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SI.com's Pablo Torre plots out hardball destinations for your summer vacation.
MORE TRIPS: New Englander | Southern Swing | Cali Cruise | Tour of Texas

With baseball's cradle and professional sports' most lucrative market to its credit, the Tri-State area provides more than enough material for one baseball tour. History buffs can begin upstate in Cooperstown, the game's equivalent of Mount Olympus. Then, even the most casual fans can return happy to Manhattan, where convenient, if initially daunting, subway lines are ready to shuttle you from baseball's winningest and wealthiest franchise in the Bronx (4 or D train) to Queens and arguably the best team in the game today (7 train). But don't stop there: public transportation -- for two dollars a ride -- can ferry you to Class A Staten Island and then to historic Brooklyn, where the fan-favorite Cyclones have led a baseball revival. And lest you get too big-market, worry not: you're encouraged to stop by Newark and see its Independent League Bears, where Rickey Henderson and Jose Canseco once played.

The reigning king of Yankee Stadium, veteran shortstop Derek Jeter.
The reigning king of Yankee Stadium, veteran shortstop Derek Jeter.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
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With the way the Mets are playing this summer, there's a good chance you'll get a glimpse of the apple at Shea.
Jim Cooper/Getty Images
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Baseball returned to Brooklyn in 2001, with the Cyclones on Coney Island.
Chris Hondros/Getty Images
Luke Winn & Dan Hoyle's Midwestern Loop
Two SI.com writers took a six-day, four-state tour of games in the Midwest, and kept a full journal to whet your appetite for baseball tourism.

FULL STORY

1. New York Yankees (MLB)
Location: Bronx, N.Y.
Stadium: Yankee Stadium

Twenty-six championships and 39 pennants later, the Yankees are still the toughest ticket in baseball. Steinbrenner's boys may not be leading the AL East right now, but they are topping the attendance charts: 161st Street and River Avenue draws nearly 50,000 fans per game. The brave, economical fan knows that lining up for a cheap seat with the "Bleacher Creatures" is worth it: Join in the Yankee Roll Call at the top of the first, and revel in mercilessly harassing opposing outfielders. Then, in the ninth, get ready for goosebumps -- watching Mariano Rivera trot in from the bullpen to the sounds of Metallica's Enter Sandman is like nothing else.

Key links: Web site | Schedule | Tickets ($12-115)

2. New York Mets (MLB)
Location: Queens, N.Y.
Stadium: Shea Stadium

Shea Stadium isn't the most pleasant park in the world -- especially if you don't fancy planes periodically soaring overhead -- but GM Omar Minaya has pieced together a star-studded team that more than makes up for the stadium's steel-girder aesthetic. With the Mets topping the NL East, the dusty old giant apple doesn't look so bad. Then again, if Shea's good enough for the Pope and Bruce Springsteen -- visitors in 1979 and 2003, respectively -- it's good enough for you. Not to mention the fact that New York crowds would be entertaining in a paper box.

Key links: Web site | Schedule | Tickets ($5-70)

3. Brooklyn Cyclones (Class A -- New York Mets, New York-Penn League)
Location: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Stadium: KeySpan Park

KeySpan isn't Ebbets Field, but it has its own charm: It's situated by the famed Coney Island boardwalk with a view of the team's namesake, the Cyclone roller coaster, in left and a vista of the Atlantic Ocean in right. Minor League News called it one of the 10 best minor league stadiums in the nation. The Cyclones have led a baseball revival in Brooklyn since their inception in 2001, drawing roughly 1,500,000 fans in their first five years. In fact, less than a month after opening day, new seats needed to be added to accommodate increased demand.

Key links: Web site | Schedule | Tickets ($6-13)

4. Staten Island Yankees (Class A -- Yankees, New York-Penn League)
Location: Staten Island, N.Y.
Stadium: Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George

The so-called Baby Bombers -- winners of their division in 2000, '02, and '05 -- put a pretty good product on the field, but you might like their view even better. The Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George is located right on the New York waterfront. Over the outfield wall sits the Statue of Liberty and the lower Manhattan skyline, in addition to New York Harbor and New Jersey. If that's not enough, look forward to a cornucopia of heritage nights, including Irish, Jewish, Japanese, Mexican, and Italian.

Key links: Web site | Schedule | Tickets ($5-11)

5. Newark Bears (Independent, Atlantic League)
Location: Newark, New Jersey
Stadium: Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium

Few organizations can claim to have simultaneously cut checks for both Canseco twins (yes, Ozzie and Jose), but this is one of them. Formed in 1998 by former Yankee catcher Rick Cerone, it has gained fame by serving as a stopover -- and, sometimes, simply a stop -- for major league talent. Future Hall of Fame centerfielder Henderson played at Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium in 2003. The next year, the legendary Jose Lima pitched for Newark before being picked up by the Dodgers.

Key links: Web site | Schedule | Tickets ($7-9)

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