They'll go the distance for 28-city, 28-game trip Four college friends try to touch 'em all

August 06, 1993|By Brian Fishman | Brian Fishman,Staff Writer

Another day, another stadium.

The ultimate baseball road trip rolled into Baltimore last night as Brent de Riszner, Chris Looney, Mark Johns and Mike Casagranda were in town to watch the Orioles play the Brewers.

This is the eighth stop of this record-breaking trip. These four Ivy Leaguers are attempting to travel to all 28 major-league cities to watch 28 games in 28 days.

As quickly as they arrived in Baltimore -- after an all-night drive from Cincinnati and a brief layover in Johns' home in Springfield, Va. -- they were off again, this time to Miami to see the Marlins-Phillies game tonight.

The trip was conceived last winter when Casagranda, Looney and Johns -- students at Princeton -- and de Riszner, a student at Dartmouth who knew Casagranda and Looney from California, pin-pointed the major-league schedule. They set out to find sponsorship to help offset the costs. Eventually 10-K and Strike Zone Bats came forward with contributions, and the friends put a Rand McNally map to use.

It's the first known time that anyone has completed this trip on the highways of America and Canada. To achieve this goal, the foursome are fighting a lack of sleep and a growing short temper.

"It's beginning to get a little bit depressing," Casagranda said. "We've got three weeks to go. The end's not really in sight yet. We've got so many long drives still ahead of us. I think in a week or so when we have some shorter drives, it will be better."

Some of the longest drives they've made or are facing? Try Oakland to Denver, 1255 miles. They completed this stage on the third day. "That was no problem," Johns said. "We had to go through the Rockies, but it was much easier than we planned. We got to Denver a few hours early."

Later on, they'll leave Atlanta for a trip to Texas and then go from Kansas City to Philadelphia in a day. But the longest stage, in the last week, will take them from Houston to Los Angeles, a total of 1541 miles.

The 28-day trip will encompass 17,339 miles across North America.

The perks offered by some teams -- California gave them the first pitch, and Colorado allowed them onto the field before the game -- have made the games memorable. Last night, the Orioles tried to make the trip to Camden Yards one to remember.

The team invited the four friends to the warehouse for a pre-game meal and gave them seats behind home plate, three rows from the field, so close they could have offered advice to Robin Yount or any of the other Brewers in the on-deck circle.

"This is by far my favorite stadium I've seen so far," Casagranda said. "The atmosphere is amazing because it's got on old-time feel yet it still has all the modern conveniences."

The students are trying to raise money for the Make-A-Wish foundation. The San Francisco Giants came through with $2,800, $100 for each game, and other teams are being urged to do the same.

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