HARFORD COUNTY — Summer means the sounds of bats cracking and fans cheering in the stands of baseball stadiums.
Harford County, home to Cal Ripken Jr. and the Aberdeen Ironbirds, is showing off its love for America's favorite pastime.
"People are looking for stuff closer to home now, so partnering with This is Cooperstown and Endless Mountains to say hey, we have a lot of great baseball between all of us, why don’t we put a road trip together?" said Matthew Scales, executive director of Visit Harford.
The Baseball Round Tripper is a 444-mile road trip between Cooperstown, NY, home of the Baseball Hall of Fame, and Harford County. Stops include the Little League Museum in South Williamsport, PA.
There are four stops in Harford County, including Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium, home of the Aberdeen Ironbirds.
"We’re an intimate venue in a small community but with a major league feel," said Jack Graham, the general manager of Ripken Stadium. "Its great to come out and enjoy a ball game, have some great food, see some great talent on the field and spend some time with your family."
Graham said a ticket won't cost a fan more than $20, parking is free and the concession food is affordable. The Ironbirds are an Advanced-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, where fans can watch prospects make their way through the system to the majors.
"We’re trying to make sure that families can come here, have a good experience, have an affordable opportunity to see high level baseball at a family-friendly venue," said Graham.
Across the street from Ripken Stadium is the Ripken Experience, a complex of nine replica MLB fields including a two-thirds replica of Camden Yards, complete with a hotel that looks like the warehouse.
"The Ripken Experience is all about providing a Major League experience for youth players," said Lauren Morris, the general manager at the Ripken Experience.
Youth teams at all experience levels are welcome to play at the Ripken Experience. Admission to watch the games is free, parking is free and Morris said fans can bring in their own food and beverage.
Other stops on the Baseball Round Tripper in Harford County include a visit to Tydings Park in Havre de Grace to see the statue of Ernest Burke, which was unveiled last year. Burke grew up in Havre de Grace and played with the Baltimore Elite Giants in the Negro League.
And since you've worked up an appetite with all this baseball, stop by the Ballpark Restaurant on Conowingo Road in Street for a bite to eat. While you enjoy a meal, you can check out all of the sports memorabilia that adorns the walls and tables.
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