THE BIG LEAGUE TOURS BLOG

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

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

East Coast Here We Come

Posted by Big League Tours on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 @ 11:00 AM

June 12, 2011 - Our group arrived in Philadelphia on Friday from their respective homes to start the longest of our MLB tours for the season, our East Coast Tour. This is the granddaddy of all trips with games in Philly, Baltimore, DC, both teams New York, and Boston. We'll also have a free day in DC to explore the nation'sThe Liberty Bell after the Polanco grand slam capitol and we'll make a trek to the birthplace of baseball, Cooperstown, New York.

A few of our guests arrived early enough to take in the game on Friday night (because six games in 8 days isn't quite enough!!). So we shuffled out of our downtown Philadelphia hotel to Citizens Bank Park to see the Phillies host the Cubs.

The game seemed like the Phillies were going to runaway with it quite easily, especially after Placido Polanco hit a grand slam to make the score 7-0 and light up the liberty bell in center field.

But the Cubs made the game interesting by scoring five runs in the seventh and giving the Phillies fans reason to get even roudier. Ultimately the Phillies held on for the win. (Box score and wrap up here.)

As with all the baseball tours I host, I'll keep checking in from the road to let you know how things are going. Should be fun!

Tags: Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, New York, Baltimore, Phillies, baseball tours, MLB tours, Cubs

Cubs at Fenway Baseball Tour Review

Posted by Big League Tours on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 @ 10:30 AM

June 1, 2011 - I wanted to share an email I received from Tom H. Tom and his son joined us on our Cubs at Fenway Tour a few weeks ago. His recount of this historic MLB tour really captures the Big League Tours experience. He sent along a few pictures, too, so I have included them as well. Enjoy their story from the second of our nine baseball vacation packages this season.

My 13 yr old and I just completed our first trip with Big League Tours, and it was amazing. At first blush, the package price seems a little high compared to what I could do on my own, but after experiencing this event, the cost of the trip was MORE than worth it. Not only were the seats fantastic, but the behind the park tour, and the stories told by Bill "Spaceman" Lee were incredible.
Tom and son at Fenway
Friday Seats











My son is a huge Red Sox fan, and I've been a lifelong Cubs fan. Neither of us had been to Fenway, but we have been to Wrigley Field and a half dozen other major league parks. Fenway is an experience every true baseball fan should enjoy at least once in their life. It was amazing (although I'm still partial to Wrigley Field and the surrounding area!)

Boston itself was a beautiful city, much different than I expected. My only regret is that we scheduled an early morning flight back on Sunday, so we did not get to see very much of the city. If I did this over again, I would plan more time for site -seeing throughout the town.
Park PlazaFirst Pitch Babe Ruth's Daughter











We arrived on Friday afternoon to find our hotel was one of the oldest and nicest in Boston, and we had rooms on the concierge floor with all the amenities we could ask for. Our tour guide Mike was awesome, and met us downstairs a little before the appointed time. Mike took care of us the entire trip, going above and beyond the call of duty even though it meant backtracking for him at the end of the night to go pick his car back up and head for home! You're great Mike, and if you get back "home" to Texas look me up and we'll do Ranger's Stadium!!)

We departed on the subway (an experience for those of us in car-only states) and within 3 exits were at Fenway Park. Even 3 hours before the game, the area was going wild with activity. We walked around taking in the sites outside, then went in to our seats. For the first game, our seats were behind homeplate, about 20-30 rows up. Even though these were incredible seats, I was disappointed at first with the fact that the net came the entire length of the lower deck, making it impossible to catch a foul ball (or so I thought!) Boy was I wrong. About the 5th or 6th inning, a foul ball rolled all the way  up the net, and found a hole in the net! The next thing I know a ball is coming down about three stories toward us. My right hand was full of bags from the Fenway gift shops, but with the speed of light I stuck out my left hand across my body and snagged the foul ball one handed for my Fenway Jewel! The park photographer was there within seconds to capture that moment forever, and even caught my grinning son next to me to make the memory perfect!
 
After the game, our guide gave us the option of taking the subway back to the hotel, which would have been very crowded and very slow, or walking back to the hotel. When he gave me that choice, thinking of Chicago or New York, or even Texas, I looked puzzled and asked if the walk would be safe?? We were about a mile and a half away!! He said yes, so we took out walking. I was amazed how many groups of people were out walking around Boston at midnight, many of these groups of young college age women. I felt completely safe, and enjoyed the beautiful sites of 200 yr old apartments and churches on the way back to the hotel.
 
Saturday we slept in longer than I had hoped, but did have time to take a bus tour around the town. Saturday afternoon we had an incredible tour behind the scenes at Fenway Park, and got to meet one of the most colorful Boston players ever, Bill "Spaceman" Lee. Bill and his lovely wife stayed with us the entire tour, telling stories about the park and his career. Every Boston fan seemed to remember Bill, and wanted their picture taken with him. He seemed to LOVE being out with the people and making everyone happy! Thanks Big League Tours for letting us meet the Spaceman, and THANK YOU BILL for being so great. My son is still telling your stories, and has hardly put down the bat you gave us!
Seats on Saturday
 Tom, son and Spaceman











Saturday's game was even better than Friday ( partially because the CUBS won!!). Our seats were EVEN BETTER than Friday, about 8-10 rows from the field, right behind home plate. Amazing!!
 
Boston was a gorgeous city, and getting around was very easy. My son and I LOVED the entire Big League Tours experience, and look forward to going on another one very soon. The cost was worth every penny, considering the location of the seats, the 4-5 star hotel, and all of the other package perks! Big League Tours certainly lived up to their name, as this experience was BIG LEAGUE all the way!!
 
Tom H.

Thanks, Tom, for sending this to me and for letting me post it on the blog. We are looking forward to having you join us on one of our baseball road trips with Big League Tours again soon!

Tags: Red Sox, Rangers, baseball road trips, baseball vacation package, Fenway Park, big league tours, MLB tours, testimonials, Cubs

Opening Night in Atlanta

Posted by Big League Tours on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 @ 08:15 AM

April 9, 2011 - You've gotta love Opening Day/Night at any baseball stadium. It's a time to celebrate the franchise's past, especially its most recent accomplishments. It's the start of a new baseball season and signifies new beginnings and opportunities for players, fans and teams. Witnessing Chipper's 2,500th hit on our MLB road tripAnd the atmosphere is electric as fans are so happy to be attending the first game of baseball in their home town.

Last night was no different in Atlanta. The ceremonies included the unveiling of their 2010 Pennant in center field for clinching a wild card playoff berth. It also featured former skipper, Bobby Cox, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch to his successor, Fredi Gonzalez. Ol' number six got a huge (and very fitting) ovation at Turner Field when he was announced and walked onto the mound.

We also witnessed a piece of history. Chipper joins lined a base hit to left field for his 2,500th hit of his career. That was great to see for a player who has been around so long, made huge contributions, and has meant so much to this team. Here's a photo of the historic hit taken from our seats. (We like to throw those in for free on our MLB road trips whenever we can!!) Here's the Braves wrap-up of the game.

The final game of the first of our baseball tours is this afternoon with the Phillies and Braves again.

Tags: stadium tours, Opening day, Atlanta, Braves, Turner Field, baseball tours, baseball stadiums, MLB tours, MLB road trips, Baseball

Buck Martinez to Appear on Midwest Plus Tour in Toronto

Posted by Big League Tours on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 @ 05:45 AM

February 10, 2011 - We're excited to announce the first of our player appearances for our 2011 baseball road trips. MLB Standout, Buck Martinez, is joining Big League Tours on the opening day of our Midwest Plus Tour in Toronto. 

Buck will be joining us for the portion of our baseball tour that we call our "Big League Player MLB standout Buck Martinez joins Big League Tours in TorontoExperience." On this tour package, as on every tour we offer, we bring in former MLB players to share their experiences in and around the game that we all love so much. It's just another way that we help you get inside the game and is always a fan favorite on our MLB Tours.

But this appearance has a special offer associated with it...

Buck has offered to take 12 of our guests up to the radio booth prior to the 12:37 game at the Rogers Centre. As of the point of this posting, a few more guests can still join in this exclusive portion of the tour. So don't hesitate to sign up now for this tour so that you can get one of the 12 special escorted tours of the press area from Buck himself!

Once the game is over, we'll return back to the Renaissance Center, the hotel connected to the Rogers Centre, for a full meet and greet with Buck and all of our guests.

Here is Buck's bio from the Blue Jays website:
Buck Martinez returns for his second season as the Blue Jays play-by-play announcer…
The 62 year old brings with him 42 years of baseball experience, including 20 years as a player, 21 years in broadcasting, and two as a manager… Beginning in 1967 when he was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies, Martinez spent 20 years as a catcher in professional baseball with the Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers and his final six seasons with the Blue Jays… He appeared in the postseason with Kansas City in 1976, batting .333 in the 5-game ALCS against the New York Yankees… Wrote two books about his experiences with the Blue Jays, "From Worst to First" (1985) and "The Last Out" (1986)… Among his 12 seasons associated with the Blue Jays, he served as manager for Toronto in 2001 and part of the 2002 season, compiling a 100-115 record… In 2006, he managed the United States team in the inaugural World Baseball Classic… Martinez' first experience with broadcasting came in 1982, when he covered the American League Championship Series, the World Series and the All-Star Game for the Telemedia Radio Network…. His television broadcast career began in 1987 as a color commentator for the Toronto Blue Jays on TSN… Began working with ESPN radio and television in 1992, and in 1995, Martinez was awarded a Sports EMMY Award for his work on ESPN's coverage of Cal Ripken's 2,131st consecutive game… For the past seven seasons has worked as a television analyst for the Baltimore Orioles and has also served as a co-host of XM Radio's Baseball This Morning show on the MLB Home Plate channel…. Martinez also contributed color commentary for Sunday afternoon games on TBS, as well as for the network's postseason coverage… A California native, Martinez attended Sacramento City College, Sacramento State University, and Central Missouri State University. He and his wife, reside in Clearwater, FL. They have one son, Casey, a 47th round pick by Toronto in the 2000 First Year Player Draft.

Don't miss your chance to on this mid-summer baseball road trip that incudes games at 4 different stadiums plus a day at Niagara Falls. And don't forget, your trip could include an exclusive trip to the radio booth with Buck Martinez!

Tags: Royals, Opening day, Toronto, baseball road trips, big league tours, MLB tours, Brewers

Catching the Game at U.S. Cellular Field

Posted by Big League Tours on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 @ 02:45 AM

August 30 - The Tuesday night game of our Midwest 1 and 2 Tours was at U.S. Cellular Field between the Chicago White Sox and the Texas Rangers. After a sweltering Sunday afternoon game at Wrigley on Sunday, it was great to get a break from the heat on this night game. It's interesting to note how the fans on our MLB tours pick up on the difference between the fans at Wrigley and those at Josh Hamilton takes the plate during one of our group travel tours in Chicago.the Cell. Even though the Sox lost the game, it was interesting and the hometown fans were stoked about their team. The White Sox webpage has videos and the box score from the game.

Here's a photo that I took from our seats at the game. Not a bad view, huh? I can't reinforce enough how important it is for us to get you great seats for the games. Other sports travel companies won't get you this close. You'll likely be in group seats in the upper deck out by the foul pole. We've been told by our customers that they didn't dream they would sit this close on any travel package tours. We want you to be satisfied but it doesn't need to be a surprise!

Tags: White Sox, Rangers, sports travel and tours, Wrigley Field, MLB tours, Chicago, U.S. Cellular Field

Catching Up on Some Blog Posts

Posted by Big League Tours on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 @ 02:30 AM

August 11, 2010 - Okay, gang. It's been a while since we've updated you with any blog posts about our MLB tours. Between planning and hosting the baseball trips and a few major events in our families, we've had a few things going on this summer!! So some of our blog posts might seem a little out of order based on when we offered the sports vacations but we wanted to tell you about those road trips, too.

Time to write! Here goes...

Tags: baseball road trips, baseball trips, MLB tours, sports vacation

Different Vantage Point at Wrigley

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

July 23, 2010 - I have had the good fortune to visit most of the Major League ballparks. Many of them quite a few times, especially the most popular parks and places our clients love to visit. If you've been on one of our tours, you know that we take your seat locations very seriously. It's something that's quite different about us from the other guys.

I've heard customers of our competitors say that they sat four rows from the top at Yankee Stadium and were clear out by the foul pole. Never on one of our tours. You'll sit in lower level seats, most of the time between the bases, sometimes just outside. Our goal is for you to walk into the ballpark, be amazed at the sites, and love your seats. My favorite reaction is to hear our customers walk out of the stadium and say, "Those were fantastic seats!"

Admittedly, seat location is one of the reasons that I started this biz. I don't want to be four View from just under the press box at Wrigleyrows from the moon at Yankee Stadium and don't think you do either. All that said, I've now started buying tickets for myself in varied locations when I'm on our MLB road trips. I'm enjoying checking out the different baseball stadiums from different vantage points. I'll do this expecially if it's a park that I've been to many times or one where we are seeing multiple games at the same stadium on one of our MLB tours.

Case in point, here's a shot that I took from my seats at Wrigley on a recent visit. I have to admit, I really enjoyed these seats. As you can see, it's a great view of the ballpark. You can see all of the action from here. It's in the shade, which was really important on a Sunday afternoon game when the temps were in the 90's. And, if you've ever been to Wrigley you'll appreciate this, there wasn't anybody walking in front of us during the game!

I'll definitely sit in these seats again. There just below the announcers booth so if they were good enough for Harry all those years, they have to be good.

Tags: baseball tours, baseball stadiums, Wrigley Field, MLB tours, Yankee Stadium

Meeting Zack Hample in Atlanta

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

May 20, 2010 - On August 24, 2008, I posted a video of Zack Hample, the man who was featured on CBS for his ability to snag foul balls and batting practice balls at MLB games.  At the Ted with Zack Hample I loved the story then and it gets even better now.

After the game was over at Turner Field, we were hanging out talking to some fans who we had met during the game. Who appeared next to us? None other than Zack himself.

At the time of my first post, Zack had successfully snagged at least one baseball in over 450 consecutive games. When we talked last night, the string was still alive at 644 consecutive games. Not only that, but he snagged 14 baseballs at yesterday's game!

If you want to learn more about Zack, click here to check out his website. Hopefully we'll bump into him again on one of our MLB road trips. Watch for him. He'll be the one who just caught the foul ball...

Tags: Atlanta, Turner Field, baseball tours, MLB tours