The National officially announced that the 2022 show will be, as I suspected, in Atlantic City.
And thus begins the planning. On an even more positive note, I have a friend who may be able to hook us up with some amazing lodging as well.
So this actually works out well. Arron and I can expand our travel a bit and add New England to the itinerary. It's not out of the realm of possibility that we might drive up to Portland, ME and/or Manchester, NH for games in those cities before looping back down to New Jersey. That would also knock out two states I have yet to visit, and I could make it three if we drive through part of Vermont on our way to another spot like Hartford, Worcester, Syracuse, Binghamton, or Scranton-Wilkes Barre. Yeah, it's not direct but everything is close enough up there that it's certainly doable.
Yes, I plan to taunt them about how much better Ohio's maple syrup is. Vermont makes the most; Ohio makes the best. Don't @ me on this.
On the way up I can also knock out South Carolina with relative ease. Even if we can't go to a Charleston, Columbia, Myrtle Beach, Greenville, or Augusta game we likely will pass through it.
Midweek, we'll have Wilmington (1:40 drive time), Trenton (1:30), Jersey Shore BlueClaws (1:00), Philadelphia (1:00), Reading (2:00), and Lehigh Valley (2:00) as possibilities. Not quite as convenient as Cleveland's under-an-hour for the Indians, RubberDucks, and Captains, but still, we could handle this alright if a few of them play at home (preferably the first three).
Delmarva would be doable if they would just build something like the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel instead of making us take a ferry. Monday after, maybe?
So my goal of All 50 Before 50 will be even closer-- just lacking Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota in the following twelve years if we can hit all four aforementioned ones. And if we come back via the Midwest, I could knock out Nebraska with a game in Omaha, then Montana when my wife and I go to Yellowstone for a combination birthday/anniversary trip.
Here are the VIP free autograph signers for the last Atlantic City show in 2016: Ron Blomberg, Dave Cash, Von Hayes, Jim Lonborg, Greg Luzinski, Gary Matthews, Bake McBride, Kevin Mitchell, Don Money, John Montefusco, Bobby Shantz, Nate Archibald, Maxie Baughan, Bill Bergey, Seth Joyner, and Pete Retzlaff. Unfortunately, I only have a major need for a few of them (Blomberg 72 Topps, McBride 04 ATFF, Mitchell 90 DK) but I may be able to dig out a few photos on guys. Retzlaff died this year so he won't be on the list, clearly.
2020 was supposed to have Mickey Morandini, Tommy Greene, Everson Walls, and Joe Klecko (04 ATFF) to start with before its cancellation. So that gives something of an idea as to who we might see in 2022. I'll be hoping for some hockey, personally.
So, as plans come together in the next 21 months I'll keep posting on them here. Hopefully it'll be about this time next year that we start hammering down on teams' schedules-- and even their existences-- and start planning around where we can and can't go.
Other stuff: if you're on the Twitter, give me a follow @DFWGrapher. I'm shutting down my current account when it hits 10,000 tweets (hopefully that last one will come on November 4) and starting this new one up, dedicated solely to autograph content and things that don't make me want to dropkick things across a parking lot. I made the mistake of following a bunch of political shit on my regular account which can be great at times (like the three tweets I've made with over 100 likes, including one with 2000) but I'd like to just eliminate most of the infuriating stuff-- which I think will be easiest to do just by starting over again.
Lastly, bad news: the Texas Air Hogs are no more, announcing today that they are terminating operations immediately. A shame, because it was close by, had cheap tickets, and had opportunities for autographs from some former MLB players and prospects, some of whom have even returned to the majors (Tyler Matzek and Brett Eibner, anyone?). It's a nice ballpark, and I'm hoping someone will move in there. The American Association said they anticipate further 2021 Texas expansion; if so, I wonder if someone will buy the franchise's entry and bring back a team in the near future.
Then again, I've hoped for the same with the Fort Worth Cats and LaGrave Field, and that's clearly not happening.