From the San Gorgonio Pass, along Interstate 10, is a nice vantage point …
Spring training, Arizona.
PIR. Otherwise known as Phoenix International Raceway. Took off for Fontana.
BNP. Yes, the Paribas Open’s back. Pro tennis. Men’s and women’s. Biggest names in the world.
Just think that half of major league baseball teams are finishing up pre-season drills for the 2018 season.
Places like Mesa (Cubs), Maryvale (Brewers), Camelback Ranch (Dodgers & White Sox), Peoria (Mariners & Padres), Surprise (Royals & Rangers), Paradise (Rockies & Diamondbacks), Scottsdale (Giants) and Goodyear (Reds & Indians). A little further down the road in Mesa are the Oakland A’s.
The final spot is, of course, Tempe, where the Angels’ facilities can be seen just off I-10.
In the desert right now are former prep players like Taijuan Walker and Matt Davidson, both Yucaipa products, getting set for the Diamondbacks and White Sox, respectively.
Redlands East Valley product Tyler Chatwood, the Angels’ original draft pick traded to Colorado and now with the Cubs, will be Chicago’s No. 5 pitcher.
Redlands High’s Jacob Nottingham, a catcher, is trying to fit into the mix with Milwaukee.
If you’ve never been down to the Valley of the Sun, it’s worth the trip for any baseball fanatic.
Baseball’s everywhere out there.
Sitting in the stands of a Giants-at-Mariners’ game in Peoria, a couple of area fans, the Baileys, said they were headed to Palm Springs for the weekend – the BNP Paribas Open – in hopes of watching their favorite player, Roger Federer.
Yes, Federer, 36, was seeded No. 1.
The layout’s pretty nice at the Indian Wells tennis facility, says Dwight Bailey. “You can watch any match you want. Any court.” Of course, you have to pay a little higher premium for those Court 1 matches, like Federer.
Clay courts? Rafael Nadal? Youth like Dominic Thiem? A Federer-Nadal showdown is always desirable.
One final headline item for BNP: Let’s see if an unseeded woman can work her way into the finals. Name: Serena Williams, age similar to Federer. Just back from maternity leave, the new mother was headed for a third-round duel against her sister, Venus.
Talk about multiple headlines for the BNP Paribas Open. This tourney is tennis’ gift to SoCal. For this area to have a collection of tennis players this outstanding is off the charts.
Here’s the insight: For Federer to show up at the Coachella Valley means this guy’s trying to create a schedule to maximize his output for this year’s remaining Grand Slam events.
You might be interested in all those extended haulers rolling down I-10. It’s kind of a sight to see. It’s a sign. Last weekend’s NASCAR race at Phoenix International Raceway only means one thing:
Auto Club Speedway in Fontana was the next stop.
There are some red-hot drivers on the left-turn circuit, folks, but those post-race inspections – just ask Kevin Harvick after Atlanta – might win the sport a few fans. It might also lose a few along the way.
A rear window? His car’s roof? C’mon, guys.
Austin Dillon won at Daytona, but Harvick has won three in a row at Atlanta, Las Vegas and Phoenix.
Speaking of Dillon. He won the 2016 Xfinity Series TreatMyClot.com 300 at Fontana. His crew chief was none other than Danny Stockman, Jr., a Yucaipa product who served as Paul Menard’s crew chief on the Cup Series last year.
For the uninitiated, the Cup Series is for NASCAR’s top drivers while the Xfinity Series is Saturday racing. Stockman has returned to the Xfinity Series as the pit box man for driver Daniel Hemric.
All this in a span of a few weeks – spring training, world class tennis and NASCAR?
Here’s a stat for you: Drivers that finish out Sunday’s Auto Club 400 will drive more mileage than it takes to get from, say, Banning to the Dodgers’ Camelback Ranch spring training site.
You can stop at Indian Wells for some tennis along the way.
I-10 Stat II: Ya gotta head for Florida to track down Cherry Valley’s Jackson McClelland, a pitcher who was assigned to the Toronto Blue Jays (15th round, 2015 MLB draft) on Feb. 24 – spring training camp in Dunedin. Gulf of Mexico side, couple hundred miles south of the I-10.
I-10 Stat III: The NCAA men’s national basketball finals will be played in San Antonio on April 2. The Alamodome is right off the Christopher Columbus Intercontinental Freeway.
AKA, Interstate 10.
All that’s just a drive a way for any of us.