Racker Embarks On Le Tour De Baseball: 15 Games, 45 Days, 9,300 Miles

Rackspace Product Manager Grant Herbon has used his sabbatical to embarked on a cross-country trek to hit a number of Major League Baseball games while raising money for Windcrest Little League (donate here: http://windcrestbaseball.org/donations/) – he’s calling it Le Tour de Baseball 2012. In this post, Herbon talks about what he’s doing, and why. You can follow Herbon’s journey and read about each of his stops along the tour here: http://www.bgh2.com/

In 1983 I went to my first major league baseball game and saw San Diego Padres. I’ve been hooked ever since. There was something special about the game. Maybe it was the great San Diego weather, maybe the classic brown and yellow Padres uniforms, maybe it was the greatness of Tony Gwynn. Probably all three. Regardless, that experience led me to an affinity for the great game of baseball – the timelessness of a game not constrained by time. The innocence of the game as depicted in “The Sandlot.” The poetry of the game as depicted in movies like “Field of Dreams” and “For the Love of the Game.” The passion and humor of the game as depicted in movies like ”Bull Durham” and “Major League,” and the newly minted “Moneyball.” Yes, all of it. I bought into it all hook line and sinker. And that is what led me to a lifelong goal of seeing a baseball game in every ball park. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m going to complete my tour.

I call it Le Tour de Baseball 2012 (I hope that doesn’t bring any copyright infringement lawyers my way). A baseball purist might question my take off on Le Tour de France so hear me out: my mom is not a huge sports fan; not by any stretch of the imagination, but while I was loving in London in 2007 I told her that I was going to be a race marshal during the first stage of the Le Tour (the stage in London). She was intrigued by that and thought if she watched the coverage on Versus she might get to see her son on TV. Yeah, right, like that would actually happen. But although she didn’t get to see me on TV, she found that she really enjoyed watching the race. And I think she developed a fondness for commentators Paul Sherwen and Phil Liggett. Regardless, we now have a tradition: during Le Tour, we watch every stage and then chat in the evening about the day’s events.  Everyday. And we both thoroughly enjoy it. So, since my sabbatical is going to run mid-Jun to the beginning of August, I’ll miss watching and talking to her about the 2012 Tour. So I’m creating my own: Le Tour de Baseball 2012.

The trek will run a total of 45 days, span 9,300 miles and touch 29 states. By the end, I will have watched 14 regular season games and the All-Star Game in Kansas City. Here’s where Le Tour de Baseball has taken me so far:

  • Chase Field, Phoenix, Ariz.: Seattle Mariners at Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Petco Park, San Diego: Texas Rangers at San Diego Padres
  • Angel Stadium at Anaheim: Los Angeles Dodgers at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
  • AT&T Park, San Francisco: Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants
  • Safeco Field, Seattle: Boston Red Sox at Seattle Mariners
  • Busch Stadium, St. Louis: Miami Marlins at St. Louis Cardinals
  • Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City: MLB All-Star Game and Home Run Derby
  • Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City: Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals
  • Target Field, Minneapolis: Oakland Athletics at Minnesota Twins
  • Wrigley Field, Chicago: Miami Marlins at Chicago Cubs
  • Comerica Park, Detroit: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Detroit Tigers

And the rest of my trip will bring me to:

  • Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Oakland Athletics at Toronto Blue Jays
  • PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Penn.: Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Turner Field, Atlanta: Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves
  • Marlins Park, Miami: San Diego Padres at Miami Marlins

But as I worked through the details of my trip, there was something missing. I just couldn’t place my finger on it and then it hit me: I needed a purpose bigger than myself; something that would last longer than my trip. Something associated with baseball – Little League. The community that surrounds Rackspace needed some help, so I decided to try and raise money for the Windcrest Little League. Yeah, that’s it! Now it feels right!

Yes, 45 days is a long time to drive around the country. And at 42, driving around the country to watch baseball games is as close as I’ll every come to the athletic accomplishment of completing Le Tour de France. Yeah, I’ve completed four marathons and a 150 mile bike ride in two days, but I have a feeling this is going to be more grueling. It may not be the same wear and tear on the body, but grueling indeed.

And 45 days is a long time to take off work. Well, thanks to Rackspace, now that I’ve completed seven years of service (almost eight), I get a sabbatical. You know, take some time off, un-plug, recharge the batteries. This is my sabbatical. Drive across America and Canada to see the ballparks I haven’t seen. And when I am done with my journey, I will have seen a game in every current (and a few that don’t exist anymore) Major League stadium.

Grant worked on Fanatical Support for Google Apps for Work. He is passionate about figuring out new ways to leverage Google Apps to transform the way our customers work. In his spare time he takes data science courses through Coursera, teaches his Rhodesian Ridgeback how to bay cats and gives his time and talent contributing to the San Antonio community.


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