In “procrastinating big projects by working on smaller projects” news, I’ve been piecing together a history of my baseball game attendance over the years. It’s been fun to reconstruct via photo dates, ticket stubs, and other scraps of evidence that were happily gathering dust in closets until I disturbed them. Complete team schedules from MLB team sites were super-helpful too.

It’s woefully incomplete, though, because lack of evidence means there’s no way to credibly tally every Angel/Dodger/Padre game I attended as a kid in the 1980s and early 1990s. There’s nothing from the first game I saw (Angels vs Royals at the Big A circa…1986?), and indeed nothing until a Dodger-Brave playoff game in 1996 (and even then the ticket had no date!).

I decided the 2020 quarantine year was a good cutoff, because we’re pretty up to date on 2021-2023. Everything in this post is presented the same way as my DuBois Baseball Tour and the post-quarantine stuff, but instead of the big blips these are just “my wife and I have been lots of games together because we like baseball and it’s fun.” It’s mostly bad photos from the nearby SoCal stadiums, but there are a few exceptions way down the list.

1996-10-03: Dodgers vs Braves in LA. A few years of my high school and college time corresponded with the post-player’s-strike era, one of the few times I didn’t pay much attention to baseball. However, playoffs are playoffs, so when two Atlanta-fan college friends invited me, we drove down from UCSB and saw a NLDS game. The ticket price? Fifteen dollars!

2001-08-04: There’s some confusion about the first game my wife and I saw together, but it was definitely a Padre game at Qualcomm in 2001. She’s got lots of photos from a Padres-Rangers game in July of that year—which I have strong memories of attending—but I’m not in any of the photos (maybe I snapped them?), so the only thing I have to go on is a Padres-Reds ticket stub from a month later.

2002-07-20: DBacks vs Padres in SD. This game has the opposite problem: I went to several Padre games with my future wife and mother-in-law, but my sister is also in one of these too, and she has no memory of going to games with us. My only real takeaway is that I’ve apparently seen Arizona play San Diego a million times.

2003-05-31/6-1/6-2 (all vs Arizona): We’ve gone to full series in San Diego many times, and this was the first of those while also being the last at Qualcomm. The 5/31 game has lived on in our minds as “the jumbotron game,” because my wife and her cousins finally succeeded in getting the camera’s attention.

2005-06-04: Cubs vs Padres in SD. I’m pretty sure we went to Padre games in Petco Park’s first year of operation (2004), but my earliest evidence is a ticket stub from the following season. 2005 also happens to be the year San Diego backed into the NL West championship series (which we saw them lose to St Louis while on a red-eye to Boston, where we went to Fenway for a tour but not a game).

2011-05-29: Marlins vs Dodgers in LA. The historical record skips ahead six years to a random Dodger game, memorable because it was a month after a Giants fan had been assaulted there on Opening Day. We never felt unsafe, but that wasn’t because the LAPD patrolled the parking lot—it was because our nosebleed seats were right behind a group of nuns.

2011-08-20: Orioles vs Angels in Anaheim. Strangely, the only Angel game on this list, but maybe that’s because I went to so many as a kid. Regardless, I don’t remember the occasion, and in any case it was six years after our “official” visit to the Big A for our stadium tour.

2012-06-17 and 2013-06-09: Two Dodger games (vs White Sox in 2012 and Atlanta in 2013) where we had great seats thanks to someone else’s season tickets. We always attended 1-2 token LA games every year because it’s the closest one and Em hadn’t yet been going regularly as her students’ chaperone.

2013-07-09: Rockies vs Padres in SD. We’d been to Petco Park for full series in 2007 (for which I have no evidence) and 2008 (which was our “official” tour stop), both against Atlanta. However 2010 was their last good season for some time, and by 2013 I guess we’d contented ourselves with just one game in the general vicinity of our anniversary date, so all I have for this one is a blurry smartphone snap.

2016-07-08: Padres vs Dodgers in LA. Another anniversary-adjacent Padre game, another tough loss for SD to LA. The really lean 2010s in San Diego (roughly 2011-2019 or the “Blue Padres” era) were dispiriting to keep up with, especially when life got in the way. I was running a business from 2017-19, one of several reasons we kinda fell off the wagon for a bit, though we still visited Petco a few times.

2017-06-27: Padres vs Braves in SD. One of those Blue Padre Petco visits was while Em attended the AVID education conference (regularly in SD but not always aligning with the Padres’ home games). It was fun to stay in the Gaslamp again and I bought a brown Padre hat, but it was telling that our first game was in late June. Little did we know that the Seidler-era resurgence was nigh.

2018-08-01: Brewers vs Dodgers in LA. I think this was my last game pre-quarantine. We went because Em’s ex-students on the Fillmore High baseball team were being honored pre-game along with a few other schools, so she was there to cheer them. Talking baseball cards with nephews was a bonus.

Even more errata: minor league games! Well, one AA game and three collegiate-league games (which sadly don’t include a few undocumented SB Foresters games from the late ’90s/early ’00s).

2011-06-24: When my sister and brother-in-law lived in San Jose, they took us to a double-A Giants game. It was fascinating to see players both on the way up and down, either refining or hanging onto whatever skill levels they could achieve.

2017-07-18: Portland obviously has no major league baseball team, so when we found ourselves there for another education conference, we trekked out to the city’s east side to see the Pickles do their collegiate-level thing. It scratched the baseball itch on that trip.

2022-06-12 and 2022-07-21: We’d neglected local Ventura County baseball for too long, so in the post-quarantine years we’ve been casually keeping up with the Conejo Oaks, who play at CLU in Thousand Oaks. It’s a great way to see competent baseball with only a little traffic in between us and them.

That’s all for this one, at least for now. Perhaps I’ll add to it as we unearth more history! Until then, the current decade’s post is probably the best one to follow.