THE BIG LEAGUE TOURS BLOG
One of my favorite things about our baseball tours is to offer our guests the opportunity to meet former Major League Players, hear them tell stories about their big league careers, and to get a chance to interact with them, asking questions and getting pictures and autographs. Maybe I like offering that to our guests because I enjoy that myself? In fact, I'm sure it is. I had a chance to do just that yesterday.
Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, led by Dr. Tim Kremchek, sponsored an event held at the Green Diamond Gallery in Cincinnati and brought in Tommy John to speak. Mr. John was a Major League pitcher from 1963-1989, pitching for six different teams, but is probably thought of more as a Dodger or Yankee more than any other team affiliation. John posted multiple 20-win seasons, was a four-time All Star, and was a member of several playoff bound teams. He finished his career with 288 wins.
What's even more amazing about his career is the fact that, in the middle of his 26 years, he underwent experimental surgery to repair damaged ligament in his pitching arm, not knowing if he'd ever be able to pitch again. Mr. John told us yesterday that he first hurt his arm going from Little League pitching distances to Major League distance in his freshman year. That year he played first base and didn't pitch much. He continued to pitch with pain in his arm until he ultimately couldn't pitch any more and had the surgery.
This surgery was so successful that it has become very commonplace in baseball. In fact 1 out of 9 Major League pitchers will have the surgery. One in 9! This has extended the playing career of many great pitchers and even position players.
It was great to hear the stories behind the events that led to such a pivotal point in baseball from the man who lived through them personally and now has the surgery
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!
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.
Book before Dec. 23 to get your extra hotel night
Folks have been booking early to take advantage of our free hotel night promotion. For example, we've had travelers from the West Coast select to arrive a day before their Midwest 2 Tour begins so they won't be rushed after their cross country flight. We've also had a family choose the early arrival option on their Chicago/Milwaukee so they can have a day to check out the sites in Chicago. The promotion ends Dec. 23. Call or email us with any questions.
Still time to get a Big League Tours' gift pack under the tree
A Big League Tours' trip is a great gift for the holidays. Any true baseball fan would love to travel with Big League Tours in 2012. Plus, you can get a Big League Tours gift pack for them to open up on that special day. Just book your tour by the end of this week (Dec.16), and let us know you want a gift pack. We'll send it out right away and only charge for the shipping.
Tour Spotlight: Hall of Fame Tours
This season, Big League Tours is offering four tour packages that visit the most popular destinations in baseball. Our Hall of Fame Tours include games at Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Citi Field and a visit to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. We always provide great, lower level seats; an MLB player experience; first class hotels; and the flexibility to enjoy your trip. Click on the tour listings below to see the details.
Hall of Fame Tour 1
Hall of Fame Tour 2
Hall of Fame Tour 3
Hall of Fame Tour 4
Name: Tom & Judy King
Your Trip: New York, Cooperstown, Boston
June 22, 2011 - Friday morning of our tour allowed our guests some time to explore some sites in New York City. We then 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.
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.
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??
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.
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
This was my first trip to The K. I certainly liked it. It was easy to get to and park, easy to get around in, had great site lines and lots of fan and family activities in the outfield sections. I have heard people describe The K as the best minor league ballpark in the Major Leagues. I can understand that now. It did have a "small" feel to it, which wasn't bad at all, but it didn't feel like any other stadium that I have visited in the bigs.
One thing that was a real disappointment to me was that, being in Kansas City, I expected there to be pit barbeque stands inside the ballpark. Why wouldn't you, right? If Baltimore can have Boog Powell's and Philly can have Bull's Barbeque, wouldn't you expect KC to incorporate something of its city's heritage?
The real treat for me, I would have to say, was to see Zach Greinke pitch for the first time. I couldn't believe with all the baseball road trips that I have been on that I hadn't seen him pitch. Funny how the schedules work out but it seems like every time I see the Yankees, Andy Pettite is on the mound. We must be on the same rotation... Anyway, back to Zach... He didn't pitch that well the day we saw him but it was still great to watch him work in person. He was also up against Jared Weaver who was pitching well in the June heat. Check out the box scores on the Royals website.