With the announcement of minor league realignment this winter, the major Twins affiliates (A, AA, AAA) all happen to be right in the center of the nation. Inspired by this new development, I decided to put my road trip enthusiasm into planning a (hypothetical) (currently) organizational road trip for this season.
The mission statement:
Attend one home game for each affiliate as well as the big league squad in the least number of days possible.
Right off the bat, I eliminated the months of April, May, and June from consideration. Hopefully, all of the teams will be allowing fans in seats by July (and it won’t be considered irresponsible to be one of those fans). April also won’t be featuring any minor league baseball this year.
I also will be planning for a start from the Twin Cities, for simplicity’s sake.
Four Days in August
Day 1: Friday, August 6, Wichita Wind Surge vs. Midland RockHounds
On Day 1 of the road trip, you’ll be hopping in the car bright and early in order to make the 7:05 start in Double-A Wichita. Located 10 hours from Minneapolis, have the car packed and everybody ready to hit the road by 7 AM. This will allow you a couple hours to spend in Kansas City for a late lunch, and possibly a trip by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. After the nightcap at Riverfront Stadium in Wichita, get a good night’s rest at the lodging of your choice.
Day 2: Saturday, August 7, Cedar Rapids Kernels vs. Quad City River Bandits
Day 2 will feature a shorter trip, with only 7 and a half hours lying between Wichita and Single-A Cedar Rapids. Due to this, you’ll be able to sleep in, or spend some time exploring Wichita, Kansas City, Des Moines, or Cedar Rapids (this is assuming the TBD gametime isn’t a 1:00 start). In any case, just make sure you’re in Veterans Memorial Stadium by the first pitch, and have some lodging nearby set up for the night.
Day 3: Sunday, August 8, St. Paul Saints vs. Louisville Bats
Day 3, to your relief, is the shortest trip of any day. However, with a 2:05 start, you’ll still have to get on the road by 9:00 AM at the latest. The four-hour drive will culminate at beautiful CHS Field, to see the best and brightest Twins prospects on the beloved Triple-A Saints. Spend the evening in downtown Saint Paul, the night at home, and get ready for the culmination of our trip.
The final stop on our road trip. A divisional showdown between the Twins and the perennial third-place White Sox. With a 7:10 start, you can remain in vacation mode for the day and see the sights of the metro area (sounds like an excellent day for Minnehaha Falls) or punch the clock and save a vacation day. In any case, I’d recommend stopping by your favorite downtown spot (Cowboy Jack’s is excellent for a bite and a drink prior to the game) and catch a great game in the evening.