Hur­ri­cane Irma messes up fi­nale of base­ball quest

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - MILWAUKEE WISCONSIN - JIM STINGL

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

July.

Con­tact Jim Stingl at (414) 224-2017 or jst­ingl@jrn.com. Con­nect with my pub­lic page at Face­book.com/Jour­nal­ist.Jim.Stingl

JIM STINGL / MIL­WAU­KEE JOUR­NAL SEN­TINEL

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.

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