September 28, 2022

Steal to Steal Balls: Ten Airports Near Minor League Baseball Stadiums

This week marked the opening day for baseball teams in the many professional leagues in the United States. For pilots who happen to be fans, this rite of spring marks an opportunity to increase flight hours by getting to as many games as possible.

To make flight planning easier, we’ve compiled a list of airports close to baseball stadiums. We focused on the minor leagues, in part because their fields tend to be closer to GA airports. Of course, there are exceptions. Boston’s Logan Airport is very close to Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox. However, not all private pilots would be comfortable flying in this Class B hotspot among the heavy iron.

Another reason minor league games are a blast is because of the stories you can see unfold: budding careers taking off, veteran players looking for a second chance, mates still waiting for that big one. pause. The setting is almost guaranteed to be more intimate than at a big league park. Seats often number in the thousands, not tens of thousands, so almost everyone is close to the action.

Below are 10 suggested baseball destinations. Please tell us about your favorites.

[Courtesy: Buffalo Bisons]

Buffalo Niagara International Airport (KBUF)

Sahlen Field, Buffalo, New York

Home to the Buffalo Bisons and completed for the 1988 season, this baseball stadium helped launch the retro era primarily associated with fields built in the 1990s. Its designers sought to recapture the charm of small, intimate parks like Wrigley Field in Chicago and Fenway Park in Boston. The Bisons play in the International League and are the Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays.

[Courtesy: Reading Fightin Phils]

Reading Regional Airport (KRDG)

FirstEnergy Stadium, Reading, Pennsylvania

Famous power hitter Mike Schmidt made his debut here in a 1971 exhibition game in which the Philadelphia Phillies, who had just signed Schmidt, defeated the Reading Phillies. Schmidt played 18 seasons with the Phillies. Today, the 10,000 seat stadium, located less than four miles from the airport, is home to the Reading Fightin Phils of the Double-A Northeast.

Toledo Executive Airport (KTDZ)

Fifth Third Field, Toledo, Ohio

Fifth Third Field is home to minor league Toledo Mud Hens, an International League team that is the Triple-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. The airport, about nine miles from the stadium, opened in 1928 and was a hub of airmail activity for many years before the larger Toledo Airport Express (KTOL) was built.

[Courtesy: Corpus Christi Hooks]

Corpus Christi International Airport (KCRP)

Whataburger Field, Corpus Christi, Texas

The Corpus Christi Hooks play here. The team is the Double-A affiliate of the Houston Astros. The team’s name refers to hooks and reflects the popularity of fishing in the region. A long list of hooks have moved to the major leagues over the years, including Jason Castro, Chris Sampson, Dallas Keuchel and Hunter Pence.

[Courtesy: Louisville Bats]

Bowman Field (KLOU)

Louisville Batting Field, Louisville, Kentucky

Cheer on the Louisville Bats, an International League team and Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. Allow extra time for a visit to the Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum to see what goes into making bats. The ground is also home to the Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse, located in a corner of the stadium that was once a train station.

[Courtesy: Sussex County Miners]

Sussex Airport (KFWN)

Skylands Stadium, Augusta, New Jersey

The independent league’s Sussex County Miners will kick off their season against last year’s champions, the Schaumburg Boomers, in a three-game series. The program includes several new visitors from afar, including the Joliet Slammers and the Evansville Otters. Like many teams, the Miners are looking forward to a full season after last year’s pandemic-restricted schedule.

[Courtesy: Oklahoma City Dodgers]

Will Rogers Airport (KOKC)

Chickasaw Bricktown Baseball Stadium, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

The park, which opened in 1998, is the home ground of the Oklahoma City Dodgers, a Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. It’s located in Bricktown’s entertainment district, a former industrial area with old warehouses and other buildings converted into restaurants, shops, and wine bars. Water taxis operate on a canal that runs through the area.

[Courtesy: Asheville Tourists]

Asheville Regional Airport (KAVL)

McCormick Field, Asheville, North Carolina

The Asheville Tourists will play their home opener on April 12 against Greenville Drive. The Tourists are the High-A affiliate of the Houston Astros. Built in 1924, the ballpark underwent a major renovation in the early 1990s, during which much of its wooden structure was replaced with concrete.

[Courtesy: Memphis Redbirds]

General Dewitt Airport of Spain (M01)

Autozone Park, Memphis, Tennessee

The International League’s Memphis Redbirds have won four league championships and a National Triple-A Championship since beginning their affiliation with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998. Autozone Park is famous for its initial capacity of over 14,000 , which has since been reduced. , and for being by far the most expensive minor league park when it opened in 2000.

[Courtesy: Fort Myers Mighty Mussels]

Southwest Florida International Airport (KRSW)

Hammond Stadium, Fort Myers, Florida

Hammond is the spring training ground for the Minnesota Twins and home to the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels of the Florida State League and the Twins’ Single-A affiliate. The team was founded in 1926 and has gone through many affiliations and names, including the Miami Hustlers and the Miami Miracle. The stadium was built in 1991 and underwent a refurbishment in 2014 and 2015 which included an increase in capacity to 9,300 from 7,500.