Spring Is Time to Play Ball in Myrtle Beach

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America's pastime is more like Myrtle Beach's full-time in the spring and summer, with ample opportunities to catch some baseball on the Grand Strand. In addition to the minor-league Myrtle Beach Pelicans, whose stadium is located just a mile down 21st Avenue North from Breakers Resort, the area also boasts major college and youth programs on the diamonds.

There's nothing quite like taking family and friends out to the ol' ball game for a night of entertainment. With the on-field action, the mild spring temperatures, the crack of the bat, the taste of cotton candy and cold beer, and the smell of hot dogs and roasted peanuts in the air, the family-friendly fun found at the ballpark will stimulate all of your senses.

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the Class A Advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, open the 2016 season on April 7 coming off one of the most successful seasons in team history. The Cubs, known for having the top minor-league organization in baseball, packed the team with prospects last year and helped the Pelicans claim their first Carolina League championship since 2000. Early reports say the Pelicans should be in for another strong season in 2016 with several top prospects on the roster.

But you don't even have to be a baseball fan to enjoy a night with the Pelicans at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark, which has earned national recognition as one of the best venues for minor-league baseball in the country. The organization goes above and beyond the usual hijinks one expects to see in the minor leagues, with unique nightly promotions and popular weekly specials that pack the house in the 5,200-seat facility. The team motto holds true: “Baseball (Really) Is Better at the Beach.”

On Opening Night (April 7), the Pelicans will hold special pregame ceremonies, including the presentation of the 2015 Carolina League Mill Cup championship trophy, and the first of 18 postgame fireworks shows on the season. Fans can remain in their seats for the fireworks show — which features a professional pyrotechnics display over the center field wall — or watch from the parking lot as the sky is set ablaze with exploding colors.

The Opening Weekend fun continues with Super Hero Night (April 8), a Carolina League Championship Replica Ring Giveaway and fireworks (April 9), and Youth League Day featuring a Bat Bag Giveaway (April 10). The Pelicans also allow the kids in attendance to run the bases after every home game.

Other popular promotions slated for the coming weeks and months include lovable mascot Splash's Birthday & Bike Giveaway (April 23), Senior Beauty Pageant Night (April 24), and Bark in the Park Night (April 29), when fans can bring their dogs to the game and enjoy all the action.

This year, the Pelicans have also enhanced their weekly specials schedule. The organization has expanded its number of discounted beer nights to two — Brewsday Tuesday offers $2 cans of Bud and Bud Light, while Thirsty Thursday continues to draw big crowds with $1 draft beers. Wiener Wednesday sees the team serve buy one, get one free hot dogs. On Family Sunday, the Pelicans allow kids and parents to play a game of catch on the field before the game, and each Friday and Saturday game features a nightly promotion or a special guest.

For those who prefer a college atmosphere, the nationally ranked Coastal Carolina University Chanticleers play their home games at the new, state-of-the-art Springs Brooks Baseball Complex. The Chants, who have played in numerous NCAA Regional and Super Regional games, look to take the next step this season with a trip to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. The team has packed its schedule with several ACC and SEC powers, including Clemson, North Carolina and South Carolina.

The Grand Strand also offers a wealth of ball fields and diamonds for youth play, including Grand Park at Market Common and the Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach.

After a day at the ballpark — whichever you choose — you can come back to your home base at Breakers Myrtle Beach Resort, where we have been a hit with our guests for nearly 80 years.