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North American Independent League Ballparks

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QUEBEC CITY IS ONE OF JOE'S TOP 25 ULTIMATE MINOR LEAGUE BALLPARK EXPERIENCES FOR ITS HISTORIC YARD

"I am a big fan of yours’. I really appreciate your guides and all your advice." – Eric, Palo Alto, California
 

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 TOP 25 MINOR/INDEPENDENT LEAGUE EXPERIENCES – AND WHY

 

There are hundreds of minor league and independent league teams and ballparks throughout the U.S. and Canada, but what are the “must see’s”? Each of these top 25 offer a unique experience – an experience where one exits the ballpark with a big smile and says, “Now (or Wow), that was fun, that was a little different.” So whether it’s the fan atmosphere, the history, the tradition, the ballpark seating or design, or a combination – these are some of the key qualities that make up the ones you’ve just got to see with lots of unique character – and why. A Fan’s Guide To The Ultimate Ballpark Tour: Fully Loaded! includes all the details on every Independent League ballpark and can be purchased at the Buy Joe's Guides page.

 

This list includes all minor league parks affiliated with a Major League team, as well as non-affiliated independent leagues. This list does not Mexican Summer League parks or former minor league parks that now host amateur teams. For info on A Fan’s Guide To The Ultimate College Summer League Ballpark Experience visit our Best North American College Summer League Ballparks page. If you want to view a sample of the guide and how easy the guide works, visit the MLB Ballpark Trips page.

 

1. MCU Park, Brooklyn, NY (Mets Class A affiliate, New York-Penn League)

 

You can take baseball out of Brooklyn, but can’t take the baseball out of the Brooklynite. Since pro baseball’s return to the borough in 2001, the Brooklyn Mets continue to draw phenomenally well in the short-season New York-Penn League. With a great location on Coney Island, and an even better atmosphere, there’s no better place to catch a minor league game.

 

2. FirstEnergy Stadium, Reading, PA (Phillies AA affiliate, Eastern League)

It’s known as “Baseballtown” for good reason – just ask anyone who’s played here. Reading has loved their Phillies since 1967, and you can sense it in the large crowds, strong atmosphere, great ballpark and the history all around the concession stands.

 

3. Raley Field, Sacramento, CA (Athletics AAA affiliate, Pacific Coast League)

Perennial attendance leaders in all of minor league baseball for several years now, the River Cats put on a great show and have great fans in the California state capitol, one of the few Triple-A teams to fill most of their seats regularly.

 

4. LeLacheur Park, Lowell, MA (Red Sox Class A affiliate, New York-Penn League)

Good luck finding a ticket to the Spinners, a short-season New York-Penn League affiliate just outside Boston but deeply entrenched inside Red Sox Nation. A simple, smartly designed ballpark with a great atmosphere, sight lines and viewpoints, it’s one of the best places to witness a minor league game – assuming you can get a ticket!

 

5. Fifth Third Field, Dayton, OH (Reds A affiliate, Midwest League)

Back when it first opened, you’d find scalpers outside the ballpark – scalpers for a minor league baseball game! Dayton hasn’t lost any love for its beloved Dragons, an affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, which is just an hour away. A quaint downtown ballpark with a good atmosphere, this is a charmer not to miss.

 

6. Midway Stadium St. Paul, MN (Independent, American Association)

The Saints continues to be on the leading edge of the bizarre minor league promotion and publicity stunt, providing fans plenty of in-game and between innings entertainment you won’t find anywhere else on the planet.

 

7. Avista Stadium, Spokane, WA (Rangers Class A affiliate, Northwest League)

When you visit Avista Stadium, you feel like you’re in Northeast Washington, from the mountain backdrops to the farm-like equipment beyond the outfield fences to the friendly and knowledgeable staff and animated fans that love their Spokane Indians.

 

8. Hadlock Field, Portland, ME (Red Sox AA affiliate, Eastern League)

Welcome to Fenway Park North, Vacationland style. Maine’s only pro baseball team, the Sea Dogs, drew incredibly well when they were a Marlins affiliate. Now that they’re a Red Sox affiliate, you need to buy your tickets in advance to find a seat inside a fairly well-designed ballpark with a good urban location, multiple seating options and fun fans.

 

9. Dutchess Stadium, Wappingers Falls, NY (Rays Class A affiliate, New York-Penn League)

Hudson Valley Renegades fans and a well-run franchise make this a destination not to miss. Few minor league ballparks boast a better atmosphere and between innings entertainment.

 

10. Riverwalk Stadium, Montgomery, AL (Rays AA affiliate, Southern League)

Built on the site of an old rail yard, this ballpark of the Biscuits in downtown Montgomery is incredibly well-designed and has been a huge hit with fans in Alabama’s state capitol for its great downtown location on the riverfront, sight lines and other viewpoints.

 

11. Clipper Magazine Stadium, Lancaster, PA (Independent, Atlantic League, Lancaster Barnstormers)

12. Bethpage Ballpark, Central Islip, NY (Independent, Atlantic League, Long Island Ducks)

13. People's Natural Gas Field, Altoona, PA (Pirates AA affiliate, Eastern League, Altoona Curve)

14. Hammons Field, Springfield, MO (Cardinals AA affiliate, Texas League, Springfield Cardinals)

15. Autozone Park, Memphis, TN (Cardinals AAA affiliate, Pacific Coast League, Memphis Redbirds)

16. Whataburger Field, Corpus Christi, TX (Astros AA affiliate, Texas League, Corpus Christi Hooks)

17. Municipal Stadium, Quebec City, QC (Independent, Can-Am League, Quebec City Capitals)

18. Lindquist Field, Ogden, UT (Dodgers Rookie affiliate, Pioneer League, Ogden Raptors)

19. Baseball Grounds, Jacksonville, FL (Marlins AA affiliate, Southern League, Jacksonville Suns)

20. Shaw Park, Winnipeg, MB (Independent, Northern League, Winnipeg Gold Eyes)

21. Bosse Field, Evansville, IN (Independent, Frontier League, Evansville Otters)

22. Wuerfel Park, Traverse City, MI (Independent, Frontier League, Traverse City Beach Bums)

23. Jackie Robinson Ballpark, Daytona, FL (Cubs High-A affiliate, Florida State League, Daytona Cubs)

24. Louisville Slugger Field, Louisville, KY (Reds AAA affiliate, International League, Louisville Bats)

25. Durham Bulls Athletic Park, Durham, NC (Rays AAA affiliate, International League, Durham Bulls)

 

Often overshadowed and overlooked is baseball's independent leagues, which play an important role in the game.
 
For those of you making a ballpark journey from mid-May through the summer, you can make a stop at one of a handful of great independent league ballparks, including among those in Joe's "Top 25 Ultimate Minor League Ballpark Experiences." A Fan's Guide To The Ballpark Tour: Fully Loaded!, available for purchase at the Buy Joe's Guides page, includes details on every affiliated Minor League ballpark, plus baseball's independent leagues, which are dispersed throughout the fruited plain, from the North American League in Hawaii to the strongest and most stable ones, like the Atlantic and Frontier leagues.
 
Independent league baseball used to be viewed as simply a place for "has been's." Not anymore. In recent years, many talented ballplayers have worked their way to the Majors via the independents.
 
We hope you enjoy this collage of independent league ballparks and that it inspires you to see a game or two of this variety on your next ballpark trip. You can also learn more at the About Joe's Guides page, and be sure to visit our affiliated North American Minor League Ballparks page, too.

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INSANITY! HANGIN' WITH MUDONNA IN ST. PAUL, MINN.
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ANOTHER ONE OF JOE'S TOP 25 ULTIMATE MINOR LEAGUE BALLPARK EXPERIENCES, MIDWAY STADIUM IS UNIQUE

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