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Wilmington man finishes 162-game baseball odyssey

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Last night was a wild one in Major League Baseball. Two different leagues, two different Wild Card races and two historic collapses.

One Wilmington super fan had a front row seat. Steve Melia completed his 162-game journey last night.

He actually did it. One-hundred-sixty-two games in the books. That's about 1,500 innings, 15 cities and Steve was there for each and every one of them. It may sound crazy to you, but he says he never doubted it for a second.

"There was really never a doubt in my mind," Melia said a day after his quest ended. "The first couple of months were a little shaky. But I tell ya, the last 10 days have been incredible."

And with good reason. The baseball season saved the best for last with two major Wild Card upsets in the final days. But for the Red Sox, the Yankees' dreaded rival, to miss the playoffs, the Yankees needed to lose to the Tampa Bay Rays which put Yankee fans in a weird situation: rooting for their team to lose?

"For me as a fan last night, there was nothing to lose," Melia said. "I mean, I was just sitting back watching. It was just a weird feeling to not really have an emotional interest. I didn't want the Yankees to lose, but I didn't care if they lost."

But last night wasn't just about the playoff race. It was about Steve completing his long journey, and man was it long.

"It was 33 flights. I stayed 51 nights in a hotel. I stayed at 23 different people's places across the United States and Canada," he said.

Not to mention about 12,000 miles on his car and, by his estimates, somewhere in the neighborhood around $50,000. But to this superfan, it's been worth it. A lifetime of memories along his trip across the country.

"To see them win the American League East and just to be there for every single great moment this year was something I'll always remember," Melia said.

So what's next? Well for Steve, he's been documenting his experience every step of the way, and he's already in the process of writing his book.

"If they win the World Series, I picked the right year, and I think I'll sell a million copies," he said.

And about those playoffs, yeah. He's going to those, too.

Steve's publicity has really shot up in recent weeks. Yankees.com featured him in a seven-minute story entitled "Superfan." He also was recognized on the jumbotron at the final game at Yankee Stadium this year.
He'll be back in Wilmington whenever the Yankees postseason run ends.

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