North Carolina has ten minor league teams (if you count the Charlotte Knights, who technically represent Charlotte but play in South Carolina), which is the fourth most in the nation. (Florida at 13, California at 12, and New York at 11 come out ahead of us.) Better still, North Carolina has 10 minor league teams — and they cover all levels of play, from short season Rookie league ball in Burlington to AAA in Durham and Charlotte. In May, we’ll hit three levels; the Bulls last night, the AA Carolina Mudcats next weekend (as they take on the West Tenn Jaxx and our beloved, beloved Dustin Ackley), and the Kinston Indians and the Winston-Salem Dash over Memorial Day. (I think we have another Bulls game in there somewhere, as well.)
I thought that living in the NC would be hard, as a baseball fan, but it’s turned out to be easier than living anywhere else I’ve watched baseball. Tickets are cheap, minor league parks don’t have a single bad seat, and plenty of interesting players have come through here — Matt Wieters, David Price, Evan Longoria. Scott Kazmir and Andy Sonnanstine and Jake Peavy doing rehab. Maybe Strasburg, this year.
The NC is a good place to be a baseball fan, and that’s before you even get to what we’re doing for the rest of the weekend, which is watching college baseball. Most years Carolina is really good college ball, too — this year, not so much, but most years.
So I only miss the majors sometimes. For one, I couldn’t have afforded 22 tickets to MLB games this year. So there’s that, too.