So, you want to visit all 30 MLB ballparks in a single season? You better have some time, money and serious organizational skills. Let's assume that you'll want to undertake this challenge with a partner. Here's some advice -- choose wisely. If you're going to marathon through 30 cities with a friend or loved one, it's going to take you at least 40 days or so. Sixty days is more realistic, allowing you to avoid a breakneck pace that could lead to burnout. So pick someone who has an equally undying passion for the game and who you generally get along well with in close quarters for extended periods of time.
Now that you have your partner lined up, you'll want to start plotting your course. It's best to start this process as soon as the schedules are released in the offseason. Planning the logistics of this kind of trip is difficult. You'll want to avoid backtracking to make it as efficient and inexpensive as possible. That means carefully plotting out a geographical map that aligns with the baseball schedule. Obviously, showing up in Philadelphia when they don't arrive home from a road trip for several days only adds to the time and expense incurred. You'll want to arrive on game day or the day before at the earliest, with a day of travel built in for each city.
Luckily, there are a couple of Web sites that can help you during the planning process. ESPN's "Baseball Road Trip Planner" site and baseball-roadtrip.com both offer helpful tools to assist you in your quest. The ESPN site allows you to browse scrollable schedules by city or by league. Baseball-roadtrip.com will even plot your course for you if you input your dates and starting points.
If you've managed to establish your timeline and plan your route, the only thing left to do is to get to each stadium and buy a ticket. This means making the trip financially viable. Here are some tips:
- Rent a hybrid vehicle to save on gas costs.
- Try to hit games on consecutive days for teams within the same state.
- Avoid hotels and try camping -- book camp sites ahead of time.
- Have a backup plan for rainouts.
- Call ahead to team customer service departments -- letting them know what you're doing might get you some discounted or free tickets.
- Most stadiums have great deals on nosebleed seats.
- Like any vacation, plan for overages in your time and budget.