Commentary

Roads less traveled

Four multi-day road trips to watch future stars and eat cheap ballpark food

Updated: July 29, 2011, 9:58 AM ET
By Scott Rogowsky | ESPN The Magazine

Bryce HarperKim Klement/US PresswireNationals prospect Bryce Harper is one of the most talented players you'll spot in the minors.

This story appears in the August 8, 2011 issue of ESPN The Magazine.

If you've got the price of a major league hot dog and a tank or two of gas, we've got a few sweet late-summer swings for you.

NORTHWEST: Bring the family!
Because you're running out of ways to keep your kids busy at home.

Friday, Aug. 12, 7:05 p.m.
Everett, Washington: Tri-City Dust Devils (Rockies) at Everett AquaSox (Mariners); Class-A Short Season, Northwest League
Young ones get to run the bases after the game.

Saturday, Aug. 13, 7:05 p.m.
Tacoma, Washington: Iowa Cubs at Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners); Triple-A, Pacific Coast League
Four game tickets, hats, pizza and passes to the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, all for $44 (a $175 value).

Monday, Aug. 15, 7:05 p.m.
Yakima, Washington: Spokane Indians at Yakima Bears (Diamondbacks); Class-A Short Season, Northwest League
All kids 12 and under get a free meal.

TOTAL MILES: 360


SOUTHWEST: For the boys!
Because you can convince your squeeze that it's not about a trip to Sin City.

Saturday, Aug. 20, 7:05 p.m.
Albuquerque, New Mexico: Memphis Redbirds (Cardinals) at Albuquerque Isotopes (Dodgers); Triple-A, Pacific Coast League
Souvenir cowbell giveaway! (WARNING: May result in violence on the rest of the trip.)

Sunday, Aug. 21, 7:05 p.m.
Tucson, Arizona: Sacramento River Cats (A's) at Tucson Padres; Triple-A, Pacific Coast League
The Pads will be rocking camo unis for Military Appreciation Night.

Monday, Aug. 22, 7:05 p.m.
Las Vegas: Fresno Grizzlies (Giants) at Las Vegas 51s (Blue Jays); Triple-A, Pacific Coast League
Hot dogs, popcorn, Cracker Jack and pretzels each cost a buck, so your pockets will be full when you hit the Strip.

TOTAL MILES: 851


NORTHEAST: See top prospects!
Because you want to catch a sneak peek at some potential September heros.

Thursday, Aug. 18, 6:35 p.m.
Binghamton, New York: New Britain Rock Cats (Twins) at Binghamton Mets; Double-A, Eastern League
Guys to watch:
P Matt Harvey (Mets)
P Jeurys Familia (Mets)
OF Joe Benson (Twins)

Friday, Aug. 19, 7:05 p.m.
Moosic, Pennsylvania: Durham Bulls (Rays) at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees; Triple-A, International League
Guys to watch:
OF Desmond Jennings (Rays)
C Jesus Montero (Yankees)

Saturday, Aug. 20, 6:35 p.m.
Reading, Pennsylvania: Altoona Curve (Pirates) at Reading Phillies; Double-A, Eastern League Guys to watch:
C Tony Sanchez (Pirates)
OF Starling Marte (Pirates)
SS Freddy Galvis (Phillies)

Sunday, Aug. 21, 2 p.m.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Erie SeaWolves (Tigers) at Harrisburg Senators (Nationals); Double-A, Eastern League
Guys to watch:
P Jacob Turner (Tigers)
OF Bryce Harper (Nationals)

TOTAL MILES: 230


SOUTHEAST: Old-timers days!
Because you're a history (real and otherwise) buff at heart.

Thursday, Aug. 11, 7:05 p.m.
Durham, North Carolina: Rochester Red Wings (Twins) at Durham Bulls (Rays); Triple-A, International League
Commune with the ghosts of Crash Davis and Nuke LaLoosh at nearby Durham Athletic Park.

Friday, Aug. 12, 7 p.m.
Greensboro, North Carolina: Lakewood BlueClaws (Phillies) at Greensboro Grasshoppers (Marlins); Class-A, South Atlantic League
Stop by World War Memorial Stadium, built in 1926, onetime home of baseball's newest Mr. 3,000.

Saturday, Aug. 13, 7 p.m.
Elizabethton, Tennessee: Johnson City Cardinals at Elizabethton Twins; Rookie, Appalachian League
Old-school charm trumps amenities (who needs 'em!) at community-operated Joe O'Brien Field (est. 1974).

Sunday, Aug. 14, 2 p.m.
Chattanooga, Tennessee: Birmingham Barons (White Sox) at Chattanooga Lookouts (Dodgers); Double-A, Southern League
Play catch on the field before the game, then tour nearby Engel Stadium, where Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Satchel Paige toiled.