Blog Archives

Using Pay As You Go Phones in Canada or the USA for Vacation

Friday, May.18/2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter) Fridays are Travel Article Days:- After several years of traveling across the United States of America as a Canadian, I finally have a livable cell phone bill to come home to after being gone for 6 weeks.  How did I do this you ask?  I bought a prepaid cellphone from 7-Eleven (From T-Mobile) and bought a one month unlimited Talk-Text and Web phone.  Sure I took some ribbing on how ancient the phone looked and worked (It still has the abc-1 buttons to press in order to send out messages,) but I pressed on.  Having unlimited domestic(USA) talking minutes was actually the best feature of the whole deal.  I also used this phone for texting, Facebooking and tweeting.  I also took numerous pictures from each baseball park and sent them to my Gmail account.  This made it easier to post on social media outlets.  On a couple of different occasions I was able to reserve hotel rooms online directly from surfing the web in different cities. 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

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:

Follow me-@chuckbooth3024 on twitter 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


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 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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An Interview with Tropicana Field Expert Kurt Smith

Tuesday April 24, 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, Turner Field and today’s featured expert Article of Tropicana 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 Rays Fan?”

KS: “Well I’m not a Rays fan per se, but wouldn’t they be a fun team to root for? They consistently come out on top or near the top in a division that includes behemoth spenders like the Yankees and Red Sox; and last year’s finale was one of the most exciting regular season games in history.  It’s too bad this team has so much trouble getting people to come out and see them, because they really are an exciting team to watch. And I love the cowbells. It’s great to hear the ringing in a dome when an opposing batter has two strikes on him.”

CB: “As one of the ballpark experts who takes it to the extreme, how do you rank Tropicana Field versus the rest of the Ballparks?”

KS: “Tropicana Field isn’t a great venue; of all the ballparks I’ve visited I’d put it at or near the bottom. I don’t like indoor baseball, and I really dislike artificial turf, probably like most fans. The Trop is the only non-retractable dome left in baseball now that the Metrodome is gone, so you’re inside regardless. It may be okay to have the air conditioning and protection from thunderstorms in July or August, but who wants to go indoors to see baseball on a beautiful April Florida day? The timing of Tropicana Field’s construction couldn’t have been worse. A dome seemed like a great idea at the time, but just a couple of years after it opened Camden Yards debuted and completely turned ballpark construction upside down. Suddenly indoor baseball on artificial turf couldn’t be less cool.

If the Tampa Bay area’s government had listened when baseball told them not to build a stadium, they would probably have a retractable dome today.But the Rays signed a lease, so for the moment they’re stuck with it. And it’s not all bad. The humidity of Florida summers is nothing to sneeze at, so the air conditioning can be pretty nice. And at least you know you’re going to see a game whatever Mother Nature says, which is of great benefit to a road tripper.”

CB: “Despite the Rays being one of the best franchises over the last 5 years, the team still does not draw well. Why do you think that is Kurt?”

KS : “Here are the reasons that I’ve heard, all of which I think have some merit:

1 – Location. The ballpark is in St. Petersburg, and it’s not all that close or easily accessible from Tampa, where much of the fan base is or should be. It’s also in Florida, where there are a lot of New York transplants, so Yankees games draw well but the team has had a hard time establishing its own fan base.

2 – Entertainment Competition. Tampa Bay is not far from beaches or from Orlando, so there isn’t much elbow room for promotional people to convince residents to come to a ballgame rather than go to Universal Studios. The venue doesn’t help; on a beautiful day most people might rather go to a theme park in Orlando or a beach than go indoors for a game.

3 – Venue. I don’t know if I necessarily buy this one; a good team usually draws no matter where they play. But the Trop isn’t on the bucket list of most ballpark trippers, so that doesn’t help matters any. People get enthused about a game at Wrigley Field or Camden Yards, they don’t get enthused about a game at Tropicana Field.

4 – Weather. The indoor venue notwithstanding, perhaps people just don’t want to go somewhere and be outside for at least a short time in a climate where they may be dealing with hurricane-level thunderstorms or oppressive heat.”

CB: “The Rays seem to have a lot of gimmicks to promote a family atmosphere what have you seen Tropicana Field do in order to boost attendance?”

KS: “It is to the Rays’ great credit that they’ve made the Trop more entertaining for families and adults. The Rays tank is an especially popular attraction. You can reach into this tank in right center field and pet the slimy rays that are swimming around in it—all while watching the game go on. The concourse areas of Tropicana Field are like nothing you’ve seen in baseball—comic book style murals of baseball history, picnic areas and tons of interactive games for kids. On my last trip there, the Jumbotron showed a hilarious video of a cat “mixing” on a turntable.There’s also several party areas, like the Everglades BBQ in the batter’s eye in center field, the Center Field Street Brewhouse (with drink specials before games!), and several lounge areas where people can enjoy a “Blue Storm” drink. Baseball buffs should get a kick out of the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame, too. Unfortunately the Rays can’t do fireworks, but they do get some big name acts to play after games.

CB: “What is your favorite method of transportation to and from Tropicana Field?”

KS: “Well if I lived close enough, I’d ride a bicycle, because there’s a lot of nice bicycle paths in the area and a place to lock up your cycle at the ballpark. But as it is, the only way most people get to Tropicana Field is by car, and it’s right off the interstate and easy to find. So I’ll just add that I’d find some people to carpool with, because the Rays offer free parking to the first 100 cars with four or more people in them. Free parking is always a great deal.

There is a new service for Tampa area fans called the “No Excuses Tour”. It takes riders to the game from a couple of local taverns, and I think the price is very reasonable. I believe they serve beer on the bus but the bus doesn’t have a bathroom, so there’s some kinks to be worked out there, but it’s a great idea.”

CB: “Tell me something about the surrounding area of the Ballpark?”

KS: “Well, I haven’t heard any horror stories, but some people say it’s not a great neighborhood. You’re not far from the downtown pier and its attractions, so that’s a possible post-game hangout area. I would say that you’re better off staying east of the ballpark towards the pier, and perhaps it’s not so nice west and south of the ballpark.

The popular pre-and post-game venue is Ferg’s, an indoor-outdoor tavern that is converted from a warehouse. They have game day specials on beer, and I haven’t tried the wings but I’m told they’re very good. If you’re the type that likes a drink or a snack before or after the game, Ferg’s is as good as anything here. They are walking distance from the ballpark and have cheaper parking, too.”

CB: “What advice would you give for somebody experiencing Tropicana Field for the very first time?”

KS: “Don’t pay more than you have to for a seat. If you can live with anything in the upper level you can get tickets there dirt cheap directly from the Rays, and it’s usually not a problem to improve your lie during the game. Wander around and see all of the party areas and make sure you check out that big ballplayer sticking out of the wall. Get yourself a cowbell so you can distract the opposing hitters when they get two strikes on them. If you’re a history buff you’ll want to see the Ted Williams Museum.

And don’t complain about seeing baseball indoors, because it’s a mighty good thing during July and August in St. Petersburg.”

CB: “How is the food at Tropicana Field?  What is your favorite ballpark food there?”

KS: “Tropicana Field has everything from soup to nuts in the food department, like most ballparks these days. The nice thing is that there’s a lot of brand names, for better or worse, at least with Papa John’s, Outback Steakhouse and Checkers you know what you’re getting. They have a deli with great Boar’s Head sandwiches, and they even have a gluten-free stand, great for celiacs like my wife. The hot dogs are from Kayem, the same purveyor of the Fenway Frank in Boston, although the dogs here are different.

When I’m in the Trop I go for a Cuban sandwich at the East-West Delicatessen near the main entrance; the Cuban is not something you find at a lot of ballparks. It’s a hot pressed sandwich of ham, pork, Genoa salami, Swiss cheese, pickles and yellow mustard. I don’t know that it’s the go-to item at the Trop, but it would be my first choice. Gooey cheese is always a winner.”

CB:  “What is your favorite all time game that you have been in attendance for at Tropicana Field?”

KS: “Well unfortunately I wasn’t there for September 28, 2011, when the Rays came back from a 7-0 deficit to defeat the Yankees in 12 innings and take the wild card spot right out from under the Red Sox.

So I’ll just go with my first game there in 2002…the then-Devil Rays pulled off a 5-4 victory over the Orioles, and I was with a group of friends sitting down the right field line making jokes about seeing the relief pitchers from behind.

Despite being indoors on a gorgeous April day, a good time was had by all.”

CB: “Thank you very much Kurt.”

***Thank you to our Tropicana Field Expert- Kurt Smith for participating in today’s article.  to learn more about Kurt Smith and his website click here***

 ***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 ***

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An Interview with Citi Field ‘Expert’ Lori Martini

Friday, March.30/2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer) Last year when I applied for the MLB FanCave, I did so with mixed emotions.  While the job looked like an awesome experience, it also would never be as exciting as going to the baseball games live.  Due to my waiting around for MLB’s decision on the chosen winners, I failed to plan for any extensive road trips last year.  I am not disappointed that I didn’t win.  Mike O’ Hara and Ryan Wagner did a fantastic job and were completely qualified.  What the verdict left me was a desire to prove a point that I have been trying to establish for the last 4 years.  MLB’s 30 Baseball Parks provide the best marketing tool that this entity may ever want.  It is my ultimate goal to show that people would rather go to the games live.  Chasing down the Guinness Book of World Record for visiting all parks in the least amount of days has a plethora of emotions that run through ones body.  It is both an adrenaline rush and a hyper vigilant anxiety clashing for every day I am on the road. 

In my 2 minute video that I sent for the FanCave,  I told them that “you either hire me or I am going to end up doing this on my own anyway!” So I intend to go on a 30 MLB Park journey every year from now until MLB decides to pay me a salary.  To give our readers the kind of insight and information that make these ballparks the best fan experiences in Major League Sports, I have sought out some of the greatest experts in the field of ballpark chasing.  Every park will have a Park Preview, an Expert Interview and a Post Game/Streak Synopsis.  Our first expert interview is Lori Martini.

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The Priceline ‘Bidding Tutorial’ for Baseball Road Trips

Saturday March 17, 2012

Douglas ‘Chuck’ Booth (Baseball Writer)-I am constantly grateful for living in an era that you can negotiate prices for almost anything.  Such as everything we do in life, you become better at something the more  you practice at it.

I use Priceline for most of my lodging on baseball road trips.  The only circumstances I would not use Priceline is if I am only going to be staying in a room for five hours or less.   For Cars, I usually have 20 free car rentals a year but that is only since I rent cars for 365 days a year.  People owning their own cars are better off bidding on Priceline. So here is the process that I came up with that tends to have the greatest results. Read the rest of this entry

Vlad Guerrero is one of the Most Exciting Players Ever to Watch Live

Friday March 5, 2012

Douglas ‘Chuck’ Booth (Baseball Writer)-
 I love watching Vladimir Guerrero play baseball live in person.  I first saw him play in 1996 at the Big ‘O’ in Montreal. I think he swung at 9 balls in a row.  I am lucky enough to have seen him play about 20 games live since then.  Perhaps no other Major League Player has ever liked to swing the bat as much as Vlad (with a heavy apology here to Randall Simon, who swung his bat at one of the Sausages during a Miller Park race.)   Believe me, the television set does not do this man enough justice.

In 2005, I saw my first game at Angel Stadium.  It was Vladdy’s first year in with the Angels.  They were playing the Texas Rangers.  I think Kenny Rogers was pitching back with his original club.  He threw 3 intentional balls way outside to Guerrero in the bottom of the 1st.  On a 3-0 count, he bounced one to the plate.  Wouldn’t you know Vladdy was swinging on a 3-0 count? He smashed a ball off of the fence in left with a line drive about six feet off the ground!  I swear that Vlad would have been one of the best cricket players in the world had he played.  I am sure he has hundreds of hits similar to this in his career.

Vladimir was also an incredible fielder in his early years with the Expos.  He could throw a guy out from the wall in right field all the way to home plate.  It was unbelievable to witness such an amazing arm like this.  He was an all-round player with 5-tools.  He will be regarded more for his offense as some baseball historians say he is the best bad ball hitter since Roberto Clemente.  This is heavy praise for the future Hall of Famer.  While you never really think of Vladdy as lightning fast, he did steal 40 bases in 2002 for the Expos during his 2nd straight 30-30 campaign.  He only missed the 40-40 club by one home run.  (more…)

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