WASHINGTON — It’s August, already and finally. The weather’s still hot and the kids are (for most) not back in school yet, and you may have exhausted your ideas of fun ways to keep them entertained. Thankfully for you, there’s another month left on the minor league calendar and a handful of teams in the area with fun promotions and affordable options for the family.
There are minor league (and college wood bat and independent league) teams all over the area, including down in Richmond (Flying Squirrels, Double A), by the beach (Delmarva Shorebirds, Low A), and up over the state line in Pennsylvania in both York (Revolution, Indy Ball) and Harrisburg (Senators, Double A).
But we’ve got six teams closer than that, all within an hour or less, depending on where you live in the D.C. area. See the guide below for each team’s remaining home dates and family-friendly promotional highlights for the last five weeks of the season.
Bowie Baysox (Double-A, Baltimore Orioles)
Home opponents/dates: Harrisburg Aug. 8-10, Portland Aug. 11-13, Erie Aug. 18-20, Reading Aug. 21-23 and Trenton Aug. 28-31.
Bowie is a quick hop across U.S. 50 for those on the eastern side of the District, or in Prince George’s County. While they’ve gotten attention for more adult promotions in the past, they’ve got five more fireworks nights left on the schedule, two of which are doubled up with kid-friendly promotions. The first 500 kids age 3-12 on Friday, Aug. 11 (also Daddy-Daughter Date Night) will take home a piggy bank, while the first 500 on Saturday, Aug. 19 get a free backpack.
Potomac Nationals (High-A, Washington Nationals)
Home opponents/dates: Lynchburg Aug. 1-2, Myrtle Beach Aug. 8-10, Salem Aug. 14-17, Winston-Salem Aug. 18-20 and Frederick Aug. 25-27.
The Pfitz isn’t far from Washington, but it’s actually closer to some Virginia suburbs than Nats Park. While you won’t find recently-promoted top prospect Victor Robles anymore, there are still plenty of options to keep you entertained. On Friday, Aug. 18, you have the trifecta of fireworks (full disclosure: sponsored by WTOP), kids run the bases, and bark in the park. And on Saturday, Aug. 26, there are fireworks (again, sponsored by WTOP), a bobblehead giveaway, and kids run the bases. It’s also the second straight day of doubleheaders (they play seven innings in each game in the minors), making up for rainouts around July 4, so you’ll get twice the bang for your buck.
Frederick Keys (High-A, Baltimore Orioles)
Home opponents/dates: Myrtle Beach Aug. 1-2, Winston-Salem Aug. 8-10, Potomac Aug. 11-13, Wilmington Aug. 22-24, Salem Aug. 29-31 and Potomac Sept. 1-4.
For those up the I-270 corridor, Frederick might make sense for a dose of minor league action. Wednesday, Aug. 2 is Super Splash Day, with a slip-and-slide and water slide to help beat the heat. More in the mood for a baseball-oriented promo? Meet the team and play catch on the field, plus take home a card set on Kids Takeover Day, Sunday, Aug. 13.
Hagerstown Suns (Low-A, Washington Nationals)
Home opponents/dates: Hickory Aug. 1-2, West Virginia Aug. 10-13, Kannapolis Aug. 18-21, Lakewood Aug. 22-24, Delmarva Aug. 29-31, Lexington Sept. 1-4
If you’re looking for a true, old-timey minor league experience, it’s hard to find more of a throwback than Hagerstown. Municipal Stadium has undergone renovations over the years, but it broke ground in 1930. It was famously home to Willie Mays’ first professional game and also Bryce Harper’s first professional team (outside of the Arizona Fall League) as he ascended through the minors. If you’re looking for more of an adult-oriented promotional night, hit up German Heritage Night on Friday, Aug. 18, where the first 500 fans will take home a free beer stein and everyone can enjoy postgame fireworks.
Aberdeen Ironbirds (Short-Season A, Baltimore Orioles)
Home opponents/dates: Brooklyn Aug. 1, Mahoning Valley Aug. 8-10, West Virginia Aug. 11-13, Staten Island Aug. 22-24, Connecticut Aug. 28-30 and Staten Island Sept. 3-5.
For those closer to Baltimore, Aberdeen offers a different experience, as a Short-Season Class A affiliate, featuring mostly newly drafted up-and-comers in the Orioles’ organization. The team is owned by Ripken Baseball and doesn’t have nearly the promo-packed calendar of some of the other local clubs. But there is one night to circle: Friday, Aug. 11 — there will be steamed crabs and fireworks, and the team will actually change its name for the night to the Steamed Crabs, donning special jerseys.
Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (Independent, Atlantic League)
Home opponents/dates: Bridgeport Aug. 1-2, Long Island Aug. 10-13, Lancaster Aug. 14, Somerset Aug. 18-20, Sugar Land Aug. 25-27, Bridgeport Aug. 28-31, Somerset Sept. 5-7 and New Britain Sept. 15-17.
For those in Prince George’s County or out along the Eastern Shore, the Blue Crabs provide an indy ball option that often features former big leaguers. Last year, former Nat Steve Lombardozzi was on the club, and this year, former Oriole L.J. Hoes is on the roster. Every Friday night is movie night and every Sunday, kids can run the bases after the game. On Sunday, Aug. 13, there will also be an appearance by the Paw Patrol.