Around the ballparks in 30 days
Three 25-year-olds from Philadelphia -- Travis Greene (left), Pedro Cuniilera (center) and Joey Seagraves -- are trying to see 30 ballgames in 30 ballparks in 30 days.
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Travis Greene swears there was no beer involved when he came up with this idea of driving 15,000 miles to see 30 ballparks in 30 days.
Sitting yesterday afternoon in the upper deck of PNC Park with Pedro Cunillera and Joey Seagraves, fellow Philadelphians and partners in this epic journey, they looked as relaxed as any fans blowing off the workday.
But the night before, they'd caught the first pitch inside Baltimore's Camden Yards and then hustled down the Interstate to Washington D.C.'s Nationals Park to catch the end of that game. And after yesterday's Pirates game ended, they jumped in their rented vehicle -- "The Great Vanbino" -- and drove to Cleveland's Progressive Field for the Indians-Royals game last night.
If you have to ask why, you were never 25, single and a baseball fan, as these three are thrice-blessed. (A fourth on the team, Glenn Coates, 44, had to drop out after just the second game, in Philadelphia, to handle a family issue.)
They're making a movie, "30 Ballparks in 30 Days," and have a Web site of the same name, but as they sat bundled in Section 316, their video camera protected against the intermittent rain, I asked them if this wasn't one of those days when this idea seemed a whole lot better in theory than in practice.
No way, they all said. This would be one of their easier days.
They opened this past Saturday afternoon with the Mets' new ballpark in Queens, Citi Field (which, thanks to the federal bailout of Citibank, already boasts the largest TARP in baseball history.) Then they took the New Jersey Turnpike back down to Philadelphia for the Phillies game that night. Sunday was the new Yankee Stadium and Monday was Boston's Fenway Park, and Tuesday was that Baltimore-Washington singleheader, so having enough time to take in two full games only 132 miles apart seemed almost as easy as an intentional walk.
"Lately, it's been a little crazy," Mr. Seagraves said. "Today we can relax a little."
They saw a good game, with the Pirates beating the Florida Marlins 7-4 and completing a three-game sweep. Through the first seven ballparks in the first six days, the only home team to lose has been their Phillies.
Some 1,400 miles in, they've done less than a tenth of the driving and the longest runs are yet to come. A map tracing their trip would look like an Etch-a-Sketch gone awry. From here, it's:
Cleveland; Toronto; Cincinnati; Chicago (White Sox); St. Louis; Kansas City; Arlington, Texas; Minneapolis; Milwaukee; Chicago (Cubs); Detroit; Atlanta; St. Petersburg; Miami; Houston; Los Angeles; Anaheim; Phoenix; Denver; San Francisco; Oakland; Seattle; and, finally, San Diego on May 17.
That Miami-Houston-Los Angeles slice will be the bear. The games are May 5, 7 and 9, an itinerary you'd normally give to Burt Reynolds and his black Trans Am.
This is all the fallout of a conversation at Mr. Greene's uncle's house late last year. He was talking baseball with his cousin, Collin McGowan, who pitches for Seton Hall University. They began wondering aloud if it would be possible to do 30 ballparks in 30 days.
Mr. Greene went home and started pulling schedules off the Internet and looking at maps. It took a couple of weeks, but he finally took a plan into work at Center City Film & Video where he and Mr. Seagraves are editors and Mr. Cunillera is a videographer. They all requested and received five weeks off.
"The only time it works this year is this time we're doing it. Right now,'' Mr. Greene said.
They have made cards that carry the schedule and the slogan, "Whatever It Takes," a phrase used by many but one they credit to the great Phillies philosopher and leadoff hitter, Lenny Dykstra. When they get to Southern California, they intend to get their Toyota Sienna washed at one of Mr. Dykstra's car washes.
From San Diego, they'll drive back the 3,000 miles to Philadelphia and return their rented van. They made sure the deal was for unlimited mileage.
"It's like an all-you-can-eat buffet," Mr. Seagraves said. "We're eating everything."
They expect the people at Hertz to be surprised when the odometer has added 18,000 miles. They plan to film that, too.
First Published April 23, 2009 12:00 am