South Carolina may not have any big-name professional baseball teams, but that doesn’t stop locals and tourists alike from celebrating America’s pastime in Myrtle Beach. The lights of TicketReturn.com Field often shine onto the men of the Pelicans baseball team, a Single-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. It’s almost guaranteed to see someone with ties to the big leagues. In fact, the first Pelicans pitcher when the stadium opened in 1999 was Luis Rivera, who previously played for five major league teams.
Going to the ballpark to cheer on the home team is a fun and affordable family event. Snack on the traditional hot dogs and peanuts while the innings fly by. Maybe you’ll even catch a fly ball! To encourage the fans to root harder for the team, mascots Splash the pelican and Rally Shark will be making the rounds. Another official mascot, Deuce the yellow lab, performs his ballboy duties that include delivering fresh baseballs to the umpires and taking a post-game victory lap around the bases.
There are other places where younger players can hone their baseball abilities and increase their passion for the game. Former Baltimore Orioles Billy Ripken and Cal Ripken, Jr., who is also known as Major League Baseball’s “Ironman,” founded Myrtle Beach’s Ripken Experience in 2006. This sprawling compound for baseball lovers features nine fields comprising of synthetic turf, batting cages, pitching mounds, concessions, and relaxation spaces with large-screen televisions. Tournaments among teams of varying age groups are held here.. Players who attend weeklong tournaments receive free tickets for fun at Wild Water & Wheels as well as passes to Legends in Concert.
Another baseball experience in Myrtle Beach is the Youth Baseball Nationals Tournament. Every summer, beginning in late June, 9U-15U teams from around the nation and Canada converge on the Grand Park at Market Common for youth baseball. Teams are assessed on ability and experience so that they face teams of equal caliber—making it fun and competitive for everyone. For a full week, these teams compete in a single-elimination tournament round. At the end of the tournament is Championship Thursday, when the semi-finals and final rounds take place and awards are given out. There is also an all-star game on Championship Thursday. One member from every participating team is selected to play in this event. All in all, the Youth Baseball Nationals tournament is a great experience for kids. They’ll meet people from states they’ve never visited, sharpen their baseball skills and have fun. As an extra bonus, every player in the tournament receives free admission to the Myrtle Waves Waterpark… it’s a great way to cool off after a heated competition.