September is when summer comes to a close in Southern California, and on the Sept. 23 we gently, almost invisibly, move into fall. For most of us, the date passes unnoticed, as the weather changes little, if at all, in Southern California. If you’re looking for the leaves to change color, feel the bite in the air as hints of winter trickle in, and look forward to reaching for your favorite sweater, this is not the place to be. However, if you’re looking for beautiful weather and a wide variety of great sporting events, you’re in the right place.
September wraps up the regular season for Southern California’s three professional baseball teams. For the San Diego Padres, who have no hope of playing in the post-season in 2014, it means the end of the season. They’ll host the Arizona Diamondbacks, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants and the Colorado Rockies.
At the other end of the spectrum, both the Los Angeles Angels and the Los Angeles Dodgers are fighting for a playoff spot. The Angels will host the Houston Astros, the Seattle Mariners and the Texas Rangers. The Dodgers have a busy month and welcome the Washington Nationals, Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants (with huge playoff implications) and close out the regular season with the Colorado Rockies.
For those who love baseball, but prefer the more relaxed atmosphere of minor-league baseball, the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, Lancaster JetHawks and the Lake Elsinore Storm all have September home games.
For professional football fans, September ends the months-long drought since February’s Super Bowl. The NFL regular season opens on Sept. 4 with the Seattle Seahawks hosting the Green Bay Packers. Southern California’s only NFL team, the San Diego Chargers (Los Angles still does not have an NFL team), host the Super Bowl champions Seattle Seahawks on Sept. 14, and host the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sept. 28.
Like football, but prefer the college variety? USC is hosting Oregon State on Sept. 27, and UCLA has invited Memphis in for a Sept. 6 game. Two storied programs and both are ranked highly in the pre-season polls.
September is also a great month for those who prefer their sports on ice. If you want to see some hockey and can’t wait for the regular season to open, the Los Angles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks both host pre-season games toward the end of the month.
If you’re a lifelong soccer fan, or a new fan with a little leftover World Cup enthusiasm, the StubHub Center in Carson is the place to be. The Los Angeles Galaxy hosts the Colorado Rapids, FC Dallas and the New York Red Bulls, and Chivas USA hosts Seattle and Sporting KC.
If horse racing is your thing, Del Mar has their season-ending race on Sept. 3. Santa Anita Park starts racing again on Sept. 26. For those who love horses and want to see a completely different sort of competition, Del Mar is also hosting the International Dressage Horse Show the second week of September, and the San Diego Polo Club has a match at Rancho Santa Fe on Sept. 7.
And while we’re on horses, the First Annual Longines Los Angeles Masters is being held at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Sept. 25-28. This will be the first time for Los Angeles has hosted a Master Grand Slam event and it is not to be missed—the 25 best jumpers in the world will be there competing, their horses racing at full speed and jumpingto clear a series of five-foot fences. My daughter competed horse jumping for a number of years and I can tell you it is incredibly exciting.
For those who prefer their horses under the hood, rather than on the hoof, look no further than Fontana’s Auto Club Speedway. From Exotics to NHRA, there is something happening every weekend.
With regards to events listed above, more detailed information is available at the team or event websites, so please check for dates, times and ticket availability. Please know that this short column only touches the surface of the various sporting events available for your attending and viewing pleasure. I’ve tried to cover the “bigger events” and a couple of those that might be less well known. While you’re visiting, should you find an upcoming event that you think would be of interest, or one I missed this month but should note for next year, just drop me a line. Enjoy!