ST. PETERSBURG, Florida -- Eric Mueller is rounding third and headed for home on his last leg of visiting 30 ballparks in just 30 days. The trip that started at Wrigley Field in Chicago is a bucket list round tripper for the Tigers fan, but before he slides safely in to home at Comerica Park in Detroit, Day 26 brought his home run trot to Tropicana Field.
"I wanted to do something for my 50th birthday, something besides just buying another toy," said Mueller. "Being a big baseball fan, the 30 ballparks in 30 days is kind of a holy grail."
Mueller isn't legging out this baseball dream journey to simply support his love of the game, but to generate awareness and donations for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society.
"I decided I wanted to something positive out of it as well, and that's when I teamed with the Leukemia Lymphoma Society," explained the Tigers' season ticket holder. "I lost my dad 13 years ago to Lymphoma, so it just seemed like a good fit."
The journey is part charity, part early birthday gift to himself, but this middle aged man still looks on at each ballpark he visits like a little boy with such wonderment.
"If I had to pick a favorite so far, and I haven't been to all of them yet, by just a nose it's going to be AT&T Stadium in San Francisco," said Mueller.
With the ballpark that is known for McCovey Cove taking Mueller's top pick, it begged the question: what his opinion was on Tropicana Field?
"I know sometimes people have said it's not that great of a venue for baseball, you know, it looks OK to me. It's a baseball diamond," said Mueller.
There's 26 down, with four more to go, before this baseball fan and philanthropist can be safe at home.