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El Paso, TX (KDBC) — There are diehard baseball fans... and then there is Connie Van Putten. She's hard to miss driving her Volkswagen Beetle painted like a baseball and her flashy vest.
After spending 35 years as a police lieutenant in San Diego and then a captain in Northern California, Connie retired, bought the VW Bug and set out in 2001 to see all 30 MLB ballparks.
In just 3 years she had accomplished her goal. But she wanted more.
"I was lamenting the fact that I didn't have anymore ballparks to see and I was sitting near some Japanese gentlemen who said, we have wonderful ballparks in Japan. You should go there," said Connie. "And so I said, I should go there!"
So she set off for Japan where she visited every professional baseball stadium the Island had to offer.
For most people, that would be enough memories for 2 lifetimes. But Connie still was not satisfied. So in 2012 she began to tour Triple-A ballparks visiting 17 parks in the last 2 years. Some more memorable than others.
"Hail in Oklahoma City and tornado warnings, being evacuated to the bottom of the baseball park," she recalled. "Just some real interesting times."
She collects a pin for her vest for each park she visits and last night Southwest University Park official earn it's spot.
So how does the Chihuahuas Ballpark compare?
"Oh it's fabulous and it really gives me the feel of Petco Park in San Diego. The fans are fabulous and the feel of the park is so intimate. It's really wonderful and this is probably one of the best if not the best that I've seen," claimed Van Putten.
Connie says she has not decided if she will write about about her ballpark travels yet, but keeps score, notes, and pictures from every trip. But, there is one thing she would like to write about.
"I actually think about going back and doing it again and writing about all the restaurants and the kind of food like sushi in Detroit!"
So what unique eat did Connie pick for El Paso? Well, the "Juarez dog" of course.
So if you see the "Baseball Bug" driving around, tell Connie you are from El Paso and she will respond...
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