There is nothing quite like the familiarity of buying peanuts and Cracker Jacks and not knowing whether you’ll ever go back home because there is so much fun to be had at a baseball game! Now that spring training has kicked off another season of baseball, it’s time to start planning family outings to go see local teams duking it out at minor league and collegiate league baseball games.
Minor League and Collegiate League Baseball
Most of us are already familiar with major league baseball and the televised games on TV, but did you know minor league and collegiate league baseball are just as exciting to watch and packed with value-added entertainment for the whole family? According to Bruce Adams, president and founder of the Bethesda Big Train collegiate summer baseball team, minor league baseball “is big-league talent with a small-town charm.”
Minor league baseball is affiliated with the professional baseball organization known as Major League Baseball, which offers them recognition as an official partner and typically identifies them as an affiliate of professional teams. It is also distinguished from summer baseball teams and independent leagues, though those distinctions become technical and may vary per state.
Everyone is invited to visit the minor league baseball parks throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and enjoy action-packed games and celebrate with the whole family. Those who attend minor league baseball games can expect to be entertained with the game, a variety of food and merchandise concessions and live entertainment happening concurrently with the game. The offerings of each team vary, but may include activities as diverse as product giveaways, trivia nights, team meet-and-greets, fan recognition, pop culture theme nights, musical events, games and an assortment of kid-friendly activities.
Here are a few teams to help whet your appetite for minor league baseball.
Playing at the Prince George’s Stadium in Bowie, Maryland, the Bowie Baysox have a fantastic season planned for spectators. Besides watching live action with the games, of course, fans have the opportunity to receive bobbleheads, hats, autographed pictures of players and T-shirts. The team has also planned fun community events during the games, including Star Wars Night, Touch-A-Truck Day and Grateful Dead Night. At the end of August, the team plans to host a tribute to the Negro Leagues.
The Bowie Baysox also offer daily promotions including happy hour on Thursdays, kids run the bases on Fridays and Saturdays and military appreciation nights on Tuesdays. To purchase tickets and for more information, visit milb.com/bowie.
The Fredericksburg Nationals play at the Virginia Credit Union Stadium in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Their 2022 season is bringing back their concert series featuring saxophonist Kenny G, comedian Jeff Dunham and rock bands Hinder and Buckcherry entertaining audiences while the team plays at away games. One of the most fun promotions they have going on is $2 Tuesdays in which tickets, tacos and churros cost just $2 each!
The team invites all children 12 and under to be a part of their Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers Kids Club, which gets them T-shirts and invitations to special events throughout the season. To purchase tickets and for more information, visit milb.com/fredericksburg.
Based in Frederick, Md., the Frederick Keys play at the Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium.
The Frederick Keys have a full roster of fun theme nights planned for this year’s season. They will be hosting Fireworks Night, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Night, Bark in the Park, Family Fitness Weekend, Wrestling Night, Meet the Team, Art in the Park and many other fun nights. The team also offers many things for its youngest fans, such as Anthem Buddies, allowing children to line up on the field next to the team during the playing of the national anthem; Kids Courtesy, giving young athletes in uniform free entry to games; and Kids Run the Bases, allowing kids to run the bases at the conclusion of the game. To purchase tickets and for more information, visit milb.com/frederick.
Cover More Bases With Bethesda Big Train and Other Collegiate Baseball Team Fun
Collegiate team baseball also makes for a fun-fueled family outing. Washington Parent Media is proud to have been a partner of one of the oldest and longest-running collegiate summer baseball teams in our area — Bethesda Big Train — for more than 20 years.
President Bruce Adams believes one of the biggest draws to the Bethesda Big Train is its small venue which seats up to 700 people, allowing spectators to watch the games as a more intimate experience.
Starting in the 1990s, Adams was inspired by Fodor’s Baseball Vacations and traveled with his family to visit minor league stadiums throughout the United States. Over the years, he brought back the best parts of what he saw and incorporated them into the Bethesda Big Train, founded in 1998. This extensive research resulted in a wide assortment of eclectic and interesting family-friendly entertainment that’s also affordable and near home.
During the 2022 season, the team plans to offer a tribute to American baseball, Latin baseball heritage night, Jewish heritage night, a Native American tour and exhibition, Pride night, kid museum night and shirt giveaways. Adams feels it is important to offer spectators a fun festival atmosphere to accompany the game. To purchase tickets and for more information, visit bigtrain.org.
Big Train is part of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League. Visit calripkenleague.org to see this year’s schedule and rosters for all their local teams you can check out with your family:
- Alexandria Aces
- Bethesda Big Train
- DC Grays
- Gaithersburg Giants
- Metropolitan SOCO Braves
- Olney Cropdusters
- Silver Spring-Takoma T-Bolts