My first big road trip of 2011 for The Ballpark Guide was amazing, and I have my fingers crossed that road trip #2 will be even better.
Last trip, I saw teams in the Major Leagues, AA Eastern League and Single-A Midwest League.
This time, I’ll see four Big League games, one AAA International League game, three AA Eastern League games, two A South Atlantic League games, one Class A Advanced Carolina League game and one game in the Short-Season A New York-Penn League.
If you’re keeping score, that’s 12 games. In 12 days. In 10 different cities.
A week today, on June 23, I head to Moosic, PA, where I’ll watch the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees take on the Norfolk Tides in matinee action.
On day two, I made the short trip to Harrisburg, PA to watch the Senators battle the Altoona Curve.
Day three sees me watching the NYPL Aberdeen IronBirds host the Staten Island Yankees.
June 26, I’ll stay in Maryland to watch the Bowie Baysox battle the Binghamton Mets, then make the drive north to Hagerstown, MD.
On June 27, I’ll hopefully get to see Bryce Harper and his Hagerstown Suns in action against the Lakewood Blueclaws.
The next day, I’ll drive south to Salisbury, MD, to watch the Delmarva Shorebirds host the Greensboro Grasshoppers.
Then, it’s a pair of games (June 29 and 30) between the Baltimore Orioles and St. Louis Cardinals.
After B’more, I’ll catch the Potomac Nationals against the Winston-Salem Dash.
And after watching the baby Nats, I’ll see the big boys play host to the Pirates for games on July 2 and 3.
My last stop on this trip is a Fourth of July showdown between the Binghamton Mets and Portland Sea Dogs.
Sounds good, right?
1. S/W-B Yankees vs. Norfolk Tides: The Yankees play at PNC Field, and because everything the Yankees do is grandiose, I’m excited to see how this ballpark stacks up.
2. Harrisburg Senators vs. Altoona Curve: Harrisburg was Stephen Strasburg’s first stop in pro ball last season. The Senators’ ballpark, Metro Bank Park, is actually located on an island in Harrisburg.
3. Aberdeen IronBirds vs. Staten Island Yankees: The Birds play at Ripken Stadium and are owned by Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. I saw them last season against the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.
4. Bowie Baysox vs. Binghamton Mets: Bowie’s Prince George’s Stadium has hosted the AA All-Star Game, U.S. Congressional Baseball Game and Allen Iverson’s charity softball game. It’s also a drive-in theater when the Baysox are on the road.
5. Hagerstown Suns vs. Lakewood Blueclaws: I’m beyond excited to watch Bryce Harper. If he’s promoted before I get there, I get the chance of seeing him at the Potomac or Harrisburg games.
6. Delmarva Shorebirds vs. Greensboro Grasshoppers: Delmarva stands for Delaware/Maryland/Virginia. The team plays in south Maryland, in the town of Salisbury. It’s out of my way a bit, but I’m excited to explore this new terrain.
7 & 8: Baltimore Orioles vs. St. Louis Cardinals: I’ve wanted to go to Camden Yards since it opened. I think it’s one of the most beautiful stadiums in baseball. It’ll be an added bonus to see Albert Pujols.
9. Potomac Nationals vs. Winston-Salem Dash: The Nats’ Class A-Advanced team is based in Woodbridge, VA. I don’t know much about their stadium, so I’m anxious to see it.
10 & 11: Washington National vs. Pittsburgh Pirates: Too bad there’s no Strasburg, but I’ve never been to D.C., so that’s exciting. And Nationals Park is one of the newest stadiums in the Bigs.
12. Binghamton Mets vs. Portland Sea Dogs: I hear the in-park atmosphere is iffy, but the prices and views are great. Looking forward to seeing for myself.