Episode 157 — Eugene McMahon: From London to Milwaukee, Baseball as a Second Language, & Why Baseball and English Football Have More in Common Than You Think

Eugene McMahon is a Milwaukee Brewers fan from London, England. He found his love for baseball a little differently than many fans do, through a love of literature, thanks to a particularly captivating description of Bobby Thompson’s “Shot Heard Round the World” in a novel he was reading. As he continued to delve deeper into baseball journalism and non-fiction, he wanted to understand the game he enjoyed reading about so much. 

We chat about how a 2018 baseball trip to the U.S. resulted in him claiming the Brewers as his team, what he finds so fascinating about baseball and US history, his chase to visit all 30 parks, and how baseball is basically a second language. 

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Read the full transcript

[00:00:00] Eugene: it was going back to that day in Milwaukee. my last day, I’d done all my games. I was just killing time before going back to the airport.

[00:00:08] Eugene: I kind of decided I was going to be a Milwaukee fan. And I was blogging that trip and I sort of sat down in my Airbnb and wrote this piece  titled, Why Am I Here? It just kind of all poured out. It was a couple of thousand words in a couple of hours, and it really kind of clarified for me what it was that was really catching my interest about this sport.

[00:00:32] Eugene: And, um, uh, and that was a kind of special moment. It was in Pigtown, Milwaukee. And, um, so Pigtown is my happy place,

[00:00:43] Anna: What’s up, Bucketheads. Thanks for tuning in and welcome to episode number 157 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.

[00:00:59] Anna: This week, I had the pleasure of chatting with Eugene MacMahon from London, England. Eugene found his love for baseball a little differently than many fans do, through the love of literature. We discuss how a particularly captivating description of “The Shot Heard Round the World” in a novel he was reading piqued Eugene’s interest about the sport and how continuing to delve deeper into some baseball journalism and nonfiction stoked his desire to actually understand the game he enjoyed reading about so much.

[00:01:26] Anna: We also chat about how a 2018 trip to the U. S. resulted in his adoption of the Milwaukee Brewers as his favorite team, his experiences at the last few years of the London Series, how baseball serves as a great gateway to U. S. history and culture, and why American baseball and English football have more in common than you might think.

[00:01:45] Anna: This episode was a ton of fun. I really, really enjoyed Eugene’s fresh perspective on baseball, and I learned so many interesting things from our conversation together. I know you all are really going to enjoy this one too, so let’s get right to it. Now, without further ado, sit back, relax, and enjoy some baseball banter with Eugene McMahon.

[00:02:04] Anna: Eugene, thank you so much for joining us today on the Baseball Bucket List. How are things in London?

[00:02:10] Eugene: Things in London are good. Thank you. Um, obviously, we were part of it. Baseball world for a couple of days over the weekend. So as we’re speaking, that’s just a few days ago. So I’ve actually been able to see a couple of real life MLB games in the last few days. Lovely.

[00:02:26] Anna: That’s awesome. I can’t wait to talk about that. Um, you know, I have my perspective from, from tuning in over overseas, but, um, you know, the question I always get started with is how is it that you became a fan of the game of baseball?

[00:02:41] Eugene: Yeah, a bit unusually probably. because obviously we haven’t got a baseball culture here and, um, my interest in the whole thing was triggered by reading about it before I ever really saw a game at all. So I can actually trace it for you. uh, you can see me, and I’m just going to wave in front of you this, this book.

[00:03:02] Eugene: This is Don DeLillo’s great novel, Underworld, which I read in the 90s when it first came out. And, um, it’s a big fat thing of 800 pages, but the first 60 pages of that, Where he sets the scene for the whole book, um, is set at the, um, Giants Dodgers game in 1951. It’s the Bobby Thompson shot heard round the world game.

[00:03:23] Eugene: And, um, it, it’s just a brilliant piece of writing and, and I loved it. And I’ve read this book so many times, but most of the times I read it, the actual baseball content of that passage, and it continues through the book, but particularly that passage was just foreign to me. And, um, A frustration that I couldn’t understand it, but I loved the writing anyway.

[00:03:45] Eugene: And then you kind of go forward 20 years or so, and just in my general reading, this next one I’m showing you is an anthology by Tom Wolfe, the writer Tom Wolfe. This was from the 1970s, but I came across it much more recently. A collection of journalism, this thing called the New Journalism, which was kind of a hyper realist style.

[00:04:07] Eugene: And I loved it. And, um, so then I started Googling around for more. Similar stuff to read and, um, Amazon just out of the blue offered me this book, which was, um, Ball Four, which obviously, you know, is a famous baseball book, but I knew nothing about it at all. but it’s got this wonderful sort of, I guess critics quote on the front cover.

[00:04:31] Eugene: Saying that it was a book deep in the American vein, so deep, in fact, that it is by no means a sports book. So I was hooked just from that, so I got a hold of a copy, and it is actually the best sporting memoir I’ve ever read. Fascinating, full of insight, very funny. But, obviously drenched in baseball detail that really meant nothing to me because I didn’t know the game at all.

[00:04:54] Eugene: And it was after that, having done all that reading, that I decided I really needed to actually look at the game as it was played. And, and then I went searching for it in, um, on the TV late at night, the satellite schedules, managed to find some, and I found that I loved the game. And I also found even more wonderfully that there are so many different ways that you can enjoy this pastime.

[00:05:16] Eugene: And that’s how I got started.

[00:05:18] Anna: It’s such an interesting story to me because I feel like, you know, I, I speak with a lot of fans of the game and it’s not unusual for baseball fans to be readers, but. The, the way they get there is, is generally backwards from what you just said, you know, like we, we get desperate during the winter months.

[00:05:39] Anna: We miss our game and so we look for any semblance of the game that will kind of keep us connected to it. And that’s where a lot of fans find books based around baseball, but you know for you to kind of read I guess a little bit of like historical fiction, right? If we’re if we’re gonna talk Bobby Thompson and Ralph Branca back of the shot heard around the world to kind of like loop you In on that and and then to just go from there.

[00:06:06] Anna: Like what what a cool thing. Do you think if you hadn’t read that first novel? Or if that novel had been about, like, American football. Do you think you would have pursued, you know, a different sport with such, like, gusto?

[00:06:22] Eugene: Well, quite possibly in the sense that I’m one of those kind of rubber hole type people. Um, so who knows, you know, where I would have ended up. I’m not convinced that is another sport that offers the same kind of range of interest that baseball does. And really what I’ve been doing is sort of backfilling my knowledge. So having reached the point where I laid eyes on the actual sport, which is a fantastic game, by the way. I absolutely love it outta sport. but then I had to go back and find out all about it. So I sort of, as you say, in reverse kind of, um, uh, you know, filled in all the gaps that, uh, that I. Didn’t even exist when I started.

[00:07:06] Anna: Yeah. It’s just, the game will find a way to get you, I think, you know, one way or another, it’s going to warm its way into your heart. But you know, I usually follow that up with who is your favorite team? And usually there is some inkling of a hint in that first answer that somebody gives me that kind of says, okay, well you were, you were born and raised in this area of the country.

[00:07:28] Anna: You’re probably a whatever fan. But for someone who. Who’s followed the game from overseas, how do you go about choosing a favorite team?

[00:07:37] Eugene: Yeah, that’s a good question. And I think that My sport was football, soccer, English football. And, uh, and I’m, although I’ve lived in London for decades now, um, I grew up in the North of England and, um, uh, supporting a team that I still support, which is a kind of what you would call in baseball terms, a small market team. Third tier in the English league and generally has been at that level while I supported them. So that probably had an influence on where I ended up in baseball terms, because I ended up with the Milwaukee Brewers. Very similar kind of, um, vibe there, uh, in, in some ways, but the, the way it actually happened was that, um, in 2018, I actually took the plunge and went over to the U. S. to see some games, and I did this little road trip around the Midwest. My last night was in Milwaukee, and, um, I’d wandered around the town during the day. Went to the stadium, loved the stadium, and, was sitting with some super nice people, everyone very friendly. The Brewers lost that night, but I had a great night.

[00:08:44] Eugene: and then, I had been thinking that, although I was loving baseball, I was finding it hard to make sense of, you know, The sport as a competition. So, there were sort of too many teams, too many players. I couldn’t even remember who was in which division and all of that stuff. And it sort of dawned on me that I needed to have a team.

[00:09:03] Eugene: And then it would build outwards from there. And I kind of woke up the following morning, my, the day I was flying home and I thought this is it. I’m in Milwaukee and this is my place and this is my team. And uh, so yeah, since then I’ve been a big Milwaukee fan. I’ve been back probably six or seven times since then to see them play and, and um, and weirdly this town that I couldn’t even have pinpointed on the map, you know, so a decade ago is now a part of my life and it’s great.

[00:09:31] Eugene: I love it.

[00:09:32] Anna: I love that. I want to back up for a second because I know there are some listeners who are also Soccer fans and you got to tell us who who your your favorite European football team is

[00:09:43] Eugene: I don’t know whether I said the name before, but I grew up in a place called Blackpool, which is in the northwest of England. It’s a seaside holiday vacation resort. and had a good team in the mid century, the 1950s, but it’s been pretty useless through most of my, uh, uh, fandom life. And, um, but as you know, in English football, we’ve got, um, this kind of hierarchical system where you can go up and down the leagues and, Blackpool is one of those teams that had its day in the sun and they actually made it to the Premier League in 2010, 2011.

[00:10:18] Eugene: so you kind of go up and down the divisions, uh, and, um, uh, and enjoy it in that way. So, yeah, that’s the, that’s my team.

[00:10:27] Anna: Yeah, I see some parallels there then with Milwaukee So, it’s, it’s interesting because I’ve, I’ve talked with a few Americans who have gone over to Japan to witness NPB baseball, and, you know, I always ask the same question, like, how in the world do you choose a team? There’s, there’s 12 teams over there.

[00:10:45] Anna: How are you going to pick one that you want to support? And the answer is always kind of like the team almost chooses you, right? There’s just this feeling that you get after you, you visit them that, you know, okay, this is, these are my people. This is my team. This is, is kind of what I want to follow along with.

[00:11:03] Anna: And it sounds like maybe that’s kind of what happened with, with your story too.

[00:11:07] Eugene: Yeah, I think so. And also, because of the nature of the team, But I supported in English soccer. I absolutely wasn’t familiar with the expectation of success. So, um, uh, it would have been a quite a weird thing for me to plump for the Yankees or the Dodgers or, you know, one of these great big monstrous teams, uh, where you actually expect to win every year.

[00:11:33] Eugene: Whether or not you do. And, um, so yeah, it felt pretty natural for me to, to go the other end of the market. What I didn’t know was, um, no one knew. This was 2018. I mean, I, the game I saw there was, um, just the start of the Brewers having a great run in the back end of that season, Christian Yelich went crazy and, and, uh, became the MVP, but I knew none of that.

[00:11:56] Eugene: So I like jumped on. It wasn’t a bandwagon at all. It was like, uh, you know, um, a small team, but it. It has turned out to be a great team to support in the last seven or eight years. Whatever that is, six years. Just because it’s, they’ve been so much fun.

[00:12:12] Anna: Yeah. Fortuitous timing for sure. but yeah, you’re right about them. Like they’ve, they’ve always got a good set of, of players. You know, I, I love Willie Adamas. He’s like, he was a Ray for a long, long time. They traded him to Milwaukee. So, you know, I’ve always kind of felt a little bit of a soft spot for the Brew Crew there too.

[00:12:33] Anna: But, um, you’ve mentioned a couple of times. That baseball as the sport just kind of, it, it struck a chord in you somehow, like as you, as you kind of learned more about it, it just seemed like this thing that was interesting to you that you thought you could maybe, you know, go down a rabbit hole with to kind of borrow your term.

[00:12:55] Anna: But what do you think it is about this game in particular that just kind of pulled you into the, the baseball universe?

[00:13:03] Eugene: I probably would separate out the actual game from the rest of it. I had no conception that the game was actually so sophisticated. You know, like, everyone here just thinks that, you know, The game rounders, which is a kid’s game. So you’re sort of familiar with the idea with the stick and the four bases, but, um, I had no idea what a cerebral game baseball is.

[00:13:29] Eugene: And so that’s a lot of fun, actually sort of understanding the strategy and and how you kind of can’t make sense of what you’re seeing unless you have got some, you know, uh, quite a sophisticated level of understanding of the game. So, as a sport, I just think it’s a really great sport. But separate to all of that, I mean, the baseball literature is just voluminous and fantastic, and it’s so multi faceted, isn’t it?

[00:13:59] Eugene: I mean, you know, you can read an ex player’s bog standard, you know, uh, sporty memoir, or you can read a super complex book about analytics and, and, and everything in between. I also love that the way that, and it’s part of this kind of rabbit hole effect is that once you start scratching into something, it gives you this kind of window, particularly to someone who’s not, uh, obviously not a U S native.

[00:14:30] Eugene: But is interested in the country and the culture. so, for example, you know, I came across this thing, um, the, um, you know, the, exemption from the antitrust legislation, uh, the baseball has and no other sport has, and in fact, no other industry has. I was Lawyer in my working career. So that kind of caught my interest and you know, I start reading into that but as soon as you start reading into that you start finding out about the Gilded Age and robber barons and industrial trucks and and then you have to understand the judicial system and how the state system is different from the federal and the legislative and process and the lobby and all that stuff and all that came from, you know, kind of just wait a minute What’s this exemption thing?

[00:15:16] Eugene: And that’s just one example of the you know You Numerous, numerous rabbit holes I’ve gone down and, uh, uh, gradually I’m kind of Filling out my knowledge, not only of baseball, but, but of actually a whole nother culture that otherwise I would never have, you know, become so immersed in.

[00:15:34] Anna: love that perspective. It’s so unique because, you know, as someone who was born and raised in the States, I obviously, you know, I sat through us history and, and, Things like that growing up. But you hear the term America’s pastime and you know it is baseball, that that gets that title and you have to kind of stop and think for a moment about just how interwoven throughout American history the game is in a way that I’m sure other sports are, but I just don’t think it’s to the same degree.

[00:16:05] Anna: And the reason for that is because the game is just around. so much of the year, right? Like, you’re playing 162 games, something’s going on every day. There’s all of this logistical and legal and economical interwoven components of it. And, um, it’s really fun to kind of hear somebody who’s sitting overseas talk about how baseball’s a window into some of the stuff that, I growing up never gave a second thought to.

[00:16:37] Anna: But, I’m sure if I were to delve into English football a little more like I might I might uncover some similar congruencies there.


[00:16:46] Eugene: You absolutely would, because what I didn’t understand was that, because the English Football League and, uh, the National League to begin with, and then obviously the American League came on board, but, um, the National League was actually the world’s first sporting, organized league, um, and English football, which we think is.

[00:17:08] Eugene: As you know, going back to time immemorial came, came just a little afterwards, but they developed in close parallel and a lot of the issues that kind of informed the way, um, baseball developed as a, um, sporting institution, were mirrored very, very closely, uh, in English football. But with some key differences, uh, the most key difference being that, correct me if you think I’m wrong, but baseball always had a kind of a, uh, a profit element to it, motive, driving force underlying the sport, um, whereas English football was, more of a kind of a gentleman’s club type pastime where the clubs actually were, um, by constitution forbidden to make profits.

[00:18:01] Eugene: And they found ways around it, but, but it, but that sort of very different, uh, underlying motive caused the two sports to develop in parallel, but in some, in, in quite significantly different ways. And, and that’s a super fascinating thing as well.

[00:18:19] Anna: It definitely is. It’s something that I haven’t given a lot of thought to, but it’s so interesting. I could totally understand. I too am a person who will take something and just run with it and try to learn as much as possible in a short amount of time. So I could definitely see how you would have gotten sucked into that,

[00:18:37] Eugene: You could probably tell actually that I’m always fearful that I. boring everybody to death with this, particularly here because, uh, you can tell it’s, you know, it’s a real passion for me. And I, and I just want to talk about it. And, um, and I, you know, people are very nice and they probably humor me quite a bit, but, um, but it gives me a lot of pressure anyway.

[00:18:58] Anna: Yeah. No, I mean, you’re in the right spot. I think those, you’ve, you’ve found your people who are just like, yeah, tell me more about it. So, um, all right. So in 2018, that was the first time you came over to America specifically for baseball at least. you’ve racked up a substantial amount of ballparks over here, you know, of course of the 30 that are currently there.

[00:19:22] Anna: You’re, you’re at 22 right now, and um, I want to know, kind of, why decide to try to hit all 30 of them, and then, you know, kind of, what are the plans to get to number 30?

[00:19:38] Eugene: Well, as a side note, just to Uh, to what we were discussing a minute ago, that in English football, there’s always been this concept of what they call the 92, which is exactly the same idea, except that in the top four divisions here, there are 92 clubs and always have been, um, they’re a bit more fluid now than they used to be, but for many decades, it was essentially the same 92 clubs.

[00:20:01] Eugene: So there was a whole group of people who, who had this goal of doing all 92 English football grounds. Uh, I never did that myself, but just through fandom, I’d probably have been to 60, 65 of them or something over the years. So, so that kind of idea of collecting the set is something that’s familiar, to, to an English soccer fan.

[00:20:22] Eugene: Um, I didn’t set out to do the 30. I, I, I set out initially just because I wanted to see some games and I was going on my own. So I liked the idea of driving around and I went around the Midwest and saw a bunch of, um, uh, parks there. and then it just kind of crept up on me. I, you know, I wanted to go back the next year and I thought, well, I might as well see some places I’ve not seen before.

[00:20:43] Eugene: And before you know it, you’re kind of, wait a minute, there’s a target in sight here. Um, but it also, uh, yeah, actually, I mean, I’ve just, I’ve done a trip already this, um, this year, and, um, I was particularly keen to get to Oakland before they move out because I know they’re supposed to be going to Vegas, but will it happen?

[00:21:06] Eugene: And when will it happen? And I just didn’t like the idea of being stuck on 29. And, um, so, um, Yeah, things like that have just kind of influenced the choices I’ve made in, in, in where to go, but just generally, yeah, I just, I’ve just enjoyed these trips so much. Mostly I’ve done them on my own but occasionally I did one with my son and I’ve done I’ve done sort of vacation trips with, with others, but generally I just go on my own and it’s it’s it’s a great way to, to, you know, to hang a road trip and you know to just be kind of having this goal to see the stadiums.

[00:21:43] Anna: Yeah. Are you planning on wrapping it up anywhere in the near future, or are you just, you kind of like trying to string it out to savor it some?

[00:21:52] Eugene: No, I’m planning to wrap it up next year with a bit of luck. I’ve got, I’ve, I’m going back in at the end of July this year, just to sweep up some of the East Coast. Well, the Blue Jays plus, um, I’ve never actually been to New Yankee Stadium or, um, Fenway, so I’m going to pick up those in July as well as scooting over to Milwaukee for a bit.

[00:22:15] Eugene: Um, and then next year, I will have five left then. And, um, I told my wife that I could offer her the trip of a lifetime. and then I told her what it was and she raised an eyebrow, but that trip will be, um, from Houston up through Dallas, um, uh, then to Kansas city. Denver, and Seattle. So it’s a big long road trip, which hopefully we can do together if the schedule lets us, over a few weeks next summer. And then that’ll be 30.

[00:22:54] Anna: Well, I know they haven’t released the schedule yet, but I think that’s well within the realm of probability, you know, to, to, to find those, those dates. Those handful of teams at home at the same time. So, um, I mean, you’re speaking my language. That sounds like the trip of a lifetime to me. If you can get your wife on board, I’ll be, I’ll be, uh, fairly impressed.

[00:23:13] Anna: But I think, I think it’s awesome that, uh, you’re so close and you’re going to knock them out so soon. I want to know. You know, we, we started our conversation, you mentioned that you were fresh off of the London series there, uh, last weekend it was, at the time that we’re recording this, and we just talked a lot about, you’ve seen several games here in the U.

[00:23:34] Anna: S., so I’m always curious to know about the Atmosphere of American baseball when it’s played overseas, specifically in London, you know, does it feel like a game that you’ve been to here in the U S does it feel like an English football match? Does it feel like, somewhere in between kind of what’s, what’s it like?

[00:23:59] Eugene: Yeah, it’s, it’s, um, it’s much, much more like a US game. It’s not much like an English game. Football game at all. I don’t know what the official stats suggest, but you have to kind of understand that a good proportion of that crowd has actually come from the U. S. to see it or or their expats living in London or around.

[00:24:20] Eugene: So, uh, the level of. knowledge or actual baseball people who are at that game is pretty high and therefore it’s um, you know, there’s plenty, there are plenty of um, Brits and Europeans there too but, but essentially it’s not, it’s not a crowd of people who are collectively looking at something they’ve never seen before.

[00:24:39] Eugene: So the atmosphere is actually pretty uh, baseball like. I think, I think the nuanced differences are to do with um, it’s the mixture of the crowd between the two. Teams. I mean, um, pretty even every time. There’s been three series now. And, um, uh, so unlike most games in the U. S. stadiums. where it’s, there’s a small, if any, way following.

[00:25:07] Eugene: Um, it’s, it’s pretty even. And, and also the way so the wrap around, you know, all the stadium stuff is done is much more kind of generic and, um, you know, both teams mascots are there. Everybody gets a walk up song, all this stuff, you know, so it kind of, uh, I do have that, you know, bit. the traditions are not local traditions.

[00:25:29] Eugene: In other words, they’re kind of an amalgam of, um, you know, American baseball tradition. So it does feel like, a US baseball experience, but, with this kind of slightly weird, um, flavor to it, if that, if that makes sense.

[00:25:45] Anna: yeah, definitely. My, my friend Paul Caputo was there. He’s a big time Phillies fan. And so he obviously took the opportunity to. To head over to London to, um, sit in for, I think he went to the whole series, but he was texting me one day saying that he was sitting directly behind someone wearing a Tampa Bay Rays hat, which was just like mind boggling to me.

[00:26:05] Anna: I was thrilled to hear that. Uh, but also a kid, uh, an English kid who had never been to a ballgame, never watched. a ball game and he was like, you know, I, I feel like Paul had been training his whole life to tell this kid the rules of the game as it’s unfolding. I think he was just in like having a ball with it all.

[00:26:23] Anna: So, um, yeah, I, I figured it was going to be a lot of Americans traveling over there and, uh, British baseball fans, but it’s cool to hear that perhaps there’s, you know, some people who are getting their first taste of the game.

[00:26:37] Eugene: Oh, for sure. Yeah. No, there definitely is. Um, uh, and yeah, for my part, I, I’ve been to all six games that I’ve had so far myself, but I’ve got this little tradition now of on the Saturday, taking a bunch of family and on a Sunday, taking a bunch of friends and, um, I don’t have any pushback. Everybody’s happy to come to the next one, which tells me that, yeah, they’re enjoying, they’re enjoying what they’re getting.

[00:27:06] Eugene: And I think. each individually going from no knowledge to some knowledge. And, uh, it’s a lot of fun, actually. They, they enjoy it. And I, I love, you know, being able to sort of share a little bit of what I enjoy about it too.

[00:27:19] Anna: And year over year, they’ll, they’ll learn more and more and it’ll be, you know, yeah, more exciting for them and all that. That’s awesome.

[00:27:26] Eugene: Yeah.

[00:27:27] Anna: What comes to mind if I ask you what your favorite baseball memory is?

[00:27:32] Eugene: I have had a couple of knockouts, sort of actual, sort of, Moments just got lucky, you know, so my very, very first game in Chicago in 2018 was the game where, the Cubs were 3 0 down, bottom of the ninth, two outs, two strikes, and, um, David Bote hit a walk off ultimate grand slam. Bill Murray was sitting in the seat.

[00:28:01] Eugene: You know, just down below me, the crowd was wild, and um, and that’s kind of like, you know, that’s hardly ever happened in baseball history. I believe it had never happened from, from 3 0. So, so my first game, I mean, that was just, just incredible. Uh, Emily, my wife and I were, we were also lucky enough to be at Dodger Stadium in 22 when, just in the last few weeks of his career, Albert Puljos he went there on 698 Homers and third inning, he got 6, 9, 9 fourth inning, 700.

[00:28:34] Eugene: So to be in the stadium to see that was just so fortuitous and, and, and what a great memory, but. From my memory, I’m going to give you, um, uh, just a personal thing. It was, it was going back to that day in Milwaukee. my last day, I’d done all my games. I was just killing time before going back to the airport.

[00:28:53] Eugene: I kind of decided I was going to be a Milwaukee fan. And I was blogging that trip and I sort of sat down in my Airbnb and wrote this piece titled, Why Am I Here? It just kind of all poured out. It was a couple of thousand words in a couple of hours, and it really kind of clarified for me what it was that was really catching my interest about this sport.

[00:29:16] Eugene: And, um, uh, and that was a kind of special moment. It was in Pigtown, Milwaukee. And, um, so Pigtown is my happy place, and that’s my baseball memory.

[00:29:28] Anna: I love that so much. it just points to how the game really lays some sort of emotional foundation and everything just kind of stacks on top of that and, um, I think it’s something that, you know, a lot of people who just don’t quote unquote get baseball. I feel like that’s the piece that they’re missing and if they, if they could somehow wrap their brains around that, it, they’d have a completely different outlook on the sport.

[00:29:53] Eugene: Completely. And, um, yeah. Do you have a thing in the U. S., um, teaching English as a foreign language? Is that a, is that a qualification you can do?

[00:30:03] Anna: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:30:04] Eugene: No. Yeah. Yeah. It’s like a diploma that you can get

[00:30:07] Eugene: and you can take off to, you know, go around the world. Yeah. And I just have this feeling that teaching baseball as a foreign language could be a thing.

[00:30:16] Eugene: And, um, Because it is, you know, you, you are learning a new language. It’s like learning a foreign language. If you’re not from a baseball culture to begin with, it’s impenetrable. It’s like learning. Presumably like Chinese or Russian or something, and you know, it’s such a thrill to kind of, for me at least, to go from kind of that having nothing to, to being kind of virtually mother tongue now.

[00:30:41] Eugene: And, um, and I just kind of, and then when you broaden it out, particularly as you say, because there’s so much baseball, if you’ve got time on your hands, and I’m just retired from working recently and, um, it’s the perfect kind of accompaniment to a life of leisure, you know, because it’s on every day and if you’re into it, nevermind before you start reading all the, uh, literature and learning about the history and so on.

[00:31:07] Eugene: So, um, yeah, teaching baseball as a foreign language, it’s, it may or may not be a business idea, but it’s, uh, it could be a thing, I think.

[00:31:16] Anna: I think so. I think so. I mean it would definitely be Something that uh, like you said like people who are kind of in this transition of their lives looking for like something else to dive Into I mean what a perfect answer. What a perfect answer.

[00:31:30] Anna: What’s at the top of the baseball bucket list? I mean you’ve You saw a walk off Grand Slam. You saw 700th home run from Albert Pujols. What’s left? I mean, like, is there a thing that you gotta do or a place you wanna see, a person you wanna meet?

[00:31:47] Eugene: I need to finish off the 30, um, I’m going to be, I’m going to go tailgating in Milwaukee this summer. I left my, I left a pair of glasses in an Uber on my last, on my last trip. This lovely, uh, Uber driver, went out of his way to send them back to the UK for me. Wouldn’t take any, any recompense for it.

[00:32:08] Eugene: So, I got in touch with him and said, I’m going to be in town in, um, August for the Brave series, would you like to come? So, uh, so that’s on my bucket list. That’s something I never thought I’d get a chance to do because as an outsider, you’re not going to have your grill there with you and all that stuff.

[00:32:26] Eugene: So, so that’s on there. But otherwise, I think. Yeah, I want to complete the 30. And honestly, I just I want to keep on doing it and I want to do it at a slower pace. so sometimes I’ve spent a few days in the city and that’s great. But there are some places, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, a few more. Quite a few more, where I’ve just kind of shot into the town and out again.

[00:32:52] Eugene: I’ve seen the stadium, I’ve ticked it off the list, but I haven’t really experienced it. And, um, and hopefully I’ll just get more chances to do that. And, and as my contemporaries start to fall off the end of their working careers as well, um, then I’ll perhaps do some trips with some other people as well.

[00:33:07] Eugene: And, um, I think it’s more of a relaxed list from now on. I want to complete the set, but then I just want to go back and save it up.

[00:33:15] Anna: yeah, I have such a similar feeling about it because you know I started this when I was still in college and I wrapped it up right before I turned 30 and There was a period there where I was My whole goal when I set out was I wanted to do 30 before I turned 30 and so similar to you I just kind of was kind of let’s get through them, you know And I just last weekend went back to Fenway Park for the first time in 15 years, 15 plus years, and man, I forgot how cool that place was, So I, I kinda wanna go back through, take my time, maybe see more than one game at each place, and, you know, like, American Family Field, Miller Park, whatever we’re calling it nowadays, I’ve only seen with the roof closed.

[00:34:04] Anna: Like, I would love to see it with the roof open and, and, you know, get some variation like that. So, it feels like you kind of get to the end of the 30 ballparks and you’re like, okay, I’ve done it. Like, what do I do now? But it’s always gonna be there for you to go back to and kind of experience from a different perspective.

[00:34:22] Eugene: Yeah. Completely agreed. And you get a different experience just on two different days. You know, it’s sort of, um, you know, how you feel on a particular day, you sit with little bits and pieces, make a difference and it, and it feels like you haven’t got the full picture until you’ve been able to take a little time over it.

[00:34:42] Anna: Definitely. So my advice to anyone who’s still working their way through the 30 is to kind of slow it down and try to take your time and enjoy it, savor it, you know, um, cause I feel like if you’re anything like me at the end of it, you’ll, you’ll kind of look back wishing that’s the way you had done it from the first place.

[00:35:00] Anna: But like I said, the beauty is the ballparks are still there. You can go right back.

[00:35:04] Eugene: Yes. Exactly. Nothing changes very quickly. Does it?

[00:35:07] Anna: Exactly. Well, Eugene, I’ve so enjoyed this. I cannot thank you enough for, for making time to, to chat baseball.

[00:35:15] Anna: And I just really have enjoyed your, your fresh perspective and your unique outlook on the game that I love and that you love and, um, everybody listening feels the same way. So I just, I genuinely thank you for your time. And I will be expecting an email next summer as you make your way through Texas, because I owe you a, uh, a Texas beer, that’s for sure.

[00:35:37] Eugene: I will be there to claim it. Um, but this has been fun. Thank you so much for having me.

[00:35:41] Anna: And that will wrap up this episode of the Baseball Bucket List podcast. Special thanks to Eugene McMahon 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.

[00:35:59] Anna: While you’re there, make sure to spend some time on the site. Sign up for a free membership, build your own baseball bucket list, track your ballpark visits, and connect with other fans. 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. It goes such a long way in helping new listeners find the show, and I would really, really appreciate it.

[00:36:19] Anna: That’s it for this week. Thanks so much for listening. We’ll see you next episode.

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