My Ultimate Baseball Bucketlist

My Ultimate Baseball Bucketlist

jj-and-dad
My Dad, Mom, and Me

I am the middle kid in my family.  When I was a kid I felt that my dad and I weren’t that close, but somehow we had a common interest, the awesome game of Baseball. My dad was a big baseball fan and frustrated baseball player. He grew up idolizing players like Sandy Koufax, Mickey Mantle and Joe Di Maggio. He tried his hardest to get into the big leagues, but somehow his father pushed him to go to the military instead.

Baseball became my dad and I’s connection. He taught me the basics of baseball…how to throw and how to bat. When I won my first little league game, I will never forget it, he told me that I was finally ready to attend my first big league baseball game. Fortunately, we got to travel to New York City and the game was in the Original Yankee Stadium, “The House that Ruth Built.”

At the New Yankee Stadium
At the New Yankee Stadium

I remember every detail of that day: stepping out of the #7 Train; the anticipation; the overwhelming feeling of “baseball energy;” the goose bumps when entering gate #3; and the euphoric excitement when the crowd started cheering.  Wow, that was it. That’s when I was hooked.

Together, my dad and I enjoyed numerous games.  We visited close to 17 cities and he always made sure we caught a game while we were there together. In every moment my dad and I spent together, I was happy.

Visiting every baseball stadium is definitely on my Bucket List! #bucketlist #Baseball Click To Tweet
citizen-park
Citizen Bank Park Home of the Phillies

Then one day, we had a different conversation. He told me he would be going for his yearly checkup and he hadn’t been feeling well lately. We took him to the hospital for his checkup, and I sat in the waiting room – and waited – for what seemed like forever. After seeing the doctor, my dad told me he had to stay in the hospital over night to have more tests. At first, I couldn’t understand why he had to stay longer and I never really asked why. Months passed and finally we were told that he was really very sick. He was diagnosed with Colon Cancer.

Years of treatment went by. As with a lot of cancer patients, my dad had a lot of weight and at times it was startling how drained and weak he was. He always told me that as soon as he got out of the hospital, we would visit every baseball stadium and historic site from the past, present and future (they are always building somewhere).

A few days after he passed away, I vowed that I would continue his wish – complete his dream in his honor.

Years have passed and I have slowly started fulfilling his wish. One city, one stadium, one baseball site at a time, I am getting closer to accomplishing his dream. One of his favorite stadiums was the Original Tiger Stadium in Detroit, I journeyed through barbwire, rocks and tall grass to find this field – what was once the Original Tigers Stadium – and it was worth every cut and scrape. It was 2010 when I got to visit this holy baseball land where greats like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jackie Robinson, and Roberto Clemente all played. It’s weird, but I felt a surge of energy in this sacred land.

original-tigers-stadium-field
Site of the Original Tiger Stadium in Detroit
I feel that he is with me whenever I am in one of those places – it always brings me back to those good times and good moments. I know visiting every ballpark both past and present is a really hard task to complete but I am getting closer every year and I am cherishing the journey!
new-tigers-stadium
Comerica Park Home of the Detroit Tigers

About Our Guest Poster:

John Alo-Sweeney, aka: Mana’Olanakeiki Alo, is the Owner and CEO ALOGRAPHICS Unlimited.  With his background and wide range of influences – from Comic Books to Japanese Animation to German Pop Art to Dutch Graffiti to Extreme Sports to New York City Urban Street Wear, his experience expands many media platforms. He has done custom designs for athletes, local surf and skate shops and has established himself in the music industry in Web Design, Album Covers and merchandising for various musical artists like N.E.R.D, Linkin Park, and Stone Temple Pilots, to name a few. He designs for various brands such as Quiksilver, Billabong, Volcom, Vans, Zoo York Institute and also does digital work and occasional inking work for DC Comics Media. John is also the CEO & Founder of Project ALO, a charitable project which gives used and still functional computers to people who need them – such as veterans, the elderly and the less fortunate, giving them professional opportunities and connecting them to their love ones and to the world.

20 thoughts on “My Ultimate Baseball Bucketlist

    1. thanks for you message. The new Yankee Stadium is nice, you can get any types of food..from Chinese Take out, Japanese Sushi, Italian and the reg Hotdogs Pretzels, Hotdogs, Chicken Fingers and etc. There is no bad seats but definitely feel different from the Original one…this is what they call the House that Jeter Build..cheers and enjoy the post season

    1. That’s awesome. Same thing with me. I want to be in a World Cup hosted by the UK. Have all the pint of beers and whisky someday. Cheers and thanks for you kind words

  1. What a beautiful thing to cherish between father and son. I, too am a middle child and I lost my father to cancer 2 years ago. We had a special bond and memories that were different from my siblings and him. I know I will cherish those forever. Continue to honour your dad! I know he’ll be very proud <3

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. Yes the middle kid mentality does exist 🙂 I feel a sense of warmth and joy when I fulfill things in his honour.
      Cheers from NYC

  2. I watched my first game of baseball in O’ahu – a college match that was pretty cool. But, I can’t sit there for that long watching it – short attention span. The sports I watch in Australia go for 80 mins! I love how it’s such a big thing in the US though.

    1. To be honest with you College baseball is equally exiting. I had short attention span too but somehow I learned the art of scoring a baseball game from my dad too which charts every detail of the game, how many pitches, strikes, walk , runs and etc. plus ofcourse the Beer and good food helps 🙂 cheers from NYC

  3. The filial bonding over baseball comes across so poignantly, it is really touching. I am sure your dad will have a smile on his lips and a twinkle in his eyes as he watches you visiting city after city, stadium after stadium and baseball site after site.

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I feel that he is next to me everytime I fulfill his dream. He actually got to see me play in Cooperstown as a kid and as an adult when my team the Cyclones got the honor to play there too. Yup so that place has so many good memories. Anyway it all for him. 🙂

    1. I’m so much rooting for the Cubs..I went there last year and got to go to 2 games. One inside Wrigley and one on the rooftop parties on a day game was pretty cool. All you can drink and eat. Wrigley is one of the long standing stadiums that’s left. Love how the fans stood by their team every year..yes I’m hoping its the Cubs this time

  4. Great guest post! I grew up near the home of Yogi Bera and regularly went to a AAA stadium dedicated to him. He would show up occasionally to games or school trips and greet guests. Its awesome how inspiring Baseball can be and how it can help people in so many ways.

    1. I love the Yogimeister. I ve been to his museum and met him a few times. He even got to sign my catchers mitt and a few balls. Such a classic act. He is beyond Baseball. his Yogisms became part of pulp culture and people’s daily lives. His passing was so sad. His time with the yanks and mets was priceless

    1. Thank you Lara for your awesome words. Can’t wait to do more . It’s like one step closer to my dad . Where ever he may be. I will get there on Bucketlist wish at a time 🙂 Cheers!

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