Minor league baseball teams provide organized opportunities for player development and are operated as independent businesses. Most teams are directly affiliated with one major league team. The games are held in suburban stadiums which provide a family-friendly atmosphere and are a great venue for introducing kids to the American sport. Following is a guide to the minor league baseball teams in Maryland and Virginia. (Listed in alphabetical order)
Ripken Stadium – Aberdeen, Maryland. Class A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. Owned by former Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken Jr., the IronBirds play in a modern stadium with open-air concourses, party decks and comfortable seats. Activities for kids include claw machines, an inflatable slide, a speed gun to clock your fastball and an arcade-style Wiffle ball game. Adjacent to the stadium is Ripken’s youth baseball complex, which features fields modeled after famous stadiums, including a miniature Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Tickets: $9.50-$30.
Prince George’s Stadium. The Orioles’ Class AA franchise. The kids’ park has a carousel, a moon bounce, a test-your-speed pitching area and an inflatable Wiffle ball batting cage. Between-innings activities include three-legged races and races atop inflatable rocking horses. Kids get to run the bases after every game. Tickets: $7-$17.
Harry Grove Stadium – Frederick, Maryland. Class A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. The 5,500-seat stadium was built in 1990. Kids enjoy the Fun Zone, which includes a carousel and moon bounce. Postgame fireworks are displayed on Friday and Saturday nights. Tickets: $8-$14.
Municipal Stadium - Hagerstown, Maryland. Nationals’ low Class A affiliate. The historic stadium dates back to 1930. Renovations in 2010-2011 included upgrades to the playing surface, seating improvements and the installation of a state-of-the-art video board. Between innings, fans participate in three-legged races and kids guess the price of ice cream in a “Price Is Right”-type game, with prizes awarded to the winners. Tickets: $9-$12.
Pfitzner Stadium - Woodbridge, Virginia. Nationals’ high Class A affiliate. Over the years, seven major league teams have operated the franchise, and the team has undergone many name changes and one move (from Alexandria to Prince William County). A Kids Zone has all of the minor league park staples including a moon bounce, inflatable slide and pitching and hitting areas. Mascot Uncle Slam wanders around the stadium to entertain the crowd. The stadium is centerpiece of the Prince William County sports complex, which features a half-dozen softball fields. Tickets: $7-$15. Parking, $5.
Regency Furniture Stadium – Waldorf, Maryland. Technically the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs aren’t a minor league team (they belong to the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball). They are owned by former Orioles third baseman Brooks Robinson. Activities include bumper boats and Pinch’s Playground, a place just for kids with inflatables and a rock wall. Tickets: $6-13.