Betsy Hillyard and her husband Kenny met their bucket list suggestion and have been to every MLB ballpark. Now they have embarked on another quest.
“My husband and I are huge Cardinal fans” said Betsy Hillyard. “We completed our goal of seeing a game in all the current MLB parks in 2017, so now our goal is to see some type of a baseball game (minor league, college, etc) in all 50 states.”
In 2013 they realized they were pretty close to having been to all of the parks so they made a plan to finish it off. The two have been married 21 years and a large part of their life is centered around their love for baseball.
“We both work full time so we took a summer vacation each year and divided the country into sections,” she said.
So they sat down and looked at a map of the country.
“In 2014 was all the California parks, 2015 was the Midwest, 2016 was the northeast and then in 2017 we visited Atlanta, Tampa Bay and then finished up seeing the Cardinals play the Marlins. ‘To celebrate, we purchased first base that had been used in the first 3 innings of the (Cards-Marlins) game,” she said.
Now that’s combining geography skills with careful planning. Luckily they like history and they realized that seeing baseball games is a great way to see the country. Since most games are at night, they would travel during the daytime and they took time to sightsee, etc.
“One of our favorite things to do is to seek out markers, plaques etc from old ballparks that are no longer standing. We love the book “Roadside Baseball.” It’s a great state by state listing.”
They ended up doing it. They went to every current ballpark.
The photo, left shows them standing on the frozen Arctic Ocean in late June in their Cardinals gear.
The home team is the Alaska Goldpanners, a collegiate summer league. Many locals attend but according to Betsy, there were also a lot of pure baseball fans who had traveled from all over for the game.
“Since it’s held during the summer solstice there are a lot of other fun events going on in Fairbanks at that time,” she said. “The Midnight Sun Game was our Alaska game in our current quest. Right now, we’re at 23 states.”