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Saturday Notebook: Summer Ballpark Trip, New Authors, Mozeliak's Start, Baserunning, and 16-Game Season

Today's Notebook looks at a man's upcoming trip to visit all 30 ballparks in one summer, the call for new writers at Twinkie Town and my move to Wednesdays, how Cardinals GM John Mozeliak got his big break in baseball from a fly-fishing trip, the Red Sox's plan to become superior baserunners, and the thought experiment of giving MLB a 4-month, 16-game season.

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports


That's a dream that I would like to accomplish some day. As if the hashtag wasn't clear enough, something that's on my bucket list is to visit every single Major League ballpark in 2 months. I originally set the plan at 31 days, but I think I realized that the only way I could accomplish this goal would be to have 4 cars at my disposal and the ability to last an entire month while averaging only 3 hours of sleep a night. Also, some extreme luck in getting a home game in every new city on consecutive days for an entire month while having at most one rainout or off day. Despite the words of Lloyd Christmas, this wasn't going to happen.

But, I've changed my dream to last 2 months, giving me a little more leeway, a little more sleep, and a little more time to enjoy the cities I'll visit one day. Well, except Detroit, I don't think anyone could like Detroit.

Fortunately, I can plan my future trip based on what other baseball fans before me have done, and Robert Cochrane is one of them. Back in 2004, he went on a 2-month, 20,000 mile trip with his father who has Parkinson's Disease to see all of the ballparks in one summer, and then went ahead and created an award-winning documentary from his travels, titled "Boys of Summer" (click the link to watch it for free).

Ten years later, Robert and his father are looking to do the trip once again. They plan on catching up with some friends they met back in '04, visit some places they missed on their last trip, and of course, hit up the new ballparks that have been erected in the past decade. Plus, they're looking at recording another documentary of their travels, both on the baseball front and to raise awareness of Parkinson's, showing the progression of the disease in Robert's father and from interviewing other people along the way. They have set up a Kickstarter page for the sequel "Boys of Summer - Second Base" and are looking to raise $25,000 by Christmas by requesting for your help.

This sounds like a very interesting endeavor and I hope Robert and his father are able to meet their goal for their trip and film. In fact, I've already told Robert that I'm hoping to meet him at Target Field next summer when they stop in Minnesota. And who knows, maybe I can even convince him to interview me, a Twins usher, for the documentary!


Also, in case you didn't see it, Jesse posted an article yesterday requesting new writers for Twinkie Town. If you didn't notice, one (or two) of the positions up for grabs was being a weekend writer for this site. "But Bryz, you write on Saturdays, and Saturdays are part of the weekend!" Yes, that's true. But don't fear, twinsbrewer, I am not leaving. Rather, I am planning on shifting over to writing on Wednesdays, and that means I'll be leaving the Saturday Notebook behind.

I won't bore you with my entire life story, but here's basically my progression of writing for Twinkie Town. I first started with my own blog, Off The Mark, after the conclusion of the 2009 season. I wrote there for about 2 years before being approached by Jesse after the 2011 season, stating that he had an opening for Saturdays and asked if I was interested. I saw it as an opportunity to gain a bigger presence online and jumped at the chance, and I wrote my first (then) Breakfast and Baseball post in February 2012.

While I certainly have enjoyed doing these Saturday Notebook pieces, I've also had an interest in analysis and opinions about the Twins, and the Notebooks limited my ability to accomplish this as I was more focused on rounding up news from around the league. Therefore, I'm under the impression that my next post will be on this upcoming Wednesday, and I've already got an idea of what I'm going to write (hint: another "Maximizing Roster Assets" post), so I hope you look forward for that.

Also, good luck to all of you that have requested to join the Twinkie Town authors! Now to the final round-up of news from around the league.

  • The Denver Post has an interesting article about how St. Louis Cardinals GM John Mozeliak got his start in the baseball world. The funny thing is that it all started with a fly-fishing trip. Back in 1993, Colorado Rockies pitcher Bryn Smith was looking for a place to go fly-fishing, and video coordinator Jay Darnell said he knew a guy. This person was Mozeliak, a former player from an American Legion team that Darnell had coached. Mozeliak accompanied Smith on the trip, and it went so well that when they returned, Mozeliak was offered a job as the left-handed batting practice pitcher for the Rockies. Then, Mozeliak overheard Darnell and pitching coach Larry Bearnarth discussing the need for better pitching charts. Having a father that worked for IBM, Mozeliak returned the next day with the very thing Bearnarth was requesting. From there, Mozeliak just worked his way up the ladder, joining the St. Louis Cardinals' scouting department in 1995, and finally became GM in 2007. Since then, Mozeliak has helped build possibly the best organization in baseball, a team that is geared towards competing in the playoffs for a long time. Not bad for a guy that got his break from fishing.
  • I meant to post this for the past two weeks and kept forgetting, and now I'm finally taking care of it. The Boston Red Sox won this year's World Series, and one of the things that aided them on their journey was their superior baserunning. That was on display in Game 2 of the Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers, when with runners on 1st and 2nd and 2 outs, Dustin Pedroia shooted a single to right field. Will Middlebrooks was the runner on 2nd base, and even with 2 outs, third base coach Brian Butterfield had Middlebrooks stop at 3rd base. Why? Because the next hitter was David Ortiz, and Butterfield's decision to hold Middlebrooks was huge as Ortiz sent the baseball and Torii Hunter into the Red Sox bullpen for a grand slam that tied the score at 5. This article from WEEI in Boston talks about how the Red Sox built a culture of smart baserunning despite having few players that are often mentioned in the same breath as stolen bases. The article is lengthy, but contains a lot of information on how the Red Sox became one of the best baserunning teams in MLB this past season.
  • Finally, Joe Posnanski has yet another curiously-long post that features a very interesting thought experiment: What if the baseball season was like the NFL and had only 16 games over 4 months? I don't necessarily agree with all of his points (I'm not sure baseball would become more violent), but it would be fascinating to see teams carry only one or two starting pitchers and only about 5 relievers. As Posnanski says, the quality of pitching would skyrocket as the lower echelon of pitchers would be phased out. Also, he foresees that the offensive side of the game would become even more specialized with the additional roster spots not used for pitchers, such as a designated pinch-runner and bunter as runs and outs become far more valuable. I won't give away all the changes that would likely happen with a 16-game season, but it's a very interesting read as we draw some comparisons between baseball and football.
Enjoy your weekend, and I look forward to seeing all of you on Wednesdays from now on.