Mike McCann / Minor Leagues
WHERE TO GO IN 2005
By Mike McCann
If you are trying to decide which minor league stadiums to visit this year, please take a look at my recommendations here. These options are generally based on which teams and/or stadiums will most likely not be around for the 2006 season. There are always many other factors to consider, and I would encourage you to set up some of your own goals depending your minor league interests. Something like seeing every affiliate of one major league team or all teams in a given league.
As a general rule, I would pick older stadiums to attend for games. The new stadiums are very appealing with nice designs and modern amenities, but you can't beat the charm of the old stadiums. Also, the newer stadiums are much more likely to be around for years to come and some of the older ones may not be.
This looks like it will be the last year for Municipal Stadium in Greenville, SC. The stadium got a one year reprieve when the Capital City Bombers moved to town with the intentions of moving into a new stadium in 2006. So if you missed out last year, you have another chance this year.
The Hagerstown Suns are often rumored as a team that will be moving. You may want to stop by Municipal Stadium in Hagerstown, MD to see it one last time. Looks like prospects aren't very good for ballparks named Municipal Stadium. There are rumors that the team may be moving to Columbia, SC to share a stadium with the University of South Carolina.
There have been rumors for the past few years that the Savannah Sand Gnats may be moving. The latest rumor is that the team would be moving to Marion, IL. I don't think that will happen exactly that way, but I can see some Low A teams moving around with Savannah losing a team and Marion gaining a team. Grayson Stadium would probably be worth a visit.
I've heard that the Kinston Indians may be moving to Allentown, PA sometime soon. I haven't heard many good things about Grainger Stadium, but I'm sure it is still a nice place to see a game.
The Ottawa Lynx have been rumored to move for many years now. I still think that it will happen soon, although I'm not sure where the team will end up going. But if you are north of the border, it may be a nice place to stop and visit.
There have been rumors about the Tacoma Rainiers moving for a while too. Possible destinations include Reno, NV, Stockton, CA and Lubbock, TX.
The West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx were trying to get out of Jackson for the 2005 season. The team's lease allows them to move if they lose enough money, and the team says that they should be able to move. The city disagrees with the team's contention and it looks like the team will be staying. A new ownership will likely be brought in, so I think the team will be around for a little while longer.
The Jamestown Jammers may be moving to State College, PA for 2006. There will almost definitely be a NY-Penn League team sharing a stadium with Penn State next season, but it is unclear which team will be moving. The Jammers were kind enough to give me the 'Dirtiest Car in the Lot' prize of a new car wash when I was there in 2000. Since I was leaving the area right after the game, I had to give my prize to another lucky fan who happened to be sitting near me.
There are always opportunities to see the new stadiums, but fewer opportunities to see the older stadiums. They offer a great experience and you can get more of a feel of what the game itself rather than seeing the state of the art features that the new stadiums offer. Baseball games are great anywhere you see them, but the older stadiums have a unique old-time feel that cannot be matched.
I am always looking for topics to write about, so please send me an e-mail and let me know what would be interesting reading for you. Feel free to ask any questions or give an idea for a column.