was tougher was the Angel Stadium/Petco Park double header.  Ironically enough, I converted that doubleheader.  So when the flight was cancelled last night-(due to mechanical failure) I knew I had to think fast on my feet.  The Airline was offering up help to fly on other flight, or destinations within reason.  Much to my dismay, the airline was not even able to fly me into the second half of the double header n Baltimore, thus creating a plane flight domino.  Adding to the severity of the pressure, was I had to think of something fast because the airline needed to help me book a morning flight out of San Diego.

Whenever I plan one of these trips, I have a depth chart for each team.  I am lucky that after a few hours of placing this schedule together, I also come up with many different alternatives.  Missing the game in Texas the other night for a small delay was nerve-wracking, but maybe it was all meant to be.  When I expressed to the airline that I wanted to fly to Dallas, they quickly were on board with that option.  The other dominoes came to me quickly.  I moved Cleveland to the 25th as part of PNC Park and Progressive Field Ground Transportation doubleheader.  As part of my original streak attempt when I first dreamt up another run at this, the schedule had this exact doubleheader.  Cleveland was the last team in the Majors to post their start times.  When the Indians scheduled a matinee for the 11th of April, it opened up another doubleheader attempt for me by placing the Orioles with Cleveland.  All I had to do was bring Detroit into the doubleheader chance with Pittsburgh instead.  Now that I am not going to Progressive Field today, I am able to re-schedule the easier to attain doubleheader.  Baltimore was switched to the date left vacated by Texas on the 27th of April.  This left Detroit.  I knew the team played on the 22nd of April.

One of the reasons I went to Chase Field last Friday, was to protect myself against something like last night.  That Chase Field game is now the 1st game of the streak.  I moved Detroit into their slot on the 22nd.  All the teams have a home in the streak again.  What is more incredible about this: is that by shifting these cities around and shuffling transportation costs this little maneuver is going to save me $300.   I was dreading having to schedule the Texas game after the streak ended, whether it was driving 17 hours or flying, it was going to be costly and time-consuming,  I managed to switch out all my flights and actually have a surcharge in my favor.  Since I am flying to Denver from Dallas tomorrow, it was a cheaper flight from almost anywhere when you near a travel day fare.  Now I am flying to Dallas for a plane fare I spent $160 to originally go to Cleveland for.  This day of plane for to Dallas would probably be in the $500-$600 area.

By re-scheduling the trip this way, it also frees up more availability should I have to make up another game or two.  That Detroit game doubleheader was risky.  If I was running the streak near perfect, I could have risked it and then shuffled the Tigers to the very next day and forego the Cincinnati/Chicago White Sox doubleheader on the 25th.  This was not the case and I need that 26th doubleheader.  If I kept that doubleheader and missed the Tigers, the next date they were home was April.30th (or the 24th day of the streak.)

Moving Detroit to Sunday the 22nd is pretty decent too, I have a doubleheader for Chicago and Milwaukee on the day before.  This is about a 7 hour drive to Michigan.  Ken Lee will now attend at least 8 of my games with me for this streak.  The Pittsburgh/Cleveland double dip is very doable.  The Pirates game should end around 3:30.  It is only a couple of hours drive to Progressive Field from there.  I would give us a 80-85% chance to hit this game.  If for some reason we don’t, the Indians play on the 27th- through the 29th.  Other doubleheaders remaining are the TOR-NYY (Yankees play on the 27th-29 in case of miss) ATL-STL (Cardinals play on the 27th-29 in case of miss) CIN/CWS (The White Sox play a series on the 27th-29th). CHI/MIL (The Brewers do not play so I will need the DH).  I also give us a 80-85% of making this.  Finally I have the Boston/Washington DH (If I miss WSH-I can move them into the Marlins slot of the 17th and then re-do the Marlins from the (27-29 series).

So far I have had 2 missed doubleheaders in this trip that were entirely out of my control.  Now a 30-22 schedule hangs in the balance.  Whatever happens throughout the rest of the trip is up in the air.  The 2009 streak of 30-24 seems even more impressive now than before.  In a night where I have already logged 17,000 Air Miles for this trip and running on all fumes, I was able to come up with the best viable solution I could.  So whenever I have a chance, I will sleep comfortably about my performance on this trip thus far.  I go into tonight’s game looking for my 8th Ball Park in 6 days.  Its been a tough 20 hrs-fighting airlines-car rentals not having cars and several doubters and haters-i made it 2 the ballpark-suitcase/briefcase and all-scoreboard says 8 gms 6 days parks 30/22 days

NEW SCHEDULE UPDATED APR 11

With a flight cancellation last night, it has caused me to reschedule several games for the streak.  The Arizona D’Backs game now becomes the official game #1.  If the game was changed from the original, it will be highlighted in red.  I also changed the PIT/DET doubleheader to now be a PIT/CLE Doubleheader on the 25th ave.  I lost one of my doubleheader attempts today, but at least I am not taking an a zero.

Game#1 Day #1  Friday April.06 Chase Field in Arizona 4:10 PM (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 (I Have 2 doubleheader attempts with SD as Game 2 of the day)( Completed: San Diego loses 6-5 to the LAD in 11 innings)

Game # 4 Day # 3  Sunday April.08 Minute Maid Park in Houston 1:05 PM (Completed: Houston wins 3-2)

Game # 5 Day # 4  Monday 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 Angeles 1:05 PM (Dodger Stadium Season Opener) Completed: LAD wins 2-1 over  Pit)

Game # 8 Day # 6  Wednesday April.11 The Ballpark in Arlington 7:05 PM

Game # 9 Day #7 Thursday April.12 Coors Field 1:05 PM

Game #10 Day # 8 Friday April.13 AT&T Park in San Francisco 1:35 PM  (AT & T Park Season Opener)

Game # 11 Day # 9 Saturday April.14 Target Field in Minnesota 12:10 PM

Game # 12 Day # 10  Sunday April.15 Rogers Center in Toronto 1:07 PM

Game # 13 Day # 10 Sunday April.15 Yankees Stadium in the Bronx 8:05 PM

Game # 14 Day #11 Monday April.16 Fenway Park in Boston 11:05 AM

Game # 15  Day #11 Monday April.16 Nationals Park in Washington 7:05 PM

Game # 16  Day #12 Tuesday April.17 New Marlins Ballpark 7:05 PM

Game # 17  Day #13  WED April.18 Turner Field in Atlanta 12:10 PM

Game # 18  Day #13  WED April.18 Busch Stadium in St. Louis 7:15 PM

Game # 19 Day #14 THUR April.19 Safeco Field in Seattle 7:10 PM

Game # 20  Day # 15 Friday  April.20 Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City 7:10 PM

Game # 21 Day # 16 SAT.    April.21 Wrigley Field in Chicago 12:00 PM

Game # 22 Day # 16 SAT.    April.21 Miller Park in Milwaukee 6:05 PM

Game # 23  Day # 17 SUN.   April.22 Comerica Park in Detroit 1:05 PM 

Game # 24 Day # 18 MON.  April.23 O.co Coliseum in Oakland 7:05 PM

Game # 25 Day # 19 TUES  April.24 Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay 7:05 PM

Game # 26 Day # 20  WED.  April.25 PNC Park in Pittsburgh 12:35 PM

Game # 27  Day # 20 WED.  April.25 Progressive Field in Cleveland 7:05 PM

Game # 28 Day # 21 THU.   April.26 Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati 12:35 PM

Game # 29  Day # 21 THU.   April.26 US Cellular Field in Chicago 7:11 PM

Game# 30  Day # 22 FRI      April.27  Oriole Park at Camden Yards. 7:05 PM

 ***Thank you to our Lead Baseball Writer- Chuck Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports.  To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Chuck Booth, you can follow Chuck on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and you can also follow Chuck’s website for his Guinness Book of World Record Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 days click here  or on the 30 MLB Parks in 23 days GWR tracker at the Reports click here. To Purchase or read about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book, ” please click here ***

Please e-mail us at: mlbreports@me.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.  To subscribe to our website and have the Daily Reports sent directly to your inbox, click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

An Interview with Dodger Stadium Expert Josh Robbins

Tuesday April.10/2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- I recently had a chance to talk with Josh Robbins about Dodger Stadium.  Josh is the Land Record World Record Holder for visiting all 30 MLB Parks in 26 days during the summer of 2008.  Here is what we talked about.”

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

JR: “I am a Videographer/Journalist and Baseball Historian living in Gilbert, Arizona. In 2010, I earned a Master’s Degree in Sport Management from CSU-Long Beach. My first baseball game was July 23, 1983 at Yankee Stadium.  Don Mattingly was my favorite player growing up and I saw the 1998 Yankees clinch the World Championship in person at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, CA.”

CB: “Josh, you attended 30 Major League Baseball games in 26 calendar days during June and July 2008. In fact we were the same game where you set your record. You own the land record for the quickest time. Looking back 4 years later, how much does this accomplishment mean to you?”

JR: The trip was a combination of all my greatest passions in life: baseball, traveling, and videography.  It was the ultimate adventure combining the spirit of travel, the love of baseball, and sharing the time with friends and family members.  While preparing to achieve a personal goal, an effort to share my passion for baseball emerged. Unexpectedly, I raised $2200 for the Jim Thorpe Little League in Hawthorne, California and donated the proceeds to the organization before the start of the pursuit.”

CB: “As part of that trip, what was it like being interviewed and featured on a segment of ‘This Week on Baseball?”

JR: “For the past dozen years, I have worked as a Videographer for several different television and production companies.  So, I am very comfortable around reporters, cameras, and questions.  I was very surprised to hear from TWIB after initially emailing them about Thirty26.  It was a great experience having them cover an entire day of my road trip in New York.”

CB: “You have been to all of the ballparks Josh, how do the Dodgers fans compare to the rest of the country? It is my belief that this stadium is the loudest in MLB when the fans are rabid, what do you think?”

JR: “I enjoy watching baseball in Chavez Ravine but I would have to respectfully disagree.  The most passionate and loudest fans are in the Northeast.  New York, Boston, and Philadelphia crowds are into every pitch where LA fans tend to sit back and wait for the action to happen.”

CB:”The Dodgers have had recent ownership problems with the McCourts. How has this impacted the attendance?”

JR: “The attendance has declined in each of the past few seasons.  Last season was the first time in the 21st century the LA Dodgers failed to draw 3 million fans. The new ownership group must restore trust with the fan base and create a more positive environment at the ballpark and community.”

CB: “What is your favorite method of transportation to and from Dodger Stadium?”

JR: “Unfortunately, there is no commuter friendly method to attend Dodger Stadium.  An overwhelming majority of people drive to the stadium with limited alternatives.  On a few occasions, I attempted to commute by Metro from Torrance/Redondo Beach.  This system proved to be very inefficient due to the excessive changing of trains  (green/blue/red/gold lines) and 1 mile walk from the nearest Metro stop to the stadium.”

CB: “What advice would you give for somebody experiencing Dodger Stadium for the very first time.”

JR: “I would tell people to give yourself enough to arrive at the game and enjoy the Southern California climate (bring sleeves for night games). If you drive, park outside the stadium on the street and save the $15-$20 for parking.”

CB: “What is the food like at Dodger Stadium? What is your favorite ballpark food there?”

JR: “My favorite food is a helmet cup filled with soft vanilla ice cream topped with colored sprinkles.  However, Dodger Dogs are known for their size and taste.”

CB: “Finally, What is your favorite all time game that you have been in attendance in Dodger Stadium?”

JR: “There have been many memorable games over the 7 years living in the Los Angeles area but one ending was unforgettable.  Game 2 of 2008 NLDS when Matt Holiday dropped the last out of the game and the Dodgers rallied to win.”

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/LAN/LAN200910080.shtml

*** A big thank you goes out to our Dodger Stadium Expert Josh Robbins for participating in the expert article Series.  Josh Robbins is a Video-Journalist and Baseball Historian living in Gilbert, Arizona.  In 2010, he earned a Master’s Degree in Sport Management from CSU-Long Beach.  From June 16 to July 11, 2008, he watched a game in all 30 MLB stadiums in a world record 26 days by car.  Please email Josh at robbinsjosh@hotmail.com   and to read more about Josh’s record baseball journey click here . Also read Josh 1st guest article at the Reports and a new Pitching grading system here ***

***Thank you to our Baseball Writer- Chuck Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports.  To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Chuck Booth, you can follow Chuck on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and you can also follow Chuck’s website for his Guinness Book of World Record Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 days click here  or on the 30 MLB Parks in 23 days GWR tracker at the Reports click here. To Purchase or read about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book, ” please click here ***

Please e-mail us at: mlbreports@me.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.  To subscribe to our website and have the Daily Reports sent directly to your inbox, click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

The 2012 Padres Rotation Will Be Just Fine

Sunday April 8th, 2012

Sam Evans: From what I’ve heard around baseball about the Padres rotation, the Padres have no chance of contending in 2012. This was surprising to me, when actually the Padres slim chance of contending this year is due to their abysmal offense. The Padres rotation is fairly average compared to the rest of baseball. Obviously, losing your ace would hurt any MLB pitching staff. But I believe that the 2012 Padres rotation is almost criminally underrated.

At the forefront of the Padres rotation is newly acquired right-handed pitcher from the Reds, Edinson Volquez. Volquez was one of the players included in the Mat Latos trade in December. He was always a highly esteemed pitching prospect coming up in the Rangers minor league system, the problem always being his command. After being traded to the Reds following two average seasons with the Rangers, Volquez had a breakout year with the 2008 Reds. He threw 196 innings with 206 strikeouts, a 3.21 ERA, and a 4.3 BB/9. Due to his ridiculous first half of the season, Volquez made the 2008 National League All-Star team. The next year, Volquez got off to a decent start, but then was forced to miss the rest of the year with Tommy John surgery. Coming back from Tommy John surgery is not an easy thing, but multiple MLB pitchers have come back from the surgery, pitching just as good (if  not better) than they did when they were healthy before. Read the rest of this entry

An Interview with Petco Park Expert Ken Lee

Saturday April.07/2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- I had the chance to talk to my fellow co-author of the “Fastest 30 Ballgames” Ken Lee recently about Petco Park.  Ken has made numerous trips to San Diego to visit this newer ball yard.  This is what we discussed.

DB: “Welcome to the MLB Reports Experts Interview Series Ken.  Please tell us about yourself and then give us a bit of background information on your life as a baseball fan?”

KL:  “My name is Ken Lee, I am a General Manager for Jackson Hewitt Tax Service and I live in Marysville, WA with my wife Yvonne and our 2 pup pups, Boomer & Tilly. I am a co-writer of the book titled “The Fastest 30 Ballgames – A Ballpark Chasers World Record Story” that came out last year. I grew up playing baseball and loving every aspect of the game. I attended my first MLB game in April of 1977 @ the Kingdome in Seattle (Yankees vs Mariners). Since then I have attended about 1,000 games or so. I have seen games at 29 outta 30 current ballparks (the lone exception being the new Marlins Park – which I will pick up on May 14th & 15th) and I have seen 42 different MLB ballparks overall.”

DB: “You recently joined me in writing the book “The Fastest Thirty Ballgames”. What does having your name permanently as an author in the ‘Library of Congress’ mean to you?” 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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