Culture

‘Road Trip Mike’ is attending all 81 A’s road games this year — but not for the reason you might think


Michael Marler aka Road Trip Mike visits the Green Monster at Fenway Park alongside A's color commentator Dallas Braden July 9, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Michael Marler)

Of the seemingly endless depository of stories that Michael Marler possesses, one of his favorites begins with the time he lost his luggage.

On this August afternoon, Marler, a retired Air Force veteran more affectionately known as Road Trip Mike, stands next to Eric Martins, the A’s third base coach, in foul territory at Seattle’s T-Mobile Field. He holds a shovel designated for scooping dirt, donning a gray T-shirt, black shorts and slippers. Marler arrived in the Pacific Northwest as planned, but his luggage did not. Still, Marler braves on; he’s got his team to watch.

It’s one of many instances when Marler finds himself in a situation almost too fantastical to be true, but he proudly shows off a photo as he retells the story. In the life of Road Trip Mike, no tale is too tall, no story too grand, no anecdote too improbable. To Marler, he is nothing short of blessed.

“I live on cloud nine because of these little things,” Marler said.

Michael Marler aka Road Trip Mike visits the Green Monster at Fenway Park alongside A’s color commentator Dallas Braden July 9, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Michael Marler) 

A super fan’s super fan, Marler, after years of following the team on the road and befriending players and coaches, is attempting to attend every A’s away game this season. The 57-year-old Sacramento native unexpectedly went viral when his mission was mistakenly framed as a boycott, but Marler is solely fueled by his desire to support the team. With the A’s leaving Oakland and their long-term future murky, Marler, seemingly untouched by cynicism with an endless depository of memories, has become a constant.

“That man is the physical embodiment of fan love,” said A’s color commentator and former pitcher Dallas Braden. “I mean that in every aspect of what you think a fan is and why a fan would love any team, any sport. You spend two minutes with him and you can feel the genuineness that is dripping off of him. He’s like a character. He’s someone who somebody drew up and put into circulation in the world.”

Following his retirement in 2018, Marler began attending A’s games on the road, starting with about 20 contests. In the ensuing years, the number grew to 40, then 60. In 2021, the “Road Trip Mike” nickname gained steam. This year, Marler is running the gauntlet. He’ll often be joined by two close friends, Jack Lima and Bill Thomas, dubbed by Braden as “Road Trip Renegades.”

Marler’s journey coincides with the A’s final season in Oakland, but Marler is not boycotting the Coliseum, planning on attending around 20 games in Oakland. Last month, though, Hal (the Hot Dog Guy) Gordon posted a photo with Marler on social media, the accompanying caption insinuating that Marler was protesting. Marler made clear that is not the case. Gordon, for his part, said there was no malicious intent behind the post, adding he was given inaccurate information by a friend who connected the two. By the time Gordon …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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