Road Trip Countdown

By this time next week, I’ll have already seen two games during my first road trip of 2012 for The Ballpark Guide. Can you guess that I’m counting down the days in a big way?

If you’re new to this blog, I thought I’d post the road trip schedule again, and as I think you’ll agree, it’s going to involve a terrific amount of baseball in a short period of time:

Monday, May 21: Delmarva Shorebirds at Lakewood BlueClaws 6:35 p.m.

Tuesday, May 22: Louisville Bats at Lehigh Valley IronPigs 10:35 a.m.

Tuesday, May 22: Akron Aeros at Trenton Thunder 7:05 p.m.

Wednesday, May 23: Potomac Nationals at Wilmington Blue Rocks 11:05 a.m.

Wednesday, May 23: Carolina Mudcats at Frederick Keys 7:05 p.m.

Thursday, May 24: Harrisburg Senators at Altoona Curve 10:30 a.m.

Thursday, May 24: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees at Buffalo Bisons 7:05 p.m.

The plan is to get up very early on Monday morning and drive nearly nine hours to Lakewood, N.J., where I’ll watch the BlueClaws at FirstEnergy Park. As you know, I love to get to the ballpark a couple hours before the game, so I’ll do my best even though it’ll be a long drive. As an added bonus, I’m going to get to spend some time in the press box during the game and perhaps get a tour of the park.

I’ll be staying in the Trenton area Monday night because first thing Tuesday, I’ll head to Allentown, PA, to watch the IronPigs in a matinee game. Once that one’s wrapped up, it’s back to Trenton to catch the Thunder. The Thunder have graciously agreed to give me a tour of Waterfront Park, so I’m definitely looking forward to that.

Wednesday, May 23 will be a big day. Not only will I get to watch the Wilmington Blue Rocks in matinee action, I might even get mentioned on the ballpark’s video board! I realize things get hectic on game days, but the team has told me this is a possibility, so I’m definitely keeping my fingers crossed — and my camera ready.  As I’m writing this post, I just got word from the Blue Rocks that I’m going to get to be interviewed on the team’s radio broadcast in the top of the fifth inning. Outstanding!

Once the Wilmington game has wrapped up, I’ll hop back in the car and zoom to Frederick, MD, where I’ll attend a Keys game. I’m really pumped for this one because I’m getting to meet Keys outfielder Jeremy Nowak, whose name you’ll know if you follow this blog. If not, check out this link. And here’s a picture of Jeremy that I took last year as he signed autographs as a member of the Delmarva Shorebirds:

What could make this visit better? How about a tour before the gates open and a half inning in the press box being interviewed on the game’s broadcast? Needless to say, it’s going to be an outstanding day. And I see that Frederick’s Harry Grove Stadium has crab on the menu, and if it’s anything like the crab cake sandwich I had last year at Aberdeen’s Ripken Stadium

… I am going to have a full stomach.

On Thursday morning, I’m going to have to be on the road very early for the drive to Altoona, PA. Not only is there a third matinee game in three days that I get to attend, the team expects it’ll be able to give me a tour that morning before the gates open. After the game, I’ll drive straight to Buffalo, where I should get to Coca-Cola Field shortly before the gates open. At this game, I plan to meet up with some of the bloggers from NY Bisons to say hello, so that should be fun. If you haven’t seen this blog, check it out. These guys are all over Buffalo baseball and provide several entertaining reads every week. I’ve been to Coca-Cola Field in the past, but I’m looking forward to seeing it again — especially now that the park has the biggest scoreboard in the Minor Leagues.

So, yes, it’s going to be a full four days, but I’m obviously really looking forward to it. The opportunities to get tours of the parks and time on-air are absolutely outstanding, so I’ve got even more reasons to be pumped for this trip. The schedule is so packed that I won’t have a ton of spare time for sightseeing, but I’ll try to see some cool places and share photos.

I’ll be blogging as much as I can while I’m away, as well as updating my adventure on Twitter. As always, thanks for reading and please be sure to check out my website, The Ballpark Guide, for guides to MLB and MiLB parks. I’ve got guides to more than 20 parks listed on the site now, with more coming soon. And if you find the guides helpful, or just enjoy following my travel adventures, please visit this page and consider making a donation to help out the cause.

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10 comments

  1. nybisonsdanny

    I see that the time is screwed up on the bottom of your post. If you go to your settings you can change that.

  2. Matt

    Hi Malcom-

    If you’re going to Trenton and are looking to ballhawk, there’s two good spots that you can get balls. Depending on which way the wind is blowing, you can go towards left field. That is adjacent to US-22, so there’s not much room to run. Right field is somewhat bigger, but you have the Delaware River right next to you, and often times, you will see balls drop in there. I’ve actually fished a few out on occassion. I’ve had some instances where I’ve found baseballs on the banks of the river. Of course, you can hang out right by the Trenton bullpen, which is in the right field corner, and try and get a few there. Kei Igawa was always over in that spot last year and was incredibly generous. Players come out at about 3 PM (pitchers are usually warming up at 200-230), and BP starts around 4 PM. There are a few guys there who hawk, and are very friendly. A good day there is around 5-6 balls. Oh, and if you get to the park early enough, you won’t have to pay for parking. It’s only $3, but still. Also, don’t park too close to the stadium, as I’ve seen windshields get blasted out from fly balls.

  3. Malcolm - TheBallparkGuide

    Matt: Thanks for all the great tips! I’m not a ballhawk per se, but I like to see if I can get a ball while I visit each new park. I really appreciate the advice, and hopefully I’ll have some cool successes to report in my blog about my visit! I’ll definitely give the lemonade a shot, too.
    Philadelphia45: I’m getting the tour from the team’s director of PR. I’m pretty excited to get to check out all the ins and outs of the stadium!
    – Malcolm

  4. Malcolm - TheBallparkGuide

    Hi Matt,
    I enjoyed following your adventures on your blog over the last couple weeks, and will look forward to more stuff once you have time to get caught up on some sleep!
    Thanks for checking out my blog. I’m pumped to hit the road on Monday and hope to have a great time.
    Malcolm

  5. Scott

    I read where the stadium that is home to the first professional baseball game played under lights in 1930 is about to be tore down. Mickey Mantle started his professional career there with the Independence Yankees. Other players that played for Independence were Bill Virdon, Don Taussig, Bob Wiesler, Steve Kraly, Lou Skizas, Cy Blanton, and Glenn Wright. Over thirty major league players have played for Independence. You might want to go see it before it is gone.

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