Sunday, March 6, 2011

California Dreaming Road Trip

It has been a trying two months for me, stuck in the land with not a single good televised sport (without cable at least) and no worthwhile winter sports to watch live. Yeah, I did attend a couple of Apache games, but just two events over two months is not conducive to a healthy and happy sports fan. To fight the boredom and get some cash for another trip, I took a 6-week temp job doing translation and proofreading. Conveniently, the job ends on March 31st, which is just when the baseball season begins stateside. Turns out my brother and his wife are visiting Las Vegas in late April, and as you all know, Las Vegas is the home of the Blue Jays' AAA affiliate. That's how the trip idea was born.

From there, it was the usual. Check flights to nearby airports, check other team and league schedules, and find events in venues that I've yet to see. I had done LA and Southern California last year, so this year, it has to be San Francisco and the northern part of the state.

One wrinkle is that April 29th-May 8th is Japan's Golden Week, where there are four holidays in 6 working days and hordes of Japanese take advantage by flying overseas. Flights leaving around the end of April or returning in the first week of May are often double the price of those just a few days earlier or later. With this in mind, I had originally planned a trip from April 19th until May 10th, but eventually found a flight returning May 2nd at the same price. This allowed me to move the trip start date to April 12th, which gets me to the last game of the NBA regular season when the Lakers visit Sacramento on the 13th.

Overall, there's 20 baseball games on the schedule (4 MLB, 7 PCL, 5 California League and 4 NCAA), my first Arena Football League game, as well as the NBA tilt. The San Jose Sharks should have a home playoff game around that time as well. So I'm hoping for 23 events in 20 days, a good way to break out of the winter funk.

Here's the full schedule:
Apr 12 Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants 7:15
Apr 13 Las Vegas 51s at Sacramento River Cats 12:05 (PCL)
Apr 13 Los Angeles Lakers at Sacramento Kings 7:30
Apr 14 Las Vegas 51s at Sacramento River Cats 7:05 (PCL)
Apr 15 Oregon State Beavers at Stanford Cardinal 5:30 (Pac 10)
Apr 16 Santa Clara Broncos at St. Mary's Gaels 1:00 (WCC)
Apr 16 Detroit Tigers at Oakland Athletics 6:00
Apr 17 Sonoma State Seawolves at San Francisco State Gators 12:00 (CCAA)
Apr 18 Inland Empire 66ers at San Jose Giants 7:00 (Cal League)
Apr 19 Stanford Cardinal at Santa Clara Broncos 6:00 (NCAA)
Apr 20 Boston Red Sox at Oakland Athletics 12:35
Apr 20 Visalia Rawhide at Stockton Ports 7:05 (Cal League)
Apr 21 Rancho Cucamonga Quakes at Modesto Nuts 7:05 (Cal League)
Apr 22 Atlanta Braves at San Francisco Giants 7:15
Apr 23 Chivas USA at San Jose Earthquakes 1:00 (MLS)
Apr 23 Philadelphia Soul at San Jose SabreCats 7:30 (Arena Football)
Apr 24 Reno Aces at Fresno Grizzlies 2:05 (PCL)
Apr 25 Visalia Rawhide at Bakersfield Blaze 7:15 (Cal League)
Apr 26 Inland Empire 66ers at High Desert Mavericks 7:05 (Cal League)
Apr 28 Sacramento River Cats at Las Vegas 51s 7:05 (PCL)
Apr 29 Sacramento River Cats at Las Vegas 51s 7:05 (PCL)
Apr 30 Tacoma Rainiers at Reno Aces 6:05 (PCL)
May 1 Tacoma Rainiers at Reno Aces 1:05 (PCL)
It's going to be a great way to start the season. As usual I'll have posts on every stop, so check back often.



Update: In an ironic twist, I've just discovered that the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer are home on April 23rd in the afternoon. I'm not a big fan of earthquakes but I'll have to check out this game. It means that I'll attend my first MLS game as well as my first Arena Football League game on the same day! Can hardly wait.

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