Day 106 “I need to explain…”

raybansI am in a Starbucks (hard to believe) in Appleton, Wisconsin. I am going to a Wisconsin Timber Rattlers game tonight and then head towards Eau Claire, WI.  I think I need to explain my website. I have run into a lot of people that follow my blog and they don’t even realize that I have a website.

My Home page has links to Interviews I have done with some TV stations and links to newspaper articles about the trip.  I have set-up a section of some of the more popular blog posts I have written.  All you have to do is click the different links, which will take you “on my tour”.

There is a Biography page that gives you a little background about my family and what I was like growing up. That page is a work in progress and I add to it when the mood strikes!

The Tour 2014 page is my attempt to explain what I am trying to accomplish on this trip.  The trip is evolving and I have my moments of greatness in my writing and, also, some very futile attempts at writing. However, in essence, my goal is to document what I have seen, how I have felt, who I have met during all of it.

How to Help page talks about what has inspired me to go on the trip initially – how people can help me by spreading my news and sharing my posts.  The “Donate” button is available, if you wish to contribute to this journey.  I have listed all the people the have contributed on this page as well. Without all the financial support I have received, I would never have gotten as far as I have.

I have attended a lot of games, so we created a Games page.  You can go to this page and see all the games I have been to, where they were played and who won.  I keep adding future games to the list, this way you will know where I will be heading to next. I have included a section on the page documenting all the major league parks I have gone to, along with dates, during the trip.

The Buddha “Swag” page has a hat and shirt on it that you can order to support me. At the moment the shirt is being redesigned. Therefore, if you have ordered one, we hope to have it out to you soon.

Of course, a link to my Blog page, that takes you to all my posts. Most of you go to that page already that I share on Facebook and Twitter; but, these can be reached through the website, also.

The Contact page is simply that. This gives you my contact information – email or by phone. Don’t hesitate to text me some encouragement.  I would say, “call me”, but I don’t normally pick up the phone if you aren’t in my contact list.

Buddha Travels page shows you where I have been and where I’m headed on the map. By clicking on the baseballs will display a pop-up of the game I attended in that location and give you the score. On some, we have included a picture in the pop-up to add a bit of fun to the page.

The last, but not least, is the FAQ page, or the frequently asked questions. I get asked a lot of the same questions and I thought it would be fun to share. You may have the same questions as those people I have met along the way, and some from those I may never meet – but thought I would include!

There you have it. Please check out my website, along with my posts. I hope the above information helps to explain what I am doing in a more defined way. I have been very lax with my posts lately and I do have an excuse; but, every one has one of those. Just a note though, once again, writers block has hit me, which I am trying to work through.  I am sure my friend, Beth Chapman, would appreciate it. She is the one that edits all my posts so they flow better.

I continue to enjoy all the different facets of baseball, adding a new facet. I am taking a course on Sabermetrics! This course covers the theory and the fundamentals of the emerging science of Sabermetrics. Definition, just so you all know:

  1. the application of statistical analysis to baseball records, especially in order to evaluate and compare the performance of individual players.

We discuss the game of baseball, not through consensus or a fan’s conventional wisdom, but by searching for objective knowledge in hitting, pitching, and fielding performance. These and other areas of sabermetrics are analyzed and better understood with current and historical baseball data. If you are interested in taking the course, click here for information, it’s FREE!  We just started, so you can catch up easily. It runs for 6 weeks.

I love being at the different ball parks every day. The constant traveling can be a grind; but hey, life is what you make it!  I have met some wonderful people and I’m constantly amazed at how everyone continues to read and encourage me. Please keep it up, it does feel good! I had a fun day yesterday going to a game with Roger Wilson. My Dad and I are going to a game tomorrow. It’s his birthday and he is treating me!

Day 105 “A Quick Note”

Well here I am again, running behind!  I went to a Green Bay Bullfrogs game tonight against the Kenosha Kingfish.  The Kingfish destroyed the Bullfrogs 11-0, wasn’t much of a game. But, I have to say the entertainment was good. The Public Address announcer got the crowd into it, and  kids were running everywhere. It felt like a “hokey” hometown game, I say that in a good way.

I met my buddy Roger Wilson at the game. This was the first time that I had gone to a game with someone since Florida.  I enjoyed the baseball conversation.  He is the one that contacts all the media outlets and baseball teams for me. He, also, has complied 24,000 plus games in an excel spreadsheet for me, which believe me, that was no small undertaking!  Anyway, I have to wrap this up, it is after 11 pm.  Thanks for checking in!

Day 103 & 104 “Maya Angelou!”

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  -Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou

Last night I was in Madison for a Mallards game, I got to throw out one of the “Ceremonial First Pitches”. There was nine or ten of us, three adults and the rest were children. I felt goofy doing this with the children and in a way felt kind of demeaned. There I said it, the Mallards offered and I accepted to throw out the first pitch.  I enjoyed watching the kids doing it, some were excited and some didn’t understand why they were doing it.  The other two adults were a little nervous but also felt a little goofy.  I have thrown out one other “Ceremonial First Pitch” which was at a Montgomery Biscuits game, I enjoyed the entire experience in Montgomery, but not in Madison.

Maya Angelou said, “…people never forget how you made them feel”. In Montgomery, Ross Winkler made me feel like a “Rock Star”. He took an interest in my story giving me a tour of the entire baseball complex. He called me and texted me back after he reached out to me.  I never worried if I was suppose to be there or not.

I need to point out that my friend Roger Wilson reaches out to the media outlets and baseball teams that are on my schedule. He has done a terrific job in my behalf. I would not be getting any media exposure if it wasn’t for him.  I want to make sure everyone is aware that it is “Baseball Buddha” that is initiating the first contact.  Some teams respond and some don’t, I understand that they can’t accommodate every fans desire.  I don’t ask if I can throw out the first pitch, my goal, to be honest, is to get a free ticket and get exposure if I am going to finish this trip, I still need to raise some money.

After Roger sent out the email (typical a week before), someone from the Mallards reached out by email and asked if I would be interested in throwing out the first pitch. I responded that I would love to throw out the first pitch and asked what time I should be at the game. I heard nothing back from email, I called and left a message, still nothing.  I asked Roger to email them, thinking my email was being “spam” blocked, he didn’t get a response.

Yesterday was the day of the game. It was too late to find another game so I went, on my way over I called again, someone answered I asked for the person who emailed. I told the person who answered who I was, he put me on hold to get the other person. That person told the person who answered to tell me that “if it is regarding throwing out the first pitch, to just come”.  I asked about getting into the game and I was told, “just come to the ticket window any one of us can get you a ticket.”  I was invited but made to feel like I was an inconvenience.  I didn’t like how it all went down, they did have information on me.  I was told to show up on the third base area before the second game.  When I showed up I saw all these kids and asked what was happening, nobody could tell me. I checked in with one of the interns and was put in line. We walked out, in a line like we were in kindergarten and when our name was called we threw our ball.

Now, I understand that I could have decided not to do it, but part of this journey is to experience the entire fan experience. So as I was standing in line feeling quite goofy, I just told myself to do it, don’t be so self absorbed, etc.  I asked the other gentleman, who was representing an airline, about doing this. He kind of chuckled at it all, he told me he was a little nervous.  Maybe it was just me, but I wasn’t feeling very good about the whole experience.

“One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.”  Maya Angelou

I bring all of this up because I have experienced awesome hospitality and jaw dropping “what did you say” hospitality.  On April 9th, I went to a Reno Aces game, I was “wowed” by the hospitality. Almost two months later I still talk about that experience. They made me feel great, they made me feel that I was special. I didn’t throw out a first pitch, I paid for my own ticket; but, from the moment I stepped up to the ticket window I was treated with a smile and “enjoy the game”. I walked into the stadium and a beer vendor smiled welcoming me to the game. He, also, had a few practice balls he was giving to kids. Everywhere I went in the stadium I was treated this way.  It made a huge impression.

I was recently at a Cincinnati Reds game. I was in their team store before the game that was located in front of the stadium.  I was talking to one of the people working the store, he proceeded to tell me that he didn’t even like baseball, that it was a “dumb” game and he liked football.  I was shocked. I asked, “Then why are you working for the Reds?” He stated, “it was good money.”  I didn’t feel like spending any money with the Reds.  I know that others might have taken it differently, but it was how he made me feel, baseball was a “dumb” game and thus I was “dumb” to be attending.

“When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.”  Maya Angelou (my favorite one)

To finish on a positive note, I need to say something about the usher that was in my Charlotte interview, that guy was wonderful. He seemed to know, or recognize, everyone.  He spoke with you instead of at you. He had his opinions and he wanted to hear yours.  I loved watching as some of the fans from previous years came over to say hi to him, he made everyone feel special. I am sure Charlotte is glad they have him.  I have experienced a lot going to all these venues and I am not even half way through this journey. Even though, I am sure I will experience much more.

“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”  Needed to get a baseball related quote in!  R.I.P. Maya Angelou, thank you for being who you were!

Quick note, yesterday was the first time I was unable to get something posted, I didn’t have reception at my brother’s home when I got there after the game and it was past 11 pm.  Thanks for reading and supporting me.

If you enjoy this story and you would like to help me complete the “Baseball in America Tour 2014”, which is roughly 265 days, please click on the following link to see how you can help at www.baseballbuddha.com. Follow me on Twitter and like my Facebook page! Please share this on your Facebook page and Twitter. I appreciate all the help I can get!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 102 “Slacker!”

I have been totally slacking the last few days with my blog! Today will be the same. I got back into Milwaukee last night, felt good to be in familiar surroundings even though it will only be for a few days. I needed a hair cut in the worst way and my wonderful stylist for the last 10 years came through and met me at her salon early to do it. So, a big shout out to Roselle! She could be a stylist for the stars but she has chosen to remain in Milwaukee to make sure that folks like myself can feel like a star! I went and picked up my daughter after so we could have lunch and she could apply for a few summer jobs, it was good to see her!  She also graciously volunteered to wash all the souvenir items I have collected on the first half of this trip.   My ex-wife doesn’t know it yet but I put some more stuff I am not using in her storage locker which freed up some space in my car. Since she probably doesn’t read the blog any how, I don’t think she will even realize it!  I then spent the remaining hours before game time doing my laundry and cleaning out my car.

I will be heading to Madison tomorrow night to see the Mallards play. They asked if I would like to throw out one of the ceremonial first pitches and I agreed. But, I haven’t heard back from them so I don’t know if I will be doing that or not.  I have noticed that with a lot of teams, their public relations people get a hold of you rather quickly but they never seem to confirm anything with you.  Some of the media is like that, also. I was suppose to do an interview in Lexington with a TV station but I was the one that totally forgot so I shouldn’t complain too much, must be Karma!

Tailgaters outside my car and in the rain!  Go Brewers!
Tailgaters outside my car and in the rain! Go Brewers!

Well I need to wrap this up as I am currently sitting in my car in the Brewers parking lot with all my windows blacked out. I hear some people outside my car who are tailgating in the rain wondering if there is a dead body in the car.  I just opened the door and scared them. They are having a good laugh right now!

I will be hanging out with my daughter after the game and again on Thursday; so, I am sure I might be slacking for a few more days!

If you enjoy this story and you would like to help me complete the “Baseball in America Tour 2014”, which is roughly 265 days, please click on the following link to see how you can help at www.baseballbuddha.com. Follow me on Twitter and like my Facebook page! Please share this on your Facebook page and Twitter. I appreciate all the help I can get!

Day 101 “Trivia!”

Great view, check out the ferry on the river!  This is from my seat at Great American Ball Park!
Great view, check out the ferry on the river! This is from my seat at Great American Ball Park!

This will be short and quick!  Started my day near Cincinnati, drove to Fort Wayne, then to Chicago, and now I have just pulled into Milwaukee! Saw Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati last night, it was a sold out crowd, St. Louis was in town. Adam Wainwright was impressive for the Cardinals and they beat the Reds 4-0.  Today I saw the Fort Wayne TinCaps beat the Dayton Dragons, 14-9. Tomorrow, on schedule to see the Chicago White Sox play but I am changing that game. I will most likely see the Milwaukee Brewers play at Miller Park; but, I would not decide until the last moment, there might be a high school I will want to catch.

I had every intention of spending the night in Chicago, go to the White Sox game and then come to Wisconsin the day after. I even went to one of my favorite places for sushi on Clarke near Wrigley Field.  When I finished eating I thought screw it, I’m going home, except I don’t have a place to go home to.  So, I just pulled into a Wal-Mart parking lot for the night.  My daughter and I are going to hang out some tomorrow, hopefully find her a summer job!  We plan on going to the Lakeshore Chinooks game on Thursday night, hopefully she won’t be sick of me by then!

I have all these ideas about promotions I would run if I was in charge of a ball club, my daydreams have gotten out of control!  I love thinking about how I would do things differently.  I do like some things I saw today at the Fort Wayne game and I made a mental note of why I thought it worked.  The Fort Wayne team is called the TinCaps, I know it doesn’t make sense until you realize that Johnny Appleseed is their mascot and he wears a tin cap, which is a tin pan.  I thought they were called the TinCups until one nice young lady corrected me after she had a good laugh.

We added a feature to Twitter, Roger will be Tweeting out trivia questions at Noon everyday, then revealing the answer at 5 pm.  I will send the person who correctly tweets the answer first a Baseball Buddha sticker, you can only get one sticker every week. I will send the winners the stickers on Tuesday of the following week, you will have to Direct Message me your address on Twitter.  I drove a lot today and I am extremely tired so I am going to call it a night!

Day 100 “Wow! Day Fricken 100”

Noah &  Lonnie  from Day 1!
Noah & Lonnie from Day 1!

I made it to Day 100!  Wow, out on the road for 100 days! I still have a lot of days to go, but I am excited by the fact I made it this far!  I will be going to game 108 tonight in Cincinnati, next over to Fort Wayne, IN; then, moving onto Chicago for a White Sox game.  I will be in my home state to throw out the first pitch at a Madison Mallards game on Wednesday! It has been a great trip so far. I have added to my schedule so please check it out, click here.  I will be in Ashland, Wisconsin to watch the first game of the WIAA playoffs as the Oredockers run the table for their first State Baseball Championship. It will happen! I hope to see everyone at the ball field for that game, very excited to see my nephew play and the rest of the boys that I have watched the last few years.

I was in Hickory, North Carolina last night and drove seven hours north today to see the Cincinnati Reds take on the St. Louis Cardinals.  I don’t feel like writing too much today as I have been working on little things with the website the last couple of hours. I want to get over to see the Reds Hall of Fame before I go to the game tonight.  If you haven’t read my post from yesterday, please take the time to do it today.  Chris, the KC Super Fan, is an awesome guy and I want to give him  the respect that he deserves.  It took me over a week to write it up, so I will wait a couple of days before I replace it on the site!

I have been thinking a lot lately about how I can capitalize on this experience. I have seen a lot and would love to do something within baseball when I am done with this trip.  However, I just want to point out, that was never my intent. I have lots of time to think when I am driving so my mind does go there, please don’t think that is my only reason I have done this.

My buddy Jared and his wife Kelly and daughter Jordyn in Arizona!
My buddy Jared and his wife Kelly and daughter Jordyn in Arizona!

I wanted to see this great country of ours, wanting to meet all kinds of wonderful personalities that are passionate about baseball. I wanted to write and express what I have been a part of. My plan is unfolding and I’m doing exactly that. I am very appreciative of all who have supported me. I am utterly blown away by your generosity. I can’t wait to support all of you as you go out on your life adventures; be it something small or something huge, it excites me that you want to do want makes you happy!

Have a great day! I hope everyone takes a moment tomorrow to contemplate all the people that have given their lives to protect all the freedoms we have. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to chase this game all over the country!

If you enjoy this story and you would like to help me complete the “Baseball in America Tour 2014”, which is roughly 265 days, please click on the following link to see how you can help at www.baseballbuddha.com. Follow me on Twitter and like my Facebook page! Please share this on your Facebook page and Twitter. I appreciate all the help I can get!

Day 99 “KC Super Fan Chris!”

KC Super Fan Chris!
KC Super Fan Chris!

I was at a Kansas City Royals game a week ago Friday night when the Royals took on the Baltimore Orioles, it was my 99th game of the season and the Royals won, 1-0.  I remember the game well since I “geeked” the game by keeping  book. I remember the Royals pitcher had a perfect game going until the 6th inning, 6.2 innings to be exact.  As I was walking around Kaufmann Stadium, I took a break to stand in the Dugout Concourse to root on the Royals pitcher, which had to be about the 3rd or 4th inning.  As I was standing there I noticed this dude in a cape made of a Royals flag.  A fan next to me, who didn’t seem to know much about baseball and probably got his tickets from work, thought he would impress his girlfriend with how important he was, remarked snidely, “It takes all kinds…” then he rolled his eyes in a gesture I could only determine to be dismissive of this guy in the cape.  I wanted to point out to this “jackass” that I was “geeking” the game myself.  Of course, I wanted to meet this dude in the cape. I have found  guys like this are some of the nicest, most genuine people.

I turned and walked over to the guy in the cape as he was talking to someone in the Royals organization. I asked if I could take his picture (the one above) explaining what I was doing. He said I could profile him but we would have to talk during the game since he had to get home right after because he and his girlfriend had an infant.  I was hoping I could grab a bite to eat after since I was “geeking” the game and the Royals pitcher was perfect thus far.  I brought that up to Chris. He immediately said, “You aren’t suppose to talk about it and you probably jinxed him.”  I could only laugh and look down at the concrete at how uncool I was at bringing it up. He smiled saying, “It was okay.”

Chris told me he has talked to the media before and I noticed he was at ease with all the questions I was asking.  People were constantly coming up to get pictures with him. He obliged with a smile each and every time.  I asked where his seat was. He told me a few years ago there was an issue with his original ticket so he just purchases the cheapest seat he can get which saves him a lot of money.  He explained further he prefers to stand in the concourse area, which is behind the Royals dugout about 20 rows up on the first base side, since it’s closer to the action.  As ushers and other Royals staff walked by they all said hi to Chris or grabbed his arm. He made sure to acknowledge each and everyone, almost all by name.

Rallying the fans!
Rallying the fans!

With all this attention, I asked how often he comes out to games.  He told me that he attends all the games. I said, “All? As in 81?” He said “Yes, all 81.”.  I was like “holy cow” but I didn’t say “cow”.  I understand the love of baseball and I have been referred to as a “Super Fan” like Chris is but I have never attended more than 15 games in a Brewers season. I like variety.  As I continued to grill Chris he said it had been going on for about 10 years, again, I was like, “t-e-n, 10?” He said, “Yeah.” Then thought for a moment and said, “Yeah, this is May and the streak started in May, 10 years ago.”  I was again speechless, “you mean to tell me that you haven’t missed a Royals home game in 10 years, not even one?”  he said, “No”, very unassuming, like most teams “Super Fans” have done it.

So, of course, I was like how in the hell can you come to all the games? What kind of job allows for this?  He says, “I take vacation days when the Royals have a day game.”  He has worked for the Post Office as a Postal Carrier for the last nine years, a job he got straight out of high school telling me he was very lucky to get it on his first try.  When the streak started Chris was still in high school and admitted his parents would let him skip school to attend games during the day at the beginning of the baseball seasons.  Chris said he wasn’t much of a ball player growing up but he loved watching and following the Royals.  As we talked he would interject information about players of years gone by. I felt like I was on the bottom rung of the baseball super fan ladder compared to Chris.  He has been to all but two of the MLB stadiums and keeps in touch with other “Super Fans” in different parts of the country.  I loved everything about Chris. He was very genuine and nice. He had his goofy baseball “get up” on but as a person he didn’t strike me as goofy at all. He seemed very happy and content.

I watched Chris rally the fans a few times as I continued to walk around the stadium. I would look over to see Chris standing talking to others and taking pictures.  For someone so young he has brought a lot of happiness to a lot of people by just attending baseball games. I guess that is my point, if it brings you happiness and doesn’t hurt others, I say do it!  You might just find others find you inspiring at your simple happy gestures.  I wish I could write another 1000 words on Chris but I need to wrap this up. I hope it was worth the wait, I sure couldn’t get Chris out of my mind. Thanks for spending the time with me Chris, you are a very humble and gracious person!

So yesterday was Day 99 and I wrote a blog about something that happened eight days ago, just want to make everyone aware how this works!  Thanks for sending me suggestions and connections regarding how I can continue working in baseball after this journey ends. I am finding out how everything and everybody is connected.  I am so grateful that I have gotten out of my “comfort zone” and am doing this.

If you enjoy this story and you would like to help me complete the “Baseball in America Tour 2014”, which is roughly 265 days, please click on the following link to see how you can help at www.baseballbuddha.com. Follow me on Twitter and like my Facebook page! Please share this on your Facebook page and Twitter. I appreciate all the help I can get!

Day 98 “Let the stars align!”

April28th 1075I have been scrambling a lot lately with getting my daily blog post out and today is no exception.  I had a lot of maintenance work to do on the website which that took a few hours. I needed to organized an interview at the game tonight with a local television station in Charlotte. I was suppose to be on the stadium pre-game show but something got screwed up and that didn’t happen.  Anyway, here I sit trying to get it done last minute, my saving grace is that it is Memorial Day weekend and most of my loyal followers will be doing something much more interesting than reading my blog!

I have been sleeping a lot in my car lately since I have found that it is a lot easier everyday than checking into a hotel.  Tonight I was going to stay at a hotel so I could get a shower, but there is some kind of race happening in the Charlotte area. The hotels are full and the prices are high. I usually try and avoid staying at a hotel on a weekend night anyway, but I really needed a shower before the interview today.  I got creative and went to a Planet Fitness. I explained my situation to the lady working the front desk, she graciously let me shower and shave at her facility!  So tonight I saved some money and got clean!  I was thinking how I have adapted to being on the road, I find it rather liberating.  Besides missing my daughter and wanting to see her, I really have adjusted very well. There are times I wish I could just go to my own place but overall it isn’t as bad as one may think.

During the interview at the game today, I was asked how I spend my days. I pointed out that I am basically on the go from the time I get up until the time I go to bed.  I have said in the past that I have hit a wall, this comes and goes, I guess if I didn’t have to write everyday it would be easier but then I think what is the point.  Part of the reason I write everyday is to keep me focused. I have always said I have no expectations of this trip and at the end of it I don’t know what I will end up doing, but deep down I want to continue with something in baseball. I have learned so much and it would be a shame to waste it.

A guy I met, and only talked to for maybe five minutes, at the Nashville Sounds game a couple of nights ago gave me a lead on something. I checked it out and joined today. It is right up my alley with all the historical stuff I love.  His name is Al and it is chance meetings like that, which gets me excited. Al is following me on Facebook and has suggested another lead, which I am looking into. (I will tell you what it is once I look into it further)  I think eventually something will come up.  I feel that I am putting myself in the right position and have found my passion. I literally have nothing but some stuff at my sisters place, some in my ex-wife’s storage locker and I am completely happy living life out on the road.  Some of you will say, yeah but you get lonely. Well I got lonely when I had my own place, also.  It passes, I have slowed down a bit and have tried to smell the roses more often. I will continue to request suggestions of how I can capitalize on the experience I have gained. If you have a lead or someone I should talk to, don’t hesitate to let me know!

Well it is getting late, need to get this posted!  I can’t wait until the stars align and I can do the profile on Chris the KC Super Fan!  Let me give a little teaser, he has done something for 10 straight years, a very impressive feat.  That is all I will say!

Atlanta Interview with Ron Gant

Ron Gant and me taking a selfie...
Ron Gant and me taking a selfie…

I didn’t think this story ran in the Atlanta area and it didn’t come up in any searches until yesterday. I post this because I am amazed that people like what I am doing, and that I got to meet Ron Gant, who was very nice. I have been impressed with the media that have taken an interest in the Baseball Buddha story.

Click, Atlanta Interview with Ron Gant, to view the video from the segment that appeared on Good Day Atlanta a few weeks ago. For all the non-baseball fans out there, Ron Gant played in the MLB for eight different teams over 15 years before becoming a sportscaster and host for Good Day Atlanta.

To find out more about Ron, click here. The blog post I did for that day was the popular Day 77 “Models…”.