With the 2015 Minor League Baseball season officially concluded following the Triple-A National Championship Game in El Paso, Texas, on Sept. 22, and the Major League Baseball season approaching the playoffs, it felt like an appropriate time to recap the stadiums I visited during the 2015 season.
I visited three MLB stadiums, and wrote about two visits. For the first time, I visited U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox (read about it here). As has become custom for me over the past five years, I attended a few Cincinnati Reds games at Great American Ball Park while in town for the A.P. Human Geography Reading, but I did not blog about my visits. In the sense of playing catch up with ballparks I have visited, but not written about I attended an Atlanta Braves game at Turner Field in late August (read about it here).
I visited eight new MiLB stadiums and revisited three during the season. I attended a Gwinnett Braves game at Coolray Field; this time on Back to the Future Night when the team wore jerseys replicating the attire of Marty McFly, the main character in the 1985 film “Back to the Future.” I also saw the Mississippi Braves at Trustmark Park, but attended because I served as “designated eater” for MiLB.com reporter Benjamin Hill (read it here). Hill also interviewed me about my academic work and how I study sports through a geographic lens (read it here). Closer to home, I attended a pair of Birmingham Barons games at Regions Field during the season; once in April with a friend and on the Fourth of July with my girlfriend.
|Screen capture of Ben Hill’s article about my academic research on the Minor League Baseball web site.|
The first new Minor League stadium I visited was Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva, Ill., home of the Kane County Cougars (read about it here). In April I was in Chicago for the 2015 Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, and made a one-day trek to the west suburbs to watch the Cougars. I also got to meet fellow baseball blogger Craig Wieczorkiewicz, who runs the The Midwest League Traveler site.
After the end of the spring semester, I took a 3-day trip to the Gulf Coast and saw games at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium, home of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (read about it here), and Hank Aaron Stadium, home of the Mobile BayBears (read about it here).
At the end of May I made a daytrip to Birmingham to attend the 20th Rickwood Classic at Rickwood Field. While I have seen the host Birmingham Barons play at their current home, Regions Field, I had never attended a Rickwood Classic (read about it here), when the team wears throwback uniforms and play at the oldest continuously used baseball stadium in the United States.
While visiting family in Atlanta during the month of June I took a trip and saw the Augusta GreenJackets at their home, Lake Olmstead Stadium (read about it here), and the Savannah Sand Gnats in their final season at Grayson Stadium (read about it here). I also made a daytrip to see the Rome Braves at State Mutual Stadium (read about it here). Along with attending a game at Coolray Field, home of the Gwinnett Braves, I was able to visit all four of the Minor League stadiums in Georgia, which is a resolution I set out to accomplish a year ago, but failed to fulfill during the 2014 season.
In 2014, I resolve to visit all four Georgia @MiLB teams: @GreenJackets, @GwinnettBraves, @TheRomeBraves, and @gnatsbaseball. #PlayBall
— Steven Ericson (@geoSteven) January 1, 2014
I made the same resolution in 2015, but was actually able to fulfill my goal and visited all four of Georgia’s Minor League teams in the same season.
In 2015, I resolve to visit all 4 Georgia @MiLB teams: @gnatsbaseball, @GreenJackets, @GwinnettBraves, and @TheRomeBraves. #PlayBall
— Steven Ericson (@geoSteven) January 1, 2015
At the beginning of August I made a trip to Nashville with two goals. The primary objective was to help my girlfriend move into her new apartment, and the second reason was to attend a Nashville Sounds game at their new ballpark, First Tennessee Park (read about it here).
I also made a change to my blogging experience during the past season and abandoned using Google Maps to display my stadium visits, and changed to mapping my blogs with ESRI Story Maps. ESRI is a company that makes mapping software, most notably ArcGIS, and provides a free online format that incorporates maps and photographs to create mashups like story maps. My Story Map can be found here.
|Screen capture of my Story Map.|
As the 2015 baseball season concludes I wrote about ten ballparks and attended 17 games at 13 stadiums across the MLB, Triple-A, Double-A, and Class A levels.
These trips now bring my stadium tally to:
- MLB = 21 (14 active)
- Triple-A = 10 (8 active)
- Double-A = 21 (16 active)
- Class A-Advanced = 5 (5 active)
- Class A = 8 (5 active)
- Class A-Short-Season = 6 (5 active)
- Independent = 5 (2 active)
- Spring Training = 10 (9 active)
I have now seen professional baseball games (including Spring Training) in 28 states, the District of Columbia, and one Canadian province (British Columbia). I attended games in seven states during the 2015 season, but the only new state was Illinois where I saw the Chicago White Sox and Kane County Cougars.