Collage with four boxes for 2020 ballpark resolutions. Upper left contains logos for Indianapolis Indians, Fort Wayne TinCaps, and South Bend Cubs. Upper right contains logo of Rocket City Trash Pandas inside outline of Alabama. Bottom left contains Milwaukee Brewers logo. Bottom right contains JR East map of trains in Greater Tokyo.
ballparks,  travel

Revealing my 2020 ballpark resolutions

The new year means time to make resolutions to better yourself.  For a lot of people that means a vow to lose weight, quit smoking, or some other self-improvement objective.  Those are all admirable goals, but I prefer to focus on traveling in the new year.  Specifically, I like to set goals to visit new ballparks.  Without further ado, here are my 2020 ballpark resolutions.

Resolution #1:

I made this resolution last year as well (read last year’s resolutions here).  In 2019, I attended Yomiuri Giants and Tokyo Yakult Swallows ballgames, but failed to make it to the other three ballparks in greater Tokyo.  I debated whether to include this among my 2020 ballpark resolutions, but with the ultimate goal of seeing all 12 Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) stadiums I decided I should start close to home by visiting all the ballparks in Tokyo.

The Saitama Seibu Lions, Giants, and Swallows are about a 90-minute train ride from my home.  So, it is easy to attend a home game on either a weekend or weekday.  The trickier part will be blocking off weekends to watch the BayStars in Yokohama and the Marines in Chiba.  Yokohama is about two hours away and Chiba is a 2.5-hour trip from my home, so I’d prefer to do more than just attend a baseball game.

Resolution #2:

Since 2011, I have participated in the Advanced Placement (AP) Human Geography Reading in Cincinnati, Ohio.  If I am lucky enough to work at the reading this year, I want to explore more ballparks in the Midwest.  My goal for this trip is to finish all the Minor League Baseball (MiLB) ballparks in Indiana after seeing the Indianapolis Indians (read about it here) last season.  Initially I thought about checking off all the Minor League parks in Michigan.  However, the Midwest League schedule would have necessitated a longer trip.  Instead I turned my focus to Indiana because I could see each ballpark on consecutive nights before returning to Tokyo.  Now to cross my fingers and hope for an invitation to the 2020 APHG Reading.

Resolution #3:

It sounds incredibly weird to say about a baseball team that has yet to play a game, but the Rocket City Trash Pandas hold a very special place in my heart.  In 2003, I interned with the Huntsville Stars while completing my master’s degree in sports administration.  Since that summer I’ve closely followed baseball in Huntsville, and I was disappointed when the team left town.  I was fortunate to attend a reunion of former Stars employees during their final season at Joe W. Davis Stadium (read about it here).

Another reason I am fond of the Trash Pandas means fast-forwarding to 2015 when I had begun dating my wife.  She was pursuing a master’s degree at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, and I was working as a geography professor at The University of Alabama.  During the 18 months before she moved to Tuscaloosa, we explored Huntsville as a midway point for weekends together.  Even after she relocated and we got married, we continued to make trips to Huntsville for beer festivals, a blogger conference, and just because we enjoyed our time there.

So, when the news broke that the Huntsville area was getting a MiLB team it became a priority for us to see them when we returned to the U.S.  We expect to be in the U.S. in June, so we hope to see the Trash Pandas and visit one of our favorite cities.

Resolution #4:

As a baby my wife had a pennant with the Milwaukee Brewers’ iconic “ball-in-glove” logo above her crib because her dad was born and raised in Wisconsin.  So, despite growing up in Oklahoma, she has cheered on the Brewers since birth.  Last January when the Brewers announced that MillerCoors was not renewing its naming rights deal on the team’s ballpark, she like many other fans was unhappy.  Like all baseball fans, she has only known the stadium as Miller Park.

Corporate names come and go, but some just seem “natural.”  Miller Park is one that fit.  It seems logical that a team named after the city’s brewing industry would play in a ballpark named after the city’s biggest brewery.  So, the impending name change has motivated Katie and I to attend a Brewers game before the stadium is no longer called Miller Park.

Recapping my resolutions

My 2020 ballpark resolutions span two countries, seven states/prefectures, three time zones, and five levels of baseball.  I feel like all my resolutions are attainable, although some will require more planning than others.  Traveling to see all five baseball teams in Greater Tokyo takes a lot of time.  However, I know the commutes are feasible, especially for weekend games.   I don’t know yet whether I’ll be at the AP Human Geography Reading in Cincinnati, but assuming I make it there I can easily visit all three Indiana MiLB parks.  Katie and I expect to be back in the U.S. this summer, so if we’re visiting family in Atlanta it’s easy to make a trip to Huntsville to see the Trash Pandas.  Attending a game at Miller Park is tricky because it’s not a trip to visit immediate family.

With my 2020 ballpark resolutions set I now must work to achieve my goals.  I have penciled in dates to see the Trash Pandas, Brewers, and the three Indiana ballparks.  The real chore will be planning my visits to the five Tokyo ballparks.  As usual, I’ll review my resolutions at the end of the year and assess my success or failure.  If you want to follow along throughout the year, be sure to follow me on your preferred social media platform (Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter).

Do you make travel resolutions?  If so, what goals have you set for 2020?  How do you measure the success of keeping your goals?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *