Ride the Rails for Baseball Memories | The Johnstown native took the train to games at 30 MLB ballparks | sports

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — When Johnstown native Chris Horoho counts his blessings this Thanksgiving, he’ll almost certainly think of the trip — in fact, trips — of a lifetime.

“All 30 major league baseball pitches in a single season, they only travel by Amtrak,” Horoho said. “I’ve never done that before.”

Freshly retired after 41 years at Dow Chemical, Horowe used the old-school approach to attending games while traveling exclusively by train a throwback to a time when the only option for major league teams was rail transit during the first half of the 20th century. century.
The son of the late Tribune sportswriter, Democrat Ken Hurho, Sr. began his 115-day journey on June 12 at Nationals Park in Washington, DC. The final stop on October 4 in Miami included a Marlins home game at Loan Depot Park.

“Father’s love of baseball”

“The main reason I did this was my love of baseball and my father’s love of baseball,” said Chris Horoho, whose father covered local sports for 36 years from 1949 to 1985. “He was a minor league baseball umpire for a short time. He became a sportswriter. It was one of the points.” Pivotal to the AAABA tournament every year.”

Kris Horoho’s journey was also meant to make up for lost time during the COVID-19 pandemic. When travel restrictions were initially lifted, he and his wife Olga took a vacation while traveling by train.

“Two years of COVID, quarantine, stuck at home. I had a lot of family, friends and colleagues that I hadn’t seen in two years,” said Horoho, a 1976 graduate of Bishop McCourt Catholic High School. “My wife and I took the train across the country and loved it. .

“I loved trains, and I knew a baseball trip would be a good experience.”

Horoho, 63, traveled by Amtrak only for the entire trip, which lasted three months and 23 days. He carefully planned the trip from his home in Clinton, New Jersey.

He learned how to find the best deals on train fares, baseball tickets, hotels, and food. Horoho has taken advantage of various coupons and deals, often waiting around game time in order to score tickets for around $20.

Horoho noted that because he traveled by train, he had no fuel or parking expenses.

“You don’t have a plan”

“I did everything from hotels, trains, and baseball tickets all by myself,” said Horoho. “I didn’t have a travel agency. I used the Amtrak app to buy tickets. I didn’t have a planner. This has never happened before.”

Frequently, family or friends who stayed in or near major league cities would accommodate Horowo during his travels.

“Of all the ballparks, on 26 out of 30 there were friends, family, colleagues or former clients from work that I saw and visited,” Horoho said. “That really kept me going.

“The train experience, a lot of people don’t even have it on their radar,” he added. “If you look at it purely on a budget, Amtrak saves you money on transportation.”

Horoho said he took advantage of the USA Card, which provides him with 10 portions (stops) for less than $500.

“I started on June 12th. My ninth game was on June 24th,” said Horowe of the train lane strategy. That’s less than two weeks. I went to nine different stadiums in less than 14 days.”

“Top 5”

Top-rated horoho soccer field experiences include:

1. Petco Park in the San Diego Padres; 2, Atlanta Braves’ True Park; 3, Pittsburgh Pirates PNC Park; 4, Fenway Park Boston Red Sox; and 5, Roger Center Toronto Blue Jays.

At each of the 30 ballparks, Horoho bought his hometown team jersey, baseball cap, and team pin. At the end put each pin on one hat.

Horoho estimated they cost $6,000 for those three items after he repeated purchases on all 30 ballparks.

“It was all worth it,” he said.

During his travels, Horoho has many memorable moments that happened seemingly by random accident. Two participants in an interview with Miami Marlins anchor JB Arencibia.

Horoho first met Arincipia at a game in Philadelphia, and later the two reconnected after Horoho took the subway from a Yankees game to Manhattan.

“I walked out of Seventh Avenue and met JB, who was walking down Seventh Avenue because he was in New York City for a Marlins Mets game,” Horoho said.

The two started a conversation. Horoho told the announcer about his 30-ball journey. Arencibia had a big surprise for Horoho when he capped off his run with the Marlins last month.

He gave us media passes. “We were able to go onto the field and watch hitting practice,” said Horoho. “He did a pregame interview, and he said, ‘Be by your seats at the end of the sixth inning.’”

Horoho and his son Kenny were called to take to the field and sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” with the Marlins’ mascot during the seventh-inning stretch.

“At Marlins games, they take people out onto the field to sing ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame,'” Horoho said. “They picked us to sing. We were right next to the dugout (while waiting for the seventh inning stretch). It was great to watch the guys. Once the third was out in the top of the seventh, we went out and sang Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

AAABA Relationships

Another unexpected encounter was associated with the AAABA tournament, which is held annually in Johnstown. Horoho attended the Texas Rangers game at Globe Live Field on September 9.

“John Blake, the executive vice president of public affairs for the Texas Rangers, was a good friend of the late Joe Brunzel,” Horoho said of the former Washington, D.C. franchise director and AAABA Hall of Famer. “Joe Branzell was also a good friend of my father’s. Because of the connections with Joe Branzell, John Blake matched me for three or four rounds during a Texas Rangers game.

“We talked about my journey. We talked about Joe Pranzell and his role as a chief scout with the Rangers.”

While attending a Cincinnati Reds game, Horoho happened to sit next to Tim Parks, creator of the MLB GameDay Pass-Port, a book modeled after passports. Horoho diligently filled his MLB GameDay Pass-Port throughout his run.

At Camden Yards in Baltimore, he sat next to a visiting couple from Anaheim, California. When Horoho attended a Los Angeles Angels game in Anaheim on July 28, the same couple sat next to him again.

“A lot of stadiums offer rides,” Horoho said. All donations go to a charitable foundation.

The roads didn’t exist.

The train experience provided true baseball fans like Horowo with a link to baseball’s early era when stars like Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson, Joe Jackson, and Honus Wagner traveled by rail to games.

“In 1901, most of the baseball teams were created. The next team was added in 1961,” Horoho added. “Most people from 1901 to 1940 or 1950, used trains. Roads did not exist.

He continued, “The train stations should be very close to the football fields.” “Out of 30 baseball fields, 10 of them I just walked to the hotel, and from there I just walked to the ballpark. That’s how close some of these ballparks are to the train station.”

The 2022 baseball season ended with the Houston Astros defeating the Philadelphia Phillies in six games, nearly a month after Horoho’s trip ended.

Summer produced memories for a lifetime and helped him honor his father’s love of the game. Horoho also helped prove a point.

“I wanted to create an experience that the average person would have to watch a baseball game,” Horoho said, noting that other than showing off his jersey pin collection at every park, he often found affordable options on tickets and travel.

He said, “I’m not saying it’s not expensive, but it’s not as expensive as people think.”

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