Long-time Rays fan to visit every MLB stadium, hopes to bring love of baseball to next generation

Stephen Shear isn't a marathon runner by any means, but he has just embarked on his first. 

"This is a three-and-a-half-month marathon," joked Shear. 

This marathon, however, will not be run in any specific city but rather, coast to coast and ballpark to ballpark. 

SPORTS: Eflin goes 7 masterful innings, Rays sweep Pirates

"It's a dream I've had almost my whole life, as long as I can remember," said Shear. 

Shear, a long-time Tampa Bay Rays season ticket holder is celebrating retirement by traveling and visiting every Major League ballpark in the country. 

"I've heard San Diego is awesome and Seattle and Pittsburgh," said Shear. "We're looking forward to seeing all of them, even Oakland."

As a board member of the Tampa Boys & Girls Club for 35 years, Shear decided to pay out of pocket for 100 extra tickets at every game, so local kids in each city would have the chance to see a big-league game. 

READ: Wife of Buccaneers' Shaquil Barrett breaks silence after death of 2-year-old daughter

"What happened was I saw a story that said baseball was only the fifth favorite sport of young people these days," Shear recalls. "And I said 'That's crazy!' I've loved baseball since the day I threw my first ball."

Now, Shear is hoping to spread that same love of America's Pastime to a new generation.

"That's the whole point of this is hoping they see it, they'll start to become fans and maybe play it," said Shear. 

Thankfully, the MLB as well as every team is helping Shear achieve his goal by selling him $10 tickets to ensure that 100 kids can attend every game. 

Shear's tour started Wednesday night at Tropicana Field. While some of the kids from the St. Petersburg Police Athletic League were seeing the inside of the Trop for the first time, others were returning for the love of the game. 

MORE: Holocaust survivor will throw first pitch on her 100th birthday at Tampa Bay Rays game

"My other friends were talking about [baseball], and I thought 'This sounds cool. Let me try this out,'" said Iva Price, a young baseball player. 

Shear's journey may have started at the Trop but will take him the rest of the summer to complete while he visits every MLB stadium and introduces 3,000 kids to the game he grew up loving.