Last year I hoped to visit a handful of Minor League Baseball stadiums, and hit the mark on a few but missed on some others. This year I set some rather ambitious goals, but I’ve always aimed high when it comes to traveling. To make sure I’m accountable, I want to disclose my stadium visit goals for 2014.
I’ve posted a handful of tweets breaking down my goals, and will share them here.
The first goal is close to my heart as someone who grew up in Georgia.
My first Minor League game was between the Greensboro Hornets and Macon Braves at Luther Williams Field in Macon, Ga., with my dad on Aug. 2, 1992, so it is only fitting that I attend a game at each active Minor League stadium in Georgia for my blog. I have been to a Gwinnett Braves game at Coolray Field, but it was prior to me blogging about my gameday experiences. I have not seen the three teams that play in the South Atlantic League – Augusta GreenJackets, Rome Braves, or Savannah Sand Gnats.
I currently teach at The University of Alabama, so my second goal is to watch a game at the four Minor League stadiums in the Yellowhammer State.
I have been to three Minor League Baseball stadiums in Alabama, but two of my visits occurred before I started blogging about my experiences and one ballpark no longer houses a team. My first minor league game in Alabama was between the Greenville Braves and Birmingham Barons at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium (later named Regions Park) in Hoover, Ala., with my dad on Aug. 1, 1993. Not surprisingly, I did not take photos from that trip, but I visited the stadium during its final season in 2012, and documented the experience for my blog.
To complete the requirements for my master’s degree in sports administration at Georgia State University, I interned with the Huntsville Stars during the 2003 season. I attended a Southern League playoff game as a fan, but that was long before I considered blogging about my baseball stadium visits. With rumors swirling about the Stars being sold and moving to Biloxi, Miss., I feel that it’s critical to capture the gameday experience.
My other resolutions relate to trips I typically make each year.
Since 2010, I have attended the Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting. The conference is in a different city each year, which aides my quest of visiting new ballparks. Three of the four years I have gotten to visit a new ballpark; 2012 was the lone exception because the conference was in New York in February. So I am hoping to visit some ballparks around Tampa, Fla.,
Last summer during MiLB.com’s Mascot Mania promotion, I became enamored with the Clearwater Threshers mascot: Phinley. So I’d like to visit that ballpark and get my photograph taken with him. I hope to visit a few other ballparks in the region, but have not committed to visit any beyond the Threshers’ Bright House Field.
For the past three summers, I have spent a week in Cincinnati, Ohio, working as an AP Human Geography reader, and on each trip I try to visit at least one new stadium. This year I want to visit each of the minor league teams in Kentucky.
I have previously seen the Louisville Bats with my mom in 2005, which was well before I started writing about my ballpark travels. I have never seen the Bowling Green Hot Rods or Lexington Legends play a game. When I was an undergrad at the University of Kentucky in the mid-90s there was a lot of discussions about bringing a Minor League team to the city, but the Legends didn’t come to the Bluegrass until after I had left UK.
At the end of the summer, I’ll recap and see how successful I was in keeping my New Year’s resolutions.