The Fastest Thirty Ballgames
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The Fastest Thirty Ballgames
A Ballpark Chasers World Record Story
Published:
6/10/2011
Format:
Perfect Bound Softcover
Pages:
272
Size:
8.25x11
ISBN:
978-1-45208-679-8
Print Type:
B/W

“THE FASTEST 30 BALLGAMES” is a World Record journey of dedicated ‘Ballpark Chaser’, Chuck Booth. In the summer of 2009, Booth accomplished this amazing feat of attending a full baseball game at every Major League Baseball home team’s ballpark in only 24 calendar days. Booth managed this after falling just short of the record in 2008. The book chronicles the story of Booth as he rearranged his life to attempt the World Record after hearing the inspirational story of Jim Maclaren who faced two near death experiences--and how Jim overcame being a quadriplegic to become one of the most respected motivational speakers in America. The story features write-ups of all ballparks Booth visited during the streak with a look at traditions and physical appearance. It also reveals how after he became a member of Ballpark Chasers, he decided to include Chaser Guides that offer suggestions on how to travel, where to eat and sleep, the best parking, transportation to and from the ballpark, where to score the best seats and so much more. This knowledge is passed on to the reader in hopes of saving them time, money and stress when Ballpark Chasing around the country. Co-authors are fellow Ballpark Chasers: Craig B. Landgren and Ken Lee. Craig assisted with the Ballpark Chaser Guides while Ken charted Booth’s record attempt in 2009. Throughout the book look for other featured ‘Ballpark Chasers’ personal ballpark stories and memories that have forever changed their lives.

I sat in the Houston International Airport awaiting the flight that would take me to the last baseball double header in Arlington Texas. I had felt a huge sense of accomplishment in arriving on time for this 5:15 PM departure. Still I had thought this would be a tight squeeze from the moment I booked and purchased the flight.

I was lucky the Houston Astros game had wound up in the two hour and forty-five minute window I needed—with them beating the New York Mets.

During a hot and humid day indoors, I watched with curious energy as the last out was recorded, I then raced to the corner of Crawford and Congress—where my sedan driver was in his car, gas running and ready to head out to the airport.

I had beaten the general attendance out of the game because I had positioned myself near the exit while watching the final inning. The game was close enough to be in question so people were not leaving early.

My driver had been the same driver I called on the previous month when I made my first visit to Houston. Ironically, it was the also the third day of the month, and was also a day game, except for this game was on a weekend, and that game was on a Thursday.

Traffic was light on that Sunday, and I took a look at my boarding pass that I had printed out in the airport earlier that morning when I had arrived from Minnesota. I then looked at my remnants of a black travel bag that had already travelled Forty-Thousand Miles through the journey.

The bag used to be heavier, but I started throwing things out towards the end of my trip to make it lighter. I also had a black briefcase which had been the best ally to travel with since it could double as a place for extra clothing—along with carrying schedules, game tickets, hotel reservations, car reservations, maps and electronics for my equipment to document the evidence of this streak.

I was dressed in shorts that had the colors of the British Flag, red white and blue. I was also wearing my black number 23-‘Don Mattingly New York Yankee t-shirt Jersey, I also had sandals on, and a black baseball cap that was severely weathered from being to Twenty-Eight different ballparks in the last Twenty Six days.

My stomach was full of pizza I had eaten at the baseball game. At this point of the trip I knew I had gained about thirty five pounds in the 5 weeks since I left home. I shot from One Hundred and Eighty-Five pounds to Two-hundred and Twenty. I was going to work that off when I returned home to Canada. Another thing to be gone was the beard dangling from my face that had never been so long in my life.

Heading up Highway Fifty-Nine up North, I started to see clouds in the distance, as we approached the airport more, it was apparent we were going to the eye of a rainstorm. I felt a little uneasy as I paid the driver and cleared through security, all the while I was looking through the glass of the airport to monitor the weather towards my pending gate.

It was 4:15 PM in the afternoon. My driver had made good time in reaching the airport from ‘Minute Maid Park’ in twenty-five minutes, and I made it through security in only a few minutes as well.

Everything felt ominous from the time I reached the area of the boarding jet way for this scheduled flight. Most notably, there was no sign of a plane. As rain continued gaining momentum outside the gate, I talked with an airline agent and she told me a plane was supposed to be coming in—and was only late by ten minutes. According to her, we would be able to make the set departure time.

I took a seat after buying a Coke, (another habit I was going to stop after the trip was finished), and began watching ‘CNN’. There was yet another debate going on with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for the Democratic race.

Having been on forty plus flights in a month, I was well versed in every avenue of this given political race. All the airport TV monitors carried ‘CNN’ as the only channel.

Another gust of wind, followed by a heavy thunderclap, and the rain came feverishly to the ground outside the airport. The lights momentarily flickered throughout the entire inside of the airport. I became worried. No sooner then two minutes later the clock for the impending flight to Dallas Fort Worth changed by thirty minutes ahead.

This caused me to bury my head into my hands. Already if the flight was on time I needed a perfect flight, timely sedan pick up in Dallas, and to have traffic not be so bad in Dallas, so I could run go through the turnstiles at ‘The Ball Park In Arlington’, for the first pitch. First pitch was five minutes after seven. My map told me it was about eleven miles of distance to cover, and could take thirty-five minutes in traffic to get there.

I called my buddy Justin in Canada, I asked for the weather report in Dallas for the game. My thought was that, “If it is raining here it may be raining there, and that could cause a rain-delay, then I might be able to make the first pitch still.” He confirmed it was raining in Dallas and that it loomed in the forecast pretty heavy for the next few hours but was supposed to clear up after that.

At this point I had a little bit of optimism, the very same thing had happened to me in Cincinnati the previous month. There was a big traffic accident on the Seventy-One Highway South on the ‘Fourth of July’ heading from Indianapolis Airport to ‘The Great American Ball Park’. The start of the game was delayed, and I made it there on time to qualify for the game.

I drank my beverage and was ready to call my sedan driver in Dallas to go over the game plan after the flight time change. I then noticed that not only was there not a plane in my gate yet, but that I had not even seen a plane in any of the other dozen gates from the time I had arrived there.

From that instant, my flight to Dallas, (that had already been delayed by thirty minutes)—jumped from one gate—all the way to other side of the airport gate and the time changed to 7:00 PM. I swore out loud.

I swore so loud that about fifty people looked in my direction with angst. It was a natural reaction without any time to even think about it. It was not the first time in the trip I had been caught swearing either, and it would not be the last. The next few times I swore I managed to do it under my breath. I ran to the bathroom. It was an excruciating few minutes.

Douglas "Chuck" Booth currently lives in White Rock B.C Canada. He holds the record for 'FASTEST TO VIEW A HOME GAME OF ALL 30 MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TEAMS IN THE LEAST AMOUNT OF DAYS' by going to all 30 Major League ballparks in 24 days during the summer of 2009. He also attended 30 games in 29 days in 2008. Booth, A.K.A Hugh Hawkins-is also the author of the books 'LEAPING DEATH' and 'THE ROOKIE BOOKIE'. Booth has visited all 50 states in America. Booth is also the founder of a new website www.fastestthirtyballgames.com where he gives a rankings scheme to each ballpark and also writes on various other MLB topics.

CRAIG B. LANDGREN is the founder of ballparkchasers.com, an Internet social network. Craig launched Ballpark Chasers with the vision of connecting baseball fans around the world, especially those with the life goal of seeing all Major League ballparks. Since going live, Ballpark Chasers has doubled each year in total members and has quickly become the Internet's largest collection of amateur ballpark images. Craig currently resides in the Seattle area with his wife and newborn daughter.

KENNETH A. LEE is a ballpark addict that has been to all 30 current MLB ballparks. On his website at www.seeall30.com he documents his ballpark experiences and shares his knowledge of baseball and traveling. When Booth asked him to help document his world record attempt he gladly accepted the offer. By posting up-to-the-minute blog entries and pictures of Booth from the road he was able to keep everyone up-to-date as they followed Booth on his 24 day journey. Kenneth resides in Marysville, WA with his wife Yvonne and their 2 dogs, Boomer & Tilly.

 
 


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