Love and baseball: Ohio couple take 152-day minor league trip across America

From Vince Grzegorek at Cleveland Scene on May 16, 2012, on SABR member Matt LaWell and his wife, Carolyn:

Chugging along the back roads of Florida between Fort Myers and Lakeland, Matt and Carolyn LaWell are trying to explain why they quit their jobs and put their lives on hold this year to take a 152-day road trip across the country to see 120 minor-league baseball games.

But as they do so, the conversation keeps swinging away from why they’re doing it to exactly how they’re doing it. Right now the topic is the healing power of apples, peanut butter, and an economy-size bag of edamame.

“Up in Port Charlotte, they have a 10-inch hot dog wrapped in bacon, then covered in pulled pork and onion straws,” Matt says over a chuckle. “You gotta try it, right? But we can’t just eat everything.”

He’s talking about their road diet — one that’s inevitably heavy on ballpark food — and the beating it can dish out over five months. If you’ve ever seen a sportswriter in person, you understand. The LaWells spend virtually every night at the diamond, where hot dogs represent the Weight Watchers end of the menu and where the park specialty is usually some sort of calorie-blasted gimmick meal. It’s a recipe for a life spent in elastic waistbands.

But the hours away from baseball — the ones spent in the car, which doubles as their transportation and their sleeping quarters — are set aside for gastrointestinal recuperation and nibbles that help ensure their shared baseball adventure doesn’t end with shared bypass surgery. Thus the apples, peanut butter, and edamame, the latter of which will arrive in a package from Matt’s parents that they’ll pick up later in the day.

The twentysomething Lakewood couple just pushed past the first thousand miles of the journey in their orange 2004 Honda Element, the odometer rolling over to 117,460. In all, they will cover 26,000 miles, a span longer than the Earth’s circumference. The origin of their quest goes back many more miles, to the southeastern Ohio college town of Athens.


Read the full article here:

Related link: For more on the LaWells’ season-long quest, visit their website, A Minor League Season.

Originally published: May 16, 2012. Last Updated: May 16, 2012.