Debut author Kabakoff chronicles his quest to visit every major league ballpark in this cheerful travelogue.
The author grew up attending games at Yankee Stadium with his father, but in 2001, at Baltimore’s Camden Yards, he met a man intent on visiting every baseball park with a major league team. The idea nested in the back of Kabakoff’s mind, and over the next several years, he took in games at New York’s Shea Stadium, Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium, Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park and Chicago’s Wrigley Field. On a 2005 vacation in Southern California, he watched the Anaheim Angels battle the Boston Red Sox, and Kabakoff’s game was on—he vowed to visit every major league ballpark himself. From August 2005 to September 2011, Kabakoff traveled to every major league city in the U.S. and Canada, not only to watch the hometown teams, but also to explore the ballparks, sample the concessions, visit the halls of fame and meet local fans. Throughout this chatty book, he recaps memorable games, spars with mascots, collects oddball souvenirs and receives frequent sunburns. He also expertly summarizes several team and ballpark histories along the way. There’s nothing scientific about the way he compares stadiums’ retractable roofs or evaluates fans’ enthusiasm, but his casual metrics will likely make indelible impressions on readers nonetheless. His writing style is boyish and agreeable, informal and full of occasionally silly wit. Serious fans won’t find many historical tidbits that they don’t already know, but there are a few odd gems, such as the reason why Honus Wagner’s baseball card is so valuable and what was unearthed during the construction of Denver’s Coors Field. Kabakoff brings his baseball narrative full circle as he describes how his childhood delight in discovering baseball reappeared in his young cousin Rachel, and he expands upon this legacy of shared experiences in the book’s final pages.
An engaging trip around Major League Baseball’s bases that may inspire readers to go on their own ballpark odysseys.