SSTN Interviews Anna DiTommaso
SSTN: Today we are here with Anna DiTommaso, a web designer, musician, creator of the Baseball Bucket List website, and the host of the Baseball Bucket List Podcast.
Thanks for coming to Start Spreading the News. It is great to have this discussion with you.
Thanks for including me Paul! I’ve really enjoyed keeping up with SSTN since I found it.
Anna, it was great to meet you the other day. I love your passion for baseball. Please tell us a little about the Baseball Bucket List.
Baseball Bucket List is a website where baseball fans can track how many ballparks they’ve visited, and create their own bucket list of baseball items. Some of our most popular bucket list items are to go to all 30 parks, see a no-hitter, and go to a World Series game.
We also have guides for (almost) every ballpark, and a sortable homestand schedule to help plan road trips based around when certain teams are playing at home.
You have completed an adventure that would make many baseball fans jealous. You have seen a game in every single Major League park. Holy cow! How did you do this? Please tell us about this.
In the summer of 2008, my dad and I decided to take a baseball road trip. We went to the North East and hit Shea, Yankee, Fenway, Nationals Park, and Citizen’s Bank. We also stopped in Cooperstown and visited the Hall of Fame on that trip. It was a blast, and we got to talking about how cool it would be to see all 30 of the parks. Of course, they tore down Shea and Yankee Stadium that year, so we’d have to come back to New York soon. I chipped away at the bucket list for the next 10 years. My goal was to complete 30 parks before I turned 30, I called it #30by30. My final ballpark was Truist, which I saw in September of 2018, putting me at all 30 parks just a few weeks before my deadline! I now live near Dallas, so I obviously couldn’t miss the 2020 World Series, which allowed me to see the new Globe Life Field.
Amazing. I love your sense of focus and adventure. Maybe someday I’ss do the same. It’s good to dream!
Let’s start with the positive, which parks were your favorites?
PNC is my all-time favorite. It has the best view in baseball, hands down. We were there in July and there was a pleasant breeze, a close game, and an amazing view. You really can’t do much better than that in terms of a ballpark.
I also really enjoyed Camden Yards, and Oracle out in San Francisco. To be honest, I enjoyed most of them because any ballpark is my happy place.
Yes, I believe you and I are of the mind that a bad day at the ballpark is better than a good day in most other places, but, still, I have to ask, were their any stadiums that you didn’t like?
Haha, yes that’s true!
If I were being really picky, my least favorite park was the Oakland Coliseum, just because of the size. Unfortunately, I’ve been to a handful of games that didn’t have a ton of people at them, which can make it hard to get a real idea of what a ballpark atmosphere is like. For example, a Wednesday 1pm game in Miami or Kansas City just isn’t going to be packed. I know those parks would be different on a Friday evening. And in 2018, I was at a Chicago White Sox game where it snowed…there were less than 200 people there.
Please share your impressions of Yankee Stadium.
I’ve been to a handful of games at New Yankee Stadium. I really enjoy the way you walk up on the park. I like the parks that are nestled in the city, rather than out in the suburbs and only reachable by car. There’s just an old timey feel that way…it’s like it’s the way baseball is meant to be. I thought the site lines were great, even from the upper decks, and love that they added the lattice as a nod to Old Yankee Stadium.
What are (or were) the items on your Baseball Bucket List?
Some really cool ones that I’ve been able to check off are:
Visiting all 30 parks
Catching a foul ball
Going to a World Series game
Throwing a first pitch at a minor league game
I still really want to see a no-hitter or a cycle in person. I’d also love to go to an All-Star Game and throw a first pitch at an MLB game.
Me too! I want to throw a pitch, for real, in a MLB Game but throwing out the first pitch would be amazing.
You’re not just a baseball fan. You’re also a musician. Please tell us about your music career. How did you get started there?
I’ve played the guitar and written music since I was about 13 or 14. A few years ago I started playing shows around the Dallas area and really enjoyed it. It was kind of cool to go sing songs for strangers after a long day at work. I used to play several times a week, but obviously the pandemic put a stop to that last year.
Will you be touring and playing at venues again soon?
I took the extra time that I’d usually spend working on music and put it into Baseball Bucket List. So I think that may have actually worked out for the best. I’d love to start playing shows again though, and I’ve recently started reaching out to book again, so hopefully things pick up soon!
There’s a lot of talk about baseball needing to be “fixed.” Is baseball broken? If you were the Commissioner of Baseball what change(s) if any would you make to the current game?
I think it’s important that the game continues to evolve, so I’m definitely not of the mind that much of anything needs to be fixed. But, I hate the 7 inning double header rule, and the man on second in extras. I’ve heard that both of those may be going away next year, so let’s hope! I also wish the Major League clubs would take better care of their Minor Leaguers.
In looking at the history of the Yankees, or baseball in general, what person or event would you like to see a book written about?
I’m partial here because Bobby Brown was a good friend of my family, and one of the greatest men I’ve ever met. He obviously won several World Series with the Yankees, served in Korea, and would go on to become the President of the American League. Most people know he became a cardiologist in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, where he was a local hero. He was just a great human, and the world is better off because of him. I definitely think he deserves to have a book written about him, and it would be super interesting.
Yes. Bobby Brown does deserve that respect.
In the book and the movie The Natural, the main character wants nothing more than to walk down the street and have people say, “There goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was.” Who was the best baseball player you ever saw?
Man, this one is tough. The best player I ever saw in person and followed on a regular basis is still Evan Longoria. I’m a Rays fan (which I’ve tried my best to keep under wraps until the end of the interview), and there is just something about the way he played baseball with Tampa Bay – Rookie of the Year, an All-Star, and a World Series berth in his very first season…the heroics of game 162, hitting for the cycle.
All of it was really fun to watch. It was tough to see him go to the Giants, but I wish him all the best.
Our final question is really just a collection of short answers…
What was your favorite baseball team growing up?
As a young kid we lived near Dallas and I was a Texas Rangers fan. When my family moved to Sarasota, Florida, I became a Rays fan.
Who was your favorite player?
I loved Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa. I was devastated when I found out that they had both cheated in different ways.
What is your most prized collectible?
I have a ball signed by Bobby Thompson and Ralph Branca with “The Shot Heard ‘Round The World” written on it. It’s actually also signed by Pee Wee Reese, I guess he wanted to sign it too since he was on the field for that moment. My dad won that ball in a charity auction and gave it to me for my birthday one year.
Who is your favorite musical group or artist?
Sister Hazel is my favorite band. They’re from Florida, so I got to see them a ton when I lived there. Great music that sounds good on an acoustic guitar, which is just what I like.
What is your favorite food (if it is pizza, what is your favorite pizza restaurant)?
I’ve literally never been known to turn down chips and salsa followed by fajitas and a good margarita. Luckily, that’s easy to come by here in Texas!
Please share anything else you’d like with our audience –
I always enjoy meeting other baseball fans and love to connect with them on baseballbucketlist.com. I also host a weekly podcast where I interview folks about their favorite baseball memories, and what the sport means to them. We’re always looking for new guests, so if it sounds interesting please check out https://baseballbucketlist.com/podcast/
Also, you can find me online:
Anna, this was great. Thank you so much.
Please keep in touch! I wish you continued success.