Late last month, the Oakland Raiders’ move to Las Vegas was approved by the National Football League and ever since, we’ve been jonesing for some Sin City-based professional sports action. Unfortunately, save for a minor-league baseball team, Las Vegas doesn’t have any sports just yet, although a handful of teams and games are just a quick trip away.
The Phoenix-based baseball club is just a short 4-and-a-half-hour drive, or an even shorter hour flight, from Las Vegas. The Diamondbacks, who are projected to be a .500 team this season, play their games at Chase Field, located in downtown Phoenix but the stadium is surrounded by some of Arizona’s top tourist destinations, including Glendale, Tempe and Scottsdale which could turn a quick trip south into a decent little weekend.
Los Angeles Dodgers & LA Angels of Anaheim
Dodgers and Angels Stadiums are both a four-hour drive from Las Vegas and their home teams have players on their rosters that I can pick out of a lineup! Clayton Kershaw a perennial Cy Young candidate and while he only plays once every five days, Yasiel Puig, Corey Seager and Adrian Gonzalez will look to lead the Dodgers day in and day out as one of the National League’s best. The Angels are led by perennial MVP candidate Mike Trout and Albert Pujols and while they aren’t projected to compete for the World Series, could be a surprise team out of the American League West.
The formerly named Mighty Ducks also play close to four hours from Vegas and have been one of the best teams in their division for the last few years. They’ll enter this year’s NHL Playoffs, which start this week, as the top seed in the Western Conference and if the Ducks can regain their form from a decade ago, when they won the 2007 Stanley Cup Finals, hockey could be rolling into May and June.
Los Angeles Clippers
The same drive can also drop you at the Staples Center, where the Los Angeles Clippers will be opening the NBA Playoffs this weekend. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, pictured above, lead the Clips into the postseason, where they’ll likely be a 4th seed in the Western Conference. That means, if they can make it through the opening round, they’ll likely face the Golden State Warriors in Western Conference Semi-Finals.
One of Major League Soccer’s most successful and original teams still play just outside of Los Angeles at the StubHub Center. The Galaxy may not have the star power like they did when David Beckham played for them years ago but US Men’s National Team member Jermaine Jones leads the team, along with former English great Ashely Cole and some the best young American talent in MLS.