Episode 143 — Jason Skinner: British Baseball Fans, A House Divided, & Getting Left in the Dust at Fenway

Jason Skinner is a Cubs fan from Bourne, UK. Despite the geographical distance from the game, Jason and his family developed a deep connection to American baseball. Their household boasts a unique dynamic where each member supports a different team; his wife cheers for the Braves (and has a soft spot for the Cardinals), while their son is a Phillies fan.

 We discuss the family’s baseball adventures across the United States. Having visited 39 states and numerous ballparks, they’ve experienced more of America than many natives. We also delve into what drew Jason to baseball, how the Cubs captured his heart, and his insights on the sport’s growing popularity in the UK.

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[00:00:00] Jason: We got to the front and I was watching and they were pretty strict about not letting the adults go but every now and again a kid would cry and they would like usher mum or dad to run around with them.  So I looked at my son and he was six at the time and I said Noah when we get to the front pretend to cry say I need your daddy I need your daddy because I was desperate to run them  we got to the front and there was the big kind of burly security guard and he said you’ll go And with that I looked at Noah and he legged it.

[00:00:26] Jason: He was, he was running as if he just bunted and he got to get to first. And I stood there and I was like, Noah, Noah, you need me, you need me. And Noah’s rounding first at this point. And the bouncer looks at me and I was like, he needs me. And he just shook his head. 

[00:00:43] Anna: What’s up bucketheads? Thanks for tuning in and welcome to episode number 143 of the Baseball Bucket List Podcast. I’m your host Anna DiTommaso and each week on the show, I speak with a different baseball fan about their favorite memories what’s left on their baseball bucket list and what the game of baseball means to them. This week, I had the pleasure of chatting with Jason Skinner from Bourne, UK. Jason is a Cubs fan who fell in love with baseball in 2000 and shares that love with his entire family. His wife is a Braves fan with underlying loyalties to the Cardinals thanks to Albert Puljos, and his son is a longtime Phillies fan who greatly admires Rhys Hoskins. This British family is more well-traveled in the U S than most Americans are having already hit 39 different states and many ballparks along the way. 

[00:01:25] Anna: Jason and I chat about why he loves baseball, how the Cubs drew him in and the outlook for baseball’s growth in the UK. We also hear some great stories about their time on the road here in the U S including a hysterical story about Jason’s son, Noah, completely selling him out at Fenway Park. And we discuss their upcoming trip this summer and what Jason is looking forward to the most. 

[00:01:46] Anna: This was such a fun conversation. I really enjoyed hearing Jason’s story and perspective about the game. I know you guys are really gonna love this interview, so let’s get right to it. Now without further ado, sit back, relax and enjoy some baseball banter with Jason Skinner.

[00:02:01] Anna: Jason, thank you so much for joining us today on the Baseball Bucket List. How are things in the UK?

[00:02:09] Jason: Uh, thanks for having me first. Um, yeah, no, it’s okay. It’s, it’s gray. It’s wet. It’s cold. The nights are coming in early, but it’s starting to get a bit springy, but yeah, other than that, it’s good.

[00:02:20] Anna: Yeah. I mean, we’re close to baseball, so that always helps with the weather here. It sounds like you got a little more kind of dismal weather to bear right now than we do. But, , yeah, we’re just around the corner from the regular season.

[00:02:33] Jason: Yeah, it’s good. We’re starting to get a bit of spring training on YouTube and starting to see sunshine and ballparks. It’s starting to feel like summer’s around the corner, which is a good thing.

[00:02:44] Anna: Yeah, there is hope after all, you know? Well, I’m so excited to chat with you today. I can’t thank you enough for making time , you know, we’re dealing with a little bit of a time difference here, but I want to just jump in. I mean, you know, the first question I’m going to ask is how does a guy, in the UK, fall in love with America’s pastime?

[00:03:05] Jason: Oh, it’s a probably long winded answer, but, um, I’ve always been interested in sport. I played soccer over as a, as a boy and growing up, , loved movies, loved everything in, in the eighties from Smokey and the Bandit to Police Academy. I know it’s not really real baseball, but I fell in love with Major League.

[00:03:26] Jason: I wanted to be Wild Thing, uh, and it helped me just kind of realize that this game was out there and. Yes, it’s a fantasy version of baseball, but it started to get me interested in the kind of the rules of it. And, you know, that chance to be a hero and hit the winning home run. And, and, uh, so yeah, every summer me and my brother would watch that.

[00:03:47] Jason: Then we’d go out and throw a ball. Um, and then luckily I met my wife. She loved America as much as I did. We started to do road trips. And, uh, we wasn’t really baseball fans then as such, but every night we’d go, I think we started doing Route 66 and we stopped off at St. Louis and our hotel overlooked Busch Stadium and we went and had a walk around and we’re like, well, this is really cool.

[00:04:11] Jason: We didn’t really get it, but it felt like it was something. And then every night as we were traveling, we’d end up either going to the hotel restaurant or a bar and the game would be on and we’d start watching it and we’d start to fall in love with it. And I think, um, Barry Bonds was on a home run chase that summer, and every night we were watching it and there it was on the news and it would be how much would the ball be worth if someone caught it and it kind of got us invested in it.

[00:04:38] Jason: And the more we watched it, the more was like, we quite like this. So, uh, then on our next trip, we, um, We decided we’d try and catch a game and, uh, we, we first went to, uh, Dyersville, um, to the Field of Dreams set, because, yeah, we like movies. And we, we bought a bat and a ball and we walked out the cornfields and we played a little bit.

[00:04:59] Jason: Um, and then we went to watch a game at, um, Wrigley, um, and was just captivated. The people, the chat, , And it was just, yeah, got under our skin. And ever since then, every trip we come over, we try and take a game in or go visit a stadium, even if there’s no game on, just to see the statues, what it’s like, the area, everything.

[00:05:20] Jason: And then every night when we’re trucking off from one place to another, we end up pretty much vegging out, watching a game on the telly somewhere. It’s just, yeah, just got part of our day to day life when we’re there. It’s amazing.

[00:05:32] Anna: So it’s just, it sounds like it was kind of by happenstance that you, you kind of, , happened to see Busch Stadium from your hotel and then walked into, You know a bar that had the ball game on as opposed to whatever other sport might have been going on and I I wonder if You know if you had walked into a bar and it had been football season or something like that if you would have become like an American football fan or If if there’s something specific about baseball

[00:06:03] Jason: Yeah, I mean, the bar we went in was interesting, um, I asked, I mean, the bar was dead, there was nobody in there, there was just us and one other guy at the corner, and I said to the barman, can I have a beer please, and he said, which one, and I said, well, what’s your favourite, and then we went and sat down, he brought me three over, so I was, I think I might have enjoyed the game a little bit more after the three beers, but, uh, no, it was just, it just seemed to fit, but, um, I I love football as well.

[00:06:32] Jason: Um, I grew up, , with the kind of 85, 86 Chicago bears team. So I kind of fell in love with, um, NFL. There’s something different about baseball. The, the kind of, it’s a day out. It’s the family, it’s the food, it’s the chat. , The NFL seems a little bit more tribal, a bit more like. Uh, soccer over here is, and the atmosphere with baseball is.

[00:06:57] Jason: It’s just kind of, I mean, I mean, my son’s a Phillies fan and I think that we’re going there this summer. I think the atmosphere there is going to be different to what we’ve seen in a lot of other stadiums. But it is so kind of engaging and welcoming and friendly and you can have, be sat next to someone in an away team jersey and there will be banter going backwards and forwards, but it’s all nice natured and Never seems to get hostile and that’s kind of one of the reasons we look.

[00:07:23] Jason: It is just a great day and great sport as well.

[00:07:27] Anna: Definitely. You’re, you’re speaking my language here. you mentioned a game at Wrigley and then you just also mentioned the Chicago Bears. So, I see a blue jersey. Listeners can’t see because we’re obviously audio, but I’m, it’s a Cubs jersey. Okay. It is a cubby blue jersey.

[00:07:42] Anna: And, uh, what’s, what’s with Chicago? Like what’s the connection there?

[00:07:47] Jason: Uh, I don’t, I think I just fell in love with Chicago. It’s the first city what I’ve seen. Um, it’s an, I don’t know. It seems like an honest, hardworking city. It’s, I loved Wrigley Field, its location, the atmosphere. It was my first game and like I’ve listened to loads of podcasts of yours and everybody mentions the first time you walk up the steps and you see the green field and it’s immaculate and it’s perfect.

[00:08:18] Jason: And there’s just something about a night game there. It was great. The atmosphere was amazing. , I fell in love with, uh, Derek Lee on, I think he was first base. I don’t know why he didn’t play particularly well, but every time he came up to bat, I got, you Kind of excited. I was expecting big things and, uh, it was just brilliant.

[00:08:34] Jason: It was, and yeah, just people around us, the atmosphere and, uh, yeah. And the little, um, again, I didn’t really know then, but like, um, the kind of tactics and everything changes and how the crowd reacts to that. It can be really laid back and really chilled, but then a couple of pitches in, if you’ve got some runners on and the pitch is not doing as well, the crowd starts to write and, you know, you can feel the anticipation.

[00:09:00] Jason: It was. And it was, yeah, it’s great. I don’t know why I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it was just, we both knew this is a sport we can both enjoy together. and yeah, and, and, uh, Chicago, I guess it was my first town. And like I say, a little bit of affiliation with the bears anyway. So I naturally became a Cubs fan and, um, yeah, they seem to, they run a bad look and kind of plucky losers kind of fits with me a little bit.

[00:09:28] Jason: I think it brings home. I think.

[00:09:31] Anna: Like that you you can identify with them, huh? Your wife’s a Cubs fan too then and but no, okay,

[00:09:42] Jason: we, we, we’re a net spread, uh, far and wide. My son, he’s a Phillies fan. And my wife, we were debating this before coming on because she really loves Albert Pujols. She, he’s her guy. She loves him. Uh, uh, we saw him when we went to watch them, uh, Cardinals at the Braves. And, um, yeah, she just loved everything about him.

[00:10:05] Jason: We made sure we went to his restaurant in St. Louis and all things like that. But she, yeah, she’s diehard Albert Pujols. I think she’s a Cardinals fan, but deep down she really likes the Braves and she can’t shake the Braves for some reason. So she’s kind of, she’s caught between two, two stools. Both of them pretty much don’t get on with the Cubs as well, which suits her as well.

[00:10:26] Jason: Or

[00:10:27] Anna: little of antagonistic behavior from the wife. That’s hilarious. 

[00:10:32] Anna: How’d your son get roped into the Phillies

[00:10:36] Jason: Uh, I don’t really know. We, um, we, the first game we took him to was Red Sox versus the, uh, White Sox and he loved it. He was, uh, he was six at the time. And I have no idea where the Phillies came from. He wanted a Phillies jersey. Um, he got Phillies caps and he started collecting the cards and he was Phillies mad.

[00:11:00] Jason: , He loved, Ah, um, Rhys Hoskins. Rhys, um, and he was fortunate enough when we watched the Phillies at San Francisco, um, Mr. Hoskins signed his cap for him, so that made him fall in love with him even more, um, he wanted to be just like him, yeah, and I don’t know, it just, it, something’s got stuck in there and, uh, we promised him this year we would take him to go watch the Phillies at home, which he’s, uh, quite excited about.

[00:11:29] Anna: Yeah, I I can imagine so. Citizens Bank is a really cool place to see a game and then, of course, Philadelphia is like one of the most historic cities in the U. S., which will be cool for for everyone. And you got to get a cheesesteak. That’s obviously, you know, one of the one of the things high up on the list there.

[00:11:47] Anna: But I mean, it sounds like you guys have been to several ballparks. I mean, I heard you throw out San Francisco. You mentioned Busch Stadium. You mentioned, um, the Braves. I’m how many, how many trips over here have you guys taken and how many parks?

[00:12:06] Jason: we’ve done, I think, about eight trips, me and my wife, and I think we’ve brought my son on three, maybe four, um, we tend to do a road trip, uh, so we’ll, we’ll, we’ll just pick somewhere at random, and then we’ll try and catch a stadium or a game, wherever that route may be, but we’ve been to 39 states altogether, um, but stadium wise, we’ve, uh, we, we did games at, um, Wrigley was a first, Then it was Atlanta was our second.

[00:12:36] Jason: then it was the Red Sox, , which was an awesome stadium. I liked it. Great atmosphere, great game as well, which really helped. Um, and then we went to, , the Angels, uh, which wasn’t such a great stadium, but still it was good and it was different in its own kind of way. And then I think we had another game at San Francisco.

[00:12:59] Jason: That was where we watched the Phillies. Um, but they’re not, we’ve also been to Busch, but there wasn’t a game. And um, we’ve done a couple of the minor league ones. We, uh, went to the Jackie Robinson ballpark in Florida, uh, the um, to two good, I think Daytona till two good. Um, and had a water in there. There was no game on there.

[00:13:19] Jason: And we did the Tampa Bay Tarpons. and I had a walk around there and saw the kind of Yankees retirement shirts and things like that, which I just love a ballpark. I don’t know what it is about it, whether it’s game day, whether it’s empty, there’s just something about it. It just, just feels right. I don’t know why, but it’s, uh, I just love to see the stadium, the bleachers.

[00:13:41] Jason: Everything about it is just a kind of perfect little wedge of the world, I

[00:13:46] Anna: Yeah, I agree. I mean, it’s my happy place. And I think it’s, um, it’s one of very few places where the rest of the world fails to exist for me. You know, it’s, it’s a place where I can kind of just shut down and think only about where I’m at and who I’m there with. And, uh, you know, I, I have trouble doing that outside of ballparks or, or baseball or whatever it is.

[00:14:10] Anna: So, um, that’s totally relatable.

[00:14:13] Jason: Have you had a ground where you’ve expected so much but then it’s flattered to deceive a little bit?

[00:14:19] Anna: mm, that’s a great question. You know, I think, um, I had really high expectations for old Yankee stadium. So, you know, back in 2008, my dad took me on a trip up to the Northeast. And the reason we went there that year was because it was the last year for Yankee and it was the last year for Shea stadium.

[00:14:40] Anna: And I went into New York thinking that. You know, here’s historic Yankee Stadium filled with all of these ghosts of the most impressive players of their time and, uh, yeah. And it, it just kinda, it just kinda let me down, like, uh, everything was cramped, it was like they hadn’t taken care of it, you know, they had tried to make upgrades that would make them money, but weren’t necessarily, like, the right things for the fans, and I wasn’t expecting anything from Shea, like, I thought that Shea was just gonna be, like, the one that we would check off because it was basically, you know, in the same town, and, I loved it.

[00:15:17] Anna: Like I was I was so sad to see it go after after we went and it was just like a perfect night at Shea Stadium and that’s a really good question. What about you? Have you had one 

[00:15:26] Jason: Uh, not yet, I, I, um, I didn’t have any expectations when we went to, um, Wrigley and, um, It set the bar quite high. , Boston, I was expecting big things. You hear about the Green Monster and it, it, it, luckily it was a really good game. Um, and the atmosphere was good as well. So that didn’t disappoint. Um, the A’s, but then, um, I don’t know.

[00:15:51] Jason: It was, it was, it was empty. That, I think that was half of the problem. I think it, it could have been good if it had been a good game and a good stadium. But I mean, for a fan experience, the views were great. The seats were great. Like all the concourse and the little bits of history was good, but it, it was just, it just a bit, a bit flat without, but that’s about, I haven’t been to enough yet to, uh, properly critique them. I don’t think.

[00:16:14] Anna: Well, you’ve been to, I mean, you’ve traveled more than most Americans, I’ll say, like in, inside of the U S I don’t even know if I’ve been to 39 states. I have to like sit down and list them all out, but, um, that’s the way it kind of works, isn’t it? Like if you’re trying to get to a specific ballpark at a specific time, Sometimes your only opportunity is like the 1:35 Wednesday game where, you know, you’re going to be there with all the like kids that they’ve just tried to give tickets to, to put bodies in the seats.

[00:16:44] Anna: , And you feel a little cheated, right? Like you feel like you’re not getting the full experience, but. You still want to take it as an opportunity to see the park, but like, I have a couple of those on my list, too, that like, I’ve technically been to, but just as you said, like the, it was empty, or it was just a really bad game, or the environment was just off that I want to go back to.

[00:17:08] Jason: Yeah, I think they did that. There was a large section of school kids in and they were there. Anytime the jumbo tron cam, it was all on them and they were shouting at strange times and it didn’t run true with what was happening on on the field. So that definitely felt like that. But you’re right because we’re on such a tight schedule.

[00:17:29] Jason: It is. We’ve got to catch that game on that day. So you’re not necessarily picking them. Yeah. The best of the best, if that makes sense.

[00:17:36] Anna: yeah, for sure, definitely. What’s the next trip scheduled? Like, do you have anything kind of in the works for, you

[00:17:43] Jason: we’re booked up to come out this summer. Um, and this year it’s, normally the trips are centred around, , a little bit of historical stuff, a little bit of, like, locations or something to do with the movies, a little bit of tourism, maybe squeeze a game in. This year it’s the first time it’s a, An official baseball trip.

[00:18:03] Jason: Um, um, we’ve got some concrete plans, some which are flexible, but we’re,

[00:18:08] Jason: into Chicago. , we’vE recently, uh, since my son’s found out that, um, Uh, Hoskins has gone to Brewers. We’re going to make a trip up to Milwaukee because he wants to get a new jersey with his name on.

[00:18:21] Jason: Um, and then we found a bobblehead museum there. So which I think bobbleheads are synonymous with baseball. So we’re going to go to the bobblehead museum. We’re going to try and catch Little Wrigley, I believe, which is not too far away. Then we’re going to come down and we’re going We’ve got, potentially got the option of watching, uh, Chicago, uh, Cubs White Sox, which I think might be a bit tasty and be a really good atmosphere, um, and then we’re heading down to St.

[00:18:49] Jason: Louis cause my wife wants to watch a game at Busch. So we’ve got a game. I think it’s St. Louis. think they’re playing Tampa.

[00:18:57] Jason: I think they’re playing your 

[00:18:58] Anna: Oh, boy. 

[00:18:59] Jason: so. Yeah, so around about the 8th of August, I think. So we’re going to watch that. So that could be a good game, I think.

[00:19:05] Jason: Then we’re going to head on over to, uh, Louisville and we’re going to go to the Slugger Museum and we’re going to take in our first minor league game, which I’m quite excited about. We’re going to go watch the bats. Then we’re going to head up to Cincinnati where. We might just go and check out the stadium.

[00:19:21] Jason: We might try and catch a game. Depends on if it falls right. Um, and then we’re heading over to Pittsburgh. Um, again, if it works right, we’ll try and sneak a game in. If not, we’ll just go check out. Uh, the stuff around the ballpark and everything. Then we’ve got the Phillies game. And I think it’s Philly’s Nationals, um, which again, I think, I think it’s going to be a good atmosphere there, whatever.

[00:19:45] Jason: That’s a nice night game as well. Um, and then I think we’ve got Baltimore and Red Sox, and we’re going to do the Babe Ruth Museum and things like that as well. So that’s, that’s it. And then we should finish up in Washington. Um, and that’s it. So yeah, two, two weeks, I think, but all in all.

[00:20:04] Anna: Very nice. You’re cramming a lot in. It’s gonna be a, a, Incredible trip it sounds like lots of good baseball and hopefully some fun moments along the way, you know outside of the ballparks, too You’ll have to reach out to me after you do that because I want to know what you think about The game at in Louisville like the the minor league game.

[00:20:23] Anna: I’d love to hear your take on that After you’ve been to so many different major league ballpark 

[00:20:29] Jason: I’m quite interested with the minor league ballparks have been really welcoming when we’ve just gone to the club shop and things like that. They’re more than happy to let us show us around and have a peek around it. And it feels like it’s going to be like that on game day a bit as well. , and also you’re going to be so much closer to the action.

[00:20:47] Jason: , so it’s going to be, you’re going to really hear that on ball and the. When it flies in and things like that. So, um, yeah, I’m kind of looking forward to that. I think it’s going to be real baseball is probably not the right word, but it’s going to be a lot more honest, if that makes any sense, a lot more, but yeah.

[00:21:05] Jason: But, um, yeah, so I’m really looking forward to that. I think it’s going to be a good night, a good fun night. And we’re going to be high because we’re going to be around the. Slugger Museum in the morning, and we’re all going to think we can swing the bat and hit home run, so we’ll be, we’ll be full of it and, uh, we’ll be mini experts for a day, I think.

[00:21:22] Jason: I

[00:21:23] Anna: that’s awesome. One of my favorite things about, uh, minor leagues, minor league teams is that, you know, they put such a focus on like the in game entertainment. And it sounds like you guys really love the atmosphere of being at the ballpark. So I think that that’s going to just be like another thing that you just absolutely fall for.

[00:21:40] Anna: And you got to watch out though, because, you know, you know, there’s like 130 plus minor league parks, so you’ll end up spending all your time chasing, chasing the minor league parks around the country.

[00:21:54] Jason: was listening to, uh, your chat with, um, is it Maurice from, uh, Maurice from Switzerland a while ago, and, uh, it sounded like he was falling into that rabbit hole, uh, and it was soon going to be his list to, to tickle them off, and I, my ears pricked up, I was like, ooh, minor league chase, now that’s, uh, and, uh, yeah, got me thinking.

[00:22:14] Anna: definitely. You can definitely spend your entire life, uh, chasing ballparks, which is not a bad way to spend it, I don’t think, but does anything come to mind if I ask you what your favorite baseball memory is?

[00:22:27] Jason: There’s a couple. We’ve been, we’ve been quite lucky. Um, uh, one of them was when we were, um, was watching the Red Sox after the game, um, there was a queue just forming and us being British, we love a queue. So we joined it. And, um, before we knew it, we was being led into the outfield and, um, the kids were allowed to run the bases.

[00:22:49] Jason: We got to the front and I was watching and they were pretty strict about not letting the adults go but every now and again a kid would cry and they would like usher mum or dad to run around with them. So I looked at my son and he was six at the time and I said Noah when we get to the front pretend to cry say I need your daddy I need your daddy because I was desperate to run them and um we got to the front and there was the big kind of burly security guard and he said you’ll go And with that I looked at Noah and he legged it.

[00:23:16] Jason: He was, he was running as if he just bunted and he got to get to first. And I stood there and I was like, Noah, Noah, you need me, you need me. And Noah’s rounding first at this point. And the bouncer looks at me and I was like, he needs me. And he just shook his head. And by the time I’d walked over to how he played, Noah’s practically round, but I didn’t get to do it.

[00:23:34] Jason: And he, I didn’t think, uh, I don’t think he realized just how lucky he was to get to do it, but I desperately tried to. So that was really good. Um, something similar when we was at the Giants game, uh, again, a message came on if you’ve got such and such tickets, please come on to the outfield after the game.

[00:23:53] Jason: And we checked and we’re like, Oh, we’ve got those tickets just by sheer dumb luck. And we got to go out on the pitch and, uh, we had a ball with us and we were throwing it around. And, um, by that time, it’s another story, but I’d managed to, uh, Um, rope in some friends to come on holiday with us because, uh, they like baseball, but we kind of pushed it on them a bit.

[00:24:13] Jason: And now they’ve become our traveling buddies and they were with us. So there was the two families, we were playing catch on the outfield and we could see ourselves on the jumbotron. And, uh, I think we, we got to meet, um, uh, Antonio Flores. I think he was part of the Giants, um, World Series team. And he was giving out autographs.

[00:24:33] Jason: We went and had a chat with him and he just, asking us what are we doing here? Why do we like baseball and like super nice with the kids? And it was just like bizarre. We were on the pitch where moments earlier we’d been watching all these superstar baseball players play. and it was, yeah, just a great way to finish a good day.

[00:24:53] Jason: But ultimately I think the best thing was, it’s the fans. When we were at the Giants game, I’m a bit of a suck up. I try and get a jersey from every game I go to. So I was in my Giants jersey, my wife had a Giants t shirt, my son was head to toe in Phillies. Every Giants fan was teasing him, talking to him, asking him why he’s a Phillies fan, what are you doing here?

[00:25:14] Jason: And he loved it and they made a fuss of him, in the nicest way. And um, All through the game, the Giants, I think it was 3 1, they finished 3 1 to the Giants, but the Giants were kind of always in the lead. Uh, I think Miller got a home run and, uh, Longoria and they were, they were, they were comfortable until about the, um, the ninth.

[00:25:34] Jason: The Phillies got on the board late, scored one, and then at top of the ninth, they got runners on, um, third, second, and somebody was coming up and like the crowd atmosphere changed a little bit. They were like, Oh, we’re going to blow this. We’re going to blow this. And of course, Noah got louder and louder and he was stood up shouting Go Phillies, Go Phillies!.

[00:25:51] Jason: And then a couple of them were like, Hey, you shut up now. And they were a little bit more serious with it. And then, um, I think, I think Will Smith came on to pitch and he finished, he closed it out and they didn’t score. But then all of them came around him and patted him on the back and were saying good on you for supporting your team to the death.

[00:26:06] Jason: It was just that, they, they were competitive at the right time, they were charming at the right time, and they, they made his day by egging him on, and it was a great game, and I think it’s the people, it is the people that ask us questions, why we’re there, um, what are we doing, why do we like it, then they give us stories about what they’ve done in the UK and stuff, and talk sports, and yeah, I think it’s the best memories is the people we bump into, definitely.

[00:26:31] Anna: I love that. That’s such a good answer. And what a, what a fun memory for you guys at, at Oracle down there in San Francisco. But my favorite story that you just told was when Noah just left you in the dust at Fenway. I mean, yeah.

[00:26:48] Jason: was, it was nothing but pity on me, it was nothing but pity.

[00:26:53] Anna: Oh

[00:26:53] Jason: I’ve got another, it, it, oh, again, before I came on, I read, um, I write a diary every time we go away, because so much stuff happens, and I’ve got such rose tinted, um, about the first game we went to watch.

[00:27:07] Jason: And I got my diary out because I was talking to my wife about saying, Oh, do you remember who they played? What the score wasn’t all that. And we were trying to get it all straight. And, um, in my head, we’ve got this perfect night where we rock up. We hear the national anthem. We watched the first pitch and.

[00:27:22] Jason: The Cubs played well, but plucky losers, they lose like they always do, but we still had a great time. Um, but then I read my diary and we were shopping, um, on the Miracle Mile and by the, because my wife writes a diary as well, so I read them both, so I got the full story. Um, I’d been nagging at her that we needed to leave early because I was worried about parking and she was like, Oh, it’s the Thursday night.

[00:27:42] Jason: There’ll be loads of parking. Don’t worry. Let’s carry on shopping. So we carried on shopping. It got really late. I was nagging. We need to go. We need to go. And she’s like, it’s all right. It’ll be dead. There’ll be loads of parking. It’s only baseball. I think I wrote in it that she said. And um, anyway, we got in the car drove there, we bumper to bumper traffic.

[00:27:59] Jason: We had a big, uh, domestic turn the car around, back to the hotel. We weren’t gonna go to the game. And then we came up with the idea of let’s jump in a cab. The cab can drop us off somewhere near and we’ll, we’ll walk. We got in the cab, got to the ball game it, fortunately it had been rain delayed. Um, so we, I think we would have got there round about the fourth innings, but we didn’t.

[00:28:18] Jason: It had been brain delay for two hours. We got there, we got there for the start, we heard everything. And then we got out of the stadium and we got a cab back. And all we seem to remember is it was a fantastic night. Not we had a domestic and nearly divorce beforehand and not never ever going to get there.

[00:28:34] Jason: Um, so yeah, it was great to read the diary and like just to tweak the memories a little bit.

[00:28:38] Anna: Yeah, that’s funny. Your brain kind of does that to like protect yourself. I think it’s it tries to like clear the Less than perfect parts of things out, but that’s hilarious. That’s a good one, too You mentioned you have some buddies like another family that travels with you sometimes for baseball from the UK What’s the demographic of baseball fans like there?

[00:29:00] Anna: I mean, is it odd to be a fan of baseball or do you do you know several other people who enjoy the sport?

[00:29:07] Jason: It’s growing. It’s really growing. The London games have helped, but as a fan of baseball, they haven’t felt like real baseball. They’ve felt like a baseball roadshow almost. It’s not quite the same, but it’s definitely growing. , my neighbor, he’s the same age as me. He grew up watching the same films, the same telly. When we’d come back from a trip, I’d have a new jersey and I’d be washing the car and he’d be like, Oh, that’s cool. I like baseball. Where’d you get it? And I’d tell him the stories. And then he’s like, Oh, that sounds really cool. And fortunately my son and his son are very similar ages. So a couple of times we said to him, Come with us and the last two trips that come with us and they’re coming again this summer with us as well so it’d be the the whole gang of us going but um It’s growing.

[00:29:53] Jason: It’s really great. There’s a couple of clubs starting to our nearest clubs probably about 60 miles away from us But it’s it’s growing it really is. Um It’s weird Obviously, you wear cricket is our similar ish sort of sport, but cricket’s going in the direction more like baseball. We’ve got like, uh, 2020 and the 100 now where it’s, it’s more about scoring the big runs quickly.

[00:30:19] Jason: You’ve only got a limited amount of balls. You’ve got a, it’s more entertainment. There’s music when the, uh, the batsmen are coming out, the, um, they’re getting rid of the traditional all white and it’s more colorful. Kind of kits and uniforms, um, and it’s definitely making it more feel like a baseball game, but with a cricket sort of background.

[00:30:40] Jason: But it’s definitely getting that way, but baseball is definitely growing. Um, the London games are going to help, but, uh, what’s your view on the London games? How do you see it from like a traditionalist to what they’re doing?

[00:30:53] Anna: I think it’s cool. I mean, I think, um, maybe not specifically like the London games, but, you know, the, the Rays just had a spring training, uh, game in the, the DR and, you know, they’re doing, they’re opening the season in Seoul, South Korea this year. And, um, I think Like, the thought process behind it, the intention behind it is good, you know?

[00:31:16] Anna: Like, let’s take this game and kind of spread it to the rest of the world and maybe, maybe some Americans will, like, take a step out of their own little world and go see that there’s other stuff, you know, that exists in the world. , but, I definitely understand what you’re saying about, like, it’s roadshow baseball because I think that it’s just gonna be a different environment, you know?

[00:31:37] Anna: I bet if you If you came and watched like an MLS game here, it’s gonna be totally different than, you know, real soccer that you’re used to, uh, over there, but, um, I like it. I, I think it’s a good idea to kind of spread, spread the game. And, uh, I look forward to like maybe catching one of them eventually, you know, at, at some location.

[00:32:01] Jason: I agree, I think spreading it globally, I mean like you say, playing in the DR in Japan, I mean they’re massive baseball countries already, I don’t think we’re anywhere near, anywhere near that sort of level, but the fan base here will get on board with it, because Uh, everything is we’re geared up.

[00:32:22] Jason: We love sport. We, I probably think we don’t love it as much as you guys, but we would definitely love baseball because it’s a, it’s a people, so every game’s got stories, the players have got stories. There’s that chance, um, to be a hero every game or a villain. Um, and we, I can, we. thrive on that sort of narrative and story.

[00:32:44] Jason: I mean, I mean, it’s baseball so long in there’s so many games. It’s, it’s a, it’s a soap opera of the season. There’s so many ups and downs, peaks and troughs, trades and injuries, anything can happen. And we buy into that. We buy into that story. We buy into the history. Um, And, uh, yeah, it’s, there’s definitely a, a market here whether, and this is a tricky thing, whether cricket would allow it to grow or the powers that be, but I mean, the, um, MLB became a juggernaut.

[00:33:14] Jason: Like the NFL, you couldn’t stop it. You, we are not gonna be able to stop the NFL come into England. The fan base is, is so big now, and if MLB got that kind of traction here, it would, it would work and it would be massive. We, you see the jerseys and the hats in the shops. more frequent now, um, and people wearing them.

[00:33:32] Jason: It’s not such a, uh, uh, uh, an obscure thing to see somebody in a Nationals jersey or something like that. Whereas before you, if you saw somebody in a cubbies hat, you’d nudge the, you’d partner and go, they’ve got cubbies hat on and it would, it would be, but now it’s definitely more, more seen and more aware, but it would, it would definitely thrive, but I’d, I’d love it.

[00:33:50] Jason: I’d love it if, if baseball got big here, but I can’t see it in my lifetime, but it would be good.

[00:33:56] Anna: I hope so I hope so you have to send me an email if ever you’re walking around and you see a Tampa Bay Hat, you know over there because I get excited when I see them here even and I like high five people but

[00:34:12] Jason: I haven’t seen a Tampa Bay one. I mean, I’ve got one myself. I bought one myself and I wear that proudly, but, um, I haven’t seen another one, but if I do, I will collar that person and I’ll get them a picture and I’ll, I’ll send it your

[00:34:23] Anna: Yeah. Please do. what’s left at the top of the baseball bucket list?

[00:34:28] Jason: It’s, I just want to catch a ball, catch a ball at a game, a foul ball, home run, even if it’s just tossed by a player in when they’re warming up, I don’t care, just a ball. A ball would be amazing. Uh, I’d, I’d dearly love to go to a World Series game, but with work and timings, that’s not going to happen until I’m retired, I think.

[00:34:48] Jason: But yeah, just, just a ball come, coming my way, reaching up, snagging it, holding onto it, pushing my son out of the way so I can get it, that sort of thing. Uh, yeah. Yeah, a ball, I think. And just keep doing the chase. It’s great. It’s like, like you said before, it’s a great way to see America. It’s a great way to spend an evening or an afternoon.

[00:35:09] Jason: Um, yeah, yeah, complete the, complete the 30 and then catch one ball. That would do me, do me a treat.

[00:35:16] Anna: I mean, it’d be payback for you to get the ball after, um, after your son kind of sold you out at Fenway. So I think, I think it’s only fair.

[00:35:25] Jason: I’ve kind of done it already, but, uh, he plays cricket. And, um, there was a dad’s, the lad’s game and he asked me if I’d play with him. And, um, I, I essentially ran him out, which is a bit like, say, a runner going, From first round second, not even looking if the guy at third’s moving and then just leaving him high and dry and I did that to him in a heartbeat when we both got out there and he was fuming with me and a little bit of me was like, yeah, yeah, you need me now, don’t you?

[00:35:53] Jason: But, uh, yeah, but yeah, we would, it would be karma if I caught it and he didn’t.

[00:35:58] Anna: Yeah, for sure. Definitely. And then I think you’re well on your way to, to checking off all 30. I mean, it sounds like you’ve got plenty under your belt and that this summer is going to get you another several and, um, you know, then you’ll have to come back whenever Vegas and, uh, the Rays 

[00:36:13] Jason: ground looks nice. 

[00:36:14] Anna: Yeah. Yeah, so we’ll see and it’s always stuff changing and there’s always the minor leagues for you to kind of get started with too. But yeah. Jason. I can’t thank you enough for making time to do this.

[00:36:26] Anna: I’ve so enjoyed chatting, chatting baseball with you. And, um, you know, I’ll be. I’ll be watching out to see how this summer goes for you and you’ll have to let me know if you ever bump into that Rays fan from the UK.

[00:36:39] Jason: I will do. Thank you very much. It’s been lovely chatting.

[00:36:41] Anna: And that will wrap up this episode of the Baseball Bucket List Podcast. Special. Thanks to Jason Skinner for joining us today and sharing those stories and memories. If this sounds like something you’d like to do, if you think you might like to be a guest on the show, head to baseballbucketlist.com/podcast and fill out an application. I’d absolutely love to hear from you while you’re there and make sure to spend some time on the site, sign up for a free membership. 

[00:37:04] Anna: Build your own baseball bucket list and track your ballpark visits. If you find yourself enjoying the show each week, please take a moment to rate and review it in the podcast app of your choice. I would really, really appreciate it. It goes such a long way. That’s all for this week. Thanks so much for listening. We’ll see you next episode.

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