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Cal League is an overlooked diamond in Southern California

Cal League is an overlooked diamond in Southern California
Former Dodger Adrian Gonzalez rehabbed with Rancho Cucamonga last season and met their mascot, Tremor. (Steve Saenz)

With some fans complaining that it is getting more and more difficult to take their family to more than one Dodgers or Angels game a year because of the expense involved, a low-cost alternative is often overlooked.

The California League, a Class A league, has four teams in Southern California, all of which offer traditional minor league entertainment: mascots, between-inning games, video board quizzes and more, all for the cost of admission, which is frequently under $10 a ticket.

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Here's a look at the four area Cal League teams:

Inland Empire 66ers

Began in San Bernardino: 1987

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Current affiliate: Angels

Previous affiliates: Seattle Mariners (1987-91), Independent (1993-94), Dodgers (1995-2000), Seattle (2001-06), Dodgers (2007-10)

Owner: Elmore Sports Group

Stadium: San Manuel Stadium

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Stadium notes: The San Bernardino Valley College baseball team also uses the stadium for its home games.

Capacity: 8,000

Website: www.ie66ers.com

Notable alumni

Ken Griffey Jr.: Played in 1988

Paul Konerko: 1995

Felix Hernandez: 2004

Adrian Beltre: 1996

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Ted Lilly: 1997

Cal League championships: 1995, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2013

Current coaching staff: Manager Ryan Barba, hitting coach Brian Betancourth, pitching coach Chris Seddon

Mascot name: Bernie

Lake Elsinore Storm

Began in Lake Elsinore: 1994

Current affiliate: San Diego Padres

Previous affiliates: Angels (1994-2000)

Owner: Gary E. Jacobs, Storm LP

Stadium: Lake Elsinore Diamond

Stadium notes: In December 2017, the field was covered with 150,000 square feet of dirt so it could host an off-road truck championship.

Capacity: 7,866

Notable alumni

Darin Erstad: Played in 1995

John Lackey: 2000

Francisco Rodriguez: 2000

Jake Peavy: 2001

Corey Kluber: 2008

Cal League championships: 1996, 2001, 2011

Current coaching staff: Manager Edwin Rodriguez, hitting coach Doug Banks, pitching coach Pete Zamora, coach Freddy Flores

Mascot name: Thunder

Lancaster Jethawks

Began in Lancaster: 1996

Current affiliate: Colorado Rockies

Previous affiliates: Seattle Mariners (1996-2000), Arizona Diamondbacks (2001-06), Boston Red Sox (2007-08), Houston Astros (2009-16)

Owner: Jake Kerr and Jeff Mooney

Stadium: The Hangar

Stadium notes: Because of Lancaster's aerospace legacy, the stadium has an F/A-18 Hornet mounted on display at the front entrance.

Capacity: 6,860

Website: www.jethawks.com

Notable alumni

Jose Cruz Jr.: Played in 1996

Brian Fuentes: 1998

Brandon Webb: 2001

Miguel Montero: 2005

Mark Reynolds: 2006

Cal League championships: 2012, 2014

Current coaching staff: Manager Fred Ocasio, pitching coach Dave Burba

Mascot name: KaBoom

Rancho Cucamonga Quakes

Began in Rancho Cucamonga: 1993

Current affiliate: Dodgers

Previous affiliates: San Diego Padres (1993-2000), Angels (2001-10)

Owner: George Brett and Bobby Brett, Brett Sports and Entertainment

Stadium: LoanMart Field

Stadium notes: When it first opened, LoanMart Field was called the Epicenter, a name many Quakes fans still use today.

Capacity: 6,588

Website: www.rcquakes.com

Notable alumni

Mike Napoli: Played in 2001, 2003-04

Ervin Santana: 2003

Howie Kendrick: 2005

Matt Shoemaker: 2009-10

Garrett Richards: 2010

Mike Trout: 2010

Yasiel Puig: 2012

Joc Pederson: 2013

Corey Seager: 2013-14

Julio Urias: 2014-15

Cody Bellinger: 2015

Cal League championships: 1994, 2015

Current coaching staff: Manager Drew Saylor, hitting coach Justin Viele, pitching coach Connor McGuinness, coach Pedro Montero

Mascot name: Tremor

Twitter: @latimeshouston

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