Couple visits all MLB stadiums

It took most of the summer, 30 games, 15,000 air miles and 8,000
miles in cars to accomplish it, but Susan and David Casselman now
have the photos to prove it: In one season, the Roswell couple saw
a game in every Major League Baseball stadium.

David Casselman, 61, is a self-proclaimed baseball nut and a
Braves fan since his days growing up
in Wisconsin, where he listened to games on his transistor radio.
His wife is a 58-year-old fan who remembers sitting in the Detroit
Tigers stadium when it was snowing and being in the crowd at the
infamous Cleveland game when 10-cent beers created crowd
meltdown.

Their dream of visiting every stadium has been on a “bucket
list” for some time, but this was the year they decided to make it
happen.

“What got us started thinking about this trip was learning that
Bobby Cox was retiring,” said Susan Casselman, referring to the
final year for the
Braves’ manager. “We decided to do
our own mini-tribute to Bobby by going on tour.”

After months of logistical planning, they kicked off the tour at
Turner Field on Opening Day in April and saw their last game Sept.
17 in St. Louis. Along the way, they were challenged by game
cancellations, tight plane connections and a grueling travel
schedule.

“It was pretty tightly sequenced, and we almost had problems
with a rainout in Denver that was followed by snow,” David said.
“We were able to tack that city back onto the Kansas City and St.
Louis trip. But we also dealt with scheduling problems in cities
where there are two ball teams. The Yankees and Mets don’t have
games at the same time, so we had to catch one coming off a
homestand and the other going into a homestand to make it work. It
still worked out to 80 percent baseball and 20 percent travel, with
a little sightseeing thrown in.”

The tour didn’t feel like vacation to Susan Casselman.

“This was not a relaxing trip; it felt more like being a member
of the team,” she said. “If we had games in different cities on
consecutive days, we’d go to the game, eat at the stadium and be up
at 4 a.m. to get on the plane to go to the next ballpark.”

During the trip, the couple ate a lot of ballpark food (fresh
corn tortillas stuffed with grilled mozzarella in Miami and thinly
sliced roast beef on fresh buns in Baltimore) and saw two
exceptional games, including a one-hitter and another with a triple
play.

But they had the most fun taking pictures of their miniature
Bobby Cox doll in every venue.

Susan sewed “Cox” on the back of the doll and photographed him
with her husband in front of each stadium.

“Then I’d find something bizarre to pose Bobby with,” she said.
“In San Diego, they have a pool and a hot tub in the outfield, so
while the game was going on, I got a picture of Bobby diving into
the pool.”

The Casselmans also became experts on the best features of
ballparks across the country.

“Wrigley is baseball at its absolute purest,” said David. “The
scoreboards are 99 percent manually done, and the lights are only
on the field, not on the fans. The stadium is on the streets of
Chicago, so it’s a neat atmosphere. But we also liked Camden Yards
in Baltimore, where there’s also a lot of history, and AT&T
Field in San Francisco, where you’re right on the bay. We came in
on the ferry, which was very cool.”

Along the way, the couple followed two rules: They sat through
the entire game, and they rooted for the home team.

“We only had one exception to the home-team rule,” said David.
“We were in Cincinnati, and it was the only game where we saw the
Braves on the road. So we cheered
for them, and they won.”