Plenty of people reach the idea stage of the type of thing Chicagoans Brian O’Connor and Tim Loef are attempting this summer. There is a night, maybe a few beers are involved, and everyone is excited about possibilities.
Then reality creeps in … and the idea remains just a concept with no further action. But O’Connor and Loef are different. They took the notion — what if two longtime friends drove to 30 Major League Baseball games in all 30 ballparks in 30 days to celebrate the fact that they both turn 30 this year? — and actually turned it into a plan, which actually turned into a thing they’re doing.
They reached the one-third mark of their journey at Target Field on Monday, the 10th of 30 ballparks on a criss-cross-country odyssey.
Tuesday brought them to their homes in Chicago for a White Sox game and two hours of sleep in their own beds before hitting the road at 3 a.m. for a Wednesday afternoon game in Cincinnati.
“I think we both kind of try to persevere at things,” O’Connor said, explaining how this whole trip started. “I have the whole summer off, being a teacher. I’ve been needling Tim the last two years about a baseball road trip. He kind of shot back at me this year and said, ‘If you want to do a road trip, let’s do them all.’ ”
Then came the logistical work: Was it even possible? They worked on the West Coast games first since those ballparks are both spread out and impossible to reach in a day from other destinations, as compared to some Midwest and East Coast destinations. Once they had an itinerary — departing in late May, finishing in late June — they were off.
Along the way, they’ve been active on Twitter (@30in30for30) and posted video updates from the road on their website (30in30for30.com). They’re also rankings their favorite ballparks — O’Connor prefers AT&T Park in San Francisco, Loef likes Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City the best, while both say Target Field is in the top half so far.
Teams and fans have caught on along the way, embracing an itinerary that often leaves the duo with little sleep as they race from city to city — sometimes with no more than an hour to spare between the end of one game, travel time and the start of another.
The most harrowing experience came during an intense rainstorm in the middle of the night in rural Arizona, but they survived. And it’s better to rain at that point than … I won’t even say it.
“It’s the ‘R word,’ and we don’t talk about it in the car,” O’Connor said. “The game at Coors [in Denver]was delayed by an hour, but we got into the stadium and they played the whole game.
‘‘We hope the baseball gods continue to smile on us.”