Reported by Kathy M. Newbern and J.S. Fletcher
Major League Baseball’s spring training is winding down, and soon, fans will be filing into the big league parks to see the first pitches thrown for the 2014 season.
- March 22-23, 2014, opening games will be played in Sydney, Australia: Dodgers vs. D-backs
- March 30, 2014, is Opening Night, Dodgers vs. Padres
- March 31, 2014, is Opening Day.
North Carolina has no major league team, but touts eight minor league clubs that for a pittance of the price of going to a big league game will provide a family date night that won’t break the budget.
- ASHEVILLE TOURISTS
Colorado Rockies (A)
Home season opener: Thursday, April 3. theashevilletourists.com
- CHARLOTTE KNIGHTS
Chicago White Sox (AAA)
Home season opener: Friday, April 11. charlotteknights.com
We got a peek at the their brand new downtown stadium during a recent visit when we stayed at the Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte, which is within walking distance of the park. It's a must see when you're in the Queen City.
- CAROLINA MUDCATS
Cleveland Indians (A Adv.)
Home season opener: Thursday, April 3. carolinamudcats.com
- DURHAM BULLS
Tampa Bay Rays (AAA)
Home season opener: Thursday, April 3. durhambulls.com
Major changes happened over the winter to update this already superb facility.
- GREENSBORO GRASSHOPPERS
Miami Marlins (A)
Home season opener: Thursday, April 3. gsohoppers.com
- HICKORY CRAWDADS
Texas Rangers (A)
Home season opener: Thursday, April 10. hickorycrawdads.com
With renovations now completed.
- KANNAPOLIS INTIMIDATORS
Chicago White Sox (A)
Home season opener: Thursday, April 3. intimidatorsbaseball.com
- WINSTON-SALEM DASH
Chicago White Sox (A Adv.)
Home season opener: Thursday, April 3. wsdash.com
Baseball has a rich tradition in the Tar Heel state. Did you know that Babe Ruth only not hit his first professional home run in North Carolina but also picked up the monicker Babe here as well?
Other major leaguers to play on Carolina soil include Jackie Robinson, Curt Schilling, Manny Ramírez, Chipper Jones, Cal Ripken Jr., Derek Jeter and the real “Crash” Davis (who inspired the character Kevin Kostner played in the best baseball movie ever: Bull Durham, filmed guess where!)
The truth is you never know what player will be in the lineup who will be the next one to make it to the “Bigs”. The best way to find out is to go out to a game and root, root, root for the home team (or whomever your favorite team is).
If you enjoyed this story, you might also enjoy these:
• Other stories by Newbern and Fletcher
• Other Stories by Kathy M. Newbern
• Stories by J.S. Fletcher, International Travel Examiner
Luxury Travel Examiner Kathy M. Newbern and spouse, J.S. Fletcher, report on luxury destinations, spas and cruising around the globe. They are award-winning members of the Society of American Travel Writers and created YourSpaReport.com and YourNovel.com, their personalized romance novel business.