Baseball in San Bernardino dates back to 1899. More than a century's worth of history includes such team names as the Kittens and the Pioneers. It also includes a drought from 1950?1987, during which the city lacked enough dirt to build a baseball field. That drought ended when the San Bernardino Spirit began play as part of the California League.
In 1996, the Spirit became the Stampede, and in 2003, the Stampede became the 66ers, a name chosen in honor of the historic U.S. Route 66 that is famous for its hitchhiking umpires. Over the years, the 66ers organization has spent time as the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Mariners, Dodgers, and most recently, the Angels. The team has brought honor to each of its MLB partners, as it has won six California League championships since 1995.
For the past five years, the Ontario Reign have dominated opponents as the ECHL affiliate of the Winnipeg Jets and the 2012 Stanley Cup champions, the Los Angeles Kings. Formerly the Texas Wildcatters, and before that, the Huntington Blizzard, the Reign rose to existence in 2008. And, rather than naming the team the old-fashioned way of letting a raccoon pick random letters from a bag of Scrabble pieces, the newly spawned organization turned to its fans with a name-the-team contest. That contest kicked off what has been a thriving relationship between the Reign and Ontario hockey fans. In fact, the Reign led the ECHL in attendance during their first three seasons. In 2012 and 2013, the team rewarded its loyal fans with back-to-back Pacific Division championships, and in coming seasons, hopes to be a perennial contender for the Kelly Cup.
Swing Away Baseball Training Center's head coach, Taylor George, knows what it takes to get drafted into the big leagues. After all, he was drafted himself—twice. The Tampa Bay Rays selected George right out of high school, but he opted instead to play college ball at Cypress College, where he excelled enough to get picked up by the New York Mets after his sophomore season.
At Swing Away, George shares his innate understanding of the game with youngsters who might also have major-league goals. He helps his students improve their mechanics for hitting and pitching, and he also works with them to develop the strategic thinking it takes to run the base paths or trap a cat in a game of pickle. Athletes as young as 4 can take cuts inside the facility's batting cages or work on their velocity inside one of two pitching tunnels.
Two terrace-section tickets to "Bugs Bunny at the Symphony" on Saturday, August 6, at 8 p.m. at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine (a $112 value). Four tickets to The Chuck Jones Big Draw on Sunday, August 7, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the South Coast Collection shopping center in Costa Mesa (a $40 value). 10 Drop In and Draw art sessions at the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity in Orange (up to a $150 value).
Championship-level kart racers grip the asphalt turns and straights with Allen Berg Racing Schools' race-kart-driving experience. Navigating Calgary Kart Racing Club Track's twists and turns in a fleet of race karts, the speed-smitten staff demonstrates the art of tire burning and swift pizza delivery. Authentic race karts can reach up to 120 kilometres per hour.
Though the Los Angeles Blues are firmly attached to California, they celebrated their inaugural season like any newlyweds would: they headed to the Caribbean. In the team's first official weekend of play, it earned back-to-back wins over Sevilla Puerto Rico and Antigua Barracuda on their home turfs. Winning became a theme for the Blues that season, as they surged to the playoffs in the nascent USL Pro League. Since those early triumphs, the Blues have expanded beyond play in the USL Pro, taking on teams from other leagues during the annual U.S. Open Cup, participating in international exhibitions, and constantly fending off squirrels trying to steal the game balls for their acorn hoards.