Chronicling Every Sports Venue
by Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell
Stadium Journey offers one stop ballpark information
Put together a website and offer sports travel enthusiasts the opportunity to offer a report, a rating, photos, and other useful information on every baseball park and venue built for other sports. Then allow fans to offer comments, adding to the discourse surrounding each venue.
That is vision of Paul Swaney, co-founder and owner of Stadium Journey. Based in Chicago, Illinois, Swaney’s website, www.stadiumjourney.com, just celebrated its second anniversary of existence, and is rapidly becoming the resource on the Internet when it comes to data on stadiums, ballparks, and arenas.
“This all started as a simple plan to go and experience the 122 [teams] in the four major sports in one calendar year,” Swaney says. “I found that this was a little bit ambitious, so that’s when I went out and reached out to other like-minded individuals to get up to speed and get this material up on the site.”
Since that time, minor league baseball has become an increasingly large focus on the site, and Swaney is anxious to get Stadium Journey’s footprint into as many ballparks as possible. When we spoke to him on Monday, Swaney was racing to Clinton, Iowa, to catch a baseball game of the Midwest League’s Lumber Kings that evening. “As of this moment we have reviews and profiles of 502 separate sports venues on the site. By next year at this time we hope to have it up to 1,000,” he says.
Swaney has recruited a good mix of “regional correspondents” and “special correspondents” to cover geographic footprints not only in North America but throughout the world. Japan correspondent? Sean MacDonald has the Japanese Baseball League covered from his base in Tokyo. Germany? Check, Tarek Zohdi sends in his reports from Saarbrucken. Australia? Check and double-check, as two different correspondents handle the continent. “We just added Argentina, so we’re now at the point that we have 45 different correspondents located in 11 different countries on all six continents. I am pretty proud of that,” Swaney says.
Buffalo’s Coca Cola Field is one of more than 100 minor league baseball parks now categorized in the site’s voluminous directory, with new ballparks being added by the day as the 2011 season continues.
So where did the Buffalo Bisons land on the “fanfare” score of zero to five? A pretty respectable 3.9, thank you. The Bisons earned a perfect five for food and beverage, as Buffalo’s downtown ballpark has always been noted for its delicious and tempting ballpark cuisine. Access also earned high marks, with Coca Cola Field’s location offering easy access off the Kensington Expressway and the I-190 Thruway, plenty of free street parking, and abundant ramp and surface lots close by. The Metrorail station is one block away from the Washington Street gate.
Other local reviews of note currently on the site are those for the Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills, the minor league Batavia Muckdogs, and college basketball venues for both Canisius College and the University at Buffalo. Rochester’s Frontier Field and Jamestown’s Diethrick Park will be added shortly.
Two regional correspondents, Joshua Guiher (State College, Pennsylvania) and Paul Derrick (Houston, Texas) visited Western New York this past week, attending a game of the Rich Baseball owned Jamestown Jammers down in Diethrick Park. Both men were proud of the growth of the Stadium Journey project since they signed on. “I’ve been to just about every sporting venue there is around Texas and even into Louisiana,” Derrick bragged as he soaked in the Western New York experience. Guiher, a diehard Penn State Nittany Lions fan, has developed a passion for visiting college football venues, and launched his own site, www.collegestadiums.com, in addition to his growing involvement with Stadium Journey.
Long term, Swaney wants to develop the business model into something that will earn income as a successful online portal. “I’d like to get to the point that we have a staff, even part-time, to do sales and manage the portal,” he says. For now I’m very proud of where we are and just want to continue to grow this, and reach out to the many people out there who harbor such a love for sports travel and visiting ballparks and other venues.”
Around the Bases
• If one wants to take note of a bizarre game, look no farther than last Friday’s 8-5 win by the Bisons over the visiting Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. Yanks pitcher Andrew Brackman was pulled in the fourth inning despite pitching a no-hitter when he left the mound. The problem? Brackman had surrendered nine walks and unleashed two wild pitches. The Bisons salavaged one game against the Yanks, in what was a wretched and forgettable 2-6 homestand.
• Infielder Valetino Pascucci continues to amaze, leading the International League with 71 RBI on the season, three more than Gwinnett’s Stefan Gartrell and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s Jorge Vazquez. The slugger also shares the IL lead in walks (57) with Pawtucket’s Lars Anderson and is second with a .513 slugging percentage and fourth with a .388 on-base percentage. Pascucci holds the Bisons top active hit streak, having hit in nine straight games since July 20 (.364, 12-33).blog comments powered by Disqus
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