2019 marks my 10th season of Minor League ballpark travel, and in that time I have visited 174 stadiums. 2018 was a milestone season, as I ended the season having visited every active Minor League park. That quest continues anew in 2019, as I'll visit the three new ballparks making their debut (as well as quite a few others along the way). For links to previous road trip content -- and much more -- visit the Ben's Biz fans' page.
My first trip of the 2019 season includes a new ballpark, as does the second. It should therefore be no surprise that my third trip also includes a new Minor League Baseball facility: Las Vegas Ballpark.
Las Vegas Ballpark
July 23: Las Vegas Aviators vs. El Paso, 7:05 p.m. (Copa de la Diversión game, playing as the Reyes de Plata)
July 24: Las Vegas Aviators vs. El Paso, 7:05 p.m.
July 25: Las Vegas Aviators vs. El Paso, 7:05 p.m.
July 27: Fresno Grizzlies vs. Reno, 7:05 p.m. (Copa de la Diversión game, playing as the Lowriders)
July 28: Fresno Grizzlies vs. Reno, 5:05 p.m. (Copa de la Diversión game, playing as the Lowriders)
My previous visit to Fresno's Chuckchansi Park occurred in 2013.
This past offseason, the Las Vegas 51s changed their name from the 51s to the Aviators and moved from Cashman Field to Las Vegas Ballpark. This facility isn't located in Las Vegas, however; instead, it's in the nearby planned community of Summerlin. My first and only visit to Cashman Field occurred in 2016, and I am curious to compare and contrast the team's old digs with their new ones. The differences will be profound, I'm sure.
Las Vegas isn't in close proximity to any other Minor League teams, but I didn't want to make this a one-city trip. After much deliberation, I decided to attend a mid-week series in Vegas and go to Fresno for the following weekend. On both July 27th and 28th the Grizzlies will be playing as their "Lowriders" alternate identity. I am expecting Chukchansi Park to have a lively atmosphere for these games, and I am really looking forward to learning more (and reporting on) Fresno's low rider culture. This will be the first time I've visited Chukchansi Park since I spent one night there back in 2013.
On this trip, I will be joined by MiLB.com's Josh Jackson. Josh, a features editor and editorial producer, has done a lot of great writing for the site and I am looking forward to collaborating with him while on the road. Make sure to follow Josh on Twitter: @JoshJacksonMiLB
For the sixth consecutive season, I'll recruit Designated Eaters at most locations I visit. Their job, of course, is to consume the ballpark cuisine that my gluten-free diet prohibits. If you want to be a Designated Eater in Fresno or Las Vegas, please do the following:
- Email me -- firstname.lastname@example.org -- with the subject line stating "Designated Eater" as well as the team you are interested in. (I only need one Designated Eater for each location, date negotiable).
- In this email, please explain (in at least 50 but no more than 500,000 words) why you would make a good Designated Eater. I'm looking for those with a sense of humor and a passion for Minor League Baseball. A willingness to potentially embarrass one's self is a prerequisite. Another prerequisite is a willingness to eat anything that may be on that team's concession menu.
- Send this email by Wednesday, May 29th. Designated Eaters for this trip will be announced on Friday, May 31st.