In the 2003-04 offseason, I started fiddling with major league schedules and looking for road trips. My wife didn’t nip it in the bud, and my 11-year-old son and I ended up with a trip that included games in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Mets, day off at Cooperstown, Boston, Montreal, Toronto, and Detroit. Along the way, we also took in the NFL, NBA, and NHL halls of fame in addition to the day in Cooperstown. Then we stopped back home in northern Indiana to pick up my wife and other son and headed to Iowa for a family reunion, followed by games in the Quad Cities (when it was the Twins affiliate), Minnesota, Kansas City (and Negro League Baseball Museum), and St. Louis.
All that to say that my wife hasn’t nipped this one in the bud either, so I’m doing some exploring that some of you may also want to consider. With the Saints, Wind Surge, and Kernels now making the top three levels of the Twins system, I started looking for good combinations to see all three of them. Here’s what I’ve found:
In the week that begins on Tuesday, May 25, Cedar Rapids hosts Wisconsin, the Saints are at Iowa, and Wichita hosts Springfield. If you’d like to add nearby games, Omaha and Northwest Arkansas are at home. If you want to start a couple days early on the southern end of the path, Wichita will have ended a series in Tulsa on Sunday, the 23rd. Another add-on will have been to take in the Twins before or after. They host Baltimore on the 24th-26th (Mon-Wed) and Kansas City on the 28th-30th (Fri-Sun), so that could kinda be like seeing more minor league teams, especially when they play the Orioles.
In the week that beings on Tuesday, July 6, Cedar Rapids hosts Peoria, the Saints are again at Iowa, and Wichita hosts Northwest Arkansas. Again, if you’d like to add nearby games, Omaha and Springfield are at home that week. The Kernels will also have ended the previous week with a Sunday, July 4 evening game in the Quad Cities. This time, the Twins will also be at home, playing the team from the Windy City which shall not be named on the 5th-7th (Mon-Wed) and then hosting a four-game set with Detroit on the 8th-11th (Thurs-Sun).
It will take a bit more driving, but if you’re starting near the Twin Cities, there are two weeks when all three teams are at home — the weeks starting June 15 (Iowa at St. Paul, South Bend at Cedar Rapids, and Springfield at Wichita) and August 3 (Louisville at St. Paul, Quad Cities at Cedar Rapids, and Midland at Wichita). The Twins are on the road during the first week, though they will have sandwiched the week by hosting Houston and Cincinnati. In the second week, they will also be on the road, but begin hosting the aforementioned team that shall not be named on the Monday following the week. If one started on the south end, they could catch Wichita, Cedar Rapids, St. Paul and the Twins, in that order, even on a quick Friday/Saturday/Sunday/Monday extra long weekend.
If you’re wondering, the Saints trips to Omaha don’t line up well for catching the Wind Surge and Kernels. Their first trip to the Storm Chasers starts April 13, before AA and A are in action. Their second starts May 4 and has the Kernels at home, but Wichita is on the road, though at relatively nearby Springfield. The final trip starts July 20, and again the Kernels are at home, but Wichita is on the road, though again at a relatively nearby park in Arkansas.
In terms of drive times, it’s less than two hours from Cedar Rapids to Des Moines and then about 5:45 from Des Moines to Wichita, leaving plenty of time for a stop in Kansas City for some barbecue. If you interrupt the Des Moines to Wichita jaunt with a detour to Omaha to catch the Storm Chasers, you’ll add about an hour to the drive, but miss the barbecue. (So in other words, you’d want to add two hours, because it would be stupid to go that near Kansas City and not swing by for said barbecue.)
Who’s in for a road trip?