Thursday, May 8, 2014
30 Stadiums in 30 Days
(screenshot from Slate.com)
I quickly realized after Erik and I started this blog 7 years ago (holy crap has it been 7 years?) that there is a large fraternity of people who do ballpark roadtrips. The overwhelming trend I see from blogs and such is that people try to do all 30 MLB stadiums as quickly as possible. I think I might have mentioned in a post a year or two ago about a guy who did all 30 in like 23 or 24 days. Baseball is a sport that is played every single day for 6 months, so I understand that unlike other sports, there is novelty in it because it is feasibly possible. Beyond that, I can't imagine why anyone in their right mind would actually want to go through with that. Erik and I completed our journey in 71 days. We purposely included about 20 minor league parks and various other sights to break up some of the long drives. Even so, by about Week 4 I was exhausted, stressed, and wanted to kill Erik, which made me realize that 71 days is still an insanely short period of time to do this trip. Think about it - you're driving the length and width of the country twice, which for us was over 16,000 miles. It's about 3,500 miles from Seattle to Miami to give you a frame of reference. Again, I cannot even fathom how or why people try to complete this trip in a month. Other than, you know, money and adult responsibilities.
While I may never understand the "why," there is now a pretty ingenious resource for the "how." These two guys, Eric Brewster and Ben Blatt, recently did the 30-stadium trip and wrote a book about it. Not that uncommon. But the unique part was, one of the guys is a huge math nerd and developed an algorithm that would devise the shortest possible trip. All you have to do is enter your starting stadium and date and it does all the planning for you in less than a minute. You can click here for the link via Slate.com, it's actually pretty fun to play around with. Starting with Miller Park, the shortest I was able to get was about 18,000 miles in 29 days and 3 hours. It says explicitly on the website that it is intended to give you the least risky drives with some leeway, not necessarily the shortest travel distance. So you end up with some funky back-and-forth drives instead a logical loop around the country as we did. One trip I plugged in had me going Milwaukee-Seattle-San Diego-Chicago-Boston in succession, and another proposed trip had me doing back-to-back doubleheaders in DC-Baltimore-New York. Woof. A good point that the article makes is that this algorithm boldly assumes no human error or unforeseen circumstances. There were at least two times Erik and I took a detour off a freeway, at least 3 times my car wouldn't start, and a countless number of times we were delayed for hours in traffic.
What I really learned from this tool is that everybody's 30 stadium trip is different and everybody values something different, no matter how ridiculous I might think it is. Erik and I made a point to see cool architecture, significant cultural attractions, breweries, and Hooters whenever possible, and we also wanted some days off to recharge and spend time with friends. That was what was important to us, and we also thought hey let's just drag this out and see as much ball as possible. Some people are just trying to do the 30 MLB stadiums in the shortest amount of time possible, with all of the planning done for them by a math program, and that's fine, but my own personal opinion is it takes the fun out of it. One of the best parts of our whole experience together was the weekend we spent planning in my old bedroom at my parents' house cooped up with a road atlas, a giant desktop calendar, MLB.com, and lots of beer. When will you get the chance to see so much of the country at one time ever again? It's best to do a lot of research and planning up front it and make the most out of your journey.
STANDINGS AND UPCOMING SERIES AS OF 05.08:
Brewers 22-13, +4.0, (3 v. Yankees, 3 v. Pirates)
Reds 15-18, -6.0 (3 v. Rockies, 3 v. Padres)
Twins 15-18, -6.5 (3 @ Tigers, 3 v. Red Sox)
2014 GAMES ATTENDED:
Erik - 2 (+2 worked)
Peter - 7