Each spring ballparks around the country begin to fill up with the sound of bats cracking, cleats clacking and the excitement of another season. The sights, sounds and smells of a baseball park are etched in the sensory banks of many Americans, and with good reason. Before television, radio and video games there was one common way to burn the time away in this country and that was by playing or watching baseball. Whether you’re an avid fan or just looking for a way to meander away an afternoon a visit to a local ballpark is sure to fit the bill.
While not everyone is located near a Major League team there are countless opportunities to attend a Minor League game throughout the South, and with average tickets prices ranging from $7 to $10 catching a game is an affordable way to entertain the entire family. Here is a quick look at some of the best Minor League teams in the region.
New Orleans Zephyrs: Steeped in history and full of Cajun flavor the New Orleans Zephyrs play their home games a short 10 mile drive from the Frenchmen Orleans. As the Triple-A affiliate of the Florida Marlins, the players on the Zephyrs’ roster are only one step from being called up to the big show, and quite often major league players can be seen on the field as they rehab from injuries. While the action on the field is the main draw, children will be enthralled with a variety of activities designed to entertain during the slower moments of the game such as the speed pitch where guessing how hard you can throw will win you a prize. Of course no trip to Zephyr Field is complete without a photo-op with Boudreaux the Nutria mascot or his wife and six children that can be found wandering about the park.
Charleston RiverDogs: If you play in a city known for history you better be able to create some of your own if you want to be noticed, and that’s what the RiverDogs have done. The Single-A affiliate of the New York Yankees has seen All-Stars like Josh Hamilton, Rocco Baldelli and Carl Crawford all grace the field at Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park in recent years. Of course meeting possible super stars is not that difficult as every Sunday is Family Day, where after each game players and Charlie the mascot are available for signing autographs on the field. With fireworks every Friday, a free giveaway every Saturday and Family Day on Sundays there is no reason not to find yourself at a RiverDogs game.
Myrtle Beach Pelicans: If you’re staying in Myrtle Beach soar into some affordable family fun with the Single-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, the Pelicans. Nothing can beat $1 hot dogs on Wiener Wednesday unless it’s a free hot dog, chips and a drink for children 12 and under on Kids Eat Free Monday. If you’ve always dreamed of stepping on the field show up on Sunday as families are invited to grace the outfield and play catch before each game. No matter what day of the week it is a trip to BB&T Coastal Field for a Pelicans game is a must do for anyone in the area.