About six weeks ago, I suddenly realized what I wanted to do with my summer vacation: drive around the steamy-hot Carolinas with gas at $4.50 a gallon in a 10-year old Nissan Sentra with a bad muffler, an air conditioner that smells like something died in it (but only for the first couple minutes of use), and an engine that’s making a sound like a bird trapped in a tin can.
In other words, PURE AWESOMENESS.
Why, you ask, is this pure awesomeness? Because I will be tootling from ballpark to ballpark, bearing witness to the unspoilt beauty and unfettered fun of minor league baseball. With your help, and after many a happy hour of noodling around on the interwebs when I should have been doing better things, I have narrowed down my original list of 29 teams to a more manageable 13 contenders:
Greensboro Grasshoppers (A)
Hickory Crawdads (A)
Durham Bulls (AAA)
Asheville Tourists (A)
Greenville Drive (A)
Zebulon Mudcats (AA)
Myrtle Beach Pelicans (A)
Lynchburg Hillcats (A)
Tennessee Smokies (AA)
Chattanooga Lookouts (AA)
Johnson City Cardinals (Rookie)
Forest City Owls (CPL)
Fayetteville Swampdogs (CPL)
Like a big dork, I mapped out all the localities on this custom Google Map:
I still won’t get to all of these teams, but at least we’re now entering the realm of the possible. Any advice about pretty roads to drive, great places to eat, cheap places to stay, or ways to cut this list down a little more are, of course, appreciated. Leave ‘em in the comments or email me!