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Our Dream Trip

Posted by Big League Tours on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 @ 02:00 PM

June 23, 2011 - The accommodations and seats on our recent baseball trip were excellent. Glenn, our tour director, went out of his way to assure we were comfortable. The parks visited were excellent, as well as the baseball stadium tours. The variety of transportation was very good, although the subway travel was a bit tiring. Trip to Hall of Fame was excellent with ample time to see all. Bus selection was excellent. Train trip from Washington to New York was interesting. Glenn did an excellent job in guiding us. The player interface was interesting. Would we go with BLT again? Absolutely!

Name: John H. Gulick
City: Anaheim
State: CA
Country: USA
Your Trip: East Coast-Touch Em All

Tags: stadium tours, New York, baseball trips, baseball stadiums, big league tours, testimonials, hall of fame

Meeting Art Shamsky

Posted by Big League Tours on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 @ 01:45 PM

June 22, 2011 - On each one of our MLB tours, we include a player meet and greet. It's what we've named our Art w guests on our group travel toursBig 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. A signed baseball while on sports travel and tours

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.

Tags: New York, baseball trips, baseball vacation package, MLB tours, Baseball, Mets

Touring Yankee Stadium

Posted by Big League Tours on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 @ 01:30 PM

June 22, 2011 - Friday morning of our tour allowed our guests some time to explore some sites in New York City. We thenOur group outside Yankee Stadium gathered together to go to Yankee Stadium for one of their escorted tours. Here's the group just outside the House That Ruth Built (v2, anyway...)

I've taken this baseball stadium tour many times and would have to say that our guide, Greg, was the best I've had in the new stadium. He did a great job of incorporating historic details into the presentation as we stood in the museum and monument park. Many times before we would be rushed from place to place in the ballpark but that wasn't the case this time.

Because the team was out of town, we were able to exit the Yankees' dugout and go through the tunnel to see the batting cages and the team clubhouse. I'd love to show you pictures but cameras, cell phones, etc. are strictly off limits in those areas. Steinbrenner monument

To the left is the newest monument in Monument Park. It's obviously to George Steinbrenner, The Boss, who passed away last year. Mr. Steinbrenner had a terrific impact on the Yankees, the improvement of the team's performance, and continuing the legacy of the team's history. It's interesting to note, and comments were being made on this tour as I'm sure they are on other small group tours, that this is the largest monument in the park.

As you set out on MLB road trips, the behind the scenes looks that baseball stadium tours provide are something you should include. This is especially true in New York where the Yankees franchise, love 'em or hate 'em, has such a fantastic history and tradition. It's well worth the visit.

Tags: sports travel and tours, baseball tours, baseball stadiums, big league tours, MLB tours, Yankees, Yankee Stadium, MLB road trips, Baseball

The National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown

Posted by Big League Tours on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 @ 01:15 PM

June 21, 2011 - What East Coast baseball tour could be complete without a stop in Cooperstown, NY, the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame? We loaded up our motor coach early on Thursday morning and headed upstate to the wonderful little village nestled in by Lake Otsego.

Invariably around the third hour of our trip, someone asks the question, "Why is the Hall of Fame out here in the middle of no where?" Which, frankly, after making the trip several times myself, I think is a fair question.

Lemon-peel baseballSources state that "according to an interview conducted in 1906 by the Mills Commission, nearby resident Abner Graves attributed the game's invention to his deceased friend, Abner Doubleday. Graves stated that Doubleday invented baseball on a cow pasture within the village in 1839."

I have also heard that early versions of the lemon peel-style baseball were found in a trunk owned by Doubleday in Cooperstown. (The picture to the left is a modern day recreation of those versions that you can purchase today from Leather Head Sports.)

So because of the credit given by Graves and the articles found in Cooperstown, it has been considered the birthplace of baseball and is therefore the home of the Hall of Fame. That doesn't change the fact that it's still a tough place to get to but it's definitely worth the trip.
Viva Baseball
The exhibit that was new to me that I enjoyed the most this year was the Viva Baseball exhibit. It's a dedication to the impact that Latin American baseball and ballplayers have had on the Major Leagues.

The section had information about great Latino members of the Hall such as Roberto Clemente, Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichel, and Tony Perez as well as many modern day players like Adrian Gonzalez, Albert Pujols, David Ortiz, and Johann Santana.

The exhibit is a great recognition of the impact that Latino players have had and will continue to have on the great game of baseball.

As you plan your family tours or look for baseball vacation packages, fans of all ages would enjoy a trip to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown to experience the rich history the game has to offer.

Tags: New York, hall of fame, Cooperstown, Baseball

Side Trip in Cooperstown

Posted by Big League Tours on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 @ 01:00 PM

June 16, 2011 - When you are in Cooperstown, eventually you are going to have to get something to eat. There are several options along Main Street, many of them offering traditional American pub fare that will be pleasing to the masses of visitors to the Hall and families with young kids playing in tournaments in the Village.

But after spending several hours in the Hall with groups of 9-12 year olds, I was ready for a quite pAlex & Ika Restaurantlace to hang out, eat some fine food, and enjoy the slower pace of Cooperstown with the locals. Fortunately, I knew just the place - Alex & Ika Restaurant.

The Alex & Ika Restaurant is located at 149 Main Street. But while it has a Main Street address, its entrance is down an alley and a little way off the beaten path. Not exactly the place that families looking for a quick bite will go but exactly what I was looking for.

Just as the review from Conde Nast Traveler suggests, "A delightful bistro. The menu is brief but the offerings are creative and delicious." Well-known chef and TV hostess, Rachael Ray says, "It's one of the best lunches in town. Don't miss the Fingerling Fries!"

Since I was on my own and had a few things that I wanted to get done, the manager, Sabrina, suggested that I sit at the bar. She also reccommended the fish tacos which were out of this world. I could have kept plates of those coming all afternoon! (Thanks for being such a great hostess, Sabrina!!)

Cooperstown is also home to a microbrewery called Ommegang. Alex & Ika carried their Hennepin beer which was quite tasty. A fantastic way to unwind with the locals! I also learned that the brewery hosts concerts with greats like Steve Earle, the Avett Brothers, and Kenny Loggins making appearances. You can bet that we'll be comparing their concert calendar to the MLB schedules next year as we plan our baseball road trips!

As you make your way around the country on your sports travels, make sure to find these local gems that will make your vacations unique and memorable.

Tags: baseball road trips, sports travel and tours, hall of fame, Cooperstown

Yankee Stadium, Anyone?

Posted by Big League Tours on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 @ 12:45 PM

June 16, 2011 - Today our group headed to Manhattan to continue our East Coast Tour and start our New York, Cooperstown and Boston Tour. And what a better way could you start a baseball tour than heading to Yankee Stadium?? View from seats of our guests

Our guests sat in many different locations in the ballpark, all with their families or friends, but in the best seats that we could find them for the game. Here's a picture from the seats that a few of our guests were sitting in.


The game was fantastic. The Yankees won 12-4 over the Texas Rangers. And if my math was right, there were 6 home runs during the game.

Tags: Boston, Rangers, New York, Yankees, Yankee Stadium, Cooperstown

Getting Around Washington, DC

Posted by Big League Tours on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 @ 12:15 PM

June 16, 2011 - Monday night and most of Tuesday provided free time for our guests to explore Washington, DC on their own. Some opted to walk the mall. Some visited museums. Others met friends for tours and sharing meals. Escalator at DuPont Circle

Whatever their choice though, it brings up the point that on each of our MLB tours, we attempt to build in free time for you to explore the cities we're in. Let's face it, if you are in a city for the first time, and maybe the only time, you are going to have things that you just want to do. We want you to have the time to do whatever you want.

Here's a photo I shot on my phone from down in the DC Metro system. It's so amazingly far underground!

For more on our sensible itineraries, check out this video:

Tags: Washington D.C., baseball tours, MLB tours

Museum and Stadium Tours in Baltimore

Posted by Big League Tours on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 @ 12:00 PM

The Warehouse Building in Camden YardsOn Eutaw Street beginning our escorted tourGuests in the dugout at Orioles ParkRuth Museum
June 16, 2011 - Whenever we're on the road with our group travel tours, we try to schedule baseball stadium tours to get a behind-the-scenes look at how things operate in the bigs. So while in Baltimore, we took in the guided tour of Orioles Park.

The tour that they give is probably one of the best tours in the majors based on the amount of time that they give you as well as the information that they share.
Inside the museum
The tour starts on Eutaw Street and visits the club level, luxury and party suites, media room, press box, the field and dugouts. All in all it's a great tour that's worth the visit.

We also stopped in the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum which is just a few blocks from Orioles Park. The museum is rich with history of Babe's life, not just his formative years in Baltimore. Here are some photos from the Museum.

Tags: group travel, Orioles, tour operator, Baltimore, baseball tours, baseball stadiums, ballpark tours, group tours, Oriole Park

Orioles and Rays at Camden Yards

Posted by Big League Tours on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 @ 11:45 AM

June 16, 2011 - The second day of our tour, we loaded up and headed to Baltimore to see the Orioles and Rays at Camden Yards. For most in our group, it was their first trip to the first of the "retro" parks that started a new trend in stadium design and architecture. But more about that when I write about our baseball stadium tours.

The game was a Sunday afternoon game and, just like the day before, was delayed slightly by rain. This time the game started just six minutes late. Our guests were sitting just above the Rays dugout with a great view of the field and of the warehouse building. The picture to the left was taken from our seats.

On each of our baseball road trips that include Orioles Park, our guests always like this ballpark and tend to include it in their favorite. More to come from our escorted tour of the stadium on Monday.

Tags: stadium tours, Orioles, Rays, baseball road trips, Baltimore, baseball stadiums, Baseball, Oriole Park, Camden Yards

Phillies versus the Cubs

Posted by Big League Tours on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 @ 11:30 AM

June 14, 2011 - Our group tour headed out to Citizens Bank Park on Saturday afternoon to see the Phillies host Tony Luke's sandwichthe Cubs. As is usual for our tours, we arrived plenty early for our guests to walk around and explore the ballpark. One thing we had to do was grab a cheesesteak from Tony Luke's. After plowing through one of these myself, I can understand why Philly natives love these sandwiches (and why the line was so long!!).

After a 30 minute rain delay, the game got underway and was great fun. Cliff Lee pitched very well and the host team prevailed. Chase Utley even hit a home run just so our group could see the Liberty Bell in centerfield light up. (Thanks, Chase!)
Cliff Lee at CBP during one of our small group tours
CBP is a really nice ballpark. It's well laid out and maintained. They've incorporated local favorites like Tony Luke's and Chicky Pete's. And they don't allow fans to run up and down the aisles during an at bat, which is a huge pet peeve of mine in other ballparks.

One downside to CBP is that there really isn't much of anything to do around the ballpark. Part of the great experience at other parks like Coors Field, PETCO Park, and of course Wrigley and Fenway, is that there are so many great things to do before and after the game. I understand that there are things in the works to be built near CBP which will improve that part of the experience.

Off to Baltimore!!

Tags: Coors Field, Citizens Bank Park, Baltimore, Phillies, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, Cubs