Lee Ross has rooted for the hometown team at all but one baseball stadium in the nation.
He’ll get his chance on Tuesday, when the Washington Nationals host the Cincinnati Reds.
Ohio, set out to visit the nation’s 30 Major League Baseball stadiums nearly five years ago after the longtime friends saw four baseball games in four cities and thought, “We can get all of them,” Ross recalled.
Growing up in Driggs, Idaho, baseball was how Ross passed the time, playing in sandlots and listening to radio broadcasts of the St. Louis Cardinals, the nearest major league team the airwaves carried west.
He played through high school and at Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho. In 1958, Ross moved to Inglewood with his wife, Chloe, where he played with McFerson in city leagues.
His goal to see every stadium was not merely about the game or team, but the park, Ross said. That meant showing up 90 minutes before game time to stroll around the stadium.
He enjoyed the nation’s two oldest stadiums — Wrigley Field in Chicago and Fenway Park in Boston. At Coors Field in Denver, he admired the pine trees beyond the outfield, and in Milwaukee, Ross saw his first domed stadium.
There, nearly two hours before game time, the lot was packed with tailgating cars and smoking cookers. One family insisted that Ross and McFerson join them for bratwurst.
“They threw a couple more bratwurst on and we talked to them about Milwaukee and the team,” he said.
At times, friends and family traveled with Ross and McFerson to games where they cheered for the hometown team, even when it was Ross’ least favorite, the New York Yankees.
“I didn’t root very hard,” he admitted with a smile. “But they did win.”
Ross has averaged five games a year. Several stadiums were even revisited for the tour, with two baseballs brought home from each stop.
In addition to the architecture and culture, Ross sampled each stadium’s hot dog. With a taste developed for the Dodger Dog, the other local varieties had a lot to overcome.
With just one stadium left on his list, the Dodger Dog still reigns surpreme, he said. The worst went to the Phillies.
“It’s very spicy. I just didn’t like the Philadelphia hot dog,” Ross said.