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You don't have to go to Cooperstown to find out why baseball is considered America's national pastime. Below are some places where you can celebrate the game by touring the birthplace of the Bambino, watching the sluggers of today or becoming a player at a fantasy camp.


Baseball Sites and Museums



Babe Ruth Birthplace and Orioles Museum
Baltimore, Maryland

The Babe Ruth Birthplace and Orioles Museum commemorates two great baseball traditions in one place. The museum retraces the Babe's early years as a wild and reckless youth with photos and artifacts including the bat he used as a boy. The museum also has rare photos of the Bambino at spring training with the Orioles, the team that gave him his first shot at the Major Leagues.

The Baltimore Orioles exhibits contain memorabilia of great players like Brooks Robinson, Boog Powell and Frank Robinson. A special exhibit is dedicated to the still-active career of "Iron Man" Cal Ripkin Jr. and his record of 2,632 consecutive games played.


Ty Cobb Museum
Royston, Georgia

Ty Cobb is considered by many to be the greatest baseball player ever. Almost 70 years after his retirement, he still holds two Major League records including career runs scored (2,245) and lifetime batting average (.367). The Ty Cobb Museum was set up to collect baseball artifacts, works of art, literature, photographs, memorabilia and other materials related to Cobb's life.

Known for his tenacious play and fierce competitiveness, Cobb also created scholarship accounts for Georgia students and the Cobb Memorial Hospital that delivers health care to rural areas.


Field of Dreams
Dyersville, Iowa

The Kevin Costner film about a baseball field carved out of a cornfield comes to life in Dyersville, Iowa. The Field of Dreams Movie Site is now a tourist attraction that draws thousands to play on the fictional field of magic that brought the great slugger "Shoeless" Joe Jackson back from obscurity. Admission is free and the last weekend of each summer month, the Ghost Players, many of whom portrayed baseball players in the movie, don the traditional baggy uniforms and put on an exhibition of their baseball skills.


Bob Feller Museum
Van Meter, Iowa

It may not be Cooperstown but the Bob Feller Museum has an impressive collection of baseball memorabilia including scores of trophies jerseys, caps and gloves Feller used during his Hall of Fame career from 1936-1956. Feller is considered one of the greatest pitchers of all time, playing in nine All Star games and two World Series.

Besides his baseball feats, Feller was also a war hero. He enlisted in the Navy in 1941 and collected eight Battle Stars as a gunner aboard the USS Alabama.


Ballparks


Wrigley Field
Chicago, Ill.

Located on the north side of Chicago, Wrigley Field has been the home of the Chicago Cubs for more than 85 years. The park regularly draws near-capacity crowds who come to see Slammin' Sammy Sosa hit huge homeruns over the ivy-adorned outfield walls. With most games played in the day, "the friendly confines" (as former Cub and Hall of Famer Ernie Banks called the ballpark) are a popular destination on summer afternoons.


Fenway Park
Boston, Mass

Built in 1912, great Red Sox players like Cy Young, Babe Ruth, and Ted Williams called Fenway Park home. Like most old ballparks, Fenway was built in the heart of the city where it could be accessed easily by the masses. The location is convenient for visitors who want to walk the city before catching a night game.

Its most distinct characteristic is the "green monster," a 37-foot tall green wall in left field. Built to compensate for the shallow left field, the monster has become a symbol of baseball in Boston.


Bank One Ballpark
Phoenix, Ariz.

One of the Major League's newest ballparks, Bank One is home to hard-throwing Randy Johnson and the Arizona Diamondbacks. The park has a gallery of paintings of great baseball moments, a restaurant with tables overlooking the playing field and a swimming pool just beyond the wall in right field.

For schedules and information for all 30 Major League teams and their affiliated Minor League teams, visit Major League Baseball.

Ballparks.com has information on every Major League ballpark, past and present including history, dimensions, seating maps and trivia. It also has information and links to affiliated Triple-A Minor League ballparks.


Fantasy Baseball Camps


Dodgers Fantasy Camp
Vero Beach, Fla.

Most camps are held in the winter just prior to spring training but the Los Angeles Dodgers Adult Baseball Camp has dates in the fall. Participants in the camp will get instruction and insights from big league coaches at the Dodgers' Florida training complex. After a couple of days of workouts, campers get to live out their fantasy in live games on the Dodgers' practice diamonds.

If you are planning in advance, Fodor's Baseball Fantasy Camps page has a list of all the big league teams that offer camps as well as other camps put on by former Major League players.


Baseball Tours


All Star Baseball Tours

The season is heating up and teams are vying for position in the playoff hunt. All Star Major League Baseball Tours has several packages featuring the most exciting teams and players in the league. Tours include the California Classic (Aug. 5 - 9) , a tour of five games in five ballparks in California and Arizona; the Grand Slam 2000 (Aug. 20 - 25) tour of Midwest ballparks and a World Series (Oct. 10 - 12) tour including tickets to the first two games.


Road Trips Baseball Tours

Road Trips has weekend and overnight getaways for 19 Major League teams including the Atlanta Braves, the Cleveland Indians and the San Francisco Giants. Arrangements include hotel accommodations and field-level tickets.

  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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