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.
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).
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.
Currently hovering around second place in the Golden Baseball League's south division rankings, the Flyers roster boasts two of the league's top hitters: Jimmy Rohan and Tyler Keeble, both of whom are batting over .400 after 13 games. By coupling their power-hitting pulchritude with Manny Ayala's wormhole-producing fastballs and World Series winner Byung-Hyun Kim's cybernetic rocket arm, Orange County's finest are pining to unseat the Yuma Scorpions, who have dominated the division so far this season. Beyond that, the Flyers hope to repeat the magic of their 2008 season, when the team won the GBL Championship Series and got to hold Marissa Dulgar's hand while staring at the stars from her parents' porch swing.
The Angels first brought their brand of baseball to the West Coast in 1961. During the club's first four decades, it experienced patches of success?a trend that changed in 2000, when manager Mike Scioscia took the reins. Since his arrival, Scioscia has spearheaded six playoff appearances, including the Angels' first World Series title in 2002. Today, the team's consistent play unfolds inside Angels Stadium of Anaheim, a 45,000-seat facility that features terraced bullpens, a towering right-field wall, and an artificial-rock structure above left-centerfield. Though artificial, the structure serves a true purpose as the launching point for the stadium's famous fireworks?sky-high explosions that let the world know that an Angel has either hit a home run or received the wings for his bee costume.