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If you believe there’s nothing as American as spending an evening or Sunday afternoon at the old ballpark, a visit to Grayson Stadium to watch the Savannah Sand Gnats is for you. The city’s Class A minor-league baseball team, an affiliate of the New York Mets, plays 70 regular season games at Grayson, where the brick grandstand was built in 1941. Located at the eastern end of Daffin Park, the stadium stands amid tall pines and oaks dripping with Spanish moss, and it’s a great place to sit back, relax, and enjoy the national pastime while sipping a cold beer and devouring some peanuts—the boiled variety being the most popular in this part of the world. Savannah began fielding a professional baseball team in 1904 and is a charter member of the South Atlantic League. Following lengthy affiliations with the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals, the local club became part of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization in 1996, adopting the name Sand Gnats and the unique team colors of burgundy, forest green, and tan. In November 1997, the team again changed its big-league organizational affiliation, becoming a part of the American League’s Texas Rangers, and in 2003 linked up with the Montreal Expos of the National League, later the Washington Nationals. In 2007 the affiliation became the New York Mets. The local team has in recent years developed a winning tradition: Savannah clubs captured Class A Sally League championships in 1993, 1994, and 1996. The 2007 season, however, was one of those “wait’ll next year” seasons. A big part of the fun of following the Sand Gnats, regardless of their affiliation, is knowing that you might very well be watching a future big-league star. Grayson’s covered grandstand seats 5,000 people, and there’s room for 2,500 in the bleachers. Most of the viewing area is screened from foul balls. If you can’t resist eating while watching the old ball game, you can find plenty to munch on—in addition to the usual ballpark fare, Grayson in past years has offered Philly cheesesteaks, chicken fingers, and beef kabobs. The Sand Gnats organization schedules numerous special events and promotions and
giveaways of baseball caps, T-shirts, replica jerseys, bobbleheads, beer steins, backpacks, and baseball-card team sets. After-game fireworks are held several times each summer, and it’s usually the best display available locally. Games start at 7:05 p.m. on weekdays and 2:05 p.m. on Sunday. General admission is $7 for adults and $4 for ages 4 to 14, senior citizens, and military personnel; kids younger
than age 3 get in free. Reserved seats are $8, and box seats run $10, if you can get them. There are usually a couple of free games a year, with admission sponsored by a company or organization. You can reserve tickets by calling the number listed, or you can order them online. Parking is free.