THE BIG LEAGUE TOURS BLOG

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

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

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

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

2010 Baseball Trip Feature - East Coast 1

Posted by Big League Tours on Tue, Nov 22, 2011 @ 06:45 PM

Orioles Park at Camden YardsDecember 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.

Tags: stadium tours, Citi Field, Orioles, sports travel and tours, New York, Baltimore, Fenway Park, big league tours, MLB tours, sports vacation, Yankees, Nationals Park, Reds, hall of fame, Cooperstown, Mets, Oriole Park

2010 Baseball Trip Feature - Midwest 1

Posted by Big League Tours on Tue, Nov 22, 2011 @ 06:15 PM

December 16, 2009 - As interesting as it is to visit the historic ballparks throughout the big leagues, it's always Miller Parkexciting to check out a new baseball stadium. 2009 offered us two new parks in New York City with Citi Field and Yankee Stadium. 2010 will bring us an open air ballpark in a town that's grown accustomed to a dome.

We'll begin our tour in Minneapolis for a game at the new Target Field. From Minneapolis, we'll head to Milwaukee for a game at Miller Park and some tailgating with the great Brewers fans who really know how to party. After we've had our fill of sausages, we'll head to Chicago for some Windy City baseball.

Once there, we'll head to Wrigley Field to see the classic rivalry of the Cardinals and Cubs. You'll then have a free day to explore the city - take in a museum, shop till you drop, or hang out at your favorite places to eat (cheeburger cheeburger, anyone?). We'll wrap up this trip by visiting US Cellular to see Josh Hamilton and his Rangers take on the White Sox.

To see more about this and other MLB Tours being offered by Big League Tours, visit our website now to get all the details.

Tags: Citi Field, Milwaukee, Miller Park, New York, baseball stadiums, Wrigley Field, big league tours, MLB tours, Brewers, Chicago, Yankee Stadium, Target Field, Minneapolis

Art Shamsky Featured in Sports Illustrated

Posted by Big League Tours on Tue, Nov 22, 2011 @ 03:45 PM

July 10, 2009 - This week's Sports Illustrated has an article about the '69 Miracle Mets team and prominently Art Shamsky providing a Big League Player Experience in NYCfeatures Art Shamsky in the article. Art is appearing on our upcoming Big Apple Tourwhich 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.

Tags: Citi Field, baseball road trips, New York, baseball tours, Yankee Stadium, Mets

East Coast 1 Tour - Part Three

Posted by Big League Tours on Tue, Nov 22, 2011 @ 02:30 PM

May 8, 2009, Cooperstown, NY - Ah, yes. The Village of Cooperstown. An incredible contrast to the hustle and bustle of New York City. Cooperstown is on a completely different pace - relaxed, historic, reflective. And one that our travelers always enjoy on our baseball vacation packages Baseball Sayingsafter leaving a major U.S. city.

This trip was no different. We arrived at the Inn around 11AM and then headed over to the Hall of Fame. This time of year the Hall closes at 5PM so we wanted to give everyone as much time there as we could. There's always so much to see there that it can be information overload. I've been through the Hall many times and always find something new that I haven't seen before.

One of the things I always enjoy reading are the quotes from folks around the game. This might be hard to read in a photo but it's funny to see how many phrases we use in everyday life that can be attributed to baseball - let's get in in the ballpark, step up to the plate, and we're in the big league now.

Another quote that I loved is in the Hank Aaron exhibit. Pitcher Curt Simmons is quoted as saying, "Trying to throw a fastball by Henry Aaron is like trying to sneak a sunrise past a rooster." How awesome is that!

Tags: New York, baseball vacation package, hall of fame, Cooperstown

East Coast 1 Tour - Part Two

Posted by Big League Tours on Tue, Nov 22, 2011 @ 02:15 PM

May 7, 2009, New York City - Today our small group tour heads out to Yankee Stadium for a game at the new ballpark. It had been raining off and on today but the weather was supposed Great Hall in the New Yankee Stadiumto break in plenty of time to get in the game. We headed uptown on the 4 train to the stadium a few hours before the game. Even though the stadium opens 3 hours before the game, we watched the ground crew cover the field when we were on our baseball stadium tour so we didn't expect to see batting practice. We went out early anyway just to take in the sites.

Arriving 2.5 hours before the game, I expected to see the familiar lines outside the stadium with stadium security barking orders about which gates to enter, bleacher seats, backpacks, etc. Instead, there were no lines and we walked right into the ballpark. It gave us time to explore the stadium some more, visit Monument Park again, and figure out just exactly what we wanted to eat!

The new stadium proved to be a great place to watch game. The folks on our package tour were seated around the ballpark in lower-level seats with fantastic views of the action. Several of us had baseballs hit near us or players throwing balls into the stands close to us. I can't wait to get back out there again this summer. If you are interested in joining us, check out our package tours on our website. We would love to have you join us!

Click here to see a complete wrapup of the game.

Tags: stadium tours, New York, baseball tours, baseball vacation package, Yankee Stadium

MLB Road Trips Kick Off with East Coast 1 Tour

Posted by Big League Tours on Tue, Nov 22, 2011 @ 02:00 PM

May 7, 2009 - New York City
This is my favorite time of year. The baseball season is now in full swing, the weather gets to be a little more predictable, and teams are already jockeying within their divisions - a perfect timeThurman Munson's lockerfor a baseball road trip!

Today our East Coast 1 Tour began in New York City with a stadium tour of the Yankees' new home. What an impressive place! The tour starts in their museum that's inside the stadium. The museum has autographed baseballs from many of the Yankees players throughout history, stories about the different eras of the team, and interesting information about the stadium.

Here's a picture of one of my favorite items from the tour. As a catcher growing up in the 70's, I idolized catchers in the big leagues. Thurman Munson was one of the guys I loved to watch. We learned last year when we were in the Yankees clubhouse on one of our group tours that the Yankees had preserved Munson's locker since the day he died. No one had used it since. His locker was moved in tact to the new Yankee Stadium and is what you see pictured to the left.

Whether you are a Yankee fan or not, this baseball stadium needs to be on your "must see" list for one of your upcoming sports vacations. The team is such a storied franchise and they've presented their history well in the new venue.

Tags: baseball road trips, New York, sports vacation, Yankees, group tours, Yankee Stadium