In early November, I wrote of the proposed 30 ballpark 30 day tour I would take in 2012 and the added unique aspect of who I am as a blind fan.
Before I go into the latest details, I did want tips from someone n contacting a publisher, because I did want to write a book as well. Mine would focus on the travel experience, the accessibility to things in and outside the park, and the experience using local public transit or the lack thereof in some instances. Any tips are much appreciated.
I have one other favor to ask as it relates to tips. I’d like to arrange with each team to get just a few minutes on the field, be it some time prior to or after the game. I don’t want to meet players or anything like that; I want to walk around the perimeter of the outfield from foul pole to foul pole to get a true feel for what the outfield alignment is like in each park, so I can describe that in a way truly understandable to a blind fan.
Now as for the planning, most teams now have posted starting game times. Due to a couple that have not which will impact my plans, Cleveland in particular; I am still working with four options, though they are rather different than before. Below are the four versions of the schedule I’m working with, all efforts are now focused on the spring based on feedback I had from others on here. If things just don’t work, I’ll aim for late summer into fall. Note that home for me is an hour southwest of Jackson, Wyoming and an hour or so south by southeast of Idaho Falls, or 4 hours north of Salt Lake City as for my home airport.
Meg, you will note that I have a couple additional Colorado options now, though May 31 because of my route will be Rockies or Dodgers, no other choices because May 31 at Boston, the only other team scheduled that date, does not work for my planning.
Option 1, game dates from Sunday April 29 to Monday May 28.
Arrive April 28 at Toronto and then attend 1:07 ET game at Toronto on Sunday April 29. Take last flight of evening from Toronto to Miami.
Monday April 30, see the Marlins at 12:40 ET in Miami. Then relax for the evening in town, might if possible try to catch up with a professional colleague I met when I was at a student affairs conference in 2010.
Tuesday may 1, take a mid-day flight to the Tampa area and see the Rays at 7:10 ET that evening.
Wednesday May 2, first flight out to St. Louis; attend my sister’s planned late morning marriage ceremony as she is not planning a big wedding, then see the Cardinals that night at 7:15 CT. Yes I’m inviting my sister if this date works out for me to be on this route.
Thursday May 3, take morning train or a mid-day flight to Kansas City, Royals then play what should be that night at 7:10 CT, though KC is one of four teams to not yet post game times. Then the morning of May 4, flight to Detroit and at 7:05 ET, the Tigers will be the next team I see in action blind fan style. Within the first fifth of my trip, it will mark my second visits to Toronto and Detroit, second to the new St. Louis park and third overall, a third visit to KC and second since the remodel of the park, and my first visits to Tampa and Miami for baseball.
The second fifth of the trip is the eastern rail run. On the morning of Saturday May 5, I’ll get the first flight from Detroit to New York because the Mets play that afternoon at 1:10 ET. I’ll then head to Atlantic City and visit with a friend for the evening. I’ll then get up the next morning and head for the DC area, where I plan to see my wife’s cousin if at all possible, she and her husband live on the Delmarva. That night at 8:00 ET, I’ll see the Nationals, then after a restful night, spend Monday in the area and catch the Orioles at 7:05 ET that night. I then head north for 7:05 games on May 8 and 9 at the Phillies and Yankees, followed by the Red Sox May 10 at 7:10 ET. This is my first visit to all of these parks; I did see the two prior homes of the New York teams during a special July 2008 trip to NYC.
The third fifth of the trip gets a bit crazy, as I’ll then get back on a plane on Friday the 11th and head for Minneapolis, roughly a 3 hour direct flight from Boston. The Twins play at 7:10 CT that night. The next morning, it is another 3 hour flight to Phoenix, then at 5:05 MST or the same as 5:05 PT because Arizona does not spring forward, I’ll see the Diamondbacks in action. I hoped for a late flight that night, but instead it appears I’ll have to get the first flight on Sunday morning May 13 to the San Francisco bay area, just trying to figure out which airport has the best public transit access to Oakland, as I’m due to see the Athletics at 1:05 PT that very afternoon. That is what you call a crazy 72 hours, from Bean Town, to the Twin Cities, to the Arizona desert, and then the Bay Area. Sunday night, I’ll get some much, much needed rest and maybe I’ll catch up with a friend in No Cal on Monday if things allow. I think I’ll be too bushed that Sunday night. Monday May 14 is a nice easy day and then at 7:15 that night, I hit San Francisco and see the Giants play. The next morning, I lose 2 hours, that will be rough because of that aspect, but it will be nice to return to my lifelong home that I only left this past April. That evening, I’ll surely join a couple friends as I see the Rangers at 7:05 CT. The next day on May 16, since air fare is almost as cheap as bus fare, I’ll fly to Houston and join more friends for the Astros game at 7:05 that night. I could have set this up where I saw the Rangers on the 17th and then saw them as the visitor in Houston the very next night, but I’m trying to avoid seeing the same team in consecutive games if at all possible, which would happen if I had the Rangers as a home team and then as the visitor the very next day. Of the cities on this trip, I’ve been to the Texas teams many times, Houston I attended in the Astrodome as well though I could not say the same for Arlington Stadium. This will also be my second trip to Arizona and Minnesota, though my first to Target Field and it will be my first trip ever to the San Francisco Bay Area.
The fourth fifth of the trip then takes me from Texas and I return right back to California, this time to hit the southern trifecta. May 17, it will be the Angels I see and that time has not been posted, but it is likely an afternoon start because the White Sox, who are the visitors, play a day game the next day at the Chicago Cubs. Fortunately because of the 2 hour drop in time, I am hoping to get an early enough flight from Houston to Anaheim and this is the one part of this route that I am rather nervous about given that uncertainty. The next evening I’d see the Dodgers at 7:10 PT and then on Saturday the 19th, I’d see the Padres and though the time is not set, probably it will be at 5:35 PT. The Angels are the visiting team at San Diego, thus the reason for seeing the Dodgers in between. Sunday morning the 20th is another tight schedule, as I must get the first plane from San Diego to Denver and see the Rockies at 1:05 MT. I’d go to another city if it is a team I have not seen and if that team is assigned the Sunday night slot, otherwise, Denver is the only way to go. From there, it is back to the west coast and on Monday night May 21 at 7:10 PT, I see the mariners and probably my longtime friend Mindy. Then May 22, back across to the middle of the country, for a 7:10 CT game at Milwaukee. While I’ve been to Milwaukee on a prior visit and Colorado twice, this will be my first time for any of the teams in southern California and the same for Seattle.
Finally on the last fifth of the trip, what will be a relatively calm closing to the tour? May 23, I’ll fly to Ohio, either Cincinnati or Cleveland and then bus to the other on Thursday the 24th. Cincinnati has both games posted as 7:10 starts, Cleveland is not known yet. My hope is that Cleveland will pick a Thursday night game, which means I could bus from Cincinnati to Cleveland and then bus on to Pittsburgh, which is my stop on Friday May 25, at 7:05 ET. Then on May 26, I fly to Atlanta for a 4:10 ET start at the Ted, then that night if possible; get the last plane out of town to Chicago. I close it out Sunday and Monday, May 27 at 1:10 on the south side and the White Sox, may 28 the north side at 1:20 CT for the Cubs. Of the cities here, only the two Chicago teams have been touched by my presence, my August trip last year being the only time I went. I’ll return home to my loving wife May 29. Lorna cannot go because she is teaching school during this time and she had other travel plans for the summer already arranged as part of a special thing she is doing with a friend.
Option 2 as things look now, may be the one I like the most in terms of how the schedule works. My game dates would be Monday May 7 to Tuesday June 5. I would head for Phoenix either Sunday the 6th or that Monday morning, then at 6:40 MST or PT, se the Diamondbacks. On Tuesday morning the 8th, I’d fly to Seattle, the mariners game is that night at 7:10 PT. Then the travel continues on Wednesday May 9 to Minneapolis, the Twins are scheduled for 7:10 CT that evening. Thursday the 10th, another long flight to Boston, see the Red Sox at 7:10 ET. Then I’d stay on the east coast and travel by train, Friday the 11th at 7:05 for the Yankees and Saturday the 12th at 7:05 at the Phillies.
The second fifth of the trip would start Sunday the 13th for a 1:35 game at Baltimore, then after seeing family that night as mentioned above, I’d see the nationals at 7:05 ET on Monday the 14th and then back to the Big Apple for the Mets game at 7:10 ET the evening of the 15th.
I’d then return to Texas for the next two games, here I can go either way, but will likely go to Arlington first, because while both teams have 7:05 games on the 16th, the Rangers have a day game at 1:05 the 17th, Houston is scheduled for an evening tilt. I’d then close out this second fifth at Toronto for a 7:07 ET game the 18th.
The middle fifth starts on the 19th at Detroit and it is currently listed as a 7:05 start. If that holds, I’ll probably bus from Toronto and save a lot of cash. My other option is to bus to Buffalo and fly to Detroit, but I’d rather not. Then on Sunday morning the 20th, it is an early flight to get to Kansas City for what is likely a day game, though the Royals have not posted the start time, but it is likely around 1:10 that afternoon. I’d then fly that evening to St. Louis and visit my mom who lives there for the next day, then the evening of the 21st, the Cardinals game would be at 7:15 Ct. My plan for May 22-28 then would be the same schedule that I outlined in option 1, Milwaukee the 22nd, the Ohio teams the 23rd and 24th to close out what would be the middle fifth on this route, then start the fourth fifth with games the 25th through 28th at the Pirates, Braves, White Sox, and Cubs. May 29 would then take me on a morning flight from Chicago to Tampa Bay for a 7:10 game, and then May 30 I’d fly to Miami for what is listed as a 7:10 start, though the game was earlier listed as a 12:40 start.
The final fifth of this version of the tour would then begin May 31 with a long flight across country to Los Angeles, the dodgers play a game that is a TBD for a start time, hoping for a later afternoon or evening start in CA. June 1-2 would be at the Angels and padres with Anaheim probably the first game, then June 3, a quick start to the day as I head for Denver and a 1:05 game. Then that evening, right back to California to conclude the trip, June 4 a 12:45 PT game at San Francisco and then a June 5 Oakland game at 7:05 PT. June 6 I’d return home.
My third and fourth options are both from May 11 to June 9, but the first 80% of the route would be very different. What would not change is the final fifth of the trip, an East Coast run.
Option 3 would begin May 11 at St. Louis, followed by a flight May 12 to Phoenix. May 12-16 would then look like option 1, with Arizona, Oakland, San Francisco, Texas, and Houston in that order. From there, the second fifth of this option would have me flying from Houston to Toronto may 17 for a jays game that night, then May 18 at Tampa Bay, May 19 at Milwaukee, May 20 at Detroit, May 21 at Pittsburgh, and May 22 at Cleveland. The middle fifth would see me in Cincinnati May 23, fly to Seattle May 24, fly to Minnesota May 25, then spend May 26-28 like before at Atlanta and the two Chicago teams. Then things get crazy for the fourth fifth of the trip, May 29 for a night game at Miami, May 30 for an unknown start at Anaheim, and May 31 for an unknown start at Los Angeles. June 1 would have me in San Diego, then in Denver for a mid-afternoon start on June 2, then to Kansas City for a likely day game June 3. Then the final fifth, June 4, another day game at the Mets, then and only then I could relax, because I’d stay that night in NYC, see the Yankees on the 5th that evening, train to Philly on the 6th for a night game, train to DC for a day game the 7th at the nationals, and see the Orioles on the 8th that night. Finally, the morning of the 9th I’d have to fly from Baltimore to Boston because the Red Sox play an afternoon game, then on the evening of the 9th or the 10th, I’d fly home.
My fourth option is like the third for the June 4-9 sequence on the east coast, so I’ll focus on just the earlier part. May 11 I’d begin at Arizona for an evening game, and then fly to Minnesota for the same on Saturday May 12. A morning flight to Milwaukee on the 13th would get me to a Brewers day game, before night games the 14th-16th at Toronto, Texas, and Houston. The second fifth would be a repeat of the southern California trip May 17-19, but then may 20-21 would be in the San Francisco area, Giants the 20th and Athletics the 21st. Here I am not as crazy about this because the Athletics will be seen back-to-back first as the visitor at AT&T and then the next night at home. Then may 22 I am at Seattle.
The middle fifth of this version is a bit rough; because I’d have to fly from Seattle to St. Louis the 23rd, fly to Cincinnati the 24th, fly to Atlanta the 25th, fly to Pittsburgh the 26th, then to Chicago the 27th for the next two days. Then the fourth fifth of the trip would have me flying out of Chicago to Tampa Bay May 29, fly to Miami May 30, fly to Denver May 31, fly to Kansas City June 1, fly to Cleveland or Detroit June 2, and then June 3 fly or bus to whichever team I did not see June 2. Then the evening of June 3, I’d fly from Detroit or Cleveland and get to New York for that eastern run.
In closing, I simply ask, which way would you go?
As a side note, because of the ability to post updates to Facebook from a mobile phone, I’ve created a page that will be the official blog for the trip. You can follow it and please like the page, at www.facebook.com/BlindBaseballTraveler30ParksIn30Days
Any and all thoughts are welcome because your help will be much appreciated and frankly wanted.