Boys of Summer

San Francisco Chronicle

What happens when the National Pastime meets the Great American Road Trip? Ask Dave Kaval and Brad Null, who graduated from Stanford on June 14 and promptly set off on a 38-day, 14,000-mile tour of all 30 parks in Major League Baseball.

The two men drove the entire trip -- minus a round-trip flight from San Francisco to Seattle -- in Null’s Jeep Pathfinder. On the way, they lived and breathed baseball, filling their time between games by visiting shrines like the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Louisville Slugger bat museum. They even slept in the Iowa cornfield-turned-diamond featured in the movie Field of Dreams. “That was a religious experience,” Kaval says.

At the ballparks, they rated fans, food and facilities. The highlights? Kaval picks the right-field upper-deck seats at Boston’s Fenway Park, Jacobs Field in his native Cleveland and the homey atmosphere of Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. And don’t forget the half-pound hot dogs in San Diego. “I’m not even going to think how much pig that was,” Kaval says.

The odyssey ended July 30 at Kaufman Stadium in Kansas City (ranked No. 5, if you’re scoring at home). They’ve since settled into their new jobs -- Null at a Los Angeles independent film company, Kaval at a San Francisco marketing firm. Amazingly, they never got sick of baseball. Says Kaval, “There’s a special relationship between Americans and the game.”