Local man has full count on baseball stadium visits

Staff Writer

 Baseball fan extraordinaire Tommy Singer poses at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, where the Reds took on the Indians on Aug. 7. The game marked the 30th and final Major League Baseball stadium where Singer has been in the stands. Baseball fan extraordinaire Tommy Singer poses at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, where the Reds took on the Indians on Aug. 7. The game marked the 30th and final Major League Baseball stadium where Singer has been in the stands. Tommy Singer has attended baseball games in stadiums from Fenway Park in Boston to Safeco Field in Seattle — and everywhere in between.

The Hazlet resident completed his quest to attend a game at all 30 current Major League Baseball stadiums when the Reds defeated the Indians on Aug. 7 at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

“I’ve been with different groups of friends and my family over the past 20- something years. We go to a different city every year for a baseball game,” he said. “We explore the city and go to the stadium.”

Singer said he began going to Mets and Yankees games with friends while he was living in Staten Island, N.Y.

The group began taking annual road trips to places like Philadelphia, Boston and Baltimore, and Singer decided to take the annual trek a step further.

“After that, we said, ‘Let’s just start going.’ And I’ve even done family vacations where I’ve taken my kids to games and my stepson to a game,” he said.

The usual itinerary includes visiting at least one — sometimes two — cities over the course of a weekend in July or August.

This year, along with seeing the game in Cincinnati on Aug. 7, Singer and a group of friends saw the Padres defeat the Pirates on Aug. 9 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

While he checked off all 30 stadiums on his list over the course of 20-plus years, Singer said some trips were more memorable than others.

One particular trip that sticks out in his mind was when he proposed to his wife in front of Disneyland. The following day, they went to an Angels game, and Singer had the message, “I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you,” flash on the jumbo screen.

But Singer said he doesn’t have a favorite stadium.

“Everybody has asked me that question, and it is very tough to answer,” he said. “All the stadiums are beautiful now, but the stadium that had the biggest impact on me was Baltimore (Oriole Park at Camden Yards) because that was the first of the retro stadiums.

“I saw how they incorporated the neighborhood into the stadium. I thought that it was amazing how they incorporated the warehouse into the stadium.”

Singer also pointed to Wrigley Field and Fenway Park as stadiums that everyone can appreciate.

“Fenway and Wrigley — even if you don’t like baseball, you can love going to those places,” he said. “You feel the history there, knowing that Babe Ruth played in both stadiums.

“It’s nice to have a couple of those stadiums still left to connect the game to the past.” While he has never seen a particularly historic game, Singer said the aim of the annual trip is always to see a new place while enjoying a baseball game.

“We go and we enjoy the game, and it is just the fact of being in a different stadium and being in a different city and seeing different parts of the country,” he said. “What’s really impressive after all these years I’ve been doing this is I’ve never had a rainout.”

Along with attending games at all 30 current Major League Baseball stadiums, Singer has been to several no-longeractive parks, including those in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and New York.

While he has realized his journey to see all the stadiums, Singer said he expects to continue to make trips to different parts of the country. “I have friends who haven’t done them all, because I’ve done some trips on my own,” he said. “Then I have Atlanta in a couple years, because the Braves are due for a new stadium.”

When asked how much the multiyear commitment has cost him, Singer joked that he didn’t even want to calculate the tab out of fear of upsetting his wife.

While he doesn’t collect a lot of memorabilia, Singer said he has a replica Danbury Mint stadium for the majority of the places he has visited. He also has saved the ticket stub from every sporting event he has attended dating back to the mid-1980s.

The lifelong baseball fan said it was a lot easier to follow the game when he was younger.

“When I was younger, without kids in the house, I could tell you the starting lineup of every team,” he said. “I’m not like that anymore, because you understand in life other things are happening.”

His love of the game really grew in the mid-1980s as the Mets began to take over New York.

“While I was growing up, it had to be when we got Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter. You knew the organization was turning things around, and you knew winning could be very soon,” Singer said. “They had the talent to win more than once. I think they should have won it in ’88.”

While the Mets have hit a bit of a rut in recent years, Singer said a young pitching staff that includes Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Jacob deGrom gives him hope for the future.

“You have to be confident in the future whenever you are a baseball fan,” he said. “If you are not, then it’s not worth rooting for them.”