Tag Archive | "Travel"

The Word for 2013 is……..Travel


I have been in South Korea for over 2 years. One of the reasons I came was to travel, and see some baseball in different countries. In about 10 months I am free, and I’m going to do some traveling. I’m thinking of doing a baseball trip somewhere.

I have found a few companies that take teams of adults to play baseball overseas in countries like China, Cuba, and places in Europe. I am really thinking of doing one of these.

I’d love to do a trip to Cuba (even if the ones I found are only to watch baseball), but the ones I have found leave too early for me. I’m really interested in a few of the trips to China. They run for a week or so and you play baseball around the country against Chinese adult teams.

I haven’t played in almost a decade, but earlier this year I got out and tossed the ball around. I definitely miss it. The thrill of the game is one of the great thrills in life. I miss the teamwork, the drama, and the excitement.

Whatever happens, it’s going to be fun. I plan to see baseball in as many countries as I can and maybe even play a few games.

If you or anyone you know has been on a trip like this before or even knows of one, let me know. I’d be interested in learning more about the trips and/or companies that run them.

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USA or Europe Baseball Trip?


I am torn. After this year in Korea I will have been here for a total of 3 years and 2 in a row without going home. I really enjoy it here, but I also really want to travel. So I am torn whether to try and plan a trip in the US or in Europe.

I’ve never been to Europe, and there is so much I want to see. I’d only be able to go where I want for 90 days due to visa regulations for the region. If I went home, I could travel basically until I run out of money.

There are a lot of upsides for either trip which is why I am so torn.

Europe Trip
1. See new countries and experience new cultures while watching baseball.
2. I would plan on seeing Germany, The Netherlands, and the Czech Republic for the majority of my trip.
3. After spending 3 months there, I thought I might head to Thailand and relax for a month or two where it is cheap to do so.
4. Overall it would be about 4-5 months of travel.
5. It would be shorter and cheaper than a trip to the US.
6. I’d get to see baseball in at least 3 different countries and maybe more.

USA Trip
1. I’d go to every MLB park and quite a few minor league parks.
2. I’d get to see friends and family who I might be able to talk into joining me during parts of my trip.
3. There are still a lot of places in the US I’ve never been to.
4. However, it would be more expensive (I don’t own a car anymore).

Either way I go, I plan on coming back to Korea to teach some more. I enjoy it here, but I might have to find a different place to work.

Perhaps I am trying to do too much with a trip to the US. I was planning for 6 months on the road. Maybe if I trim it down to 3 months there, it wouldn’t cost as much and even then I could head off to Thailand or somewhere in Central America to relax and take a rest before coming back to Korea. I might even get to watch some baseball in Central America and practice my Spanish. I just though of this as I was typing and now I am a bit more excited about the prospects of a US trip.

Time for some more planning, but first I need some more go-go juice or coffee.

What would you do?

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Interview: Robert Breisacher from Baseball Dreamin


Today we talk to Robert J. Breisacher from Baseball Dreamin. Robert is going on a trip to all 30 MLB stadiums this summer, but before he leaves he took some time to talk to us.

How long have you had this dream to see every MLB stadium?
I’m not exactly sure when I got this idea in my head.  I think just being so far away from home during the summer made me miss watching games.  I love being able to catch a game anytime of the day, any day of the summer.

What did your friends/family think when you told them what you were doing?
My family is very proud of me for chasing a dream like this.  They do think its rather ambitious and they are concerned about the financial toll it will take on my wallet.  Other then that they are just happy to see me go after something like this.

I see you have your schedule planned out, how long did it take you to make?
The schedule was not easy to plan out.  I can’t tell you how many times I made it through and came to the conclusion that that particular schedule wasn’t going to work out.  I had schedules for different times of the season starting in different areas of the country.  Ultimelty I decided that I wanted to start the trip as soon as I could.  Patience is a virtue that I could work on and I think the excitment of the season starting and me not on the road would drive me crazy.

Will you see only 1 game at each stadium or is there time for an extra game here and there?
Right now I have only planned on one game in each park with the exception of Comerica Park which is where I will be starting and ending my trip.  Any additonal games that I see will be a decision I make on the fly.  There are a few gaps in my schedule where I will be in a paticular city for an extended period of time such as NY, LA, and Chicago.  I’m pretty sure I will end up seeing more then the scheduled games in those cities.

Where will you stay on your journey? Hotels, camp sites, couchsurfing?
I will be doing a little bit of each of the following options.  I would like to keep the costs as low as possible seeing as gas prices have the potential to get a bit out of hand this summer.  I want to find unique and interesting local places to stay whenever possible.  The ballpark chaser communtiy is a tight knit group.  Since finding websites such as ballparkchasers.com several fellow chasers have offered to let me crash at their places.  Also being a former member of the military I have friends all over the country and they have offered to let me stay with them.

Have you contacted the teams to let them know what you are doing? If so, how receptive have they been to providing assistance?
Yes, While I was still in Afghanistan I sent emails and formal mail to every single one of the teams in Major League Baseball.  At this point I have heard back from about half of the teams and most have offered to extend complimentary tickets and or parking passes.  A few teams have gone above and beyond.  The Cleveland Indians gave me four tickets for the April 9th game and are allowing me to sit in the “Social Media Suite” while I am attending a game there.  The Indians staff has been absolutely amazing to me from the very first time I contacted them.  The New York Mets have a program where the welcome home a veteran at every home game of the season.  While I am attending the game there I will recieve four tickets in the front row right behind the Mets dugout.  They will introduce me at the end of the third inning and show pictures I provided them on their jumbo screen.  Interesting enough the only non American team in Major League Baseball, The Toronto Blue Jays, offered me four tickets and free blue jays caps when I come visit them.  I am going to try to send out one last ditch email to the teams I have not heard from.  Today I recieved a voucher for two tickets to a St. Louis Cardnials game, I had previously heard nothing from the Cardnials so I’m wondering if other teams will be doing the same.

What stadium or team are you most excited to see and why?
The stadium I am most excited to see is Fenway Park.  I will be there for opening day during their 100th season at Fenway.  I am so excited to be apart of this history and see where so many legends have thrown around a ball.  I was also excited about seeing Wrigley Field.  So much so I couldn’t contain my excitement and went out to Chicago this past weekend and got a tour of the park, It was everything I thought it would be and so much more.  I can’t wait to a game there.  I’m also excited to see Comerica Park because its my home town field and is always a pleasure to see a game there.

You plan on seeing other things along the way besides MLB stadiums. What are you most excited about seeing or doing along the way that might not have anything to do with baseball?
I’m excited about seeing the Rock and Roll Hall of fame in Cleveland, Niagra Falls on the way to Toronto, and I’m hoping to be able to fit a stop by Las Vegas into my budget.

Are you going to try and stay on or off the interstate highways for most of your journey?
I will be sticking to the highways most of my trip unless I hear about something I have to see off the beaten path.  Some of my games are kind of pushing it when it comes to time so I will be looking for my fastest way between those parks.

What is the best advice someone has given you about your trip so far?
The best advice I have recieved was from one of my best friends, Melissa Craley, gave me the idea for my blog.  I was home on leave from Afghanistan and met up with her for dinner.  I told her about my trip and she told me I should document every aspect of it.  I thought that was a wonderful idea and clearly I have ran with it.  Melissa has been an incredible supporter of me on this project and will be attending a few games with me.  I would like to thank Melissa for coming up with awesome ideas and helping me out every step of the way!  I honestly could not of done this with out her.

I’d like to thank Robert for taking the time to answer a few questions for us. I am looking forward to following along with his journey as he travels across the US. You can follow along as well on his blog Baseball Dreamin, on Face Book, or on Twitter @BaseballDreamin.

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Tours to Cuba to Watch Baseball


There is one place more than any other that I would like to go see a game – Cuba. I have watched the Bill Lee documentary of he and his team going down to play, and I have seen old videos and read about the games there from before Castro. To me this land where it seems the clock has stopped would be the ultimate experience.

And thanks to the SABR newsletter, I have finally found a trip worth taking at Cubaball.

While it might not be in the immediate future, this is a place I want to visit in due time. Perhaps the travel ban will be lifted prior to me having the chance to go, but even if not it seems like this is a viable solution.

The pure love for the game these fans have and the high level of play is so enticing for me. The price seems fair as well, so perhaps it will be something to look into more when I am ready to leave Korea.

The only thing better would bee to have the chance to play a game in Cuba.

If you could go to one place to catch a game, where would it be? It would be Cuba for me – hands down.

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Future Travel Plans


One of the reasons I moved to South Korea was to get out and travel and see more of the world. Before leaving the USA, I had only been across the boarder into Mexico once or twice. I have always been a huge fan of history and have wanted to see far off lands for many years. But I was like many other Americans in that I just didn’t travel abroad. Moving here I hope to change that.

So far in just over a year, I have not been anywhere but Korea. I had a trip planned last year to Japan that fell through because I couldn’t take my vacation. Right now I am looking at traveling to Taiwan in November for the Asia Series, but again I don’t know if I’ll be able to take vacation or not.

So to satisfy my urge to travel and see baseball, I have decided when my contract is up early next year I will travel for two months. It works out nicely that I will be off at the start of baseball season. I should be able to travel for the months of April and May. After which I will come back and work another year in Korea. Ideally I would have a job lined up before leaving, but that is some time away.

So where should I go?

I am leaning toward heading to Germany and the Czech Republic for the two months. This would satisfy two huge issues. I love baseball and history and both places are full of both. The German and Czech leagues should be kicking off by then, and I’ll be able to see some historic places I have wanted to see for quite awhile.

The idea is to work here a year, travel for two months to baseball playing countries, and then come back and work another year. I don’t know how long I can keep that up, but that is the plan for now. At some point I want to get my teaching certification and then hopefully teach history in an international school. If that works out, I can use my summer vacation time to travel and see baseball while still living abroad.

If I continue to teach English, I can travel to baseball playing nations year round. Europe and Asia in summer time and then in winter I can hit the Caribbean and Australia. It’s a great thing that many nations play the great game now and I want to see as many places as I can that play it.

Any thoughts on where I should go next year? I am leaning toward Germany and the Czech Republic but I am open to suggestions on where might be good places to go that time of year.

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Baseball Travel Plans for 2011


I have been debating for some time about where to travel this summer in order to see some baseball. Nothing is set in stone yet, because of my schedule at work being uncertain for later in the year.

The options:

1. Late July / Early August – I am thinking of taking off to Taiwan to check out baseball on the island. There are a lot of places they play and its a relatively cheap place to travel to.

2. Mid August – This is my first choice despite the cost. This would be a trip to the Osaka, Japan area. During this time I could check out the summer Koshien, which is the biggest high school tournament of the year. While there watching the games, there is also a chance to see some professional ball in the Osaka area.

3. Late November – Again this will take place in Taiwan, but to me it seems to be a bit bigger. This would be the Asia Series. This is a series of games between the winners of the professional leagues in Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Australia.

I am not sure which one I will pursue. Cost, time off, and other factors will have to be taken into consideration. I’ll be doing a lot of baseball travel around Korea, but I really want to get out and see some baseball in another country this year. This is a work in progress so we will have to wait and see where I can make it to.

Any thoughts on which one I should try to get to?

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Game Souvenirs – What do you take home?


One of my favorite things to do is see a new stadium. I love taking in the atmosphere and views of each new one I visit. But I always try and take something away with me as well. In the past I have gotten hats, t-shirts, towels, and more for souvenirs. But until recently I have never thought about the simple souvenir that I had been collecting already, game tickets.

The problem with hats, t-shirts, and what not are that they are bulky and heavy when traveling. Ticket stubs however are small, light, and easy to keep track of. I kept a stub from each of the games I went to in Korea, and from now on I plan on keeping up with that trend.

What do you keep from new places you visit? I’d be interested in knowing what others keep so leave a comment and let me know.

Below are photos of my ticket stubs. One from each of the 7 stadiums in Korea.

Samsung Lions Ticket Stub

Samsung Lions Ticket Stub

LG Twins Ticket Stub

LG Twins Ticket Stub

NEXEN Heroes Ticket Stub

NEXEN Heroes Ticket Stub

Lotte Giants Ticket Stub

Lotte Giants Ticket Stub

Kia Tigers Ticket Stub

Kia Tigers Ticket Stub

SK Wyverns Ticket Stub

SK Wyverns Ticket Stub

Hanwha Eagles Ticket Stub

Hanwha Eagles Ticket Stub

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40 by 40 Baseball Edition


A little over 2 years ago, wow how time flies, I came out with a 40 by 40 list. Of that list of 40 things I wanted to do by the age of 40 (yes I am getting old), 10 of them had to do with baseball. After 2 years I have only accomplished 1 of the 40 – #10. Volunteer at an orphanage.

My 10 items that dealt with baseball were:

1. See a World Baseball Classic game
2. See a World Series game
3. See 10 new MLB stadiums
4. Play a baseball game in a foreign country
5. See a baseball game in 5 foreign countries
6. Go to the European Baseball Championships
7. Throw out the 1st pitch at a baseball game
8. Go to the College World Series
9. Coach a baseball team in a foreign country for a game
10. Go to MLB spring training

I have decided to expand my list of 10 to 40 in anticipation of another year abroad as I dream of more and more travel. So here it goes. My expanded 40 by 40 Baseball Edition.

1. See a World Baseball Classic game
2. See a World Series game
3. See 10 new MLB stadiums
4. Play a baseball game in a foreign country
5. See a baseball game in 5 foreign countries (4 to go)
6. Go to the European Baseball Championships
7. Throw out the 1st pitch at a baseball game
8. Go to the College World Series
9. Coach a baseball team in a foreign country for a game
10. Go to MLB spring training
11. Visit the Baseball Hall of Fame
12. Watch a Braves/Mets game (my favorite and least favorite team)
13. Go to the Junior Worlds in Seoul in 2012
14. Watch a UT/Texas A&M game
15. See a high school state championship game
16. Watch a game at Rickwood Field
17. Watch a Cubs/Cardinals game
18. Visit the Korean Baseball Hall of Fame
19. Attend a minor league all-star game
20. See a game at the new stadium in Pensacola, FL
21. Watch a Cape Cod game
22. Visit the Baseball Hall of Fame in Japan
23. Watch the midnight sun game in Alaska
24. Visit the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum
25. Visit the Field of Dreams movie site
26. Visit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
27. Host a baseball podcast
28. Read the book Veeck as in Wreck
29. Read the book The Glory of Their Times
30. Attend the Little League World Series
31. Read the book The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento
32. Attend the Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture
33. Visit the Ty Cobb Museum
34. Attend a Korean Series Game
35. Attend the Caribbean Series
36. Read the book The Catcher Was a Spy
37. Read the book Eight Men Out
38. See the Dodgers play the Giants
39. See the Red Sox play the Yankees
40. Watch an Arizona Fall League game

I don’t know how many of these I can accomplish in the next 5 1/2 years (wow I’ll be at 40 soon), but I am going to try to do as many as I can. I feel in the next year I can check off maybe 10. No matter how many I am able to do, it will be fun trying. What are the top things you want to see/do baseball wise? Leave a comment and let me know. I’d love to hear your ideas.

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First Game of 2011 – Belmont vs Illinois State


I have not been writing much of late because I have been traveling before heading back to South Korea for another year. I have had some good times heading to the Smoky Mountains, Florida, and Texas. In between all my travels I have taken in a few games already with plans for another tomorrow.

My first game of the year was an early college game between the Belmont Bruins and the Illinois State Redbirds. It was the 2nd game of the season for both teams and game 1 of a double header.

It was a cold overcast Saturday morning, but it was a great day for baseball. I had been able to watch a lot of baseball online over the winter, but there is nothing like being at your first game of the year live. The sounds and smells of the game are something you can’t get when watching the game on TV.  So armed with my camera and some sunflower seeds, I headed out to historic Shelby Park in Nashville.

It was a good game with Belmont coming out on top 5-4. The game went back and forth with Illinois State jumping out on top early 1-0 in the top of the first. But Belmont bounced back quick scoring 2 of its own in the bottom half of the inning.

Left fielder Derek Hamblen went deep for the hometown Bruins and the senior first baseman Nate Woods came up with the game winning RBI in the bottom of the 6th with a double.

It was a lot of fun with roughly 200 people in attendance. I took advantage of being close to the action and worked on getting better with my camera.

 

Belmont vs Illinois State

Shelby Park - Nashville, TN

Belmont vs Illinois State

Safe at First

Belmont vs Illinois State

On the Hill for Belmont

 

I hope to take in a few more college games before leaving for South Korea. Vanderbilt  University, Middle Tennessee State University and Columbia State Community College aren’t too far from home. I plan to catch a game at each over the next week and a half. I might even try to squeeze in a local high school game if I can.

 

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Best Baseball Stadiums in Korea


One of my goals this year was to see a game in all of the stadiums here in Korea.  There are 7 stadiums in the KBO.  Most of them are older and outdated.  The teams here are used more as marketing objects than money makers so little is put back into the stadiums.  I visited my last stadium after visiting Daejeon Baseball Stadium on the last day of the season.  After seeing the last stadium, I decided to rank the stadiums of the KBO.

Here are my rankings of the 7 in the league.

#7 Moodeung Stadium – Home of the Kia Tigers

Clearly the worst stadium is Moodeung Stadium in Gwangju, home of the Kia Tigers. The most successful team in KBO league history (10 championships) has not use any of that success to upgrade the ballpark. The seats are falling apart, the stadium is plain and ugly with everything made of concrete, and there is nothing aesthetically appealing about the stadium at all. But it doesn’t stop there. The concession choices are limited, and what they do have is not very good.

Moodeung Baseball Stadium Kia Tigers

Moodeung Baseball Stadium - Home of the Kia Tigers

#6 Daegu Baseball Stadium – Home of the Samsung Lions

Daegu Baseball Stadium is only a slight step up from Moodeung. Again a concrete monstrocity, the stadium is crammed with little room to move around with narrow isles. The seats are old and uncomfortable, and the food that is offered is not very good. When going to a game here bring in your own food. The only positive that can be pulled form this stadium is the atmosphere. With so many fanatical fans, the stadium can be rocking when full, but that is league wide and not specific to Daegu.

Daegu Baseball Stadium Samsung Lions

Daegu Baseball Stadium - Home of the Samsung Lions

#5 Daejeon Baseball Stadium – Home of the Hanwha Eagles

Another horrible stadium by American standards, Daejeon Baseball Stadium gets the nod over Daegu simply for their concessions being out among the stands instead of on a concourse away from the action. Again an old, run down place to watch a game with not a lot offered as far as food selection, the stadium could use a lot of work.

Daejeon Baseball Stadium Hanwha Eagles

Daejeon Baseball Stadium - Home of the Hanwha Eagles

#4 Jamsil Baseball Stadium – Home of the LG Twins and Doosan Bears

The only stadium shared by two teams, Jamsil was built in the early 80’s like most other stadiums in Korea. It hosted the 1988 Olympic Baseball Games and is situated next to Seoul Olympic Stadium. This is one of the bigger stadiums in the league holding over 30,000. It’s a nice place to see a game and reminds me a lot of the old cookie-cutter fields from the USA. The food selection is much better here with more choices inside and out of the stadium.

Jamsil Stadium LG Twins Doosan Bears

Jamsil Baseball Stadium - Home of the LG Twins and Doosan Bears

#3 Sajik Baseball Stadium – Home of the Lotte Giants

Sajik is also known as the Mecca for Korean Baseball. It is a nice stadium that really benefits from being in Busan on the coast. Many nights the air will get cooler and a nice breeze will blow in off the water, which makes the game a bit more enjoyable during summer. It is one of the bigger stadiums holding over 28,000 fans, and might be the most energetic stadium. The food selection is good with a lot of variety, the fans are phenomenal, and it’s just a great place to see a game.

Sajik Baseball Stadium Lotte Giants

Sajik Baseball Stadium - Home of the Lotte Giants

#2 Mokdong Baseball Stadium – Home of the NEXEN Heroes

I got a really good feeling when I visited Mokdong Stadium. It is in the middle of the pack as far as size holding around 18,000. I really enjoyed the stadium because I got the same feeling I did when I went to minor league games in the States in that I felt close to the game. There is no seating in the outfield so it forces you down the baselines where you get the feeling of being close to the players. The food selection was decent, and the fans were again very enthusiastic even for a losing team.

Mokdong Baseball Stadium NEXEN Heroes

Mokdong Baseball Stadium - Home of the NEXEN Heroes

#1 Munhak Stadium – Home of the SK Wyverns

Clearly in a class of its own, Munhak Stadium is a great place to watch a game. This is the only stadium in Korea that could come close to a Major League Stadium in America. Really the only thing it might lack is a lot of luxury boxes. It would make a great minor league stadium as is. It has the look and feel of a great stadium with a grass area in left field to throw down a blanket and watch the game. In right field there is a BBQ area where you can rent a space and cook during the game. It is also the only recently built stadium having been built in 2001. This is the #1 place to see baseball in Korea.

Munhak Baseball Stadium SK Wyverns

Munhak Baseball Stadium - Home of the SK Wyverns

Honorable Mention
Suwon Baseball Stadium – This stadium is no longer being used in the KBO, but it is better than half of the stadiums in use. It is the former home of the Hyundai Unicorns, which is now the NEXEN Heroes. The stadium is still used for high school tournaments.

Suwon Baseball Stadium

Suwon Baseball Stadium - Former Home of the Hyundai Unicorns

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New Era (eFashion Solutions)

Quote of the Month

There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit. ~Al Gallagher, 1971

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