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December 15, 2018

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5 reasons to catch the Las Vegas 51s this season

51s Fall to Chihuahuas in Season Opener

Steve Marcus

Las Vegas 51s merchandise is displayed during the 51s’ season opener against the El Paso Chihuahuas at Cashman Field Thursday, April 5, 2018.

51s Fall to Chihuahuas in Season Opener

The Las Vegas 51s and the El Paso Chihuahuas line up along the baselines for introductions during the 51s season opener Thursday, April 5, 2018, at Cashman Field. El Paso won the game 4-2. Launch slideshow »

Upcoming 51s home series

• April 19-20 vs. Fresno Grizzlies

• April 21-23 vs. El Paso Chihuahuas

• April 30-May 3 vs. Sacramento River Cats

• May 8-11 vs. Fresno Grizzlies

• May 12-15 vs. Albuquerque Isotopes

• For more information: Call 702-386-7200 or visit milb.com/tickets

Name that team!

Las Vegas’ longtime Triple-A franchise is rebranding and wants your help. Go to lv51s.com or facebook.com/51sbaseball through April 30 to suggest a new nickname.

With three new local professional teams beginning play within a year—the NHL’s Golden Knights, the USL’s Lights and the WNBA’s Aces—locals are loaded with options for live sporting events. That doesn’t mean they should forget about the veteran franchise. The Las Vegas 51s recently kicked off their 36th season of Triple-A baseball in the Valley and remain an essential part of our sports landscape. Here are five reasons to get out to Cashman Field this season and cheer on the New York Mets’ minor-league affiliate.

1. The price

With tickets as low as $11, you could attend as many as 15 51s games for the price of one Golden Knights playoff game. Pay an extra $6, and you can sit virtually anywhere you want in the stadium. In an age of escalating costs to attend live sporting events, minor league baseball feels like a throwback to the days when admission set you back only slightly more than a hot dog.

2. The promotions

In case the low cost wasn’t enough, the 51s can also entice you with a lengthy list of promotions. All the staples return this year, including discounted concession nights on Mondays, Budweiser Dollar Beer Night on Thursdays and Friday Night Fireworks. The franchise has also upped its memorabilia giveaways this season with five games through July earmarked for free gear for the first 2,500 fans through the gate. On offer: jerseys on May 28 and July 28, camouflage hats on May 26 and June 23 and T-shirts on June 9.

3. The quality of the baseball

The appeal of value can wither fast if the product on the field is subpar. The 51s’ product is not. Triple-A baseball is only one level below the major leagues. You’re going to see talented players.

4. The chance to see future (or past) stars

Edwin Encarnacion. Matt Kemp. Noah Syndergaard. Those are just a few of the All-Stars who spent significant time in Las Vegas en route to their current homes in the big leagues. Most of the players who have the Mets off to a hot start this year also donned a 51s uniform at some point during the past few years.

A handful of New York’s prized prospects are starting this season in Las Vegas, including hard-throwing right-handed pitcher Chris Flexen, hot-hitting first baseman Dominic Smith and skilled middle infielders Gavin Cecchini and Luis Guillorme. There’s also the chance that former Heisman Trophy winner and first-round NFL Draft pick Tim Tebow could be promoted to the 51s later in the season. Tebow is playing with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said he expected the former quarterback to reach the major leagues eventually.

5. A goodbye to Cashman and the Mets

This is a transitional year for the 51s, as they’re ending a five-year contract with the Mets and leaving the only home they’ve ever had. Next season, the Vegas team will move into the currently-under-construction Las Vegas Ballpark at Downtown Summerlin, a $150 million project commissioned by the Howard Hughes Corporation, which purchased the team five years ago. The upgrade is expected to result in new suitors during the offseason, when major league franchises determine and negotiate their minor league affiliates. The new stadium is sure to improve the long-term viability of the team, but it won’t be long before fans are nostalgic for Cashman Field’s intimate, basic environs.

This story originally appeared in the Las Vegas Weekly.