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SI.com's Pablo Torre plots out hardball destinations for your summer vacation.
MORE TRIPS: New Englander | Metropolitan Ball Tour | Southern Swing | Tour of Texas

It's not surprising that the state known most for moviemaking excels in providing some of the country's best hardball entertainment. From baseball's biggest, most controversial celebrity -- perhaps you've heard of an outfielder named Barry Bonds -- to some of its most scenic views, the West Coast is ripe for a road trip. Five major league franchises call California home, far and away the most in the United States. You can visit the historic Chavez Ravine -- former stomping ground of Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale -- and celebrate with the Rally Monkey in Anaheim. There's also a Class A field on this itinerary called "The Epicenter." So get your fill of scenery and top talent, but don't suppress your inner paparazzi and remember to keep an eye out for the celebrities. This is California, after all, and nowhere else can Hollywood, baseball, and earthquakes converge so beautifully.

Go to AT&T Park to cheer, boo, or just get a glimpse of slugger Barry Bonds.
Go to AT&T Park to cheer, boo, or just get a glimpse of slugger Barry Bonds.
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
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Chavez Ravine, home of the Dodgers and site of Kirk Gibson's famous homer in the '88 World Series.
Harry How/Getty Images
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The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes offer a beautiful mountainside setting east of Los Angeles.
Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
Luke Winn & Dan Hoyle's Midwestern Loop
Two SI.com writers took a six-day, four-state tour of games in the Midwest, and kept a full journal to whet your appetite for baseball tourism.

FULL STORY

1. San Francisco Giants (MLB)
Location: San Francisco, Calif.
Stadium: AT&T Park

Thanks in large part to Bonds, AT&T Park and "McCovey Cove" -- an adjacent part of the bay named for Hall of Famer Willie McCovey -- have become the prime spot for long-ball hunters. And if you're not brave enough to paddle a kayak, the stadium has great sightlines and wide concourses built to provide excellent views, even if you're on your way to buy a hot dog. Indeed, Candlestick Park this is not: besides the lack of swirling winds, AT&T also boasts 121 wireless Internet access points, ensuring easy surfing for tech-savvy fans.

Key links: Web site | Schedule | Tickets

2. Oakland A's (MLB)
Location: Oakland, Calif.
Stadium: McAfee Coliseum

The church of Moneyball, otherwise known as McAfee Coliseum, has come along way since its "Mausoleum" days of the late 1970s, an era when the park was a dreary concrete grey, the stadium electronics were dodgy, and the ballplayers were less than first-class. Under GM Billy Beane's leadership, the A's have served as the standard of the 21st-century front office. McAfee has the most foul territory of any stadium in the majors, meaning fans are distanced from infield action -- but that feature has made the Coliseum arguably one of the best pitchers' parks in the AL.

Key links: Web site | Schedule | Tickets

3. Stockton Ports
(Class A -- A's, California League)
Location: Stockton, Calif.
Stadium: Banner Island Ballpark

Stockton has a history older than most major league franchises: Its team, born in the 1860s, is suspected to be the inspiration for Ernest Thayer's mythic baseball poem, Casey at the Bat. But the Ports' new home, Banner Island Ballpark, is full of modern amenities. Named one of the 10 best minor league stadiums according to Minor League News, it is located right next to the water, meaning boats and jet skis whiz by as often as line drives.

Key links: Web site | Schedule | Tickets

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