Collage featuring signage for Miller Park, logos for NPB and Minor League Baseball, and a man wearing an Erie SnowWolves face mask. Text overlays says, "Reviewing my 2020 ballpark travel resolutions."
ballparks,  travel

Reviewing my 2020 ballpark travel resolutions

As the final week of this no good, rotten year comes to a close, it is time to review my 2020 ballpark travel resolutions.  It is easy to surmise that I did not uphold my ballpark resolutions this year.  However, just because this past year has been dramatically different from any other in my life does not mean I am going to skip out on reviewing my resolutions.  Without further ado, let’s review my 2020 ballpark travel resolutions.

Resolution #1:

Since moving to Japan in August 2018, I have aimed to see all of Tokyo’s pro baseball teams during the same season (read about my 2019 resolutions).  As the year began, I expected 2020 to be no different.  The COVID-19 pandemic delayed and ultimately shortened the NPB season, which began in June instead of March.  A small percentage of fans were allowed to attend games starting in July.  Unfortunately, local guidelines prevented me from attending any games.

Resolution #2:

Since 2011, I had traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio, for a week to participate in the Advanced Placement (AP) Human Geography Reading.  Over the years I’ve incorporated road trips to see various ballparks in the region (read about my 2019 trip).  As I hoped to mark off the ballparks closest to Cincinnati, I wanted to see the stadiums in Fort Wayne and South Band to check off all the Minor League parks in Indiana.  I saw an Indianapolis Indians game in 2019 (read about it here), but aimed to see games in all three parks on consecutive nights.

Two things derailed these plans.  First, the scoring of the AP exam moving to an online format, which meant I would not travel to Cincinnati.  Secondly, the cancelation of the Minor League Baseball (MiLB) season meant that none of the teams in Indiana would be playing home games in 2020.  Unfortunately, I would not get to visit the Hoosier State’s three MiLB ballparks this season.

Resolutions #3:

As a former Huntsville Stars intern, I was thrilled to see that Minor League Baseball (MiLB) would return to the area in 2020.  When my wife Katie & I lived in Alabama we visited the Huntsville area often, and we both looked forward to returning this past summer when we were in the United States to visit family and friends.  Unfortunately, we canceled our plans to visit the U.S. this summer out of an abundance of caution.  Ultimately, the cancelation of the MiLB season meant nobody would get to see the Trash Pandas take the field this year.

Resolution #4:

As the daughter of a native-born Wisconsinite, my wife grew up with a Milwaukee Brewers pennant over her crib.  With the Miller Brewing naming-rights deal set to expire after the 2020 season, we both hoped to attend a game this year.  I cared primarily because it would get me (and us) another stadium closer to seeing all 30 active Major League Baseball (MLB) ballparks.  She cared mostly because it meant we would get to visit “Miller Park.”  Admittedly, both are corporate names.  However, there is something that seems natural about the Brewers playing at Miller Park.

Unfortunately, when we canceled our summer plans to visit the United States this resolution fell by the wayside.  However, MLB playing behind closed doors only confirmed that we would not get to attend a game at Miller Park together.

Recapping the resolutions

  1. See all five NPB teams in Greater Tokyo (Chiba Lotte Marines, Saitama Seibu Lions, Tokyo Yakult Swallows, Yokohama DeNA BayStars, and Yomiuri Giants).  Resolution not kept.
  2. See all three MiLB teams in Indiana (Fort Wayne TinCaps, Indianapolis Indians, and South Bend Cubs).  Resolution not kept.
  3. Attend a Rocket City Trash Pandas game.  Resolution not kept.
  4. Attend a Milwaukee Brewers game at Miller Park.  Resolution not kept.

For the first time since I started making ballpark travel resolutions, I failed to uphold any of my resolutions.  It is disappointing that I missed the mark on all four resolutions.  However, much of it is beyond my control.  First, there was no Minor League season, which meant I would miss two resolutions.  Secondly, Major League Baseball played without fans until the playoffs, which means I could not attend a game at Miller Park anyway.  The only ballpark resolution I might have kept in 2020 was seeing all the Tokyo ballparks.  Unfortunately, due to local guidelines I could not (and still cannot) travel to downtown Tokyo.  With downtown Tokyo off limits, I am unable to attend a Yomiuri Giants or Tokyo Yakult Swallows game.  Sadly, the closest I came to attending a game was buying some Minor League face masks.

As I review my 2020 ballpark resolutions, I shrug at my inability to keep any of them.  It is frustrating to review my resolutions from this past season and see 0-for-4 in the box score.  However, I know that I struck out due to unforeseen circumstances.  So, I am going to shake off this past year and look ahead to a brighter 2021.

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