I headed to the East Coast for my first Big League Tours adventure, flying solo! Although I could have spent days enjoying the city, it was down to business when the wheels hit the ground at Boston Logan. enway will always hold a special place in my heart since it was the first Major League Baseball game I ever attended. I was glad to be back and start sharing what I knew about the stadium with our guests!
After meeting BLT Host and permanent Boston resident, Mike G. for some secrets of Fenway and a little confidence boost, it was time to hit the hotel and meet my guinea pigs! I’m thrilled to say that my first ever tour group couldn’t have been more fantastic. Within the first five minutes, the Australian’s had the whole group rolling with laughter while comparing their accents to the Texans on the trip.
We quickly learned that we’d be helping each other a lot over the next week as most of the group learned how to ride a metro system! Once we made it to Fenway the group was off exploring the stadium and checking out one of the best gift stores in MLB. Secret #1 that I discovered, the Bleacher Bar is a must! Enjoy a cheap (for a sporting event) beer while watching batting practice from the outfield!
Secret #2 of the trip, be selective when you try to escape the heat in the Yankee Stadium gift shop, they aren’t all air-conditioned! I’m not sure what he was doing, but the weather god wasn’t looking down on us in New York. With temperatures in the 100’s on Wednesdays and 60’s on Friday at Citi Field, I thought I was back in Indiana’s crazy weather.
The heat and rain couldn’t keep our die-hard fans away, especially the Lantz’s who had seen every stadium in the country prior to the addition of six more. With a tour of Yankee Stadium and private meet and greet with 1969 World Series Champion, Art Shamsky, they were thrilled to see more than just a game.
Outside of the scheduled events, our group became very close and spent most of our free day exploring New York City together. With a trip to Lombardi’s Pizza, the first coal oven pizza place in the United States, and then the World Trade Center Memorial, the off time was definitely used for more than testing the pillows in the hotel room.
There were definitely lessons learned on my first tour and one of those was how quickly a group of strangers can turn into a temporary family. We even added a few family members, thanks to the Aussie’s who gave us stuffed koalas as a souvenier! I couldn’t have asked for a better group to share my first trip with, hopefully it won’t be the last time we’ll be seeing each other!
Anyway You Look At It, This Baseball Tour Is Gonna Be Big!!
Baseball and travel are obviously two things that I love. But when you combine my favorite city and my favorite team, it's an unbeatable combination. This May, the Reds are headed to New York City to play the Mets and the Yankees in back-to-back series at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium. This road trip will be a great way to hang out in Manhattan for several days while taking in several games and exploring the sites.
It's been awhile since our tours have included the Reds on a series in New York. In fact, here's a photo of Brandon Phillips at bat at Shea Stadium taken from our seats on a tour in 2007, which I'm pretty sure is the last time we crossed paths in the Big Apple.
If this sounds like a great way to see the city and some great baseball games, check out our Big Apple Tour. You'll have plenty of time to explore NYC and our tour director will guide you through a great itinerary where you'll have a meet and greet with a former big league player, sit in great seats at the game, and stay in a great hotel in Midtown.
July 1, 2011 - After meeting Art Shamsky in Midtown Manhattan, our group headed out to Citi Field to see the Mets host the Angels. It's always interesting to see the reaction of our travelers as we reach the Mets' new ballpark.
So much raquet is made about Yankee Stadium, the history and of the team, the House That Ruth Built, etc., etc. But the fact is, almost everyone who has been to the new Yankee Stadium and then walks into Citi, says, "Now this is a ballpark."
Comparing the two baseball stadiums, one notices things like the rich colors at Citi Field versus the lack of color at Yankee Stadium. The Mets' outfield wall and centerfield walkway provide interesting sitelines (at least to our guests in the lower-level and between the bases...). And the throwback appearance with the nod to Ebbets Field make Citi Field look and feel like a ballpark whereas Yankee Stadium looks like a mammoth municipal building.
Don't get me wrong. I love seeing games at Yankee Stadium. The team's rich history and great players, makes every baseball fan respect their success. What I am pointing out, however, is that when in New York, whether for work, vacation, or specifically on a baseball road trip, fans should make their way to Citi Field. They won't be disappointed.
June 22, 2011 - On each one of our MLB tours, we include a player meet and greet. It's what we've named our
Big League Player Experience. This time, while in New York City, we brought in Art Shamsky, member of the '69 Miracle Mets team. Here's Art to the left as our guests are arriving to meet him.
Art's story of breaking into the Majors is really interesting. He came up through the Reds organization and then was traded to the Mets a couple of years after their formation. The team was known as the lovable losers and came out of nowhere to win the World Series in 1969. It was a young team that gelled at the right time with players such as Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, and Tug McGraw.
Art shared with us that he typically hears three questions from fans that he meets on baseball trips. One, wouldn't you like to be playing today and making the kind of money these players are making? Two, should Pete Rose be in the Hall of Fame? And three, what's it like to have a bulldog named after you on the show "Everybody Loves Raymond"? (If you want to know his answers, you'll have to join us in NYC!!)
Here's one of our guests holding the signed baseball that he received at our Big League Player Experience with Art Shamsky. Time and again, this is one of, if not the favorite events, for our guests as they travel with us on our baseball road trips. It's another way to get closer to the game by talking with guys who have been in the big leagues. Their stories and experiences make these baseball vacation packages that much more special.
May 10, 2011 - Looking for a baseball tour to please the pickiest baseball fan you know? Look no further. This
tour is a baseball aficionado’s dream tour – six stadiums and the Hall of Fame in one trip. The longest of our 2011 MLB road trips begins in Philadelphia where we'll see the Phillies host the Cubs at Citizens Bank Park. Then it's off to Baltimore to see the Rays and Orioles at the first of the retro ballparks, Camden Yards.
We'll take a stadium tour of Orioles Park and visit the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum before heading to Washington D.C. There our guests will have the rest of the day and all of Monday to explore our nation's capitol. We'll then catch the Cardinals at Nationals Park with a view of the Capitol building in the distance.
We'll then part for New York City, where we'll spend three nights, catch games at Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, make a day run up to Cooperstown, and take in some sights in the Big Apple. We're staying right in the heart of Manhattan so our travelers will get to enjoy every minute of being in the city.
Our final day will consist of a trip to Boston to see the Brewers play at historic Fenway Park. This is a tour that you don’t want to miss! You can learn more about this and all of our 2011 baseball road trips by visiting us at BigLeagueTours.com.
Saturday, June 11 - Cubs @ Phillies, 4:10 PM
Sunday, June 12 - Rays @ Orioles, 1:35 PM
Monday, June 13 - Free Day in DC
Tuesday, June 14 - Cardinals @ Nationals, 7:05 PM
Wednesday, June 15 - Rangers @ Yankees, 7:05 PM
Thursday, June 16 - Cooperstown, All Day
Friday, June 17 - Angels @ Mets, 7:10 PM
Saturday, June 18 - Brewers @ Red Sox, 1:10 PM
January 2, 2009 - A favorite one of our MLB Tours each year is our Big Apple Tour. This premier sports travel package includes two games at Yankee Stadium and one game at Citi Field. We'll stay in the heart of midtown Manhattan where you'll be close to Times Square, Fifth Avenue, and Central Park and so many restaurants, shops and sites.
This tour will provide you with two great chances to enjoy games at Yankee Stadium as the Yankees host the Blue Jays in an AL East division rivalry. The times for the games haven't been posted yet but we're sure that we'll either be entertained with fireworks for the 4th of July at Yankee Stadium or we'll be able to enjoy the festivities in the world's greatest city.
The next day we'll take a stadium tour and explore the city before we head out to Citi Field to see the Reds take on the Mets in their new home. If you haven't been to Citi Field yet, you should make the trip. It's a fantastic improvement over the old Shea Stadium. The design did a great job to incorporate old stadium features with up-to-date comforts.
To see more about this and other tour vacations being offered by Big League Tours, visit our website now to get all the details.
December 17, 2009 - East Coast 1 is the granddaddy of our baseball vacation packages. The tour package includes 6 games in 6 different baseball stadiums, a free day to explore New York City, a day at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, a player appearance, and baseball stadium tours at some of baseball's most hallowed halls.
We'll begin in Baltimore, making the hotel there our home base for a few days. We'll have a kickoff reception at the hotel on Saturday night. On Sunday morning, we'll head to Nationals Park for an afternoon game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Nationals. Monday, we'll drive up to Philadelphia to see the Padres and Phillies. Tuesday, we'll take a stadium tour of Orioles Park and see the Yankees and Orioles play.
On Wednesday, we'll board the motor coach and head up to New York City, our home base for the next three nights. We'll go to Citi Field to see the Mets host the Padres. Thursday, you'll have the day on your own to shop 5th Avenue, take escorted tours of the city's sites, or to stroll through Central Park.
Friday we'll tour Yankee Stadium and see the Yankees play the Astros. Saturday we'll trek up to Cooperstown for the day at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. We'll grab dinner in Cooperstown and then head to Boston. Sunday, we'll take in the Phillies and Red Sox and, if the schedule allows, we'll take a stadium tour of Fenway Park.
The hotel is provided Sunday night after the Red Sox game as part of the package. You also have the option of coming into Baltimore early or staying later in Boston so let us customize your sports vacations for you.
This premier sports travel package promises to be a great time. For more details on this baseball tour and our other MLB Tours, visit BigLeagueTours.com
July 10, 2009 - This week's Sports Illustrated
has an article about the '69 Miracle Mets team and prominently
features Art Shamsky in the article. Art is appearing on our upcoming Big Apple Tour
which features games at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field. Here's an excerpt from the article:
Maybe you were in New York that summer and fall, rooting for the Mets, the lovable (cue team jingle here) M-E-T-S Mets. You've been an optimist ever since. Of course you are. The club was a baseball comedy act from the year of its premature birth, 1962, right through 1968, losing an average of 105 games a season. And then came the surprise of '69. Elsewhere it was a horrible year, but New York witnessed a miracle: the Mets winning 100 games in the regular season, then beating the Baltimore Goliaths in the World Series. The miracle of Flushing Meadows, Queens.
Art Shamsky had no idea how lousy a year it had been. Not then. Shamsky, sharing duty with Ron Swoboda, patrolled Shea Stadium's rightfield, the first swath of green you'd see coming off the number 7 train. Shamsky was in his own little world that baseball season, 40 years ago, when Tom Seaver was a rising pitching god and Nolan Ryan a wild-armed reliever and spot starter and Jerry Grote, Texas badass, caught them both. Shamsky was a Jewish kid from suburban St. Louis, living in Manhattan, hearing kids (you?) scream Art Shamsky! as his big old Lincoln Continental entered the Shea Stadium players' lot, then going out after the game with the brothers—Cleon Jones, Tommie Agee—listening to jazz, wearing shades and long sideburns and striped pants, sipping house reds. It was many years later that he started making regular trips to the New York Public Library, in midtown, researching a book, twirling microfilm, making lists, catching up.
Good News, 1969: Man on the moon.
Bad News, 1969: Vietnam War, Manson murders, Hurricane Camille, the Chicago Seven trial, Chappaquiddick, inflation....
Shamsky is the unofficial class secretary of the '69 Mets, a regular when his teammates come together for parties, reunions, fantasy camps, golf tournaments, barbecues, card signings. Weddings. Funerals.
They gathered to bury Agee, centerfielder and leadoff hitter, in 2001. Agee—who'd almost single-handedly won Game 3 of the Series with a first-inning homer and for-the-ages catches on drives by Elrod Hendricks and Paul Blair—died of a heart attack, age 58, in his office on Second Avenue in midtown Manhattan, where he worked in the title search business. Shamsky was best man at Tommie's second wedding, in 1985, when he married Maxcine Green, a New York schoolteacher. O.K., not precisely best man. Best-man-on-deck, ready to pinch-hit if Cleon didn't show, and for the longest time that day it looked as if Cleon wouldn't show. But then he slipped in, cool as ever, saying, "Told you I'd get here." Rest in peace, Tommie.
The article is pretty interesting and points out how many young players were on that team that went on to have great careers. We're thrilled to have Art joining us in New York City on one of our upcoming baseball road trips. For a chance to meet Art Shamsky and other big league ball players, join us on any of our baseball tours for an unforgettable vacation.
March 27, 2009 - This year is an exciting year for New York baseball - two brand new stadiums opening in the same year. Our Big Apple Tour has always been a fan favorite, but it will be even more exciting this year.
If visiting two new stadiums wasn't exciting enough, we're going to be joined by Art Shamsky, a member of the 1969 World Champion New York Mets, for our Big League Player Experience. That's where we bring in MLB players to meet the fans traveling with us, share stories about their playing careers, answer questions, and sign autographs and get pictures with the fans on our small group tours. It's an opportunity to get an inside look into baseball and meet some of the players that we've grown up watching.
Here's an excerpt from Art's biography:
In 1965, Shamsky made the Cincinnati Reds and hit .260 as a backup outfielder. He batted .289 as a pinch-hitter that year. In 1966, despite getting only 272 plate appearances for the, Art was second on the team with 21 homers, trailing Deron Johnson by 3. He homered four times in four at-bats from August 12 through August 14, tying a Major League record.
On August 12, Shamsky became the first player in Reds history to hit two extra-inning home runs in one game and the only player in Major League history to hit 3 home runs in a game and not be in the starting lineup. The bat that he used to hit the four home runs in a row is on display in Baseball's Hall of Fame.
During the winter of 1967 Art was traded to the New York Mets and was part of the Miracle Mets that won the 1969 World Series. Art hit .300 that season and batted .537 with 7 hits in 13 at-bats against Atlanta in the National League Playoffs. The 1969 Mets are still recognized as one of the most remarkable stories ever in professional sports. After 13 years in pro baseball and with a World Series ring Art retired from baseball in 1973.
In his post baseball career, Art has been involved in numerous business endeavors and was a radio and television broadcaster that included the New York Mets in 1979, 1980 and 1981. In 2004 Art's popular book, "The Magnificent Seasons', was published.
Art joined us in New York City last year for the first time. He had some terrific stories and insight into the game. We're thrilled to have him joining us again. To read more about Art Shamsky, click here
to be taken to his website. Or, if you would like more information about other Big League Player Experiences offered on our baseball vacation packages, visit www.bigleaguetours.com
or give us a call!
February 18, 2009 - Each year, Big League Tours offers sports packages to baseball stadiums all across the Major Leagues. While we offer top of the line accommodations, lower-level tickets to the games, baseball stadium tours, and transportation, the highlight of the tours are always when we meet with current or former Major League players.
The Big League Player Appearances are shaping up nicely for the 2009 season. Here are the players that we have confirmed for our group travel tours:
- East Coast 1 - Rich Gedman, former Red Sox catcher, will be joining us in Boston
- East Coast 2 - John Tudor, former Red Sox pitcher, will be joining us in Boston
- Big Apple - Art Shamsky, former Mets outfielder and member of the 1969 Miracle Mets team, will be joining us in New York City
- Seattle - Dave Henderson, former Mariners outfielder, will be joining us in Seattle.
I'll be posting some information about each of these players and any updates that we will have including the players who will be joining us on our family tours in Atlanta and Chicago.