Next weekend is Memorial Day weekend. As we say in my neck of the woods, summah’s heah! This means it’s time for that most delightful of summer excursions, the baseball road trip. Thanks to the league index of that invaluable hardball resource, Baseball Reference, I have spent many a happy hour fantasizing about just such a trip. In these fantasies, I visit every team from the Albuquerque Isotopes to the Casper Ghosts to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. But in reality, at least this summer, I will probably be limited to teams in Delaware, Maryland, the Virginas, the Carolinas, and the very eastern tip of Tennessee. My Sentra and I have traveled through all these places several times before, but we’ve never actually stopped and watched a ballgame in any of them. I’m hoping that you, baseball lovers, will have some advice for me and my ride.

I have narrowed down my list of candidates to the following teams (and of course, I’m using “narrowed down” in the loosest possible sense). Any to definitely see? Or definitely avoid?

Delmarva Shorebirds (Salisbury, MD–A—South Atlantic League)

Greensboro Grasshoppers (Greensboro, NC—A—South Atlantic League)

Kannapolis Intimidators (Kannapolis, NC—A—South Atlantic League)

Hickory Crawdads (Hickory, NC—A—South Atlantic League)

Asheville Tourists (Asheville, NC—A—South Atlantic League)

Greenville Drive (Greenville, SC—A—South Atlantic League)

Richmond Braves (Richmond, VA—AAA—International League)

Norfolk Tides (Norfolk, VA—AAA—-International League)

Durham Bulls (Durham, NC—AAA—International League)

Charlotte Knights (Fort Mill, SC—AAA—International League)

Wilmington Blue Rocks (Wilmington, DE—A—Carolina League)

Lynchburg Hillcats (Lynchburg, VA—A—Carolina League)

Salem Avalanche (Salem, VA—A—Carolina League)

Winston-Salem Warthogs (Winston-Salem, NC—A—Carolina League)

Kinston Indians (Kinston, NC—A—Carolina League)

Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Myrtle Beach, SC—A—Carolina League)

Carolina Mudcats (Zebulon, NC—AA—Southern League)

Tennessee Smokies (Kodak, TN—AA—Southern League)

Chattanooga Lookouts (Chattanooga, TN—AA—Southern League)

I know nothing about the rookie-level Appalachian League, but does anyone want to put in a good word for any of the following Appy League teams?

Princeton Devil Rays (Princeton, WV)

Bluefield Orioles (Bluefield, WV)

Pulaski Mariners (Pulaski, VA)

Danville Braves (Danville, VA)

Burlington Royals (Burlington, NC)

Bristol Sox (Bristol, VA)

Kingsport Mets (Kingsport, TN)

Johnson City Cardinals (Johnson City, TN)

Elizabethton Twins (Elizabethton, TN)

Greeneville Astros (Greeneville, TN)

Leave comments or email me!

And let’s hope this trip doesn’t require as much duct tape as the last one.

17 Responses to “Baseball Road Trips: The Carolinas and Vicinity”

  1. I miss Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball for the SNES.

  2. I loved RBI because it had the real players with their real names and their correct stats. No imagination necessary. (Okay, maybe a little.)

    There was some game on Nintendo in the early 90’s that tried to approximate every player’s name. The cleanup hitter for the Braves was named Judge. I wanna say it was Roger Clemens’ MVP baseball, but I could be wrong.

  3. Nick Kapur says:

    I’ve seen the Zebulon Mudcats. “Muddy the Mudcat” rides around on an ATV in the outfield between innings. Awesome.

  4. Sarah Green says:

    Yes, I must clearly see the Mudcats of Zebulon. They are early favorites because I am always partial to teams that have either “mud” or “cat” in their name (Toledo Mud Hens, New Britain Rock Cats, New Hampshire Fisher Cats), and of course, the Mudcats have both!

    Also, they play in ZEBULON. I have always secretly wanted to go to the planet of ZEBULON and meet with the Zebulonian prime minister and ask him when he is going to comply with Federation laws and stop using his nefarious cloaking devices.

  5. jdwilliams1000 says:

    The Mudcats are worth the stop, and Zebulon is only about 40 minutes from Durham. The Bulls ballpark is really nice, and they have a great gallery of players that came through there when Durham was Atlanta’s AA team. If you do make it to Durham, take the time to go to their old ball park where Bull Durham was filmed in part. It is only a couple of miles away. Also, Raleigh is right in between the two and has much better hotels and restaurants than you will find around the ball park in Durham. There isn’t any place to eat or stay in Zebulon so I would suggest not trying to stay there. From Durham, you can get to right on 85 to Burlington, Richmond, Greensboro, or Charlotte. Asheville is also good and in a great area, but it’s not really close to anything. Good luck and let us know what you decide.

  6. Depending on how you go about it, you can hit Asheville, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Burlington, and Durham pretty easily since they are all on I-40 (in that order). The Greensboro stadium is newer than most, and right in a great downtown setting. I would skip a WS Warthogs game for that, honestly. I’ve played at the Mudcats’ stadium, and it is a good one too.

  7. Scott Ball says:

    Whoa Sarah… you’re pretty cute. Niiiiice.

  8. I definitely say the greensboro grasshoppers and the winston salem warthogs, and would DEFINITELY see the Durham Bulls, just for the movie factor. I lived in that area for a long time and the bulls were always great to go see. Miss those times. Carolina mudcats aren’t too shabby a time either.

  9. I can’t believe you’re not driving the extra 5 hours to see the Batavia Muckdogs. The NY-Penn League is definitely under-represented on this trip.

  10. Sarah Green says:

    Scott, I bet you don’t even know whether I am the brown one or the yellow one, fool!!!!

    (Scott just completed a trade in our fantasy league where he acquired Prince Fielder for the low price of Edinson Volquez and Ryan Church. Needless to say, this has put him on my shitlist until his team, currently ranked second, falls significantly in the standings.)

    But either way, yes, me and Suz are both cute. There is simply no denying it, just as there is no denying Coley’s mad duct-taping skillz.

  11. hawkforthehall says:

    definitely go to the grasshoppers – they’ve got minor league baseball down to an art form. winston-salem is actually modeling their new stadium off of greensboro, so it’s not really worth catching both. asheville is worth the trip if only for the scenery. between greensboro and asheville you’ll find the hickory crawdads, which has a great little stadium to catch a game. also on the way is the newest member of the wooden bat league, the forest city owls in their inaugural season.

  12. Sarah Green says:

    And Townie, I am headed SOUTH. I am going to drink sweet tea, eat hushpuppies, and sing Alan Jackson songs. I am going to frolic in the sunshine. I will drink RC Cola and eat red velvet cake. The NY-Penn League and the Eastern League will just have to wait—but because most of them are relatively close to Beantown, I hope they will not have to wait long!

  13. Of course…having posted that I now see that the NY-Penn League doesn’t start for another 20-something days. Great. But July 5th, the Vermont Lake Monsters at home against the Batavia Muckdogs. Does it get any more exciting than that?

  14. Sara, knowing you’re a Sox fan I’d head to Greenville. The Drive have a nice new stadium modeled on Fenway but without the exorbitant prices and lack of parking. Plus they have some pretty good prospects this year like Ryan Kalish, Oscar Tejeda and Dave Mailman. The Wilmington Blue Rocks run a good show also. Any team with a piece of celery as its mascot is worth going to see.

  15. Paul Moro says:

    I’ve seen a Lynchburg Hillcats game back in high school. The only thing I remember was me and my friends trying to take a photo with their mascot only for the shot to be invaded by a random old lady who REALLY wanted to be in it. Oh, and my fear that my minority status was going to get me killed in a place like Lynchburg. Good times.

    For some reason, I also recall owning a Chattanooga Lookouts hat when I was younger. Am I imagining things?

  16. Sarah Green says:

    Yes, “Lynchburg.” A name that perplexes. Not exactly as welcoming “Peaceville” or “Happytown.”

  17. Danny O says:

    I haven’t been, but I’ve heard the setting in Chattanooga is fairly idyllic. And it’s a great city to boot. And if you make it to Chattanooga, you’re just an hour and a half from seeing the Rome Braves, who play in another great mountain town.

    Should also mention that this will be the last season for the Richmond Braves at The Diamond. (They’re moving to – *wretch* – Gwinnett County.) It’s right off of I-85.

    Having met both of them, I can confirm that both Suz and Sarah are cute in person as well. But I won’t reveal who is who…

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