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Ben's Biz: Minor League goals and resolutions

From enjoying a favorite hot dog to exploring a new MiLB road trip
January 12, 2024

This is an excerpt from the latest edition of the Ben's Biz Beat Newsletter, bringing Minor League Baseball business and culture news to your inbox each and every Thursday. Check out the full newsletter HERE. Subscribe HERE.

This is an excerpt from the latest edition of the Ben's Biz Beat Newsletter, bringing Minor League Baseball business and culture news to your inbox each and every Thursday. Check out the full newsletter HERE. Subscribe HERE.

In last week’s edition of this newsletter, we looked back. Now it’s time to pivot 180 degrees and gaze resolutely toward the great unknown.

What will the 2024 Minor League Baseball season bring? Who knows? But chance favors the prepared mind, so let’s start talking about what we would like to do, see and experience. Here are a few goals and resolutions submitted by readers like (or who may actually be) you. Let’s start with something that feels imminently obtainable:

My goal this year is to get back to Reading, Pa., to see the Fightin Phils after two years, in the best ballpark I’ve ever seen, and eat the world’s greatest hot dogs that are grilled on a flat top! -- Mike Lanzalotti

As you can see from the above image, the Fightin Phils are serious about their frankfurters. Every Sunday last season, they suited up as the Reading Hot Dogs. Their celebrated “flat top” dogs are provided by the Reading-based Berks Packing Co.

Another possible goal for Mike -- and whomever else finds themselves in Reading this season -- is to obtain an item that looks like a hot dog but is most definitely not a hot dog.

We’ll stay rooted in the Keystone State for this next one as well:

My goals/resolutions regarding the 2024 MiLB season are two-fold but related: I’d like to attend more games (got out to nine last year) and branch out to a couple sites I haven’t been able to visit yet as well. The nearest team for me geographically is the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Triple-A affiliate of my Phillies (getting to see Brandon Marsh on his rehab assignment at Coca-Cola Park last year was a highlight for sure!), but both the Double-A Fightin Phils in Reading and the High-A Jersey Shore BlueClaws are within a 90-minute drive for me. It would be really cool to see the future of the Phils in action at both of those levels, as well as explore the ballparks. -- Shaun Frank

Shaun’s email brings up a great point. If teams within your favorite MLB organization’s farm system are clustered together within reasonably short distances, then why not make a little road trip out of it? The Phillies’ triumvirate he lists is a good example. Here are five others, featuring three or more ballparks and driving distances of less than 150 miles between each stop.

Atlanta Braves: Rome Emperors to Gwinnett Stripers to Augusta GreenJackets

Baltimore Orioles: Aberdeen IronBirds to Bowie Baysox to Delmarva Shorebirds to Norfolk Tides (the entire system!)

Chicago White Sox: Winston-Salem Dash to Kannapolis Cannon Ballers to Charlotte Knights

Cleveland Guardians: Lake County Captains to Akron RubberDucks to Columbus Clippers

New York Yankees: Hudson Valley Renegades to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders to Somerset Patriots

If you need assistance in planning a Minor League ballpark road trip, then you (hopefully) know what to do: Check out the Minor League Ballpark Guides home page and explore to your heart’s content.

Perhaps you’re ready to move on from casual jaunts in favor of epic expeditions? If so, take inspiration from the following:

My resolution is to try to make it to 20 different parks, between Major and Minor. I made it to 19 in 2023, including 11 in a 12-day span in an amazing trip that included games in Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan and Indiana.

I am planning a trip in the Carolinas, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia for this June which I am really looking forward to. It is a great opportunity to see a lot of sights and also some of the top prospects.

Last year, I saw Quinn Priester and Endy Rodríguez as the starting battery for Indianapolis at Louisville on July 1. Less than two weeks later, I was there at PNC Park when both made their MLB debut as the starting battery [for the Pirates]. -- Joseph Carmany

For far more on Minor League Baseball-related 2024 goals and resolutions, check out last week’s episode of the “Show Before the Show” podcast (number 438, for those keeping score at home). Myself and co-hosts Tyler Maun and Sam Dykstra shared our goals, and further input was provided by a bevy of listeners as well as colleagues Kelsie Heneghan, Jim Callis and Rob Terranova.


And coming soon...

I’m sure I’ll have more on both of these significant developments over the coming months (and years), but two North Carolina-based Minor League teams are set for relocation.

  • A new ballpark is being built in Spartanburg, S.C., which will host the team currently known as the Down East Wood Ducks. It’s scheduled to open in 2025. This means 2024 will be the last season at Grainger Stadium in Kinston, N.C. Grainger Stadium, the ninth-oldest ballpark in Minor League Baseball, opened in 1949.
  • The Carolina Mudcats are slated to move from Zebulon, N.C. to Wilson, N.C., following a unanimous vote by city officials to provide funding for a new ballpark. The Mudcats have played in Zebulon since 1991. Wilson has long been home to the summer-collegiate Tobs, who play at historic Fleming Stadium. The new ballpark in Wilson is scheduled to open in 2026.

Benjamin Hill is a reporter for and writes Ben's Biz Blog. Follow Ben on Twitter @bensbiz.