The Annual Baseball Trip

June 05, 2020

The Baseball Trip

This is the 4th in the “Get to know Ken” blog series.

 

So for a few years post college, a group of friends would go up to NYC to catch a Mets game (I’m a big Mets fan) and possibly a Yankees game too.  After a few years though, we decided to branch out, and the Baseball Trip was born.  Every year since the crew has selected a city or two to travel to, take in a ball game and enjoy the sights and sounds.  We have plenty of stories from each trip and I think that’s basically the point of going.

I had perfect attendance for a while, I think I was one of the last three to make each trip until 2015, but now we’re down to just one man who has gone every year.  Here’s a few quick highlights of the travels:

 

2008 – Chicago Cubs/Milwaukee.  Saw Aramis Ramirez hit a walk off winner for the Cubs over the White Sox, then watched Corey Hart do the same for the Brewers over the Orioles a day or two later.  To make that even crazier the following weekend I ended up at the Nationals stadium and saw Ronnie Belliard hit a walk off homer over the Orioles (again).  3 walkoff dingers in 3 straight games I attended in a span of 8 days.

2009 – St. Louis (2 games).  Pappy’s Smokehouse.  Unreal BBQ.  I ate so much.  Also St. Louis fans are phenomenal.  Guy made his MLB debut and got shelled, fans gave him a standing ovation regardless.  Classy.

2010 – Minnesota/Milwaukee.  Minnesota was the target (Target field) and we liked Milwaukee so much in 2008, and it was on the way, so we stopped there again.  Walleye on a stick, the Juicy Lucy and lawn bowling were some highlights of Minneapolis.

2011 – Kansas City/Colorado – Jack Stack BBQ also awesome.  Denver breweries so good that our one friend ended up moving there – well maybe that was only 80% of the reason…

2012 – San Fransisco/Seattle – We skipped Oakland because, well, we figured they’d get a good stadium someday.  This was an epic trip for me, three of us ended up going to Vancouver after Seattle because one of the traveler’s brother lived there then I went back south to San Diego for a “bachelor’s party” except they had called off the wedding before we went.  Trip was booked sooo….we went anyways.  I did not go to a Padres  game but I did see inside the stadium from a nearby hotel rooftop as we watched the world's most explosive fireworks show in history.  Do yourself a favor and search for the 2012 SD Fireworks video.

2013 – Texas/Houston – I added a “pre-trip” to visit a buddy in Austin as well.  We got a stadium tour of the Rangers stadium which was cool – down on the field and all.  Can’t believe they are building ANOTHER new stadium there.

2014 – Toronto/Boston – ended up as a bachelor’s party for one of the crew.  I received endless mocking for driving instead of flying on this one, but I stand by my decision – the rest of the guys nearly missed their flight after taking the ferry to the wrong Toronto airport!

2015 – A return to Chicago for White Sox and Cubs games.  My streak ended here – I missed this trip – though I did get to see the White Sox stadium for a game in 2018.

2016 – Cleveland – I also missed this trip.  With all the traveling we do to Michigan to see Lesley’s family, I anticipate checking this one off at some point.

2017 – San Diego/Arizona.  Missed this one too, will be tougher to catch up with these two.

2018 – Florida/Tampa Bay.  Also missed.  My attendance record severely declined after my life changed for the better – can’t blame Lesley for 2015, but my priorities definitely had changed by 2016.

2019 – Cincinnati/Atlanta.  I was all set to make my triumphant return last year, and I sort of did.  I decided to do Cincinnati only as Lesley was expecting twins in another month or so and I didn’t want to have to worry about flights if I needed to high tail it home.  It worked out that the Pirates were playing at home the night before our game in Cincy so I decided to drive out and spend the night there on the way.  Caught the Pirates game, we hung out with an old college friend at the game, but wouldn’t you know no sooner did my head hit the pillow than the bat phone rang.  Straight to the hospital in York (3.5 hour drive) for what ended up being a false alarm and the girls didn’t arrive for another month.  So I caught a game while I was “on the trip” so I get a half participation credit ribbon I think.

2020 – Los Angeles/Los Angeles was the plan, but the trip was cancelled due to COVID.

 

Combined with the east coast stadiums I’ve seen – I’ve been to 19 of the current stadiums and 24 in total if you count the ones that have been replaced - Yankees, Mets, Nationals, Orioles, Phillies.  I even have a scratch off map in my office of the stadium’s I’ve been to.  Bucket list!

Not sure where 2021 will take us but there aren’t many stadiums that the trip hasn’t visited.  Detroit I think has somehow been missed?  The two LA stadiums, Oakland (getting a new stadium?) and whenever the new stadium in Texas is done that’ll be another excuse to head to the Lone Star state.  Probably a second attempt at LA in 2021 if I had to guess.  What do we do when the list is complete?  Revisits?  AAA Stadiums?  College Football Stadiums?  Time will tell.