Here’s a slightly less dangerous precedent

Amtrak’s “frequent flyer” program, Guest Rewards, occasionally sends “special offers” to a subset of its members. Hmm, I wonder why they would have picked me to receive this one: “Baseball City Bonus — Enjoy America’s favorite pastime and earn 100 bonus points when you follow your team to any of the following destinations: Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, St. Louis, Kansas City, Arlington, Denver, Milwaukee, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Miami, Atlanta, Minneapolis and Detroit.” Now, Arlington isn’t an Amtrak station (Dallas and Fort Worth are), and the Northeast Corridor stations are missing from this list, as is the Tampa Bay area (Amtrak train station in Tampa, connecting buses stop in St. Petersburg), but perhaps Amtrak doesn’t think the Tampa Bay area should count as having a baseball team. Toronto’s also missing, and it is served by Amtrak, but special rules probably apply because it’s in a foreign country. For that matter, Oakland isn’t listed, but “San Francisco” presumably covers any Amtrak stop in the other Bay Area, and Phoenix isn’t listed, but the Amtrak stop that’s ostensibly for Phoenix is really in Maricopa, Arizona, which is a long, long way away in the middle of the desert somewhere.

Now, it’s not like they’re checking to see if you’re actually following your team, so if I were really desperate to get those 100 bonus points, now that I live in beautiful Van Nuys, I’d book a trip from Van Nuys to Los Angeles ($9.50 each way for regular coach, $18.50 each way for Business Class). But maybe I’ll think about a trip to San Diego for a Sunday afternoon Padres game at some point in the next couple of months.

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