October 19, 2011 - Congratulations to the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals for their League Championship victories. The stage is set for a great World Series.
Since our inception in 2006, we have enjoyed multiple visits to Busch Stadium and Rangers Ballpark. But we have to admit that we have a special affinity for the Rangers organization at Big League Tours. Our group's reception when we visited Arlington in 2010 was tremendous. Rangers legend Jim Sundberg was especially gracious as he gave our group a private baseball stadium tour and a behind-the-scene look at the Rangers' offices.
And then, Jim surprised us all by arranging a meeting with Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan. Nolan and Jim were kind enough to sign autographs and chat at length with our group, too. They even posed for pictures like the one above. If you're ever on a tour with Rob, Mickey, Dianne or Lillian (that's them with the big smiles in the picture), just ask them about that day. They'll enjoy telling you all about it.
Thanks again to Jim Sundberg and Nolan Ryan for making this one of the most special baseball vacation packages we've offered our Big League Tours' guests. We hope to visit the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington again very soon, maybe again in 2012.
Speaking of 2012 baseball tours, if you aren't on our email list to get updates and announcements, Click Here to sign up so that you'll be the first to know about your upcoming sports travel and tours.
August 3, 2010 - Where has the summer gone? I can't believe that the last of our small group tours is going to kick off this Friday. It should be a fantastic trip. We'll start in Detroit on Friday, catching the Angels at Comerica Park against the Tigers. We'll then load up the bus on Saturday and make our way to Cleveland. Once in Cleveland we'll take a private stadium tour of Progressive Field before seeing the division rivalry of the Twins and the Indians.
Sunday involves a short hop over to PNC Park in Pittsburgh for an afternoon game between the Rockies and Pirates. For our travelers who haven't been to this stadium, it's a fantastic place to catch a game, especially a day game with the view of the river, bridges and downtown Pittsburgh as the backdrop. After the game, the group will make its way to Cincinnati for the next two nights.
Monday will be the perfect ending to the tour. We'll take a tour of Great American Ball Park and be joined by Mr. Dave Parker. As most of you will recall, The Cobra was the MVP in 1978, appeared in six All Star Games, won three Gold Glove Awards, and was an instrumental member of the 1979 World Series Championship team with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Cobra will share stories from his playing days, talk baseball with our guests, and take pictures with the group. Here's a picture from his appearance with our group in 2008. Looks like he could still play, doesn't it?
We'll finish the tour with the heated division rivalry between the Cardinals and the Reds with a game and series that couldn't be hotter or mean more for these two teams.
Stay posted for up to the minute posts from the final tour of our 2010 sports travel packages.
July 23, 2010 - I think it was Woody Allen who said that, "90% of life is just showing up." That certainly seems to be the case for my son. As we walked of the "El" and into Wrigley Field for the Sunday afternoon game between the Cubs and Cardinals, he was stopped by a young woman who asked if he would be interested in watching batting practice from the field. She was wearing a shirt that said Chevy on it so I asked if I had to buy a car or something to make it happen. After all, things like that just aren't free, are they?? She assured me that I didn't and gave everyone in our group passes to get down to that section with him.
Since it was a Sunday, and hotter than blue blazes, I didn't think either team would take batting practice. As it turns out, the Cardinals did. (This might have proven beneficial as they went on to crush the Cubs that day and Sir Albert hit three dingers himself...) A few of the Cardinals were also kind enough to visit the on-field section and sign autographs for the kids on the field. My son received signatures from Tony LaRussa, Mark McGwire, and Albert Pujols. He was pretty stoked about starting his day at the ballpark on the field.
There are never any assurance of events like this happening when you show up at the baseball stadium, but we've found that showing up early, whether it's on one of our baseball vacation packages or just one of our family tours, is key to being in the right place at the right time. It doesn't hurt to have on team gear and demonstrate that you are a true fan, either.
Feel free to share with us the cool things that have happened to you when at the ballpark! Many times those are the things that make your sports vacations truly memorable.
April 14, 2010 - Anybody else as big of a fan as I am of the commercials that they run on ESPN? There's Albert Pujols at the copy machine. How about LeBron James sitting in a lousy desk chair while Van Pelt sits in his royal chair? Or the classic is when the baseball players are critiquing the sportscasters on film.
Here's a new spot that's going to air on ESPN featuring Torii Hunter of the Angels and BJ Upton of the Rays. It's a pretty funny take on something you would normally only see inside a baseball stadium.
April 11, 2010 - One of our greatest joys is to visit baseball stadiums in their inaugural seasons. We've been able to do this for the new Busch Stadium, Nationals Park, Citi Field and Yankee Stadium. This year, we're heading up to Target Field in the Twin Cities on one of our early MLB tours to see the Twins in their brand new ballpark. Columnist Rick Shefchik writes today on TwinCities.com about the increase in demand to visit Minnesota on group travel tours this year.
Here are a few excerpts:
Frank Miles of Jacksonville, Ala., is a stadium counter. A 76-year-old baseball fanatic, Miles has been in every major league ballpark — except Target Field.
Like hundreds of other baseball stadium tourists around the country, Miles will check Target Field, the brand-new Twins ballpark, off his list this summer. He loves the old classics like Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, but he likes the new ones, too, including recently opened PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Busch Stadium in St. Louis and Citi Field in New York.
"I've seen 'em all, every major league ballpark — all the new ones, except this one," Miles said. "I've not heard much about it, but I'll be there this year on a tour."
Glenn Dunlap, owner of Big League Tours in Indianapolis, said he'll be bringing a group into Minneapolis this summer for the first time in his company's five years of operation.
"The Metrodome was not much of an attraction," said Dunlap of the Twins' former home. "We didn't have a lot of demand from baseball fans to come up to the Metrodome."
Increased tourism to Minneapolis for Twins games is bound to have a positive effect on surrounding businesses. As Dunlap points out, baseball is only part of the lure for ballpark tourists. They like to come early, stay late and thoroughly explore what the ballpark and the city have to offer.
"People are interested in the walleye-on-a-stick and the s'mores they're offering there (at Target Field)," Dunlap said. "State Fair food — that's great. It's part of what people enjoy about visiting different stadiums — the influences on local food and what's in and around the park.
"Target could be a great park. The part that makes a ballpark interesting is what the city does around it. Look at a Coors Field, right in the heart of Denver. That was in a district they've since built up around it, and it has become a great destination spot for the city."
Conversely, Dunlap said, Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., is in an area that needs to be developed.
"They've got a long way to go before people will go hang out there," Dunlap said. "It's what's around Target Field, what's welcoming to baseball fans, not just Twins fans.
Want to visit the new Target Field on one of our baseball vacation packages? Click here for details about this tour and all of our sports travel packages. You'll be glad you did!
December 16, 2009 - Our Midwest 2 baseball vacation package begins in Chicago. Our group will meet at our hotel on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago and begin the tour by heading out to Wrigley Field for the great rivalry of the Cardinals vs. the Cubs for what will likely be a Sunday afternoon game.
On Monday, you'll have the opportunity to see the sites in Chicago - shop till you drop, take escorted tours of the architecture or skyline of the city, or take some family tours of the great museums. The next day will venture to US Cellular Field to see Josh Hamilton and the Rangers take on Ozzie's White Sox.
Wednesday we'll depart for St. Louis and Busch Stadium to see the Cardinals in their home venue. We'll stay in the heart of the city that evening and then leave for Kansas City in the morning. While in KC we'll see a game at Kaufmann Stadium and visit the Negro League Museum for a look into some of the rich history of baseball.
This premier sports travel package promises to be a great time. For more details on this baseball tour and our other sports vacations, visit BigLeagueTours.com.
Like many people in my generation, I grew up a huge Seinfeld fan. Still to this day I can't help but pause and watch an episode whenever I see it's on. One of my favorite episodes is when Jerry and Elaine spend the whole show in a New York bakery trying to pick something up for a dinner party. While waiting, Jerry eats the imfamous "black and white" cookie. Here's the clip:
Jerry believes that the black and white cookie is the symbol of racial harmony. That all things are good with the cookie. That we need to "look to the cookie."
I couldn't help think of this episode recently. As we travel from stadium to stadium on our baseball travel tours, we gather things from each team, especially when the baseball teams are passing things out at the gate. So what made me think of this was when I was wearing a St. Louis Cardinals t-shirt and drinking from a Chicago Cubs cup. Taboo? Maybe.
If you haven't seen the end of the Seinfeld show, Jerry's unifying cookie ends up causing him, shall we say, to lose his groceries. My concern, of course, was that my Cubs/Cardinals combination would have a similar effect on me. Luckily, I didn't feel any ill effects. However, I'm sure that some of you would have problems donning your rival team's gear, or drinking from their cups, or displaying their bobbleheads - even if they were something you gathered for free on a group travel tour.
Then again, this might be the very reason stadiums don't sell cookies with their team's logo on one side and their opponent's logo on the other. We may not be ready to "look to the cookie..."
Add Midwest 1 To Your MLB Tours for 2009 To See Pujols in Action November 17, 2008 - Pujols has been crowned the National League MVP for the second time in his career. In the running against him was Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies, who beat Pujols in 2006. Having finished in the top 10 every voting season for the past eight seasons and has been the 11th player to receive the award twice.
St. Louis ended their season 11 1/2 seasons away from first in the NL Central. However, the Cardinals exceeded many peoples' expectations, especially with the help of Pujols.
So, make sure to add Midwest 1 from Big League Tours onto your stadium tours list for 2009 and check out NL MVP Albert Pujols and Golden Glove winner Yadier Molina.
Sports Vacations in St. Louis August 3, 2008 - Having been a lifelong Cincinnati Reds fan, I have never been a fan of the Cardinals. However, I have to give credit to the Cardinals organization, the city of St. Louis, and the Cardinals fans - going to a game at Busch Stadium is a great time. The stadium has a great atmosphere, is very appealing aesthetically, and allows fans to experience baseball the way that it should be enjoyed.
Here's a photo of former Cardinal, So Taguchi signing autographs prior to the game. So was a St. Louis fan favorite and received a standing ovation when he pinch hit during the game.
It's a great place to visit if you are going to plan family tours, small group tours, or sports tours of any size. Watch for the tours that we offer next year that include games in St. Louis or with the Cardinals on the road. You'll enjoy great seats, great accommodations, and great baseball. We hope you'll join us!
Small Group Tours at Busch Stadium August 2, 2008 - The Cards took on the Phillies for the second time this weekend, hoping to repeat their performance from the previous night and walk away with another victory. We were relieved to have a little cooler evening after the day had been really hot for all of our various activities.
We always try to incorporate some unique and fun things on each of our baseball travel tours. This sports package was no different. We offered front row seats to Busch Stadium as well as club seats for our guests. We think that spending sports vacations in the front row is not a bad option...In fact, here's a photo of Albert Pujols that we took from our seats.
The view at the end of the game didn't look so hot for the Cardinals, though. They ended up dropping this game to the Phillies by a close score of 2-1. Click here to see the box scores and write up on the Cardinals website.