The MLB schedule for the 2017 season has been released. You know what that means: Winter is on its way, fans of non-contending teams have renewed hope for Opening Day, and, most importantly, planning your road trip routes.
Obviously, your best road trip is likely the one that focuses on your favorite team the most. However, here are some ideas for the best road trips the 2017 season has to offer. We’ll highlight roughly one per month (though August is omitted for a choice of two July and September ones), that take place over roughly a one week timeframe. They’ll feature at least three different home teams, and favor aesthetically pleasing ballparks or cities with family activities. Here we go:
April 2-9—The Opener
Estimated Drive Time: 7 hours
April 2: San Francisco Giants @ Arizona Diamondbacks
April 7: San Francisco Giants @ San Diego Padres
April 9: Seattle Mariners @ Los Angeles Angels
Sure, it means you’re seeing the Giants twice to start the season—neither of which will be at AT&T. But we all know that it’s an even year right now and you obviously want to see the defending champs get to work early against division rivals, right?
The Giants at Diamondbacks game will be one of two games on tap for Opening Night on April 2nd. That means you’re not missing the ceremonious beginning to the 2017 season. Even further though, you’re attending Chase Field, Petco Park, and Angels Stadium—three unabashedly beautiful parks in April. In other areas across the continent, April may stay a bit brisk. But in Arizona and Southern California? You can put those worries to rest.
For the diehard, a bonus game can be reached at Dodgers stadium with the Padres visiting from April 3-5. This would tack on quite a bit of extra driving—Two hours and 100 miles to be more accurate—but if you’re focused on baseball only then mind over matter pals: hit the road.
Otherwise, save the time and take the family to Disneyland and Universal. Heck, I’m in my twenties and I’ll take a trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter any day.
May 21-29—Memorial Day in the South
Estimated Drive Time: 15 hours
May 21: Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves
May 22: Pittsburgh Pirates at Atlanta Braves
May 27: Baltimore Orioles at Houston Astros
May 29: Tampa Bay Rays at Texas Rangers
There’s no way to get around it, this one is a doozy. This suggested trip is not for the feint of heart and should only be attempted with people you know you can spend a long time in a car with.
This road trip begins at the newest ballpark in the majors: SunTrust Park in Cobb County. It also gets the Texas games out of the way before the nearly-insufferable summer heat really sets in. The road trip will also take you through Louisiana, warranting a stop in scenic New Orleans.
Lastly, spending Memorial Day watching baseball in Arlington, Texas feels like a genuinely good idea. As a Canadian citizen, I’m proud that I even thought of it. And I’m jealous of anyone that takes my advice on this trip.
June 16-23—Drive through the Midwest
Estimated Drive Time: 12 hours
June 16: San Francisco Giants at Colorado Rockies
June 19: Boston Red Sox at Kansas City Royals
June 23: Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals
This one is no easy trip either, but it is spread over eight total days so there’s plenty of time to sight-see tucked away in there.
This is the third time the Giants have shown up on the list, but still without a home game. At this point, it’s purely coincidence. Taking a trip through the midwest to see three teams all in different divisions just sounds like an exciting prospect. Throw in the best hitters park in all of baseball and a pair of pitchers parks and this is likely the most diverse trip on the list.
July 1-6—Canada Day and Independence Day
Estimated Drive Time: 9 hours
July 1: Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays
July 4: Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees
July 6: Pittsburgh Pirates at Philadelphia Phillies
For the small commitment of a nine hour drive you will be able to take in Canada Day in Toronto and Independence Day in New York. Wrap it all up with a short stay in Philadelphia for an interstate rivalry between the two Pennsylvania teams. This trip is my best work yet.
As a Torontonian, I can promise you that there’s no better time to go see a Blue Jays game than on Canada Day. The home crowd is at their loudest, proudest, and most plentiful. While I have never been to New York on Independence Day, I can imagine the Empire State being a pretty exciting place on the Fourth of July. Honestly, I might legitimately do this one. See you there.
July 9-14—All-Star Week in Florida
Estimated Drive Time: 4 hours
July 9: Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays
July 11: All-Star Game
July 14: Los Angeles Dodgers at Miami Marlins
Problem: Florida is somewhat remotely located when it comes to baseball teams. There are only two teams in the area, unless you’re going to trek all the way up to the Braves. Therefore, finding three games while in Florida is a bit tricky.
Solution: The All-Star Game! Of course, tickets for that event might be a bit tricky. However, there are plenty of related events that you may be able to take in instead. The Home Run Derby, the Futures Game, or even the Celebrity Softball Game. Just being in the Miami area might be fun enough for some folks.
Sandwiched around the All-Star Game, make sure to stop by The Trop for an interleague matchup against the Red Sox and take in a game that actually means something—you know, other than home field—at Marlins Park with the Dodgers visiting.
September 24-29—The Summer Ends Option 1
Estimated Drive Time: 3 hours
September 24: Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee Brewers
September 28: Los Angeles Angels at Chicago White Sox
September 29: Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs
This trip is the smallest amount of driving and will hopefully involve a couple playoff-bound teams. If you’re lucky, you make even see the Cubs clinch their 2017 postseason berth.
The Reds wrap up their season with a three-game set against the Cubs. You want to go to an early game here though because—while it’s way too early to be guessing at the 2017 playoff picture—you don’t want to see a team who has already clinched fire out a minor league roster. That’s why you’re going to the first game of the series.
Furthermore, the Brewers should be an exciting team next season even if they aren’t ready to compete yet and there’s a chance to see Mike Trout do Mike Trout things there. In fact, you might see both the AL and NL MVP suit up during this road trip. That’s pretty neat.
September 23-29—The Summer Ends Option 2
Estimated Drive Time: 4 hours
September 23: Washington Nationals at New York Mets
September 24: Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles
September 29: Pittsburgh Pirates at Washington Nationals
Again, this one boasts a pretty short drive time that wouldn’t be onerous at all. That being said, the way the schedule falls, there would be no rest time between your games in Flushing and Baltimore.
Like the other ‘Summer Ends’ option, this is designed to see a team clinch a postseason berth. And, worst case scenario, you might get to see Bryce Harper in action twice.
While the beginning of the trip does seem to add some stress, this is the option I’d choose to end my season on.
Are there trips that you’ve already imagined? Have you already started booking hotels? Did I forget an obvious one? Feel free to Well, Actually us in the comments section or in a FanPost of your very own.