See the Valley
Story by Chris Graham
Listen to today’s “SportsDominion Show,” featuring an interview with Around the Valley in 60 Days originator Jerry Carter. Show Length: 16:06.
After seeing those iconic MasterCard commercials from several years ago that featured a pair of baseball fans taking in games at every Major League park, for example, he decided to do the same thing, only without a credit-card company footing the bill.
“I set out to see if the average fan, the average Major League Baseball fan, could go to every Major League park, and do it for under $10,000. I set out to do this, and I actually accomplished it. And picked up some great stories along the way,” Carter said.
His son, Chris, wanted to get in on the act upon hearing Dad tell some of those stories, and so it was that the two ended up visiting every home stadium in the Class A Midwest League.
Recently, Carter completed a tour of the 12 Atlantic Coast Conference basketball arenas.
“You’re watching Duke go into Miami, and you’re like, Well, Duke is better than Miami, what would cause them to lose that road game? See the different environments, see the different fan bases, see the level of intensity, the stories of the old buildings, or in some cases, the new buildings. How crazy are the fans, how educated are the fans,” Carter said.
Like I said, the man has a traveling jones.
His new obsession is Valley League Baseball.
And I don’t think I’m overstating it by calling it an obsession.
His project for this summer is to visit all 11 Valley League parks – which doesn’t seem all that difficult to complete when you’re a guy like Jerry Carter, except that the Valley League season goes about nine weeks, give or take.
Oh, and to add to the degree of difficulty, he doesn’t want to go it alone.
“We’re trying to get the nonfan to become a fan, and we’re trying to get the casual fan to get more involved in the league,” said Carter, the mastermind behind the Around the Valley in 60 Days Tour, which begins with the ceremonial first pitch before the Woodstock-New Market game on May 31.
Carter took a dry run at the tour in 2007, and in the process added to the lore of his visits to stadiums and arenas across the sports landscape.
“While I was familiar with the league, I didn’t know a lot about the inner workings of it,” Carter said. “It’s amazing as to how much effort goes into this league, and by about 90 percent of the people being volunteers. As far as finding homes for the 25 athletes down to finding sponsors to pay for everything. It really was an eye-opening experience.”
For more information on the Around the Valley in 60 Days Tour, go to CrystalClearDelivery.com on the web.
Chris Graham is the executive editor of The SportsDominion.