Baseball pilgrimages

Take me out to the ballgame at 30 big-league parks

 

Associated Press

If you’re a baseball fan looking to add a new pastime to your vacation itinerary, consider setting a goal to visit all 30 of the sport’s major league stadiums.

I began my crusade about five years ago, joining a growing number of other zealots making the pilgrimage to baseball’s cathedrals.

It has become such a popular pursuit that you can buy baseball-stadium maps to document where you have been and plot where you still need to go. The one decorating my den shows I’m halfway through my odyssey, with 14 more fields of dreams still to be seen. If you need more memorabilia, there’s also a book called The Major League Baseball BallPark Pass-Port that provides tips about each stadium, with slots to file ticket stubs and a place to “validate” each visit with a rubber stamp.

But all you really need is a love of baseball and a passion for exploring new places to relish this journey.

All the baseball teams are based in cities with engrossing things to do and savory places to eat when you aren’t attending a game. These attractions should help the cause of fans trying to recruit a spouse or other traveling teammates who may not appreciate the pleasures of the game.

My tour already has introduced me to things that wouldn’t have been on my radar if I hadn’t booked a trip to see a stadium.

When I went to St. Louis to visit Busch Stadium in 2010, I rented a car one day and made the two-hour drive to Samuel Clemens’ childhood home in Hannibal, the Mississippi River village that inspired Mark Twain’s best-known booksabout the childhood adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. The Hannibal visit had a ripple effect when I went to Boston to see Fenway Park, prompting me to rent another car to drive to Hartford, Conn., to visit the custom-built home where he spent the happiest and most productive years of his adult life.

When I went to Baltimore to see a game at Camden Yards, I took a water taxi out to Fort McHenry in the Chesapeake Bay to tour the site where Francis Scott Key watched American troops in 1814 thwart an all-night fusillade by English ships.

Many of the stadiums are landmarks in their own right. My favorite stops so far have been baseball’s oldest stadiums, Fenway Park (opened in 1912), and Wrigley Field (originally known as Weeghman Park when it opened in 1914) in Chicago. Both are located in wonderful neighborhoods that turn into street festivals during the three or four hours leading up to the game.

The stadiums of more recent vintage all have their merits too, largely because so many were built to evoke a sense of nostalgia. This retro movement started in 1992 when Baltimore’s Camden Yards opened.

When drawing up your travel plans, strive to arrange your stadium visits so they coincide with your favorite team’s trips to the same destinations.

My favorite stadium sojourns so far have included my favorite team, the Oakland Athletics. Those trips gave me a chance to wear my green-and-gold Athletics’ gear in hostile territory, which has led to lively repartee with the fans of the local team. Try to get tickets behind your team’s dugout on the road.When I finally cross the final big-stadium off my list in a few years, I am going to have to find a new quest. Well, I hear there are lots of quaint minor-league baseball stadiums located in rustic towns all across America…

Read more Travel stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">A life in ruins:</span> Posters at the Hacienda Napoles ranch tell the story of slain Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, once the head of the Medellin drug cartel.

    Colombia

    In Colombia, a playground with a past

    Wandering through a decaying doorless archway, I encounter a young boy crouching on a floor of broken tiles and rubble, beneath a framed newspaper front page from May 1984. “Lara B Assassinated,” the headline blares. “State of Siege.”

  •  
A communal area of the lodge at the Bivvi in Breckinridge, Colo., which opened in December.

    Travelwise

    Wow. Are you sure this is a hostel?

    On my first night in Cleveland last year, I fell asleep spooning my backpack. I maneuvered my laptop beneath my pillow and leaned my favorite red boots against the wall by my feet. For the first time in more than a decade, I was overnighting in a hostel, and I didn’t know what to expect.

  • The travel troubleshooter

    Where’s the refund for my Air France ticket?

    Q: I’m a graduate student at the University of Texas and I was recently awarded a fellowship to conduct research for two months in Ibadan, Nigeria. Believing that I would be departing from New York and then returning to Austin, Texas, I booked the trip in two legs. However, knowing that this could change, I reviewed the refund policies for both legs carefully to make sure the tickets were refundable.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK



  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category