For a while, Mark Pyszka wanted to see the Chicago Cubs play at Fenway Park.
In 2017, the year after his beloved Cubs finally won the World Series, that happened.
Not only did Pyszka get to see his favorite team at another historic park, but it was the start of a yearly baseball trip with a group of family and friends.
“I always said the next time the Cubs are Fenway, I have to go because they’re only there every six years or so as they rotate through interleague play,” Pyszka said. “It just so happens the Cubs won the World Series that fall. I checked the schedule and saw the Cubs were in Boston and through, ‘Well, we should go to Boston.’ What better way to celebrate the Cubs finally winning the World Series than in a place where the Red Sox had similar struggles.”
Pyszka got a group together that included his dad, other family members and friends Corey Peruba and Tom Stuart.
The group grew as it went to see the Cubs play the Kansas City Royals at Kaufman Stadium the next year before traveling to Seattle this season to see the Cubs take on the Mariners.
“Since we’re all Cubs fans, we went to a bunch of Cubs games then decided to try to do a different city all the time,” Terry Guisti said. “They started and went to Boston the first time. I went last year to Kansas City.
“Seeing other cities and watching the Cubs play in those cities is fun. Cubs fans travel well. A lot of times we go it’s almost all Cubs fans at the games. It’s a good excuse to see a city we probably wouldn’t have seen. The group of guys we go with is awesome.”
So far, the group has stuck to seeing the Cubs in American League parks because they don’t regularly play the AL teams.
“It’s always fun to go to the parks and see the Cubs play,” said Peruba, who has been to 19 parks thanks in part to his travels for work. “I personally travel a lot for work, so I probably go to see 20-25 away games per year. I see more games away than I do at Wrigley most years.
“There are few teams that travel like the Cubs. Even someplace like Seattle, it was easily 60-70 percent Cubs fans. That’s definitely one of the coolest things — how many other Cubs fans are there. It’s always cool to connect with people who are there for the same reason.”
Aside from seeing the Cubs play, the group — who are all local and have known each other for years, some as neighbors or through Cops for Cancer and other things — also visits local restaurants and bars and some local attractions.
The group toured Fenway, walked through downtown Boston and visited Cheers in Boston, visited a World War museum and went on a brewery tour in Kansas City and went to the fisherman’s wharf in Seattle.
All the guys appreciated the history and experience at Fenway.
“We sat on top of the green monster for Saturday’s game when we were there,” Pyszka said. “That was a unique experience that I think anybody who loves baseball would appreciate.”
And they enjoyed the neighborhood surrounding T-Mobile Park in Seattle.
“Seattle was nice,” Guisti said. “It was right downtown. It’s kind of like Wrigley with a lot of restaurants and places to hang out. We could walk from the hotel. It was perfect.”
For next season, the group is talking about sticking with the American League theme and seeing the Cubs at Yankee Stadium, but other ideas have been tossed out as well.
“We’ve had a lot of ideas thrown out,” Pyszka said. “We’ve thought about not going too far to make sure we get a big group, but we also talked about going to London to see the Cubs play there. The Cubs are at Yankee Stadium next year, which seems like kind of an obvious trip because of the history of the Yankees organization.”
Wherever they end up, the group will have a good time.
“They’re great,” Pyszka said about the trips. “It’s a great group of guys we have going. We all have similar interests outside of just watching the Cubs.”
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.