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Monday (Minnesota's lack of minor league baseball) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated July 16th at 11:04am 265225741

minorleaguemapWe’ve come to that glorious time of the year when we set about to plan the annual Great Baseball Road Trip. This year’s trip provided many challenges, including the fact that the four presumed participants have, respectively, in 2014: gotten married, gotten married, become a father and moved across the country. But we have somehow wrangled a long weekend in which everyone is available to leave from Minneapolis. A trip with the Twin Cities as a starting point keeps costs down (no flight for most of us, while the cross-country mover has to be here for a different trip anyway) and allows us to hopefully maximize our time for a trip that has been going strong every year since 2000 but has dwindled to 3 or 4 days in recent years instead of the 7-8 day trip of years past when time was more plentiful than responsibilities.

The downside of a trip from Minneapolis is that it severely limits our options for where to go. In recent years, the trip model has come to include at least one major league game, but also a handful of minor league games. Our crew has determined that the lower levels are fun, with jewels for ballparks, cheap seats right by home plate and the chance to yell a lot without much consequence.

In browsing our trusty map from MILB.com (shown above and linked here, pretty much the best thing ever), however, we were struck once again by the dearth of options we have around here. A total of 42 states have at least one affiliated minor league team. Minnesota is one. Of the eight that do not, Alaska and Hawaii are included. So of the contiguous 48 states, just six are minor-league free. Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota are among those six.

Iowa has five. Wisconsin and Illinois have two apiece. So it’s not like we have to go a LONG way to get to some, but it does limit the options. We’ve already been to five of those nine minor league destinations between the three states, and our route this year includes another (Burlington, Iowa).

Yes, it would not be a true road trip if we didn’t have to drive to get places. But we do find ourselves thinking, yet again, that a couple of Minnesota franchises in the Class-A Midwest League — one in St. Paul, as will apparently be discussed between the Twins and Saints — and another in, say, Rochester — sure would be nice not just for the trip but for local fans of minor league ball in general.

The Saints are fun, while the Northwoods League and amateur town teams help fill the gap. But as the GBRT can tell you, they don’t quite compare to the lure of minor league baseball.

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Detroit - M. Scherzer 4:37 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Kansas City - J. Vargas 8:07 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
Minnesota 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
NY Islanders 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Philadelphia 6:00 PM
Washington
Tampa Bay 6:30 PM
Florida
Minnesota 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Vancouver 8:00 PM
Edmonton
Winnipeg 8:00 PM
Calgary
Los Angeles 8:00 PM
Colorado
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Chicago 7:00 PM
Philadelphia
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Hamilton 10/10/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Ottawa 10/11/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia

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