Interview with Craig Landgren of Ballpark Chasers

Posted by Kurt Smith on Sunday, May 15, 2016
If you haven't heard of the Ballpark Chasers website and Facebook page, it's a steadily growing community of baseball travelers who post photos, share stories, and best of all, help each other out when traveling to see baseball all over the country.

This August the third annual Ballpark Chasers Meetup will be happening at Camden Yards in Baltimore, so I caught up with site owner Craig Landgren and he was kind enough to answer my questions about the Meetup and the Chaser community.

What made you start up Ballpark Chasers?

I kept meeting baseball fans that shared my same passion of visiting all 30 MLB ballparks within a lifetime. I researched online and was surprised that there wasn’t any sort of online community for fans to collaborate around this life-goal. This was around the same time of the emergence of social networks so I thought it would be a great opportunity to start one.

Who came up with the meetup idea?

I created a tool on our main website where members can organize their own meetups. It’s a way for members to invite others to the game they are attending.

However, it was a Chaser by the name of Josh Robbins that suggested we should hold an annual gathering at a ballpark in order to meet each other. I couldn’t agree more!

Can you tell me about the first two meetups? Has it been increasing in popularity?

Yes, every year our attendance has increased!

Our First Annual Meetup was held at Coors Field in 2014. There were around 25 Chasers that attended the first year. It was a lot of fun! We first met at a local brewery and then walked over to the National Ballpark Museum. We had a private tour of the museum which I highly recommend for any baseball fan. Unfortunately, that was the infamous night of the water main break outside of Coors Field which cancelled the game.

Our Second Annual Meetup was last year in our backyard, Safeco Field. Ballpark Chaser, Ken Lee, hosted an amazing BBQ for us and served his homebrew, Manfish Brewery. We then went to Safeco for a private tour of the ballpark. We had over 60 members attend last season.

This year our demand for tickets has been extremely high. We are nearly sold out of tickets for our private tour of the Babe Ruth Museum and tickets are limited to the Orioles game. We expect to have 80-100 in attendance.

How did Camden Yards get selected this year?

After developing the idea of an official meetup, we sent out a survey to all members and had them vote on which ballpark was their top choice to start this annual tradition. Camden Yards came in second place so I made sure our first East Coast meetup would be held there.

Can you describe to me the Ballpark Chasers community, and the mentality of the people in it?

One of the biggest surprises I have come across since starting the website is the friendships that have formed from it. When meeting other Chasers at the ballpark, the most common feedback I receive is how thankful they are that I created it because of the friendships they have made.

Although we have only one ‘Official Ballpark Chasers Meetup’ each season, there are numerous Meetups across Major League ballparks throughout the season that are organized by our members.

As for the mentality of the people in it, we have a few different types of Chasers.

One group is like me that are in no rush to see all the ballparks. We take our time seeing one or two a season. Then you have the extreme Chaser that will see all 30 ballparks within one season, or even in one month!

I would say your average Chaser makes one or two trips per season, seeing one or two ballparks.

How popular has the site gotten, including the Facebook page?

We are very pleased with our growth over the years. It’s a small but tight community of over 3,000 members on our main website and just under 2,000 in our Facebook group.

Most days we have Chasers at every Major League ballpark!

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