Cycling For Kids And Baseball

Cycling For Kids And Baseball

A 22-year-old bicycles solo to all 30 MLB parks for youth mentoring programs.
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Around the U.S. in 180 days.

On April 6, a man named Matt Stoltz began a solo bike ride from Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington to Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. However, he will not go the most direct route to the home of the Brewers, but rather take a detour and visit all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums. This difficult task has a purpose that goes beyond every baseball fan’s dream; Matt wants to raise both funds and awareness for Biking for Baseball and Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Metro Milwaukee. Biking for Baseball is a non-profit based out of Denver, CO that connects youth with mentors through cycling and baseball while directing attention to BBBS clubs across the nation.

This trek is more than 11,000 miles long and will take about six months, or 180 days to complete. As of July 17, Matt has made it halfway through his journey by stopping at number 15 on his list: Turner Field. He has traveled over 7,500 miles to get to the home of the Atlanta Braves, where he watched the series opener against the Chicago Cubs. With around 5,000 more miles and 3 months to go, he’s not done impressing us quite yet.


About Matt Stoltz.

As stated on Biking for Baseball’s website, Matt is a 22-year-old Wisconsin native who has a history of charitable tasks, but nothing close of what he is currently doing. Matt rode a train from Wisconsin to Washington State to start his mission, shortly after attending a Biking for Baseball clinic in Milwaukee for BBBS, which he posted about in his blog on Biking for Baseball’s site. He also said he was nervous, but very determined. Nothing would get in his way.

In addition to staying in hotels for this trip, Matt also stays with host families, whom he mentions in his blog. He’s met a lot of people while traveling from ballpark to ballpark, some who have even bought his ticket to watch the game. While this ride is solo, he mentions having a few riding companions keeping him company for a small portion of his trek. Matt also talks about his love for the Milwaukee Brewers, and he has been able to see them play along the way. While he posts to his blog every couple of days, he also posts to the website Reddit.com, in the subreddit /r/baseball, where he has gotten a lot of positive response.

To keep up with Matt’s blog, visit www.bikingforbaseball.org/blog/.


Current Progress.

Matt has now visited 15 of the 30 MLB ballparks, which are more spread out compared to the latter 15. This probably attributes to “the month from hell” as he refers to his recent travels between the sporadic placements of ballparks. These are the stadiums he has visited so far:

  • Safeco Field—Seattle, WA
  • AT&T Park—San Francisco, CA
  • O.co Coliseum—Oakland, CA
  • PETCO Park—San Diego, CA
  • Angel Stadium—Anaheim, CA
  • Dodger Stadium—Los Angeles, CA
  • Chase Field—Phoenix, AZ
  • Coors Field—Denver, CO
  • Kauffman Stadium—Kansas City, MO
  • Busch Stadium—Saint Louis, MO
  • Marlins Park—Miami, FL
  • Tropicana Field—Saint Petersburg, FL
  • Turner Field—Atlanta, GA

While visiting all those stadiums via bicycle is impressive on its own, it is also impressive that he planned the most efficient route he could while making sure he could attend at least one game in each ballpark. His next stop is Cincinnati, where he will watch the Cubs again, but this time against the Reds, obviously. For the remaining fields, he’ll have shorter trips in-between, but that does not mean he doesn’t need our support.

To see where Matt is headed next, and how soon he will be there, visit www.bikingforbaseball.org/live-tracking/.




How You Can Help.

Matt Stoltz’s mission has a purpose even greater than accomplishing this task: to benefit Biking for Baseball and Big Brothers Big Sisters. To monetarily support his cause, visit www.bikingforbaseball.org/donate/.

Another way to help benefit these programs would be to find out about becoming a mentor for a BBBS club or attending a Biking for Baseball clinic.

If your favorite team is still on the list for Matt to visit, be sure to keep an eye out for a man with a bike wearing a Brewer’s hat. It’s probably this awesome guy.


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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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Kyler Murray Is A Heisman Winner Playing Baseball

Oklahoma's Quarterback Kyler Murray was named the Heisman winner for the best college football player in the 2018 season. But his future does not lead to the NFL.

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On Saturday December 8th, Quarterback Kyler Murray from Oklahoma won the 2018 Heisman trophy, which recognizes the best player in college football. Murray has become a household name among many college football fans throughout this past season.

However, what is surprising to many is that Kyler Murray is choosing to forgo the 2019 NFL draft to play professional baseball with the Oakland Athletics. The A's drafted Murray with the 9th overall pick in 2018 MLB draft before his breakout season with Oklahoma. He signed a contract with Oakland and is guaranteed $4.66 million. Murray's agent is Scott Boras who is the "Most Powerful Sports Agent in the World" since 2013 according to Forbes Magazine. Currently his clientele includes Bryce Harper, José Altuve, Kris Bryant, J.D. Martinez, among many others. Considering his agent Murray has the potential to make more money in the MLB than in the NFL, especially with some of the massive contracts we have seen big name players in baseball sign within the past few years.

A Heisman winner has not played in the MLB since Bo Jackson back in 1985 who was a two-sport professional athlete (both baseball and football). While Murray expressed that he would like to try and play both sports the reality of him playing both sports at the same time, like Bo did, is highly unlikely. Professional sports have grown and changed a lot in the past 30 years and have grown a lot more competitive, it would benefit Murray to specialize and focus on one sport rather than trying to juggle two and not being able to reach his full potential in either. His Oklahoma baseball coaches stated that Kyler didn't take infield/outfield at all with them last year.

Another scouting report on Murray states that he needs to take more reps at center field and practice throwing the baseball more to develop a better arm. He was rated as having a 30 arm by a MLB scout which is on the lower end of a 20-80 scale. The reason for this is because his arm was always muscled up for football. This further support why Murray should try to focus and specialize in one sport rather than take on the challenge of balancing both.

Even with his success on the football field, Murray is listed at 5 foot 9 inches and 195 pounds according to NFL Draft Scout. This size for an NFL level Quarterback is short to say the least, which could cause problems for him being able to see over the lineman while in the pocket. Murray does have exceptional athleticism, being able to fire the ball downfield with precise accuracy, and the ability to scramble out of the pocket and use his legs. That being said, him being a mobile quarterback can lead to him taking a lot of punishing hits, and in some cases dual threat quarterbacks in college struggle to find the same success in the pros where everyone is quicker and more athletic on the defensive side of the ball.

Murray has been able to make improvements to his swing by adding in a leg kick to generate more power. His speed which contributed to his success on the football field translates to his position at center field, it will give him an advantage for being able to stretch his range for those balls hit into the gap. It seems that all signs for the future of Kyler Murray point to the diamond, and he will definitely be a fun player to watch in the seasons to come.

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