To fill his friends at the Huntington Beach and Los Angeles police departments with envy, Larry Bullock would send them pictures of himself holding a hot dog and a beer at a baseball stadium.
The former officer — he spent 20 years with the LAPD and retired more than a decade ago after 15 years with Huntington Beach — didn't do this just once but at each of the 30 Major League Baseball ballparks he and his wife, Sheri, visited over the past three years.
As avid fans of the sport, the Bullocks spent four seasons traveling across the United States (plus making a stop in Canada) to watch every team in the league play America's favorite pastime.
"It's not that funny," Sheri, 59, said to Larry, 69, who let out a boisterous laugh when she reminded him of teasing he inflicted. "We would take a picture of him eating his hot dog and holding his beer in front of the Jumbotron, and he would send it to his buddies in the police department. They were getting tired by it by the time we hit number 30."
While Larry was busy scrolling through his cell phone and giggling at the images he has sent his friends, Sheri flipped through a large scrapbook filled with pictures of their trip. Each page generally consisted of a pair of tickets and a picture of the two of them outside and inside a ballpark.
The Huntington Beach couple, who are die-hard Los Angeles Angels fans, completed their journey in September, with Fenway Park (Boston Red Sox), Yankee Stadium (New York Yankees) and Citi Field (New York Mets) as the last three stops on their list.
"The game we saw in [Yankee Stadium] was New York versus Boston," Sheri said. "We were able to see Mariano Rivera pitch. That was pretty cool. It was sad, though, because he blew the save in the game that we watched."
Which park they liked the most depends on what criteria is being considered. In terms of nostalgia, Fenway Park and Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs) were their favorites. Larry loved the parks because they're the remaining fields without a Jumbotron.
"Somebody takes the score and puts it up like we did in Little League," he said.
"We drove to the Amtrak station in Irvine and took the train down," Larry said. "That was really nice. We stayed at the Omni Hotel, and you go up to the seventh floor and walk across a bridge and you're in the park. We couldn't believe it. It was just fantastic."
They were in agreement as well about the least favorite stop on their trip: the Oakland Athletics' O.co Coliseum. The two were disappointed that the only Angels away game that they attended was against the A's.
"Mostly because it's a combination park," Larry said. "They play football and baseball there. It's the only one left that does that, and it definitely takes away from it as a baseball park."
After a while, visiting ballparks became more than just hot dogs and home runs. Their trip would eventually become a mini-American history lesson, Sheri said.
While they were staying in Kentucky to watch the Cincinnati Reds play in Ohio, they discovered that a few buildings around their hotel had been used as safe houses for the Underground Railroad. They visited Babe Ruth's childhood home in Baltimore, Md., and stopped by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo.
Now that their MLB tour is over, the Bullocks are starting to think about their next trip. They've considered going to the 31 National Football League stadiums, but thoughts of visiting Lambeau Field — in Green Bay, Wis. — in the winter discouraged Sheri.
The idea of visiting all the national parks has come up, but Larry steers the conversation back to football.
"He's thinking about it," Sheri said with a laugh. "The wheels are starting to turn."