DETROIT (WXYZ) - The most impressive stats in the Tigers sweep of the Indians Sunday came from the athletes sitting in Section 138.
Chase Higgins, Steve Lunn and Adam Kremers arrived in row 25, seats 11-13 after cycling over 7,500 miles in roughly four months. Comerica Park was number 20 on their quest to see all 30 major league ballparks this summer.
“Everybody wants to see all thirty, so we’re doing it by bike this year,” Higgins explained matter-of-factly. He sat in front of me in a bright purple ‘Biking for Baseball’ shirt, skin evenly tanned except for a damp bandage on his shin.
Road 1, Higgins 0.
But for this threesome the cross country mission is much bigger than souvenir road rash and farmer’s tans. (Note: Their peloton also includes fourth team member Rex Roberts, not present at the time).
“In each city we host a youth baseball clinic,” Lunn told me, glancing at his new friend Max Scherzer on the mound. “The idea is just to raise awareness and funds for the youth mentoring programs that we work with like Big Brothers Big Sisters.”
Saturday Scherzer showed up to the Ferndale clinic at Martin Road Park after his girlfriend caught wind of B4B via Twitter .
“It was our biggest event so far. We had like 200 kids and volunteers,” said Lunn. “Scherzer was giving an individual pitching clinic to one of the kids,” Higgins said. “That was cool,” added Lunn.
What’s even cooler are the obstacles this group of about-27-year-olds have encountered and overcome since their journey began in Seattle back on April 13; 120 flat tires, two stolen bikes, a broken down support vehicle and a rogue fifth teammate.
Not to mention a few rain delays.
“We’ve gone through everything. Every extreme you can think of. Extreme 108 degree heat in the Midwest, floods in the south, 40 mph wind in Oklahoma, crazy lightning,” Higgins explained casually. “We had to stop for lightening the one day because it struck so close,” Lunn added.
While the finish line is in sight, it’s unlikely the road to complete the 11,000 miles through Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, DC and finally Boston on September 21 will be perfectly paved. For starters, these two-wheeled vagabonds don’t know how they’re getting home, or exactly what they’ll do when they get there.
“We all quit our jobs. We are incorporated as a nonprofit. So this is what we do full time,” Higgins said a little unsure, as though it was the first time he had heard himself say it out loud.
Before I could ask why they were stepping up to the plate to the make such a sacrifice, Team Biking for Baseball showed me.
Waiting in line to run the bases after the Tigers come-from-behind five run rally in the bottom of the tenth and Miggy’s walkoff homer, were hundreds of kids. As Kremers, Higgins and Chase ran down the line slapping fives with every single one, I noticed the back of their t-shirts.
It simply read, “Cause every kid needs a coach.”
Biking for Baseball is based in Denver, CO. For more on the organization and to donate visit their website .
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