Macon lost their Minor League baseball team to Rome, Georgia in 2001. They are a fun, solid mid-sized city that should have good baseball. And now they do!
In 2018, on the back of the success of the Savannah Bananas (now gone from the league), Macon got their own summer baseball team that plays at Historic Luther WIlliams Field. Last year, I went down one evening to see them play.
The Coastal Plain league Is Competitive
I was very surprised to see how healthy independent baseball is, at least in the South. Sure, the business model is razor thin. But with the right marketing and the right experience, people do show up to watch baseball.
The Coastal Plain League is an amateur league where top level college players play during the summer in exchange for room, board, coaching, and competition.
The level of play is excellent – similar to, say, the College World Series, but with wood bats. The pitching is consistent. The play is fast and aggressive. It’s enjoyable baseball.
The Macon Bacon Put On a Show
To be a shoestring operation, the Macon Bacon team creates really fun, family-friendly entertainment. Every single break in the action has some sort of fan interaction with t-shirt tosses, ridiculous races, etc.
They also really lean into bacon in a fun, hilarious way. I’ve never met their marketing team, but they should be a case study. It’s fun, even if you aren’t really into baseball. The atmosphere & ambience is just a chill, nice, fun place to enjoy a summer evening.
Pro Leagues Should Learn To renovate, Not Rebuild
Luther Williams Field is old. It was built in 1929. It’s one of the main reasons that the Atlanta Braves’ single A minor league team went to Rome. They got a brand-new, custom built stadium there.
But here’s the thing. Luther Williams’ Park is fine and very lovable and historic with just a little bit of TLC. The Macon Bacon doesn’t have a ton of capital. But they definitely renovated the bathrooms, moved concessions to the plaza, re-built a few eating areas. Repainted. Cleaned up the field. Installed new safety features.
And you know what? It’s great.
Sure, it’s no Truist Park. But here’s the thing. There’s no wasted tax money. There’s no wasted space. There’s no wasted building materials. There’s no going bankrupt due to interest payments.
Also, it gets used for 4 months out of the year. I’m so glad that there’s baseball being played there. And honestly glad that Macon spent their money fixing their downtown, parks, and streets instead of getting extorted by the Atlanta Braves organization.
Non-Major League Baseball Is So Chill
I love going to the Atlanta Braves. I’ve been cheering them on since my memories started. And I’m glad I get to live in Atlanta and can see them in an evening without too much hassle.
But Major League Baseball can still have a few hassles. Unless you want to drop big money, you’re far from the action. There are lines for food, you always have this mild feeling of being ripped off (for food, parking, ticket fees, etc). Every game feels like a bigger deal than it actually is. And of course, there are all the people who take it wayyyy too seriously…and can’t just chill.
Minor League baseball has all the positives of baseball with none of the major league downsides. It’s awesome. You can sit right at field level for like $15. Food is up front and straightforward. There’s a flat fee (or no fee) for parking. You know what you are going to pay for the whole evening. And the everyone is super chill. It’s baseball on a summer evening. It’s chill and lovely. The Macon Bacon have all that.
Apparently they Sell Out All the Time?
The big thing that surprised me was that…they sell out? Like, it’s hard to get tickets!
But – the Coastal Plain League has teams all across the Southeast. And they are all worth checking out.