Jun 292008

Empty Seats

We recently passed the halfway point on this baseball road trip, and to mark the occasion Daren has written a new blog ranking all the ballparks we’ve visited so far. Who’s No. 1? Is it McAfee Coliseum or the Metrodome? Find out in “There’s still 15 stadiums to go?!” And don’t get upset if your favorite stadium didn’t make the list, we haven’t seen them all yet.

*UPDATE: Now that our ballpark tour is over, Daren’s blog has been revised to include rankings of all 30.

baseball road tripOur basecrawl has taken us to our first foreign land, but likely not our last (we intend to hit a minor league game in Mexico). We spent 24 hours in Toronto, visiting the cavernous Rogers Centre and wondering where did all the people go? We spent the night in a college dorm room before hitting the CN Tower the next day. You can see Troy’s pictures from the Toronto game here, and Daren’s here.

The trip back to the States took us by one of the coolest sites we’ve seen so far: Niagara Falls. We still haven’t found out the cost of Daren’s scalping citation, but the Verizon Wireless fraud department did call to inform us of a $730 bill for nominal use of our wireless Internet card while we were in a foreign country. We use the Internet card to update this website and send e-mails to Nolan to remind him he’s a wuss. We refuse to pay the Verizon bill, and if they come after us we’re going back to Canada.

We are now in Columbus, Ohio, staying with a close personal friend: Melanie.

On deck: Cincinnati.

Jun 282008

Best seat in the house

Game 15 of our BaseCrawl marked the halfway point of this journey. We dragged our feet getting into Cleveland’s Progressive Field, and spotted a man watching the game from the most unusual vantage point. He invited us to join him, and our experience watcing the game from a rooftop (shown above) is the subject of Troy’s latest blog: The best seats come to those who wait.

The Guy impersonates NolanTroy cleared the cobwebs and also wrote a second blog after an 11-day break. He adds his perspective to the incident where Daren was nearly cuffed and hauled off to jail for ticket scalping. The blog is titled: Is this guy really the problem? Don’t forget to read Daren’s original take on getting busted by the Chicago police in An Idiot’s Guide to ticket scalping.

For our forthcoming video pod, we spent the day exploring the topic of fireworks and the unfortunate controversy surrounding Chief Wahoo that tempers Cleveland’s place in America’s pastime.

In other updates, Troy has posted a few new pictures from Cleveland that accompany his latest blog.

We’ve also spent some time over the past few days correcting and restoring our archives. You can cycle through the entire history of this project many different ways, including searching the category “Road Diaries.” But for now you can also catch up on all our basecrawl ups and downs here:

5.27 BaseCrawl Begins
5.29 Oakland lays an egg for the Blue Jays
5.31 Now that’s baseball in the bay
6.1 Angels win with a rally (monkey)
6.2 Ballpark food for thought
6.5 Goodbye Nolan, West Coast
6.9 Many, many miles later … only two remain
6.12 What a Royal mess
6.15 Is there a baseball game in Omaha?
6.18 Now that’s music to our ears
6.21 Little Big Metrodome
6.22 It’s Miller Time with Brewers fans
6.24 Detroit and a bad case of fatigue
6.26 Father knows best (about the Cubbies)
6.27 Cops bust Daren in scalping sting

Jun 272008

Chicago White Sox Documentary

This is not a joke.

BaseCrawl’s very own Daren Many (pictured above with citation) was apprehended by undercover cops Friday outside of U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago and nearly hauled off to jail (or so they threatened).

The game featured the White Sox vs. the Cubs — storied crosstown rivals who created a hot ticket. We’ve been to 14 Major League Baseball stadiums so far, and everywhere we’ve gone we’ve noticed scores of so-called “scalpers” day-trading tickets and playing the margins.

So we decided the subject of our storytelling here should be ticket scalping. We decided to partake in emersion journalism to accomplish this task, and when Daren attempted to sell extra tickets we had bought on Stubhub — which, ironically, were more expensive than what Daren was selling them for — Daren was accosted by four cops who were none to happy.

Daren was wearing a wireless mic, and the whole confrontation was caught on tape, including some terse language and some tense moments. You can read Daren’s detailed account of the confrontation in his latest blog: An Idiot’s Guide to Scalping Tickets.

In the end, Daren was just fined and released, but the officers took his two tickets and replaced them with another kind of ticket — one that might cost several hundred dollars.

We’ll eventually have more to say on the other events surrounding this White Sox blowout, but right now we’re too busy trying to figure out how to pay for this mess …

Jun 262008

Curse of the Billy Goat Documentary

We have had a great time in Chicago so far. First off, Troy’s father (pictured above) is here. He decided to get in on the action and flew out from Portland, Oregon to join us for two games, including the Cubs-White Sox game we’ll be seeing Friday (June 27) on the Southside. Eldon Foster is a life-long Cubs fan who lived near Wrigley Field when he was attending DeVry Univeristy in the 1960s.

The subject of our journalism here is baseball superstitions. Before the Cubs game, we spent Wednesday exploring downtown Chicago, talking to baseball fans about curses and seeing what they’re all about at the famous Billy Goat Tavern.

Chicago Cubs DocumentaryTavern owner Sam Sainis and son Bill were incredibly gracious hosts to us at their incredibly famous bar. They met with us — once again — on relatively short notice and served up a few of their trademarked “Cheezborgers,” which were made famous by a certain Saturday Night Live sketch from the 1970s.

Like we mentioned in our previous update, this two-person BaseCrawl crew has been feeling a little fatigued lately because of our intense travel itinerary. Yet we found some time Wednesday to relax on the streets of Chicago, where we soaked our feet in Lake Michigan, took a stroll to the top of the Sears Tower and generally contemplated how good it is to be doing what we love.

Unfortunately, the hometown Cubs had to ruin everything by losing like the Cubbies of old by a score of 11-4 to Baltimore. But we met some great fans at the game, who were celebrating their 100-year anniversary. And afterward we headed down to Harry Caray’s.

We’re not sure we believe in curses, but after we realized our stop at Wrigley Field was the 13th game on our basecrawl, it made us wonder.

Jun 242008

Tigers baseball road trip

We’re still very, very busy shooting footage for our forthcoming series on America’s 30 Major League ballparks and a possible long-form documentary. But lately the two of us still filming this project have begun to feel a little fatigue from traveling.

Our Detroit experience underscores this. We were in and out in a blink of an eye, bagging our 12th game but feeling like we didn’t get to soak up Detroit like we had the past 11 cities. We didn’t even get to try the famous chili cheese fries two friendly Tigers fans John and Lisa recommended to us (see picture above).

Downtown DetroitNeither of us have blogged in days, either. But for now you can check out a few new pictures here and here. Don’t miss the picture of the relatively well-known actor sitting just a few seats away from us in the nosebleeds.

We focused our Detroit video pod on the carnival-like atmosphere that accompanies some of Major League Baseball’s newer stadiums. But this was also a time for us to take a moment of personal reflection, and we spent some time on film going over the trials and tribulations of doing a basecrawl. We discussed finances, traveling fatigue, gas prices and everything in between.

Oh, and the curse of the BaseCrawl raised its ugly head as the home team lost again.

We hope to find some time over the next few days to write about some of the crazy things we’ve seen over the past few days, so stay tuned.

For now, it’s time to head back to the windy city we blew through just the other day. Watch out, Chicago.