Baseball Across America- the great experiment

December 31, 2008. Today is the last day of 2008 and what a year it has been. In this post I will lay down the groundwork for much of my 2009 and an adventure I invite each and every one of you to come along on. In my experiment I hope to expose the America lost in recession, war, political bickering and loss of love for thy neighbor. The America where there is love for one another and kindness and generosity and all through the use of baseball…

 

“It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.” Bart Giamatti.

 

Baseball has seen most of the major strife this country has faced and through out, it has taken on one form or another and supported the masses. Whether during the ’30s and  depression era ball bringing the first night games to be played or the ’40s with brave women taking over and creating “a league of their own” as  brave soldiers fought in WWII. Even recently as 2001, poetically, the Yankees took to the field after 911 versus the Diamondbacks to reassure Americans we would go on. It was an American tale to see the D’backs face the “giant” and win in the World Series but it was the American dream. You could do anything.

 

The year of 2008 saw the first black president and great strides in tolerance but also the culmination of corruption in American business. Thousands continued to lose their homes and life savings and red and blue were still the colors separating American and American. With great reserve and fear so many Americans will turn to the national pastime this next year on radios, internet, television and if lucky enough, visiting so many of the holy shrines we call stadiums. That’s where I come in.

 

Part one- background and belief

 

I will assume majority of people who are reading this don’t know me, so I will give a brief synopsis of where I am coming from and what will drive me there. Roughly six years ago I gave up my passion in writing for fear of student loans and other obligations I couldn’t pay. I took another job that would meet those obligations but I lost my dream along the way. How many people out there have done the same? 2008 gave me the opportunity to once again realize that dream and at what better time to begin to realize the opportunity before me.

 

Much of it started with prompting from my mother. Gotta love moms. I had gone to the DNC in Denver with a great friend and I wanted to see the spectacle that was American politics. I wanted to see through the eyes of a journalist something that hadn’t been in Denver for a century. What could I learn or be a part of? I marched in an anti-war protest that was the largest of the DNC with over 12,000 people not because I didn’t support the troops or love this country and understand their sacrifice, but because I wanted to highlight the idea of peace and maybe if just given a try we could be a better world. In comes my mother. After hearing of this she reminded me that I used to write and maybe I should write again. So I did and a local southern Colorado paper ran my piece.

 

Not long after it was attacked in an editorial by a gentleman who I don’t believe meant harm, but called my idea of peace “flowery rhetoric.” I was saddened not because he had disagreed, but because I felt this was probably the feeling of so many Americans in this day and age. I then asked myself what I could do to change this. I firmly believe one person can make a difference in this world with the passion and determination to do so. Along came the idea for Baseball Across America.

 

Part two- Belief in action

 

I am currently in the process of becoming homeless. Not because of foreclosure, but because I won’t need a home where I’m going. Majority of my possessions are being sold or will be sold and the rest will go into storage or donated to charity. February 1st , I will officially be without an address of my own for the first time ever.

 

I am taking the last money I have in savings and putting it all towards living my dream and hopefully making America and the world a better place at the same time. How?

 

At the beginning of the baseball season I will follow behind my team, the Colorado Rockies, and as best I can go where they go. Not in first class plane trips or by fancy means but in my 2001 Ford Taurus with 140,000 miles on it. I won’t be able to see every game or go to every city and truthfully I don’t know how far I will even get on the money I have. I may take a flight or two if I find I can afford it, however American engineering and the Taurus will have to hold up!  But it’s the journey I’m going to write on. The experiment.

 

The experiment will have me staying with complete strangers and family or friends when available. My goal is to document not only the game of baseball but the great people of this country in each and every city and home I am welcomed into. The humanity of the great people of this country is what I hope to see most. No arguments or divisions or separation by race, income or belief. I love baseball and hope to act as an ambassador of my love for the game.

 

You the people are welcome to come along but not just passively. I hope that if any post I write inspires you to do good then please by all means. A call to action. If something I said in the back of your mind prompts you to a kind deed then every last penny of my life savings was worth it. We can all do this one deed, one person, one city at a time. We all are in this country and it’s the best one in the world so why not try and make it just a little better for everyone. For a moment look at the We not the I. For those outside America the principle still holds true. Canadian brothers in baseball or Mexican brothers begin the fight.

 

Most who know me would say I am stubborn and not quick to ask for help. For this journey I have put that stubbornness aside and will ask help of so many people, so many towns to visit and homes to take refuge. Anyone wanting to help and even if in kind words can always email me at baseballacrossamerica@gmail.com or stop in at rockymountainway.mlblogs.com. My internet access after February will depend on coverage where I am but I will do my best to respond to every email I get.

 

I’m not na├»ve in the challenges and obstacles I face. I know there will be many who disagree with me and would rather see me fail. I know the money will eventually run out and the car could quit in the middle of nowhere. I could get robbed or in an accident and terrible things “could” happen.

 

I’ll paraphrase Bob Marley here “the people trying to make the world a worse place aren’t taking a day off, so how can I.” The things I hope to happen are worth far more then the negative that could come about.

 

Some will say driving and seeing baseball games is not hard but I’ve driven many road trips and it is hard. Writing everyday will be a job and trying to cover America no easy task. A great quote I read recently from a freelance writer said something to the effect of being a freelance writer you are free to starve wherever you want. I hope not to starve but losing some weight would be a good thing!

 

I won’t say that every post at http://rockymountainway.mlblogs.com will be Pulitzer Prize winning material. Some will be very light hearted and some serious. But my hope through all the bad is to show the good that does not make the daily news. Sure if I find a to die for brat with onions and peppers in Houston or an awesome baseball statue in San Diego you will read about it. If I come across an amazing charity in Chicago or unbelievable youth baseball program in New York I will highlight them.

 

I understand my blog is a baseball blog and baseball will be this ship carrying me to my destinations. I can’t thank the people at MLBlogs enough for giving the opportunity to ordinary people to write. Thank you Mark and all the others that go into keeping the sight up and running.

 

Mr. Rodgers said it best “would you be my neighbor.” In 2009 will you be my neighbor in rediscovering the beauty that is America through her people and places and her past time?

 

Again you are all invited to help and read along in this chapter of my life. January will find me packing and cleaning and maybe even finding a part-time job to pay off some more bills before I go. February will find me franticly trying to pay those bills still! I’ve been invited to stay on a friends couch until I leave and it will also find me gearing up for my journey. March will find me beginning that journey and God only knows the outcome.

 

I am not perfect and have made too many mistakes in this life to count but it’s what we do now and in the future that determines who we are. Every minute is an opportunity to do the right thing even if it’s the hardest thing. No matter your age or background we all take steps backwards at times but as long as you’re trying to take steps forward it will all work out.

 

He’s telling us this and he’s telling us that. Changes it every day. Says it doesn’t matter. Bases are loaded and Casey’s at bat playin it play by play. Time to change the batter. And we don’t need the ladies crying cause the stories sad, uh huh. Rocky mountain way is better then the way we had…” – Joe Walsh

 

God bless each and every one of yours in 2009 and I hope to meet many of you on the road this year and maybe tell your story!

 

Tom Walsh- rockymountainway Dec 31, 2008

 

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29 comments

  1. juliasrants

    Tom – I already sent to your email address how you can find me in the Boston area if you find yourself here. A bed will await you. Not only will you be a changed person for taking this trip – but you will inspire each person that you meet. Peace is the journey of a single step – here’s hoping that you will have spread a lot of peace by the time your journey ends. I look forward to each and every word you have to share and may the guardian angels follow you each and every step of the way. You and your mission will be in my prayers! Good luck, take care of yourself (give your mom an extra hug!) and Godspeed.

    Julia
    http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

  2. gmar

    Well I am a newcomer to the blogging culture, but so far I like what I’ve found. My original goal was just to talk hardball with other baseball fans and so far I think I’m in the right place.

    The Cha-Cha bowl is a local favorite found at the Orlando Cepeda Grill behind the centerfield bleachers. I’ll put it up against any almost any ballpark food you can find.

    Good luck on your quest.

  3. rockymountainway

    That sounds like a challenge and maybe one I’ll to put my two cents in on. I’ll be sure to try all the local greatest and see if the cha-cha is indeed top notch!
    tom

  4. Kaybee

    That’s an amazing quest. I’m sure you’ll get to San Diego sometime in your travels, and it looks like the Rockies will be playing the Padres at Petco 9 times or so. Who knows, I might just be there at one of those games. If you don’t mind, I think I will start praying for you. This is a big step of faith, isn’t it?
    http://kaybee.mlblogs.com

  5. rockymountainway

    Kaybee- for sure I will be in San Diego and yes all prayers and well wishing is more than welcome. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you but faith for me is believing when you cannot see and there is so much of this experience I cannot see so I have and will at all times try to keep my faith strong. Any help is good help : )
    tom

  6. Jane Heller

    Wow, Tom. You weren’t kidding when you said you had a Plan in previous posts. I’m marveling at your passion and admire your decision to explore America through baseball and write about it all. What adventures you’ll have. Can’t wait to read about them. So many people say they want to follow a certain path and don’t actually do it. You’re doing it. Good for you and best of luck along the way.

    http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

    • rockymountainway

      Thanks jane I’ll need it! Lol, actually i’m sure there will be many ups and downs but I know it will be what it should be in the end.
      tom

  7. rockymountainway

    Tom,
    I know that you have friends at many other places to stay with on your journey. I also want you to know just how many people here in Colorado love you and you will always have a place with. Let us know if you ever need a place to stay here at home, or if you ever need some company!
    Your Friend,
    Mary “Pez”

  8. Kylie

    Wow.
    Well, the Rox will be here for the first four days in June. I’ll buy you a dog–we don’t have brats here, not that I know of–but it’s too bad that it’s June and not April. Last year the Rox came in April and we had the roof open. Minute Maid Park is a lot more beautiful with the city visible.
    Good luck, and Godspeed.
    Kylie — http://kylie.mlblogs.com

    • rockymountainway

      Kylie, I want to see the best Minute Maid has to offer so think up the best food because I will for sure be testing them all! Thanks and the best in ’09.
      tom

    • rockymountainway

      Wild child much love to the tribe in ’09 and hope to see some great stuff coming out of that blog of yours!
      tom

  9. erculc@comcast.net

    Tom-
    Wow, I truley admire you for what you are setting out to do. I myself have a true love for baseball and would dearly love to do what you are doing but it would be nearly impossible for me to do that with having my family. Keep in touch with the girls from pueblo west wmart, we miss you, God Bless You in your adventures and if you are ever in Pueblo, call me, would love to sit and talk with you.

    Carrie

    • rockymountainway

      Carrie! You are awesome and so are the “crew” in the PW mart. You are the type of people who inspire me to want to help others because of your always kind demeanor and generosity to everyone you had contact with. And always thanks for the chair and food!
      tom

  10. iliveforthis

    Tom,
    I’m incredibly impressed with the goals that you have set for yourself and that you’re about to risk everything for something that you believe in. It shows maturity, dedication, and preparation for the unknown.
    Being from Colorado, I’ll definitely do what I can for you. I’d offer you my house, but it’s not actually mine since I’m moving in with my dad to pay off all that student loan debt that I acquired. But, if you’re in need of a companion for a game, I’ll do what I can to make all of them.
    I wish you the absolute very best, and will stick a link in my side bar to your blog. I hope you meet amazing people on your journey.
    Emily
    http://deconstructingthoughts.mlblogs.com/

    • rockymountainway

      Hey when I graduated from UNC (go bears) I could have used my dad’s place too but thank you so much for the generosity and best of luck finding the job you were looking for. For sure I will need many companions for games and will be keeping close eye on all the people who would like to go!
      tom

    • rockymountainway

      Thanks baby paul and I’m sure you will have many adventures coming up this season in your tiny world!
      tom

  11. gotmilb

    Tommy, please just let me add another “region” where you’ll have a baseball-going, homefood-cooking friend waiting so you know who to ping when you get to the Washington. D.C. area! So looking forward to reading about your travels and seeing your pictures! It will be a trip of a lifetime, one most of us can only dream of taking … will you post an itinerary or play some of it by ear?

    Lisa
    http://gotmilb.mlblogs.com/

    • rockymountainway

      Lisa you are awesome and thank you so much! Itinerary, the first part of my trip is coming together and is more solid than anything else. I will reevaluate as often as possible to see how much money I have left and go from there. If I can make it to the D.C. area I would love to pick your brain about all your experiences! Some games and parts of the country I just wouldn’t be able to make it to and I’ll will have to pick and choose wisely.
      tom

  12. jimmy27nyy

    Hey, Tom …

    It looks like you have a “fun” winter, spring, summer, and fall, planned, in 2009, which should be a truly great adventure !!! … We all have deams, and most of the time our everyday lives get in the way of us actually pursuing these dreams … So, it’s “awesome” that you plan on traveling throughout this great Country of ours, and letting each day provide you with a new and exciting experience that hopefully will bring you much joy and happiness … And, just think, your whole adventure will be driven by your great passion for “Baseball” !!! … All the best, and “Good Luck”, for a great year ahead, as you “Follow Your Dreams” in search of your own “Field Of Dreams” this year !!! … I look forward to reading about all your great adventures !!! … Also, thanks for your recent visit to my mlblog, and your very kind words and comments !!! … I have added your mlblog to my “Link Lists” on my blog; and, again, I look forward to following, and reading about, your “Baseball Trip Across America” this upcoming year !!! … Tom, “May God Bless Your Journey” !!! … Jimmy [27NYY], “BY&L”

    http://baseballtheyankeesandlife.mlblogs.com/

  13. welikeroywelikeroy

    Tom,

    All the times I’ve come to your blog and read many great articles, I’ve never clicked on the icon at the top to lead me to this post. Silly me. I heard of your trip but didn’t understand it till I came to this post. I would be willing to help you if you ever came North of the U.S. Well, I’d at least run it by my folks. Sounds like a lot of fun, I’d even buy you a ticket to the game. I wish you the best of luck with it!!!!
    http://homerfoodandhistory.mlblogs.com/

  14. nichallisey

    Tom,

    I’m new to MLBlogs and just saw your article. Best of luck to you.

    A friend of my parents had a goal to take a trip to every baseball stadium. All throughout my childhood, I would save all of my change in a jar that was going to a fund so I could do the same trip.

    It hasn’t happened for me, but I’m happy that you are experiencing this. I’m sure it was a huge step of faith to do this, but I look forward to hearing about your experience, and appreciate your goal of doing it in order to make the world a better place.

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