Saturday, August 6, 2011

Minor League Baseball means: Roadtrips

Eventually after you watch some Blue Wahoo games, you will wonder how other stadiums look and want to experience baseball in different cities.  It may be a small addition to a all ready planned family vacation or a small detour on a business trip. Every year in the winter, I take all the new schedules and try to compose a road trip for a couple of days that allows me to see numerous games in so many days. Half the time the realities of life like work quickly make my trips a weekend getaway. For 2012, I was planning on seeing all teams at home in the East division of the Midwest League along with a Chicago Cubs game. The trip would cover four states and depending on the league's schedule, take anywhere from seven to ten days. Then I realized that with a move back to Pensacola, Florida, there are a ton of stadiums I haven't experienced within a reasonable driving distance. I might just plan to see all the Minor league teams in Georgia along with a Jacksonville Suns game when the Wahoo's are on a road trip. I always get asked what influences me on what stadiums I want to visit outside of the realities of life. Here are some:

Minor League Level:

I prefer the lower levels of Minor League Baseball over the higher levels. The main reason is that I also collect autographs and the players are excited to finally escape Extended Spring Training. Plus, they haven't been burnt out on the player-fan experience and are more then willing to sign multiple autographs. Its fun to try to pinpoint the future stars considering less then 10% of the players in Rookie League will make it to Double A.

Day Games:

Sometimes the road trip calls you to be in a city that doesn't offer that much other then a museum and baseball stadium. Waiting around all day for game time can get boring very quickly unless its Las Vegas your visiting. Day games are mostly schedule to easy the traveling schedule on the players and are rare. Most are marketed as Kids Days or Camp days by Minor League teams.  I always plan around day games that would allow me to watch a day game in one city and a night game in another city on the same day.


I also plan around promotions. Willie Nelson is playing in Missoula, Montana at Missoula Osprey game. That alone would be worth the trip and adding baseball game the same day would make it even better. I also plan around Free Baseball Card Night and Guest Celebrity Nights especially if its a Baseball Hall Of Famer. 

Endangered Ballparks:

One of the main reasons I want to do the Georgia trip is that it would allow me to see Lake Olmstead Stadium. The park seems like a interesting park and a rumor is going around the Augusta wants to replace it with a new one. I have also been to Grayson Stadium in Savannah, Georgia a couple of years ago but forgot to bring my camera. I wouldn't mind visiting it again. The park was built in 1926 and Savannah Sand Gnats have had a hard time getting people into the stands for the past couple of years. Time to see this stadium again may be running out.

Trust me. Eventually you will go see the Wahoo's play in Mobile or Montgomery against the Baybears and Biscuits. To some that would be considered a road trip. I am just trying to encourage you to take it a step further.....

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