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Alpharetta’s Visitors Bureau and the Getaway Giveaway

I’m a fan of the Alpharetta Convention and Visitors Bureau. I also think they have an amazingly difficult job. Their mission is basically to make Alpharetta a place people want to visit. Yes, that’s a tough mission… and no I’m not being sarcastic. There are plenty of cool things to do around here, many of which I’ve blogged about. I think it’s a difficult job because of the stereotypes surrounding our city. People think Alpharetta is just a mall and a bunch of chain restaurants. Overcoming that stigma is a challenge.

So in a way I’m like these guys… except I don’t have a board of directors, or a welcome center, or cool vacation giveaway contests. Who am I fooling; I’m not in the same league as these guys.

Ah, but the vacation giveaways! Yesterday the Alpharetta CVB announced the winner of their spring promotional getaway giveaway. Their press release reads like something out of the showcase showdown on The Price is Right. I pictured one of Barker’s Beauties standing in front of an Alpharetta hotel, holding a stack of gift cards. Her arms would stretch wide to reveal a picnic basket, Alpharetta t-shirt and bottled water. All this could be yours, if the price is right! Or would you rather bid on the other showcase?

So I didn’t win the spring getaway giveaway. I’d be curious to know if the winner, who is from Michigan, will make the trek down here to claim his booty. But I’ll bet you a $25 Sweet Tomatoes gift card that I’ll be entering the August promotion! Wish me luck!

College Baseball

Do you know what tomorrow is? February 19th, sure. For me, it the long anticipated unified start date of college baseball. Yeah, baseball in February; I love it! Major league spring training is still a good ways away, yet you can see professional-caliber ball close by. There are some real good teams in metro Atlanta and several within a short drive. Makes for a great three day weekend. Here are some of the schools with decent programs. Escape the hustle and bustle of suburban life and relax at the ballpark this spring!

Georgia Tech

They’ve got a great program and make the NCAA tournament consistently. Tech also has an above average number of alums in the big leagues. Their ballpark is easy to get to, even from the northern burbs. Several years ago they upgraded the seats and concession areas. I wouldn’t say it is my favorite college park, but it is nice and comfortable. Parking can be a challenge, especially if you go to a midweek game. I also find that the fan base isn’t as intense as other schools. Most of the students at the ballgames have their noses in calculus textbooks. (Trust me, I’ve seen it!)

UGA – Athens

Another good program. The Bulldogs actually have a College World Series championship to brag about. I haven’t been to a game here in probably five or six years, but from what I remember it is decent. The stadium was upgraded in the 90′s. By today’s standards, I think it is a little lacking. They make up for it by offering a great college atmosphere. I’m not a Georgia fan, but you can’t beat the small college town experience in Athens.

Auburn

Their program has sucked recently. Sorry, there is just no other way to put it. On the other hand, Plainsman Park is stunningly beautiful. The brickwork is impressive and the seats are close to the action. I’ve been to a lot of college ballparks in the ACC and SEC, and Auburn’s park is by far my favorite. And like Athens, this is a cool college town. Great destination for a three day weekend in the spring.

Clemson

Alright, I have a bias here. This is my alma mater. Tiger Field was a sanctuary for me in the spring. I cut many an afternoon class on a beautiful day to be here. Like GA Tech, Clemson has a top-tier program. Unlike Tech, the fans are very much into the games. Attendance has picked up a LOT since I was a student. New outfield seating areas this year will make the numbers even greater.

Overall, I like the ballpark. Over the last several years they’ve added onto the park with brick facades and iron work. Underneath is is the same ballpark. In some ways, I wish Clemson had built a new park from scratch. Hate to say it, but it is true. Nevertheless, you’ll find some great ball here.

Closer to Home

Kennesaw State and Georgia State both have baseball programs but are not 1-A. I’ve never been to games here, but they may be a decent alternative if you don’t want to drive.

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