When it becomes too much: Minor Leagues

While my son and I were at our latest ballpark (Bowling Green Hot Rods) I remember a conversation I had with a couple of blokes in Beloit. I remember them telling me they had been to 354 baseball parks. Now I'm assuming that is college, summer leagues, minor etc all wrapped into one. But it got me thinking this past weekend,  when is it enough?

 I was planning on stopping when I finally get to the magical 210 affiliated teams (Mexican League included) and the occasional overseas game but 354 plus? With all 30 MLB and 170 plus minors I'm beginning to question what is the essence of the chase?  Is it for fame, glory, excitement, or to see the country?  I'm gonna add one big issue to this to we have seen 24 NBA arenas, 20 NHL arenas and 16 NFL. So I ask all of you at what point should the chase stop?

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Comment by Bob D (MLB 30/48 total 442) on August 24, 2012 at 10:15am

I echo the sentiments of some of the others. If I get back from a trip without the feeling "I wish I had 1 more vacation day, I wish I could have seen 1 more game or made 1 more stop", I'll know I reached the point where I have seen enough or I'll do something else. Also if I ever stop enjoying the planning process. I am currently at 327 ballparks. 48 majors, 180 minors, 26 independents, 69 colleges, 26 summer leagues and 5 spring training. I am already looking forward to next years trips. 1 will be to College world series if I can get the time off work. I am also looking to go back to the Seattle area and add Tacoma and some colleges next year. At this point last year, I knew I was going to Tampa for the frozen 4(ncaa division 1 hockey championship). I knew I was driving(I also prefer to drive if I have enough time). I figured getting 2 weeks off was not going to be a problem. I knew the Marlins were opening their new park and that the chances that they were not going to be home during those 2 weeks was remote. So I anxiously awaited their schedule to fill in that into my trip. I also wanted to see more colleges and minor league teams I especially wanted to see the new stadium in Pensacola. Then as the schedules started coming out, it was as if the schedules were made for me. Marlins 4/4, the day before Tampa. Mets spring training in St Lucie the day before that. Mets in Orlando vs the Braves before that. University of Florida home vs LSU the day between the 2 hockey days. Even on 4/7 when I was seeing hockey at night in Tampa, the university of Tampa had a day doubleheader about 2 miles way. This turned out to be one of my favorite stops(another reason I go on these trips, you never know which will be) Obviously a small crowd because d2 teams don't have a large following, but a spectacular view of Tampa at the park and I talked to some really good people there. The rest filled it self in as the schedules came out. 4/8 I got to another game at Central Florida, 4/9 I saw Jacksonville in the day and Daytona at night, 4/10 Florida at Florida State( it would be tough to get a better midweek college game) 4/11 I got to see another d2 school during the day(West Florida) and Mobile at night, 4/12 New Orleans Zephers, 4/13 Alabama at LSU, 4/14 Mississippi Braves, 4/15 I got to see another West Florida game at1 and the spectacular new stadium for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos later in the day. After that I had to drive home even though there were places in South Carolina, North Carolina that I would have loved to stop at on the drive home. I didn't see a lot of other sites, but I saw part of the country I hadn't been at before and meet a lot of great people. At the LSU at Florida game on 4/6, I made a point to see out some LSU fans and get a recommendation for a good cajun place the next week. While I don't remember the name of it, it was very good.
That is pretty much how my big baseball trip of the year evolves and when it stops being that way, I'll know it is time to stop. I have done at least 1 each year since 1995.

I would think you had some similar experiences and relate to what I am describing here.

Comment by Nathan Bisonette 33 MLB 55 MiLB on August 23, 2012 at 10:26am

There was that guy who did his "Tour for the Cure" trip Cass Sapir and he saw all 189 U.S. minor and major league ballparks in one summer. That was an epic journey. A handful of his games were rained out though. I agree with Craig and Mark you should stop if it gets to the point where it's not fun and seems more like work. The others here on this thread make a valid point that sometimes it's nice to enjoy the community. My endgame for now is all of the U.S. based minor and major league ballparks. I might throw in some collegiate games too and maybe a CWS game or two and possibly a LLWS game. I also need to see Cooperstown. I regret not seeing it when I lived in Saratoga Springs, NY it was not unreasonably far way then. I hope you continue to enjoy your journey whatever you decide to do!

Comment by Thequesters Too on July 23, 2012 at 1:39am

Meg,

I'm like you I have to include other stops, sites, etc into the trip even if it is quirky. But I always include mandatory sites, like Negro Leagues Museum and Cooperstown, when I'm in the general area. 

I'll second what Jim said, you have to create a balance or it becomes just that a chase for the sake of the chase. 

Comment by meg minard (30/44/205) on July 22, 2012 at 6:55pm

Agreed Jim and Thequesters Too.  During my trip in Iowa this week, I am not only seeing nine baseball stadiums in the state (one is in WI and one is in IL) but also the state capitol building in Des Moines, a mansion tour in Cedar Rapids, Five Sullivan Brothers Museum/Memorial in Waterloo, several breweries, and spent a day with my brother and his family (yes, we did all go to a game in the Quad Cities in the evening).  I'll be taking a riverboat ride down the Mississippi, see a zoo, a restoration village, and more local breweries.  Oh yeah, the Field of Dreams too.  It is more than just the stadium visit.

Comment by Jim Wood (46 MLB) on July 22, 2012 at 5:06pm
Very true- the journey is a lot of the fun but stopping to appreciate where you are is just as nice. Have to balance it all.
Comment by Thequesters Too on July 22, 2012 at 2:07pm

The NPB is on my radar...possibly next year. But in the past year I've seen people who have done all 30 MLB in one season, a 100 plus minor league in a season which I think ruins the experience because you don't get to spend any time in the community where the ballpark is located.  Just my opinion...

Comment by Jim Wood (46 MLB) on July 21, 2012 at 12:09am
I'm a baseball fan first and foremost so to add the other sports wouldn't do it for me. My first goal was to see all teams play a home game- then they started building new parks so it changed to seeing all 30 new parks. Now it's seeing all Triple A parks, seeing the White Sox at all 30 parks, and seeing the NPB parks (Japan).

I suppose I'll just keep going. I don't have a need to be the best or to 'one up' anyone. I'd just like to continue going to places that fascinate me....
Comment by Mark (53) on July 20, 2012 at 8:21am

I agree with Craig.  I took a break from going to baseball stadiums because it started to feel like work.  I started going to other venues (NBA, NHL. NFL. NASCAR/ IRL/ NHRA, zoos), and now I, like you, am trying to see all of the major sports venues.  I have been to 12 NBA, 2 WNBA, 19 NHL and 15 NFL arenas/ stadiums.  I have been to 21 race tracks.  Now I have the adrenaline rush again, and can't wait to go on my next trip, whatever that may be.

Comment by Craig (17) on July 19, 2012 at 10:36pm

I would say when it stops being fun! If you are still enjoying the journey, why stop!

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