Aug 042008
 

Best Friends and Baseball

Three friends began this journey May 24 in Missoula, Montana. Two finished it Aug. 4 in Phoenix, Arizona. After watching the Diamondbacks pummel Pittsburgh, Daren and Troy completed the first part of the mission: attend one game at every Major League ballpark in one season.

Arizona is a relatively new baseball team. So we spent the day asking fans: “Who was your favorite team before the Diamondbacks?” As you can imagine, the answers varied widely, and with each team mentioned we were able to reflect on our journey. This will be the subject of our last video in our documentary series. Daren also reflects on all the parks we’ve seen by ranking them in his latest blog: “Wait! It’s Over?

baseball road trip to ArizonaOur project has gone through many incarnations, beginning as a wild idea for a vacation, then manifesting itself as a platform for journalism, storytelling and a series of short-form documentaries. We pooled our resources, drained our bank accounts, charged our credit cards and went on the most amazing adventure of our lives. But this really isn’t the end.

The quest is technically over, but the mission is just beginning. There will be a few updates in the next few weeks as we go through our footage and assess a plan to release our videos. We are very appreciative of everyone who has taken an interest in our little project, enjoyed our scrappy photo albums and followed our updates and read our blogs. We’ve had so much fun doing these things, but this is actually a video project. And that part of BaseCrawl is now getting under way.

We met great people, saw incredible places and heard amazing stories. We can’t wait to bring these to you in moving pictures.

In the meantime, we’re still blogging. Again, don’t forget to read Daren’s eloquent ranking of all 30 parks here. Who’s No. 1? Is it PNC Park or Yankee Stadium? All our photo galleries are up to date, too, including a few new pictures from Chase Field.

We’ll be back shortly with some more closing thoughts, a summary of how much money we spent on gas (the most asked question we get) and updates on the progress of our project.

Thank you for following our journey.

Sincerely,

Daren, Troy (and Nolan)

Aug 022008
 


Rangers Six Shooters

What is the fastest way to the heart of a Texas Ranger? It might be chocolate chip cookies, or snickerdoodles. At least that’s the impression we got after spending some time with The Cookie Lady, pictured above with three members of the Rangers Six Shooters.

We ignored our original itinerary and took our time getting to the Dallas area, arriving three days behind schedule to watch the Rangers lose to Toronto, 6-4. But no matter, once again it was the amazing people we met and the interesting things we learned.

baseball road tripIn this case it was Shirley “The Cookie Lady” Kost, her husband, Cal, and their famous cookies. Shirley’s been baking cookies for Texas players for about eight years now. She’s a fixture at Rangers’ BallPark where she uses her season tickets to share cookies and joy with everyone around her.

We believe you can tell a lot about a baseball player by the cookies he eats. For instance, did you know that Ian Kinsler prefers snickerdoodles? Or that Frank Catalanotto’s favorite cookie is pineapple/pecan combination with carmel icing known as the “Cat’s Meow?”

Or how about Josh Hamilton, the rising star with the big guns and the big bat? Take note, kids: Hamilton always requests oatmeal raisin from The Cookie Lady.

We’ll have more on Shirley and her husband, Cal, after we finish our video on baseball in Texas. In the meantime we’ve posted a few more mediocre photos, including some from the largest urban bat colony in North America and others from the game in Arlington.

It’s off to Phoenix and our final stop on this basecrawl.

Jul 282008
 


Houston Astros Documentary

Some baseball fans have an incredibly odd way of expressing their love. Such is the case in Houston where we were directed by folks on the message boards toward three unique Astros fan clubs: The O’s Bros, Los Caballitos and The Little Pumas.

We made it our mission to explore the topic of fan clubism during our stop at Minute Maid Park. We found The Little Pumas’ website before arriving in Houston and met them before the game. Daren then became an impromptu member of their club, donning a puma outfit and having one of his more interesting experiences at a baseball game. He writes about it in his new blog: “Welcome to Texas … now go home!

Baseball Road Trip to HoustonAt the game we also were able to connect with the fine gentlemen known as Los Caballitos. They wear sombreros, ride stick horses and root for Carlos Lee. Check out their MySpace page here and an article we found on them here. More on them to come when we put together our video pod …

Unfortunately we were not able to connect with The O’s Bros, the loyal fans of Roy Oswalt. They’re known for sometimes wearing wizard robes and performing a famous strikeout dance every time their favorite pitcher gets another K. Oswalt was pitching this night, but we were told the core members of The O’s Bros were out of town. Sorry we missed you.

The Astros ran away with a 5-4 victory over the Reds, but once again we closed this chapter of our baseball road trip more pleased with the friends we made and the times we had. Troy has posted some pictures from Houston here, and we’ve compiled a few more here. The Little Pumas also posted their own blog about meeting us here (but you must log in to MySpace to view it).

We’re headed to Dallas to eat some cookies …

Jul 272008
 

Oakland A's Business Card

Twenty-seven down, three to go. We’ve parted ways with Florida, the East Coast and are headed west to mess with Texas after surviving Bourbon Street.

Troy has written a new blog titled “The business card that changed everything.” Troy takes a moment to reflect on his personal pastime, and the chance encounter with a professional scout that shaped his childhood obsession with the Oakland A’s. The business card pictured above was given to Troy when he was 7 years old, and we ask anyone who knows what became of this man to send us an e-mail. Troy goes into greater detail in his new blog.

We were stunned by the devastation still evident in New Orleans three years after Hurricane Katrina. Still photography is not the focus of this project, but we’ve posted a few new photos from New Orleans here that don’t quite do justice to what we witnessed. But we have a lot of video footage that we’ll share … eventually.

We also had another basecrawl moment and lifetime first. Shortly after passing the 15,000-mile mark, we entered Houston and promptly ran out of gas on the interstate. As we sputtered to a stop on the side of the road, we both looked at each other and said, “BaseCrawl.” For us, this word has become synonymous with “FUBAR.”

On deck is our date with the Houston Astros and their zany fan clubs.

Jul 222008
 

Tampa Bay Baseball Road Trip

Pictured above is Dennis “The Menace” Shrader. He has a lot of balls, literally and figuratively. Before we saw the Rays lose 8-1 at home to Troy’s A’s, we visited Schrader’s home in St. Petersburg for our upcoming video on what drives people to collect things — in this case, baseball things.

Schrader collects autographed baseballs. He has more than 3,000 of them — the largest private collection in the world. His balls have been autographed by seemingly everyone, including Babe Ruth, Marilyn Monroe, Joe Dimaggio and Fidel Castro. Schrader and his wife, Mary, were two of the more interesting people we’ve met on our baseball road trip and we can’t wait to show you why. You can learn more about Dennis and his collection at www.littlecooperstown.com.

Baseball Road Trip to FloridaIn the meantime, Daren has posted two new blogs. His first, “Quiet down everyone! I’m watching the scoreboard” recounts our experience watching the Marlins get smoked by Atlanta, although Daren wasn’t paying much attention to the game on the field. (By the way, the home team has lost the last five basecrawl games). Daren also writes about his childhood memories of Florida, and how acting young keeps you young in “I think I saw Figment on Bourbon Street.”

As always, we met many great people in Florida. Nicole and Kevin put us up — and put up with us — for two nights in St. Petersburg. Thanks guys! We also said farewell to our impromptu BaseCrawl member, Emily Rice, who brought us much joy and comic relief during our five days together. Might there be a love story developing here? Wait for the video.

New pictures are everywhere, and our map is up to date. Photos from Atlanta can be found here, Tampa Bay here and a few Marlins photos here.

We’re now headed to a place where the stars at night, are big and bright.