Sunday, May 11, 2008

My 1986 Season

My 1986 season was a special one for me. I went to 173 regular season games in 11 different ballparks. People have asked me how I could have gone to 173 games when there are only 162 games in a season. Well, the baseball season is actually 179 days long (or was back then). Twenty six weeks (26 x 7) minus 3 days off for the All-Star break = (182-3=179). My basic pattern, with a few exceptions, was to go to every A's home game and every Giants home game, then travel to other ballparks on days off. (Note: for metro markets with two teams like New York, LA, Chicago and San Fran, baseball tries its best to schedule each team with opposite home/road schedules to give teams the best shot possible at the highest attendance plus minimizing radio and TV conflicts. 1986 for example saw no A's/Giants home games on the same day.)

I had a job working for my then future father-in-law out of his house. He allowed me to more or less make my own hours, so I would work a day shift for night games, and work a split shift for day games. I didn't start the season with the idea that I would go to so many games (I went to 64 in 1985 and 36 in 1984). I just went to each game I could, which happened to be every day for the first few weeks. Late in April I realized that I had gone to every game so far, and only then did I decide I would make an all-out season. Over all, I missed only one A's home game and six Giants home games (two three-game series); I was in other cities during these days.

Over the winters in the 80's (pre-internet) I made it a practice to write to every team requesting their schedule for the upcoming year. I made a master schedule and planned my traveling from that. My greatest trip was a whirlwind 8 games in 5 days in 5 ballparks with a friend. May 4, there was a double header at Candlestick vs. Montreal, May 5 we flew to Chicago and rented a car and drove up to Milwaukee to see the Brewers play Seattle. May 6 and 7 were "double headers the hard way." Both the Cubs (vs. Dodgers) and White Sox (vs. Yankees) were home on the same days (a rare occurrence), with the Cubs playing day games and the Sox night games - another four games in two days. Then, an early morning flight on May 8 landed in Oakland at 10:30am for a 12:15 A's game vs. Milwaukee. Whew! The only A's home game I missed was on May 7. Other trips included a three game series with the A's in Seattle in April (missed a Giants series), and a trip to Montreal at the end of the season vs. the division champ Mets (missed a Giants series) with a layover in New York to see the Yankees play the Blue Jays. Down and back day trips to Anaheim, LA and San Diego on days off were also regular during 1986.

It was a whirlwind season full of amazing memories. I still have stories to write about staying in the Mets hotel in Montreal and the trip to Seattle, as well as the 8/5/5 trip. Stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. Have mercy, that's an amazing feat!! What sort of FED's (Fan Enhancing Drugs) were in your milk jug full of beer(ha- ha)? Talk about stamina!