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To Thirty Baseball Stadiums in Twenty-Seven Days

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Los Angeles resident Josh Robbins and friends will embark on a twenty-seven day quest, by car, to visit baseball games at thirty baseball stadiums around the country. Their journey starts on June 16th, and they hope to set a world record, document the trip on video, and raise funds for the Jim Thorpe Little League in Hawthorne. All thirty stadiums and games, as well as information on donating to the project and the little league, can be found at their website – Thirty27.com.

LAist sat down with Josh Robbins for a few questions.

LAist: How did this project come about? And at what point did it transform from an idea to an actual project?

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The idea for the project came up about three years ago, among three of my friends and I. It originally started as a dream to travel to all the major league stadiums, to enjoy a game in each stadium. It transformed into a road trip project, to see a game in each stadium in the quickest time that anyone’s ever done it. It became possible in early January 2008, as we realized we could each take some days off this summer.

We’ve also developed the project into an attempt to raise some money so that some kids who previously weren’t able to play baseball can now play. Baseball is a passion that’s passed on from generation to generation, and that’s how I was inspired by the game, and I’d like others to have access to the sport too. So it’s more than just a trip, it’s a way to give back, it’s a passion that we’re trying to share with everyone we come in contact with.

LAist: So, you’re trying to establish a world record by driving to all 30 major league baseball stadiums in 27 days. Why 27 days?

Last year a couple guys from Canada set a record – they travelled by car and airplane to all thirty major league baseball stadiums in 28 days. What’s really unique about our trip is that we’re planning to accomplish the record through a roadtrip, through driving. This obviously presents a bit more of a challenge and is more physically demanding. No disrespect to the previous attempts! But this is where the challenge really lies for our trip and where the 27 days comes from. There’s even a possibility that our trip can happen in 26 days, which would end on my birthday! But we’re realistically shooting for 27 days.

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One of the great ironies here is that I don’t even own a car. I’m doing this despite all my personal issues with cars and big oil. One year I actually biked more miles than I drove. I ended up biking 10 more miles than I drove that whole year. It’s kind of crazy if you think about it, it’s pretty hard to do. In light of all my issues with gas and cars, I’m passionate about pursuing this roadtrip record and about sharing my love of baseball with everyone I meet on this trip and afterwards.

LAist: How are you raising money for the project? And why did you choose the Jim Thorpe Little League in Hawthorne as the recipient of donations?

After some research into our community, after talking to people, I found out about the Jim Thorpe Little League, in Hawthorne. They were great, and they needed some financial help, so I decided to share donations with them. The League is on 139th Street and Prairie Avenue in Hawthorne. The league is in a lower-income community, and with rising standard of living costs, they’re struggling for money. My friends and I developed a passion for baseball through playing in the little leagues, and we would like to give back.

In regards to fundraising, I set a pretty high goal -- $10,000 – for donations for this project. We’re splitting donations 50/50 – half the donations go to travel and other costs of the trip, and half the donations go to the Jim Thorpe Little League. Donations have come from a few corporate sponsors including a gift of $1000 from Toyota headquarters in Torrance. In addition, twenty-three of the thirty teams donated tickets for our trip. And Rawlings donated 12 dozen baseballs to the Jim Thorpe Little League!

But most of the donations have come from friends, baseball enthusiasts, and local supporters. I recently attended a Hawthorne City Council meeting and asked for their help, and the Mayor -- Larry Guidi – he’s giving $500 and he challenged his fellow councilmen and women to do the same. It’s great, I’ve got the council meeting on video.

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We’re hoping to present the Jim Thorpe Little League with a check with donations to date, as well as the other donated items, in early June. We plan to continue fundraising through the month of June, and people can contribute through Paypal at our website, Thirty27.com.

LAist: You’re a videographer and will be documenting this trip on video. How do you plan to share the edited video with others?

I think people will find the subject matter interesting, whether they’re baseball fans or not. It’s not only about a baseball journey. It’s also about drama, and deadlines and meeting them -- you have this drama of trying to race around the country to make this record.

I’d like to put together a video of our trip – I’d like to submit it to film festivals. This project started out as a roadtrip dream, and turned into three of my favorite things – baseball games, helping the community, and making videos!

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LAist: The project also turned into a family affair – your wife and your father are also accompanying you on parts of this trip! Is everyone down with the idea and passion behind this trip?

The trip started as an idea that was fleshed out by four of us – my friends from childhood, and my best men at my wedding. But now one of my friends is meeting me at one city, and another is meeting me elsewhere. I’ll be the only one of the original four who will travel the whole trip by car.

I’ve gotten my family involved in exciting ways. I’ll be meeting up with my dad in Kansas City. And my wife Su will meet me in Minneapolis for a leg of the trip! I’m even going to go to a game with my grandparents. In a weird way I’m really happy the way it materialized, even though it was sad that all four of us guys who came up with the idea weren’t going to be able to do the whole trip together.

LAist: What has been the most exciting experience during your project so far?

By nature I’m a pretty quiet person, but this trip has allowed me to learn more about myself, open up a bit. I recently attended a Hawthorne City Council meeting and asked for their help, and the Mayor -- Larry Guidi – he’s giving $500 and he challenged his fellow councilmen and women to do the same. It’s great, I’ve got the council meeting on video. It’s good, it’s also getting me out of my shell – I never imagined I’d be speaking to a city council.

This project has become somewhat of an obsession. Everyone I’ve come in contact with knows that I’ve been working on it. I feel like if you feel strongly enough about something and you want to pursue it, you have to make it a reality. The more obstacles that come my way, the more resolve I have to finish this project. This is going to be one of the great challenges of my life. I don’t think I’m overdramatizing that.

I’ve learned so much through reaching out to the community, working with little league and major league groups, and it’s exciting to build something out of nothing. A pipe dream, a crazy idea, turned into a really fun challenge and a way to raise money for a local team. In the grand scheme it may not make that much of a difference. But if it makes a difference in one kid’s life or gets more folks excited about baseball, it will have been a great accomplishment. And who knows, maybe in the future we’ll be watching a former Jim Thorpe Little Leaguer up in Dodgers Stadium or Yankees Stadium or another stadium. You never know where inspiration can lead!