From the Delmarva coast to the edge of the Allegheny Mountains, Maryland offers a plethora of delights for minor league baseball lovers.
Without ever leaving the state, Orioles fans can follow the club’s prospects through most of their careers in the minors. And there’s even a taste left over for Washington Nationals fans in the form of the Low-A Hagerstown Suns.
The odyssey begins north of Baltimore in Aberdeen, where the Short-A IronBirds play at Ripken Stadium. It’s often the best place to check out recent Orioles draft picks, but the stadium complex itself, designed by Aberdeen hometown hero Cal Ripken Jr., is perhaps the greatest attraction. If you’ve never been, make sure to check out the surrounding youth fields, each designed to resemble a distinctive major league park.
From there, the tour moves across the Bay Bridge and down to Wicomico County, where the Low-A Delmarva Shorebirds do their business. Perdue Stadium is an easy side trip if you’re vacationing in Ocean City, and it’s an excellent place to spend a few summer afternoons with a future Orioles star. Nick Markakis and Manny Machado, among others, spent significant time there.
Next we go to Frederick, where the High-A Keys play at Harry Grove Stadium. Frederick offers a traditional minor league experience. The Keys are the major game in town for a small city that’s accessible from Baltimore and Washington but dominated by neither. It’s close enough that you can go on a weeknight, but it’s particularly nice on a weekend, when you have time to stroll around downtown and eat at one of Frederick’s many fine restaurants.
This year’s Frederick team features several interesting prospects, including pitchers Cody Sedlock and Keegan Akin and shortstop Ryan Mountcastle.
Next up is Bowie, where you go to see the highest level of minor league ball played in the state. Whether you want to catch one of the Orioles playing a few rehabilitation games or scout a Double-A standout who’ll be at Camden Yards in a few months, Bowie is the place to go. The Baysox play at Prince George’s Stadium, right on U.S. 301 and an easy afternoon drive from Baltimore.
Current Baysox stars include lefty strikeout machine Tanner Scott and outfielders Austin Hays and Cedric Mullins.
Even if you bleed orange and black, don’t forget to make that side trip to Hagerstown, where the Low-A Suns play at Municipal Stadium, one of the oldest minor league ballparks in the country. Precocious Juan Soto is the current star attraction. And, hey, they used to be an Orioles affiliate.