Saturday, December 17, 2016

2017 Schedule Release

It's the end of 2016 which can mean only one thing: time to plan my sports road trips for 2017. I have one main goal for the year, and that is to complete all the active minor league baseball stadiums. I have 27 ballparks left out of 160 with 22 of those in the Midwest, Pioneer, and Northwest Leagues. Hartford's delayed Dunkin Donuts Park is easy enough to get to from NYC, so that will be done sometime early in the season. Three others are franchise moves and all are reasonably close to Atlanta's new ballpark, which is a must visit to remain in Club 122. Fortunately Toronto pays a visit there in May so I can combine that with trips to Kissimmee, Buies Creek, and Kinston.

The Blue Jays are also playing the NL Central in 2017 and will stop in St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Wrigley Field in Chicago, all of which I plan to attend as part of my Toronto on the Road quest to see both the Jays and Leafs in every road venue. St. Louis is close enough to Jackson, Mississippi, where I was rained out last year, while Milwaukee is close to Appleton, so I can finally check off the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, who play in a stadium in which I suffered a rainout in 2001. My visit to Wrigley will start a week long trip to the remaining Midwest League venues, which, if everything works out, will finish with active ballpark #160 in Comstock Park, Michigan on August 26th. By "everything works out", I mean that other games I plan to see before that are not postponed. I have a two-week trip through the Pacific Northwest to complete the other two leagues in June and July that could well make all of this moot with a single rainout.

As for the Leafs on the road, I only have Carolina, Phoenix and Vegas left. I'll be seeing the Hurricanes in February (and hopefully Duke and UNC basketball too), but I'll have to wait until next year's NHL slate comes out before planning the journey to the desert, which will also include Tucson, the AHL's newest team. After that, I should only have 3 CFL and 3 AHL venues left (including Belleville who will move from Binghamton in 2017) and ideally they could all be seen by the end of the year.

If that happens, then my extended sports road trips would pretty much be over. I'd limit my visits to new venues in all of my "quest" leagues, and seeing the Jays in LA, Oakland, Seattle, and Washington over the next few seasons. Unless I decide to try to add the 351 Division I college basketball venues to my list. Whatever the case, 2017 promises to be a great year, so follow along.

Of course, much of this is tentative as the 3 W's (weather, work, wife) might have something to say along the way. But for now, here is the 2017 schedule. If you are attending any of the same games, comment here and we can meet up.



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