Confessions Of A Ballpark Chaser: 2013 Edition

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Friday Apr.05/2013

Chuck and Cat at Angel Stadium after driving all night from San Francisco

Cat and I at Angel Stadium after driving all night from San Francisco.  We drove by or watched a game in all 5 California Parks.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

Last year at this time, I was embarking on an all 30 MLB Park Trip in just 20 Calendar Days.  I was attempting to best my own World Record of 30 MLB Parks in 24 Calendar Days in 2009.  I managed to put forth a 30 – 23 Record Streak, plus than celebrate with attending another 6 games the next week.  You can read about that here.

I initially planned to do a similar trip this year – however I decided to invest my baseball time and money into this website instead.  It is a choice I have wondered about for the last 4 months.

Last Sunday I boarded a flight from Seattle to Oakland – and then proceeded to hit Oakland, San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles.  The whole purpose of the trip was to witness the Season Opener at Dodger Stadium on April Fools Day.

Dodger Stadium Opening Ceremonies:

Using free days I have accrued, I only spent $34 total on 2 separate car rentals.  1 was from Oakland to San Diego, and the other rental was from San Diego to LAX.  As an Executive Elite Member, I pick whatever car I want, so always choose Satellite Radio to listen to the MLB

Using free days I have accrued, I only spent $34 total on 2 separate car rentals. 1 was from Oakland to San Diego, and the other rental was from San Diego to LAX. As an Executive Elite Member, I pick whatever car I want, so I always choose Satellite Radio for listening to the MLB XM Home Plate Channel with all my favorite hosts.

I work in a business where I work 360 days (only off Stat Holidays) if I am in Vancouver B.C. Canada.  The reason why I work all of the time is that I have paid for rental cars for each of those days.  If I do not work, I end up losing mega money.

My reward for the wayward lifestyle is the ability to take 6 – 7 weeks off in any summer I want.  I have taken off that time in 6 out of the last 7 years.

This will not be an option this year.  I am working around the clock to make a living at my real job – than work at this website.  But you want to know something…..I am cool with it because of the baseball journey that this website is providing me as well.

Having said that, lets us return to the topic.  I gave myself a budget and itinerary.  Rather than rant on for minutes, I will show you the Timeline and Cost of this wicked fiasco.

Saturday.

100 PM-  Cross the Border into Blaine, Washington with my rental car (2013 Dodge Avenger) and into the dedicated FAST LANE that we call NEXUS up here. This is a dedicated travel lane – for pre-screened folks how take an hour crash course.  Saves 30 – 45 Minutes every time I border jump.

4:30 PM – After buying a new computer ($800 exemption rate for being in the USA for 48 hours), my girlfriend Cat and I park at SeaTac Airport.  We pay $34 to park for 3 days.

The best Airline to fly with in America

The best Airline to fly with in America.

730 PM – We board our Southwest Airlines flight to Oakland.  It is Easter Saturday and I only paid $105 per ticket for this plane ride.  I could have packed 2 bags for free – but it was not necessary.  Had I cancelled my flight, there is no fee, plus I have one calendar year from the purchase date to use the cancelled fare total.

9:40 PM – Cat and I touch down in Oakland’s Airport and I board the shuttle bus to National Car Rental.  Since I rented from National for about 200 days last year, I accrued 10 free car rental days.  I am able to invoke a 24 HR Airport rule in which I can pick up a car at one location – and drop it off at another within a day to avoid a drop fee.

I used this rental to return to San Diego the next night.  My total for the rental was $27.  We  went over the Bay Bridge (Toll $5) in order to hit up the Fisherman’s Wharf for last-minute shopping. At a 7 Eleven, Cat and I both purchased SF cotton jackets for $10 each – easily $40 anywhere else.  We tried to make it Boudin Sourdough at Pier 39, but they had already closed.

12:00 AM (Sunday) we pass AT and T Park on our way out-of-town.  Best park in the Majors IMO.

We had passed o.co Coliseum after departing the Oakland Airport, however who wants an outside picture of that park

We had passed o.co Coliseum after departing the Oakland Airport, however who wants an outside picture of that park?  We stopped on a crowded street for a picture of AT and T though.

07:30 AM – Cat and I took turns driving the brand new Nissan Altima from National Car Rental.  As an Executive Elite Member, 4 other people can drive my rental car and are covered. We also roamed the airport for the best possible car we could select ourselves.  This car only had 898 Miles on it.

We drove through Disneyland and took a Left onto Orangewood.  Wouldn’t you know we ran into Angel Stadium!!

IMG_0247

09:30 PM.  Cat and I spent the day at SeaWorld, the night in Old Town for Dinner, before fighting through the terrible drivers and poor signage to end up at San Diego Airport.  I switched cars and ended up with another car for our drive to Los Angeles the next day.  It was a 2013 Toyota Camry.  The rental cost $6 and included a one way rental to LAX.

Before we ended up at the Airport – we decided to drive to Petco Park!!

While Petco Park is not my favorite venue in the MLB, they do have an ice cream parlor and the coldest beer in the Majors

While Petco Park is not my favorite venue in the MLB, they do have an ice cream parlor and the coldest beer in the Majors.

0730 AM – (Monday April.1st) Fresh off of staying at our Hotel we spend only $35 to stay at – Kings Inn (2 Miles from Sea World and Old Town) – we were on our way to Dodger Stadium.  After a scenic stop in Oceanside, we were on our way to Chavez Ravine!!

10:30 AM ( 160 Minutes till game time) I am cursing on Highway 5 about 30 Miles out from the park.  I knew the traffic would be crazy.  It wasn’t a World Record Streak so I wasn’t going to cut out sleep just to arrive in time at the yard, should it come down to it.

With a little over 2 Miles to the yard - it took well over an hour from this turnoff - till the time we parked

With a little over 2 Miles to the yard – it took well over an hour from this turnoff – till the time we parked.

12:40 PM  Cat and I finally made it to the booths of the Parking Lot at Dodger Stadium.  I purchased a LA Dodger hat for $10 because my other hats were completely ruined by the winter in Canada.

1:05 PM  We enter the LF Loge Pavilion with 5 Minutes to Spare. I bought these tickets for $80 each.  Yes it was more than I spent for last years Season Opener at Dodger Stadium ($55), however I only booked the flight 2 weeks in advance.  The seats were great.

IMG_0341

Cat and I were totally watching the entire Blue Nation run rampant over their Dodgers – and completely rail on anyone one wearing a San Francisco Giants.  It was a lot of fun for us to watch this game within a game. Clayton Kershaw smashed a HR to break a 0 – 0 tie in the 8th.  Cat took some great pictures for the game.

For a full game recap of what we witnessed, you can see an article written by our Dodgers Correspondent Eriq Rivera  here ,

The game was over at 345 PM.  I parked strategically near the edge of the parkade (cost $10).  We beat the crowd by driving up 1 mile East on Highway 110 – before pulling a U-turn the other way.  They close some of the turn – offs coming out of the Park, which punishes the ballpark folks.

Cat and I ate Mexican food for dinner near LAX – before we made our Southwest flight back to Seattle.  It was another $105 flight per person deal.  I fell asleep once we were wheels up.

At 11:30 PM, we arrived in Seattle.  At 145 AM on April 2nd, I arrived back in Canada and ready for work at 230 AM.  It was a lot of work for 1 Baseball game….but so worth it.  I am already planning a similar trip in August – with a similar schedule.  The things we do to feed our habits.

My name is Chuck Booth – and I am addicted to baseball.  Testimonials will brought up and shared from time to time here, however you will have to supply your own coffee!!

I was wearing a Dodger hat for the game because I burnt my forehead at SeaWorld and lost my Yankees Hat

I was wearing a Dodger hat for the game because I burnt my forehead at SeaWorld and lost my Yankees Hat.  I bought it waiting in lane to park at Dodger Stadium for an hour, when a fan walked by selling them.

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com or their partners.***

Chuck Booth – Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner and author of the Fastest 30 Ballgames:   To learn more about my  “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book” and how to purchase it, click here . You can also follow my Guinness Book of World Record Successful Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 Days – click here.  I am happy to be part of such an awesome Magazine-Style Baseball Website and am looking forward to talking to all of the fans of the MLB.  You can reach me on Twitter here

Ben Fallon (Left) and Chuck booth (Right)  at Nats Park (Patriots Day 2012)

Ben Fallon (Left) and Chuck booth (Right) at Nats Park (Patriots Day 2012)

Please e-mail me  at: mlbreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.  To subscribe to our website and have the Daily Reports sent directly to your inbox, click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

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About chuckbooth3023

I played competitive baseball until 18 years old and had offers to play NCAA Division 1 University Baseball at Liberty University. Post-concussion symptoms from previous football and baseball head injuries forced me to retire by age 19. After two nearly made World Record Attempts in 2008, I set a New World Record by visiting all 30 MLB Parks (from 1st to last pitch) in only 24 Calendar Days in the summer 0f 2009. In April of 2012, I established yet another new GWR by visiting all 30 Parks in only 23 Calendar Days! You can see the full schedule at the page of the www.mlbreports.com/gwr-tracker . In 2015, I watched 224 MLB Games, spanning all 30 MLB Parks in 183 Days. Read about that World Record Journey at http://mlbreports.com/183in2015/229sked2015/
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