When a Warner Robins couple walked inside Suntrust Park to watch the Braves take on the Nationals Sunday, it was the end of a 23-and-a-half-week journey to visit all 30 Major League Baseball ballparks in one season.
Former Warner Robins High School head baseball coach Mike Reneau and his wife Marie have finally reached the end of a long season in baseball.
The pair started out in Seattle on March 28 and ended in their home state of Georgia on Sept 8. Mike said he wanted to do this for a long time after completing a trip up the East Coast with a former player, Brett Moore. At first, Marie wasn’t on board.
“When you are in your 70s, you never know when your health is going to start declining,” Mike said. “So we took it as a challenge.”
The duo took on the West Coast first as opening week allowed them to hit a good portion in pretty quick order.
Mike planned it at different intervals to try and see as many parks as possible on each trip. He looked for weekends where teams that were relatively close would both be at home, like the Miami Marlins and the Tampa Bay Rays.
The couple took many of their trips between Thursday and Sunday, as Mike still teaches three days a week.
“We always went to two ballparks when we flew. So that helped out a lot,” Mike said. “We got really lucky on the East Coast. I was really surprised we could get all them in.”
For Marie, it was exciting to get to visit all the different parks, but some hold a special place for her.
“I have always wanted to see Wrigley Field and I was not disappointed,” Marie said. “I had grown up listening to ball games at Wrigley Field when I was a little girl. My grandmother loved baseball. It was kind of a life long dream.”
For the grand finale in Atlanta, the Reneaus watched the Braves game from a suite where their friends and family joined in on the accomplishment.
“We’re going to kinda have a big celebration and let them be a part of this,” Mike said. “We will have about 24 people there (Sunday) helping us celebrate this accomplishment.”
They’re already planning their next trip to the ballpark for next season, one that involves taking in a game on the way to Marie’s brother’s 99th birthday party in Oklahoma City.
“We will definitely go up to see some Braves game next year, but I want to go back to Dallas next year,” Mike said. “The Rangers are going to open up a new ballpark.”
Marie said looking back on it, they have gotten to do and see a lot of really amazing things on this trip. A big part of it was just taking it all in along the way.
“It has been an exciting journey,” Marie said. “We got to do a little sightseeing. We saw Times Square. We saw Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. We tried to take in a little history in the different cities.”