Last spring, I set a goal to watch a game at all 30 Major League Baseball (MLB) stadiums across the country in just six months. I knew from the beginning that I would really have to push myself. After all, this is something that many people work towards over their entire lifetime. During my travels, all over the country, people asked me what my secret was. My answer: a lot of motivation, drive, and planning.
My love of Baseball
Growing up, I was that kid with the room covered in baseball posters and memorabilia. Half of my closet was filled with baseball jerseys. Even today, I have an entire walk-in closet in my home dedicated to sports clothes. I love baseball because of the teamwork, competitiveness, and the fact that you are only as strong as the weakest link. Mentoring and supporting everyone is critical, and these skills I still get to use as a Customer Service Supervisor for Southwest Airlines in Kansas City.
My Dad shared in my baseball passion. He would cheer me on at the games in high school, and we would watch games together for hours. Before he passed, we talked about seeing all 30 MLB stadiums over a few years. We planned to just get in the car and hit the road. However, life happened, and day-to-day obligations took priority. Then, I went off to college, and my dad got sick. We had only made it to one game together.
I made this journey in honor of my Dad. I know he would have wanted me to.
Keith’s Top Picks
Out of the 30 stadiums that I visited, these are my favorites.
1. Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals
This is home for me. This is one of the only stadiums with a little baseball field for the kids. It is really fun to see kids getting inspired to love baseball. While here, be sure to get the barbecue brisket nachos—they are my favorite.
2. Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox
This is the oldest and most historical stadium. You can feel that the minute you walk in. Be sure to check out the Babe Ruth memorabilia on the lower floors. Also, visit the customer service desk for a free bag of Fenway dirt.
3. SunTrust Park, home of the Atlanta Braves
This stadium was built two years ago and it still has that new stadium smell. It has the newest technology and big screens all over. It is an interesting contrast between the oldest stadium (Fenway) and the newest.
4. Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals
This stadium has the most unique scenery. You can even see the St. Louis Arch from the field!
1. Plan, plan, and plan again.
I changed my work schedule, booked my hotels, and bought the tickets to the game ahead of time. I also was sure to look into transportation, the time of the day of the games, and a rough estimate of the anticipated expenses.
2. Join a baseball group community on social media.
I joined the BallPark STAMPeders Group on Facebook. It is a great way to pose and answer questions about visiting MLB stadiums. I learned a lot of tips and tricks from this group.
3. Pack light.
If you are headed directly from the airport to the game, luggage is not allowed in the stadium. However, backpacks and similar sized bags are allowed. Pack light so you don’t lose precious time!
4. Don’t be afraid of the day trip.
Southwest Airlines offers frequent, nonstop service to many of the cities with MLB stadiums. Jump on a morning flight and leave on the last available flight—this is a great way to save time and money!
5. Explore the stadium.
Get to the stadium an hour before and check out every level. There are all sorts of hidden hallways with great memorabilia. Also, swing by the guest relations desk. They will print you off a free certificate which makes a great collectible. Sometimes, they even throw in some free swag if you are lucky.
The Next Adventure
What’s next for me? Well, I’m just getting started. In 2019, my plan is to go around the world and hit all seven continents. In 2020, I am also going to re-visit all 30 MLB stadiums. This time, I want to challenge myself to complete it in just three months. I know my Dad is looking down and smiling.
Next time you see me at the Customer Service Desk at the Kansas City International Airport, feel free to stop by and say hello! Remember to get out there and explore!