The road trip: an introduction

What is it about “baseball” and “road trip” that seem to go together? The first “improved” roads in the United States (for bicyclists) go back to the beginnings of organized baseball. The Model T goes back to when the World Series was first getting started. Numbered U.S. highways go back to Babe Ruth’s home run record. The Interstate highway system goes back to Roger Maris’s home run record. The first oil embargo goes back to the Oakland A’s dynasty of the early 1970s. And certainly it’s no coincidence that, in 1998, Mark McGwire hit 70 home runs to match Interstate 70, which runs through St. Louis, while Sammy Sosa hit 66 home runs to match U.S. 66, which used to start (or end) in Chicago. (Unfortunately, Barry Bonds ruined everything by only hitting 73 in 2001, a number which has nothing to do with any highways in the Bay Area. If only he’d hit 80, or 101…but that would have required some serious steroid usage.)

Levi and I are doing a road trip this year. The basic plan: I will fly to Chicago to meet up with Levi. Then, since he doesn’t own a car, we will rent a vehicle. The “ground rules” for this trip are that it will involve a Red Sox home game (at Levi’s request), an Expos home game (could be their last season in Montreal), and a Pirates home game (I lived in Pittsburgh during what turned out to be the waning days of Three Rivers Stadium, and I want to see their new home).

But we’re also going to see as many other games as possible in a short period of time. Thus, once the preliminary schedules came out, I went through the schedules of the possible teams involved, drawing lines on graph paper to show when each team would be home (dates on the X axis, teams on the Y axis), and managed to come up with four potential itineraries to present to Levi. And they are…

Itinerary #1 (9 games in 10 days, 15 different teams)

Saturday May 22 Astros at Reds (night)
Sunday May 23 Brewers at Pirates (day)
Monday May 24 Angels at Blue Jays (night)
Tuesday May 25 Braves at Expos (night)
Wednesday May 26 A's at Red Sox (night)
Thursday May 27 (DAY OFF)
Friday May 28 Braves at Phillies (night)
Saturday May 29 A's at Indians (night)
Sunday May 30 Orioles at Tigers (day)
Monday May 31 Astros at Cubs (probably day)

Itinerary #2 (10 games in 10 days, 15 different teams)

Saturday July 17 Brewers at Cubs (probably day)
Sunday July 18 Yankees at Tigers (day)
Monday July 19 Expos at Pirates (night)
Tuesday July 20 Marlins at Mets (night)
Wednesday July 21 Blue Jays at Yankees (night)
Thursday July 22 Twins at Red Sox (day)
Friday July 23 Marlins at Expos (night)
Saturday July 24 Devil Rays at Blue Jays (late day)
Sunday July 25 Royals at Indians (probably day)
Monday July 26 Cubs at Brewers (night)

Itinerary #3 (9 games in 9 days, 12 different teams)

Sunday August 22 Pirates at Cardinals (day)
Monday August 23 White Sox at Tigers (night)
Tuesday August 24 Red Sox at Blue Jays (night)
Wednesday August 25 Dodgers at Expos (night)
Thursday August 26 Tigers at Red Sox (night)
Friday August 27 Brewers at Phillies (night)
Saturday August 28 Cardinals at Pirates (night)
Sunday August 29 White Sox at Indians (probably day)
Monday August 30 Pirates at Brewers (night)

Itinerary #4 (9 or 10 games in 9 or 10 days, 16 or 18 different teams)

Monday August 30 Astros at Reds (night)
Tuesday August 31 Mariners at Blue Jays (night)
Wednesday Sept. 1 Cubs at Expos (night)
Thursday Sept. 2 Angels at Red Sox (night)
Friday Sept. 3 Orioles at Yankees (night)
Saturday Sept. 4 Mets at Phillies (night)
Sunday Sept. 5 Frederick Keys at Wilmington Blue Rocks
Monday Sept. 6 Twins at Orioles (probably day)
OR Brewers at Pirates (late day)
Tuesday Sept. 7 Brewers at Pirates (night)
OR Royals at Tigers (night)
Wednesday Sept. 8 Royals at Tigers (night)

And so now, the ball is in Levi’s court (whoops, wrong sport there with that metaphor) to pick one of these. Since his favorite team is the Cardinals, I’ve got a feeling he’ll go for #3, but maybe he’ll surprise me. Obviously, it partly depends on the amount of vacation time involved, and #1 and #4 both include holidays while #2 and #3 do not. I actually have reasons for liking all four of these itineraries, so I don’t really care which one eventually gets chosen.

Just as long as Levi hurries up and picks, since tickets for some teams go on sale in February (except for the Yankees, which are already on sale).

Original comments…

thatbob:“I actually have reasons for liking all four of these itineraries.”

I wish you would share those reasons.