A lifelong interest (and if we're being honest: obsession) with both sports and planning often manifests itself in the creation of great weekend or even single-day athletic itineraries.
This only has intensified in recent years since 1) taking over primary responsibility for plotting a four-day summer trip in which our group of friends attempts to see as many baseball games as possible; and 2) becoming a father, which can turn any outing into a 17-part plan — with any slip-ups or miscalculations turning a day into chaos.
So late last week when Minnesota United's first Major League Soccer schedule was announced, the natural inclination was to inspect it thoroughly for not only the best chances to get to a home match or two but also dates in which United matches coincide with other local sporting events — creating the opportunity for a grand day of Minnesota sports.
• First, it must be noted that United has a very friendly schedule when it comes to the weather and opportunities to draw big crowds in its inaugural season (at the temporary home of TCF Bank Stadium).
Its season starts March 3, but Minnesota has only one home game during that chilly month (March 12 vs. Atlanta). The regular season ends Oct. 22, but United has just one home game that month (Oct. 7 vs. Kansas City). And from June 21 to Aug. 5 Minnesota has eight total matches — seven of which are at home during prime summer weather while kids are out of school.
• If you're looking for a multisport doubleheader, there are some nice options as well. There are no overlapping home dates with the Wild and only one with the Timberwolves — April 1, when both United and the Wolves unfortunately play at 7 p.m.
But there are opportunities with one team playing in the early afternoon and the other playing in the late afternoon or evening with the Lynx (July 19), Saints (July 22) and particularly the Twins (I counted six dates in which you could see an MLS and MLB game).
The best of the bunch: Sunday, April 23, the Twins have a 1:10 p.m. home game against Detroit. Hop on the light rail after it's over and get to TCF Bank Stadium in time for United vs. Colorado at 5 p.m. … and July 4, when the Twins host the Angels at 1:10 p.m. while United has Columbus at 6 p.m.
• If you're really ambitious — hand raised — there is one date in which you could conceivably see large chunks of THREE different home games in one day: Sunday, May 21.
Here's the itinerary: First pitch of Twins vs. Royals is 1:10 at Target Field. Stay for most or all of that game before hopping the Green Line to catch United vs. Los Angeles Galaxy at 4 p.m. When that ends (should be around 6 p.m.), hop on the Green Line again and ride it to the endpoint in St. Paul, where you should be able to see the final few innings of the Saints' 5 p.m. start against Gary.
But there are many worse ways to spend a spring day, even if right now it's all just a January dream.