Do you enjoy America’s favorite past-time? Have you ever wanted to visit a few ball parks and take in the atmosphere of each club? I did and planned a baseball road trip with a buddy a few years back. Jen and I were living in Phoenix, Arizona at the time, so my buddy and I decided on a West Coast baseball road trip. All in all, it was an amazing trip and one neither of us will forget. 1,700 miles of driving, 6 stadiums, 6 games, 5 great days, and a lifetime of memories. Here are my six tips for planning a great baseball road trip:
Figure out which cities and stadiums you would like to visit. Map out the region of the US you want to visit with all the ball parks in the area.
2. Check team schedules.
It can be tricky matching up all the team schedules! Make sure the team or stadium you want to see actually has a home on the date you plan to visit. Write down the a list of dates the team is in town for a date range you are looking at. Websites like MLB Road Trip can help with suggestions if you don’t have a specific plan in mind. Just plug in the date and city where you want to start your MLB baseball road trip.
3. Map it.
Pull out those maps, or my favorite personal favorite (Google Maps), and see what the best route is between each city. You can add multiple cities and see how far it is in between them. Make sure you leave some travel time and pay attention to whether games are day games or night games. If not, you may end up sleeping in your car on the side of the road or rushing from one game to the next.
4. Play tourist.
Don’t overload yourself otherwise your fun baseball road trip can quickly turn into the trip from hell. Be sure to leave time to checkout the cities you visit as well. If two cities are nearby, like San Fransisco and Oakland, consider staying two nights in San Fransisco and check out sites like Fisherman’s Wharf, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Alcatraz.
5. Buy tickets.
Once you figured out your route, dates, and sightseeing ideas, it’s time to look for tickets. If it’s a popular game you know is going to be sold out then you may want to buy tickets in advance. Look at the team websites and websites like StubHub.
If you’re more adventurous and don’t care where you sit, consider getting the tickets from a “scalper” at the stadium. You may want to check local laws on that first though – we don’t want anyone getting arrested! Sometimes you can barter for a great deal or score seats that weren’t available when you were looking. If you have a large group, scalping tickets may be more difficult though.
6. Book hotels.
Don’t forget to book your hotels and be sure to consult your map to figure out if you need to drive to a halfway point between cities or if you have time to make it to your next destination.
My buddy and I caught a Thursday night game with the Diamondbacks before leaving Phoenix. Friday morning we woke up early to drive to Los Angeles and see the Cubs play the Dodgers for a day game at Dodger Stadium. We knew the game would almost be sold out, so we bought tickets ahead of time for this one.
Our next game on our plan was a Saturday day game in San Fransisco. We were feeling pretty good that day and noticed the San Diego Padres were at home and had a night game, so we hopped down there and bought tickets at the stadium. While that was a lot of fun and an easy add-in game, the drive to San Fransisco that night was a brutally long one. We had to pull over and sleep for a few hours on the side of the road. We made it to the Bay Area and had two full days there, but lesson learned after that one is stick to your plan!
We had a Giants game that Saturday and Louisville Slugger had a stand set up and was making baseball bats personally engraved with whatever you wanted. So my friend and I got custom bats made. When the rep found out about our baseball road trip, he said he also worked as an usher in Oakland and happened to be working the next day. Conveniently, we were headed there as well, so he gave us his number and told us to call him when we got in. He got us a few autographed baseballs and he put us in his section right behind home plate. He was just an awesome guy with a love for the game, just like us. He collected bobble-heads and all he asked in return was that we send him some from AZ when we get back. We were more than happy to oblige. We also made sure to take advantage of our two days in the Bay Area and saw Fisherman’s Wharf, rode the famous trolley cars, and headed over for some pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge.
The last stop on our baseball road trip was for a night game to see the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim. We thought this stadium was the most family friendly and one of the more affordable stadiums on our trip.
Where would you like to take a baseball road trip?