Collecting experiences, one ball park at a time

Yankee Stadium

Yankee Stadium

By Stewart Huckaby

I have a full set of 2013 World Series tickets at home. Anyone want them?

Given that they are for Texas Ranger home games to be played at the Ballpark in Arlington, I’m going to guess that the market is pretty slim. Perhaps I’ll try to consign them in 20-30 years.

This serves to illustrate something that most of the people who know me are well aware of – I’m a baseball fan. A BIG baseball fan (and no, I’m not talking about girth even if the comment fits… or in this case is too tight around the middle.) I’ve been following the National Pastime, well, almost as long as I’ve been collecting coins, and in both cases I hadn’t hit double digits in age yet when I started.

The Heritage sports department hasn’t seen much of my money, though. While I have a very old collection of baseball cards, they aren’t in good enough condition for the most part to be of much value, and they were handled fairly roughly by a ten-year-old that vaguely resembles that guy I see when I look in the mirror. I’ll occasionally pick up some old Pacific Coast League memorabilia, but I’ll leave the collecting to someone else.

Washington Nationals, DC

Washington Nationals Ball Park in DC.

Instead, I collect baseball experiences. I love the ballpark, and watching the game in person is infinitely better than seeing it on the tube. I’ve had some sort of season ticket package to the Rangers from about the minute I moved to the Dallas area, and I had San Francisco Giants season ticket packages off and on before that time, starting pretty much when I realized that having one made it much easier to see a post-season game. I’ve witnessed plenty of post-season baseball from the stands, topped off by watching my favorite team win it all in 2010.

But I don’t limit my baseball experiences to local teams. About as soon as I discovered I could travel to games, I did. When I lived in Philadelphia right out of college, I took Greyhound buses to New York to see the Mets (against my Giants), and the Yankees. Once I got a reliable car, I discovered that it’s possible to see much of the country simply by figuring out where the next game is going to be. I set a goal of seeing a game in every Major League ballpark, and some time around 1992 or so, I made it.

Target Field, Minneapolis, MN.

Target Field, Minneapolis, MN.

Then I discovered that “Every ballpark” is a moving target.

Baseball added two new teams (and two new ballparks) in 1993, with another two in 1997. And teams kept building new facilities. By my count, between 1988 and 2012, four new teams were added, one team moved, and 21 teams built new parks to replace those where I had attended a game (and that’s not counting Coors Field, which was built to get the Rockies out of Mile High, where I never saw them play.) Once or twice I managed to catch up, but the new parks kept sprouting up, and I always had one or two or three more places to see a game.

But in 2013, there are no concrete (sorry) plans for new baseball stadiums, as far as I know. There remained two parks that I had never seen, both in New York. And the San Francisco Giants were going to be playing back-to-back series in both of them.

Want to guess where I was for those games? OK, me and about 15,000 other Giants fans?

Coors Field, Denver, CO.

Coors Field, Denver, CO.

So, at least for now, my mission is accomplished. All 30 current major league ballparks, and 52 in total. I guess when the A’s get their territorial rights to San Jose worked out and replace their pit of a stadium (Bud Selig’s words, not mine), I’ll make it 53.

What’s my next sports collecting goal? Hmmm. It’s college football season, right?

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