One week to go…

Date January 27, 2006

One week from now, I expect to be sitting at a hotel bar in San Diego, nursing a beer, and breaking down the first game of the University of Texas 2006 baseball season. The Longhorns are opening up this year against the University of San Diego Toreros. This is my second year in a row to fly to San Diego for the opening series of the season. Last year, the game was against the San Diego State Aztecs — coached by Tony Gwynn in Tony Gwynn Stadium (the school built a new stadium, named it after their most famous baseball alumnus…and then hired him to coach their team a couple of years later). The Longhorns swept the series and went on to win the College World Series.

I’m going out with my friend and co-worker Bill. We went to a number of games a couple of years ago, decided to buy season tickets last year ($180/seat for 28 home games, plus guaranteed seats for any post-season games at Disch-Falk Field). It’s a steal. We split the cost of two seats. Neither one of us can attend all of the games. So, whichever ones we can’t attend the other one of us gets first dibs at the ticket. I got to take my five-year-old (at the time) to a half-dozen games last year, as well as take other various friends to games. And, Bill and I manage to go to plenty of games together. It works out well.

We also went to San Diego together last year. We both had free airline tickets, and Bill’s sister works for a major hotel chain, so we got a Friends and Family deal at a top-notch hotel in a great location for a ridiculously reasonable price. She wasn’t able to get us a room this year, so we’re going with Priceline. We’re not flexible on the dates, obviously, but we are extremely flexible on the location, and there are not any major events going on in San Diego that weekend, so there are plenty of available hotel rooms. We’re hoping to land a 4-star hotel for a good price, but, if we wind up at a Best Western, we’re fine with that, too. Between the two of us, we can basically bid 12 different times in one shot (two different credit cards each, 3 different zones that we’d be equally happy staying in) for a 4-star. If we can’t get something at a good rate, we’ll drop down to a 3-star. We’ll see. It should be interesting.

After the drought we’ve been having in Central Texas, it just figures that the rain would come in time for the Alumni Game tomorrow. My six-year-old is interested in going — even though it’s not a “real” game — so I hope that works out.

General warning: there will likely be a baseball-centric tone to my posts for the next week or so. I’d like to try to see if I can clearly articulate (and understand) why the game of college baseball appeals to me so much.

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