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MINOR LEAGUES FLOURISH
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SOLD OUT CROWDS IN DOWNTOWN DAYTON, OHIO (ABOVE LEFT) AND ON CONEY ISLAND IN BROOKLYN

"Thank you so much! Your information will help make my trip so much more meaningful. I just can't thank you enough for the tips." – Heather, Macedon, New York
 
I have been purchasing your guides for years now and have really enjoyed them. Thanks a million." – John, Oceanside, California

TOP 25 MINOR/INDEPENDENT LEAGUE EXPERIENCES – AND WHY

There are hundreds of minor 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 minor 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 information 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)

 

Some 10 years ago few would have imagined that Single-A and Short-Season A ball clubs would regularly sell out games, let alone seasons. But it's happening, in places like Fifth Third Field in Dayton, Ohio where there's a waiting list for the club's Midwest League season tickets, and on Coney Island in Brooklyn. Just a stone's throw away from the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, the Mets New York-Penn League affiliate has been raking in the dough since the borough's baseball rebirth in 2001. 

 

A Fan's Guide To The Ultimate Ballpark Tour: Fully Loaded!, available for purchase at the Buy Joe's Guides page, has all the details on not just every Major League ballpark, but every Minor League ballpark as well. It has all the information you need to plan your ballpark trip, from where to sit and what to eat to what mascots to look out for, what radio stations and broadcasters to listen to, and what characters – from ushers to fans – that make each ballpark unique. The guide also has the same detailed information on all the North American Independent League Ballparks in the U.S. and Canada.

 

This collage of photos is designed to inspire you to see more than just the Major Leagues, but also some of the charming Minor League ballparks of America as well. You can also learn more at the About Joe's Guides page.

LOCAL FLAVOR AND LOCAL CHARM SPARK A RENAISSANCE
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THE APPY LEAGUE TWINS ARE TRADITION AT JOE O'BRIEN IN ELIZABETHTON, TN.; SO'S THE EATS IN EUGENE, OR

HOLY TOLEDO!
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YOUR HUMBLE WEBMASTER HAVING FUN, AS ONLY ONE CAN AT MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL GAMES

FROM DURHAM TO TACOMA, MINOR LEAGUES RULE
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A TRIBUTE TO CRASH GRACES DURHAM'S PARK; RAIN-ING IN SOME AUTOGRAPHS AT CHENEY STADIUM

What makes minor league baseball so cool? Consider some of these factors:
 
1. Affordability: Tickets are half what you'll pay at a Major League ballpark.
 
2. Seating options: Many ballparks offer even more intimate seating than their Major League counterparts, especially some of the newer Minor League parks that have sprung up across the country in the last five years.
 
3. Accessibility: Minor League baseball is propping up more and more outside some of the largest urban centers in the U.S. For example, the Indians South Atlantic League affiliate is in Eastlake, some 18 miles outside Cleveland. From New York City alone, fans can hit Staten Island, Brooklyn or suburban New Jersey for baseball in Trenton. Just outside Seattle, baseball fans can catch some top rookies in Everett and top Triple-A talent in Tacoma.
 
4. Customer Service: Perhaps the biggest difference between Major League Baseball and Minor League baseball. Because they're truly competing at a price level similar to that of a night at the movies, Minor League clubs go out of their way to entertain fans during the ballgame with promotions, giveaways and sound customer service.
 
5. Seeing future stars in action: Almost every Major Leaguer, besides maybe Ichiro Suzuki, spent some time in the U.S. Minor Leagues. When you attend a Minor League game, be sure to pick up a program to see what future stars you'll be watching today.

BASEBALL IN THE SALES TAX FREE, FIRST STATE
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...WILMINGTON'S BALLPARK, LIKE MANY NEW ONES, OFFERS DOWNTOWN VIEWS

Details on the 2016 Minor League season are covered in A Fan's Guide To The Ultimate Ballpark Tour: Fully Loaded! available for purchase at the Buy Joe's Guides page.Debating what are the best Major League ballparks is challenging enough the best Minor League ballparks is even tougher! But here are some of the best at the Triple and Double-A level:
Triple-A (International League): Set on the banks of the Elizabeth River, Harbor Park has been a crown jewel for Norfolk since its debut in 2000.
 
Triple-A (Pacific Coast League): One of the top clubs in attendance in minor league baseball is in Sacramento where the Athletics Triple-A affiliate in the Golden State's capital draws 11,000 plus at charming Raley Field.
 
Double-A (Eastern League): Canal Park in downtown Akron not only has some of the best sight lines, it's also only 30-45 minutes from Cleveland.
 
Double-A (Southern League): One of the best new ballparks built in recent years is right in the state capitol of Montgomery at scenic Riverwalk Stadium.
 
Double-A (Texas League): It's a Ryan affair in Corpus Christi where Reid Ryan, one of Nolan Ryan's sons, serves as President of the CC Hooks at Whataburger Field, and the Triple-A Round Rock Express at - Dude! - the Dell Diamond, outside Austin.

FROM LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY TO LAKE ELSINORE, CALIF.
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BRIDGE AND OHIO RIVER VIEWS AT SLUGGER FIELD; THE GREEN MONSTER IN RIGHT IN THE EYE OF THE STORM

What's included in: A Fan's Guide To The Ultimate Ballpark Tour: Fully Loaded!
 
- Planning details to maximize a ballpark trip of any length to any Major League Ballpark, minor league ballpark, and independent league ballpark! Features ballpark information in every North American city in the U.S. and Canada!
 
- Planning resources to any ballpark city, including local airline, rental car and hotel information, plus public transit options and seating/ticketing information with Web links to every team to buy tickets online, review ballpark seating maps and schedules.
 
- Complete details on exploring any ballpark city - from local attractions to hiddens gems and places off the beaten path.
 
- Personal recommendations and suggestions from Joe on the best ways to maximize your trip based on his own experience.
 
- Free e-mail advice from Joe to help you plan your trip!

Here are some of the best ballparks at the Single-A Advanced; Single-A; Short Season, Class-A; and Rookie levels:
 
Single-A Advanced (Florida State League): If your schedule won't let you get down to Spring Training, not to worry. There's plenty of baseball to be had en route to Tropicana Field or Dolphins Stadium. If in the Tampa area, hit Steinbrenner Field. If heading to Miami, it's easy: Holman Stadium in Vero Beach, kiddo.
 
Single-A Advanced (Carolina League): Only about 45 minutes from the City that Booed Santa (Philadelphia), there's a nicer, warmer - and friendlier - ballpark: at Judy Johnson Field in Wilmington, Delaware.
 
Single-A Advanced (California League): The Diamond in Lake Elsinore, home of the Padres up-and-comers, is arguably the most pleasant and comfortable facility in the California League. It's also home to one of the wildest and wackiest mascots, Thunder.
 
Single-A (South Atlantic League): One of the best new ballparks that debuted in 2006 was West End Field in Greenville, South Carolina, where Shoeless Joe Jackson grew up and is buried. It's like Fenway Park South!
 
Single-A (Midwest League): Fifth Third Field in Dayton is one of the best minor league ballparks built in the last 10 years. Located downtown, the Dragons regularly play before a capacity crowd of 8,000 plus, as scalpers roam the streets.
 
Short Season, Class-A (New York-Penn League): For fan atmosphere, history and everything that is true New York, head to Brooklyn's KeySpan Park.
 
Short Season, Class-A (Northwest League): Relatively new and sharp, Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer, known as "The Crater," has one of the widest varieties of food concessions in all of Minor League baseball, great sight lines and great accessibility.
 
Rookie (Appalachian League): In a league where multiple MLB clubs have had long-standing, uninterrupted affiliations, none is longer and showcases more pride than the Bluefield Orioles at Bowen Field on the Virginia/West Virginia border.
 
Rookie (Pioneer League): History, history and more history means if you're only going to go to one ballpark in this league, make it Cobb Field in Billings, Montana.

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