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Take Me Out to the (Minor League) Ball Game

April 8, 2016
Minor league ball! Enjoy a baseball game at one of these smaller, arguably more fun stadiums.

Baseball season is under way, and now’s the perfect time to plan a trip to see the boys of summer play. Although you could go to a Major League Baseball game, why not check out some of the minor league teams? Many offer lots of fan-friendly entertainment in addition to the game, and can be more family-oriented and affordable than a game at the majors.

Here are a few minor league stadiums to visit.

1. Isotopes Park, Albuquerque Isotopes, Albuquerque, NM

Isotopes Park is often ranked by baseball enthusiasts as one of the best ballparks to visit for its unique design. The Albuquerque Isotopes are the Triple-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, and their park embraces the history and architecture of Albuquerque.

If the name didn’t give it away, that history is of Albuquerque’s role in nuclear science; Los Alamos National Laboratory is about an hour north. Nicknamed “The Lab,” Isotopes’ steel and glass exterior design harkens back to the 1940s and 1950s.

2. Fluor Field, Greenville Drive, Greenville, SC

Greenville is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and as a Single-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, its Greenville Drive team boasts a replica of Fenway Park. Fluor Field was designed so that the dimensions of the field, from the pitcher’s mound to the Green Monster, are exactly like Fenway, said Cameron White, media relations manager for the Greenville Drive. Their wall is just a little shorter, with no seats on top, he added.

If you’re in town between May 24 to 29, check out the Southern Conference Baseball Tournament, featuring the best southern college players.

While in town, cross the street from Fluor Field to visit the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum and Baseball Library, the former home of the Greenville native and White Sox player.

3. Fox Cities Stadium, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, Appleton, WI

You can get traditional ballpark fare here, but Fox Cities Stadium takes its food very seriously. Everything is made in-house, and its food and beverage department staff includes an executive chef, Tim Hansen.

“We don’t feel like we’re a separate entity from what the baseball side has to offer. We’re part of the entertainment experience,” said Ryan Grossman, director of food and beverage for the stadium.

One of the stars of the menu for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, which is a Single-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers, are the burgers. This year they’re featuring several burgers, including the Meatlovers Pizza Burger, which is a hamburger between two pepperoni-cheese pizza slices; the Big Mother Funnel, a one-pound, bacon-topped cheeseburger tucked between two funnel cakes; and the Grilled Cheese Bacon Cheeseburger, a bacon cheeseburger with two grilled cheese sandwiches acting as the bun.

After a meal like that, you may need to round the bases a few times.

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