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Published: Wednesday, 5/9/2012

Dreams of fields come true for Army veteran

26-year-old visiting all U.S. major league parks

BY CARL RYAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
RJ Breisacher meets with Tommy Lasorda, a former Major League Baseball player and manager, during Mr. Breisacher's travels to the league's 30 parks. So far, Mr.  Breisacher has visited Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Boston, Baltimore, Tampa, and both Yankee Stadium and Citi Field in New York. RJ Breisacher meets with Tommy Lasorda, a former Major League Baseball player and manager, during Mr. Breisacher's travels to the league's 30 parks. So far, Mr. Breisacher has visited Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Boston, Baltimore, Tampa, and both Yankee Stadium and Citi Field in New York.
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RJ Breisacher is living his dream.

The 26-year-old Army veteran and Bedford High School graduate is traveling the country to visit all 30 major league baseball parks. He started in Detroit, where he saw a Tigers game at Comerica Park.

Then he watched the Indians play at Progressive Field in Cleveland, where he was invited to attend batting practice before the game.

He has also been to Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Boston, Baltimore, Tampa, and New York, where he saw Yankees and Mets games.

At the Mets game at Citi Field, he was welcomed as a veteran home from Iraq and Afghanistan and was introduced to cheering fans on the JumboTron.

"It has definitely been really fun so far," he said. Today, he is to be in San Diego after stops in St. Louis, Houston, and Phoenix.

Mr. Breisacher said the inspiration for his trip came to him while he was stationed at Camp Bucca in southern Iraq in 2008 and 2009. He was a sergeant in the military police guarding detainees.

"We had big dreams about what we were going to do when we got out of the Army," he recalled. "We talked a lot about them."

When he was assigned to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011, the same kind of conversations cropped up with his fellow soldiers.

"We talked some more, and I decided I would follow through with my baseball dream when I was a civilian again," he said.

A Tigers spokesman who did not want to be named said Mr. Breisacher was following in the footsteps of other baseball lovers visiting Comerica Park as part of a quest.

"We get a few of them every year," she said. "It's not completely unheard of."

Mr. Breisacher is making his trip in a rented subcompact car. He is traveling alone and staying in motels and with friends and relatives. He also has been using the Web site couchsurfing.org to connect with people along the way.

"One thing about being in the military for six years, I know a lot of people around the country," he said.

He has been chronicling his experiences on his blog baseballdreamin.blogspot.com and Facebook page baseballdreamin.

Including side trips, he figures he'll drive 17,000 miles by the time he finishes his excursions June 15 with a return to Comerica Park.

He is the son of Bob Breisacher, a well-known Monroe County sheriff's deputy assigned to the Bedford Township substation. The younger Mr. Breisacher said he'll start a business when he returns from his travels. He plans to be a self-employed process server, a line of work his father does on the side.

He said he also plans to enroll at the University of Toledo's College of Business and Innovation to study entrepreneurship and small business development.

But that will have to wait, he said.

"Right now, my focus is baseball."



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