JD’s 2015 Ballpark Tour, Montreal, Quebec

Part I: Stade Olympique

This visit was possible thanks to the Toronto Blue Jays, so I want to thank them publicly. Also, they have some of the best people working for their organization… more on that later. After last season’s journey, I waited patiently for the regular season schedule to come out so I could start planning for the other fifteen ballparks. Additionally, I took a peek at the pre-season schedule and saw something that piqued my interest. The Cincinnati Reds and Blue Jays were to play two exhibition games at the old Olympic Stadium in Montreal! This wasn’t a ballpark I ever made it out to, and I quickly asked the masses. Would this count as another stadium to see a ballgame in despite the fact the team that used to play there is now in Washington, DC? The answer was a resounding “YES!” That meant I would be visiting 16 other stadiums during this season instead of 15. Plus, with the usual games at Los Angeles and Anaheim, I would visit 18 different ballparks in one season. This was beginning to get really insane as I saw that this trip was not only possible, but a very strong possibility. Visiting this many ballparks in a span of five to six months may seem like an insurmountable task to the vast majority of baseball fans out there. However, with a great group of supportive friends and colleagues, this was looking like I could actually do this.

Planning for this was a bit difficult because of the hockey season and my work schedule. Luckily, I had a vacation around that time and could take a couple additional days off. Even more lucky, I would be able to revolve this around other work I already had going on and would just mosey to Montreal on the back end of an East Coast trip that was mostly planned. All the dominoes were falling into place.

Fast forward months later, and after a great trip to New York, I took the train up to Montreal on April Fool’s Day. This train ride was no joke, the scenery was that beautiful looking outside. Snow-filled woods surrounded me on a breathtaking train ride. Ultimately, I’m glad I took the train instead of a plane because it saved me money and gave me time to catch up on some writing and e-mails. I had arrived in Montreal armed with a fluency of the French language and quite a bit of Canadian money. I was ready for this short trip.

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Ballpark 16: Olympic Stadium in Montreal, elevation 30 metres

The game: Reds @ Blue Jays on April 3, 2015

The buzz around this game was very real as soon as I arrived in Montreal. First off, half of the TV stations were in French, and even some of them were talking about the upcoming games at Olympic Stadium. When I arrived, it was Wednesday. I attended a Montreal Canadiens game on Thursday, and one of the guests of honor at Centre Bell was former Expo, Vladimir Guerrero. He got a very loud standing ovation and is considered one of the finest players to ever put on a Montreal Expos jersey. Another fantastic story to come out of there was the return of Russell Martin to his home town of Montreal. He was also at the hockey game and got another standing ovation. Apparently, he stayed with his family while he was there and painted the town blue, as it were. In fact, he rode the Montreal subways around town just like when he was a kid.

After the hockey game, I looked ahead to Friday’s big game at “The O” where over 40,000 fans were expected to watch a pre-season game. Because of the recent snow, walking around was a bit tough. But, I left with enough time to buy myself a Montreal Expos hat, get my scorebook stamped from Olympic Stadium, and take a good look in and around the stadium.

Continue Reading About Stade Olympique in Montreal

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Looking Ahead Into 2015!

Last season, what started out as a simple and not-many-frills adventure through some of the MLB ballparks has turned into an epic journey where I got to visit HALF of the current MLB ballparks in this country. Along the way, I have touched the hearts of many and gotten to meet so many amazing people. I met inspiring people and made a couple new friends in Boston during Marathon weekend, took one of my closest and longest-known friends to a Phillies game, have talked baseball with so many people, and showed several kids pictures and artifacts from my travels, and even visited two parks in one day! In the midst of that New York trip, I won a contest and decided to take a very good friend on a truly unforgettable trip to Yankee Stadium where the people there were nicer than I ever would have imagined. I’ve made new friends, treated old friends, and tried to spread good vibes through all the ballparks I have visited.

I know I’m behind on some of these posts, and some of them are already written. Yes, I’ve already visited two new ballparks this season, including meeting another friend from the podcast I take part in, and seeing family (both old and about-to-be-new family)! But, all of my plane tickets are bought, and it looks like I’m going to complete this inspiring quest to visit every single current MLB ballpark. Fifteen last season, and fifteen more this season. Of course, this doesn’t count a former MLB ballpark that I will talk about very soon. First, here is where I’ve been, and where I’m going!

May 15-16: Safeco Field in Seattle

June 21: Turner Field in Atlanta

June 24: Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay

June 26: Marlins Park in Miami

June 30: Rogers Centre (Skydome) in Toronto, Ontario

July 4: Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati

July 5: Comerica Park in Detroit

July 6-11: Both Progressive Field and PNC Park in Cleveland and Pittsburgh

July 21: Miller Park in Milwaukee (Major League Night!)

July 22: U.S. Cellular Field in the south side of Chicago

July 24: Wrigley Field in the north side of Chicago

August 11: Target Field in Minnesota

August 13 & 15: Kauffman in Kansas City

August 14: New Busch Stadium in St. Louis

I hope to meet many of you fellow readers at some of these ballparks! Honestly, this is beyond my wildest dreams to be able to visit every ballpark in the major leagues. Of course, there will be other posts along the way, including tips on how to get the most bang for your buck, and money-saving tips on food, travel, and even parking!

Please be sure to check out my Twitter account: @StimpyJD, and my Instagram account of the same name. You can follow my travels on both with the hashtag: #JDsBallparkTour

From the bottom of my heart, thank you guys so much for reading this blog. To give you guys a preview of an upcoming post… here is a couple pictures from a ballpark that I didn’t include on this list for good reason. But, I will say this… I may get to make it out to TWENTY different MLB ballparks (past and present) in this 2015 season alone.

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-JD

PS: To all my Canadian readers out there, thank you so much! I hope you enjoy reading about my adventures, and I can’t wait to visit your great country once again. Yes, that picture is just for you fellow Canadians.