The Minor Leagues are home to all kinds of ballparks that are worth checking out. Since each Major League team has several Minor league affiliates, many ballparks fly under the radar for even the most devoted fans. A Minor League park isn’t as flashy as those seen at the Major League level, as the small town atmosphere is more often evident in the MiLB. Below is a list of parks that are definitely worth going to, both for the casual fans as well as the diehard.
Smith’s Ballpark, Salt Lake City, Utah; Home of the Salt Lake Bees (AAA)
Opened in 1994, Smith’s ballpark offers amazing views of Mount Olympia as well as the Wasatch Mountains, a view that you would expect from a park located in Utah. This park is pretty big by Minor League standards, seating over 15 thousand. It resembles a Major League park due to its size, and the fanbase supports the team as if they were a Major League team as well. Mike Trout is the most notable name that has recently played for the Bees, as he appears in the Walk of Fame in the outfield. If you go there early enough this season, you could get lucky and see top prospect Andrew Heaney toe the rubber before he is called up to Los Angeles.
Louisville Slugger Field, Louisville, Kentucky; Home of the Louisville Bats (AAA)
Opened in 2000, Louisville Slugger Field is one of the premier Minor League ballparks due to the scenery and electric atmosphere that exists there. It is fairly big, seating 13,000, and offers some unique features that you won’t see at many other parks. The ‘Against the Grain Smokehouse and Brewery’ is one of the more popular places to eat and drink in any ballpark, and the stadium also includes a statue of Louisville native Pee Wee Reese outside the main entrance. Another unique thing about this park is the live music that plays every Thursday night during ball games.
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Newbridge Bank Park, Greensboro, North Carolina; Home of the Greensboro Grasshoppers (A)
Newbridge Bank Park has established itself as one of the best Single-A ballpark around, after opening in 2005. Seating just 7,500, the stadium has a homey feel, despite being located in downtown Greensboro. Fans have the opportunity to sit on the outfield grass if they want to take in the game from a different angle, as well as having the ability to see the field from any spot on the open concourse. One thing that is neat about this stadium is that they have an organist that serenades fans between innings. The most notable player that will be playing for the Grasshoppers this season will definitely be Tyler Kolek, who was the 2nd overall pick in last June’s draft.
Durham Bulls Athletic Park, Durham, North Carolina; Home of the Durham Bulls (AAA)
The Durham Bulls have long been one of the more popular Minor League teams, thanks to one of the best baseball movies of all time, Bull Durham. The 10,000 seat park is one of the nicest in the Minors, with a Green Monster replica in left field (They call it the Blue Monster), and a spectacular view of downtown Durham. The giant bull sign at the top of the Blue Monster was modeled after the one used in the movie. The bull’s head and forearms were ripped off due to the a storm in 2007, but the sign has been back up ever since. Retired numbers of Joe Morgan and Chipper Jones are displayed in the stadium as well. As one of the nicer parks in the Minors, it went under renovation this past season in order to support the hosting of the 2014 Triple-A All-Star Game.
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Pensacola Bayfront Stadium, Pensacola, Florida; Home of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (AA)
This stadium appears on this list because of the magnificient setting that it is surrounded by. Located on the Florida Gulf Coast, the ballpark backs onto the beautiful blue water of the gulf, providing an amazing view for fans. Opened in 2012, this 5,000 seat ballpark is one of the more popular in the Minor Leagues, frequently selling out home games and winning several stadium awards in recent years. The atmosphere is perfect to watch a ball game, with a homey feel and a view that can’t be beat. Not only is this stadium worth going to for the view, but fans will get to see Reds’ top prospects Jesse Winker and Robert Stephenson play, as the two will debut in 2015 with the Blue Wahoos.