Since purchasing the first edition of Josh Pahigan and Kevin O’Connell’s Ultimate Baseball Road Trip I’ve enjoyed planning multi-city, multi-ballpark road trips. Of the current 30 Major League Ballparks there are only two, Safeco Field in Seattle and Coors Field in Denver, that are isolated to the point where it would take more than 8 hours to drive to another Ballpark. Every week throughout the season offers a multitude of Ballpark Road Trip options; I will highlight my Top 5. With Memorial Day behind us and schools letting out for for summer break it’s officially Ballpark Road Trip season! For the remainder of the season I will be posting my favorite Ballpark Road Trips ideas each week. This week’s Top 5 features a 4 day 4 city 4 Ballpark trip through the Midwest and the I-5 trip featuring the teams that played in the 2002 World Series. Links to each Ballpark’s Concierge page are included.
Start your tour at Yankee Stadium on Thursday June 9th and check out the fourth and final game of the Angels Yankees series. Make sure to arrive early and visit Heritage Field, the site of old Yankee Stadium. On Friday morning head south on I-95 or Amtrak and visit Nationals Park in D.C., which is also is one of the best site seeing cities in the country. Most of the Museums and landmarks throughout the Mall are free to visit and the Metro makes getting to Nats Park for Philles Nationals a breeze. The following day drive 245 northwest to Pittsburgh, home of my #1 ranked Ballpark PNC Park, where the Pirates and Cardinals are scheduled to play their second game of a three game series. When attending a game a PNC Park I recommend sitting up in the Grandstand on the third base side. The views of Pittsburgh’s bridges, rivers and downtown are unmatched, especially at night.
Trip 1 Itinerary
Thursday June 9th – Angels v. Yankees @ Yankee Stadium
Friday June 10th – Phillies v. Nationals @ Nationals Park
Saturday June 11th – Cardinals v. Pirates @ PNC Park
My second recommended Ballpark Road Trip begins in the Midwest to see the St. Louis Cardinals take on the hometown Cincinnati Reds from Great American Ball Park. The area around the Ballpark offers fans cultural, National Underground Railroad Museum, and green, walk along the Riverfront, activities. If you can’t jump on the Cardinals charter post game you’ll probably be on the road Friday morning, it’s 290 miles northeast to Pittsburgh’s PNC Park. Plenty of time to stop by Primanti Brothers for a sandwich and walk across the Clemente Bridge before catching Cardinals v. Pirates. Personally I would spend the next day, Saturday June 11th, traveling to Washington D.C. and taking advantage of the site seeing opportunities. Unless you’re planning and early flight/drive from D.C. on Sunday head on over to some of the sites outside the National Mall like the Jefferson Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and the Pentagon. Sunday’s Phillies Nationals game at Nationals Park starts at 12:05 which should leave plenty of time to catch a Sunday evening flight from Dulles, Reagan National or BWI airport.
Trip 2 Itinerary
Thursday June 9th – Cardinals v. Reds @ Great American Ball Park
Friday June 10th – Cardinals v. Pirates @ PNC Park
Saturday June 11th and/or Sunday June 12th – Phillies v. Nationals @ Nationals Park
The next Ballpark Tour to highlight is not for the faint of heart. There is very little time for non-baseball activities but it does afford fans the opportunity to visit 4 cities in 4 days throughout the Midwest beginning on Thursday June 9th from Target Field where the Marlins will take on the Twins. A trip 340 miles east will get you to Milwaukee and Miller Park. The Mets and Brewers play their second of a four game series on Friday June 10th. With Chicago only 90 miles south of Milwaukee you should have some time to breath on Saturday June 11th to see some sites in after the 2:10 match-up between the defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals and the Chicago White Sox from U.S. Cellular Field. It’s the chance to see Second City’s second team. If you haven’t passed out yet gas the road trip car once last time for the 295 mile drive southeast to Cincinnati. The Reds wrap up their three game series, a 1990 World Series rematch, with the A’s at 1:10 from Great American Ball Park. In my Ballpark Nerd travels I have never attended 4 games in 4 cities in 4 days, this trip would probably test even my limits.
Trip 3 Itinerary
Thursday June 9th – Marlins v. Twins @ Target Field
Friday June 10th – Mets @ Brewers @ Miller Park
Saturday June 11th – Royals v. White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field
Sunday June 12th – A’s v. Reds @ Great American Ball Park
Trips 4 & 5 tie in with the laid back feel of the West Coast where Ballparks are few, only 8 in the Mountain and Pacific time zones. What better way to immerse yourself into the Southern California culture than spending a day at Disneyland or the Santa Monica Pier? Enjoy all the California has to offer on Thursday June 9th and pregame Friday June 10th. Mike Trout and the Angels face off against the Indians superb pitching staff at 7:05p from Angel Stadium in Anaheim. Saturday June 11th is a travel day, 335 miles east to Phoenix, but before heading to the home of the Diamondbacks stop at Joshua Tree National Park in California. Joshua Tree is 792,510 acres of desert wilderness and offers rock-climbing, mountain biking and hiking opportunities. Spending time in Joshua Tree prepares you for a trip to Phoenix and Chase Field where on Sunday June 12th the Diamondbacks wrap up their three game series with the Miami Marlins.
Trip 4 Itinerary
Thursday June 9th – Site Seeing in Los Angeles or Orange County
Friday June 10th – Indians v. Angels @ Angel Stadium of Anaheim
Saturday June 11th – Visit Joshua Tree National Park on your way to Phoenix, it’s where the ecosystems of the Mojave and Colorado deserts converge.
Sunday June 12th – Marlins v. Diamondbacks @ Chase Field
The Final Ballpark Road Trip recommendation this week includes 2002 World Series participants. With so much to see in the Bay Area I would spend Thursday June 9th site seeing. San Francisco and Oakland have a tremendous public transportation system that can help save miles on the Road Trip vehicle. The Giants and Dodgers renew their rivalry on Friday June 10th at AT&T Park. The best pitcher on the planet, Clayton Kershaw, is scheduled to start against recent free agent signing Johnny Cueto and his 9-1 record. AT&T Park is one of two Ballparks, PNC being the other, that I recommend siting in the Upper Deck. At AT&T this level is known as View Level and offers terrific views of the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge. Saturday June 11th is a travel day south to Anaheim, driving the 101 along the Pacific is something I have not experienced in my prior travels, but hope to in the future. The Angels wrap up their weekend series against the Cleveland Indians on Sunday June 12th from the fan-friendly Angel Stadium of Anaheim. What stands out for me about AT&T and the Southern California Ballparks is they are kept in pristine condition.
Trip 5 Itinerary
Thursday June 9th – Site Seeing in the Bay Area.
Friday June 10th – Dodgers v. Giants @ AT&T Park
Saturday June 11th – With the Pacific Ocean as your guide, drive the 101 South to Anaheim/Orange County
Sunday June 12th – Indians v. Angels @ Angel Stadium of Anaheim