MiLB’ing around

I wrote this while en route to a couple of West Coast baseball games, when the Dodgers and Angels were both home this past weekend. When planning this trip, the thought did strike me that it might be fun to catch a Minor League game in southern California. I've only been to about a dozen minor league games, and that includes a bunch to my local team, the Hudson Valley Renegades, a short-season Single-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. I've been sticking to games “in the area”, and have seen two AAA venues, three AA ones, and the aforementioned Gades at the Dutch.

The current trip was about me getting to all of the MLB parks. I have no such aspirations with Minor League ball. I do, though, have some interest in seeing all of the Yankee affiliates (with a few visits to Trenton and Scranton Wilkes-Barre under my belt already), and I have strayed here and there to get to the games in New Britain, CT; Allentown, PA; and Binghamton, NY. With AAA and AA Yankee games seen, a trip to see the SI Yankees is pretty certain, and others to see the Yankee kids down in Tampa and Charleston are on the wish list. Getting to most of the International League, Eastern League, and NY-Penn League would be nice, as would a game in Nebraska or especially Iowa, in a “Field of Dreams” kind of way. Here are other teams on the wish list:

- Pawtucket Red Sox
- Durham Bulls
- Toledo Mud Hens
- Columbus Clippers
- Syracuse Chiefs
- Reading Phillies
- Bowie Baysox
- Portland Seadogs
- New Hampshire Fisher Cats
- Burlington Lake Monsters
- Wilmington Blue Rocks
- Tri-City Valley Cats
- Connecticut Tigers
- Aberdeen Ironbirds
- Brooklyn Cyclones

Sometimes, the team name grabs me; other times, a recollection of a team from reading about it, its feature in a movie, etc., grabs me. Of course, there’s just the simple enjoyment of seeing something new, and even the way it may pass time when other travel is required. To that end, a recent trip to Boston and Maine irritated me to a small degree when I realized that the four "local" (reachable) teams were all on the road.

The allure of these games is multifold, starting with small, but good, crowds, all into the game. There’s rarely a bad seat--more often than not, seats very close to the field are available. There looks to be more enticement for families, as many events between innings take place; further, there are plenty of adults there too, many with scorebooks, others just casually enjoying the game. I have not been to a game where a major leaguer was rehabbing, or where a known prospect was playing, but that didn't lessen my enjoyment, though I imagine it would have greatly enhanced the experience. Then there is the price: At my first game, I remember purchasing parking, ticket, food, a beer, and a shirt for something like $32. That doesn't cover parking in some MLB venues. In Scranton, AAA locale for the Yankees, I paid $3 for parking. And, what a beautiful park in a quaint setting that is. I really enjoyed a great day there. That stands as my favorite MiLB park.

Anyway, I wrote this post out long hand while on the cross-country flight, and have now "MyScript"’d it (akin to OCR'ing), and am cleaning it up. I correctly guessed that I would not add a California League team to the list.

Feel free to post a comment with any favorite MiLB venue of yours—always interested in such recommendations.

Comments

  1. Gotta love the MiLB. Went to a Potomac Nationals game last month and saw some decent baseball, post-game fireworks, and the kids got to run the bases. Plus, Bernie Carbo was set up at a folding table signing autos for free. For some reason, he added "John, 3.16" to his signature-- must be a Tommy John fan, although he didn't get the career ERA quite right. I take it he likes Jesus Alou, too-- the back of his shirt said "Jesus" with a big number 1.

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