Biking for Baseball: One Man’s 11,750-mile Journey Finishes at Miller Park
On April 6, Mariners Opening Day at Safeco Field, Matt Stolz began to pursue an ambitious goal for a good cause: to ride his bike to all 30 MLB ballparks by the end of the season while raising money and attention for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Milwaukee and Biking for Baseball, a Denver-based nonprofit that helps raise awareness and money for Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
The 22-year-old Wisconsin native and recent University of Wisconsin graduate has a history of crazy charitable endeavors but he nothing like an 11,000+ mile ride across the country.
For the past six months, Matt has spent 180 nights on the road, pedaling 11,750 miles and finally, today, reaching his goal of biking to all 30 MLB ballparks.
Matt arrived around 10am this morning and the first thing he did was put on a clinic for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Milwaukee out at Helfaer Field.
“It was really great to see kids who had never before picked up a bat or ball start playing the game by the end of the clinic. And that it was right here in front of Miller Park was pretty special,” Matt said.
And after that?
“We started tailgating… I mean, what else would you do here in Wisconsin?”
For the majority of his trip, Matt cycled completely on his own, but said that sometimes people, even strangers, would reach out and want to ride with him for a day or two. He had no support vehicle and tried to get free lodging where he can from friends and family, or people he met during his journey.
“My favorite part of the trip was meeting the fans. I’m a huge baseball fan and I just enjoyed getting to meet other fans. Whether it was the Athletics fans in Oakland, the Braves fans in Atlanta, or the fans in New York, I enjoyed sharing my passion with individuals in every corner of the country. We may have different team alliances, but we all share a love of the game,” Matt told me.
While Miller Park is special to Matt because the Brewers are his home team and his family and friends were here to welcome him back, he says his favorite ballpark was PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
“The view is second to none,” he said.
Although he was getting to visit other ballparks, watching baseball and having fun meeting fellow fans, the journey was still physically and emotionally taxing for Matt. He said, “It was tough and there were hardships, but whether it was poison ivy, tornadoes, flooding or snow, I knew one way or another I was going to finish my goal. The challenges just made succeeding that much more triumphant.”
And succeed he did. Besides completing his journey, Matt raised about $30,000 in donations for a great cause along the way.
We’re proud of Matt and happy to have him and his family and friends out here at Miller Park tonight.