Growing up, baseball has always been a cherished pastime of mine. Growing up a die-hard Braves fan, it was not uncommon to watch 140 of the 160 games on TV during the Spring and Summer part of the year. Unfortunately, when you live 3+ hours away from the stadium, going to watch the games comes at a premium. Thus we had to settle for the next best thing, the Chattanooga Lookouts. The Lookouts are the AA affiliate for the Cincinnati Reds. I remember my very first game I ever attended at Engel Stadium, the Lookouts original home ballpark (also the field used in the movie 42). I still have my very first foul ball I ever caught back in 1997. My scar from diving in the rocks behind the bullpen went away 3 years later. But there is something special about minor league baseball. If you follow it long enough, you begin to fall in love with the team, the stadium, the players and most of all, the journey. Some of the greats that I got to witness in the red and white Lookout jerseys are Aaron Boone, Adam Dunn, Edwin Encarnacion and even Joey Votto. I still have numerous autographs of Tom Nevers, the guy who spent all 13 years of his career in the minor leagues and never getting a crack with the big club. He spent 6 seasons with Chattanooga. He was one of the fan favorites, mainly because he was with the club so long everyone knew who he was. Lastly, we can’t forget about Travis “Gookie” Dawkins. Gook was supposed to be the next Barry Larkin. He was no doubt a future hall-of-famer in my eyes. I have a huge collection of Bowman Rookie Cards signed and in a nice protective case. Unfortunately, he is one of the many prospects that you fall in love with that never makes it.
Minor League Baseball is special. But what separates it the most from other sports, may be the unique-ness, comedic and poetic names of their mascots. I mean the Major League movie series even came out with a movie about a minor league team (Major League 3: Back to the Minors). There are over 120 minor league teams spread out throughout the country. If your club name doesn’t make you smile a little, then they aren’t doing it right. Your team has to have that name that gives you a sense of pride. If you don’t own a shirt or hat with the logo on it, then it isn’t good enough.
AA-affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks
High A-affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks
Low A-affiliate of the Houston Astros
7) Eugene Emeralds
High A-affiliate of the San Francisco Giants
AAA-affiliate of the Oakland Athletics
Las Vegas, NV
AA-affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays
AA-affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels
AA-affiliate of the Cleveland Indians
AA-affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds
Low A-affiliate of the Chicago White Sox