If you are not already familiar with the story of RJ Breisacher, then now is the time to spend 10 minutes learning about the man. If you asked him, he would probably tell you that he is not the least bit exceptional in any way. He comes across as a very forward, honest, and humble guy. Maybe that’s because he has a different standard for exceptional. RJ recently finished a 1 year “tour” of Afghanistan courtesy of the United States Army, and by “tour” I’m obviously not referring to a safari guide in khaki shorts showing guests the quickest route from the tiki lounge to the Vespa rental stand.
No, RJ signed on to protect, serve, defend, and obey the law of the pack (or something like that). He put in work in Iraq, and then he used Afghanistan as his farewell tour before returning to the States. By the time he returned home, he had already put together a rather grand scheme, and he had set some of the necessary wheels in motion by contacting all the MLB teams, potential sponsors, and dozens of baseball bloggers. Having missed the sport of baseball so much during his military time, he was determined to make up for that time by compressing his need to see baseball into a ridiculous idea that had fomented for months and months.
He had decided to attend baseball games in all 30 MLB parks in as short a period of time as possible, and he was going to undertake this trip, even if it meant going on a shoestring budget. It’s not that he didn’t realize the potential difficulty of achieving such a goal, it’s just that he wasn’t the least bit bothered by it. That’s just him. Get an idea and act upon it.
A few days ago, Nick (@pitchershit8th) and I were exchanging messages about various important topics like rWAR vs fWAR, the importance of BAbip without percentage of balls put into play as context, and the need to have a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor named “butt”. (Just imagine eating something and declaring that it tastes exactly like “butt”.) I digress. Nick happened to mention that RJ had already started his trip around MLB and had contacted him with a request for advice, information, or the proper technique for picking up a hitchhiker on I70. Naturally, Nick set about trying to poke and prod anyone and everyone he knew for some assistance in making RJ’s visit to St. Louis as memorable as possible. As what I would consider a last resort, he finally put RJ in touch with me with a fairly weak promise that we would try to help.
I should probably pause to tell you all that my family has a thing for military service. Since it sounds far too dangerous and requires an immense amount of physical effort and willpower, it wasn’t exactly the life for me. However, both my wife and I have plenty of relatives who served during various times of both war and peace, and we hold in high esteem the men and women who honor us all by serving this country by dedicating so much of themselves to the armed forces.
After exhausting all the ideas I could muster in 15 seconds, I asked my wife for advice, and she simply suggested that we find out where RJ was going to be sitting and see whether or not better seats would be worth the trouble. When we learned that RJ had tickets for something in the neighborhood of the Hardee’s huge burger sign, an idea was born. We scrambled to come up with a bunch of tickets so that RJ and his unnamed yet awesome accomplice could sit with my family. We ended up in section 172, row 2, and our seats were a sunflower seed toss from Matt Holliday’s backside and 10 seats to the left field foul/fair pole side of the visitor’s bullpen.
Many messages and emails were exchanged before we finally were able to meet in person at the game. If you have never attended a game with a couple of total strangers with the intent of learning as much about one of them as possible in a short period of time, then I suggest you hurry up and do so. RJ still has several games to go, and he could use the company.
From our rather incredible perch, we were able to take in a great game full of offensive fireworks and absolutely no defense played by the Pirates. Best of the all, the game simply served as the backdrop for a wonderful conversation about baseball, military service, and a really crazy idea to try and see games at all 30 MLB parks by taking a make it up as you go approach to getting from point A to point B. There is so much more of RJ’s story to tell, but I’d rather you all learn about it by following his travels via his blog by clicking here.
You can also follow RJ on Twitter => @BaseballDreamin
TIDBIT: Notice in the picture above that I’m reppin’ a PH8 shirt. You all should buy one as well. Mother’s Day is coming up, and nothing says “I Love You Mom” quite like a kickin shirt from a blog she’s never, ever heard of.
While you are there, you can follow me (@gr33nazn) on the Twitters, because I make silly things using Photoshop!