21 Apr Plan for 2023 Road Trips
Miners training camp begins May 1, the Frontier League season begins on the road May 12 and the home opener at Skylands Stadium is Tuesday night, May 16. This might be the perfect time to plan a family road trip for later this season. Manager Chris Widger and his players would no doubt be very happy to see Miners fans in the stands when they’re away from home and would no doubt come out of the dugout before the game to say hello and to thank fans for coming to see them.
And, if you had to pick one destination for a Miners road trip, it would be hard to top the sweet little town in the Canadian Province of Quebec that is home to the Trois-Rivieres Aigles. It’s 440 miles due north of here, a nice little seven hour drive, but the trip comes with possible stop-overs in historic Albany or chic Saratoga Springs or downright idyllic Lake George along the way.
The Miners will make two trips to Trois-Rivieres this year: first for a weekend series July 28-30, then for a midweek visit Aug. 15-17 – two perfect chances to brush up on the old high school French and enjoy the super-picturesque little city on the banks of the Saint Lawrence River.
Located halfway between Montreal and Quebec City, Trois-Rivieres boasts great restaurants, a wide range of hotels and scenic side streets gushing with history, and that includes the Aigles’ home ballpark, Stade Quillorama, after 2019 naming rights were acquired by the Quillorama chain of bowling alleys. The stadium first opened in 1938, thanks to baseball-loving Quebec Premier Maurice Duplessis, and underwent an $8 million renovation in 2009.
And, if you’re lucky enough to see a game there, it would be silly not to take a five-minute walk to stop into Chocolats Samson a few blocks away for some tres bien sweet treats.
BIG CITY STOP: America’s greatest cities cannot be fully explored and enjoyed in just one day. Imagine somebody coming to visit New York and just staying for one night. That’s hardly enough time for a bagel and a pizza. Meanwhile, it’s difficult to find a good bagel in Chicago and almost impossible to find a legitimate pizza, but it’s still a great place to visit, and one that demands more like a week to get a true taste.
The Miners will be just outside of Chicago for a three-game weekend series with the Schaumburg Boomers June 23-25, a perfect reason to spend some time in the nation’s “Second City” and maybe catch a Cubs or White Sox game, as well. Arrive a few days ahead of the Miners or plan on staying a few days after the Miners leave town. There’s always plenty to see and do in Chicago.
The White Sox play on the South Side vs. the Texas Rangers June 19-21, then they’re off on Thursday, followed by a weekend series hosting the Boston Red Sox. Really love baseball? How about a 3 p.m. ChiSox vs. BoSox game on Saturday afternoon, then the Miners vs. Boomers on Saturday night? The Cubs are out of town before the Miners arrive, then have Monday, June 26 off. They’re back on the North Side, at Wrigley Field, on June 27 to start a three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Aside from the questionable bagels and highly questionable (bordering on objectionable) pizza, Chicago is a lot like New York with modest to grandiose hotels and restaurants on every corner, not to mention the downtown “Loop” and the “Miracle Mile” for shopping, museums, churches, theaters and outings along Lake Michigan.
TROY TRIPPING: Ever been to Albany? New York’s state capital is only 140 miles north of Augusta and it is a beautiful and historic city on the banks of the Hudson River. And, it’s a quick five miles away from Joseph L. Bruno Stadium, just across the river in Troy, NY, and home of the Frontier League’s Tri-City ValleyCats.
The Miners will make two trips there this year, both times in August, both for three-game series and both involving fireworks nights at the 4,500-seat ballpark on the campus of Hudson Valley Community College, which owns and operates the facility. First, Sussex plays a weekend series Aug. 18-20, with fireworks after the Sunday game, then returns for a midweek series Aug. 29-31, with fireworks after the Thursday night game, the Cats’ final home game of the year.
Any trip to the area should include a stop at the New York Statehouse, regarded as one of the most grand and lavish state capitol buildings in America. Albany’s scenic side streets offer one great restaurant after another, from the very upscale Jack’s Oyster House, circa 1913 and still run by the founding family, to the much more modest Betty Boops Diner, where the omelets are legendary.
Hotel rates in Albany are just as diverse, from luxury to normal every day. A five-minute ride across the Menands Bridge and you’re in Troy, where the Tipsy Moose Tap & Tavern is straight ahead. Heading toward the game, there’s Junior’s Bar & Grill, then Moscatiello’s, with the best calamari, best marinara and best homemade sausage north of the Bronx.
By Carl Barbati, former sports editor of the New Jersey Herald, Daily Record and The Daily Trentonian.