An Epic Baseball Road Trip

5 baseball stadiums in 5 days


St. Louis – Cincinnati – Cleveland – Pittsburgh – Detroit

Nothing says epic like fireworks! (taken at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio
Nothing says epic like fireworks! (taken at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio

Planning the Trip: A Backstory

I love baseball and photographing baseball stadiums…
…every one is unique, yet fundamentally the same.

I have taken my camera to 14 Major League Baseball stadiums.
My favorite seats to shoot from = the highest ones in the upper deck.

From there, I can get the roof’s infrastructure along with a full view of the seats, field and view beyond in a wide angle or fisheye shot.

I started a photographic series: Baseball Stadiums With a Fisheye
…which has since morphed into complete photographic walking tours of each one.

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Meeks

Me and Meeks at Great American Ballpark
Me and Meeks at Great American Ballpark

My childhood friend Meeks and I have been to countless baseball games together. So when he moved to Cleveland – an area surrounded by stadiums neither of us had been to – something epic started brewing.Our initial plan: 2,000 miles driving in 7 days…

It wound up being 1,260 in 5.

We barely prepared.
.we didn’t need to..
..we had smartphones with GPS…
…and we knew when & where the games were.

We had no tickets until the day of…
…and got dirt-cheap field level seats from StubHub.

Everything else just figured itself out as we went…

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Our route was A -> B -> G -> D -> G -> F -> G
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While examining the entire route of our trip, Meeks and I decided that it looked like a stick figure missing a leg.
While examining the entire route of our trip, Meeks and I decided that it looked like a stick figure missing a leg.
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Busch Stadium – St. Louis, MO

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Game 1: New York Mets (6) vs St. Louis Cardinals (11)
September 20, 2011
278 miles of driving
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The Gateway Arch features prominently in the St. Louis skyline from Busch Stadium
The Gateway Arch features prominently in the St. Louis skyline from Busch Stadium

Day 1: Traveling 2,300 Miles to See Baseball

  • Woke up at 3:45am –> Flew out of San Francisco at 5:30am
  • Landed in St. Louis at 1:30pm –> Game went from 7:15 – 10:45
  • Hit the road and try to drive as close to Cincinnati as possible
  • Seriously consider driving all the way and sleeping in the car in a parking garage.
  • Finally stopped driving at 4am (damn you time change)…80 miles away from Cincinnati
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My very first parking spot in St. Louis was the top floor across the street from Busch Stadium
My very first parking spot in St. Louis was the top floor across the street from Busch Stadium
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Great American Ballpark – Cincinnati, OH

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Game 2: Houston Astros (0) vs Cincinnati Reds (2)
September 21, 2011
328 miles of driving
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Great American Ballpark From Center Field With Steamboat Smokestacks
Great American Ballpark From Center Field With Steamboat Smokestacks

Day 2: Lots of Driving and a Rainy Last Game of the Season

Woke up at 9am
Drove the wrong way for 30 minutes
Arrived in Cincinnati just in time for the rainy 12:35pm game

It was the 2nd shortest game I’ve ever been to @ just over 2 hours
The game was delayed due to the stadium’s alarms going off for 20 minutes.

Hit the road at 5pm after scarfing down a big bowl of Skyline Chilli: a Cincinnati staple of spaghetti, chili, cheese, beans & onions

Returned car to Cleveland Airport and was at Meeks’ place by 9pm

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Great American Ballpark in the Rain From the Centerfield Bleachers
Great American Ballpark in the Rain From the Centerfield Bleachers
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Progressive Field – Cleveland, OH
(aka) Jacob’s Field

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Game 3: Chicago White Sox (2) vs Cleveland Indians (11)
September 22, 2011
NO driving!
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Me With Slider - the Indians Mascot
Me With Slider – the Indians Mascot

Day 3: Relaxation At Last!

  • Slept in!
  • Hung out at Meeks’ apartment
  • Wandered around some industrial construction by Cleveland’s waterfront
  • Saw the Indians defeat the White Sox (Home team record now 3-0)Met up with an old college friend after the game
  • Went to sleep in the same place I woke up that day
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Jacob's Field from the very last row of the right field upper deck - with a wide angle lens
Jacob’s Field from the very last row of the right field upper deck – with a wide angle lens
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PNC Park – Pittsburgh, PA

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Game 4: Cincinnati Reds (3) vs Pittsburgh Pirates (4)
September 23, 2011
264 miles of driving
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PNC Park From the Right Field Bleachers
PNC Park From the Right Field Bleachers

Day 4: The Stadium I Was Most Excited to See

  • Slept in again. As well I should. It’s vacation.
  • Saw a weather report for Pittsburgh that had 70% chance of thunderstorms
  • Rented a new car and left Cleveland at 2:30pm
  • Watched as the last-place Pirates managed to win the game on a walkoff hit in the bottom of the 9th. (Home team record now 4-0 on this trip)
  • Got right back in the car and arrived in Cleveland at 1:30am
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PNC Park From Centerfield with a Fisheye lens
PNC Park From Centerfield with a Fisheye lens
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Comerica ParkDetroit, MO

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Game 5: Baltimore Orioles (6) vs Detroit Tigers (5)
The only home team loss I saw

September 24, 2011
336 miles of driving
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Comerica Park Centerfield TV Camera Platform
Comerica Park Centerfield TV Camera Platform

Day 5: Abandonment, Motown and a Postseason Atmosphere

  • Planned to get up early, head to Detroit and spend the afternoon taking photos of industrial abandonment.
  • Wound up in Detroit with just enough time to do some quick drive-by photography
  • Comerica Park was rocking! Justin Verlander was pitching for his 25th win.
  • The Tigers had already made the postseason + after the game there were going to be FIREWORKS!

  • Considering Justin Verlander will probably win the Cy Young award this year, Meeks and I were shocked that he provided us with the only home team loss of our entire trip.
  • It took around 30 minutes to get out of the parking lot
  • Another 3 hours to get back to Cleveland
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Comerica Park From Right Field Section Gap With a Fisheye
Comerica Park From Right Field Section Gap With a Fisheye
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Finally…
one good night’s sleep
one hearty brunch
one final car rental return
and one direct flight back to San Francisco.

Stay tuned for full photographic walking tours with a fisheye (and other lenses) of all five baseball stadiums I visited on my Epic Baseball Road Trip

…in the mean time, check out…

Shea StadiumNew Yankee StadiumOakland ColosseumAngels Stadium

Share the Journey

  • http://leahtravels.com Leah

    Any sports pilgrimage is alright by me. Great work. Love this!

    • http://www.AdventuresofaGoodMan.com Greg Goodman

      Thanks, Leah! Yeah, sports pilgrimages are fun…though this one did get a wee bit tiring by the end. Still, totally worth every mile!!!

  • http://www.donteverlookback.com Kieron

    That’s awesome and the photos are fantastic! Even better that the home team won 4 out of 5. Would love to know which one had the best atmosphere?

    From my point of view it’s ironic that Detroit was the team that lost – I’ve been to two games at Angel Stadium and Yankee Stadium (both against the Tigers) where the home team has lost. Hopefully one day I’ll get to watch a winning team!

    • http://www.AdventuresofaGoodMan.com Greg Goodman

      I would say that Detroit had the best atmosphere, followed by St Louis. No surprise, as the rest of the teams were out of the race. That said, the Pittsburgh crowd was way more into the game than I would have expected and went absolutely NUTS when they won the game in the bottom of the 9th.

  • http://onmyfeetorinmymind.blogspot.com/ Erik

    As a native Detroiter, It’s sad that industrial abandonment is what we are known for. That and crime and political corruption. As down as we’ve been, this place still exists and breeds tough people.

    Looks like a cool trip.

    • http://www.AdventuresofaGoodMan.com Greg Goodman

      Thanks Erik, it was an amazing trip!

      I share your sadness for Detroit’s bad rep. I thought it was an awesome city and it had a great atmosphere and people. By far the most into the baseball game and that skyline is pretty amazing. If only they could get some more people into the buildings that city would once again be unstoppable!

  • http://myitchytravelfeet.com Donna Hull

    Every baseball lover’s dream – a stadium road trip.

    • http://www.AdventuresofaGoodMan.com Greg Goodman

      Only thing that could be better would be MORE stadiums! Thanks, Donna.