Fenway Park in Boston, the oldest Major League stadium in use, is high on fans' lists of the ballparks they would like to see a game in. Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Baseball Fantasy Trips

This is not the same as Fantasy League baseball. I don’t play. Once upon a time I entered a league, but I was so busy working that I kept missing the deadline for changing my lineup and I ended up using guys that were on the disabled list.

Baseball fantasy trips is a whole ‘nother ballgame. Every year during spring training, just before the season starts, I get a little catalogue in the mail that offers trips to various stadiums to see various games. It’s a travel brochure. Some people take cruises to the Carribean and bask on beaches. But other people are baseball fans with life lists. They want to see every ballpark before they kick the bucket list.

I have never taken one of these trips. One reason is that I have never found anyone else who wants to go with me and you get discounts, big discounts, for double occupancy in the hotels. But every year I study the brochure and think about the day I will take one of the trips. I am enough of a baseball fan, not just a fan of one team, that I would like to see a game in every Major League park.

Once upon a time I had a pretty good start going on this. But in my lifetime, baseball has kept adding expansion teams and teams have torn down old stadiums and constructed new ones. It’s hard to keep up. I kept only having business trips to Cleveland in the winter.

I have seen a game in the old Yankee Stadium, but not the new one. I have seen a game in Candlestick Park, but not the new Giants park that goes through names the way some people shuffle cards. Fenway Park, 101 this year, Wrigley Field, 99 this year, and Dodger Stadium, 51 this year, hang in there and I’ve got them covered. I have seen games in County Stadium in Milwaukee and Miller Park, but not Fulton County Stadium and Turner Field, just Fulton County.

These guys who offer the baseball stadium trips are good, but they are not good enough to take you into the past to visit stadiums that have been torn down. No such luck. We can’t ever get Ebbetts Field, Sportsman’s Park, or the original Comiskey Park back.

Most of the trips are built around regional travel. You get yourself to a spot and then the gang of baseball fans get together, hop on a bus and take off for a few days. The trip called “Windy City Plus” revolves around Chicago, where you go to one game at Wrigley Field, one game at U.S. Cellular Field (alias Comiskey Park II), and one game at Miller Park.

A bit pricier, and a bit longer, is a trip called the “East Coast Express” lasting eight days and providing six games. This is a pretty cool trip. You get Fenway Park, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Nationals Park in Washington, and Camden Yards in Baltimore, all in one package. You get six games, plus a stopover at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

If you’ve got the time and the money, it seems it would be kind of fun to spend a week with a big group of baseball fans. I bet lively trivia contests start up while you’re on the road. This company that has me on its mailing list is called Sports Travel and Tours. There’s little doubt they are on to something because a large number of baseball fans would like to see a game in every stadium in the majors. The company says it hears that over and over again and it even has its own Hall of Fame, consisting of fans that have made the circuit with them.

Travelers get a passport and it is stamped at each ballpark visited. That first Hall of Fame group dates to 2001 and it’s very clear judging from names on subsequent “induction” lists that the number of people who put some effort into viewing every Major League club in its natural habitat is growing.

There are 30 ballparks to visit and if you like baseball more than surfing, if baseball is your passion more than the theater, following the Grateful Dead around the country (oops, too late for that), or trying to fish in every state, this may be your thing.

Tags: Ballpark Visits

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