It’s al­ways game day on his MLB trek

Los Angeles Times - - BASEBALL - CHRIS ERSK­INE chris. ersk­ine@ latimes. com Twit­ter: @ er­sk­ine­times

Moses had his desert. Mag­el­lan had the high seas. Chuck Booth, less renowned but equally driven, has more than 200 base­ball games to con­quer — one or two a day, across all 30 MLB opera houses in the course of a sin­gle sea­son.

This week, he was in Ana­heim to notch three An­gels games. On Wed­nes­day, af­ter his get­away game in the af­ter­noon, he raced to the air­port to catch a f light to San Fran­cisco, where he would take in the evening game at AT& T Park ( games 97 and 98 in his sea­son- long quest).

“Why?” you ask. Or, “How?” We’ll get to that. To fully ap­pre­ci­ate Booth’s 200- plus- game jour­ney across Amer­ica, keep in mind he is do­ing this con­sec­u­tively, at least one game a day up to the All- Star break, then at least one game a day un­til the end of the reg­u­lar sea­son.

Such a task seems nearly bib­li­cal, es­pe­cially given the $ 100- a- day bud­get he’s set for him­self: tick­ets, transit, lodg­ing, Alka- Seltzer and all.

Look, you’ve got to love base­ball to play base­ball. And you’ve got to love it maybe a lit­tle too much to com­mit to some­thing like this. Just think of all the stale pop mu­sic Booth has had to en­dure ... the f lat beer, the not- so- hot hot dogs. Add to that the park­ing has­sles, f light de­lays, rental car sna­fus....

Even if you live, drink and breathe base­ball, doesn’t it get old?

“It’s bet­ter than work,” ex­plains Booth, a 38- yearold Van­cou­ver, Canada, na­tive. “It’s still bet­ter to go to a base­ball game than the of­fice.”

The odyssey is part vo­ca­tion for Booth, part ther­apy. This hy­per- tour gives him fod­der for a base­ball blog he owns called MLBre­ports. com ( he is not af­fil­i­ated with or sub­si­dized by Ma­jor League Base­ball).

His cross- coun­try trip is also part of a spir­i­tual re­newal af­ter a dev­as­tat­ing hit- and- run ac­ci­dent that nearly put him on the DL for good in 2010.

Deal­ing with the rem­nants of a con­cus­sion, plus head trauma is­sues from his own play­ing days in base­ball and football, Booth is forced by this trip to stay men­tally fo­cused. In the end, base­ball’s marathon man sees this as a way to fight off the for­get­ful­ness that of­ten dogs him, and a way to raise con­cus­sion aware­ness.

Be­sides, it’s just a hoot.

On a sim­i­lar jaunt in 2012, Booth says, he set a record by tak­ing in all 30 parks in 23 days: This has turned him into one of the game’s best author­i­ties on the fan ex­pe­ri­ence.

Fa­vorite ball­park:

AT& T.

Fa­vorite food: Boog’s prime rib bar­be­cue sand­wich in Bal­ti­more.

Hon­or­able men­tions: cheese steak in Philly and the pork chop on a stick in Min­neapo­lis.

Least fa­vorite cities: Hous­ton, then Toronto.

Items that add am­bi­ence: friendly fans, red brick, or­gan mu­sic, Wi- Fi, ven­dors who stay out of the way, sig­nage that hon­ors a team’s past ac­com­plish­ments.

At a to­tal bud­get of $ 22,500 for his tour, this seems a vi­able bucket list item for a sin­gle su­per fan with a sense of ad­ven­ture. But would you ever? And what would your fam­ily think?

“They used to think it was crazy,” Booth ad­mits. “But once they saw what it did for me as a per­son ... hav­ing my own web­site and all, they see the mer­its of it now.”

Such a trip seems glut­tonous in some ways, in oth­ers not. Booth’s travel se­crets in­clude scout­ing free park­ing near sta­di­ums and tak­ing ad­van­tage of Stub­Hub dis­counts. He also brings his own wa­ter to games, then adds pow­dered lemon­ade. Re­ly­ing on Me­gabus. com, he took 150 bus trips in the East that cost him a to­tal of $ 250.

It’s all part of an ef­fort to stay within his $ 100- a- day bud­get.

In Au­gust, he’s back for a Dodgers home­s­tand, where he will take ad­van­tage of the all- you- can- eat deal with a group of bud­dies.

To catch a game with Booth is to hear sto­ries of the road, thoughts on trades, the­o­ries on how no one should ever play catcher ( it left him with gimpy knees).

It’s also a chance to breathe deep a ball­park, take in its musk, son­ics, vi­su­als, vibe.

But hang­ing with Booth re­minds us that the best part of base­ball — the most cere­bral of all the sport­ing arts — is how it can get you out of your own head.

Dur­ing a rally Tues­day night, fans through­out the sta­dium held up their lighted phones. Sud­denly, it was as if the sta­dium had filled with firef lies.

“Wow, is that cool!” gasped Booth, who hadn’t seen any­thing like it in his nearly 100 sta­dium stops.

In that quirky aside, base­ball’s Moses had found his mo­ment.

Luis Sinco Los An­ge­les Times

CHUCK BOOTH, seen at An­gel Sta­dium, is on a jaunt of more than 200 games at ma­jor league parks.

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