Ah, the smell of fresh-cut grass. The sound of a bat connecting with a ball. The taste of hot dogs and peanuts. The sights of mascot shenanigans and dizzy bat races.
It's April, and that means that minor-league baseball is back in business in North Carolina. From single-A to triple-A, from Asheville to Zebulon, NC has a love affair with baseball that is almost as old as the game itself. When Hollywood sought to canonize the minor leagues into movie history, it chose the Durham Bulls as its quintessential franchise (and at the end of the movie, Kevin Costner's character gets his record-setting home run with the Asheville Tourists), and this month's edition of Baseball America has named NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro one of the ten best minor league ballparks in the country. North Carolina may not have any major league teams, but it doesn't make the state's relationship with the game any less real.
NC now has ten minor-league teams playing in the state, each providing family-friendly, budget-conscious entertainment throughout the spring and summer. All teams have special deals and promotions at nearly every game, including giveaways, discounted food, fireworks displays, and two-for-one ticket deals. Here's a list of North Carolina's minor league baseball teams, with links to team websites where you can find schedules and other information: