We are all struggling in this economic time. Some are just getting by, some are holding tightly to their jobs as their co-workers are cut down all around them, and some are searching desperately and disappointedly for a job. So when a man joined this blogosphere and announced that he was going to sell all his possessions, move into his car, and travel all over the United States watching his favorite baseball team, we were captivated. I mean, this guy must be insane! To give up everything and just watch baseball is probably something we only dream of. We would love to put our worries aside and just watch baseball. Well, Tom Walsh did that. He travelled to nine stadiums, caught many games, and met a lot of people. But the dream didn’t last. Eventually, the economic situation caught up with him. The Baseball Across America journey is not over though. Sure, Tom’s reached a big bump in the road, but I know that he’ll be back out in the Rockies Roadster as soon as he can.
We have gathered here today to give messages of encouragement to our fellow blogger in this time. Tom’s been an inspiration to us all, and well, I’ll just let the messages do the talking.
From Kaybee (http://kaybee.mlblogs.com)
Tom, I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while, and it’s definitely one of my favorites. Not because you have great analysis on the Rockies or anything, but because of how much you really put yourself into your entries. When you write about your journey, it’s like we’re right there next to you, experiencing the same things that you were. I’ve had so much fun watching your journey so far, and it is so sad that is temporarily over. But one of the things that has always stuck out to me about you is that you believe that everything happens for a reason. I know it isn’t always easy to believe that, especially when something really hard happens. I believe that these experiences make a person stronger, and even if they can’t see it when they are going through it, these trials in our lives really do happen for a reason. I really admire the way you hold fast to that.
I want to thank you for keeping up your blog, for commenting on my blog, for my support group and my Timeout and all that. You’ve been a great friend, and I really hope your journey can take you to San Diego someday soon. Still praying for you man, and I can’t wait for you to get back on the road.
Baseball Across America PETCO Park: To be accomplished…
From Jen (http://ajroxmywhitesox.mlblogs.com)
Back in January, you created a support group for Kaybee. Back then, I’d only been blogging for about a month, but you’d been one of my most consistent commenters. And since Kaybee was another one of my consistent commenters and I’d suffered a baseball loss like hers before, I was more than glad to help you out with her support group. Now in return, Kaybee has one for you and Baseball Across America, which I’m more than glad to help with again.
As you started your journey, I looked forward to every entry you made because it was like taking your journey with you in a way. I got to learn about places I haven’t been yet but want to visit. I got to hear about the various fans, and I learned more about the Rockies as well. And so many entries included pictures that just amazed me, as I’ve told you numerous times.
What I don’t think I’ve said numerous times is that your blog is one of my favorites. Because you’re a great writer. Because you’re a great photographer. But mostly because you put so much of yourself into these blogs, and we all get to see how amazing of a person you
are. You gave up everything to find the good in people all across this country. You found it, and you shared it. You’ve had more of an impact on people than I think you realize. It’s definitely more of an impact than I can accurately express.
Your journey is only on a hiatus, Tom. When you can afford it again, I know Baseball Across America will start up again. You’re too good of a person to just let it end. You’ve made some great friends on your journey, some you’ve met and many you haven’t. Until you can
resume this amazing journey, keep writing and keep being Tom Walsh. We’ll always be here.
Baseball Across America Turner Field: Mission accomplished
From Hyun Young (http://hyunyoung.mlblogs.com)
I am incredibly sad that your journey has ended for now and I wish you for the best. When I read your post about this, you brought tears to my eyes. Your incredible journey across America inspired so many people not just in blogosphere, but everywhere you went. It is absolutely heartbreaking when something that was so brilliant and exciting comes to an end. It’s almost too scary to turn to a next chapter in life, but it’s something that happens to everyone. For me, going to high school next month is a nerve-wracking thing. I will get used to the new world eventually. The journey did not reach the finish line and it will not for a long time. You have an obstacle that is blocking you right now, but very soon, you will overcome it and keep going on and on. I thank you for what you do for MLBlogs and you have a friend in San Diego. Another chapter will wait and I pray that it will be a very positive one. Every single of us, the incredible bloggers, are here for you anytime, anywhere.
From Jeremy (http://homerfoodandhistory.mlblogs.com)
We all run into financial trouble along the way. One way or another, the all-mighty buck can be humbling. Our big baseball trip again this year is Detroit (only 3 hours away, but still a good distance). I think it is amazing that you got experience all those cities, ballparks and places. Your journey has been truly impressive, and I honestly think people should be paying you to do it (i.e. sponsors). I’ve admired the all the places you’ve been to, and all the people you’ve seen along the way. If you were to ever come to the Toronto area, I’d definitely buy your Jays ticket. Good luck with everything! I hope that opportunity knocks for you, and I hope you find something you like. I’m currently looking for the same thing, as I’ve been stuck in an endless cycle of acquiring temporary employment. I lose my job grounds keeping at Mahoney Park in Hamilton, Ontario in late September. Again, what you have done already is amazing, and I hope one day you make all the way north to my area. There will be a Jays ticket waiting for you.
Baseball Across America Chase Field: Mission accomplished
From Jane (http://janeheller.mlblogs.com)
Hi, Tom. It’s She Fan Jane. Or, as you like to call me, Joan Wilder from “Romancing the Stone.” Now listen up. Yes, your trip has stalled and your dream has been put on hold. But that’s how it is sometimes. And you’re not the type to take defeat lying down. Neither am I. When I tried to get my Yankees book published after having written 13 novels, I had lots of rejections. Everybody said, “A baseball book by a woman? It’ll never sell.” I could have given up, but I didn’t. And then along came an editor who said, “I love the book and I’m willing to pay for it.” We can never take no for answer and we can never give up. Somehow, you’ll find a way around your current problems, and solving them will make you even stronger and more
determined. I’m rooting for you!
From Jeff and Allen of RSBS (http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com)
Hold your head up high! The game is not over until you hit the showers and as far as we can tell, you’re still super dirty! Okay, so that was a poor analogy, but you get what we’re saying. Truth is, whether you’re at Chavez Ravine, Busch Stadium or a shantytown at the base of a mountain, as long as you got an internet connection you’re still touching our lives (and even
without one you still are, though the travel and phone bills may add up). We at RSBS proudly support you wherever the journey takes you and if that means you have to give us your views on the Rockies, from Colorado, then so be it. We got your back. Say the word and we’re on it (DISCLAIMER: This support does not include inflicting bodily harm on other humans, animals or
insects, unless said human, animal or insect is wearing a Cubs jersey, in which case, you needn’t say anything else, just ignite the bat signal like I taught you when you were here in Chicago and one of us will go kick some serious tail).
Jeff & Allen
From Emily (http://deconstrucingthoughts.mlblogs.com)
A day at the ballpark with Tom Walsh was a day to remember. How lucky I am to have spent some time with you while you were on your incredible journey. As we go through life, sometimes we encounter random strangers, people who come in and out of our lives, and some of us got to encounter Tom Walsh, a unique stranger with a phenomenal voyage. I have a lot of fond memories of that day, my favorites come in no particular order, but they are just moments that make me smile on the day I encountered Tom Walsh. The first one is when I sat outside those gates behind home plate lusting after that Ubaldo Jimenez shirt. I have got to get me one of these, Tom, you better get here. Fortunately for you, you did get there, and I got a shirt, and all was well in the world. I remember trying to tell you that I was the coolest person you’d ever meet, and it was a sentence that I couldn’t even finish. We got to reminisce on Greality and think about the deliciousness that is Teriyaki Bowl. I got to witness probably some of the best butt pictures I’ve ever seen (not taken on my command though, lest we forget). We talked about my experiment and how dense I still am. We talked about the minor leagues and two dollar Tuesday, maybe that was what it was. Two and Tuesday make sense. You got to meet my weird friends and harass Manny Ramirez. You get a lot of experiences on your road, so you may not remember the events that occurred that evening, but I do. I remember that night fondly and it’s because of the unique encounter with a stranger. The impact that you can have on people is phenomenal and I can only hope that we will all be so lucky to encounter such a unique stranger. I meant what I said when I commented on your blog, kid, you’ll move mountains.
From Julia (http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com)
And sorry I could not travel both
Unlike most of us – you actually took the journey! You did not sit around saying “should of, could of, would of”…you did it! How brave you are to face that unknown. To place that “one foot in front of the other” and walk out the door. It took courage to do that my friend; a courage that few of us will ever find.
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
You did not let the fear of the unknown stop you. You have a deep faith in your fellow man – you knew that you would find friends where ever you went. And you did! You knew that if you took that path a world of adventure awaited you.
Tom, the path you took was different from most. It was unconventional. I’m sure many told you you were crazy to be taking such a journey. But you did not let that stop you. You believed in yourself and in what you wanted to do. You knew this was something you needed to do. It was more than just visiting ballparks around the country. It was about discovering who we are; discovering, in a way, who you are. The stories you told of the people you met! You are right – we all have a story. But sometimes it takes a very special person like you to help us find that story within ourselves. Not many of us our very good at looking inward and seeing what is there. I think because most of us are afraid of what we will find. You gave us the courage to take that look and you inspired us to find the good that is there.
It is rare that we get the chance and go back and take another path in life. Even if we go back to the beginning – we are never the same. Our journeys shape and mold us into different people. You without a doubt are a richer person for what you have done and seen. I know, it ended much too soon. But Tom – as hard as it is – DO NOT BE SAD! Yes, the journey did not end on your terms, but look at what you did! Do you know that you carried all of us who read your blog on your back for the whole trip? You brought to life the people and events that you encountered along the way. You allowed us the opportunity to walk along with you. For that we are all richer. Do you have any idea how much you touched all the lives of not only the people you met on your trip but also the people who followed you from afar? I am so grateful that you let us – me- come along for the ride.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
And that has made all the difference.
You took the road less traveled Tom. And it has made a difference. You make a difference Tom. Please – do not waste any energy over “what ifs”. Build off of what you’ve done. I know you care so very much about the people in this world – take what you have learned from your journey, no matter how brief it might have been, and make it better. That was the message of your journey. Now do it! God bless you Tom and thank you.
Baseball Across America Minute Maid Park: Mission Accomplished
From Kylie (http://kylie.mlblogs.com)
*Tom. I didn’t know what to expect when I shouted that name at a vaguely familiar man in a Rockies jersey, but I was willing to try my luck in hope of finding something good. Come to think of it, that’s precisely what you did when you decided to put all you owned into your journey. You put everything you had into what you wanted to do, and yeah, it didn’t go forever, but damn you did more than most of us could ever accomplish. Because, for once in my life, I’m short on words, I’m going to steal from myself in the comment I left on your blog entry. You wonder if you had an impact, if you made a difference. The way you live your life has certainly had an impact on the way I will be living mine. Anyone who has read your blog can read about the people you’ve met who you’ve changed in some way, and something they read there has probably done the same for them. There’s no need to worry about that, but I’m surprised you would worry at all. Of course, if you were to worry, it **would** be about something unselfish like if you helped anyone else, while I’m here worrying that my Tulo jersey will get lost in the mail (knock on wood!). I know you might also be worried about what’s ahead, even if you would never admit to it, but if anyone can handle it, it’s the guy who threw his whole life in the back of a Taurus and took off across the country without knowing what he’d encounter within the next twenty-four hours. It’s the guy who stayed in random people’s homes and talked to everyone he saw. It’s the guy who loved a team who couldn’t win and watched them become a team who couldn’t lose. You’ve handled everything thus far. Why should the rest of your life be any different?*
*The best piece of advice I’ve gotten recently came from a good friend of mine–“Don’t be so quick to await the destination when you have the journey.” You aren’t quite the awaiting the destination type, but you’ve got journey-enjoying skills, and now’s the time to use them. I’ll be up in Colorado in a few months and if you need anything, I’ll be there. Slowly, because I’ll probably be on the bus, but, you know, eventually I’ll make it.
So go. Shine.*
Tom, we’re all here for you as you go through this tough time. I hope this helped, and that you will eventually get to all the ballparks that are “to be accomplished.” Who knows where life will take us, but let’s enjoy the journey that gets us there.
“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Psalm 16:9
(Thanks to Tom Walsh for first and last pictures)
To my dearest father:
Dad, as you know, the Padres are having their Fan Day on Sunday, April 5, 2009 from noon to 4pm. As you also know, I would really really really like to go. But you have seemed kind of hesitant in making a decision about us going, so I decided to help convince you.
Wasn’t last year so much fun? We got to see the clubhouse, the dugout, and we even got to walk on the field. You don’t get that opportunity every day!
Let me start off by reminding you that last year we had to pay $5 per ticket. This time, there is no fee to get in, as in, it’s free! Of course, you say that it’s not really free, because we have to pay for gas and parking and time. But just think of the $5 you are saving! If we had to pay to get in, it would be a much more expensive trip!
There will be players and coaches signing autographs at this event. The Padres have a lot of young, upcoming players on the team this year. If I’m able to get their autographs, I promise that if this economic situation gets so bad that we’re desperate for money, I will consider giving up the autogrpahs to sell so we can get some food. Hopefully the economic situation won’t get that bad for a few years, so that these young players are famous by then. (Of course, if the economic situation gets that bad, nobody will be wanting to buy any autographs, but moving on…)
And yes, of course the Fan Fest will be trying to wrestle money from us in other ways. We can eat before so we don’t have to buy any food. And we don’t even have to go into the Padres’ Annual Garage Sale with game-used jerseys and batting helmets, even though the proceeds benefit the Padres Foundation for Children. I have enough Padres shirts. So, we can avoid those “tourist traps” at all costs.
This year, we would get to watch a special team workout. The players will be getting in last-minute shape for Opening Day, which will be the next day. I mean, how often do you get a chance to watch the players workout? Hey – maybe you can get some ideas to help condition my brothers better for baseball this year!
How long has it been since I was at the ballpark? Let’s see…about seven months! After that long, hard offseason, I think I need to get out the ballpark, see the new players on this team, and talk with other baseball fans. It’s been so long since I’ve been out to the ballpark, and I think I need to get out there to renew my hope for our Padres. I’ve been sitting here all offseason blogging about these Padres. I think it’s time to go to the scene, to get the scoop live. Plus, I need to interact with other baseball fans. Another Padres blogger here, Hyun Young, is going. It would be really neat to meet her and talk about our Padres!
Of course, all my friends here at the blogosphere would love for me to go, too. We all pull for each other in stuff like this, and they all know how much I suffered in the offseason. I know they would love to see pictures and hear how my Padres are doing. Check out this great support I’ve recieved:
I hope you get to fanfest! – Julia
I hope you get to Fanfest! – Melissa (wow, Julia and Melissa are thinking the same thing!)
I hope you get to go to Fanfest, Kaybee. I bet you will. Then you’ll have great pix and posts to share with us! – Jane
Hope you have fun at the fanfest! – Bob (that’s the spirit, Bob!)
The fanfest sounds delightfully fun. Convince your parents, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the 2009 Padres in person! – Caroline
I’m sure Fan Day would be a lot of fun! – Sue
Hopefully you can get to Fan day, I’m sure you’d have a ton of fun. – Canuck
I hope you can go Kaybee! – Julia
I really hope you can go the Fan Fest! It would be great to meet you in person. – Hyun Young
I hope you get to go. There’s nothing like meeting players and hanging out with baseball fans. – Jen
And Dad, if you say no, I’ll be OK with that. Of course, I will be disappointed, and maybe a little upset, but whatever you say goes. I know the timing is a little inconvenient because it’s a Sunday and the first one of the month at that. I understand if you feel that we should be sticking around at church to help out. Of course, we could get there a little late. We don’t need to be there right at 12. But if you say no, let’s just plan early for next year’s fan fest.
It just seem like a waste of a great opportunity. I mean, autographs, getting close to the players, having fun with other Padres fans, heading out to Petco Park. FREE! It would be so much fun! But as I said, it’s not the end of the world of you say no.
Oh, and Dad – the Fan Day is in two weeks. We don’t have much time left to decide!
I love you! Your dear doting darling daughter,
(photo credits: tree hugger.com, istockphoto.com)