Sunday, October 30, 2011

Baseball, Beer, Movies... USA!

I made it home!  Let me tell you it sure is great to be back in the USA.  It’s been an excellent journey so far.  My first night home it was game seven of the World Series.  There is no greater way to come home to the US and enjoy a game seven and a nice cold Bud Light.  As you all know St. Louis won it.  Apparently it was one of the greatest series of all time.  I wish I could of enjoyed it all but I get to enjoy every series from here on out. 

My favorite thing in the world to do is go to the movies.  That is the thing I always miss the most when I’m away.  I grew up in a movie theater.  My grandfather ran some theaters, all of my aunts and my dad worked at one, my aunt and uncle met at a movie theater, my very first job was at a movie theater.  Today I saw my first movie since getting home.  Moneyball.  Great movie.  It kept me captivated the entire time.  I didn’t even realize that 2+ hours had passed by the time the movie was over.  Brad Pitt was excellent and believable as Billy Beane. Fat Jonah Hill was a very likeable Peter Brand.  You feel that there is a genuine love for baseball wrapped up in this movie.

Now that I’m home I can continue to work on my baseball road trip!  Now is time to get my stuff together and start making things happen.  I ordered a ton of baseball stuff from while I was deployed.  To get myself excited I have tons of baseball movies and books!  Right now I’m actually watching a Blue Ray movie about the Chicago Cubs.  I came home to several packages waiting for me at my parents’ house.  The first one I noticed was from the New York Yankees. I got really excited and opened it up.  Inside of it was a really awesome stuffed bear, a Yankees Ball cap, a coffee mug, key chains, and stickers.  They didn’t add a letter or anything else but it was still a pretty cool package to receive.  If I do a project I will be adding that merchandise as a reward level.

Just as I was getting ready to come home I got an email from the Chicago Cubs (My favorite NL team).  It was an advertisement for the Cubs Convention.  Have any of you ever been to it?  I’m incredibly intrigued.  It seems like a really great time!  It would be an excellent Christmas present if anybody out there would like to get it for me!  Does your favorite team do anything unique like this?  I would love to learn about it and attend if they do.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What am I doing?

It’s been a little while since I’ve written anything. The internet in my room was not working on my down day and other than that I’ve been really tired. It’s almost time for us to be done with the longest year of my life and I am exhausted. Not too much longer and I’ll be out of Afghanistan forever!

I really don’t know exactly what I’m doing with getting sponsorship or anything like that but I’m trying like hell. I have e-mailed every single MLB team along with the MLB itself explaining to them what I am trying to do next summer. A few of them emailed me back and offered me tickets to a game next season. I also wrote a formal letter explaining what I’m trying to accomplish and sent it to several people in every organization via snail mail. The awesome thing about being deployed to Afghanistan is that we can send letter mail back to the states for free. All we have to do is write free mail where the stamp goes and our postal service will deliver it for us. I sent those out maybe 2-3 weeks ago.

So far the teams that have responded to my mail and letter mail are: Boston, Tampa, Toronto, Detroit, Chicago WS, Kansas City, Cleveland, Oakland, Atlanta, NY Mets, Miami, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, CHC, Arizona and San Diego. That’s officially just over half the teams having responded to me already. If any of them responded by letter mail I won’t be receiving that until I’m home in early November.

All teams that have contacted me have been really supportive. I have been incredibly appreciative and I thank them for being so kind in helping me with my journey. I have also been sending the link to my blog to just about everybody I know. I even went as far as friending Mike Illitch’s grandson on facebook and sending him a link to my blog. Right now my account is used just to send people the link and try to get them to view my blog. Hopefully I’ll gain some loyal followers. A few of my buddies have posted a link to my blog on their websites. I thank everybody who has supported me so far but I still have a long way to go.

Friday, October 7, 2011


What a wild night for us Tigers fans here in Afghanistan.  The game started at 8pm Eastern time 430am Afghan time.  We are 8 and a half hour ahead of New York if you’re bad at math.  Shortly after 0430 I was able to get on the computer in the office and log on to my account.  I pulled up the audio for the game and it was already 2-0 Tigers.  I left the game up while I was in and out of the office.  In the facility I work in there is one TV that we have access to.  It’s in our main Operations where all the higher ranking people work.  I snuck in there pretending to drop off paperwork and stayed for about an hour.  It was such an exciting game I hated leaving that TV.  We got out of work at 7am local time.  We all rushed to the chow hall to eat breakfast.  When we arrived it was the 7th inning.  Benoit came into the game with one man on.  He loaded the bases and walked in a run.  There were about 50 soldiers sitting around one TV in the chow hall in utter discomfort.  The tension was amazing.  We were sitting there, thousands of miles from Yankee Stadium, but it felt like we were right there.  Benoit got us out of the inning and the chow hall crowd went wild.  We sat there in the chow hall watching the remainder of the game.  When the Tigers got the final out we all went wild.  It was so much fun.  I’m so excited to see the Tigers take on the Rangers in the ALCS. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Do you ever have random memories that come back to you?  That happened to me today.  I was talking to Melissa who was watching the Lion King in 3D on her super wicked TV when I asked her a random question.  “Did you have a crush on Jonathon Taylor Thomas when we were younger” She said no.  I just remembered my older sister, Stacy, had posters and Pictures of JTT all over her room.  That brought back a pretty good memory for me. 

When I was in 3rd grade my parents moved us to a new house in the small town of Findlay, Ohio (Hometown of Ben Rothlisberger).  My parents asked me how I would like to decorate it and right away I informed them I wanted it to be red!  They shot that down pretty quickly.  Apparently Red was too bold of a color.  So I went with my second choice. I chose for the walls to be blue.  The border at the top of the wall was baseball bats and baseballs.  My light switch was a baseball and my lamps were bats. 

That triggers another memory.  Around the time I had gotten the new bedroom I had to start attending a new school.  I was kind of shy so I went to the Library.  I don’t remember the name of the book or exactly what it was about.  I just remember it was about the struggle of being a pitcher.  It was a short children’s novel of 150 pages or so.  I can remember the picture of the kid standing on the mound on the cover.  I checked it out of the library like 10 times that year.  I also did my best to read every baseball book in that library.

A short time after my grandfather passed away I remember my grandmother cleaning out his office.  His office was amazing.  He had bookshelves built into the walls and they were all full.  My grandmother gave me several of his books.  The one that sticks out is a book my Sparky Anderson.  I don’t remember exactly what it said but I’m rather saddened it got ruined in a flood when I was away at basic training for the Army. 

I love that these memories came back to me.  Baseball was such a huge part of my growing up.  I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of these things in many many years.  It’s so exciting being able to take a look at my baseball past. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

An idea could equal money

I’ve had a few suggestions for a project. One is to pick up something small for donors at the parks. Something small and obviously something cost effective. I was thinking there could be one price bracket for picking up one thing from one ballpark, and another price bracket for picking up one thing at every ballpark. Another suggestion is to have t-shirts made. I’ve always wanted a t-shirt with my goofy face on it so I really like this idea! Maybe have a map of the US with all the parks on it. The third suggestion that I’ve had is to make a scrapbook of all the parks and give it as one of the awards. That instantly makes me think of the books you can make on  Shutterfly is an awesome website for making photo scrap books. If you’ve never seen it I recommend checking it out. I made one for my mother’s birthday and she absolutely loved it.

Another thing I was thinking of trying to set up is getting merchandise donated by players and/or teams. That would be awesome to be able to add a few autographed things to an award block. I guess anything anybody is willing to donate would be perfect. I would also pick a charity and donate a portion of the proceeds of the project. There are so many awesome veterans organizations out there it would be hard to pick just one.

Do you have any ideas? Do you have anything you could donate to my cause? What should I pick up from each park? What are different levels of incentives I could give? What should my goal amount be?

If you have any ideas leave a comment, inbox me, or send an email at

Friday, September 30, 2011

Why the Tigers will go far!

The Detroit Tigers are going to do well in the post season.  I don’t want to say that they’re going to win it all because that would be bad Karma.  I have some good/bad luck when it comes to my sports teams while I’m deployed to the Middle East. 
My favorite sports teams are the Detroit Tigers, Michigan State Spartans, Pittsburgh Steelers, and I tend to watch the Detroit Red Wings when it comes to payoff time.
While in Iraq the MSU Football team went 9-4 overall and played in a Jan 1 bowl game (The Capital One Bowl Game) against Georgia.  For my fellow MSU fans out there that’s a pretty darn good year for us.  When you’re compared to the University of Michigan consistently.  This year while in Afghanistan the MSU Football team went 11-2 overall.  Losing only one regular season game and finishing with the best record in school history.  They were also co Big Ten champions with Wisconsin and Ohio State.
When I was in Iraq the MSU Basketball team made it all the way to the National Championship game.  What is more amazing about that is that it was in Detroit.  The chances of that ever happening again are slim to none.  I’m still bitter that I missed out on all that excitement.  I’d rather not talk about how they did this season though! Ha-ha.
The Pittsburgh Steelers made it to the Super bowl and won in 2008/2009.  It was so amazingly exciting.  The Army decided to let us have to ALCOHOLIC beers.  I had two Bud Lights.  The Steelers defeated the Arizona Cardinals in what was one of the greatest Super Bowls I had ever seen.  I was there with great friends, watched a great game, and drank some great beer.  My roommate’s cousin is Lamar Woodley so he was just as excited as I was.  This year the Steelers returned to the Super Bowl.  This time I was working and didn’t get to see much at all.  There was no beer and I’d rather not talk about the score of the game!

Like I said I'm not much of a hockey fan but I do watch playoff hockey. When we were on our way home from Iraq it was the Stanley Cup Championship. The Red Wings were playing the Pittsburgh Penguins. I got to watch all that excitement with a bunch of Wing Nutz in Camp Virginia, Kuwait.
For that reason right there I believe the Detroit Tigers are going to do great things this post season.  I already looked into it and if there were a game 7 in the World Series it would be Oct 27th.  I’m almost certain I will not be home by then.  If I were I would have bought a game 7 ticket and be prepared to go to the World Series regardless of who’s in and where it’s at.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Regular season ends

What a wild final night of baseball in the 2012 regular season.  The night started off with several possibilities. 

Being a Detroit Tigers fan I wanted the Tigers to win and the Texas Rangers to lose.  If that would have happened, both teams would have ended the season with the exact same record.  If that were the case Detroit would have gone on to be the 2nd seed in the America League and played either the Tampa Bay Devil Rays or the Boston Red Sox in the first round with home field advantage in Detroit.    If the Detroit Tigers lost then they would have to play the New York Yankees with the Yankees getting home field advantage.  If the Tigers won and the Rangers both won the Rangers would finish the season with a better record giving them the second seed and sending the Tigers to New York to start the Playoffs. 
The New York Yankees had already clinched the number one seed in the American League.  Even though the last game of the season would seem like a pointless game for the Yankees it was anything but.  The Yankees were playing the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.  The Rays were competing for the AL wildcard.  The Rays needed to get a win against the Yankees and for the Baltimore Orioles to beat the Boston Red Sox. If that scenario happened the Rays would be the wildcard and have to play either the Rangers or the Tigers depending on how their games went.  If the Rays and Sox both won their games tonight they would go into a one game playoff with each other for the final playoff spot.
On the National League side of the house things were just as interesting.  Like the Yankees the Phillies had long clinched the number one seed in their league.  The Phillies were still playing for a chance to shape the playoff race.  They were playing the Atlanta Braves who were fighting for the National League wild card slot.  The Braves were competing with the St. Louis Cardinals for that wildcard slot.  If both teams won tonight they would have a one game playoff.
There were several people in my office and we had the games pulled up on Radio.  We were paying particular attention to the Detroit Tigers game because of our love for our hometown team.   The Boston-Baltimore game got stuck on a rain delay in the 7th inning with Boston having a one run lead.  We assumed that Boston was going to get the wildcard spot because the Rays were down by several runs to the Yankees.    We were paying attention to the Rangers, Angel’s game as well. 
Our 12 hour shift came to an end just as the Tigers game ended.  We left our facility with the Rangers in a tie, the red sox game paused, and the Devil Rays down by a whole lot.  I attended a short meeting, had to do some SGT stuff, and then made my way to the chow hall for breakfast.  When I first sat down with my food there was no baseball games on the 4 TV’s in our chow hall.  Somebody had notified the chow hall workers of the awesomeness happening within the MLB right now so they turned the TV to the 2 sports channels that we have.  On one TV I had Philly-Atlanta and Boston-Baltimore on the other.  I was watching intently as I nibbled on my food.  I had to eat quickly because I had to get to a meeting.  After I was done with my meeting the final day of baseball had come to an end.
The Tigers defeated the Indians 5-4
The Rangers beat the Angels 3-1
That gives Rangers the 2nd seed- home field advantage
The Tigers head to New York to start the playoffs

The Rays beat the Yankees 8-7 in 12
The Red Sox lost to the Orioles 3-4
That gives the Rays the wildcard and sends them to Dallas for the first round. 

The Cardinals destroyed the Houston Astros 8-0
The Braves lost to the Phillies 4-3 in 13 innings
That gives the Cardinals the Wildcard.   

Last night Ozzie Guillen was let go from the Chicago White Sox.  I love Ozzie.  Today I was glad to see that he was picked up by the Miami Marlins to Manage in 2012.  We can look forward to many crazier Ozzie outbursts! 
It was also released today that the first game of the 2012 season with be played in Tokyo in on March 28th between the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics’.  Those same two teams were scheduled to play in March of 2003 but that was cancelled due to the war in Iraq.  I want to go to this game.  I’m sure it will be incredibly expensive and chances are pretty damned good I’ll have a previous engagement.  But if it were possible I would be in Tokyo start the 2012 season.
Today was a pretty awesome last day of the MLB regular season.  It would have been way better had I been home to enjoy it but, thanks to technology the excitement wasn’t all lost. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

$20,000, thats alot of money!

                I’m at the point in my trip planning where I need to figure out how much this thing is going to cost realistically.  Two and a half month trip around the country sure can take a toll on your pocketbook.  I am looking into how to get sponsorship for my trip, and first things first; I need to figure out how much this thing is going to cost. 
                The very first tentative route I’m going to take has me starting my trip in Detroit on April 5th and ending in Detroit on June 15th.  That is 71 days total from start to finish.  If I had a budget of $100 dollars a day for food ($50 for me $50 for Melissa), that equals $7,100 for food.  Geeze, that’s a lot of food.  As Melissa pointed out we don’t have to eat out all the time so we can save money off that bill.  But just for this equation we will eat $100 a day in food.  If we got an $80 a night hotel room every single night of the trip we would spend $5,680 in places to sleep.  Gas prices are hard to predict.  It will be an over 10,000 mile journey so I’m going to say $2,500 in fuel.  I also assume about $2,000 in extra expenses.  Those expenses sum up to $17,280.  I’m just going to do myself a favor and round up to $20,000.  The scary thing about this total is it’s without a car.  I’m hoping to be able to work with an American car company, test out their product on the trip, and blog about it.  I will have to put some more work in over the next few days and see how much it would cost with rental cars. 
                Have you ever heard of a website called  I love this website.  It’s a way for young musical artist, poets, writers, etc. to get their projects financed.  What the artist (or anybody looking to finance a project) does is offer some level of rewards in return of a monetary donation from a donor.  For example, my favorite ever musical artist Five Times August, wanted to raise money to produce and distribute his CD.  He needed $20,000.  He offered a digital download of a song for $5, a digital download of the album for $10, a t-shirt for $25, etc. etc.  The first time he did the project he raised the $20,000 and was able to release the CD.  A year later he tried it again but fell short of his $20,000 goal so the people who pledged their money never had to pay.  But they never got their rewards either.  There is also an international website that is basically the same,  I have supported an artist by the name of Susan Johnson through that website. 
                I think kickstarter would be an excellent way to try to reach my goal.  There’s just one GIANT problem.  I’m not the most creative person in the world and I’m not sure what I would have to offer to people to reward them for their donations.  Do you have any ideas?  Would you like to pitch in and give me something I can offer to the donors?  This is just one area where I think I could raise some money.  Any ideas for raising a few dollars? 
                I love this project.  Not only because I’m going to accomplish my dream but also because it raises so many challenges.  I can’t wait to tackle them all and earn such an amazing trip! 
Check out the following websites:
Five Times August-
Indie go go-

Sunday, September 25, 2011

My first Tigers game of 2011

I ended up going to the game on the 30th with one of my oldest friends Rob. I had the best tickets I had ever had at a Tigers game. About 20 rows up from the 3rd base (Tigers) dugout. Rob and I have been to dozens of Tigers games together. One time we were on one the 3rd base side mid outfield. I had just gotten a fresh beer from a vendor when a foul ball headed in our direction. It bounced a few rows in front of us and then between Rob and I. We were surrounded by people in their 20’s and before I knew it I was on an unfortunate end of a dog pile. My fresh beer was no longer fresh, as it ended up all over the ground. The pile let up and everybody was looking around for who had the ball. The commotion died down and Rob reached into his pocket and grabbed the ball. He says “I had it the entire time. I slipped it in my pocket right away.” “Thanks a lot, you owe me a beer”, I said.

Before the game Vs. the Angels Rob and I attempted to go to Hockeytown. There was an hour wait and we only had an hour and a half before the game. We decided to head down to State bar and Grill. We stepped in there for a beer and it was a pretty nice establishment. Their liquor selection was limited and there wasn’t very much space to move around. After we left the State bar and Grill we headed over to Chelies. We got one beer downstairs and decided to head up to the roof. There were a ton of people and the atmosphere was that of a college party, and many people were taking pictures overlooking the stadium. After heading into the stadium we got some Little Caesers Pizza and some beer and headed for our seats. As we sat there eating our food and watching the game I received a call from a friend. I am a high school wrestling coach and one of the parents was there. I went and met her and we talked for a little bit and said we would meet up later for some drinks. I returned to my seat and received a call from one of the kids I coached several years ago. I went and met with him and had a drink with him and his girlfriend. We then decided to meet up with Kim and her husband upstairs in the lounge. We spent the rest of the game up there catching up and drinking. I’m so mad at myself for squandering the best tickets I’ve ever had so I can drink. That was such a stupid move but I’ll get even better seats to a game next season.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Man Plans God Laughs

I came home on leave from Afghanistan from the 26th of Jul until the 9th of August. My girlfriend, Melissa, is Canadian and had never been to a Tigers game before. She’s not even really a fan yet. I got tickets for the 30th of July for the Tigers game against the Angels. We were both incredibly excited about going to a game together and I had aimed to make it an experience that she would never forget. I was excited to show her all the secrets of Comerica Park. I wanted to take her to the roof of Chelis and look down upon such a magical place. After the game I was going to show her around the city of Detroit which I love so much. I hate that Detroit gets such a bad rap from the rest of the nation. We were going to spend the night at the MGM Grand hotel. I had reserved the top floor suite with a corner view of the city. After spending a wonderful evening in the city I was going to propose to Melissa as the sun came up over Detroit. I wanted one of the happiest moments of my life to forever be associated with Major League Baseball. Unfortunately things did not exactly work out as I had planned. Melissa was diagnosed with cancer and had to have several surgeries and start chemotherapy during my leave from Afghanistan. I was disappointed that Melissa didn’t get the opportunity to experience the magic of the Detroit Tigers. I’m not so much disappointed about the proposal because that is going to happen eventually. I can’t wait to take her to her first game once she recovers from this terrible disease.

Thursday, September 22, 2011 I love (hate) you!

I’m excited for this trip!  I can’t wait to get out of Afghanistan so I can properly plan it.  My girlfriend, Melissa, is Canadian and has only been to minor league baseball games before.  It’s going to be a great little adventure for the two of us.  It will be a great way for her to truly understand my love for baseball.  Maybe I can even get her to love baseball as much as she loves hockey.  It’s a long shot but, just maybe.  Being over here gives me a ton of time to spend money on
 I figured I needed to read the books of the people who have made a similar baseball journey before me.  I am currently reading The Fastest 30 Ballgames: A Ballpark Chasers World Record Story by Douglas “Chuck” Booth, Craig B. Landgren, & Kenneth A. Lee.  It’s taking me a while to read it because I work in a secure facility and can’t bring in electronics and have it on my Kindle.  I also purchased Dodger Dogs to Fenway Franks: The Ultimate Guide to America’s Top Baseball Parks by Robert Wood, and Around the Majors in 60 Days: My Baseball Dream by Ray Bergman, Judith Hettler.  I’m sure that these books will give me the added insight to make the most of my trip.  I had those two books sent to my parents’ house back in Michigan because I am ready to go home!! 
I also got a bunch of baseball movies.  I was going to have them sent here but I forgot to make that distinction on and they sent them to my parents’ house.  I got movies that are informational and movies that are going to be fun to watch with Melissa and hopefully get her excited about the trip.  I got the documentaries Chicago Cubs: The Heart & Soul of Chicago, Fall Classic at Fenway Park, Essential Games of the Detroit Tigers, Modern Marvels - Baseball Parks, MLB Vintage World Series Films - Detroit Tigers 1945, 1968 & 1984, 2008 Philadelphia Phillies: The Official World Series Film.   I also purchased the movies:  Major League (Wild Thing Edition), For Love of the Game, Sugar, and of course the classic Field of Dreams. 
That doesn’t conclude everything just yet.  I bought a 50”x32” US wall map.  I’m going to get a giant cork board or an easel to put it on.  I purchased 100 Map Pins to stick in it.  Obviously every park gets a pin but I’m going to find other destinations that deserve a pin as well and try to make it there. 
I’m so excited for this trip.  It’s so far away and there’s so much planning that needs to be done.  I can’t wait to be able to enjoy these books and movies that will make my road trip experience that much more enjoyable!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tenative Schedule

Allright so I'm planning my road trip for next summer based on the tenative scheldue. I didn't realize how difficult it was going to be. I want to get three routes starting at the beginning of the season and three routes starting in June. The first route is to start in Detroit go east circle around and end in Detroit. The second route is to start in Detroit head west circle east and end in Detroit. The 3rd is to start in Seattle head down the west coast bringing it east ending in Detroit. I have been able to finish one possible route today. I start it at the beginning of the season in Detroit and head east.

I may finish the first four as the last four because of a really amazing once in a lifetime trip with my girlfriend that takes priority over this trip.  It's no big deal to adjoust the scheldue a bit.  The one thing I really like about this version of the trip schedule is the extended time in NYC and LA.  The Scheldue just kind of works out that way.  I also get to take about a week off to go to her home in Winnipeg CA so she can go to her doctors appt.  

April 5th-Detroit
April 6th- Cincinnati
April 7th-Pittsburgh
April 8th-Cleveland
April 9th (Rock and Roll HOF)
April 10th (Niagara Falls)
April 11th-Toronto
'April 13th- Boston
April 14th- Philly
April 15th Yankees
April 17th Washington
April 20th Mets
April 24th Baltimore
April 26th Tampa
April 27th Miami
April 28th Atlanta
May 1st St. Louis
May 3rd Kansas City
May 5th Houston
May 7th Arizona
May 8th San Diego
May 9th LA Dodgers
May 14th LA Angels
May 16th San Fran
MAy 21st Oakland
May 24th Seattle
May 28th Colorado
May 30th Texas
June 1st White Sox
June 3rd Milwaukee
June 4th- June 9th Detour in Winnipeg
June 10th Minnesota
June 12th Cubs
June 15th Detroit

This is just a rough draft. I didn't realize how difficult it was going to be to try to plan this. I think about 2 1/2 months is just about the perfect amount of time! Do you think you guys can do any better?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


I deployed to Bagram Afghanistan in December of 2010 and once again I was thousands of miles away, without Fox Sports Network Detroit, ESPN, and Tigers Radio. There are several ways I am able to keep up. The internet here is awful at best but it at least allows us to get on,, and This time around I got on and subscribed to MLB radio. I was able to listen to every game, every day. The internet in my room is not fast enough for me to be able to listen. I work from 7pm to 7am and with the 8 ½ hour time difference I am able to listen to a lot of games in the office. What I like about having the radio package is they offer one free game a day to watch. Occasionally the internet will be working well enough for me to be to watch a game. I also check stats in our military paper, Stars and Stripes. We also have a television network called AFN. AFN Sports usually has a few baseball games on every day. It would be better if they always had my team but when you love the sport just watching any team makes for a good day.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Finding a Detroit gem!

           As I was approaching another deployment during the summer of 2010 I went to several games. The game from that summer that sticks out in my mind is the one that I went to with two other soldiers in my unit. Chris lives up in that area so we met at his place and took a taxi downtown. It was Elvis night and there were a million Elvis’ running around.We decided to get a drink and it was the first time I had ever had one of those giant slushy alcoholic drinks at Comerica. If you find yourself at Comerica Park and its one of those days where you just need something cool, have a slushy. Make sure you have my favorite: orange. You will thank me, I promise. I can’t tell you the particulars of the game that afternoon but I can tell you that Chris made friends with the loud obnoxious guy next to him that would not shut up! He was from Chicago I believe. He talked to Chris the entire game.

After the game Chris took us to Chelis Chili Bar. Owned by Detroit Red Wings legendary Chris Chelios.  I had never been there and boy was I missing out on a gem. Chelis has a huge Patio just outside of Comerica Park which is a perfect place to meet up with your buddies before a game. On the ground level there is a restaurant and bar which tends to be pretty busy on game day. I have never eaten there but I’m sure one day I will.  From what I hear the chili is amazing!  What is unique about Chelis is that it is a multiple level bar. In the back corner through the dining hall there is a stairwell. It’s an extremely old, rather shabby stairwell that makes you wonder how drunken people can maneuver their way up and down it. It is possible, I happened to do it my very first night at Chelis. The top Level is a small bar that serves canned beer and hot dogs. You are literally on the roof of the building and able to look out over top of Comerica Park. There are also several bleachers on the roof to relax if you don’t have tickets to the game. This has become my go-to spot when I go to a Tigers game.

Hockeytown, Wounded Warrior, Good Pizza!

During the summer of 2009 I went to a ton of Tigers games. I was even there on the cold final night of the season when it came down to the Tigers and Twins for the final playoff spot. The Tigers lost that game and eventually Minnesota would go on to represent the AL Central in the Playoffs. That was a good game for me. I went as a guest of my Team Leader in Iraq. He had been injured in Iraq and was now a part of the wounded warrior project. The Wounded Warrior Project had a pizza party for family of wounded warriors at Hockeytown before the game. That was my first experience at Hockeytown. The staff was amazing and the game day atmosphere is one that everybody should get to experience. I’m not even a hockey fan (I’m trying though. Go Wings, Go Jets) but that place was amazing with the Redwing carpet and Redwings memorabilia all over. Of course the pizza was great too. This was a while ago but I would like to send a thank you to the Detroit Tigers, Hockeytown, but most of all the Wounded Warrior Project for setting up a wonderful day!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Renewed Passion

I think part of the reason for my renewed passion is because I joined the US ARMY. Baseball is America’s game. I know that people are more passionate about football in this day and age but every boy dreams of one day becoming a professional baseball player. Playing in front of everybody you love, signing baseballs, winning the World Series with a walk off homer in the bottom of the 9th of game 7, and being the hero. Just as every American boy dreams of someday being in the army. Fighting in a war, defending the country you love, being the hero. Once I returned home from Basic Training I was a new man. I’m not sure what exactly happened but I had a new zest for life. Suddenly the things that were important to me before, no longer were. The things that had slipped through the cracks over the years were once again important. In 2008 I went to as many Tigers games as I possibly could from the very start of the season. I had gone to 10-12 games by the time I had received the call in early May that I would be deploying to Iraq. Only a few days notice and one thing I was upset about was the fact that I was going to have to get rid of my Tigers tickets. One cool thing that happened just before we had left the State of Michigan is that the Detroit Tigers sent us a few boxes of signed hats that had been worn by Tigers players during Spring Training. I kept my hat with me for the entire year that I was away from home. My year in Iraq really made me miss baseball. It was not only the longest time spent away from home, but it was also the first time away from the United States. That year, I found out that the Tigers had gotten rid of Pudge. I was shocked that they would give him up. I followed the Tigers the best that I could that year. Being a world away often made keeping up difficult, but it made me follow that much closer once I returned home.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It came back!

I stayed by the Tigers through the toughest of times. I didn’t go back to a Tigers game for a really long time. I lived about an hour away and my parents were not into sports that I wasn’t participating in. As an adult I’m not sure when my passion for the Tigers returned - I don’t even remember my first game at Comerica Park. I just know that I absolutely love the park. It’s a wonderful place that is filled with the dreams of thousands of people nightly. I love seeing the statues of Ty Cobb, and Ernie Harwell. I love the Baseball Ferris Wheel and the Tiger carousel. Every time I go, I want to be a kid again and jump in a giant baseball and ride around in circles. I love the green of the field. I think every man who dreams of having the greenest grass on his block got his passion from the green fields of major league baseball. I am not currently a home owner but I will have the nicest patch of land in my neighborhood.

My baseball-less days

            From my first game I was hooked. I was going to grow up and be a professional baseball player. I played in little league and I don’t think I was anything better than average but that didn’t matter. It was the game that I loved. I played every summer from then until I was in 5th grade. That year just as school was about to begin my grandfather died suddenly. I’m not sure why, but for a while I lost my love for baseball. I didn’t play that summer. I was still a Tigers fan and I even went to Cleveland with a friend in Jr. High to see the Tigers, but the passion was no longer there. I think I felt bad for loving something that my grandfather could no longer love. I felt that it was unfair.

Monday, September 12, 2011

My first game

Do you remember your first Big League baseball game? I do. I was seven years old and my grandfather took me to see the one and only Detroit Tigers! I idolized my grandfather and for him to take me made the experience that much more special. He loved the Detroit Tigers - he loved all Detroit sports in fact. He had a room in his house dedicated to sports memorabilia. It was his office but, I remember calling it the “baseball room”. The room is no longer filled with sports memorabilia but I cannot walk into it without going back two decades. Your very first baseball game is almost overwhelming to your senses. The smell of peanuts, popcorn, hot dogs, and stale spilled beer. The sound of the vendors wanting you to purchase their product, the cheers from the crowd, the crack of the bat, or the smack of the ball hitting the catcher’s mitt. I was so excited to be at Tiger Stadium with my grandfather, that during the National Anthem, as I stood there in front of our amazing seats behind home plate next to my grandfather who had his hand over his heart, I puked all over myself. When I was a child, I would get so excited about something that I would get an upset stomach and become ill. It would come out of nowhere. Grandpa just looked down at me with concern in his eyes and asked if I wanted to go. “No Grandpa, I want to stay.” Grandpa bought me a Tigers shirt so I wouldn’t have to wear a vomit laden shirt all day. It was grey Jersey shirt and had the old school Tigers symbol on the front, and to this day I still own that shirt. It was a special day. I saw my favorite Player, Cecil Fielder, hit a home run. I saw Cal Ripken Jr. on the field. And I remember that the Tigers won.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sarge, Doc, and Delilah

I've been asked to explain the blue frog that you see in a few of my pictures. Well, everybody meet Sarge! Sarge, meet the Ball Park Chasers!

The night before I left for Iraq my sister who was 3 at the time was attached to my leg. I was about to go home and spend my last night in my own bed when my sister (I call her monster) came to me with the little blue frog in her hand. She said, "Have this. Everytime you see it you will think of me." Holy ton of bricks Batman! It was the cutest thing I had ever heard and it broke my heart.
We agreed on the name Sarge and everytime I had the opportunity to webchat with my family Sarge was there with me. He made it through hell and back with me and even became part of my unit. I took pictures of him everywhere and sent them back to Monster.

Once I got home I continued to bring Sarge with me to special events. I would take a picture and send it home. He went to many many Tigers games. One time a lady who was sitting behind me said "I bet that animal has been all over the world hasn't it" I said "Yes ma'am, he has" After giving my list of countries that frog had seen she asked me which was his favorite place. My response "Home" One afternoon I drove to South Bend, Indiana to watch my Michigan State Spartans take on the Fighting Irish. I'm not sure how or where it happened that day but, Sarge was lost in action.

Before I came on this current deployment I decided I needed to get another stuffed animal to keep me and Monster close through the distance. I was at a Tigers game when I saw the perfect thing. Matching stuffed animals. One is wearing a blue hoody with an old english D and the other is pink. We named them Doc and Delilah. We both take pictures with our animals and send them to one another.

This is a post of mine that was originally on Check it out and also see the pictures that are refrenced here.

10 years later

I’m sure being back in the United States - or wherever it is you hail from - you’ve heard this quote, “Where were you when the 2nd plane struck the World Trade Center” a million times. Well I’ve heard it a time or two from where I am. That is a moment in my life I will never forget.

I was a 16 year old junior in high school and I was sitting in my first hour American Government class when the principal came over the intercom. He said that a plane had struck the World Trade Center and we should all turn on the TV’s in our classrooms. We turned on the TV and we all sat there in horror. The bell rang and we had to go to our next class. It seemed like the entire student body rushed to their next class to stare at the TV and make some sort of sense out of all this confusion.

I was sitting in my Algebra 2 class when the second plane hit the tower.  My heart sank. Even though I was still a little young to understand the implications this moment would have, and I knew my life would never be the same. That was a scary yet amazing time to be an American. It seemed as if the whole world had stopped. All after school activities were cancelled. Nobody knew if we were safe, and nobody knew if more attacks were to come. It was amazing to see how our country came together those weeks and months after the attacks. Everybody had a “Proud to be an American” sticker on their cars and in the windows of their homes. My school instantly held fundraiser to help families of the victims of 9-11.  There was a sense of pride and sense that those guys messed with the wrong country.

Ten years later. Holy cow, it’s been 10 years. I never thought I would be in Afghanistan 10 years after I saw that second plane hit. People always ask me “Why did you join the Army?” The answer is I don’t have a clue. I guess I just felt like it was my obligation. I have to serve my country like my great grandfather did in World War 2. Many people take our freedoms for granted and honestly, that’s the way it should be. A young boy should be able to go to a baseball game with his old man and not have to worry about being attacked.

We live in the greatest country in the free world! I know this blog doesn’t have anything to do with baseball but, it has everything to do with baseball.  It is the aftermath of that exact moment that makes me want to go out and chase my baseball dreams.  Do you remember the feeling of the Yankees in the World Series that October? Even people who hate the Yankees felt the pride in the resiliency of the American people. This war has gone on a long time. Being able to go to every big league park, being able to enjoy a beer with my buddies, being able to have a hotdog with my sister makes this war worth it. Just as long as we never forget.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Here's to the start of a dream!

I have a rather ambitious dream. It is going to take an incredible amount of
work and dedication to accomplish but, hell, I’m an American Soldier. I can do anything!

Let me start from the beginning. Hi, my name is RJ Breisacher. My guys call me SGT B. I prefer RJ considering by the time next baseball season rolls around I will no longer be in the military. I am currently deployed to Afghanistan. In 2008-2009 I was in Iraq. My mission is not one you see in any
Hollywood movies. I’ve never been in combat, I’ve never shot anybody, and I have no cool war stories. I see the boring side of the war. My mission gives me and my friends all the time in the world to talk and dream of what we will do when we get home. I’m sure this happens for the real combat veterans as well. What I noticed after coming home from my first tour is that very few people actually did what they said they wanted to do.

My dream is rather simple. I want to see every major league baseball park in the US and Toronto. I want to drive from park to park experiencing all that the US has to offer.  I want to see the country I’ve spent two (crappy) years of my life defending. I come from a small town on Michigan Ohio border and haven’t really seen too much of the US.

Other than seeing the ballparks I want to see a museum here and there. Stop in a cool city and see
what’s so cool about it. Stop in a rustic campground with a unique feature.  Stay in a hotel that is off the beaten path. I want to eat in restaurants that the locals know should be world renowned. I want to meet people. I want to meet super fans who can show me the very best of every park before and after games. I want to have a true American adventure!

I want to blog, vlog, and document my trip every step of the way. I want this once in a lifetime trip
to be written down so I can share the journey with friends, family, future generations of mini me’s and anybody else who wants to read it.

My biggest obstacle at this point is figuring out how I’m going to accomplish this financially. I have plenty of money in my savings but I don’t exactly want to go broke doing this either. I’ve contacted some people and gotten some pretty good ideas.

An idea somebody gave me was to pair with a charity to bring attention and donations to their cause.
I most definitely want to do this. It’s such a wonderful idea. I’m going to choose the Wounded Warrior Project because they have helped me personally and many of my friends. I’ve always wanted to be able to give back to Veterans and I think this could be an excellent way.

I need help people. I have no idea what I’m doing. I have pretty good ideas on how I want to accomplish this I just need help putting pieces together. If you have any ideas that could help me out toss them my way. Even if you think it’s a simple idea and 30 other people had to of given it to me by now, send it anyways. This is a dream I will accomplish. And I would like for all of you to come along with me for the journey!