By Matthew Van Wormer
“I look forward to seeing the country I have served, first hand. I look forward to seeing people enjoy a sport in the safety of our great country.”
That statement comes from DTTWLN? Fan of the Week honoree, Robert “RJ” Breisacher; a United States Army Veteran who plans on traveling to every ballpark in the majors. The kicker? He’s going to do it in just over two months! This guy is ambitious to say the least! And while he’s not a Cleveland Indians fan, per se, he will be visiting the home of the Tribe early in his quest, on April 9th.
RJ was deployed in 2008 to Iraq and finished up his military career towards the end of 2011. He is a huge baseball fan thanks to many people in his life, especially his hero, his grandfather. I asked him about his earliest memory of going to a baseball game and the story he relayed is so good.
“My very first baseball game was with my grandfather who was my hero as a child. I think I was around seven years old. My grandfather had played in the minor leagues with the Toledo Mud Hens and he loved the Detroit Tigers. I stayed the weekend with him and was so excited to go to my first game. I remember being overwhelmed as I walked across the street towards Tiger Stadium. The sights and sounds of the park that day will stick with me forever. When I was little I would get so excited about something I would make myself sick. As I stood with my grandfather in our seats behind home plate listening to the Star Spangled Banner I threw up all over my shirt. My grandfather looked down at me and said ‘Are you okay? Do you want to go?’ I did not want to go so grandpa bought me a Tigers shirt and a Coke to settle my stomach. I don’t remember much about that game but I do remember my favorite player, Cecil Fielder, hit a home run. I remember that I got to see Cal Ripken Jr. play. I remember that the Tigers beat the Orioles that day.”
Since that day, RJ has been a Tigers fan and has visited just a few ballparks up until now. His team’s home field, Comerica Park is his favorite.
“I love the giant Tiger statues outside of the park. The Ferris Wheel and carousel are great for kids.”
He is really looking forward to getting a look at Heritage Park when he makes the trek to Progressive Field as the last time he was there, for the Winter Classic Hockey game between Ohio State and Michigan, Heritage Park was closed. One of his favorite parts of the park is on the outside and goes right back to the man that introduced him to the game.
“I like the Statue of Bob Feller outside of the park. My grandfather caught for him at some point in his short career.”
Fenway Park and Wrigley Field are the two parks he is looking forward to the most on his journey, even though he has been to Wrigley once before. The trip, which will start and end at Comerica Park, will span most of the 48 contiguous states, over 13,400 miles and 73 days.
Make sure to check out RJ’s blog as he makes his trip and keeps us updated on his progress. His website is baseballdreamin.blogspot.com and he has the dates he will be at every park listed there. Good luck to you, RJ and welcome to the DTTWLN? Fan of the Week Hall of Fame!
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