Anyone who has read the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series knows that Anastasia and her kids are rabid Mets fans. Today we welcome author and fellow Mets fan A. R. Kennedy to talk about her passion for baseball and her debut series. Learn more about A. R. and her books at her website.
There’s nothing better than when you combine two or more of your favorite things. And I’m not talking about peanut butter and chocolate. I’m referring to my love of travel and baseball.
In the past seventeen years, I’ve traveled all over the US to visit forty-two Major League Baseball stadiums. I can tell you where to get the best nachos (Miami’s Marlins Park,) where to get the best sandwich (Primanti’s at Pittsburgh Pirates PNC Park,) who has the best ballpark tour (Washington’s Nationals Park) and where to meet the nicest ballpark staff (Minnesota Twins Target Field.)
In my quest to see all the stadiums, I’ve seen five games in six days while in one state (California), driven through three states to see four games in five days (Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Detroit,) and learned Chicago doesn’t want me to move there. In my two visits to the beautiful city, I’ve felt the extremes of their weather—freezing in May and sweating in August (over 115 degrees with the heat index!)
Weather is always a challenge when traveling. It’s of particular concern when you’re traveling hundreds or thousands of miles to see an event that’s held predominantly outside. One of my most memorable trips was to Minnesota Twins Target Field in April 2013 for the series they dubbed ‘The Sprinter Series’ (The Spring-Winter Series.) I watched two amazing games at the beautiful ballpark, with starting temperatures in the thirties, while it snowed. The opposing team, my team—the New York Mets—kept me warm by winning both games!
It all began in 1998 when I wanted to see the phenomena of the home run race and Mark McGuire. I drove eight hours to watch two games with no McGuire home runs but the atmosphere—Busch Stadium packed with baseball loving fans—was phenomenal.
In the next few years, I planned my summer vacations around MLB schedules. With teams who played within driving distance of each others’ schedules laid out on the floor, I spent hours organizing a trip to maximize my time. Some stadiums are too far from others and I tried to go there when the Mets were playing. I’ve seen the Mets play in twelve stadiums, not including their own. In recent years, I’ve re-visited MLB cities to check out newly built ballparks.
My baseball travels have also included trips to Canada. As many may know, Toronto’s Blue Jays’ home, the Rogers Centre, has a hotel attached. The Renaissance Toronto Downtown Hotel is the only hotel in the world inside a major sports venue, with some rooms featuring a field view. Of course, I had to stay in one of those rooms. It was like having my own personal suite. I’ve also visited Montreal’s Olympic stadium. There is a reason the Expos moved. I hope future travels include more international trips.
The highlights of my baseball trips:
* Seeing our beautiful country (and other parts of the world.) A 2001 trip to Minnesota’s Hubert H Humphrey Metrodome led me to Ely, Minnesota and kayaking the Boundary Waters—an amazing part of our country. A great outdoors store there, Piragis Northwoods, helped me, and I later traveled with Piragis on their international kayaking trips to Iceland and Greece.
*In Los Angeles, I watched a fourteen inning game. Why’d I stay? George Mallory said it best, “Because it’s there.” (I stayed even longer at a game at my home team’s Citi Field- 20 innings, 6 hours and 25 minutes—and yes, they lost.)
*Traveling with my Mom. She’s gone with me to fifteen of the stadiums, despite no interest in baseball. But she did enjoy those nachos!
*Meeting fellow baseball lovers. I spent most of a game at Minnesota’s Target Field talking to an usher who told me about the history of the team, that the majority of their fans wanted to see baseball played outside and shared his love for his team. I love talking baseball!
Next trip…Atlanta’s new stadium to open in 2017.
Unless MLB decides to schedule another international season opener…
To celebrate the Opening Week of baseball, all 3 Nathan Miccoli Mystery books are on sale—Gone But Not Missed, Gone But Not Goodbye, and Gone But Not Healed. (And all contain scenes at Mets home park, Citi Field.)
Gone but not Missed
Lillian Brannon wakes up on Valentine's Day in an exact replica of her bedroom but the only item that she believes is authentic is her dog, Laude. She is held captive in her kidnapper's basement apartment, summoned upstairs once a week for a chaste dinner. But will his kindness last, and more importantly, why isn’t anyone looking for her? Lillian’s story is interwoven with that of Nathan, a NYPD officer, who is intrigued by Lillian’s disappearance—how can a young woman be gone for two weeks before a Missing Person Report is filed? Local police believe Lillian has voluntarily abandoned a life she didn’t like. Lillian’s best friend convinces Nathan the authorities are wrong. With no jurisdiction, no resources, and no witnesses, he is compelled by the pictures of Lillian with her sweet smile and sparkling green eyes to obsessively take up the case. Armed with Lillian’s keys and personal information, he spends hours, then days in her home trying to find clues that will lead him to her.