Seattle teens visit 30 ballparks in 54 days

Credit: KING 5 News

Seattle teens visit 30 ballparks in 54 days

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by JOE FRYER / KING 5 News

kgw.com

Posted on August 4, 2011 at 9:01 AM

SEATTLE -- After visiting 30 Major League Baseball parks in 54 days, four teenagers returned to Safeco Field Wednesday, the place where their journey started.

Kellan Larson, Travis Smith, Kendal Young and Jack Wilson -- known as the "Ballpark Boys" -- have been friends since their days playing Little League Baseball in first grade.

They initially wanted to see a Mariners game in another city, but the plans ballooned into the epic, cross-country road trip that took place this summer.

"Every day on this trip I could just count on having remarkable experiences because we're doing such unique things and meeting so many people," Larson said.

In all, the teens traveled 14,638 miles in a van decked out like Scooby Doo's Mystery Machine.  Each driver took 2-hour shifts, and the boys actually slept in the van most nights.  The top of the van popped up, giving them a couple more sleeping spaces.

A fifth friend, Ruben Palmer, joined them for part of the journey.

The dashboard displayed a collection of souvenirs collected from each ballpark -- including a few bobble heads.

The teens also collected money for the Martinez Foundation, an organization started by Edgar Martinez and his wife to promote educational opportunities for minorities.  Through sponsorships and donations, they were able to collect $10,000 for the foundation.

Martinez was so impressed by their efforts, he surprised the teens at Safeco Field before Wednesday's game between the Mariners and Athletics.

"I looked over and all of a sudden one of my childhood heroes was right next to me," Wilson said.  "It was pretty surreal."

Martinez simply wanted to thank the group.

"That was pretty amazing," he told them.  "I'm very happy for your guys."

They presented Martinez with a $10,000 check before the game.

The teens blogged about their trip.  You can find more information, including highlights from their voyage at www.ballparkboys.com

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