If you are going to plan a park hopping adventure, the first thing you need to do is decide which part of the country you want to make a sweep of to logistically arrange your Abner Doubleday Extravaganza in such a way that you economize your travel time and expense. Unless of course, expense is no concern.
For most of us, we need to watch our budgets, and get the most bang for our bucks. By the way, for the younger set, Abner Doubleday is credited with being the inventor of baseball.
I like to take a look at the entire major league schedule for all the teams in my sweep. On one such trip, I watched a day game in San Francisco and a night game in Oakland, both in the same day.
Remember that sometimes you can make the locals hostile. You would not be safe wearing a Boston hat in Yankee Stadium, and likewise you wouldn’t be wise to wear a Dodger Jersey in San Francisco. Traveling in cities that are strange to you, it is best to stay neutral. I have seen people pummeled for wearing the wrong colors. It happens, no joke.
I think a trip in which you see the most teams for the least amount of travel, you keep baseball in the center of your attention. I like the sound of a Left coast road trip in which you would see Seattle, San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Anaheim and San Diego. Such a trip could be done in less than 1,500 miles one way, and you could cover it in under ten days if you carefully plan your schedule.
Wouldn’t it be fun to start out in Seattle, watch the exciting Ichiro Suzuki and snack on rally garlic fries as you laugh at the antics of the Mariner Moose. Maybe it will rain. Not a problem here, you get to see the modern technology of the rolling roof take you from outdoor to indoor baseball in a matter of minutes. While in Seattle, check out the Pike Street Market. Unlike anyplace in the world. It is a can’t miss Seattle experience. Not to mention, taking a ride on the B.C. Ferries across the Puget Sound, or a trip to the top of the Space Needle. Check out beautiful Mount Rainier. No more beautiful setting in the Big Leagues.
If driving is not really your thing, the Amtrak Station is right next to Safeco Field, just walking distance. You can ride the rails down to Oakland. In Oakland, they really know how to roar. The decible level in this park is off the scale when the fans start cheering. Last time I was there, they offered free soft drinks if you signed an agreement not to drink alcohol at the game. That wristband saved us some money. We were there on the fourth of July, and after the game they let us come down and sit on the grass for the fireworks. It filled the entire sky above us. I have never seen a better display. The sound system enveloped us in patriotic music. Gotta love Oakland.
In San Francisco, I get nostalgic when I think of Candlestick Park where Mays, McCovey and Marichal played. But after attending a game in their new park. I was sold. I loved walking around outside and looking at the bronze statues of the immortalized Giants players. It was fun to watch Barry Bonds, and wonder if he would hit one into the bay.
My favorite park is Dodger Stadium in the Chavez Ravine. Nothing in the world like eating a foot-long Dodger Dog and listening to them rev up the Conn organ for a charge. It sends tingles down my spine. You have to bring in your transistor radio so you can listen to the world’s best play by play announcer Vin Scully. It doesn’t get any better than this.
Lots of cool stuff to see in L.A. while you are down here. La Brea Tar pits was fun, we also went to Marilyn Monroe’s grave and had the most amazing Johnny’s Pastrami sandwiches.
When you go to the Big “A” to see the Angels, you are just minutes away from Disneyland. You can also see the Crystal Cathedral in nearby Garden Grove. The Angels have been a contender lately, so they are really fun to watch. Big leaguers, playing at championship caliber.
San Diego, in addition to the Padres and Jack Murphy Stadium, S.D. has the most amazing zoo. Really kewl gorillas. From here we also included a side trip to Santa Catalina Island.
Killing two birds with one stone, that’s what my kind of baseball trip is about. Figure out your own road trip sweep. Nail down the most adventure in the least miles. At the price of gas, this only makes good sense.
Whether you’re waving a Homer Hankee in Minnesota, or chopping a tomahawk in Atlanta, there is nothing that will make a person more proud to be an American in my opinion, than to stand in a big league park anywhere, put your hat over your heart and sing along with the National Anthem in person. It gives me goose bumps and shivers just to think about it. It is soul stirring.