Friday January 27, 2012
Doug Booth- Baseball Writer: Gone are the days when baseball teams deliberately schedule two games in one stadium like teams used to do in past generations. If there is not a postponed game for the duration of your team’s schedule, you will not even have this occurrence. I am here to tell that modern-day traveling has opened up possibilities for two games in one day for separate cities like never before. For the extreme ballpark chasers, nothing is more exciting for a baseball fan when Major League Baseball posts the new season’s calendar. Usually the brass does this in mid-September. Across the world, ballpark goers mark their favorite teams mapped out schedule. A lot of fans check off what new or old baseball parks they want to visit in the next season. Plans formulate with a heavy thought to their own planned vacation time. For the most hard-core baseball fan, their whole lives revolve around this process. Posting the schedule mind you, is only part one of the process.
The baseball teams that are the smartest, post the starting times of the games as soon as possible, while some of the teams hold off releasing this information based for a multitude of reasons. There are a few baseball venues that are multi-purpose, or that factor in some big revenue streams that may affect the stadium availability. By the time the end of January rolls around, ninety percent of the starting times are posted. The ESPN Sunday Night Schedule is pretty much complete, except for the summer that based on a flex schedule. As of today, all of the teams have posted their starting times for the 2012 season except for the Cleveland Indians. This gives the extreme baseball enthusiast the chance to mark down all possible doubleheader attempts for the year.
When I failed my first two bids for the Guinness Book of World Records (for visiting all of the stadiums in the least amount of days), I had to research all possible doubleheader partners to match up. In the off-season before I broke the record, I spent days punching in all scenarios for each ball club. I investigated all forms of travel methods despite costs. There are some people that like to hammer out the most games conceivable in the least amount of days. I for one, have a job where I pay a surcharge daily for someone to run my business while I go vacation, so each day is important. There are people that downplay my philosophy, this I do understand. I would never suggest that someone rush their first visit to a stadium, or even a baseball city for that matter, but once you have been to the park and city before then I implore you to park hop like a veteran.
Here are the doubleheader park attempts I did during the 3 Guinness Book of World Records Attempt’s:
Minnesota Twins at Target Field Morning game/Chicago White Sox at Us Cellular Field Night Game. This was a successful bid as I used the #55 Hiwatha Train Line in Minnesota to my advantage, this was in conjunction with MSP Airport. When I landed back in Chicago, I paid $65 for a sedan service ride to the park.
Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Ballpark Day Game/New York Yankees at Old Yankees Stadium for the Sunday Night ESPN 8 PM Eastern start. This doubleheader was foiled to lengthy rain delays in Philly. The game was not aided by extra innings either. The logistics of this trip are still good. There is an Amtrak station about 6 miles from CBP, where you can catch a train ride that is 90 minutes long. From there you take the subway all the way to Yankees Stadium from Penn Station.
San Diego Padres at Petco Park day game/Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Another doubleheader perfectly executed. Any of the Angels, Dodger and Padres attempts are possible. The only drawback is that you might hit a crazy traffic jam at any point.
Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park day game/Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. This doubleheader looked great to try until Todd ‘The Hammer’ Jones blew a save for me causing an extra 90 minutes to the game. Had it ended at 4PM, I would have had 3 hours to drive 168 miles to Cleveland to complete the DH.
Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field day game/Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park night game. At the advice of a front office Cubs executive, I learned that driving was definitely not the way to go. After much research, I came up with the Amtrak maneuver. The game at Wrigley ended at 3:45. I used a sedan service to take me to Chicago Union Station for $50. This was a great alternative as I saved $20 on parking alone. I took a 5:10 Train that left me at Milwaukee Airport at 6:28 PM. I then drove the 20 minutes to the park.
Washington Nationals at Nationals Park day game/New York Mets at Shea Stadium night game. I used another Sunday Night game to complete this doubleheader. This trek looked like it was going to fail a few times. Again I used a sedan service to Ronald Regan Airport. The flight at DCA was at 6:00 PM, and landed at Lu Guardia Airport at 7:17, giving me 45 minutes to make the 3 mile journey to Citi Field. Mission accomplished.
Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field day game/Florida Marlins at Dolphin Stadium night game. The 12 PM start at the ‘Trop’ was well received by yours truly. I nailed this attempt after foregoing the pre-paid sedan service. I used a cab instead because the sedan service was late. I made a 4:50 flight in Tampa/arriving at Miami International Airport at 5:50. It was easy enough to make the drive to Dolphin Stadium via rental car.
Oakland Athletics at McaFee Coliseum day game/San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. The easiest doubleheader completion as there is only a bridge and 15 miles between the two cities.
Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park day game/Texas Rangers at The Ball Park in Arlington night game. The execution was perfect, using a sedan service I was at the airport in Houston for a 5:30 flight/arriving at DFW at 6:34. From there I would have had 30 minutes for what was a 15 minute drive on a Sunday night.
Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park day game/Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park night game. A poorly trained sedan drive missed my proper meeting point, this delayed me 30 minutes. The plan was a 5:15 flight out of Pittsburgh that arrived in Detroit at 6:28. A sedan driver would have given me a shot to make this game with about a 30 minute ride to the park.
I completed a Wrigley Field/Miller Park doubleheader driving. The Amtrak option was ruled out because of construction delays. I braved the elements of the road. I sprinted from the parking lot at Miller to walk through the doors with 3 minutes to spare.
Toronto Blue Jays at The Rogers Center day game/New York Yankees at New Yankees Stadium night game. I lucked out on this for several factors: There was a rain delay at the park in Yankees Stadium. I made my flight from Toronto by using my Fast Pass International Security Clearance for passengers and a sedan service only to be in weather delay at the airport. Once I arrived in New York, my sedan driver at LGA did not even know where Yankees Stadium was! I walked into the stadium at 8:15 PM. The games started at 9:40 PM. Had all of it worked out with proper weather, I would have missed this attempt. I would not try this again for a weekday game.
Cincinnati Reds at The Great American Ball Park day game/Chicago White Sox at Us Cellular Field night game. I paid for a premium parking spot that saw me blast out front of the traffic in Cincinnati. I caught a 5:40 Flight that landed in Chicago at 6:00PM because of the time change crossover. A cab ride enabled me to make it to the park 2 minutes before the 7:11 PM Start time. I was helped out by a rain delay once I walked into the park which helped me gain the necessary evidence I made it on time.
New York Mets at Citi Field day game/Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Ball Park night game. The 12 PM start time in New York was ideal for this DH. The 7 line train took me all the way to New York Penn Station. I took a 75 minute express train to Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station. My brother picked me up and we were at ‘CBP’ 20 minutes later.
Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field day game/Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium night game. I used the 12 PM game in Cleveland, plus a great light rail train all the way to Cleveland’s Airport. I caught a 4:50 plan that arrived in Kansas City at 6PM. I had a $50 sedan service take me all the way to the park. The driver actually had a security guard move a blockade in order to for me to be dropped off at the front door.
I made a Los Angeles Angels and Dodgers doubleheader to complete the DH portion of the streaks.
I will be writing a lot of blogs on this subject. I will be posting a Doubleheaders Master Schedule on my website in March. There will be every plausible scenario listed. Also look for my future blogs about travel tips. All of the best information can also be attained from my book ‘The Fastest Thirty Ballgames.’ The links to buy are also listed at my website below.
*** 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 for Doug’s website, fastestthirtyballgames.com***
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