Baseball road trip: How to visit all 30 MLB stadiums in 30 days.

# How to Visit All 30 Major-League Stadiums in 30 Days

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May 5 2014 11:45 PM

# Take Me Out to the Ballpark—All of Them

## How to visit all 30 major-league stadiums in 30 days.

Created by Ben Blatt and Eric Brewster
Caution: Please Read I Don't Care If We Never Get Back Before Attempting
SHARE TRIP
TO FIND A ROAD TRIP THAT WILL TAKE YOU

TO ALL 30 BALLPARKS IN 30 DAYS
1. Choose a starting stadium by clicking on a city on the map.
2. That team's home schedule will appear below the map. Select a highlighted date.
3. The algorithm will build your 30-day road trip and a detailed itinerary will appear below. Click reset to try a new start date or stadium. (Warning: Some segments will show a path that goes over water. Please do not drive in the ocean.)

Starting Date: End Date:
RESET
Rules

There are 30 major-league teams and there are 30 days in a month. Baseball is our national pastime. Driving is our other national pastime. According to my friend Ben Blatt, the logic was simple: Completing a 30-day journey that would take us to all 30 ballparks, entirely by car, was basically our duty as young Americans.

It seemed impossible to me, but Ben, who loves baseball almost as much as he loves math, had successfully devised an algorithm to calculate the “optimal” baseball road trip. By optimal, he meant the road trip that completed the stadium tour in fewer than 30 days while maximizing the amount of time between cities, for ease of travel. He even published a paper on it.

Be advised: Not every itinerary Ben’s machine spits out will be the shortest possible trip; the results are intended to minimize risky driving. The algorithm takes pains to avoid hard-to-complete drives, like an 11-hour haul scheduled in a 12-hour window, even if such a leg would cut down on total miles travelled. For most trips, the nastiest segments will leave you with 25 percent of the day for rest time; on your worst day, this could mean having to complete a 20-hour drive—from Houston to San Diego, say—in only 25 hours. But most legs are more manageable, depending on your definition of the word manageable.

It turns out that the biggest obstacle to planning these trips isn’t always getting to out of the way stadiums in places like Seattle or Denver, though that is a challenge. It’s finding the best way to visit stadium-dense regions. There are a half-dozen stadiums nestled in the Northeast corridor, from Boston to Washington, D.C.—but that doesn’t mean they’ll all have home games on consecutive nights. And cities with two teams rarely schedule overlapping home stands. Last season, for example, there wasn’t a single day when both L.A. teams had home games played at least four hours apart.

If you’re looking for the most efficient trip based on this year’s schedule, the fastest remaining route starts in Oakland on May 30 and will require only 16,927 driving miles to complete. That may still sound like a long journey, but it’s actually less driving than the most optimal trip from last year, which is when Ben and I undertook the challenge.

So: Thanks to Ben’s widget, you now have just about everything you need to make your own 30 stadiums in 30 days trip. But that doesn’t mean you should make the trip. Before you start packing the station wagon with sunflower seeds and sunblock, let me tell you a little more about how our trip went down.

On June 1, 2013, Ben and I walked, wide-eyed, into Yankees Stadium to take in our first game of the trip, a Yankees–Red Sox game in which Boston blew out the Bombers, 11–1. After the game, we hopped in our Toyata RAV-4 and set off for Pittsburgh. Then we went to Philadelphia. Then north to Boston. Then down I-95 to D.C. Then up to Detroit. That last drive was a leisurely eight hours. We were just getting started.

The rules of our trip were simple. We had to hit all 30 stadiums before the calendar turned over to July, and had to be inside each stadium for every pitch of every game. No missing the first inning to catch some shuteye after a long drive. No ducking out early to see a local curiosity or visit a far-flung friend.

For Ben, these rules made perfect sense. Completing this trip was the lifelong dream of an ardent fan and admitted math nut. As for me, I was mainly doing it because Ben is my friend, and I figured he’d probably fall asleep at the wheel and die a horrible death if I didn’t go with him. (Ben assured me that the odds of getting in a crash over the course of our 18,000 journey was a mere 0.5 percent.)

I’d also never been on a road trip longer than five hours before, and this trip seemed like a great way to see the country. That turned out to be a wildly naive conclusion. I mean, we did see a lot of the country. But that was about it. Ben’s witness-all-27-outs edict left precious little time between cities—and when the games went into extra innings, things were even tighter. Most of the trip was conducted at breakneck speed, with a series of down-to-the-minute sprints required to keep the game-a-day pace achievable. While the Northeast was a pleasant stretch of five- and six-hour drives, there was little pleasant about a 10-hour drive from Chicago to Baltimore followed by a 15-hour drive to Miami. It turns out one man’s statistically optimized fantasy can be another man’s nightmare.