Die-Hard Baseball Fans Continue Tradition at SunTrust Park

BASEBALL "LIFERS" FLOCK TO ATLANTA TO SEE NEWEST BALLPARK

There’s thirty major league baseball stadiums.

Jim Aalderink has been to every one and more.

“This will be my 61st big league ballpark I‘ve been in,” he said.

Aalderink is from Grand Rapids, Michigan and spends his year following the sport.

But it’s those rare events he likes best. Aalderink’s shirt is as full as it can be of the parks he’s been to on Opening day and when they’ve closed for good.

“I love baseball and being a part of history,” he said. “Anyone can go to the 2nd or 17th game but i like being part of history and I love baseball.”

Just like Ralph Palmer, who’s played a part in Atlanta’s history.

“I helped build the Fulton County stadium,” he said. “I was one of those mine workers and I enjoyed doing it.”

Palmer has attended the first and last game ever at the Fulton County stadium and again at Turner Field. He also watched the Braves win the World Series in 1995.

Now it’s time to turn the page and enjoy SunTrust Park.

“You can bring your wife up here and let her shop while you enjoy the ballgame,” he laughed.

And then there’s guys who really love the game.

Jack Hample is visiting his 53rd major league stadium and has enjoyed more than 14-hundred games all over the U.S.

But he doesn’t just go to enjoy them.

“I’ve snagged at least one baseball at all 52 stadiums that I‘ve been to,” Hample said. “The grand total including before games, during games, is 9,514.”

He’s known as the “baseball collector” online and will surely hit the 10,000 mark in no time.

“I get here really early for batting practice, I bring my glove, I have a Padres hat in my backpack so it helps to dress up like you’re a fan of the visiting team. I have a lot of tricks up my sleeve,” he said. “I run back and forth from left field to right field depending on what hand the batters bat with, stuff like that.”

 

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