An article in the Plain Dealer was released this week talking about baseball stadiums that fans must go to before it’s too late. They listed off a number of great ballparks that would be awesome to visit during a ballpark tour. Many of these stadiums were out of state and had some distance between each other.
I had an idea since high school where I would see all the ballparks in Ohio in the shortest amount of time possible. Ohio has a grand total of eight professional teams, two Major League Teams (The Reds and the Tribe) and six Minor League teams (listed below). All of these teams have tons of baseball history and their local fans love them.
Since everyone is already familiar with the Reds and the Tribe, take a look at the list of the Minor League teams that Ohio has to offer:
(Double-A for the Cleveland Indians): Playing in Downtown Akron at Canal Park, the Aeros have been around since 1997. Many current Indians like Asdrúbal Cabrera, Shin-Soo Choo, and Jason Kipnis were Aeros not too many years ago. The best night to go is when an Indian is rehabbing from an injury and is warming back up in Akron. If an all-star is rehabbing, the place will sell out!
If I’m not mistaken, Johnny Damon was with the Aeros earlier this season before joining the Tribe. The stadium holds around 9,000 fans and there is no such thing as a bad seat. I have been to a bunch of Aeros games and I have a great time every time I go!
Fun Fact: The name “Aeros” comes from Ohio's history of aerospace research!
(Triple-A for the Cleveland Indians): These Back-to-Back International League Champions means business! They were historically known as the New York Yankees Triple A team for over 25 years until they parted ways in 2006.
The Indians would later great them in 2009, the same year the Clipper’s new stadium was open, Huntington Park. Huntington Park is located in the Arena District of Columbus and is a very beautiful stadium. Dime-a-Dog night is a fan favorite (Don’t ask me if the hot dogs are good because I never had one!). The first and only time that I have been to Columbus to see the Clippers play was in May of 2009, and it is my favorite minor league stadium!
(Single-A for the Cincinnati Reds): The Dayton Dragons is the one team that I have yet to see in Ohio but they aren’t missing me because last summer, they officially set a new record of 815 consecutive sellout games. I have no idea how they sold out Fifth Third Field every night, but I do know that their tickets are HOT!
I’m not sure if Magic Johnson is still a part-owner since he has helped buy the Dodgers, but he was one of the part-owners of the Dragons. Two-time Heisman winner, Archie Griffin, is a part-owner as well. So, I guess that it does not take a baseball man to run a baseball team! I do plan on attending a Dragons game later this summer…If I can get tickets!
Lake County Captains
(Single-A for the Cleveland Indians): Only being a half hour east of Cleveland, the Lake County Captains are always fun to watch. Starting in 2003, the Captains started playing ball at the beautiful Classic Park in Eastlake, Ohio.
My favorite memory at a Captains game was back in 2008. It was a day or two before I graduated high school. A friend and I went to the Captain’s double header, which started early because it was senior day at the park. When we got there, an employee of the Captains randomly stopped me and asked if I wanted to throw out the first pitch. I was too excited to say no and yes, I threw a perfect strike. The best part was the sound of senior citizens cheering for me from the stands!
All joking aside, Captains games are fun for the whole family and you will get a first look at some up and coming players.
Mahoning Valley Scrappers
(Single A Short Season for the Cleveland Indians): Straight out of Niles, Ohio near Youngstown! The Scrappers are all young (very young) baseball players with Major League dreams. Since the Scrappers are Single-A Short Season, their schedule starts in mid-June.
Even though the Scrappers are very low in the Minor League system, players do make it to the bigs! The one thing I don’t like is that Eastwood Field is located behind a shopping mall! I guess that adds some personality to it!
Toledo Mud Hens
(Triple-A for the Detroit Tigers): The Mud Hens are by far the most historic minor league teams in baseball history. If you like baseball, you must see a Mud Hens
Just like the Dayton Dragons, their stadium is also named Fifth Third Field and it is located in the heart of Toledo. I saw the Clippers play the Mud Hens in Toledo on Fourth of July in 2010. It was cool to see the Battle of Ohio on ‘Merica’s birthday! The stadium is the best part of Toledo and everyone loves it. If you check out any Ohio baseball stadium, think about it being Toledo’s!
With all that being said, please check out a few of the parks this summer if possible! Any questions? Please leave a comment below! Thanks!