A Double Dose of MiLB Action

IMG_1110There’s a plethora of Minor League Baseball in the Mid-Atlantic and frankly, there’s no good reason to avoid it. As May turned to June, we had one particular date on the calendar: the weekend of June 3. Why? The Columbia Fireflies were visiting the Hagerstown Suns. Why was this noteworthy? The one, the only Tim Tebow would be paying a visit to Hagerstown. As a Gator, I had to be there.

Unsurprisingly, tickets were hard to come by, but we managed to secure some grandstand seats for Sunday, June 4. The game was sure to be close to a sellout. We grabbed tickets for Hagerstown, accompanied by a few friends and were excited (well, I was; Ansley can’t stand Tim Tebow. Must be the two national championships he won with Florida while she was at Georgia…)

One would think an afternoon in Hagerstown would satiate our baseball appetites, but fear not friends, the title of this post is not a misnomer. No, no. We caught the Frederick Keys on the way home, because one game on a Sunday afternoon is just not enough!

Let the adventures begin!

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PNC Park (and Pittsburgh) is a Jewel

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Since opening, I regularly gasped at the views from PNC Park on television. After a weekend trip to Pittsburgh, I can unequivocally say, TV does not do PNC Park justice. From the moment you take a seat in the park’s upper bowl and see the Steel City’s skyline is breathtaking. It’s like seeing your favorite movie on the big screen for the very first time. No matter how many glowing reviews I read, or how many pictures I saw, nothing prepared me for the incredible view I enjoyed for what was otherwise a lousy game (spoiler alert: the Mets crushed the Pirates).

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A Sudden Glut of Baseball

After a quiet early portion of baseball season, bereft of games, things dramatically shifted. In the last week, I’ve checked out the Pirates’ gorgeous PNC Park, and caught a Single-A doubleheader, seeing both the Hagerstown Suns and Frederick Keys today.

What does this all mean?

I need to write!

I have a full write-up on PNC Park (and by extension, Pittsburgh) in the hopper, and I’ll get rolling on reviews of Municipal Park (Hagerstown Suns) and Neymo Field at Harry Grove Stadium (Frederick Keys) in the coming days.

All in all, it’s been a great week of traveling through Pennsylvania and Maryland, getting a chance to traverse a few mountains, check out a Civil War battlefield, and most of all, see a few ballgames!

To PNC Park We Go!

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PNC Park seems to always find itself near the top in annual lists of ballpark rankings. Even on television, you can see why. The home of the Pirates is an intimate park, nestled along the banks of the Allegheny River, with stunning views of downtown Pittsburgh. Aside from AT&T Park in San Francisco, few modern parks receive the rave views bestowed upon PNC.

After putting PNC near the top of my “must-see” lists, I’m beyond excited to trek to Pittsburgh over Memorial Day weekend for a game. Aside from a slew of Nationals games last year (including a game against the Braves where the heat index swelled to 115 degrees), I failed in my quest to get to a second MLB park. In an effort to remedy that, I’m taking advantage of the long weekend to see what Pittsburgh has to offer. .

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Bowie Baysox: MiLB in the DMV

Well, well. It’s been a few months since I’ve put any time in to the RFTHT blog. Moving, new jobs, and settling into a new (major) city will do that to you. With that said, I haven’t completed deprived myself of baseball, and after four games at Nationals Park (post coming soon), I finally caught some Minor League action yesterday.

The Bowie Baysox are nestled into the burbs, roughly 20 miles east from my humble abode. It was one of the longest adventures in the DMV so far, despite my nearly six months living in the DC area. For whatever reason, outside of the occasional Nats game, baseball has not happened at the frequency I would’ve liked it to. I set a goal of attending at least two minor league games and visiting three major league parks this season. Well, it’s August and I’ve seen exactly two parks.

Way to set goals, Joel…

Anyways! The Bowie Baysox are the AA affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, playing in the Eastern League, (fun fact, every Baltimore affiliate,aside from their Dominican Summer League and Gulf Coast League teams, is in either Maryland or Virginia; quite convenient) and located just a few miles east of Washington and south of Baltimore. They play in Prince George’s Stadium, located in well, Prince George’s County, Maryland. Like many suburban minor league parks, the Baysox’s home is nestled in a comfortable suburban spot, behind shops, restaurants, and not far from the highway. Despite usual D.C. traffic, it wasn’t all that terrible driving from Northern Virginia to Bowie.

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New adventures on tap for 2016

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After nearly 2 decades in Atlanta, this will be my new home ballpark. *Gulp*

Last year was filled was unfulfilled promises and plenty of false starts. Baseball took a backseat to finishing graduate school, largely unsuccessful attempts to find gainful employment in an economy that doesn’t value people with liberal arts degrees (I have only myself to blame), and a strange purgatory where I found myself in a place where most things in life seemed to stall.

However, in recent weeks, the finishing touches on a move to the Washington D.C. area were put in motion. Not only will this provide me with real, quality job opportunities, but it also puts me dangerously close to the majority of the AL and NL East, as well as a plethora of minor league teams at all levels of play. To say I’m excited is an understatement. So, after an underwhelming few years, which found me wallowing around the south, seeing a game or two at a minor league park in Florida, Georgia, or Alabama, I will now have relatively easy access to six major league teams, and more minor league teams than I can count.

What does this mean?

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Braves’ making a beer mistake

A lot of Coors Light, but any room for Atlanta's burgeoning craft beer scene?

A lot of Coors Light, but any room for Atlanta’s burgeoning craft beer scene?

Aside from the home of the Atlanta Braves, the largest city in the Georgia is awesome home to a growing number of craft breweries. From the large (Sweetwater) to the very small (Burnt Hickory), metro-Atlanta is one of the hippest spots in the country for craft beer. Since the early-2000s, craft beer growth in the area seems almost exponential and it’s great. Craft beer creates jobs, tourism, and something the locals can be proud of and share with visitors from other states.

With the Braves impending move up I-75 to Cobb County, they had every opportunity to embrace the beer culture sweeping through Atlanta. In fact, the new park finds itself in close proximity to three breweries (Red Brick, Red Hare, and Burnt Hickory), yet it was announced today that Miller-Coors will be the beer sponsor in SunTrust Park.  Continue reading