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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Matt and Carolyn LaWell quit their jobs to visit 120 minor league ballparks

The way I see it, there are many types of fans in the world. There are fans who can afford to go to the ballpark or stadium but are content to sit at home on the couch and watch. There are also fans who would take out a second mortgage just to make sure they attend as many games as possible. And then, there are fans who are willing to quit their jobs just to go ballpark-to-ballpark for a full year. Meet Matt and Carolyn LaWell.

According to the Florida Times-Union, the LaWells recently began a 152-day, 26,000-mile tour that will bring them to 38 states to visit 120 minor league baseball parks. Planning for the trip began two years ago, when the couple cut costs by downsizing from an $850 per month, 1,200 square-foot apartment in Ohio to a $500 per month, 650 square-foot place. They also got rid of cable and rarely ate out. Carolyn says she did not buy any new clothes for 10 months. Basically they saved as much money as possible.

The first stop on the tour was last week in Jacksonville, and Matt said he and his wife weren’t thinking about what would happen if the trip turned out to be a failure and left them unemployed.

“You can’t have regrets,” he said. “That’s what it comes down to. A regret would be not even trying. We’re here. We’re in Jacksonville. Day zero. Tomorrow (Thursday) is game day, day one. If everything works out well …”

At the end of the journey in September, they hope to have spent around $10,000. If they do a good job of documenting the trip, the hope is that Matt and Carolyn can make some of the money back via the $3,000 website they purchased to showcase the trip. Matt is a former sports reporter, so he has the necessary experience.

Say what you will about the risk they’re taking, but you can’t fault the LaWells for chasing their dream. They may end up broke because of it, but at least they’ll have seen 120 parks in the process.

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