Opinion Sports Columns

A Father and Son Baseball Cross-Country Road Trip

Before junior year, Jared Gidan and his dad decided they were going to drive Jared back to Springfield College. They were going to start their very own tradition of going on baseball road trips. This Google Map chronicles the first trip. They have done two more since then. They have nine ballparks left to see. Jared and his dad started out on August 25th 2009 and drove all the way from LA to NYC.  Total Miles- 2,950

Jared Gidan

Staff Writer

I never thought that deciding to go to school at Springfield College would have allowed me to go on three of the greatest trips I’ve ever been on. The summer before junior year, my dad came to me with the idea that we would drive my car back to Springfield so I could have it for the year.  When he originally came to me with this idea, I never realized just what that idea would later become. I have spent every summer since I started college working at a summer camp in northern California. One day, I got a phone call from my dad asking me if I’d be interested in turning our planned trip into a baseball road trip.

We left on a Friday. All of my stuff was packed to the brim in my little Jeep Wrangler. I remember my mom waving to us as we pulled out of the driveway, and I know all she was thinking about was how she wished she was coming with us. That first day, we drove all the way to St. George, Utah. We passed through Las Vegas, and I remember stopping and eating the last In-N-Out burger I’d have until I was home for winter break. When we got to St. George, it was raining.

My dad woke me up early that next morning, and we were off. We had to drive all the way to Denver, Colo. It just so happened the Rockies were playing the Dodgers. I remember it being hot and humid. The game wasn’t all that memorable, but I do remember that Ubaldo Jimenez pitched. After the game, we spent that night in Denver.

The next game was in Chicago. We drove all the way from Denver to Davenport, Iowa, spent the night there and then drove into Chicago. The game was a day game between the White Sox and Yankees. We took the subway from our hotel down to the south side and sat right behind home plate. It was Frank Thomas Day.

After Chicago, it was on to Cincinnati for a game the next night. The Brewers were in town, and we got to the game early. I’ve never been more miserable watching a game in my life. It was hotter when the game ended than when it started. The game was great, however. Joey Votto was in the midst of his MVP season. Jay Bruce hit a walk-off double in the bottom of the 10th inning. The receptionist at the hotel told me to try a “Coney Dog.” My advice? Don’t.

We woke up early the next morning and drove to Cleveland. Cleveland is a great baseball town. The Indians played the White Sox; Justin Masterson pitched. The next day after the game, we went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Then it was on to Williamsport, Pa. I grew up watching the Little League World Series; we missed the games by a little over a week, and the place looked like a ghost town. Nonetheless, it was still cool to see.

Next, it was on to Yankees Stadium, a very fitting place to end the journey. My dad’s best friends/roommates from dental school at NYU all came to the game with us. I don’t even remember who the Yankees played; I just remember the stadium. If you haven’t seen it, it’s the cathedral of baseball. Sorry, Red Sox fans.

To end the trip, I spent two nights at my dad’s friend’s house in Greenwood Lake, N.Y. It was Labor Day weekend. I woke up that Sunday morning and finished the trip to Springfield all on my own.

The journey was about 2,950 miles in about eight days. Not too bad.

Since that first trip, we’ve done two more trips.

At the end of last year, I drove all the way to Chicago and picked my dad up. We drove from there to St. Louis and saw the Cardinals, then from St. Louis to Kansas City to see the Royals.  We ended that trip by driving all the way to Dodgers stadium.

This past summer, I drove with my mom to Chicago and picked my dad up. We then drove to Milwaukee and took a ferry across Lake Michigan to see the Tigers play the Royals. Afterwards, we went on to Pittsburgh. Then it was on to Greenwood Lake for Labor Day weekend round two.

Jared Gidan may be reached at jgidan@springfieldcollege.edu

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