Baseball is still America’s pastime, and it will likely continue to be for Little Leagues are going strong across America.
My husband and I love the sport but in my case what I love the most is the experience at the stadium where I relax and enjoy the game, the colors of the sky, the late afternoon summer breeze, a cold drink, and salty snacks. Whenever possible I eat a hotdog. There’s something about the sound of a baseball hitting the catcher’s glove or the distinct crack of the bat when it hits the ball. But professional baseball games are pricey. A few decades ago, when my father took me to watch the Astros play at the iconic Astrodome, we would attend all three series games. Today this could prove to be an expensive activity.
My second favorite team is the Yankees because my father was a loyal fan as many young kids from Mexico were in the 1940s and 50s. Last year my husband treated us to a game between the Astros and the Yankees at Minute Maid when Jose Altuve hit a grand slam to win what seemed to be a lost game. Half the people had left when the stadium burst into cheers with celebration. It is what baseball is all about. But our two tickets cost us over $300 plus the overnight stay, parking, gas, meals, etc. These prices put a dent in travel budgets especially when traveling with family.
We’ve found an enjoyable alternative in minor league baseball. A few years back, I had the opportunity to enjoy a Columbus Clippers game at Huntington Park. The park has an incredible atmosphere and is in the magnificent Arena District in downtown Columbus, Ohio. I hope to return someday but this post is about Texas minor league stadiums, for it’s what we have experienced and what I want to share with baseball lovers out there.
High gas prices will affect our vacation plans this summer. Minor league games can be a fun alternative to professional baseball games. Regular ticket prices seldom go over $25 unless we buy some VIP package which we never do.
Minor League games are much fun for families due to their focus on children activities and games. Most stadiums feature ample lawns and new playgrounds. Friendly competitions among spectators, cool music and comfortable sitting are well worth the rixket price. 😎
Here is the list of our favorite Texas minor league baseball stadiums.
1. Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi home of the Corpus Christi Hooks. This stadium is located right by the ship channel and with a view of the iconic Harbor Bay Bridge which will soon be demolished. This might just be the time to go and forever remember this beautiful structure. It is also a great time to enjoy a Whataburger as you watch ships go by. The afternoon brings in the cool ocean breeze and the sky puts on a sunset show.
The Hooks are a Double -A affiliate team of the Houston Astros.
2. Kokernot Field in Alpine, Texas home of the Alpine Cowboys. Most South Texas folks I talk to don’t realize August is a cooler month in the Big Bend region than at home and is a top destination for families. During last year’s visit, we discovered the Cowboys have been a part of the town’s attractions since local rancher Herbert Kokernot Jr. built the stadium in 1947. Lights were added in the late 1950s.
What I love the most is that Kokernot Field was built to replicate Chicago’s Wrigley Field but with a West Texas flair because of the use of the area’s rocks. Sports Illustrated magazine wrote that this park was the “best little ballpark in Texas.” The view of the surrounding mountains and the blue and violet colors of the afternoon sky make memorable experiences. The Cowboys play in the Pecos League, a professional baseball club not affiliated with the Major or Minor Baseball League.
3. Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Texas home of the Round Rock Express. The team is the Triple-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers. We enjoy the stadium and its casual and family atmosphere. Tailgating is allowed and dogs are welcome.
Dell Diamond sits on 85 acres on the east side of town. Nolan Ryan and his son Reid Ryan are part owners of the Express which it is said wanted the stadium to be in Austin. Round Rock city leaders made it possible for the stadium to be built in the fast-growing community of Round Rock which recently welcomed our son and his family which means more summer family baseball fun for us!
4. Hodgetown Stadium is home to the Amarillo Sod Poodles. This stadium opened in 2019 and it is so enjoyable because of its open design surrounded by watering holes with patio furniture and even a walking trail. The stadium is located in downtown Amarillo, Texas. We did not know what Sod Poodles were when we visited! We soon “googled” to find out it is an old-fashioned nickname for a prairie dog. According to the sports marketing company that helped create the name, the name was meant to cause a ruckus.
We visited in August, and it rained earlier that day, so the evening was nice and much cooler than anticipated. We heard August brings in some of the monsoon rains from neighboring New Mexico and Arizona.
The Sod Poodles are the Double-A affiliate team of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
We truly miss our hometown’s Rio Grande Valley White Wings. It was a delight. Every time we went, there was something fun to watch. They had loyal fans who entertained the crowds, themed events, dollar beer night, kids’ competitions, and a charismatic sports announcer. Like the Alpine Cowboys, the White Wings were not affiliated with Major League Baseball or Minor League Baseball but members of an independent baseball league. It makes me mad to think about losing the White Wings, for it was an enjoyable part of life in the Rio Grande Valley that everybody could enjoy… and afford!
All in all, baseball is a fun way to spend family time and the sport is much better when we can visit a stadium and participate in all the fun activities. For me, “take me out to the ballgame,” brings treasured memories of my father, summer days, and fireworks. I remember playing the sport using a tennis ball; boy, we sure did hit home runs!
The sport is loved and practiced in most of Latin America, and we see many baseball stars from Latin America or Hispanic heritage these days. I find that amazing for it bestows a way to promote diversity and American pride.
Safe and happy travels!