Take Me Out to the Ball Game!
Growing up in the Seattle area, I was a fan of the Mariners. I loved watching Ken Griffey Jr., Jay Buhner, and Randy "The Big Unit" Johnson play. I remember being starstruck when Randy Johnson came into the Domino's Pizza that I managed and I brought his pizza out to his pimped-out white BMW.
I also met Harold Reynolds when he stopped by my high school one day to ask for directions to a classroom. It wasn't a huge deal, but as a teenager, it was pretty memorable to see these guys. I also had a soft spot for Edgar Martinez, and my friends and I would yell, "Edgar Martinez! Ed-gar-Mar-tin-ezzzz!" when he came out to bat and all the way home after a Mariners win.
Baseball can be slow and boring, but it can also be very exciting, especially when there is a close game with a lot of action. It's also a fun way to be around other people and spend the day in an outdoor stadium. As an adult, I would probably go to a UFC event or NFL over baseball, my attention span is way too low for 9 innings of baseball these days.
Since California has five Major League Baseball teams, I decided to go on a road trip through the state to see them all. I also attended a USA Basketball event in Las Vegas, Dallas Cowboys Training Camp in Oxnard, and a UFC 117 event in Oakland. The road trip was a bucket list item for me and I had a blast!
🏀 USA Basketball
I started my road trip in Las Vegas, where I watched the United States men's national basketball team play. The team is one of the most successful in international competitions, having won 19 gold medals in the Olympic Games, more than any other country. The United States women's national basketball team is also one of the most successful teams in international competition, having won 8 gold medals in the Olympic Games, more than any other country. The team's roster that year included Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Rudy Gay, Andre Iguodala, Danny Granger, Stephen Curry, Eric Gordon, Kevin Love, Lamar Odom, and Tyson Chandler. It was pretty cool watching them live in Las Vegas.
After the game, I stopped at The Mad Greek for some of the best Greek food in the middle of the desert. Then, I continued on to Northern California.
⚾ Oakland A's and UFC
The first California Major League Baseball team I watched was the Oakland Athletics. The stadium looked like it could use some renovation, but the fans were the best! There were a lot of die-hard fans in attendance.
The Athletics are a Major League Baseball team based in Oakland, California. They are a member of the American League West division. The team was founded in 1901 in Philadelphia and moved to Kansas City in 1955. They moved to Oakland in 1968. The Athletics have won nine World Series championships, in 1910, 1911, 1913, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1972, 1973, and 1989.
The day after the A's game, I noticed a Silva vs Sonnen UFC billboard while I was driving around the Bay Area. I decided to get last-minute tickets, and it was a great fight!
⚾ San Francisco Giants
The Giants are a Major League Baseball team based in San Francisco, California. They are a member of the National League West division. The Giants were founded in 1883 in New York City and moved to San Francisco in 1958. The Giants have won eight World Series championships, in 1905, 1921, 1922, 1933, 1954, 2010, 2012, and 2014.
I love everything about San Francisco, including the Golden Gate Bridge, the Pier, the Trolleys, and Downtown. However, I've heard that things have gotten pretty bad there with homeless people and that the people are struggling to keep up with all the rich Silicon Valley people. I stopped at this awesome soul food place to eat in Oakland and then hopped on the ferry, which lets you off right at the game. AT&T Park is an awesome park!
🏈 Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys, also known as America's Team, held their training camp at River Ridge Playing Fields in Oxnard, California. The camp was open to the public, giving visitors, residents, and guests the opportunity to see their favorite players and coaches as they prepared for the upcoming NFL season. Admission to camp was free, and activities included autograph opportunities and field access.
I am more of an NFL fan than a Cowboys fan, but I still had a great time enjoying the outdoors and watching them practice. The players were all very friendly and accommodating, and it was a great experience to see them up close. I would definitely recommend attending a Cowboys training camp if you have the opportunity.
⚾ Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers are a Major League Baseball team based in Los Angeles, California. They are a member of the National League West division. The Dodgers were founded in 1883 in Brooklyn, New York, and moved to Los Angeles in 1958. The Dodgers have won seven World Series championships, in 1955, 1959, 1963, 1965, 1981, 1988, and 2020. They are one of the most successful teams in MLB history, and they have a large and passionate fan base.
The Dodgers play their home games at Dodger Stadium, which is located in Elysian Park in Los Angeles. Dodger Stadium is one of the most iconic ballparks in baseball, and it has been home to some of the greatest moments in MLB history. The Dodgers have a long and storied history, and they are one of the most popular teams in all of sports. I had to stop at my old favorite Pink's Hot Dogs before the game, and I loved the view from the stadium of downtown Los Angeles. If I still lived in Los Angeles, I would go to more games here.
The David Hassel-"Hoff Dog"
⚾ Los Angeles Angels
The Angels are a Major League Baseball team based in Anaheim, California. They are a member of the American League West division. The Angels were founded in 1961 as an expansion team, originally known as the Los Angeles Angels. They moved to Anaheim in 1966 and adopted their current name. The Angels have won two World Series championships, in 2002 and 2019. Angel Stadium is a great-looking stadium, and I really liked the Rally Monkey that got the fans all excited!
⚾ San Diego Padres
The Padres are a Major League Baseball team based in San Diego, California. They are a member of the National League West division. The Padres were founded in 1969 as an expansion team. They have never won a World Series championship, but they have reached the playoffs five times, most recently in 2020.
I brought my aunt and cousin to the game with me. They have both passed away, which is crazy how time flies! But it was an absolutely great day for a game. Petco Park is a beautiful place to watch baseball. As you can see in the photo, our military was all up on the top tier, baking in the sun in their uniforms.
🌮 Hit the Border
After San Diego, I finished my MLB road trip by crossing the border into Mexico. Tijuana is just a short drive from San Diego, and it's a great place to experience the culture and food of Mexico. I had some delicious tacos and enjoyed the refreshing taste of Mexican Coca-Cola. It was the perfect way to end the road trip.