April 2017

2017 30 Ballpark 30 Day Travel Options

In 2012, I fulfilled my dream of hitting all 30 MLB ballparks in 30 days. After not getting a 2016 post out for such trip options for the first time since 2008, here are some examples of 30 day, 30 ballpark schedules for 2017. I drew up three plans. One starts soon, two more are prior to the All Star Game and one is after the break.

The ideal trip contains certain team pairings to take advantage of land geography to minimize flights and long trips. When possible, all 7 west coast teams are put together, at minimum the Dodgers, Angels and Padres are visited on consecutive dates, the Athletics and Giants are also seen on consecutive dates. The Mariners and Diamondbacks are also part of the trip, either on the front or back end, or one or both cities can be a bridge between the 3 stops in southern California and the 2 in northern California. The Rangers and Astros are put together as a pair, as are the Royals with the Cardinals, and the Marlins with the Rays. The Tampa Miami pairing can be one if needed that is split with one connected to the Braves and one to teams on the east coast as many flights go from Florida to the northeast cities. The Indians and Reds are also together and the Cubs, White Sox and Brewers are together. The Tigers can be part of the Chicago area games or part of the swing through Cincinnati and Cleveland. Detroit can also be paired with Toronto, or Toronto can be paired with Cleveland, Milwaukee or Chicago for short flights. The Nationals, Orioles, Mets, Yankees, Phillies and Red sox are put together in a group in any order, though Washington with Baltimore is preferred or used as a sandwich around Philadelphia. Similarly the two New York teams are best together or sandwiched around Boston. To maximize train travel, the one long trip you want to avoid if possible especially if you have a day game after a night game, is the Boston to DC leg. Certain teams are your flex teams, Pittsburgh can be part of the combo with Detroit, Cleveland and Cincinnati, or it can be with the teams on the east coast. Sometimes if a seventh day is needed somewhere with the northeastern teams, Pittsburgh can be the bridge team. Similarly this is true for Atlanta and Minnesota. Minnesota can be connected to almost any team in the central time zone, or used as a bridge going across time zones. Similarly Atlanta can serve as a bridge within eastern time zone franchises, or it can be the first stop coming east from points as far west as Denver or Phoenix, or even the west coast if you have a day game leading into a night game in Atlanta.

Having explained all of the logic into how I build these trips, it is almost never possible to build the perfect itinerary. So that said, here are my four baseball travel options for your dreaming pleasure. Have the time and the funds, make it your reality.

Plan 1, opens Thursday May 25 at Washington, DC and closes Friday June 23 in Chicago, IL at the White Sox.

On May 25 at 4:05 Eastern time, the nationals host the Seattle Mariners in Washington at 4:05 that afternoon. The second game on Friday May 26 also features the visiting Mariners in Boston to face the Red Sox at 7:10 that evening, followed by the Phillies at home against the Cincinnati Reds at 4:05 Saturday afternoon May 27. Sunday may 28 and Monday May 29 are in New York, the Yankees host the Athletics at 1:05 on Sunday the 28th, while on Monday the Mets host the Brewers at 1:10. On the 30th the Orioles host the Yankees at 7:05, then it is on to Cleveland for their game on the 31st at 6:10 as the Indians host the Athletics. June begins with a drop into the Central time zone for two days in Missouri, the Cardinals play a 12:45 afternoon game on the 1st against the dodgers, followed the next night in Kansas city by the Royals 7:15 start against the Indians. The tour then heads back into the eastern time zone for a while, Saturday June 3 in Miami for the Marlins against the Diamondbacks at 3:10. This is then followed by one of the tighter scheduling arrangements as it is up to Toronto for an even earlier day game the next afternoon on Sunday, with the Blue Jays hosting the Yankees in a 1:07 start. Monday June 5 at 7:10 in Cincinnati, the Reds host the Cardinals, followed at 7:10 on June 6 in Detroit for the tigers and Angels. The tour then stays in the eastern part of the nation dipping back south for two night games, Wednesday June 7 in suburban Atlanta for the Braves and Phillies at 7:35, followed the next night in St. Petersburgh at 7:10 by the Rays and White Sox. Only one eastern team is left on the schedule to be seen at home, the Pittsburgh Pirates but now Friday June 9-16, the western swing takes place. June 9 in Seattle the Mariners host the Blue jays at 7:10, followed the next evening in Phoenix where the Diamondbacks host the Brewers at 7:10. This then brings about five straight days in California Sunday June 11 to Thursday June 15. ON June 11 at 1:10, the dodgers host the Reds, followed on the 12th by the Angels hosting the Yankees at 7:07 and the Padres hosting the Reds on the 13th at 7:10. The Giants host the royals for an afternoon start at 12:45 on the 14th, followed the next evening at 7:05 by the Athletics hosting the Yankees. Heading back east and losing one hour to the Mountain time zone, the Rockies host the Giants at 6:40 that evening. This is then followed by more lost time as the final eastern team is visited on the 17th, the Pirates hosting the Cubs at 7:15 that evening. The trip then finishes with six stops in the Central time zone. Sunday June 18 at Houston for the Astros and Red Sox at 1:10, followed the next evening by the Rangers and Blue Jays at 7:05 in Arlington. The upper Midwest swing then concludes this journey, starting Tuesday June 20 at 7:10 in Minneapolis with the Twins hosting the White sox, then it is a quick flight to Chicago for the Cubs game on the 21st at home against the padres in a 1:20 start. Wednesday night is some down time in Chicago, then train to Milwaukee for the Brewers at home for the Pirates at 1:10 before returning to Chicago. The next night on Friday June 23, the White Sox are your final stop as they host the Athletics at 7:10. This plan features three consecutive day games and four out of five such games to begin. A total of 12 day games are on this schedule at the Nationals, Phillies, Yankees, Mets, Cardinals, Marlins, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Giants, Astros, cubs and Brewers.

Plan 2 begins Thursday June 8 in Atlanta, GA and ends Friday July 7 in Minneapolis, MN. Plan 2 shares some overlap with plan 1 for a total of 12 of its games. Games 2-9 on plan 3 match games 16-23 on plan 2 and games 14-16 from plan 3 match games 28-30 on plan 2. Additionally, game 11 from plan 3 matches game 25 from plan 2. The shared dates involve the 8 team west coast swing plus the Rockies and Diamondbacks, as well as the three game swing with Milwaukee sandwiched between the two Chicago visits and the Houston game at home against Boston, game 13 on plan 3 which was game 25 on plan 2. The Rangers are still connected to Houston, but the Ranger game is two days earlier and presents a different opponent. A 14th matchup is the same but a day later, Phillies at Braves, which is the opening game of the trip.

Starting June 8 in Atlanta, the Braves and Phillies play at 7:35 that evening, then it is out west for the eight game swing that goes to the Mariners, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Angels, Padres, Giants, Athletics and Rockies. Following the Rockies game on June 16, the Saturday stop for the 10th game of this tour is at Arlington where the Rangers play the Mariners for a 3:05 start in Texas. The Astros game remains as it was on plan 2 against Boston the next afternoon, then on Monday the 19th it is on to Miami. The Marlins host the Nationals at 7:10, followed the next evening in St. Petersburg for the Rays and Reds at 7:10. This is then followed by the return to central time for the games at the Cubs June 21, Brewers June 22, and White sox June 23. Leaving Chicago on Saturday June 24, it is back to St. Louis for the Cardinals and Pirates at 6:15, followed at 1:15 Sunday the 25th In Kansas city for the Royals and Blue Jays. The next 11 days are then spent in the Eastern time zone, starting Monday June 26 in Cleveland for the Indians and Rangers at 7:10. They are followed by the Reds and Brewers at 7:10 June 27, the Tigers and Royals at 7:10 the 28th before we continue further east. June 29 is a 7:10 start in Boston for the Red sox and Twins and the 30th is yet another 7:10 start, this time in New York for the Mets and Phillies. The final quarter of the tour starting July 1 is in Baltimore for the Orioles and Rays for a late afternoon 4:05 first pitch. More day baseball follows July 2 with a swing to Pittsburgh for the Pirates and Giants at 1:35. Crossing PA on the 3rd, the Phillies host the Pirates that evening at 7:05, followed by the Yankees hosting the Blue Jays at 1:05 on the 4th. The final three games are July 5 in Washington, the Nationals hosting the Mets at 7:05, then visits to two of MLB’s more northern cities close it out. July 6 it is on to Toronto for the Blue Jays and Astros at 7:07, then back into the Central time zone to Minneapolis for a 7:10 start on Friday July 7 between the Twins and Orioles. Plan 2 has a total of 10 day games on the schedule.

Plan 3 opens Sunday July 30 in Washington, DC and closes Monday August 28 in San Diego, CA. This plan bunches the various groupings of teams together, however it requires more longer trips in some segments because of three western swings. IN addition, Colorado is not tied to the west coast teams like the previous two plans.

July 30 is the first game at 1:35 PM that afternoon for the Nationals and Rockies in Washington. The next day at 12:35 in Philadelphia, the Phillies play host to the Braves. Flipping the calendar to August, the third game is in Baltimore, where the Orioles host the Royals at 7:05 that evening. You then finish out the northeastern sector August 2-4, Wednesday in New York for the Yankees and Tigers at 1:05, Thursday in Boston for the Red Sox and White Sox at 7:10, and then Friday August 4 back in New York for the Mets and Dodgers at 7:10. The next three days are in new ballparks but cities that were part of the thrilling 1991 post season. Saturday august 5 is in Pittsburgh, as the Pirates host the Padres at 7:05 that evening. Sunday it is down to the new SunTrust Park for the Braves and Marlins at 1:35, then you drop back an hour into the Central time zone for the Twins home game against the Brewers. It is then out west for the games on the 8th and 9th where the giants and Athletics are both home. With travel back east coming after Wednesday, the Tuesday game will be at Oakland, a 7:05 Pacific start for the Athletics and Mariners, followed the next afternoon at 12:45 in San Francisco for the Giants and Cubs. You then head back east that evening to Florida and three of the remaining teams in the Eastern time zone are visited. Thursday August 10 at St. Petersburg, the Rays host the Indians for a 7:10 first pitch, followed on Friday the 11th in Miami by the Marlins and Rockies at 7:10. Then it is up to Detroit, where the Tigers host the Twins at 6:10. The trip then heads back out west and to west coast time, with the Mariners hosting the Angels at 1:10 on Sunday August 13, followed the next evening by the Diamondbacks and Astros at 6:40. The next two days you will lose one hour each day, visiting Milwaukee for the Brewers and Pirates at 6:40 Tuesday August 15, then Wednesday it is up to Toronto for the blue Jays and Rays for a 7:07 first pitch. You get those two hours back on Thursday the 17th as it is out to Denver for the Rockies and Braves, first pitch that afternoon is at 1:10. The trip then returns to the Central Time zone for the next six games, starting Friday August 18 at 7:05 in Arlington for the Rangers and White Sox, followed the next evening at 6:10 with the Astros and Athletics in Houston. It is then up to Chicago for games Sunday August 20 and Monday august 21, the Sunday game features the Cubs and Blue Jays for a 1:20 first pitch, while the White Sox play the Monday night game at 7:10 against the Twins. More train or car travel can be on the agenda as it is on to St. Louis on Tuesday the 22nd for the Cardinals and Padres at 7:15, followed by Wednesday baseball in KC as the Royals play the Rockies, first pitch is also 7:15 that evening in Kansas City. The final two teams back east are visited Thursday and Friday as you hit Ohio. Here airfare and opponent may guide your choices, if you go Cleveland then Cincinnati, your games are Indians Red Sox on the 24th and Reds Pirates the 25th, both at 7:10. Start times are the same if you go to Cincinnati first, but you get different opposition, as the Reds Thursday game is against the Cubs and the game in Cleveland on Friday would be against the Royals. Finally it is a return out west for the final three dates, all in southern California. You can go Dodgers Angels or Angels Dodgers in either order for the Saturday and Sunday games and both have similar start times. The Angels Saturday game is at 6:07 and the Sunday game at 12:37 against the Astros, while the Dodgers games are at 6:10 Saturday and 1:10 Sunday against the Brewers. The final game on Monday the 28th will be in San Diego at 7:10, where the Padres play host to the Giants. This trip features a total of 9 day games.