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Baseball Analysis  Mike McCann / Minor Leagues

February 2002


By Mike McCann

The offseason can definitely be a fun time for baseball as well.  There isn't too much going on with the players, but you can still begin to make plans for some trips during the upcoming season.  By now most of the dust has settled in terms of where the minor league teams for this season (although a few changes may still come up).  The schedules are generally out by the beginning of the year, except the short season leagues may be a little late in that respect.  But you should have all the information you need to plan a good minor league baseball trip.

The best way to start is to get an idea of what type of trip you would like to go on.  There are an infinite number of options of what you could do.  You need to figure out some way to limit it to what interests you.  Everyone has specific interests that they would like include in their trip.  Personally, I am trying to see every major and minor league baseball stadium.  At first, I just went to games whenever I was in a city with a team.  Now I realize I need to be a little more methodical about it.

Last season, I decided to visit all of the stadiums that I hadn't yet seen within a 4 hour radius from me.  I needed to come up with some sort of plan in order to accomplish this goal.  The only chances I really had to see the teams were on the weekends.  So I looked up the schedules for each team's weekend home games.  I wrote down the schedules for each team, so I could see how all of the schedules fit together.  I had to create a tentative schedule of  which teams I would like to see on each date.  And there are always unexpected things that seem to come up, so I wouldn't know if the schedule would hold.

The best place to start was with the teams which were home the least often.  Since those teams had the least options available, it is better to schedule those first.  I generally picked the first home date I could make,  just in case my schedule changed or there was a rainout.  Working with this plan, I was able to go through each team and put together a schedule of when I would be able to see them.

Now since these were all day trips, I didn't have to worry about scheduling games together.  However, I did want to see a Pittsfield Astros game since I knew the team would be moving for the 2002 season.  One of the internet map programs told me that Pittsfield, Massachusetts was about 6 hours away from me.  That is a little far for a day trip.  Especially since they don't have afternoon games; their earliest games were the Sunday games at 6.  So driving home after that would be very not fun.

Now if I wanted to see a Pittsfield game, I would need to spend the night up there.  So I was thinking that maybe I could see a Saturday night game in Pittsfield, and a Sunday afternoon someplace else in that area.  I took a look and saw that the New Britain Rock Cats had Sunday games at 2.  New Britain, Connecticut, is only a couple hours from Pittsfield, and close enough to me that I could drive home after the game.  So I was able to find a weekend where Pittsfield was at home on Saturday night and New Britain was home on Sunday afternoon.  I was able to make this trip on a weekend in August last year, so everything worked well.

I was able to see the Williamsport Crosscutters, Oneonta Tigers, New Jersey Cardinals, Staten Island Yankees, Brooklyn Cyclones, Pittsfield Astros and New Britain Rock Cats this way.  Well, I did get tickets for Brooklyn and Staten Island ahead of time, so maybe I can't really include them as part of this list.  But they were among the teams I needed to see within the 4 hour radius.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make a Hudson Valley Renegades game.  So they are one of my top priorities for the 2002 season.

All right, I didn't really get much into planning a good minor league baseball trip.  Just the local ones.  But next time, I will get into planning better trips.  Like doing 6 games in 6 days.  Doesn't that sound fun?  That takes a little more discussion.  So I will most likely discuss that next time.

I am always looking for topics to write about, so please send me an email and let me know what would be interesting reading for you. Feel free to ask any questions or give an idea for a column.

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