It’s that time of the year again. School is wrapping up, Kobe and LeBron are each battling it out and heading toward the end of their journey and every Canadian’s favorite pastime is winding down. (No, not baby seal clubbing. Hockey.)
With what appears to be a jobless summer sneaking up on us already, there are more than a couple of us who will suddenly have a hell of a lot of free time on our hands. Instead of spending your time watching the entire series of “The Wire,” I urge you to spend your cash differently. Go to a baseball stadium.
There are five major league teams in California and twelve teams playing at the minor league level. Odds are that somewhere within 75 miles of your house there is baseball being played. Though I have only been to four of the five MLB ballparks in this state of ours, I can attest that the experience is well worth the trip.
PETCO Park, home of the San Diego Padres, is extremely cool, if a little gimmicky. One side of the park butts up against the famous Gaslamp District, which is just riddled with bars packed to the seams on game day. If that doesn’t do it for you, then maybe the old warehouse sitting in left field or the beach in right field will satiate your desire for game-time distraction.
Angel Stadium in Anaheim is supposedly quite a treat. While I am not a fan of the multipurpose behemoths surrounded by parking lots that Angel Stadium once was, they appear to have reclaimed their ambience after renovations. Not to mention the fact that they have a waterfall and geyser fountain in center field. The only better thing I can think to put there would be… I don’t know, seats.
I made my first trip to Dodger Stadium last year to watch my beloved Cubs destroy the Dodgers. Though I initially feared the experience, I was impressed by the ambience of the park. Make sure to stick it out to the end of the game, though. If you aren’t stuck in traffic afterward it’s not the authentic experience.
The Oakland Coliseum is easily my least favorite park in California, if not the country. However, don’t let that stop you from taking advantage of ticket prices that are far lower than those across the bay in San Francisco. While the cheapest ticket at AT&T Park is $12, you can get in the door in Oakland on a Wednesday for $2 — quite the steal.
Finally, there is the home of the Giants, AT&T Park. Growing up in the North Bay, I have a soft spot for these guys, and you can often find me spending my evenings there in the summer. The park is probably the most gimmicky I have ever seen, with a playground and cable car in the park. That said, it is absolutely beautiful, and all those distractions can help occupy you while the Giants get demolished.
If you can’t make it to one of those arenas, you can always stop by your local minor league team’s game. While the stadiums don’t always have the frills and the teams don’t always have the skills, it’s not a bad way to spend a day. The game itself might not be as much of a draw as the hang-out time with your friends, but for a nominal price, you can get away with it.