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Newspaper Interview

The Herald-Times – Bloomington – Published 12:03 PM Aug 13, 2014 – Man Travels US, Attends Baseball Game Every Day Since February

A Wisconsin man known as the “Baseball Buddha” has traveled across the United States and attended a baseball game every day since Feb. 14.

John Reimer decided to begin his project after his father had a triple bypass surgery in August. Reimer said he was talking to his father in the hospital and his father asked him, “What would you do if you could do anything right now?” The question prompted Reimer to quit his job and pursue his dream of “seeing the United States.”

“It’s one of those things where in life, you talk and plan and think about doing certain things and a lot of times, nobody really acts,” he said. “I wanted to live life on my terms and not how society sort of dictates to you. I’ve always admired those people sort of on the fringe.”

During his travels, Reimer said he has slept in his car most of the time and blogs each day about his experiences. He said he has tried to attend at least one baseball game a day in all Lower 48 states. He’s gone from the the All-Star Games in Minneapolis to the College World Series in Omaha and he said he’s currently headed to North Carolina for the American Legion World Series.

He said he hopes to write a book about the baseball fan experiences in each different region.

“I like to write about what I see in the stands,” Reimer said. “It’s all about the fan experience. Baseball is exploding, even though maybe, MLB attendance is off. Baseball is being played everywhere, everyday, year-round. It is our national past time for a reason. What I’ve really taken away from this is the history of the game and how that is part of America’s history.”

Reimer said he grew up playing baseball in Ashland, Wisconsin and that he is really passionate about the game. However, he said he is not a “super fan.”

“I love the game of baseball and I love the atmosphere of baseball, but I’m not going to go to a game for 10 straight years and not miss a game. I just like the energy and I wanted to see our country and decide for myself what it was.”

Reimer said the best fan experience was at Mississippi State University because the people “were some of the most welcoming.”

While Reimer has no job or apartment to return home to, he said the experience of traveling across the country and experiencing the culture of baseball in different states has been amazing. He encouraged people to follow their passion.

“There’s a lot of unhappy, comfortable people in the world,” he said. “But if you want true happiness, you really have to put that fear behind you and take that step into the unknown and just embrace what life is throwing at you. And you will be okay if your faith is right. For me, everything just aligned.”

Reimer said his project will end with the last game of the World Series in November.

Faith Heaton Jolley, KSL

Faith Heaton Jolley is a UVU graduate and currently works at KSL as head writer for ksl.com and runs the Outdoors & Recreation section. Contact her at fheaton@ksl.com.

https://www.heraldtimesonline.com/story/news/2014/08/13/man-travels-us-attends-baseball-game-every-day-since-february/47534749/

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TV Interview

WSOC – TV Charlotte -May 28, 2014 at 3:45 pm EDT- Baseball Buddha Stops in Charlotte for Knights Game

https://www.wsoctv.com/sports/baseball/baseball-buddha-stops-charlotte-knights-game/113588512/

CLICK ON LINK ABOVE TO SEE INTERVIEW

CHARLOTTE — John Reimer is the baseball Buddha, a man on a journey to catch a game every day of the season in a different town.

It sounds like a fan’s dream, but Reimer has discovered the task is harder than it sounds.

“Actually there’s a lot of work involved with it. People think it’s just I get up and go to baseball games every day, which I do, which is totally awesome,” Reimer said. “Every day I’m in a different town. I really have lived out of my car. I haven’t been home since February 10.”

He does not plan on returning home to Wisconsin until the end of the World Series. He stopped at BB&T Ballpark on Friday night for his 106th game this season.

Reimer’s father is the motivation behind his baseball journey.

Last August Reimer’s father had heart surgery. While sitting in the hospital together in recovery, his father asked him a question, “If you could do anything, what would you do?”

“I knew instantly I always wanted to see this country. I wanted to go to all baseball stadiums and I love to write. So I’d combine all three things,” Reimer said.

Reimer has not watched as much baseball as you would think, instead choosing to tour the stadiums and meet fans from across the country.

He has been documenting his journey on his website, click here to see it. The website shows where Reimer has been and where he plans on going. When it’s all said and done, Reimer will end up seeing around 300 games.

https://www.wsoctv.com/sports/baseball/baseball-buddha-stops-charlotte-knights-game/113588512/

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Radio Interview

Voice of Alexandria – Jun 12, 2014 Updated Jun 15, 2014 – Baseball Buddha Comes to Town

Baseball Buddha on the Air with Michael Right
(June 10, 2014) The Baseball Buddha, John Reimer, spent a few moments talking with KX92 announcer and baseball PA announcer Michael Right.  John had just finished up day 115 on the road. watching games all over the country.

Alexandria, MN)  Monday night the Alexandria Blue Anchors played host to the St. Cloud Rox.  The rivalry and the weather were enough of a reason to want to visit Knute Nelson park that night, but there was an interesting element that was not part of the plan.  The game got out of hand early and fans began to look to one another more so than to the field for entertainment.  Blue Anchors Public Relations Manager G.G. Freitag escorted a man known as the Baseball Buddha onto the Hilltop Lumber Deck to meet the staff at KXRA Radio and the Voice of Alexandria.  Enter John Reimer.  John, or the Baseball Buddha, has made it a mission to travel the country taking in a wide variety of baseball experiences; everything from professional baseball to little league games.  To mark his visit John writes an online blog about the experience.  Follow the link below to see his blog about his Alexandria visit, day 115 on his baseball journey. http://baseballbuddhablog.wordpress.com/2014/06/11/day-115-feeling-important/

While in Alexandria the Baseball Buddha was invited into the studios of KX92 and KXRA for the Openline Program.  The attached audio clip is a podcast of that visit.

https://www.voiceofalexandria.com/everything_else/features/baseball-buddha-comes-to-town/article_5044157e-f24b-11e3-919b-001a4bcf6878.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=user-share

CLICK ON LINK ABOVE TO LISTEN TO INTERVIEW

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The Comfort of the Game

Beer Vendor at Cubs Game!

As I walk into my brother’s garage the Brewers game is on the TV, my daughter is talking with her Aunt and cousins, my brother and niece’s boyfriend comment on the game, my mom hugs me tight, my dad does the same and says the Brewers are looking good, surprisingly good, he thinks they will be around .500 this year, he always thinks they will be around .500, I tell him if their pitching can hold up.

I feel relaxed, I woke at 10 am, fell asleep at 1 or 2 am, I was anxious from my thoughts.  The Dodgers were at home playing a late game against the Diamondbacks, Grienke versus Kershaw, $65 million dollar match up, Kershaw shined, Grienke not so much.  I was relieved the game was on, I needed the distraction.   My Mom tells me how much she loves me, she has a tear in her eye, I tell her I will be okay.

The TV sits up high, big screen, when purchased, it was the “biggest”, he is competitive with my other brother.  Like the radio when we were kids, the TV is used for Brewer baseball, mostly background noise until something happens, we stop watch or listen and then continue.  Brewers lose to the Cubs 11-6.

I purchased a new pro model glove from Rawlings, it was delivered when I was in the hospital, I had my daughter bring it, my sister laughed and kept laughing, it made me happy, at 50 it was my first new glove in 35 years.  I retrieve it from the car, I want to play catch.  I am patient and play with my sister, daughter and niece.

We eat, we sit, we talk, and we laugh, my brother’s big personality shines through, he makes me smile.  He has lots of Brewers memorabilia in his family room, seats and part of the outfield wall from County Stadium, his wedding invitation to Robin Yount who RSVPed but could not attend, ticket stubs.  My niece insists her boyfriend see, he is impressed.

My parents need to get on the road, my Mom gives me a big hug, my dad the same, he states, with a  grin and his trademark wink, the Brewers will be the surprise team this year.  I want to spend more time with them, I miss them, I make a mental note to check in often.  I will use Dad as a resource he has been through some of the emotional parts, besides I like his baseball banter, he likes to study the box scores, his memory is sharp.

We start to reminisce and share parts of ourselves, I look around, my oldest nieces have become women their personalities the same as when they were young, not as confident and assured, but the same, adulthood and responsibility colliding with hopes and dreams.  I look at my daughter, her smile is comforting, she has a lot of love in her heart for me, I think of her 25 years into the future, I want to be around for her and her family, I want to bring her kids to a ball game, play catch with them, see them laugh.

As we clean up and say our good byes the power of family and connection is strong, I feel it, staying in the moment and expressing the love, I kiss my daughter good bye, I tell her to drive safe, she assures me I will be okay, I chuckle to myself.  Walking to my car my youngest niece zips past me on her scooter, she looks at me and says “What?’, I tell her I love her, she smiles and continues down the road, she is seven.  As I drive away, I have a tinge of pain in my heart, it is nothing, it will take time to get back to normal.  The Dodgers play another late game, it will help me relax before bed.

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Every journey…

The last day or of 2014 is upon us!  This year went by way to fast, it feels like yesterday that I was packing up my apartment and getting ready for a trip of a lifetime.  The gratitude I feel right now is immense, there is a hint of sadness also.   Sadness since  it will be a year that will be hard to “top”, I don’t know why I would even think like that but the thought is there.

I have so much to be grateful for and so many people that are in my life to thank for the love and support, it is hard to comprehend.  Over the past year I revealed to the world who I am as a person, how I think and act.   Over the last seven years (after my divorce) I have been doing things that have gotten me out of my comfort zone.  I started questioning a lot of things, my emotional, physical, mental, spiritual and educational well being.

Living life!
Living life!

I have been contemplating a lot of the things that got me to the place I am at today. I still feel that I have a long way to go with the changes and things I want to make and do.  I received a text from my sister on Christmas that made me well up with tears, I am going to share it, I hope she doesn’t mind, I was kinda shocked at how she viewed me, since it is not how I view myself:

“Merry Christmas to an amazing older brother who when around makes me complete. There is always a sense of security I have when you’re present (must be a twin thing!) Your ability to believe and trust in yourself is an inspiration for others.  Love you XOXO”  We aren’t twins but a lot of people thought we were since we graduated the same year, I was held back in first grade, first grade is tough…

Her text made me think of the moments that helped me change. I am going to share some of the big “resolutions” I made  over the past years, the ones that have really shaped me, there are many more but I think you will see where I am coming from.

The first thing I felt I had some control over was the way I ate, I say control because when going through my divorce it felt like my world was ending and there was nothing I could do.  I didn’t like the way I felt and was on high blood pressure medication so I started researching food and nutrition, I started changing the way I ate and eventually got off the medicine.  I couldn’t believe how good I felt when I started eating vegetables regularly, most of the “greens” were terrible so I started making “green smoothies” and drank my nutrition, my daughter loves it when I talk about eating healthy, ask her.

I started dating which was another interesting and at the time a very frightening experience, being with the same person for 14 years you definitely fall into very comfortable  and complacent routines.  Laugh at that statement, my manhood will probably be questioned, I laugh now but I was literally shaking the first time I “kissed” another woman, no worries I got over that fear.  I dated some very wonderful and beautiful women during this time, however for whatever reason it didn’t work.  I called the three years after my divorce my “dark period”, I was learning about myself and trying to figure out who I was as a person.

During this time I met a woman that challenged me physically, check Day 63, she used to watch The Biggest Loser, I remember talking to her on the phone during the season final, it was season nine, the contestants were running a marathon.  I arrogantly said to her, if they all finish I will run a marathon, they all finished, Darius was the winner.  My goal was to beat his time, her and I were going to run the marathon together in October the following year, I started training.  By training I mean jogging every three days for about a mile, I realized my mistake, besides realizing how much running “sucked” there was no way I was going to run a “fricken” marathon.

I didn’t want to look weak to this woman, so I continued my “training”, in early April we ran a 5K, I finished but felt like I was having a heart attack the entire time, which made sense since I think it was to raise money for the Heart Association…  A couple weeks later we ran the “Crazy Legs Classic” 8K for Wisconsin Badger Athletics, again I felt like my body was shutting down!  Two weeks later she dumped me, I was heart broken!  I made the decision to continue training, I ran the marathon in October, my brother-in-law said I looked like death when I was at the finish line.  I was shocked that I finished, I didn’t beat Darius’s time, so I trained for another year and ran the marathon again the following year, I was faster but still didn’t beat Darius, I didn’t care, I proved a few things to myself.

I worked with a woman that traveled the world, I admired her fearless attitude, she was a “doer”, I wanted to see the world.  Through her I learned of a place in India and a course called “Introduction to Buddhism”.  It was in the Himalayas near the Dali Lama, I wanted to stretch my view of the world, I had gone to China for work a few years before, I loved that experience, but it was work.  This new adventure was for me, I was fearful, I was going by myself to a place that was way out of my comfort zone, to learn about a religion, I didn’t understand.  I had a support group of five people that I met with regularly, we discussed our ambitions and goals in life. They helped push me to change and with their encouragement I went on this adventure, it was a great experience, I met so many people that just go out and do. It opened my eyes to the world.

I continued running but gave up running races, I enjoy how I feel after two or three miles of sweating but I needed to get the rest of my body in shape, I joined a small gym and worked with a couple of trainers doing P90X for a year, I was shocked how fit I was becoming, I was enjoying things more.  When the small gym closed I joined a CrossFit box.  Another level of fitness!

When my Dad had his triple by pass, I was already in the mist of questioning my goals and objectives in life, his question was the tipping point I needed to act.  I always have wanted to get my life in order and then present myself to the world, but it was in that moment that I realized that I was always striving to be perfect, at which I was failing miserably.  I was never going to be and that outlook was getting me no where.  The past five or six years had proved to me that I was capable of doing things that I thought were too hard or impossible, I just needed to start.

The stars aligned for me, there is no doubt about it, I lived a charmed life in 2014.  I could not have done it with out all the support I received through out the year and being pushed the previous years, which helped me not to give up on myself, especially during my “dark years”.  I will continue with my passions, I am not locked into just one thing that defines me, I love baseball and I will keep writing a weekly blog when the season starts, it is a great escape for me.  I will be starting a new job on  January 5th, it has been almost an entire year that I haven’t had a regular paycheck coming in, I am running on fumes financially.  Not complaining at all, it was well worth the adventure.

I have a few things I want to do this year, I believe it will turn out, just believing is half the battle…  I have learned the current moment is the most important moment, embrace it, life goes by way to fast.  That bucket list everyone has doesn’t get filled by talking about doing, you need to go out and do.  I need to thank so many people for the past year and years, I hope you all know who you are, I appreciate each and everyone of you.

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I don’t live in my car, any longer!

Thanksgiving Night at Wrigley!
Thanksgiving Night at Wrigley!

It is December 1st and I have finally moved into my own place. I am living in Milwaukee, I found a small apartment that is central to the area’s I love in this great city.  I have been running around the State of Wisconsin, staying at family members homes until my place was ready, I also spent a week in Germany working a trade show for my old company.  I am very lucky to have such great family and friends.

As I have been organizing and unpacking my belongings I am starting to realize the scope of the baseball journey I completed.  All the mementos that I have collected, the contacts I have made, the pictures I have taken, the mileage I documented it is making my brain explode with thoughts of games I watched, rest areas I have slept in, and fears I have overcome. I have not written in awhile, I needed to take a break and get all these thoughts and experiences compartmentalized (if that makes sense).  I also needed to figure out what I wanted to do with the information and contacts I have acquired.  I obtained a wealth of baseball knowledge, I don’t want to waste it but I don’t know what to do with it at the moment.  I want to continue writing, I enjoy it, I have contacted some alternative newspapers in Wisconsin about an idea I have for next baseball season and some are very interested.  I have spoke to a large sports news entity about syndicating a column, I like independence.  We will see…

I watched the Arizona Fall League and the All Star games between Japan and the MLB, but now the season is over and the countdown for Spring Training is here.  I am currently reading a few baseball books.  Men at Work by George Will, where I came across this nugget, “Baseball-its beauty, its craftsmanship, its exactingness- is an activity to be loved, as much as ballet or fishing or politics, and loving it is a form of participation.”  I agree with this romantic assessment, it is an intelligent game that I am finding out I know very little about!   I was fortunate enough to attend a baseball game at Mississippi State University and I met some of the most knowledgeable fans about the strategy and intricacies of the game.  I have kept in contact with one MSU fan, Shane, who sent me Ron Polk’s Baseball Playbook.  Ron Polk was the long-time head baseball coach at Mississippi State and is considered the “Father of SEC Baseball”.  Polk’s book I continue to pick up and learn the nuances of the game.

View of the Scoreboard!
View of the Scoreboard!

I have committed to writing a book about the experience, I am excited about this and also very fearful for some reason.  I spent some time with my daughter this past week and we had great talks about life and how to embrace it, to go out and do, to work through fears, to not worry about how you will be perceived or what the critics will say.  It is an attitude and a confidence that I have acquired, I learn more from being uncomfortable, I find more happiness, I need to continue and the fear I have about writing the book will disappear.  (We also drove down to Chicago on Thanksgiving night and walked around Wrigley Field to see the progress, I was shocked at what has been done so far!) Well that is all for now, some have wanted me to do a summary of the season, I figure the summary will be the book.  I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

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“And the party continues!”

Hana and Brian
Hana and Brian

I will be heading to Kansas City on Monday, planning on going to one of the World Series games either Tuesday or Wednesday, maybe both.   My buddy from Orlando/Missoula (we are both Dodgers fans) has been in constant contact with me during the playoffs, we both have jumped on the Royals bandwagon for the postseason (shut up Rob Dwyer) and is also going.  I reached out to some friends in KC, we are planning a tailgate party which might turn into viewing the game party, if tickets are scarce or too expensive.

I have to thank my mother, she asked me how much it would cost me if I were to go to Kansas City, I told her and she said she wanted to give me the money, I was floored.  The money came with a couple of stipulations however, I was not to expect a Christmas present and I needed to paint something for her.  I don’t think my mom realizes I am a middle aged man, who has a daughter in college, and my belief in Santa Claus was lost when I was 8 years old.   As a grown man with a daughter in college, it is hard to accept this money, my mother said she was grateful she is able to do it, I understand that but…   “Thanks Mom!”

KC Super Fan Chris!
KC Super Fan Chris!

The Royals have captured the hearts of America, they haven’t been beat in the playoffs yet, which is a great feat in itself.  As a fan I am excited for the city, the generation of fans that have suffered a long time, for my buddy Chris “The KC Super Fan” who has attended every Royals home game for the last ten years.  Baseball has brought the community together, it is special when it happens, ticket prices are going through the roof, everyone wants to be a part of it.  The Royals will either play postseason stalwarts St Louis or San Francisco, the state of Missouri wants a rematch of the 1985 I-70 series, but that doesn’t look like it is going to happen  Giants are up three games to one on the Cardinals, I am not so secretly enjoying that fact, I despise the Cardinals almost but not quite as much as the Yankees…

I can’t wait to get on the road!  I miss it, it has only been a few weeks but the adjustment has been a little more difficult than I thought.  I will check in when I get to Kansas City!

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“We need to talk…”

It has been over 10 days since the MLB regular season ended, the playoffs have been exciting, I did like the Wild Card games (even though the Pittsburgh Pirates shit the bed), the divisional series were fun.  We have four teams left, in the National League we have familiar names with recent champions in the Giants (2010, 2012) and Cardinals (2006, 2011).  In the American League we have the Orioles and Royals both teams haven’t won since the early to mid 80s.

bbpic

I admire what the Giants and Cardinals organizations have done, they are consistent winners.  With that said, I have been rooting hard against each, it is tiring as a fan to see the same teams year in and year out go deep into the post season.  I despise the Cardinals since they seem to out maneuver and out play my hometown Milwaukee Brewers every year, not to mention what they have done to another favorite team of mine the LA Dodgers the past couple years in the playoffs.  Major League Baseball is an organizational championship, more so than any other sport, the season is a marathon, one player can’t catapult you to a championship.  It is an out and out war of attrition, getting to the post season is wonderful but weaknesses are exposed and glaring immediately!  (Dodgers bullpen comes to mind)

I will be rooting for the American League, I want to see another city and generation of that city share in the excitement of what a championship feels like.  I haven’t felt that exhilaration since 1988 when the Dodgers beat the heavily favored Oakland A’s four games to one. The most memorable moment of the 1988 World Series occurred when injured Dodgers MVP Kirk Gibson, who could barely walk due to injuries suffered during the NLCS, hit a pinch-hit, walk-off home run against Athletics closer Dennis Eckersley in Game 1, that still gives me chills. I was at my girlfriends apartment watching the game, I was trying to tell her I needed to talk to her about something, I wanted to break up, I started discussing things with her through out the game and finally was about to tell her when Tommy Lasorda sent in Gibson to pinch hit, needless to say but I am going to say it, delirium ensued!  My girlfriend sensing I was weak with excitement started kissing me, I temporarily forgot about what I was trying to do and ended up doing something much more pleasurable, it took another week and a Dodger win to finally break up with her, it wasn’t as much fun as watching baseball…

So as the League Championship Series start I will be excited to see either the Orioles or Royals get to the World Series, it will be interesting to watch the Cardinals and Giants but I wont be as enthusiastic.  I am adjusting to life not on the road, I have a lead on a job, hopefully that turns out for me.  I have been staying at my sister’s in Ashland for the last few days and will be here through the weekend.  The Northwoods are beautiful this time of year, slowing down and walking in the woods helps center me, I love the smell, the colors and the wildlife.  I am trying to figure out what angle I am going to take on the book, it will come to me.  I will check in when the two teams are determined for the World Series.

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“The Fat Lady and all that jazz…”

This was my only rain out!
This was my only rain out!

I am sitting in a Starbucks in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.  I didn’t go to a baseball game yesterday, I felt out of sorts, I am at my parents home.  I am tired and feeling a bit lost.  I have a lot of people to thank who have helped me with this journey.  I have mentioned my brother Chad numerous times, he said he appreciates the thanks but it is time to get past it, thanks Chad, without you I would never have gotten this far.

I need to thank Beth Chapman and Roger Wilson, they were with me from the beginning working behind the scenes.  Roger did all the trivia and managed most of the Twitter feed, besides also compiling a list of 20,000 baseball games throughout the country.  Beth painstakingly edited most of my posts,  here is something I think most people will be surprised to learn, I have never met Beth, a friend connected us at the beginning of this trip, I plan to get meet up with her sometime to thank her in person, right now she is writing her own blog, she is a diehard St Louis Cardinal fan.  As annoying as that may be, she is a wonderful and giving person.

Mike Bruno of Bruno Independent Living Aids contributed quite a bit of money, he downplayed this to me but I was truly humbled and I thank him and his Bruno family from the bottom of my heart.   I got many donations from so many people, I was shocked and again humbled by the generosity.  Friends invited me into their homes through out the country, some I hadn’t seen in years, some I barely knew, my gratitude is immense.   I loved reminiscing of by gone years, talking about life circumstances and laughing abut missed opportunities.  I need to thank my family for supporting me, my dad for inspiring me.

I have lived my life on social media for the past nine months, I think I am addicted, I need to get away from it for awhile.  I have committed to writing a book about this experience, I need to continue with my passion and pursue other ideas I have.  I have realized if it is meant to be the stars will align, obstacles will be easily overcome and happiness achieved.   I am nervous of the life unknown at the moment, securing a job and a place to live is on my mind, I want to continue staying uncomfortable trying new things.  I have been as honest and forthright as I could possible be, insecurities and worries I have revealed, I am no longer as worried how I will be perceived but I am human and things will pop up from time to time.

I will leave it at that for now, I hear that lady singing, the song is about chapters closing, new ones beginning…