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Endless Summer
Pablo S. Torre
June 09, 2008
If you prefer small ball—meaning affordable tickets and young players with a hunger for the game—SI has plotted a 71-day, 15,997-mile journey through the minor leagues. It'll be worth the price of gas (promise)
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June 09, 2008

Endless Summer

If you prefer small ball—meaning affordable tickets and young players with a hunger for the game—SI has plotted a 71-day, 15,997-mile journey through the minor leagues. It'll be worth the price of gas (promise)

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Catch up with the godfather of sports mascots at the home of the Reds' Double A team: the San Diego Chicken, now 34 years old, as he makes his annual circuit through minor league parks.

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Madison, Wis.
Madison Mallards vs. Waterloo Bucks, 6:05 p.m., Warner Park

The Duck Blind, a cordoned-off fan area, may be unrivaled in the minors, with its open beer bar plus all-you-can-eat grill food for $35. Let's just say the atmosphere in this summer collegiate league is festive.

AUGUST

2
Kansas City, Mo.
Kansas City T-Bones vs. Gary Southshore Railcats, 7:05 p.m., CommunityAmerica Ballpark

Not only is there an Irish Dexter steer on the premises and mouth-watering angus, but there's also a giant sign of a bull beyond leftfield with a hole in its right eye. If a player hits a home run through the bull's eye (get it?), a designated fan wins $1 million.

8
Everett, Wash.
Everett Aquasox vs. Tri-City Dust Devils, 7:05 p.m., Everett Memorial Stadium

Nearly six weeks after your stop in Spokane you're back in Washington, which means it's undoubtedly time for a haircut. Conveniently, the Aquasox, the Mariners' short-season Class A team, is holding Buhner Buzz Night. The (still) clean-headed Jay Buhner will be on hand before the game to give you an authentic Buhner Buzz Cut.

10
Stockton, Calif.
Stockton Ports vs. Visalia Oaks, 6:05 p.m., Banner Island Ballpark

A cradle of baseball in the 1860s, the home of this A's Class A affiliate is reputed to have been the inspiration for Ernest Thayer's Casey at the Bat. Modern-day Banner Island Ballpark seems a far cry from Mudville, though. Hard by a lake, the park is set against the backdrop of Jet Skis whipping along the water. Added bonus: On this night pro wrestling icon Sgt. Slaughter will be signing autographs at the yard.

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