Hope springs eternal every time the words “pitchers and catchers report” is uttered in February.
While the closest Major League team to the Crossroads area is at least an hour’s drive, there are two Minor League teams in the region.
The Frederick Keys and the Hagerstown Suns are affiliates of the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals, respectively.
Each team has a long history and has featured players who have made names for themselves in the big leagues.
There’s big business potential in these teams. Here’s a look at how they line up.
Class A affiliate of the Washington Nationals
South Atlantic League
Home field: Municipal Stadium. Built in six weeks in 1930, it is third-oldest active stadium in Minor League Baseball. The stadium has undergone several renovations to update its facilities. The Suns are currently under lease to play at Municipal Stadium through 2021. Capacity of 4,600.
General manager: Travis Painter
Team manager: Patrick Anderson
Ticket prices: $10 General Admission, $11 Grandstand, $13 ($1 less when purchased in advance) Box Seats
Home opener: April 11, 6:05 p.m., against the Asheville (N.C.) Tourists
Key promotions: Fireworks (June 14, July 3 and Aug. 23), Juan Soto Bobblehead, Mike Mussina Bobblehead, Mystery Bobblehead, Harry Potter Night, Father’s Day, Star Wars Night.
Group/company events: Visit www.milb.com for details. For booking information call 301-791-6266.
Link to 2019 schedule: www.milb.com
2018 record: 52-81
2018 average attendance: 1,160
Famous former Suns
• Bryce Harper, 2011; 2012 National League rookie of the year, 2015 National League MVP, and 6-time All-Star with the Washington Nationals. Currently with the Philadelphia Phillies.
• Juan Soto, 2017 and 2018; 2018 runner-up for National League rookie of the year with the Washington Nationals.
• Mike Mussina, 1990; five-time All-Star, played for the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees, 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee.
• Vernon Wells, 1998; three-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner, played for the Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Angels and New York Yankees.
• Brian Wilson, 2004; three-time All-Star, led the Nationals League in saves in 2010, played for the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles
Home field: Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium; opened in April 1990. The stadium was named after Harry Grove, one of the founders of the Frederick Hustlers, the first professional baseball team in Frederick. In 2015, a naming rights partnership was established with Nymeo Federal Credit Union. The ballpark is now known as Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium. Capacity of 5,400.
General manager: Dave Ziedelis
Team manager: Ryan Minor
Ticket prices: $13 Field Level, $11 Reserved, $10 General Admission (prices increase by $2 for day-of-game purchases)
Home opener: April 4, 7 p.m., against the Winston-Salem Dash
Key promotions: Office Night with Leslie David Baker (who played Stanley Hudson), Aug. 10; Cowboy Monkey Rodeo, May 31; Washington Redskins greats Vernon Davis and Gary Clark, May 18; Wrestling Night with Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Aug. 31; Hockey Night with Mike Knuble, May 17; Branden Kline Shirsey Giveaway, April 5; Nick Markakis All-Star bobblehead, July 26.
Group/company events: Mattress Warehouse Club, two picnic areas (Flying Dog Hop Deck and Courtyard), Visit Frederick Triple Suite, Double Suite, Nightly Suites. All hospitality areas come with a variety of menu options. For booking information: 301-815-9900
Link to 2019 schedule: www.milb.com
2018 record: 65-72
2018 average attendance: 4,297
Famous former Keys
• Dylan Bundy, 2012; starting pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles.
• Manny Machado, 2012; All-Star third-baseman, played with the Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers before signing a contract this year with the San Diego Padres.
• Jake Arrieta, 2008; former National League Cy Young award winner, played with the Baltimore Orioles and Chicago Cubs, currently with the Philadelphia Phillies.
• Zackary Britton, 2009; All-Star relief pitcher, played with the Baltimore Orioles and currently with the New York Yankees.
• Nick Markakis, 2005; All-Star outfielder, played with the Baltimore Orioles and currently with the Atlanta Braves.