Doug Booth is on a potential record trip
By Nick Greenizan
A man who grew up in South Surrey ballparks is hoping his love for the game will put him in the record books.
Douglas ‘Chuck’ Booth is on a potentially record-breaking journey to catch all 30 Major League Baseball teams in their home stadiums.
The current Guinness World Records holder took 29 days to do it. Booth will do it in 26 days – if everything goes to schedule.
The 31-year-old’s journey starts Tuesday in Chicago, with him bouncing around America on planes, cars and even a train, on a mission budgeted at more than $17,000.
Although he’s doing the trip on his own dime, paid for by working seven days a week delivering pizza and as a courier, Booth hopes his world-record attempt will draw attention and donations to the Head North Foundation, a non-profit organization helping people who have spinal cord injuries and paralysis.
As someone who grew up around Surrey’s ballparks, Booth says he’s always dreamed of visiting parks around the world.
The story of Jim MacLaren, an athlete-turned-quadriplegic motivational speaker, was a turning point that refocused his goal. Booth was affected by MacLaren’s proactive philosophy, inspiring him to turn his dream into the hunt for a world record.
During the all-star break, which falls in the middle of his tour, Booth plans to check out the Baseball Hall of Fame, as well as the location used to film Field of Dreams. But Booth admits the chance to meet MacLaren would be a high point of his trip.
Although only a true baseball fanatic could handle a month’s worth of stressful travelling, Booth acknowledges that too much of a good thing can turn bad. Especially in the case of extra innings, which he refers to as his “nemesis.” The extra time added to a tie game could throw off his schedule, as well as his hunt for the record. The timing of each game is crucial since he must attend each game from start to finish.
“He’s living his dream and the HeadNorth Foundation is a wonderful cause,” his wife Estelle Booth said, admitting she got unknowingly “swept up into” baseball after going to four games during their Californian honeymoon.
For Booth, baseball has almost always been a part of his life.
“I grew up on it,” he said. “My dad took us to his beer-league games. There’s something about it, being in the ballpark from start to finish, watching baseball.”
Booth will be feasting on a steady diet of hotdogs, Cracker Jacks and Fast food citing that because of his intense schedule that he will not have time to eat much else. So whether it joining the raucous crowd of Los Angeles, that Booth said is the ‘loudest in baseball when at full capacity and amped up,’ or watching the game with a section full of Marlins fans, he will endure every pitch in order to keep his baseball record chase alive. From what I saw only weather will stop this guy as he is pretty detailed and organized with his trip. The only thing left I had to ask is whether or not he will get tired of the “7th inning stretch song-take me out to the ballgame?” to which Booth replied, “not at all because that means I will be away watching baseball.”
Record Attempts End In A Tie
By Hannah Sutherland-Peace Arch News Sept-2008
Douglas “Chuck” Booth is on his way into the record books after 41 days of baseball-filled travels. In July, the 31-year-old courier set out to visit every professional baseball stadium in North America in a record-breaking 26 days. It would be the trip of a lifetime for the super-fan who spent his childhood playing in South Delta’s ballparks.However, despite a meticulous schedule, all did not go according to plan.
On the first week of his trip, Booth was driving from Pittsburgh to a New York airport when construction on a tunnel caused him to miss his flight. Booth was forced to scrap the week’s worth of games that he had already taken in.
The next morning he scrambled to get cheap plane tickets into California and started the record anew. “It was a tough 24 hours,” said Booth, of the low-point in his baseball odyssey that eventually took him over 50,000 miles on plane, train and rental car. “I hit a wall.” But after catching games in Los Angeles and San Diego in the same day, he jumpstarted his record hunt, which ended up costing him $17,000 – including $2,500 spent on unused plane and baseball tickets – and included countless hours spent planning and adjusting his cross-country schedule.
On his final week, Booth was on the verge of breaking the record when a tropical storm in Texas delayed his flight, putting him one game behind schedule. “I knew I could only tie after that,” said Booth.
A few days later, Booth ended his stadium tour, tying the previous record of seeing all 30 teams in 29 days. “I mean, it was tough to sit there in the airport, knowing that the flight wouldn’t get there in time [for the next game]. After a while, I said … at least I’m trying.”
Booth is still proud that he technically did see 30 home games in 26 days, since he had no choice but to sit out the three-day All-Star Break. However, the Guinness World Records will only recognize consecutive calendar days for the record. While Booth acknowledges that he might have beat the record if he skipped a rare visit with his mother in Toronto, it was his family and friends that made the month-long haze of hotdogs and seventh-inning stretches a memorable experience. His father and three brothers even joined him in New York, Boston and St. Louis.
During his record attempt, he was also fundraising for the HeadNorth Foundation, and was surprised to get an appreciative video e-mail last week from motivational speaker and personal inspiration Jim MacLaren. Now that Booth is home, he’s busy working on his Guinness World Record claim for tying the record, which includes a comprehensive file of tickets stubs, picture confirmations and signatures taken from each game. He hopes to submit it at the end of the season, and expects to hear back six to eight months from them.
Booth is also writing a book that ranks each baseball team and their respective stadium, and is hoping to self-publish it in January. He’s even trying to pitch a show based on his stadium-hopping experiences, as an “Amazing Race”-type reality show, where contestants could compete to break the record.
“It’s an adrenaline rush, watching the score getting higher, knowing that you’re not going to make the flight, or train, to your next destination.”
Although he admits he’d be the first to sign up to try it all over again, there is one part of stadium life he isn’t eager to revisit. “I don’t want to see any hotdogs anytime soon. I’m going back to eating regular food.”
A year ago, the 32-year-old Peninsula native nearly set a world record by watching 30 Major League Baseball games in 29 days, after originally trying to do it in 27. However, unbeknownst to him at the time, an American baseball fan was attempting a similar feat and ended up watching 30 games in 26 days, thus snagging the record for him self
Ever since that day in September Booth found out the mark wasn’t his, it’s gnawed at him.He wanted it back. Wanted it bad. So, against the better wishes of his family and friends – who saw how drained he was after his whirlwind trek last year – Booth will leave mid-July for Pittsburgh, where he’ll begin his run for the record by watching 30 baseball games in just 23 days.
“When I realized what that other guy had done, it unnerved me quite a bit,” Booth said this week, as he prepared for another summer of ballpark franks and popcorn. “I had the all-star break in the middle of my trip last year, so I lost some days there, and I just wanted to give myself a real shot at it this time.”
Booth, who works at Bertolucci Pizza in South Surrey, also lost a day last summer when – instead of driving five hours to Cleveland to catch an Indians game – he chose to spend an extra day in Toronto visiting his mother, who had travelled from her home in Montreal to see her son.
“I have no regrets about that. At the time, I hadn’t seen my mom in a year so I wanted to spend some time with her,” Booth said.“But this year, there’s no family involved – it’s all baseball.”
Though myriad roadblocks are sure to pop up on his month-long journey – from delayed flights, rained-out ball games or contests that go extra innings – Booth is way more-prepared this time around. He knows the cities, the time zones, the airports, even the exact time it takes to get from Kansas City to Cleveland.
“I’ve got all kinds of contingency plans in place for every situation,” he said. The first three days of his journey may prove the most challenging, or at the very least, the most tiring. He begins with an afternoon tilt in Pittsburgh on July 22. That game should end by mid-afternoon, after which Booth will hop a plane for the short flight to Detroit, where he’ll take in a night game between the American League’s Tigers and Seattle Mariners.
The second and third days are equally taxing. Both feature day-night doubleheaders which will see him travel from Detroit to Toronto to New York over the next 48 hours.
In order to officially break the record, Booth must watch each game in its entirety, and his appearances must be verified in a log book by stadium staff. Also, he can’t visit any stadium twice without having to restart..
Though the trip – which will be 33 days long this year as opposed to last year’s 42-day marathon – will be a challenging one, Booth said he’ll still take the time to enjoy each ballpark, each game. Along the way, he’ll watch games in baseball’s two newest parks – New Yankee Stadium in the Bronx and the Mets’ new facility, Citi Field, across town – and also spend time at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. Like last year, Booth will collect donations for, and spread the word about, the HeadNorth Foundation, which supports people with spinal cord injuries.
Last year’s trip ended up costing $17,000 but this year will be “much cheaper” because of its shorter duration, and all the frequent-flyer miles and discounts Booth accrued last summer.
Booth hopes this summer’s journey won’t be as emotionally exhaustive as last year’s. “When I got back last year, my family said I almost went into withdrawals. It took so much out of me – I was basically running around the country on adrenaline for 40 days,” he said.“I know I can’t keep doing this year after year, and it’s pretty ambitious, but I know I can break it.”
30 Major League Cities in 24 days
By Hannah Sutherland-Peace Arch News Sept-2009
Booth in Detroit with the Salter’s
A year ago, the 32-year-old Peninsula native nearly set a world record by watching 30 Major League Baseball games in 29 days, after originally trying to do it in 27. However, unbeknownst to him at the time, an American baseball fan was attempting a similar feat and ended up watching 30 games in 26 days, thus snagging the record for him self.
Booth began his second attempt at the claim July 22 in Pittsburgh, with a plan to see 30 games in 23 days.Things went wrong the first day. Due to miscommunication between his driver, Booth lost 30 minutes and missed his flight from Pittsburgh to Detroit, where he planned to see game No. 2. Luckily, it was the only contest he missed during the entire trip, and he was still able to make baseball history last Friday (Aug. 14), after seeing 30 games in 24 days.
“It’s fantastic,” he said of reaching his goal. “Last year, I felt really down when I got home. I worked like 308 days in a row to make sure I could go on the trip again.”
While he had the MLB schedule in November, Booth – who works at Bertolucci Pizza in South Surrey – was unsure if the trip would be possible due to the high exchange rate. By April, he knew he had a chance, and jumped on the opportunity. It cost him about $10,000.
To accomplish the feat, Booth used numerous modes of transportation – including plane, Greyhound, Amtrak, car, bus and subway – and had contingency plans in place in the event he ran into roadblocks.He encountered one such hurdle in the middle of his trip. He planned to take a Miami bus at midnight in order to reach Tampa Bay for a game the next day. Instead of taking him to the bus depot, however, the cab driver – who spoke little English – dropped him off at a bus repair centre. When he walked in and realized he was in the wrong spot, Booth knew he wouldn’t be able to travel to the other side of town in time to catch his bus. By chance, one of the people at the repair centre was the driver for the second leg of the bus trip Booth was supposed to be on, and offered a ride. “I was so lucky.”
Throughout the journey, Booth raised awareness about HeadNorth Foundation, which supports people with spinal cord injuries. He is now writing a book about the experience, which he plans to publish next season as a guide for people visiting baseball parks.Included will be information on tickets, transportation and surrounding restaurants, as well as ratings of each park. Once completed, Booth will send his information to Guinness World Records.
Two For the Record June.20/2011
Story By Nick Greenizan
In the summer of 2008, Peninsula resident Doug Booth did something most sports fans only dream of doing – seeing a ball game in each and every Major League Baseball park.
Not only did he do just that – and again in 2009 – he’s now got the certificate to prove he did it in record time.
Last month, Booth received notice from Guinness World Records that he officially holds the record for visiting all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums within one month, in consecutive years.
He is still waiting on another official record – for watching games in all 30 parks in just 24 days, which he did in 2009. The old record was 30 parks in 26 days, which was set in 2008, the same year Booth tried to set the record the first time, but fell just short.
“I hope that since they approved me for this one, that the other one is only a matter of time,” Booth said. “But to have them verify this one, and to actually have the certificate, is very cool.
“I feel just awesome about it – not too many people can call themselves Guinness record-holders.”
Having the official record to call his own was a great reward for all effort, hard work, planning and stress – not to mention money – that went into chasing the mark. Because while some may consider watching baseball games for a month straight as something of a leisurely pursuit, Booth’s quest was anything but.
For starters, the planning alone – making sure you can align your trip to coincide with the right games, in the right cities – takes days.
Now, after doing it twice, Booth said he could probably “whip up a schedule in, like, an hour.”
“You get to know what you’re doing after awhile… I’m battled-tested now,” he laughed.
Being on the road is no picnic, either, he said, whether you are planning flights, renting cars or finding a taxi, booking cheap accommodations or worrying about rain delays.
And once at the park, Booth needed to document his attendance at each game, which meant keeping all his receipts, getting his photo taken at the stadium, and getting signatures from team staff members to verify his presence.
“I literally handed over bags and bags of receipts and other stuff to the Guinness people,” he said.
In fact, it is the proof – the personal accounts, signatures, ticket stubs and receipts – that for a time worried Booth during his quest. During the third day of his 2009 trip – a doubleheader between the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs – his camera battery died and he was unable to get a photo of himself at the park. In the end, however, he cobbled together enough supporting evidence – including signed affidavits from stadium employees, a concession-stand receipt and a scratchy, cell-phone recording of the P.A. announcer – to convince the Guinness people he was in fact at the game.
Booth said, record aside, one of the best parts about his two journeys has been connecting with fellow “ball park chasers.” The baseball fanatics frequently speak online, sharing stories and tips for easier travel.
“The best part is the record – it’s very cool and I’m pretty proud of it – but meeting so many people was just great,” he said.
He’s leaned on many of his new acquaintances over the past year, as he turned his experiences into a book, called The Fastest Thirty Ballgames.
His new tome – which is self-published by Author House and available at amazon.ca and http://www.fastestthirtyballgames.com – is part travelogue and also part guide for those who may attempt a similar whirlwind baseball trip.
For the advice portion of the book, Booth canvassed his fellow travelers at ballparkchasers.com, and two of them even have co-author credit for their contributions.n
“It was a lot of work, but the whole process (of publishing the book) was just fantastic, and I really enjoyed it,” said Booth, who also published two baseball-themed works of fiction in 2008.
With his record in tow, Booth said he plans to “get back to real life for awhile” – including working his job as a courier. He has also done a few interviews in the media, and is currently undergoing a couple of book review interviews.
But while he’s happy to lay low for awhile, he’s not completely ruling out another record-breaking trip.
“I was just talking to a guy who’d done all the NHL games, so I think I might go for that hockey record next,” he said.
Todd Jones Blowing More Than Saves
Booth here with his brother while attending a Phillies game in which he could not leave despite the weather elements as per Guinness Book Of World Record Rules..
Todd “Hammer” Jones (we aren’t sure how official that nickname is, but we heard it once and think it’s perfect) was unable to close the game out for the Detroit Tigers, which eventually led to a 7-6, 11th inning loss to Minnesota. Besides the obvious ill-effects it had on the win-loss column, his inadequacies on the mound had an even greater reach. Chuck Douglas Booth, a 31-year-old baseball from Vancouver, had his Guinness record ruined by the Hammer’s performance. According to the Detroit Free Press, Booth had been attempting to see games in all 30 major league stadiums in 26 days.
The record requires that Booth see every pitch of the game, and Thursday’s schedule was to include an afternoon game in Detroit followed by a night game in Cleveland. Because the Tigers’ game ended at 5:15pm, he was unable to make the 7:05pm start time in Cleveland. “It happens,” Booth said. “It’s baseball.” Interpretation: We knew what to expect when the Hammer took the ball in the ninth.