Saturday, March 31, 2012

Stadiumjourney.com


I was recently featured on www.stadiumjourney.com.  I have been in contact with Paul Swaney, founder of Stadium Journey, since the very start of my planning.  His website is incredibly informative and I refer to it on a regular basis.  Paul has been a great help in my efforts and I would like to thank him for that.  This article is really well written and I greatly appreciate your help Paul!  Check it out Here

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tour Guide Needed


When I go to Cleveland I will be shown around by Matt Van Wormer who writes for www.didthetribewinlastnight.com. We will be eating lunch before the game a restaurant that was featured on Man Vs Food, arriving at the park a few hours before game time to check things out, and sitting in the “Social Media Suite”.   It’s shaping up to be an amazing once in a lifetime experience.  I will tell you all about it once I am in Cleveland. 

That got me to thinking that maybe I should seek out a “tour guide” in each city.  It’s not a particularly hard position just meet up with me and show me where the fun spots are and show me around the park.  Basically I am looking for somebody to be an ambassador to your city.  If this is something that interests you please email me at baseballdreamin45@yahoo.com.   
You can find my schedule Here

Monday, March 26, 2012

Chuck Booth: world record holder

When I first thought about chasing this dream I did a Google search for ball park guides.  I stumbled across www.ballparkchasers.com.  I joined the site and sent a message to Craig B. Landgren who runs the site.  I asked him for any tips that he may have that would be helpful in my journey.  He told me of a book he helped contribute to called the The Fastest Thirty Ballgames: A Ballpark Chasers World Record Story By Douglas “Chuck” Booth.  Craig also gave me Chucks contact information and told me I should contact him because he was an expert on such matters. 

Chuck holds the world record for most games seen in the most ballparks in the shortest period of time.  That record being 30 games in 30 ballparks in only 24 days.   The Fastest 30 is about his journey(s) and all the trials and tribulations he ran into along the way.  It is an incredibly informative book for any ballpark chaser.  You can purchase a paperback copy of his book for $19.99 or a kindle version for $7.99 on Amazon.

I contacted Chuck and told him about my trip.  That has been the most beneficial email I have sent.  Not only has he written a book, but he also has his own website http://fastestthirtyballgames3021.wordpress.com/ but he also writes for www.mlbreports.com.  One of the things he often touches on is how to get the most out of your travel for your money.  While planning my trip I have often referenced his articles for tips to make my travel planning a little easier.  The nice thing about these posts is they can be referenced for all travel not just baseball travel. 

I will be meeting up with Chuck on April 15th when we are both in NYC for a Yankees game, hopefully.  He will be trying to break his own world record this summer and will be attending a game in Toronto earlier in the day on the 15th.  He recently posted a preview of the Yankees game gave me a little mention.  Check it out http://fastestthirtyballgames3021.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/yankee-stadium-preview-april-152012/?blogsub=confirming#subscribe-blog  Follow him as he chases his own baseball dream this summer. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A day with the kids


I took my little sister and my niece to the batting cages the other day.  The oldest is seven the other is three.    I took the oldest, monster, to the batting cages a few years ago.  She was doing fine until she took a swing and it hit her hand.  She cried for a couple minutes but then she was fine.  I felt so bad and she didn’t want to swing anymore.  When we got to the cages the other day she remembered getting hit but she showed no fear.  She stepped in the cage and took a ton of swings.  I kept trying to teach her how to hit properly but none of my lessons were sticking with her.  She was having so much fun I didn’t want to bring her down by harping on proper stance.  The littlest one, Blondie, didn’t have as much fun as Monster.  The bat was too big for her and the balls came too fast.  She only took about 20 balls before she called it a day.  I hope they decide that they like baseball/softball so we can spend many more awesome days hitting in the batting cages. 
A few years ago

After we were done in the batting cages we went to Pizza Hut and got some pepperoni pizza.  They used the rest of the quarters in my pocket to get little toys out of the gumball machines.  Once we were finished with our pizza I took them across the street to a local ice cream shop where Monster got a cup of mine and Blondie got some strawberry.  I was full so I decided to skip the ice cream.  Our next stop on our fun filled day was a local park.  There were kids running, jumping, and hanging off of everything.  We spent a few hours at the park and I was utterly exhausted.  I took the girls home and then I went and took a well-deserved nap. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

iPhone Apps

What are some good iPhone apps?  I’m looking for good travel and restaurant apps.  I currently have “groupon”, “Orbitz Hotels”, “Hotel Tonight” “Hotels.com”, “Stubhub”, “Fastfood”.  If you have an iPhone I also recommend the “Viggle” app.  It’s this app where you tap the screen and it listens to whatever tv show you’re watching and gives you point for “checking in”.  You can redeem these point for giftcards for websites such as Amazon, iTunes, and Travelocity.  I’m saving all my points up for Travelocity gift cards.  I figure those will help me out most on my trip. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

St. Pattys day

Happy Hangover day everybody.  Hope you are all doing well, made it home safely without any trouble.  Drink some water, have a couple aspirin and you’ll be back to normal in no time.  My St. Patty’s day wasn’t anything special.  My roommate broke his foot the day before so it was difficult for him, being on crutches.  If you’re wondering how my roommate broke his foot, I’ll be glad to tell you:  On Thursday night we went to go see the midnight showing of 21 Jump Street with Channing Tatum and Skinny Jonah Hill.  Incredible movie, I laughed the entire time.  Ok, to return to my story in this movie they do the over car hood slide also seen in shows like starsky and hutch.  Well Christian slides over the hood of my car (professional style) and clearly misjudged his speed.  He flew off the hood and turned his entire body to try to make a good landing.  After stumbling several times and nearly falling in dramatic fashion he managed to gain control of the situation and continue on.  He got in my car and said “I broke my foot”.  He broke his foot and I was entertained, its win-win.  Later that night he went to dinner with his family and I went to go hang out with mine.  I received a text later that night saying that he was at the hospital with his mother and that his foot was broken.  He is officially the only person I know who has ever broken their foot doing a hood slide. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Stadium Collection

Do you collect anything from your visits to stadiums or ballparks?  If so what?  I’ve been trying to decide what I want to take away from each park.  I know I want to collect ticket stubs and make a picture out of it in the end.  That’s not so easy considering most tickets are digital downloads in this day and age.  Each ticket that I have to download will follow with an email to the ticket office asking if I can exchange it for an actual ticket once I get to the park.  Hopefully this works out.  I also thought about collecting hats.  The downside to this is I don’t generally wear a lot of hates so it would probably be a waste of money.  Shot glasses is another idea that was given to me by my cousin but that’s a whole lot of glass to be carrying around in my car.  I don’t ever see a scenario where I would need 30 shot glasses.  What else is there to collect at stadiums?    

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Donate?

I decided to give the donation page I was talking about on an earlier post a try.  I hope this proves to be a helpful venture.  Maybe I can find just one super rich donor who likes my idea and will help out haha!  If you never try you’ll never know so I’m going to give it a shot!  Wish me luck!
Donate here

A quick Q&A


I just wanted to post something short today.  I had my wisdom teeth pulled today so I need to get back to trying to stop bleeding!!  Yesterday on Baseballjourneyman.com a Q&A was posted between me and Eric Bynum.  Please check it out Here and check out the rest of baseballjourneyman.com website. 

Also, I created a Facebook page for my trip.  Please go over there and like it and pass it on to anybody you think would enjoy my journey. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Baseball Cards

Does anybody out there still collect baseball cards?  My grandfather collected baseball cards for me and my cousins.  He started from our birth year until he passed away.  For me he started in 1985.  It was when baseball cards were produced like crazy.  To my knowledge there are not too many “rare” cards from the late 1980’s.  I collected cards on my own when I was a kid as well.  Every once in a while my dad would give me some money and take me to the card shop and I would buy as many packs as I could.  When you’re that young you don’t really understand collecting.  The cards would get bent up.  Occasionally end up in the spokes of my super high speed Huffy bike.  You know what I’m talking about!  I would put the cards in little plastic cases but I always pulled them out to show and trade with friends.  I had this giant poster type thing in my room that held baseball cards to display on my wall.  I put all my favorite players on there.  Cecil Fielder, Alan Trammel, Kirk Gibson, Cal Ripken Jr., Ken Griffey Jr., Bobby Higginson are the ones that instantly jump out at me when I think about this memory.  My family would also buy me special balls and card packs.  I remember I had a Cy Young gold baseball card as well as a ball with his face on it.  I remember I cherished the Babe Ruth gold card.  I didn’t really know who Babe Ruth was, like the kids from “Sandlot” I just knew that he was one of the greats.

The reason I bring this up is I recently started collecting baseball cards again.  When I came home from Afghanistan I had been working on this Road Trip for quite some time.  I was feeling a little nostalgic about my baseball past so I decided to buy a few packs.  Since then I have been buying a pack here and a pack there.  I forgot how much fun it can be to collect something.  To finally get that card that you’ve been missing.  I have collected all of the 2011 Topps Series and I am working on the 2012 series.  It’s a pretty simple thing to collect but it has brought me a lot of joy recently.  While I’m organizing a new pack of cards I imagine my grandfather sitting there organizing all the cards that he would one day give to me and my cousins. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

?Donations?

I found a website recently that allows people to donate money to whatever you’re there collecting money for.  This idea intrigues me but I don’t like asking for money.  As the trip gets closer and I’m starting to spend money, I’m getting freaked out.  I knew this was going to be an incredibly expensive trip and I have planned for it.  I really hate spending money, but I hate asking for money even more.  I’d like to think of myself as a rather independent person and don’t like to have to rely on anybody else.  The Army taught me that you absolutely have to rely and trust in other people.  I’m not too comfortable with this idea so I’m going to ask your opinions.  If I did something like this would you be willing to donate?  Why or why not?  I’m curious as to what people think about this idea and if they think I should go through with it. 

Random Chicago Trip

I decided to go out to Chicago on the weekend of March 10th-11th.  I wanted to go for the entire weekend but I had a previous engagement for that Friday the 9th.  I had never been on a commuter train before so I decided to take the Amtrak from Ann Arbor to Chicago.  Round trip the ticket cost me about $70.  At first I was I thought it was pretty cool to be on a train.  The only trains I had been on before were subway cars in NYC, Washington DC, and Kaiserslautern Germany.  After a while it just became another form of boring transportation. 

When I arrived in Chicago there was a fire in the vicinity of Union Station.  I had planned on taking a public bus to the downtown area where I would be staying but all the fire trucks had diverted the routes.  I found my way to a subway station and hopped on a train to downtown Chicago.  For the remainder of my trip subway was my primary for of transportation.  The subway system in Chicago was rather easy to navigate.  They have several routes that are all labeled by color and street name.  Very easy system to figure out. 

During my stay I rested my head at The James hotel in downtown.  It was an excellent hotel, clean, modern, helpful staff.  The James is an excellent place to stay.  Any time I had a question about where to go or what route I should take the staff was incredibly knowledgeable. 

I was looking for something to do around my hotel when I found a comedy show a few blocks away.  Anytime I have been in a bustling city without making any advanced plans I have always been delighted by local comedy shows.  The comedy show was at 8pm and it was already 7pm.  I was kind of hungry but didn’t really have time to sit down and enjoy a meal before the show.  I walked the few blocks and found my way to the comedy show.  Looking at my watch I figured I had enough time to try out this little burger joint I saw a block away.  There was only a small sign and what appeared to be an even smaller dining area but that is what attracted me to “M Burger”.  I figured any place that had such a small dining room had to give quick service.  I ordered a double cheeseburger and a coke.  That cheeseburger was fantastic!  It returned my energy so I could carry on for the night.  I made my way back to the comedy place which was just the basement of a bar that they set up a comedy club in.  The show was called my funniest friends and appeared to be just a group of friends that designed this comedy club so they could get in front of the mic.  There were six performers total including the host.  The host was a jolly fat man who used self-deprecating humor.  The best thing about his set was an old man who was wearing a USMC hoodie near the front of the stage.  The old man didn’t seem to have it all together and was possibly intoxicated on drugs or alcohol which made the banter incredibly amusing.  The host looking for something to get anybody to laugh started talking to a Canadian couple in the front.  Once again amazing decision because these people just kept talking back not knowing that they were being made fun of.  The next performer was a 26 year old female, who had helped found Your Funniest Comics.  Her set could have been a lot better had the Canadians and the USMC old man not interrupted her before she could get rolling.  She discussed life in Indianapolis which only a few people in the club understood, she talked about bums hitting on you (which I’ve never had a problem with), and wanting to be a princess when she grew up.  All stuff I could not relate to.  The next performer was a nerdy black guy.  I wish I could remember his name because he was funny.  He reminded me of the guy from rottentortuga? Sketches on you tube.  He discussed life as a nerdy black man, being a black actor, and topics such as those.  I can’t relate to those but he got several laughs out of me.  The next guy was so unremarkable I don’t even remember his set.  I can’t even tell you what this man looked like.  The next guy was my favorite of the entire show.  He was a ginger haired Irishmen who apparently has a drinking problem.  He told stories of being 26 and being a bad adult, drinking problems, embarrassing experiences.  Awesome set.  This guy should have been the headliner for sure.  The last entertainer of the evening, the headliner, was relatively unremarkable.  He just seemed to be the standard issue white guy who was recently married and has a pregnant wife.  Over all I’m not sure if I would recommend this comedy show.  It was just simply too average in my opinion.  I hope the two funny guys make it out of that basement and on to a real stage sometime soon.  I would go see them again.  The rest, I wish them all the luck in the world but watch them perform standup at your own risk. 

That night I felt like going down to the hotel bar for a drink.  It was after their last call so the bar tender told me to go to J Bar.  All I had to do was step out the door from the side of the hotel walk 30 yards and I was there.  Before heading in that direction I pointed out to the bar tender that I was in a hoodie, jeans, and some flip flops.  He told me I wouldn’t have a problem and I continued on.  I walked out of the James and towards the J which is in the same building and was met by two overly groomed males who checked my idea and questioned if I was a hotel guest.  I told them I was and they informed me that they love to accommodate hotel guests but I should try to hide my flip flops once inside.  Ok?  I took several steps inside past the velvet rope and heard the overly loud house music that is associated with a club.  I am not a fan of clubs.  Too many people smashed into a small place bumping into each other, no thank you.  I turned around and left. I returned to the front desk of my hotel and asked them where I could go have a drink and a late night snack while still looking like a bum.  At first she couldn’t think of anything but then she remembered Timothy O’ Tooles.  It was only a few blocks from my hotel so I decided to give it a shot.  I was greeted by a friendly bouncer who checked my ID and sent me on my way. I arrived there at around 1am and the place was packed.  I found a small table and took a seat.  I wasn’t too hungry so I just ordered a beer and some nachos.  After two beers I decided to call it a night.

The following day was my most exciting day in Chicago.  I got that morning and made my way to the Red Line train from downtown Chicago.  I was taking it to Wrigleyville.  As the train pulled into the platform at Addison Street, I could see Wrigley Field to my left.  I exited down the platform stairs onto the street and made my way to the second oldest stadium in the Major Leagues.  I bought my ticket from will call then went across the street to grab a burger from McDonalds.  I came back and met my tour guide Evan Hill.  Evan gave us a wonderful tour.  He was entertaining and incredibly knowledgeable when people asked him questions.  Our first stop was a section of seats along the third base line just off of home plate.  Evan sat us all down and told us the history of Wrigley field and the Chicago Cubs, along with the other teams that have played there in its 98 year history.  One fact that I enjoyed is that it only cost $250,000 to build Wrigley Field in 1914.  That’s amazing!  The return on investment has to be an insane number.  Evan pointed out that just behind where we were sitting was the first ever Major League Concession stand and that it was still in use.  He also let us know that the prices of items have gone up slightly since the inception of the concession stand.  After Evan went through his lesson and questions were promptly answered we made our way up towards the press boxes.  Once we made it to the press level we made a slight detour just outside of the press box.  Evan showed us an amazing view of the Chicago skyline and he also made sure to point out to us that Wrigley Field is in a predominately residential area.  After everybody took their pictures we headed to the press box.  It was exactly how I imagined it and had a spectacular view of the field and the surrounding skyline of Wrigley Field.  The part I enjoyed about the skyline was that I could see Lake Michigan.  I grew up on the east side of Michigan on Lake Erie and the closest I’ve ever been to Lake Michigan has been flying over it coming in and out of Chicago.  Another interesting part of the skyline was all of the bleachers on the building surrounding buildings.  Evan explained to us how much the owners of the buildings charge for seating and the struggle that the Cubs had in obtaining revenue from the owners.  In the corner of right field there was construction going on and Evan told us that they are building a Budweiser porch.  The thing that amused me by that is directly above that there is a billboard for Miller Light.  Evan said unofficially that he had heard the lady that owns that building makes $700,000 a year for allowing Miller to advertise there.  After we were done in the press box we made our way down to the visiting locker room.  We all took pictures inside the tiny locker room and Evan told us tiny tidbits about it.  After that we headed to the Chicago Cubs locker room.  We were then split into two groups.  Because space was limited in the Cubs locker room not everybody would fit since we had such a large group.  I chose to stay in Evans group because he was entertaining and I had only heard the other tour guide speak once.  We went into the Cubs locker room but could only stand near the front.  Cubs players had personal effects in their lockers so they didn’t want the public messing with them.  Evan pointed out that to warm up cubs player put a net down and in the locker room and hit a ball off the tee into the net.  It was so awesome to see where so many amazing players have hung out.  The next and final stop on my tour was the Chicago Cubs dugout.  I sat on their bench and quickly realized that it wasn’t that comfortable.  I felt like a little kid again.  I took a surplus of pictures in the dugout and just outside of it.  They had caution tape set out but I did step on the grass.  I’m just not going to be at Wrigley field and not step on the grass if I get the opportunity.  You would have done the same!

After leaving Wrigley Field I visited the memorabilia shop across the street.  It was an amazing store and had an incredible selection of Cubs gear.  Something I found a little odd is that in the middle of the cubs gear there were a few Michigan State University hats for sale.  I’m a Michigan State fan so I found that to be awesome.  I left and I was in search of a real Chicago hot dog.  One of my good friends, Melissa, told me that I had to seek out a Chicago dog while I was there.  I found an American Dog restaurant and ordered the Chicago Dog.  This hot dog was fantastic.  I’ve never had such an abundant hot dog.  It had a poppy seed bun, all beef hot dog, chopped onions, tomato, mustard, and some sort of pepper.  All of those flavors on a hot dog were a bit overwhelming but absolutely worth it.

I went back to my hotel to regroup and figure out what I was going to do next.  I decided to walk down to Navy Pier.  I was excited to get an opportunity to ride the giant Ferris wheel but I arrived on a Sunday after six o’clock and it wasn’t running.  I walked around Navy Pier and eventually made my way inside.  I stumbled upon Harry Caray’s Tavern.  I was a little hungry so I decided to go in for a bite and I am glad that I did.  I read the menu as my waiter grabbed me a beer and I learned that they had a museum in the middle of the restaurant.  I ordered a bbq chicken salad.  I wolfed it down finished my beer and headed towards the museum.  I was instantly taken back by how many awesome things they had in there.  Not only was it Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs memorabilia but all Chicago sports and celebrity memorabilia.   They had two giant cases filled with signed baseballs and baseball bats.  They had Sammy Sosa’s corked bat as well as the infamous Chicago Cubs foul ball.  The Harry Caray group paid over $100,000 for the infamous ball and then they exploded it.  The remnants of the ball are in the museum.  I made my way around the museum and before I left had my picture taken with the bust of Harry Caray.  One of the cool features about the restaurant is all the pictures of celebrities who have taken their picture with the same bust.  Some of the celebs that stood out to me were President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, Vince Vaughn, Oprah Winfrey, just to name a few. 

Before I left Chicago I had to try some real Chicago pizza.  Right next to my hotel there was a Pizza joint called Pizzeria Due.  I walked in and the hostess was dealing with an unruly customer who did not want to wait 45 minutes to get his pizza.  After he left the hostess told me I would have to wait 10-15 minutes for a table but I could order my pizza while I wait.  I sat down and was reading over the menu when two guys walked in and the manager gave them the first available table.  I informed the manager that I was next in line and he apologized and sat me at the bar while I waited.  I ordered a personal sized pepperoni and some cheesy bread.  I got to my table and my food was quickly brought to me.  I enjoyed the authentic Chicago pizza but it had too much of a tomato taste for my personal liking. 

The next morning I woke up grabbed a cab hopped on my train and returned to Ohio.  I had an amazing time in Chicago and can’t wait to go back.  This trip gave me an added excitement for my trip.  I’m ready to get this journey under way!!!
All the photos from my trip can be found on the Baseball Dreamin Facebook Page under the Chicago Album Click here!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Updates

I want to start out by thanking Matt Van Wormer from Didthetribewinlastnight.com for making me the fan of the week.  Check it out here http://didthetribewinlastnight.com/2012/03/09/fan-of-the-week-robert-rj-breisacher/#more-4192  My family was pretty excited to see my face on there when I shared it with them.  It is a very well written article and I appreciate it.  If you would like to feature me on your website or would like for me to write a guest column when I am in your area just send me an email Baseballdreamin45 AT Yahoo [Dot] Com.

I got a lot of fantastic responses to an email that I sent out to blog writers everywhere, asking them for suggestions with my own blog.  Very soon I will be reformatting my page to make it easier to read.  I will also be updating a lot more.  As soon as this adventure is under way my goal is to post something every day, when I can.  I’ll be driving around the country primarily by myself so my mother is going to want constant updates on my safety and wellbeing. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Where to stay, eat, and what to see?

I recently got an email from columnist Matthew Van Wormer who writes for didtribewinlastnight.com.  He asked me if he could ask me a few questions and feature me as the Fan of the Week on his site.  I happily obliged and a few days later answered his questions that he sent me.  I will be featured on didthetribewinlastnight.com a week from today, Friday, March 9th.  A few days later I received an email from the co-founder of stadiumjourney.com Paul Sweeny asking me if he could ask me a few questions for his site as well.  Once again I answered his questions and will be appearing on his site sometime in the near future.  Paul’s website, stadiumjourney.com has amazing reviews of not only Major League Baseball Parks but tons of professional, minor league, and NCAA stadiums of all sports. 

These encounters gave me a wonderful idea.  Last night I decided to Google baseball blogs for every team in MLB.  I sent an email to as many as I could.  I’m a bit of a night owl so I was up until 6am sending out these emails.  I asked the author of these blogs if they had any advice for when I visit their respected ballparks.  Such as Cheap and or Awesome places to stay while in the area, unique and good restaurants, as well as things that I just have to experience when I go to that particular park.  I got a lot of excellent responses and would like to open up that very same question to the non-blog writers of the world.  Do you have a special restaurant or bar you like to visit before or after a game?  Do you know of any cool places to stay?  Preferably cheap!  I want to get the most out of this trip and I need help from all of you.

I would also like to create my own domain in the near future.  The problem I have is I am an absolute amateur at this sort of thing.  I have no idea how to create a web page.  I would love to have a web page that is as awesome as the journey I am about to take.  Anybody out there have any tips for that one?  If so email me at baseballdreamin AT yahoo [DOT] com.