Can’t comPETE with this chief | Braves on the airwaves | Major league fun in the minors
Major league fun in the minors
RICH JANKOWSKI ’83 and his family returned from Fourth of July weekend with 1,900 more miles on their Honda minivan and five ballparks added to an already-long list. By Labor Day, the New Jersey family had attended minor league games at 125 ballparks across America. Their hobby of watching games between teams with fun names like Mud Hens, Lugnuts, Biscuits, and River Dogs began in 2001. Stadium #68 was O’Brien Field to watch the Peoria Chiefs. That was in August 2006.
By June 2008, the Jankowskis were in the stands at their 100th ballpark — Coca-Cola Stadium in Allentown, Pa., home of the IronPigs. Fifty-six people, many of them Bradley alumni, helped the family celebrate. Other special occasions have been marked at ballgames, as well. Rich and Debbie’s daughter, Fran, celebrated her 16th birthday this past Spring Break at a Braves game in Jackson, Miss. She and her brother, 12-year-old Joe, enjoy the excursions, according to their dad.
“They like doing interesting things during the day, too,” says Rich, a business process analyst for the Defense Supply Center, Philadelphia. The family tries to soak up the local flavor on their ballpark trips. “They would rather go to a museum than a theme park,” he comments. During their travels, the Jankowskis also have racked up an impressive tally of 34 U.S. presidents’ graves visited, as well as 30 state capitals.
At an average cost of about $30 (without food) for a family of four to attend a game, Rich is convinced that minor league ball offers good entertainment value. The most memorable games for his family are when old friends are able to meet up at the event. One unforgettable game was in 2004 in Hagerstown, Md., when Rich won a trip for two to the Summer X games in Los Angeles. Part of the package was a major league game between the Dodgers and the Phillies. Even better, Rich recalls, “the Phils won!”