EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – One writer who covers Minor League Baseball for MLB.com would like you to get out this summer and discover America by taking in a ballgame or two or three.

Benjamin Hill, a writer for both MLB.com and MiLB.com, helped to put together a comprehensive guide to Minor League Baseball that is on both websites.

The guide includes an interactive map of the United States with the location of all 120 Minor League Baseball teams in the country. It also breaks down teams by state, parent club, best concessions, longest affiliation, mascots and other categories.

Each team also has an extensive writeup about its history, ballpark and other useful tidbits. Here is what the guide says about El Paso and the Chihuahuas.

It’s a handy guide if you plan to make a road trip to see a few games this year or find yourself visiting a city that has a team, Hill said. You can also just search through the guide and have some fun learning about other cities, their teams and what you can do near each ballpark, he added.

Hill has visited 186 different minor league parks during his career. Minor League Baseball used to have 160 teams through the 2020 season. Major League Baseball reduced the number of teams in its minor leagues to 120 following the pandemic year.

Hill’s total includes ballparks from the days when there were more teams and also a few ballparks that are no longer in existence, he said.

“I think everyone understands Minor League Baseball,” Hill said. “It’s not the major leagues. It’s a fun place to go, bring the family, see the mascot, get some food.

“But Minor League Baseball is also deceptively complicated in terms of how much change has occurred over the years – ballparks, affiliations, team names. It’s a simple and complicated world at the same time,” Hill said.

One big change is the dawn of snappy, more marketable nicknames, like the Chihuahuas. Twenty years ago or so, a team like the El Paso Chihuahuas would have had the nickname of the parent club. In this case, the Chihuahuas would have been known as the El Paso Padres.

Hill said that all changed because parent-club affiliations used to change a lot more often, maybe every two or four years.

“So it became: ‘What’s the point if we keep on changing our name based on the parent club?’” Hill said.

And of course, there is the desire by teams to make money off merchandise, he added.

“If people are fans of the (San Diego) Padres, they probably aren’t going to get a minor league team hat or T-shirt that says Padres,” he said. “But if you have a distinct name, brand, logo, that sells a lot more merchandise.”

Hill said he has always enjoyed visiting El Paso and loves Southwest University Park. He loves the view of the Franklin Mountains you can see beyond the outfield fence and gets a kick out of being able to see Mexico from the ballpark.

“I grew up in the Northeast (of the United States) and am based in New York City,” Hill said. “I know that this is day-to-day life in El Paso (seeing Mexico) but for me, it was kind of like, ‘Wow, that’s Mexico right there.’ I think that is a really cool element. I am not aware of any other ballparks where you can see into another country.”

Hill said recent development around Southwest University Park somewhat obscures the view of the Franklins.

“I did like when the ballpark was first built, you could see the mountains in one direction and Mexico in the other,” he said.

Hill said his favorite ballparks have a distinct feel to them.

“It’s not generic. Cookie cutter is often the word,” he said. “When you are at an El Paso Chihuahuas game, there is no doubt you are in El Paso.”

Hill said you don’t have to be a big baseball fan to enjoy Minor League Baseball.

“Just be there and enjoy. Wandering around the concourse, getting some good food, seeing the mascot, the between-inning games (entertainment),” Hill said.

You can also see future stars in action, too, he added.

“I really hope (the guide) gets people thinking about exploring America through Minor League Baseball,” Hill said. “I have always found Minor League Baseball as a great way to contextualize American travels.

“Even if you don’t go on a road trip, it is a great way to learn about these cities, these teams, their history and have a fuller picture of the professional baseball experience and the landscape,” Hill said.

Here is a link to the Minor League Baseball guide’s landing page.