Whether you cheer on your favorite southpaw pitcher's fastball or the gravity-defying acrobatics of a talented midfielder, minor league baseball games are a family-friendly celebration of a quintessential American pastime. The next time you’re looking to paint your face in honor of team spirit, visit one of these popular Mid-Atlantic baseball diamonds to enjoy the fun.
Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Pennsylvania)
Get on your “swine smarts” (and catcher's mitt) and head over to the $50 million Coca-Cola Park to watch Lehigh Valley’s popular IronPigs, the International League’s Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. Watch home runs fly in the new "Bacon Strip" section, or gather behind home plate in the rentable BSI Dugout Suite to watch pitcher Ethan Martin strike out opponents. The Allentown franchise’s friendly pig mascots, FeFe and FeRROUS, school the kids on baseball and rev up the crowd for the game, which occasionally culminates in spectacular fireworks shows. Learn more at www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t1410.
Buffalo Bisons (New York)
There’s more than pinch hitters and foul balls when it comes to New York’s Buffalo Bisons, the International League’s Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. Every game night, Wing, Bleu Cheese and Celery race each other around Coca-Cola Field’s warning track to win bragging rights over which part of “Buffalo’s favorite meal” is truly a fan favorite. Occasionally, Atomic steps in during the more heated races. Every Sunday, Buster’s Kids Club members also get exclusive rights to test their skills on the field or as the radio announcer. Read more at www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t422.
Potomac Nationals (Virginia)
Don’t be surprised when game night at G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge is sold out. “Director of Fun” mascot Uncle Slam signs autographs and gets people excited not only for games, but the summer season’s numerous family activities, including birthday parties, baseball camps, fireworks and a special reading club. This metro DC team often headlines with players who've gone onto the team's major league affiliate, the Washington Nationals. For more info, visit www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t436.
Aberdeen Ironbirds (Maryland)
Considered hometown baseball legend Cal Ripken’s “Field of Dreams,” Ripken Field in Aberdeen is host to awesome ball games complemented by special events on most nights. On Sept. 2, for example, fans will have the opportunity to win prizes (including an iPad Mini) that are randomly awarded every inning. That same week, fans can experience Mad Chad Chainsaw Juggler and Fan Appreciation Night. For complete details, visit www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t488.
Trenton Thunder (New Jersey)
This Class-AA affiliate of the New York Yankees keeps Central New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania fans coming back for family fun at Arm & Hammer Field in Trenton. With more than 20 fireworks games per season, the team enthralls along with Boomer the Thunderbird mascot, who can often be found racing young fans around the bases. Boomer’s sidekick, a thunder bolt named Strike, also pleases by launching T-shirts into the crowd. Kids eat free on Super Value Tuesdays (everyone else’s hot dogs are $1). Learn more at www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t567.
Most stadiums have food and drink policies along with other safety measures to ensure a good time for all. Before your visit, check the stadium website to read about its rules and regulations.
This article is presented by McGeorge Toyota Scion in Henrico, Virginia