Father, daughter end 17-year MLB stadium journey at Nats Park

From T-Mobile Park in Seattle to Nats Park in D.C., a father and daughter stepped up to the plate and spent the last 17 years crossing major league baseball stadiums off their checklist. 

They’ve traveled thousands of miles across the country to see every major league baseball stadium – all 30 of them. 

This past weekend, they wrapped their cross-country trek up with a game at Nats Park between the Colorado Rockies and the Washington Nationals.  

It all started with a diehard Cincinnati Reds fan and his daughter heading to a game in 2005 at Great American ballpark. 

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"What I remember from that game is just being so awe-struck about the whole production of it. Sean Casey hit two home runs. We did the Reds Hall of Fame, and it was just so cool," said Shelby Cravens. 

"She looked up and with great enthusiasm and said, ‘Dad we ought to go to every major league park’… And I said well, ‘we’ll try,’" her father Joe Cravens said.  

Over the next 17 years, some trips were planned around baseball while others were worked into family vacations, but the duo made the most of each adventure. 

"One of our trips we went and took a subway to old Shea Stadium and watched an afternoon game and then took a subway back and watched Jersey Boys," Joe Cravens said. 

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READ MORE: Nationals Park ranked among MLB’s ugliest stadiums, according to new fan survey

With every park they visited, they made sure to snap some photos and take home some souvenirs along the way. 

"We walk around the park, we get a program. She has a bat from every major league park and I save tickets and silly little things like that," Mr. Cravens said. 

Now, that they’ve completed their grand slam it begs the question: Which parks are their favorites? 

"I think you got to put Wrigley, Fenway, and old Yankee Stadium in a whole separate category. I love the old ballparks," Shelby said. 

"The teams to me that have a deep history like Pittsburgh and Detroit that go back 100 years or so and have statues of old stars," Joe added. 

No trip to a baseball game is complete without food, but these two stuck to the classics. 


"It was always a hot dog or a brat and cold beer for him," Shelby said. "When I got old enough, I joined him on that venture, but we kept it pretty simple and traditional."

While a Nationals game was their final to-do, a recent survey ranked Nats Park as one of the ugliest stadiums in the country. 

So naturally, we had to ask these experts their opinion. 

"It may not be the prettiest park in the league, but it's okay; it’s not the ugliest park in the league either," Joe said. 

"Definitely not one of my favorites, but I thought it was nice, a good atmosphere," Shelby explained. 

Whether it’s taking in the history at Fenway or going to the sunny side of San Francisco, their love for baseball reminds us there’s nothing that brings us together like America’s favorite pastime.  

"I don’t know dollars and cents wise how much this has actually cost, but it has been worth every minute of it," Mr. Cravens said. 

As for what's next for the Cravens, Shelby says they don’t have any more ballparks to check off their list, but she’s hopeful future ballparks will be built, and they can continue on with their tradition.