8 Games 8 Days 8 Different Cities
In the spring of 2005, my friend Patrick had an idea of taking a road trip down I-95 heading for Florida. We were thinking of doing it right after my graduation from Central Michigan University in the summer. I started thinking about maybe making a stop at Fenway Park or Camden Yards along the way and I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do at least those two stadiums. I figured what the hell they were right next to I-95 and we’d have to drive right past them. At the time I was living in Michigan and Patrick was living in Arizona but was going to join me in Michigan at the start of the trip.
During the time in which we were contemplating what route we were going to take Patrick asked the ultimate question. How many stadiums are there on the east coast? Patrick didn’t grow up a sports fan at the level that I did so I explained there were teams in Toronto, Boston, New York (2), Philadelphia, Baltimore and Atlanta. The idea of a road trip spawned from here. How many games could we see in a week? Where would we start? How many miles would we cover?
We began looking at the MLB schedules and decided that Sunday May 8th could be the first day of the trip and we could start 400 miles from home in Toronto. One thing we failed to realize at the time was that May 8th 2005 was mother’s day and we probably couldn’t begin until Monday May 9th.
The game for May 8th was scratched due to mothers day festivities but we did begin the trip in Boston at Fenway Park on Monday May 9th 2005. What a wonderful place to start a baseball trip. At this time I had only been to 4 other stadiums and I had always dreamed of going to Fenway Park to see Manny Ramirez, Big Papi, and the Big Green Monster!
I remember the sound.. The sound of a baseball hitting the Green Monster is insane. Remember when you were in the backyard and you hit the shed with a baseball? I do. It was like that times a hundred! I don’t really remember much of the game other than the Red Sox won (we started the trip 3-1). My mom called after the game and told me the Yankees had won, I was standing on Landsdowne St. and thought better of sharing the news.
May 10th we drove to NYC, got lost in New Jersey, drove back to NYC, and eventually found Yankee Stadium. We learned a few things that day including but not limited to: Trying to drive 150 blocks in NYC is insane, the Statue of Liberty State park is in New Jersey, and the classic Yankee Stadium shot of Yankee Stadium is taken in Brooklyn!
From what I remember of this game we were about three innings late and the Yankees won the game. I remember thinking, wow I’m in Yankee Stadium and I have a Yankee hat on. Why? What did I get myself into? We sat in RF and they played Seattle which means we were in the Ichiro Section! What we figured out was that we really didn’t have to wear the Yankee hat and we could just cheer with the Ichiro Fan Club.
I remember sitting in the upper deck for batting practice and thinking to myself that we had done this now for three straight days. The game we saw in 2005 was in fact a day game and we had driven in from New Jersey that morning. This was the first time we remember thinking just how long an 8 game road trip really is. As compared to Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium we had our choice of seats during this game due to the lack of fan turn out which seems to be directly related to how well the team is playing.
Ironically the warehouse that is adjacent to the stadium was originally set for demolition prior to becoming the focal point of the stadium. This is one of the only stadiums that “Fan Alley” is located in the outfield rather than behind home plate. Oriole Park at Camden Yards is one of the most recognizable and and iconic stadiums in all of baseball and was the site for the cult classic baseball movie Major League 2!