This year, I decided that before each of my road trips, I’d blog about a list of goals that I hoped to accomplish. I did pretty well on my May road trip goals and in case you missed it, listed some goals for my August road trip, too.
I’m largely pleased with how I did goal-wise on this trip. It would’ve been nice to knock off a couple more, but I always try to create some challenging goals to keep things interesting.
Here’s a recap:
1. Get to the top of the Green Monster
Woo hoo! This was the biggest goal for me, and I was lucky to accomplish it. One awesome reader of this blog, Mike, offered to take me up to the Monster as his guest. (Thanks again, Mike!) That didn’t work out, but I was able to take a Fenway Park tour, where I made it all the way up top:
2. Eat something that cracks my ballpark top 10
The jury’s still out on this one. Plus, I’m going to unveil my new top 10 (and possibly top 15) in the new year, so you’ll see the details then.
3. Buy something that says ‘Fenway Park 100 Years’
I really like this logo and was glad to get this hat. I also got one additional thing featuring the logo, which I’ll include in my post about clothing that I got this summer.
4. Get interviewed on one team’s broadcast
This didn’t work out, unfortunately. But, I’m excited to say that I’ve already got one on-air interview loosely scheduled for 2013!
5. Visit a bunch of touristy attractions
I hit a number of cool places in Boston and a few other areas. I’m going to blog about those adventures in the new year, but in the meantime, here’s a picture of me before I boarded the U.S.S. Constitution in Boston:
6. Visit 10 non-MLB/MiLB ballparks
As I recently blogged about, I visited four of these parks on my trip, so I fell short of the 10 I’d hoped to see. Seeing 10 was definitely doable, but it was pretty time consuming, so I decided to scrap this goal early on.
7. Get 10 autographs
I thought I’d have better luck with this goal, but all I managed were three autographs from the Futures at Fenway game:
8. Buy at least one team’s hat
I really wanted to get a hat on this trip, and after I bought my Futures at Fenway hat, I decided to pass on a second hat. So, I didn’t really accomplish the goal, but I still got a hat, so I’m happy.
9. Get 10 baseballs
I’m not a ballhawk, but I do like to try to get a ball whenever I can. I’m happy to say I accomplished this goal with 13 balls:
10. Have some unforeseen fun adventure
Aside from getting up onto the Green Monster, two things stand out from this trip:
a) Sitting in the Lone Red Seat at Fenway Park:
b) Writing my name on Pesky’s Pole:
Now that I’ve blogged about meeting Frederick Keys outfielder Jeremy Nowak, which was the highlight of last month’s baseball road trip, I want to review the 10 goals I made for myself before hitting the road.
In all, I did pretty well, especially considering there were a few hiccups along the way that impacted my ability to cross off some of the goals.
Here’s the recap:
1. Get tours of five of the seven parks
The first stop on my road trip, May 21 in Lakewood, was rained out, so tours at five of seven was skewed from the get-go. That said, of the six games I attended, I did get an official tour at four parks and some great help/advice at the other two, so I’d say I achieved this goal.
2. Get 10 baseballs
The short answer is that I finished with six baseballs, which falls slightly short of my goal. But hang on. One game was rained out and of the other six, only two had batting practice. So, I’d say that six balls in six games is good, considering I try to average a ball a game. Here they are, including two International League balls from batting practice at Buffalo’s Coca-Cola Field, an NCAA tournament ball from Wilmington, two Carolina League balls from Frederick’s Harry Grove Stadium and, at bottom, the Jeremy Nowak home run ball:
3. Get a game-used item
If you read my recent post about Jeremy Nowak’s home run ball, you’d agree I knocked this item off my list of goals. Hard to imagine a cooler game-used item! The runner-up is a game-used item that I picked up in Wilmington, which I’ll blog about later this week.
4. Get autographs from Wally Backman and Ryne Sandberg
This one was a wash. Why? Because I got media passes for all the games I attended, including those in which I saw the two legendary MLBers. And as you can see on the bottom on one of my passes (and they all say this), passholders are prohibited from asking for autographs:
5. Find a food item that gets into my top 10
As a reference point, here are the top 10 things I’ve eaten on my travels. It’s close, but I think I’ll bump off Classic Park’s pulled pork nachos and replace the #10 slot with the crab fries at Trenton’s Waterfront Park. They weren’t quite as good as I thought they might be, but they were unique enough to sneak through the backdoor into the 10th spot:
6. Be interviewed during a game broadcast
Check! This happened twice and both times, it was really exciting. I was interviewed on the Wilmington Blue Rocks broadcast by Jeff O’Connor and the Frederick Keys broadcast by Adam Pohl. And in case you missed the pictures I posted about those interviews, here they are:
7. Get 50 autographs
In the same vein as the attempt to get Backman and Sandberg to sign, this one is a no-go. But I’ll call it an N/A rather than a fail, because I didn’t ask for a single autograph.
8. Buy a hat
Oops! There were a couple times I wanted to get a hat and just didn’t pull the trigger. The first was at the rained-out game in Lakewood. I think the BlueClaws’ hats look neat, but given the cancellation of the game, I wasn’t able to get one. Secondly, I wanted to get a Keys hat at Harry Grove Stadium, but the hats were all behind the counter and I’m a methodical hat buyer. I like to try a bunch on until I find one that fits me perfectly, and didn’t bother doing so. Does this mean that next road trip I’ll get two hats? Yes. Yes, it does.
9. Have my photo taken with a player
It’s fitting that I got a fan to capture the coolest moment of the road trip. The photo is grainy and dark but the smiles say it all:
10. Have some unforeseen fun adventure
I think this qualifies, don’t you? If you want a runner-up, here it is:
– Despite the rainout, I was able to get into Lakewood’s FirstEnergy park and wander around the near-empty park by myself. It might not seem that thrilling on the surface, but imagine getting into a ballpark by yourself and touring it at your leisure. It was special. Here’s a photo of the deserted park I took on my self-guided tour that I haven’t previously published:
So, what’s next for me? Despite the highlights of my May trip, I’m confident my next trip will be great for a number of other reasons. I’m in the middle of planning it now, and I’ll have a blog post about that soon enough.
In the meantime, please check out The Ballpark Guide and remember that your clicks help me pay for future travels and adventures. Thank you.
Over the last two days, I’ve posted autographed balls from 1970 AL MVP Boog Powell and two-time National League All-Star Justin Upton.
Today, I’m posting the third autographed ball I got on my most recent road trip for The Ballpark Guide, which took me through Pennsylvania, Maryland and eventually to D.C.
This ball comes from someone taken second overall in the 2002 MLB Entry Draft — Justin’s brother, B.J. Upton:
B.J. hasn’t been an All-Star like Justin, but he has hit for the cycle, doing so back in 2009. He’s played his whole career with Tampa Bay and I’ve seen him play live a number of times. I bought this MLB-authenticated ball at Nationals Park, just as I did with the one signed by Justin. Both balls were a good deal, and I thought it’d be neat to have signatures from both guys.
One last ball tomorrow!