Out to the Ball Game — With My Three Sons

Baseball. Tailgating. An RV. Our baseball road trip starts tonight, and you can follow along here for the next 10 days

It starts tonight. After decades of procrastination, I am finally doing it — a tour of the great lots where America indulges in our national pastime, baseball.

A true and lifelong Philadelphian, I am a born-again baseball fan. My baseball youth was defined by that week in September 1964 when, hiding from my parents under my bed sheets, a transistor radio pressed against my ear, pillow wrapped around to douse the volume, I painfully followed Gene Mauch and the Phillies collapse. In the ‘70’s those tearful childhood memories were re-ignited during the ignominious playoff disasters. Finally there was 1980. It was wondrous but served more as a pain reliever. [SIGNUP]

The baseball gods truly drew me back for the 2008 run and World Series, but the holy water finally found its way into my DNA when J-Roll smashed Jonathan Broxton’s fastball into the alley in right-center for the walkoff win against the Dodgers in last year’s NLCS. It wasn’t just the hit or the win—both among my greatest sports memories. It was the fact that I sat there knowing Jimmy was gonna get a hit and that the Phils were gonna to win. Expecting to win. Confident of a breakthrough. That was new. And exhilarating. And decidedly un-Philadelphia like.

For a good stretch of my business career, I structured and arranged funding for stadiums and arenas. This trip will be a reunion with some of them. I’ll have something to say about those experiences and the quality of the buildings they helped to produce over the course of the next week as well.

I’ve always wanted to see America from behind the wheel of an RV. I’ve found beauties online and emailed their photos to my wife Connie. She always breaks into hysterics. It finally dawned on me. She ain’t coming on this trip. But I do have sons and the newest of them, Prentiss, will marry my oldest daughter in October. A New Englander and charter member of Red Sox Nation, Prent is a true believer and baseball freak. Thankfully, Prent has adopted the Fightin’s as his own. Phil, Ben and I are making this his travelling bachelor party. Philly, Baltimore, D.C., Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Cincinnati. Could any man want more from a bachelor party? Okay, Las Vegas it’s not.

My research—ah there’s always the research—has exposed a cultural aspect of our nation previously invisible to me—the RV park. We’re staying at them over eight nights. No motels for this posse. I am anxious to explore what goes on there—we’ll be at one on the night they’ll be holding square dancing in the community center—and to report it to my “readers.”

We’ve planned to tailgate at stadium parking lots and fire up the barbecue wherever possible. There are some Maryland crab shacks on the tour as well. I just bought a magazine that features recipes for tailgaters.

Golf is planned on our off days, just like what ballplayers do. We’ll also be visiting some museums in DC, the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton and a battlefield or two.

And of course, there will be the baseball. Our lineup includes the Phillies (2x), Giants, Astros, Orioles, Rangers, Nationals, Cardinals, Pirates, Cubs (also 2x), Indians, A’ and Reds. Lots of playoff contenders and some “wait until next year-ers”.

I’ll be posting the accounts of our travels—my observations about the parks, museums, campgrounds, my cooking, living up close and very personal with three male 20somethings, RV hygiene, baseball and life— here on The Philly Post and on my Facebook wall. I hope you’ll join me for some quick relief from the DRPA, DROP, Family Court, overpaid public agency CEOs, FBI raids on local pols and all of the other great stuff that rams our nerves.

Let the games begin.