Out of all of the questions from this past year, the question I get the most is ... How did you do it?
Out of the 30 MLB teams, there were 23 teams that did something for me to enhance my ballpark experience. That means 77% of the teams were willing to do something for me. But let's be honest. If you think all of this came for free, you're deeply mistaken. Nothing is free, and you can't expect something for nothing, so this is what I did.
In December 2016 I began formulating the exact schedule that would get me all 30 games this season, breaking it down 5-6 per month on average from April to September. I'll leave that for another post on how it was done. Once I had the plan, I began compiling a list of people I would send a letter to in the front office of every ball club. You can do this by going to MLB.com, then to Rosters, then to Front Office. My goal was to reach out to every community relations, public relations, ticket office manager, marketing, person on the team. I then put in an excel spreadsheet the following information: First Name, Last Name, Position Held, Team Name, Front office Address, City, State, Zip, Date I was going to be there, Home Team, Away Team. Once this list was compiled I used it to Mail Merge these people. Now the money question "What did the letter say, exactly?"
My City, My State My Zip
«FirstName» «LastName» – «Title»
«City», «State» «Zip»
As we embark on the upcoming baseball season, I’ve come up with a goal to visit all 30 ballparks during the 2017 season. I plan on being at «BallPark» on:
«Date» - «HomeTeam» vs. «VisitorTeam»
This journey, is expected to have a lot of out of pocket expenses including transportation, sleeping accommodations, food, tickets, and ballpark tours. I’m reaching out to you today to see if there was anything you could do to enhance my game experience by helping alleviate some of those expenses by offering some complementary game/batting practice tickets and/or ball park tour tickets? Anything you can do would be greatly appreciated and help out tremendously.
During my journey, I plan on raising money for the Play Ball charity honoring Shannon Forde. As you know, it’s to benefit youth baseball and softball in Little Ferry, NJ. I am committing $1 per run of each of the games I attend throughout the season, and invite the «Organization» to match my donation for this game as well. I know it’s not a lot of money, but all I can afford at the time. While I am living out my dream to see all 30 ballparks, I’d like to help others fulfill their dreams as well.
Cell phone: XXX-XXX-XXXX
Follow up letter were also sent that were a little different if I didn't get a response:
I didn't really didn't start to hear from the teams until around February/March and they came in bundles. I spent maybe $55.00 in stamps and envelopes. Throughout the 2017 season 276 runs were scored. So this cost me in about $331.00 ... but what did I get in return for that $331.00, besides feeling good to donating towards a good cause:
All I can say is ... it never hurts to ask. I was able to see and were given experiences that you can't even put a price tag on. Some things that some people will NEVER get to see, like going inside of the Green Monster. I was asked this morning, did you actually donate? Of course! I don't want that bad karma on me! Best of luck to you all. I don't want to burn any of my contacts without their permission so understandably, you'll have to try to reach the best person you can that you think will give you the opportunities you're trying to gain. Good Luck!