Three years ago, on a whim, the day after the details for MLB's 2014 schedule were announced in January, I put together an Ultimate Baseball Road Trip, an attempt to get to all 30 MLB stadiums within the first month of the season. It turned out to be one of the most popular things I've ever written on this site; I still get emails about it today. So then I did another one. Then last year I did a third one. Now it's time for a fourth.
Every fan dreams of this. We look at Spring Training and we know the season is coming. It would only be appropriate that once baseball truly begins again, we celebrate with the ultimate indulgent celebrations. Imagine it: 30 stadiums in (roughly) 30 days. What a way to live! People would write novels about you.
So it's time to put this theoretical journey together. As with last year, a few caveats:
The main one is that it's not, in fact, a road trip. To do this in 30 days, you're going to have to do some flying. I've allotted for that and accounted for road travel to be done by cabs, Uber or Lyft, not by rental cars. If you want to drive on your own, in your own car, the whole way, you can do that -- but honestly, I doubt you're going to make it out to the West Coast in time. Our country is very big. In the past, I have mentioned the cab price at every stop, but we're gonna save time and not do that this year. We'll just add in a $30 cab fee at each stop when we get to the end.
Also, to keep it as "inexpensive" as possible, I'll get the cheapest upper-deck tickets I can. All that matters, as far as I'm concerned, is that I'm in the ballpark. (You'll also have to account for your own beer and food.) I've tried at every opportunity to find hotels within walking distance of the park as well. I am taking this not-driving thing seriously.
You can start from wherever you live, but I'll be flying out of Atlanta. We are also at the whim of the schedule maker, so sometimes we have to fly one direction and then go the opposite one the next day. We'll do our best. Let's see if we can make this happen. Here's the possible itinerary. (Flights were researched via Kayak.com and may fluctuate depending on the day of purchase. Best to plan ahead!) All times are local.
Sunday April 2: St. Louis. How could you start the season any other way than seeing the defending champion Cubs attempt to win another title, starting out against their hated rival and their former teammate Dexter Fowler? It'll be cold, but worth it.
12:34 p.m. FLIGHT: Delta Air Lines, Atlanta to St. Louis, $188
7:35 p.m. GAME: Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals, $97
11 p.m. HOTEL: Crowne Plaza Riverfront at the Arch, $183
Monday, April 3: Chicago. It might seem odd to start off the season in the freezing Midwest, but the weird way the weather has been this year, it might be 100 degrees out.
7 a.m. FLIGHT: Air Choice One, St. Louis to Chicago, $116
3:10 p.m. GAME: Detroit Tigers at Chicago White Sox, $26
7:30 p.m. HOTEL: Amber Inn, $90
Tuesday, April 4: Milwaukee. I repeat this every year, but it remains true: Milwaukee is so much closer to Chicago than most fans realize. If you're going to Chicago, you might as well catch a game in Milwaukee while you're there.
10 a.m. TRAIN: Chicago to Milwaukee, $50
6:40 p.m. GAME: Colorado Rockies at Milwaukee Brewers, $7
10 p.m. HOTEL: Best Western Milwaukee West, $102
Wednesday, April 5: Minnesota. Did you see that MLS game the other day, the one where it snowed on all those poor South American soccer players for Atlanta United? If they play soccer in that, we should really try a baseball game in snow someday.
8 a.m. TRAIN: Milwaukee to Minneapolis, $80
12:10 p.m. GAME: Kansas City Royals at Minnesota Twins, $7
4 p.m. HOTEL: Loews Minneapolis Hotel, $169
(Credit: Getty Images)
Thursday, April 6: Cincinnati. There's not going to be much to watch in Cincinnati this year, and even Joey Votto takes a while to get warmed up. Remember to wave hello to Kentucky.
6 a.m. FLIGHT: American Airlines, Minneapolis to Cincinnati, $186
12:35 p.m. GAME: Philadelphia Phillies at Cincinnati Reds, $8
4 p.m. HOTEL: Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, $160
Friday, April 7: Pittsburgh. This must always be said every time one has the opportunity to say it: If you have not gone to PNC Park, go to PNC Park immediately.
6 a.m. FLIGHT: United Airlines, Cincinnati to Pittsburgh, $152
1:05 p.m. GAME: Atlanta Braves at Pittsburgh Pirates, $55
5 p.m. HOTEL: The Inn on the Mexican War Streets, $189
Saturday, April 8: Detroit. We hope you remembered to pack a parka. But you might want to mail it home, wherever home is, in a week, because you won't need it anymore.
8:30 a.m. FLIGHT: American, Pittsburgh to Detroit, $250
1:05 p.m. GAME: Boston Red Sox at Detroit Tigers, $20
5 p.m. HOTEL: Courtyard by Marriott Downtown, $180
Sunday, April 9: New York. Not a lot of great choices here, so we might as well start trying to knock out the East Coast. You get a nice chilly night game right off the bat.
Noon FLIGHT: Delta, Detroit to New York, $150
8 p.m. GAME: Miami Marlins at New York Mets, $12
11:30 p.m. HOTEL: Best Western Plus, LaGuardia Hotel, $136
Monday, April 10: Philadelphia. You can follow the Mets straight here. Please stop stalking Noah Syndergaard.
Noon TRAIN: New York to Philadelphia, $70
7:05 p.m. GAME: New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies, $15
10:30 p.m. HOTEL: Holiday Inn Philadelphia Stadium, $140
Tuesday, April 11: Washington. You should actually have time to see some American landmarks during the days of these games, if you can remember what America is anymore.
10 a.m. TRAIN: Philadelphia to Washington, $110
7:05 p.m. GAME: St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals, $8
10:30 p.m. HOTEL: Capitol Skyline, $250
Wednesday, April 12: Boston. Speaking of American history … by the way, Patriots' Day isn't for another week, though it's worth trying to finagle your schedule a bit if you want to try to make your way there.
10 a.m. FLIGHT: jetBlue Airlines, Washington to Boston, $80
7:05 p.m. GAME: Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox, $20
10:30 p.m. HOTEL: Boston Hotel Buckminster, $215
(Credit: Getty Images)
Thursday, April 13: New York. And just like that, you've taken care of the whole Northeast Corridor. (We'll get back to you, Baltimore.) Remember, by the way: You have taxes due soon. This is easily forgotten.
10 a.m. FLIGHT: jetBlue, Boston to New York, $90
7:05 p.m. GAME: Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees, $10
11 p.m. HOTEL: Umbrella Hotel, $151
Friday, April 14: Toronto. Always, always have your passport on you. Particularly these days.
10 a.m. FLIGHT: WestJet, New York to Toronto, $90
7:07 p.m. GAME: Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays, $7
10:30 p.m. HOTEL: Renaissance Toronto Downtown Hotel, $153
Saturday, April 15: Cleveland. This also might be the date of the Cavaliers' first playoff game, so it's a busy day in downtown Cleveland.
11 a.m. FLIGHT: Delta, Toronto to Cleveland, $180
4:05 p.m. GAME: Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians, $25
8 p.m. HOTEL: Radisson Hotel Gateway, $142
Sunday, April 16: Chicago. Don't forget, the sign looks like this now.
9 a.m. FLIGHT: United, Cleveland to Chicago, $90
1:20 p.m. GAME: Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs, $20
5 p.m. HOTEL: City Suites Hotel, $134
Monday, April 17: Atlanta. Your first chance to see a new stadium: SunTrust Park in suburban Cobb County will have just opened its doors a few days earlier.
9 a.m. FLIGHT: American, Chicago to Atlanta, $110
7:35 p.m. GAME: San Diego Padres at Atlanta Braves, $7
11 p.m. HOTEL: Sheraton Suites Galleria-Atlanta, $127
Tuesday, April 18: St. Petersburg. Unfortunately, we haven't nailed down dates where we can hit the Florida teams in successive days. Like St. Petersburg and Miami are that similar, anyway.
11 a.m. FLIGHT: Delta, Atlanta to Tampa, $85
7:10 p.m. GAME: Detroit Tigers at Tampa Bay Rays, $25
11 p.m. HOTEL: Avalon Hotel, Downtown St. Petersberg, $125
Wednesday, April 19: Kansas City. You can see a rematch of the 2014 World Series. That one was pretty fun: Get there early and see if you can do the mad dash home that never happened.
11:40 p.m. FLIGHT: Delta, Tampa to Kansas City, $125
7:15 p.m. GAME: San Francisco Giants at Kansas City Royals, $15
11 p.m. HOTEL: Four Points by Sheraton, $85
(Credit: Getty Images)
Thursday, April 20: Houston. The city of Houston, in the past calendar year, has hosted that Villanova-North Carolina national championship game and the Patriots-Falcons Super Bowl. This one might not be that exciting.
8 a.m. FLIGHT: United, Kansas City to Houston, $125
1:10 p.m. GAME: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Houston Astros, $10
5 p.m. HOTEL: Club Quarters Hotel, $190
Friday, April 21: Texas. The Rangers are getting a new stadium sooner than you think, so you better go see this one before this relatively new stadium gets torn down already.
10 a.m. FLIGHT: American, Houston to Dallas, $104
7:05 p.m. GAME: Kansas City Royals at Texas Rangers, $15
11 p.m. HOTEL: Sheraton Arlington Hotel, $191
Saturday, April 22: Colorado. The Rockies might not be half bad. As always, get the Rocky Mountain Oysters, trust me.
8 a.m. FLIGHT: American, Dallas to Denver, $50
6:10 p.m. GAME: San Francisco Giants at Colorado Rockies, $11
10 p.m. HOTEL: Residence Inn by Marriott, $161
Sunday, April 23: Oakland. It's about to get tricky here on the West Coast, so bear with me. The good news is that you're going to get a couple of days off. You'll need them.
7 a.m. FLIGHT: Delta, Denver to Oakland, $125
1:05 p.m. GAME: Seattle Mariners at Oakland A's, $20
5 p.m. HOTEL: Radisson Hotel Oakland Airport, $110
Monday, April 24: San Francisco. Always fun to compare these two ballparks.
3 p.m. TRAIN Oakland to San Francisco
7:10 p.m. GAME Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants, $20
11 p.m. The Utah Inn, $125
Tuesday, April 25: Arizona. Anybody still wearing those La Russa jerseys in the stands?
11 a.m. FLIGHT United, San Francisco to Phoenix, $90
7:40 p.m. GAME: San Diego Padres at Arizona Diamondbacks, $8
11:15 p.m. HOTEL: Hotel San Carlos, $180
Wednesday, April 26: Baltimore. Yeah, I know it's weird, but you have to swing back and get to Baltimore before the Orioles go on a road trip. No one said this would be easy! You get a day off soon -- that'll help.
8 a.m. FLIGHT: American, Phoenix to Baltimore, $165
7:05 p.m. GAME: Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles, $8
10:45 p.m. HOTEL: Rachael's Dowry Bed and Breakfast, $199
(Credit: Getty Images)
Thursday: April 27: Anaheim. See, told you it was strange. You'll at least rack up some miles.
10 a.m. FLIGHT: United, Baltimore to Los Angeles, $140
7:07 p.m. GAME: Oakland A's at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, $8
10:30 p.m. HOTEL: Ayres Hotel Orange, $150
Friday, April 28: Los Angeles. Only three stadiums left after this one, but it's about to get odd.
3 p.m. TRAIN: Anaheim to Los Angeles
7:10 p.m. GAME: Philadelphia Phillies at Los Angeles Dodgers, $10
10:40 p.m. HOTEL: Super 8 Los Angeles Downtown, $150
Saturday, April 29: Miami. Yep. So many frequent flier miles.
6 a.m. FLIGHT: American, Los Angeles to Miami, $155
7:10 p.m. GAME: Pittsburgh Pirates at Miami Marlins, $30
11 p.m. HOTEL: Miami Sun Hotel, $100
Sunday, April 30: Miami. Here's one of your two days off. It's in Miami. I suspect you can find something to do.
HOTEL: Miami Sun Hotel, $100
Monday, May 1: Miami. Here's another one. Don't say I never did anything nice for you.
HOTEL: Miami Sun Hotel, $100
Tuesday, May 2: Seattle. Fully rested, it's time to head out West to finish this out.
7 a.m. FLIGHT: American, Miami to Seattle, $200
7:10 p.m. GAME: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Seattle Mariners, $10
11 p.m. HOTEL: Best Western Pioneer Square, $190
Wednesday, May 3: San Diego. Is there a better place to finish up this trip than San Diego? I would argue there is not.
2 p.m. FLIGHT: Alaska Airlines, Seattle to San Diego, $120
7:10 p.m. GAME: Colorado Rockies at San Diego Padres, $15
11 p.m. HOTEL: San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter, $225
OK! So you did it! How much did it cost?
Well, let's start with those cabs. That $30 per city average might be a little low, but it's close. So $900 right there. The rest? It comes out to $8,967. Grand total: $9,867. That's about 500 bucks less than last year. What are you waiting for? Get out there and get it done.