As the class-A short-season affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers have prepared rising stars for the big leagues since 1999. The feisty squad has worked their way through some tough seasons in the New York-Penn League, including four appearances in the league finals and a league championship in 2004. Now entering their 15th season, the Scrappers still play their home games at Eastwood Field, which showcases a view of verdant woods and the sasquatches living in peace beyond the outfield wall for crowds of up to 6,300 fans.
Bat-A-Rama's seven batting cages, which spit out softballs or baseballs, are designed to let the hitter pick the speed and height of the pitches based on skill level. Each $1 token forces the machines to throw 15 pitches, providing ample opportunity to practice swinging for the fences, hitting behind a runner, or catching moving balls in plastic grocery bags. Three of the seven cages spew both hardball and slow softball pitches, and one speedily whips out softballs sans arc. Though not included in this Groupon, Bat-A-Rama makes old-fashioned ice cream on-site.
In 2001, Washington County faced a dilemma. A new baseball park was under construction just off I-70, but the field had no team to call it home. Rather than let unemployed mascots set up circus tents in the outfield, a group of local business owners purchased the Ohio-based Canton Crocodiles and moved the franchise to Pennsylvania. Months later, the Washington Wild Things inaugurated the new stadium with a dazzling bit of irony, losing their first-ever game against the very team that replaced the Crocodiles in Canton.
Nevertheless, the Wild Things finished the 2002 season in grand fashion, setting a league record for wins and claiming first place in the Frontier League's powerful East Division, and the team went on to make six straight playoff appearances from 2002–2007. Throughout its history, the Wild Things have featured a number of future and former big-leaguers, and its roster regularly includes Pittsburgh natives, who grew up practicing their swings with steel girders.