Here We Go Again

I looked at my watch this morning and it read “March,” which reminded me that purchasing a timepiece that only displays the month was a pretty stupid thing to do.

It also reminded me that it is March, and, therefore, the 2012 baseball season is only a month away. And, like in each of the past three seasons, I plan to travel the Minor League landscape to the extent that time, money, and my uber-delicate emotional state will allow.

Potential travel area (sans Alaska, unfortunately).

And here, of course, is where you come in: Where should I go, and why? One of the most gratifying things about the 2011 season was the extent to which readers of this blog, and MiLB.com in general, shared their local expertise and suggestions. (Carolinians were especially helpful in this regard).

This expertise, combined with the hospitable attitudes of the teams I visited, resulted in a heap of largely unprecedented baseball journalism (you can put “journalism” in quotes if you want. I’m fine with that). It was a season of sumo wrestling, pies to the face, bat-burning rituals, late-night donut shops, eating contests, polka-dot pigeons, rustic locker rooms, flying rubber chickens, scrapple sandwiches, molar mascotting, and dozens (if not hundreds or perhaps even millions) more uniquely Minor League moments.

Just another night on the job.

2012 is going to be more of the same, and then some. So, again, where should I go and why? I’m always up for creative ideas, whether it be performing ballpark jobs, profiling a ballpark character, checking out the local sights before (and after) a game, collaborating on a promotion, competing in between-inning contests, trying all of the ballpark culinary specialties, any combination of the above, or just about anything else you can think of.

And, teams, this doesn’t necessarily have to be a “one and done” endeavor. Perhaps I could serve as an intern over the course of a homestand? Or go on a road trip in the team bus? Or live in the dim sepulchral glow of the stadium’s interior, emerging only to hunt rats in the murky pre-dawn?

The world is ours.

I'll work for free. Quality not-quite guaranteed.

Please, get in touch via the comments section, Twitter, or email (the latter two methods of communication are, as always, listed at the end of this email). I’m aiming for (at least) four trips of a week or more in length, as well as various incidental outings at locations accessible from NYC. As always, the overall goal is to illuminate the extent to which Minor League Baseball is America. And, also, to convince myself that I have chosen a viable career path.

Please, help me make the 2012 season the best that it can be. Or, barring that, at least suggest some ways in which I can creatively humiliate myself on professional baseball diamonds nationwide. I look forward to hearing from you.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

17 Comments

What an exciting time of year! I’ll still petition you to try out the Smokies/Appalachian region: Southern League’s eastern half (I can recommend beautiful Knoxville), the Sally’s south/southwest portion (Asheville, Asheville, Asheville), and more Appalachian League. If you venture further west, remind me to tell you about the time I got locked inside the park in Louisville when the team was on the road. The kids keep me reading when I can and contributing less here, but the possum clan still has its eyes on you.

Thanks, Matt. Last year’s Carolinas trip was one of the most memorable I’ve been on, and I’d love to return to that general area again. I hope the possum clan is doing well, and I hope our paths cross again in the near future!

Come to Trenton! I would like to meet you!

I’m based in NYC, so Trenton is always a possibility. Pork roll and crab fries — an unbeatable combination.

I’ll put in another plug for Appleton (Wisconsin). You could fire the Bratzooka!

The only problem with that is that my life would all be downhill from that moment. I’m not sure that I’m ready to peak so soon.

But Wisconsin? I’m long overdue. It seems like a very friendly place and there are lots of people there that I’d like to finally meet in person.

Star Wars night at the West Michigan Whitecaps is a must for us every year. I’m not sure the date on that this year, or of their other promotions, as it hasn’t been released yet. My trip this year will take me to Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Binghamton (with a stop at the HOF) in mid-late May, so would love to see you at any of those games. The game in Buffalo on 5/18 is supposed to be special from what I hear!
–Mike

Buffalo Bisons Star Wars Night – June 9th 2012.
–Coca-Cola Field in Buffalo was voted the best ballpark in the Minor League last year (http://southbuffalo.wgrz.com/news/sports-recreation/58046-bisons-coca-cola-field-named-coolest-minor-league-ballpark-america)
–The North Ridge (Buffalo Star Wars fan group) is on hand to appear in costume as well as provide entertainment throughout the game. This includes video segments between innings leading up to a live, 15-minute lightsaber dueling show after the game, complete with fireworks. (http://www.youtube.com/NorthRidgeFanForce)
–The ballpark gets PACKED. The event has nearly sold out the last two seasons, and has been called the “Fastest Growing Bisons Promotion.” (http://www.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120216&content_id=26710492&vkey=news_t422&fext=.jsp&sid=t422)

hit up the Midwest League and stop in Peoria, IL, great staff and a great ballpark

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Come on up to Rhode Island for a PawSox game! I’ll even play host!

Thanks — I’d love to make it out there, and will certainly let you know if/when the plans are in place!

Try out the Blue Wahoos in Pensacola, FL, for their inaugural season! I just toured the stadium today and every seat will give you a terrific view over the bay and the game. With only 13 rows of seats stretching across the stadium, you’ll always be close to the AA action. And don’t forget that good ol’ Southern hospitality, y’all!

*The preceding was not a paid advertisement for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos.

Paid advertisement or not, you make a strong case! A trip to Pensacola is a very strong possibility this season.

You should head to Everett, WA for an AquaSox game! All-You-Can-Drink Root Beer Float Day and Frog Stock are among the unique promotions at Everett Memorial Stadium.

Thanks! Nothing is set in stone yet, but I really hope to be able to make my first Pacific Northwest trip this season…

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