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MY STORY

 

The Australian version of Thelma and Louise hit the USA in June 2004!! Together with her friend Debbie from the state of Oregon, Marika Forras visited every major league baseball park in the US and Canada, all the while, experiencing the wonders America has to offer this Aussie girl on the road trip of a lifetime!!

 

My name is Marika Forras and I am 43 years old. I have been involved in Australian Baseball since 1990, and I currently play for Port Melbourne Baseball club in the Women's reserves division.
I was introduced to baseball when volunteering with the Young Variety Club, as we took a group of underprivileged children to an Australian Baseball League game, sponsored by the Waverley Reds. I met and became friends with Phil Dale who was the pitcher for the team (currently an Atlanta Braves scout for the pacific region), and he suggested that I get my then 7 year old son, Warren, involved in the Waverley Baseball programme. Thus started the pilgrimage to Sunday morning games at the ungodly hour of 0800 for my son and our membership of the Waverley Reds and going to the ABL games to get my baseball fix!
Then in 1994 the Victorian Baseball Association started a woman's league baseball competition and I joined the Malvern Baseball Club, where I played for four seasons. To kick start the new competition the VBA brought out Lavonne "PEPPER" Paire who was a catcher for the AAGPBL from 1943-1954. Pepper as she is fondly known, threw out the first pitch and also held a series of talks re her baseball career and the Movie A League of their Own based on the American Girls Professional baseball league, which she consulted on. She was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1988 and I have had the pleasure of meeting her on several occasions, including her home town in Los Angeles and I treasure her signed ball and the HOF badge that she gave me.
From that point on there was no looking back and in 1997 we took two woman's teams over to play a friendship series in southern California culminating in the 4th of July Firecracker tournament at Fullerton. We named ourselves the Aussie Diamonds, and made many new friends, caught up with Pepper and some of her colleagues, got to play against some of the Silver Bullets, such as Gina Satriano, and of course went to some Major League games. We got to the finals in the tournament, but even though we did not win, we left the impression that woman and the Aussie Diamonds could play hardball.

On a personal note, I love the game of baseball and I have seen all of the World Series matches since 1995. I have collected all the WS clubhouse hats since then, although the hat belonging to the Winning Florida Marlins escapes me, even though the game did not. That game seven was incredible and it had me on the edge of my seat until Edgar Rentaria hit that ball down the middle to score the winning run. I collect all types of baseball memorabilia, which leads most people to think I am mad but what can I say- I love baseball. I have a commemorative bat from the 50 year anniversary of Jackie Robinson, a signed ball and 2131 ticket from Cal Ripken, a signed Mike Piazza Ball and my American sisters gave me a great framed Summer of 62" plaque celebrating McGwire and Sosa's homerun chase. I have been very lucky that my cousin resided in Long Island New York and she sent me some great things, such as a framed photo of Mickey Mantle with the Yankees 2001 WS envelope, 6 old pennants that are over 25 years old that she picked up in a garage sale, and stamps commemorating all the grand baseball parks that have either been demolished or are still standing. She even got her hands on a pair of thunder sticks from the Angels/SF world series. A word for all of the above .........BASEBALL MAD!!
Which brings me to my dream tour. I have just reached 10 years long service with Qantas and thus I now qualify for 3 months long service leave. It has been my dream that if I reached this milestone that I would take 3 months leave and travel around the states and visit every Major League Baseball Park and see a game in each park.
I think that as it is also the 10 year anniversary of Woman's' Baseball in Australia that this tour also takes on more added significance to me and other baseballers in general.
People think I am mad, but at the same time, they a quite envious. My girlfriend Debbie, lives in Oregon and has also dreamed of exactly what I have planned, so she is quitting her job and we are making it a road trip, so we can also see some sights along the way.
And for the next trip............To be present at the World Series ..and hopefully all seven games...........!!!

 

Schedule of Events
Below is the schedule of games I attended during my trip.

 

JUNE 27      
SEATTLE V PADRES
JULY 1         
OAKLAND V ANAHEIM
JULY 2        
SAN FRANCISCO V OAKLAND
JULY 4        
ANAHEIM V LOS ANGELES
JULY 5        
LOS ANGELES V ARIZONA
JULY 7        
SAN DIEGO V HOUSTON
JULY 16       
ARIZONA V LOS ANGELES
JULY 19       
COLORADO V SAN DIEGO
JULY 22      
TEXAS V ANAHEIM
JULY 24      
HOUSTON V MILWAUKEE
JULY 28      
TAMPA BAY V KANSAS CITY
JULY 29      
FLORIDA V PHILADELPHIA
AUG 1          
ATLANTA V NEW YORK METS
AUG 5         
ST. LOUIS V MONTREAL
AUG 7         
KANSAS CITY V ANAHEIM
AUG 12        
CHICAGO CUBS V SAN DIEGO
AUG 14        
MILWAUKEE V FLORIDA
AUG 17        
CHICAGO WHITE SOX V DETROIT
AUG 20      
DETROIT V SEATTLE
AUG 23      
TORONTO V BOSTON
AUG 25      
MONTREAL V LOS ANGELES
AUG 28      
BOSTON V DETROIT
SEPT 1        
NEW YORK METS V FLORIDA
SEPT 3       
NEW YORK YANKEES V BALTIMORE
SEPT 5       
PHILADELPHIA V NEW YORK METS
SEPT 7       
BALTIMORE V MINNESOTA
SEPT 12      
PITTSBURGH V HOUSTON
SEPT 14      
CLEVELAND V DETROIT
SEPT 16      
CINCINNATI V CHICAGO CUBS
SEPT 19      
MINNESOTA V BALTIMORE