For a die-hard baseball fan like myself, living 4-5 hours from the nearest Major League ballpark has been very difficult, considering I grew up in a city with 2 teams. The last couple of years, I’ve started going to Las Vegas 51s games. While not quite the same experience as Yankee Stadium, I’ve found it to be quite enjoyable. The smaller park gets you closer to the action, many of the players are just as talented as MLB players, the tickets and concessions are a lot cheaper, and you just may be watching the next superstar in action.*
So, do you go to your local minor league games? Where? How do you like it?
*BTW, Dodger fans, you need to let management know what a stupid move sending James Loney back to AAA was. I saw him play last year, and take it from me, he is THE REAL DEAL!
I’ve been a couple of Iowa Cubs games. I like it, especially the smaller park, not so far to walk from your car, and like you said, closer to the action. I like baseball and went to a lot of Mariners games when we lived in Seattle.
But the Cubs play in Des Moines, and it’s just too far to drive to attend regularly.
I agree about Loney. As for minor league, we go see the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes regularly. They are an Angels affiliate (Boo!) but are always good for a show. In fact, the last game we saw had Jared Weaver of the Angels pitching against Rafael Furcal of the Dodgers, both on rehab assignments.
Minor league games are cheaper, there is a better interaction with the team, the concessions are reasonable (Hell, at the Epicenter we get our food delivered to us in the box seats!) and parking isn’t a nightmare.
I go to:
Lakewood, NJ, Blue Claws, A Phillies
Trenton NJ, Trenton Thunder, AA Yankees
I plan to go the a Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees Game this year. AAA BTW.
I have been to Staten Island Yankees Partial Season A
I might get to the Brooklyn Cyclones. Partial Season A Mets.
I enjoy them but Single A can be brutal play at times. AA & AAA is much better baseball. I went to Trenton a lot when I lived in Howell, not as much now. I work close to the Blue Claws and go to a few games each year. I also take in a bunch of Yankee Games each year and usually 1 game somewhere else in the country each year.
AAA ball can be, in lots of ways, better than the majors. As was said earlier, smaller stadiums, fewer people, and generally still lower prices. Plus it’s generally possible to just decide to go down to the park one night for a game without having to worry about tickets as much. You can see guys from the majors rehabbing and stars before they make it. I went to a ton of Albuquerque Dukes game when I was a kid. They made for great family outings–$10 to $15 in admission total for all four of us and concessions at least reasonable. Then the Dukes got sold, went to Las Vegas, and they rebuilt the stadium. There are some things that are nicer about the new stadium–everything’s on the same level so you can get something to eat without losing sight of the field–but it’s more expensive now and instead of the cheap general admission which allowed you to sit almost anywhere practically all seating is assigned. That $10 that would have gotten the entire family in now only gets you one decent seat.
I’ve been to quite a few Indians games at Victory Field (Indianapolis.) It’s basically the only way to get a pro baseball experience in Indiana. The park is very nice, well-maintained and never crowded, and the tickets are fairly priced. The food is also pretty good.
Despite living in Indiana I’ve never been a basketball fan - the game just never held any allure for me. I’ve always been more into baseball: there’s more mystery in the game, more suspense, and of course more history. At the most basic level, it’s much more unique than the other mainstream sports (football, hockey, basketball, soccer) which are all a variation of “get to the end of the other team’s territory and get your ball into their hole,” and played in a rectangular way along an axis. Football is more strategy-intensive than the others but for me, at least, the difference between basketball and football is like the difference between checkers and chess. The difference between baseball and football, basketball, soccer or hockey is like the difference between checkers and poker.
(Sorry for the hijack.)
Since I’m far removed from baseball or hockey of any kind, (and hate basketball), I’ve made due. The Portland Winter Hawks are great Junior A hockey games.
As for baseball - I really enjoy seeing the Portland Beavers. Cheap tickets, great seats, ridiculously cheap, as in “I’ll have three please” cheap, as in aren’t-we-violating-some-sort-of-liquor-law cheap, beers.
Next Thursday is Ugly Sweater Night.
We’ve been to see the Lowell Spinners, a Single A Red Sox affiliate, several times. They have a very nice new park in a great setting, no bad seats and the whole experience is orders of magnitude cheaper than going to Fenway.
The downside for me is all of the various contests and stunts they run between innings overshadow the games at times.
We’ve been to the Charlotte Knights (including the opener against the Pawtucket Red Sox last Thursday), the Kannapolis Intimidators, the Hickory Crawdads, the Asheville Tourists, and the Greenville Drive.
This year we plan to get back to all of those and then to the Winston-Salem Warthogs, the Durham Bulls, the Greensboro Grasshoppers and the Carolina Mudcats. There are other teams within driving distance that might also happen.
Why go to minor league games?
Wienie Wednesdays~Presented By Hebrew National & KFRG
Stuff yourself silly on hot dogs at $1 each!
Thirsty Thursdays~Presented By KCAL 96.7
$1 draft beers and fountain sodas till the end of the fifth inning! Anyone thirsty yet?
On Dollar Beer nights, the wife says I’m the reason they cut off sales so early. Is it my fault our seats are all of 20 feet behind home plate, and that the ump can here every slander I scream at his calls?
I’ve been to a dozen or so affiliated minor league parks, along with a fair percentage of parks in the unaffiliated Northern League.
The experience is wonderful; the prices are obviously better, but I also think the casual fan can get a better appreciation of the game at a minor-league park. Better seating gives you a better look at the motion of the pitch, positioning and strategy on the infield, and the details of individual players’ talent. Plus, the higher error factor lets you appreciate just how difficult the game can be; the major leaguers often make the trickiest plays look too easy.
On the downside, affiliated ball doesn’t quite have the drama of the majors; even within the context of a single game, development and coaching are more important than the outcome: Pitchers, for example, are on strict pitch counts, so a hurler throwing a no-hitter can be lifted in the 6th inning.
But in many ways that distinction is overblown. I certainly wouldn’t bother to score a minor-league game, but instead try to pick out tendencies of pbatters and pitchers, and see if/how they develop during the course of a game or season. Anybody can use stats to predict who’s getting called up, but it’s more fun to pick out a guy and watch him develop over a game/season; minor league ball gives you that opportunity, if you’re willing to look for it.
Plus, some of those mid-inning promotions are a real hoot. They don’t distract the real fan, and I don’t think we have to be too reverent about the game…
We get to a few Sacramento Rivercats games every year. In fact, **Rhiannon8404 **and our son were supposed to go yesterday, but it rained. It’s a great atmosphere, the ballpark is Major League in every way but the size (and the prices). It sure beats driving 90 miles to San Francisco, although the Gordon Biersch garlic fries do make that trip worthwhile.
IIRC, the last game we went to, we played (and beat) the 51’s. Which, by the way, might be my all-time favorite sports team nickname.
No, but I intend to this season. I live in Tuscon, home of the AAA Sidewinders. I used to attend a few games when they were the Astros’ affiliate, when they used to be known as the Toros. Now they’re affiliated with the D-Backs, and the ‘Winders have a very large fan base due to the affiliation. Former Sidewinders’ manager Al Pedrique, who became third base coach for Arizona in 2003, served as interim manager of the D-Backs following Bob Brenley’s firing in 2004, due largely to his familiarity with the AAA’ers who had been called up to the NL club.
Before I went to college I often attended Minor League games:
I have attended a few games with:
I always enjoy myself at the games, particularly at the Trenton Thunder games where you get up close action at cheap prices. I really enjoyed the opportunities to see the Thunder with daycamp because my friend works for them and he always got us on the field during random games.
I decided long ago that I was officially sick of the Mets and the Yankees. The prices are exorbitant, the stadiums are too big, and the games take four hours because they have to pause for commercials between every pitch. Screw dat.
So, last year I started occasionally going to the Brooklyn Cyclones at the brand new Keyspan Park. The modern facilities are great and the price can’t be beat. Unfortunately, they’re only an A-minus team, so the players are not spectacular; a lot of college teams could probably beat them. But it’s still more fun to watch than the majors.
I really wish there was a AAA team in the boroughs.
I love going to Trenton Thunder games. Nice ballpark. Easily accessable. Cheap seats. The concessions are not that cheap. Since it is a Yankee AA team there is always the chance that someone out there might be a star some day. Nomar was on the team back when it was a Red Sox affiliate.
So do I! I love going to the Trenton Thunder games.
I’ve been to a number of West Michigan White Caps games, a Columbus Clippers game and a Indianapolis Indians game. I actually wish I could go to more minor league games because of the price. Maybe someday I’ll move away from a stinking major league city and be able to watch a baseball game without spending $75+.
We have 4 posters for the Thunder already, maybe we should think about meeting up for a game.
When I am in the US, I always try to take in at least one game of the Frederick (Maryland) Keys. Easy parking, lots of fun, I like to sit in the sun, drink a beer and watch the game. What baseball really need is a city-owned Municipal League.