Roads less traveled

Nationals prospect Bryce Harper is one of the most talented players you'll spot in the minors. Kim Klement/US Presswire

This story appears in the August 8, 2011 issue of ESPN The Magazine.

If you've got the price of a major league hot dog and a tank or two of gas, we've got a few sweet late-summer swings for you.

NORTHWEST: Bring the family!
Because you're running out of ways to keep your kids busy at home.

Friday, Aug. 12, 7:05 p.m.
Everett, Washington: Tri-City Dust Devils (Rockies) at Everett AquaSox (Mariners); Class-A Short Season, Northwest League
Young ones get to run the bases after the game.

Saturday, Aug. 13, 7:05 p.m.
Tacoma, Washington: Iowa Cubs at Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners); Triple-A, Pacific Coast League
Four game tickets, hats, pizza and passes to the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, all for $44 (a $175 value).

Monday, Aug. 15, 7:05 p.m.
Yakima, Washington: Spokane Indians at Yakima Bears (Diamondbacks); Class-A Short Season, Northwest League
All kids 12 and under get a free meal.


SOUTHWEST: For the boys!
Because you can convince your squeeze that it's not about a trip to Sin City.

Saturday, Aug. 20, 7:05 p.m.
Albuquerque, New Mexico: Memphis Redbirds (Cardinals) at Albuquerque Isotopes (Dodgers); Triple-A, Pacific Coast League
Souvenir cowbell giveaway! (WARNING: May result in violence on the rest of the trip.)

Sunday, Aug. 21, 7:05 p.m.
Tucson, Arizona: Sacramento River Cats (A's) at Tucson Padres; Triple-A, Pacific Coast League
The Pads will be rocking camo unis for Military Appreciation Night.

Monday, Aug. 22, 7:05 p.m.
Las Vegas: Fresno Grizzlies (Giants) at Las Vegas 51s (Blue Jays); Triple-A, Pacific Coast League
Hot dogs, popcorn, Cracker Jack and pretzels each cost a buck, so your pockets will be full when you hit the Strip.


NORTHEAST: See top prospects!
Because you want to catch a sneak peek at some potential September heros.

Thursday, Aug. 18, 6:35 p.m.
Binghamton, New York: New Britain Rock Cats (Twins) at Binghamton Mets; Double-A, Eastern League
Guys to watch:
P Matt Harvey (Mets)
P Jeurys Familia (Mets)
OF Joe Benson (Twins)

Friday, Aug. 19, 7:05 p.m.
Moosic, Pennsylvania: Durham Bulls (Rays) at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees; Triple-A, International League
Guys to watch:
OF Desmond Jennings (Rays)
C Jesus Montero (Yankees)

Saturday, Aug. 20, 6:35 p.m.
Reading, Pennsylvania: Altoona Curve (Pirates) at Reading Phillies; Double-A, Eastern League
Guys to watch:
C Tony Sanchez (Pirates)
OF Starling Marte (Pirates)
SS Freddy Galvis (Phillies)

Sunday, Aug. 21, 2 p.m.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Erie SeaWolves (Tigers) at Harrisburg Senators (Nationals); Double-A, Eastern League
Guys to watch:
P Jacob Turner (Tigers)
OF Bryce Harper (Nationals)


SOUTHEAST: Old-timers days!
Because you're a history (real and otherwise) buff at heart.

Thursday, Aug. 11, 7:05 p.m.
Durham, North Carolina: Rochester Red Wings (Twins) at Durham Bulls (Rays); Triple-A, International League
Commune with the ghosts of Crash Davis and Nuke LaLoosh at nearby Durham Athletic Park.

Friday, Aug. 12, 7 p.m.
Greensboro, North Carolina: Lakewood BlueClaws (Phillies) at Greensboro Grasshoppers (Marlins); Class-A, South Atlantic League
Stop by World War Memorial Stadium, built in 1926, onetime home of baseball's newest Mr. 3,000.

Saturday, Aug. 13, 7 p.m.
Elizabethton, Tennessee: Johnson City Cardinals at Elizabethton Twins; Rookie, Appalachian League
Old-school charm trumps amenities (who needs 'em!) at community-operated Joe O'Brien Field (est. 1974).

Sunday, Aug. 14, 2 p.m.
Chattanooga, Tennessee: Birmingham Barons (White Sox) at Chattanooga Lookouts (Dodgers); Double-A, Southern League
Play catch on the field before the game, then tour nearby Engel Stadium, where Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Satchel Paige toiled.