Hurricane Irma messes up finale of baseball quest
Starting in 1989, a traveling foursome has attended one Milwaukee Brewers road game per season, always at a different stadium.
A trip Sunday to Marlins Park in Miami was supposed to complete the set, but we all know what happened. Hurricane Irma created so much havoc down there that the weekend series was moved to Milwaukee.
So the grand finale of a quest to visit all 29 ballparks that don’t say Miller on the front will have to wait until next year.
On Wednesday, even before Major League Baseball pulled the plug on the series in Miami, the four local fans already had decided not to go. Their calls to the hotel were met with busy signals. And, frankly, they didn’t want to get in the way of cleanup efforts.
“I was going there to have fun, and I feel kind of funny about that,” said George Domrose, who at 81 is the oldest in the group that includes his wife, Cheryl, and their longtime friends, Pat Towers and her husband, Tom.
The Domroses live in the Town of Delafield. Pat and Tom are in Bayside. Together the couples have logged 85 years of marriage. They’re all retired except for George, who has an investment and real estate company.
Like most odysseys, this one has a specific starting point. Tom and Pat were at a charity auction in 1989, and a baseball road trip to Toronto was an auction item. The price climbed pretty high, so they dropped out of the bidding and opted to arrange their own getaway to Toronto to see the Brewers play at the new SkyDome.
Pat and Cheryl knew each other through work, so the couples decided to make the trip together. The following year they went to Seattle, and the year after that to Boston, then Minnesota, and the tradition took hold.
Interleague play was added in 1997, and in 1998 the Brewers moved to the National League, which opened a whole new list of cities to visit. The couples would attend one game in each new place, stay over at least one night and sometimes a week, and always eat at a fabulous restaurant.
“Every year we had such a good time, and we started going to places we really wanted to see. You discover cities that you never would have thought were neat. Pittsburgh wasn’t on the top of my list to go to, and it was the neatest city,” Cheryl said when I sat down with the group.
They arrived at Jacobs (now Progressive) Field in Cleveland on Aug.12, 1994, the very day a baseball strike began. There was no game, but the visit still counts as far as they’re concerned. In 2010 in Anaheim, Tom missed the game and stayed behind at the hotel after hurting his back on a ride at Disneyland.
“We had an interesting time in Seattle,” George recalled. “There was a brawl and everybody was fighting everybody. The next day we’re walking down the street and I see Tom Trebelhorn and he’s got a black eye!”
It’s been 28 stadium visits in 28 years, most recently Oakland last summer. If you’re wondering, the couples also attend Brewers home games every season.
“As time has gone on, people you don’t see all the time would ask you, ‘Where’s your baseball trip this year?’ “Tom said.
“We couldn’t wait for the schedule to come out,” so they could pick a game in a city that had gone unvisited, said Pat, the group’s historian who has saved a program and
T-shirt from each stadium.
“And we never got rained out,” she said.
Unless you count the hurricane. They’re penciling in an asterisk for 2017 and planning to visit Miami when the Brewers play the Marlins next
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Longtime friends (from left) Tom and Pat Towers and George and Cheryl Domrose had planned to attend a game Sunday in Miami between the Milwaukee Brewers and Florida Marlins.