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ballparks,  travel

Revealing my 2021 ballpark travel resolutions

Each year people make resolutions, typically to better themselves and their lives.  Self-improvement goals are great, but I prefer to make resolutions related to traveling. Specifically, I make ballpark travel resolutions, as I continue my quest to see more places by visiting baseball stadiums.  Without further ado, here are my 2021 ballpark travel resolutions.

Resolution #1:

In 2019 and 2020, I resolved to see all of the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) teams in Greater Tokyo.  So far, I have not come close to attending a game at each stadium during a single season.  Nor have I been to all five parks.  The most ballparks I have visited in a single season was during the 2019 season when I saw the Yomiuri Giants and Tokyo Yakult Swallows play at home.  I did not get to any baseball games in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but I am hopeful that I will have the opportunity this season.

Living on the western edge of Greater Tokyo, it is a 30-minute drive to the Saitama Seibu Lions stadium.  However, the other NPB stadiums are much farther away.  It is a 90-minute train ride to see the Giants or Swallows.  The Yokohama DeNA Baystars are a 2-hour train ride and the Chiba Lotte Marines are a 2.5-hour train ride.  Hopefully, I will be able to check off the Baystars and Marines with weekend trips that allow me to see more of the surrounding communities.

Resolution #2:

During the past year, my wife Katie & I have stayed active by participating in a variety of virtual running/walking challenges and races.  Most, but not all, have been organized by Fusion Racing, which is in Newark, Delaware.  Fusion Racing primarily hosts in-person events in Greater Wilmington, but pivoted to primarily hosting virtual events due to local limitations of large gatherings.  Each challenge has a Facebook group where participants post their results, so we got to interact and know several Wilmington-area residents.  Growing our running family has fueled a desire to meet and hopefully run a race with these great people.

So, it was only logical that I combine a trip to Delaware with a baseball game.  I have only passed through Delaware and have not spent significant time in the state.  Therefore, I am hoping to see a ballgame, run with my extended running family, and get to do more than stop at a gas station along I-95.  Additionally, Katie has never visited Delaware.  So, we would get to accomplish several firsts in Delaware together.

Resolution #3:

Last year, I resolved to see the Trash Pandas during their inaugural season.  However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I did not travel to the United States last summer.  Ultimately, the cancelation of the Minor League Baseball (MiLB) season meant that nobody got to attend a Trash Pandas game in 2020.

There are two reasons I really want to see a Trash Pandas game.  First and foremost, as a former Huntsville Stars intern, I am excited to see MiLB return to the area.  I was sad to see the Stars leave for greener fields in Biloxi after the 2014 season.  However, I got to see a game with several of my former coworkers (read about it here) during the team’s swan song.  Secondly, during the five years I lived in Alabama, my wife & I regularly visited Huntsville.  We enjoyed exploring the city’s food and craft beer scene, so we are anxious to see how it has changed since our move to Japan.

Resolution #4:

In 2019, Katie & I explored some ballparks in Oregon and Washington state.  We hoped to see more stadiums last summer, but that did not happen primarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  We are planning to yet again work at Camp Spark in Tacoma, Washington, in late July.  Two years ago, we saw three of the current teams in the Northwest League, so we are hoping to visit the remaining ballparks in the league this season.  I am particularly excited to see Tri-City Dust Devils on-field host Erik Mertens (a.k.a. Erik the Peanut Guy), who is a notable Minor League figure.  Additionally, Katie & I would get to visit a new country (and province) by attending a Vancouver Canadians game.

Recapping my resolutions

To keep all of my 2021 ballpark travel resolutions, I will have to visit 10 ballparks across three countries, eight states/prefectures/provinces, four time zones, and three levels of baseball.  A lot of things must happen for me to fulfill my ballpark travel resolutions during any year.  Fulfilling my resolutions this year is no different.  However, the number-one caveat is that fans need to be allowed to attend baseball games.  Right now, I do not know if that will happen, but I am hopefully optimistic.

Usually at this time, I have some idea of when I will be traveling for games.  Without Minor League schedules, I do not have any tentative dates to see the Blue Rocks, Trash Pandas, Dust Devils, Indians, or Canadians.  The NPB schedule is out, so I can at least start working on those plans.  Regardless of my planning, my 2021 ballpark travel resolutions are set.  As usual, I will review the resolutions at the end of the year.  However, you can follow along with my planning and travel on your preferred social media platform (Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter).

Do you make annual travel resolutions?  If so, what goals do you have for 2021?  Or are you forsaking travel plans until you feel safe traveling during the pandemic?

Note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, travel is not always advisable.  Despite my desire to visit these different ballparks, I will adhere to local guidelines and advisories regarding travel.

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