Mike McCann / Minor Leagues
SCHEDULING THE MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TRIP
By Mike McCann
I can't believe that spring training has finally started. That means that the real games will be starting pretty soon. Maybe then we will be able to put aside the controversies and problems and be able to focus on the game itself. For me, it involves beginning to come up with a schedule of where I would like to go. I know that I have said I don't like planning in advance in previous articles. But I do like figuring out what all of my options are. That way I won't miss something good.
Like you, I keep hearing rumors about what the state of the Montreal Expos will be next season. Personally, I think that their best bet would be to move the team to a new location where the fans want a major league team. Montreal may be better back in the International League. I'm sure that everyone remembers how they used to play in the International League until 1960. Well, the logistics of that would still take some work, and it isn't my job to figure it out. Since this season may be my last chance to see a major league game in Montreal, I decided that I will try to see a game there this season.
It would be one thing to just circle a game on the schedule and head to Montreal for the game and see a few other things in the city. Tickets certainly aren't an issue. So it probably is just as simple as that. But for me, that isn't enough.
If you take a look at a map, there are three baseball teams up in that general vicinity that are relatively close together. Those teams being the Montreal Expos, Ottawa Lynx and Vermont Expos. Ideally, I would like to find a three day stretch where I could see these three teams. Montreal would need to be the middle game since it is geographically between Ottawa and Burlington, VT. That way, I wouldn't have to do any backtracking and could do a nice loop.
Taking a closer look at the team's schedules, it turns out that there are 8 such instances this season. These occur in three different groups: June 19-20-21, August 1-2-3-4-5, and August 29-30-31-September 1-2-3-4. Looking at these groupings, I have choices of what days of the week, or even what time of year I could go. So if you were contemplating doing something similar, some of the work has now been done for you.
For me though, three games isn't always enough. I started looking at the schedules of a few other teams between here and there as well. I haven't yet seen the Hudson Valley Renegades or Tri-City ValleyCats, and those teams are geographically between my house and Vermont. So maybe I could add a game in one of those cities. Unfortunately, the schedules don't coincide so I could add games in both cities together.
Similarly, I haven't seen the Auburn Doubledays or the new Syracuse SkyChiefs stadium (P&C Stadium), both of which are between Ottawa and where I am sitting at the moment. I did see Syracuse play in MacArthur Stadium in 1996, but I wouldn't mind seeing a new stadium. And there is a scenario where I could see both teams along with the earlier three game swing I discussed.
Here is the best that I have come up with:
Wed Jul 31 - Jamestown at Tri-City
Thr Aug 1 - Auburn at Vermont
Fri Aug 2 - Houston at Montreal
Sat Aug 3 - Pawtucket at Ottawa
Sun Aug 4 - Buffalo at Syracuse
Mon Aug 5 - Batavia at Auburn
Tue Aug 6 - Staten Island at Hudson Valley
Now I don't actually think I will be seeing 7 games in 7 days. But I may see a subset of those games. Although maybe I could even extend my trip beyond what I have here. But if you have a week in which you would like to see New York, Vermont, Ontario and Quebec and want to see a baseball game each night, this is probably the best way to do it.
I haven't yet decided when I will be going to games this season, but at least
now I have something to shoot for. Now how am I going to convince somebody
to join me on a trip like this?
I am always looking for topics to write about, so please send me an email and let me know what would be interesting reading for you. Feel free to ask any questions or give an idea for a column.