TAMPA, Fla. -- Austin Froebel is bringing new meaning to the phrase “30 under 30.”
The 28-year-old Tampa native is a lifelong baseball fan and has been going to games since the Rays first came to town in 1998.
“Yeah it was awesome watching like Carl Crawford and Scott Kazmir and those guys back with the Devil Rays,” said Froebel.
But it wasn’t until 2017 when he decided to step up to the plate and take on a unique challenge.
“When I was like 25, I was like there’s 30 ball parks so I’m going to try and do all 30 before I’m 30,” said Froebel.
“My initial thought was okay sure,” said Austin’s mom, Evie Froebel as she laughed. “I knew that was a dream of his but I never thought he would actually stick with it and do all the parks.”
Austin had visited three MLB ballparks as a kid, so he spent the last four years visiting the remaining 27. From Safeco Field in Seattle to Fenway Park in Boston and everything else in between.
“I saw some people on TV try do it in a month but I don’t have that kind of money so I just spread it out,” said Froebel. “It took a lot of planning. I tried to get to games that the Rays were playing in so that was the hardest part but some of the teams I saw weren’t the Rays.
With every park he visited, Austin made sure to not only snap some pictures, but snag a commemorative pin as well.
“I had like seven or eight of them so I figured I might as well keep going with it.”
Now that Austin has completed his MLB ballpark travel quest, it begs the question: What was his favorite park?
“I liked San Francisco and San Diego the best, probably those two. I liked the location, they were downtown, close to the water, nice scenery.”
Of course, no trip to the ballpark is complete without some crazy food.
“That was probably one of my favorite things, all the different food they had,” said Froebel. “There was a churro hot dog in Arizona that was pretty good.”
Whether it’s chomping down on a churro in Arizona or snagging a picture with the Philly Fanatic in Philadelphia, Austin’s journey reminds us there’s nothing quite like a day at the ballpark.