The 'Baseball Brit' kicks off season-long journey in Tokyo
By JIM ARMSTRONG
AP Sports Writer
TOKYO (AP) - Joey Mellows is taking his passion for baseball on the road. Long haul.
The 34-year-old Englishman, better known by his @BaseballBrit Twitter handle, has quit his day job to watch an entire season of baseball games across three continents.
"Some people were fairly impressed that I was doing something I'm so passionate about," Mellows said recently at Tokyo Dome, where he kicked off his baseball odyssey by witnessing Ichiro Suzuki's final games as the Seattle Mariners swept the Oakland A's in a two-game series.
"My family is very supportive," Mellows added. "Co-workers were a little bit surprised but I think they're on board now and they're following along on Twitter and I think they are a little bit jealous, to be honest."
Mellows left his job as an English teacher in China for this trip, which he's hoping will involve watching 162 games in person.
He got the idea for the journey after discovering that the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees were going to play two games in June in London, the home of cricket.
"They are two of the biggest teams arguably in all of baseball coming over to London and I just thought this is the perfect time to try and grow interest in the sport," Mellows said.
He began following baseball four years ago while at a previous teaching job in South Korea.
On holiday in Japan with his parents, Mellows attended a game and was immediately hooked by baseball's relaxing pace punctuated by bursts of action.
The longtime Portsmouth FC soccer supporter was transformed into the "Baseball Brit" and began a bid to convert friends and family to his newly adopted favorite sport.
"I would love it if my mates back home asked me questions about baseball," Mellows said. "They are football fans. We all grew up in the same city. We are all Pompey, you know, Pompey boys through and through and they've got no interest in baseball at the moment. But this trip already, they're kind of getting curious."
Mellows attended games in South Korea and Japan before leaving Tokyo on Wednesday, heading to Seattle for the Mariners' home opener against the Red Sox. After that, he plans to fly to Philadelphia and hopes to finish his trip at the World Series in October.
He plans to finance his travels with savings, credit cards and frugal living on the road while posting it all on his social media accounts.
"I really hope more people back home start asking questions and thinking maybe it would be good to go to a baseball game," Mellows said. "We've got one this year. Let's do it."
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