There was no red carpet awaiting Scott Pesch, Bill Frampton and Kevin Riley yesterday morning when they finished their 8,312-mile trek to Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
A local television station was there to greet them and a smattering of pedestrians roaming around the deserted home of the striking Orioles looked on with confused faces.
Such has been the anonymous life of the "The All-American Baseball Bicycle Tour."
"We just quit our jobs and decided to visit each of the 28 major-league ballparks on our bikes," said Pesch, 27, who conceived the idea and convinced three of his college buddies from Humboldt State University in northern California to join him.
"We got a lot of media coverage on the West Coast but our publicity went down the further east we went. They wouldn't take a bite of our story because they didn't think it was real but now that we're almost finished, people are taking us more seriously."
In an effort to raise money for the Boys and Girls Club of Humboldt County, Pesch and his three cohorts -- one of whom dropped out midway through the journey because of "a job opportunity he couldn't pass up" -- began their journey on April 11 when they visited the Kingdome for Seattle's home opener with Minnesota. From there, they zig-zagged across the country sleeping in campgrounds and fast-food restaurant playgrounds, enduring a May snowfall near Denver and 120-degree temperatures in Arizona.
The four were in Toronto when the Major League Baseball Players Association agreed to a work stoppage on Aug. 12. With the baseball season on hold and their credit card bills mounting, Pesch and his followers -- now numbering two -- considered quitting themselves but quickly dismissed the idea.
"We sat down and had our summit and we decided to keep rolling," said Pesch, who expects to raise in excess of $15,000. "By continuing, it's our way of opposing the strike. Anyone can quit, but not anyone can do what we're doing. We're having the time of our lives and we have no regrets whatsoever."
Having already visited 26 parks, the threesome were to pack their belongings this morning and head for Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium and their final stop at Miami's Joe Robbie Stadium.
Last night, they slept on the roof of Pickles Pub, where Eric Cotton has taken up residence as a protest to the strike.
"We had to come and see the guy on Pickles Pub," said Pesch. "We share a common bond -- we're all bitter over the strike."