Extra MustardSI On CampusFantasyPhoto GalleriesSwimsuitVideoFanNationSI KidsTNT
News
Free E-mail AlertsE-mail ThisPrint ThisSave ThisMost PopularRSS Aggregators
SI.com's Pablo Torre plots out hardball destinations for your summer vacation.
MORE TRIPS: New Englander | Metropolitan Ball Tour | Cali Cruise | Tour of Texas

They say the South moves at a leisurely pace, and plenty of things in this region are worth enjoying to the fullest. Baseball might be No. 1 on that list. This trip will bring you the best diamonds from below the Mason-Dixon line: You'll see the Braves in Atlanta, and embark on a minor league tour ranging from the Durham Bulls to the magnificently located Myrtle Beach Pelicans. In the end, you'll find it difficult to beat the combination of quality ball, warm weather, and down-home cooking.

At Turner Field, playoff baseball is a tradition, but that will probably end this season.
At Turner Field, playoff baseball is a tradition, but that will probably end this season.
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
t1_durhambulls_si.jpg
In Durham, the free steak sign has long been a target for Bulls hitters.
Durham Bulls
t1_tycobb_all.jpg
The "Georgia Peach," Ty Cobb, did some of his earliest ballplaying in Augusta.
Ezra Shaw/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. Atlanta Braves (MLB)
Location: Atlanta
Stadium: Turner Field

The longtime tenants of the National League East's penthouse are having an off-year, but at least they have those 14 straight division titles to fall back on. Turner Field -- a.k.a. "The Ted," in commemoration of Atlanta owner Ted Turner -- is also acclaimed as one of the nicest, cleanest stadiums in the league; it was converted into a baseball-only facility after the 1996 Summer Olympics. There's the Grand Entry Plaza at the park's north end, full of pre-game entertainment; the world's largest high-definition video board, according to the Guinness Book of World Records; and, of course, the renowned Chop House restaurant, an 8,000 square-foot establishment above the bullpen that encourages fine dining during the game.

Key links: Web site | Schedule | Tickets ($1-53)

2. Chattanooga Lookouts (Double A -- Reds, Southern League)
Location: Chattanooga, Tenn.
Stadium: BellSouth Park

Named for Tennessee's nearby Lookout Mountain, the Scenic City's squad has one of the most recognizable logos in minor league baseball -- a red, block "C" with a pair of cartoon eyes inside. The team's home, BellSouth Park, opened in 2000 to replace the aging Engel Stadium, which boasted the deepest centerfield in baseball history (471 feet) and a hill that inspired the outfield slope at Houston's Minute Maid Park. BellSouth is situated on Hawk Hill downtown, providing sweet views of both the mountains and the city. Chattanooga, near the borders of Georgia and Alabama, has played host to many stars, from Satchel Paige to Willie Mays to Adam Dunn.

Key links: Web site | Schedule | Tickets ($4-8)

3. Asheville Tourists (Class A -- Rockies, South Atlantic League)
Location: Asheville, N.C.
Stadium: McCormick Field

Whether you realize it or not, you've probably seen action footage of Asheville this season. Does the name Joe Mikulik sound familiar? He's the Tourists' manager ... and he also happens to be the man whose epic, base-and-bat-throwing meltdown against Lexington was one of the hottest clips on YouTube in late June. At McCormick Field, though, take it easy on him: Hasn't the man been through enough already?

Key links: Web site | Schedule | Tickets ($7-10)

4. Durham Bulls (Triple A -- Devil Rays, South Atlantic League)
Location: Durham, N.C.
Stadium: Durham Bulls Athletic Park

The most famous minor league team in history thanks to the eponymous movie, Bull Durham, the real-life Bulls make their home at the similarly eponymous Durham Bulls Athletic Park -- or, as locals call it, the "D-BAP." Located downtown, you may not see Kevin Costner's Crash Davis or Tim Robbins' Nuke LaLoosh (hot-headed Delmon Young, though, is on the roster). But, just like in the movie, any player to hit the bull with a home run wins himself (and a lucky fan) a free steak dinner.

Key links: Web site | Schedule | Tickets ($5-8)

Continue

Search