Cycle of a Lifetime: The Darren O’Donnell Story
There are some folks who are lucky if they attend one baseball game a year, perhaps even in a few years. For Darren O’Donnell, it was 30 stadiums or bust in one season with a catch – traveling 10,700 miles** across country to visit every Major League Ballpark on his bicycle. The Idaho native quit his job, moved out of his apartment, and embarked on the trip of a lifetime from Bellingham, Washington in April, and wrapped up the excursion in St. Louis in September.
Baseball wasn’t the only goal on his mind – by riding cross country, and using social media sites to promote his adventure, Darren hoped to raise awareness for bicycling as a viable mode of transportation, as well as pedaling for food banks. He wants people to support their local food banks and “keep their dollars in their communities”, to support local farmers as opposed to big corporations.
Using Twitter, Darren was able to get in contact with certain teams, notably the Rays, who gave the cyclist star treatment. Tampa’s ace David Price picked up on one of his tweets and showed it to Joe Maddon, an avid cyclist himself. Darren got to meet Price, Maddon, and Third Baseman Evan Longoria, as well as receiving a #11 Jersey to mark Tampa Bay as the 11th stop on the trip.
It was also through social media that Darren’s trip was brought to our attention here at WFUV, and we caught up with him on the New York leg of the trip in July. Seeing all the cars while riding over the George Washington Bridge was a new experience for Darren. While visiting the New York Stadiums he was less fond of the openness in the outfield at Yankee Stadium aand impressed with the improvements that the Mets made to their Hall of Fame. He was also surprised how close Citi Field was to the water.
Along the way, Darren paid a visit to the Hall of Fame and got to throw out the first pitch in Minnesota as well as in St. Louis, among many other memories. Now that the trip has reached its end, Darren looks to wind down, continue bicycling, and perhaps work on a coffee table book to chronicle his adventures.
Click below to listen to The Baseball Biker, written and produced by Mike Giandomenico and narrated by John DeMarzo.
**Originally estimated at 12,000.