Thursday, January 16, 2014

Day 291: It's the Road Trip of My Dreams!

I've been a baseball fan pretty much since I stopped wearing diapers and I've only ever been to two major league ballparks. It's tough when I'm stuck up here in the northeast corner of the country where even my Boston Red Sox are still a two-hour drive. If it wasn't for my Yankee-lover husband, I probably would only ever have visited Fenway Park. I'm not much of a Yankee Stadium fan.

There are a couple ballparks on my bucket list—just a couple because if I try to think about going to more than that, even those that I most want to visit would feel out of reach. Camden Yards in Baltimore is tops. Since the day that park opened in 1992, I've wanted to make the trip to watch the Sox play the O's. It has that same closeness that Fenway has and it has all the features new stadium with an old stadium feel.

Of course, Wrigley Field is one of those on the list. For starters, the ivy covered walls have always amazed me. Do balls get lost out there? Also, because it's the second oldest stadium in operation—just two years younger than Fenway Park. Having to wait so many years for a World Series victory makes me feel a sort of kinship with Cubs fans... at least I did until 2004. Sorry.

I read an article today about a guy who has always dreamed of the ultimate baseball road trip. He finally took it upon himself to put the plan down on paper and even go so far as to price the whole thing out. Some fans dream of taking the summer off, loading up the car and setting off for three months of cross country driving and ballgames. This guy is much, much more ambitious.

Will Leitch writes The Ultimate: 30 Stadiums, 30 Days. It's a fabulous "dare to dream" piece where all you need is a month off and a boat load of cash. Because it's only 30 days, careful planning and lots of flying are involved. The challenge for him was finding stretches of days where teams in the same state or general area were all playing at home. For instance, he couldn't do all the California teams in one west coast swing, which kind of sucks but he deals with it.

The whole schedule sounded both exhausting and exhilarating all at once. There's even a stretch where he plans a 36-hour stretch of no hotels when the trip takes him from Seattle to Minnesota to San Diego. He says, "Yes, that's right: You just went from a game to an airport to a game to another airport without ever stopping at a hotel to sleep. You're a gamer." At least he gives you the chance to save a little on lodging along the way.

Once you make it to the northeast, it's a little easier to get around. There are more train rides than flights. The baseball stadiums are a bit closer together—so much so that if you were really motivated, you could probably rent a car and drive it. Although by this point, you might need you're own personal driver since I can only imagine that severe fatigue is starting to set in right about now. This trip might have officially just catapulted to the top of my bucket list. Who's with me?

Now all I need is a month off from work and a quick influx of cash. The estimate for just the travel, game tickets and lodging is close to $11,000—that doesn't include food or booze so now I've got to add another couple grand for that. But just think of the book a trip like this could fuel.

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