By Matt Mueller, special to   Published Aug 01, 2012 at 1:37 PM

One of the best additions to our annual baseball trip has been the inclusion of minor league stops. They might not have the fancy bells and whistles of a major league team, but they play baseball just as well, and the stadiums are often filled with personality, both on the walls and in the stands.

For instance, at Appalachian Power Park, the home of the West Virginia Power, an extraordinarily excitable fan would bring a toaster into the stadium and fling fresh toast into the crowd after every opponent's strikeout. The major leagues can't come anywhere close to that kind of inspired lunacy.

Unfortunately, our cross-country travels have only solidified a sad fact about one of Wisconsin's own minor league teams, the Beloit Snappers. They have one of the worst stadiums in the minor league system.

Now, we haven't seen every single stadium and field in the MiLB, but it's becoming increasingly apparent that their home, Pohlman Field, is tragically outdated and is in desperate need of a remodeling, at the minimum.

That's not to say a Beloit Snappers game isn't a ton of fun. The Single-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins play solid baseball and have a few players who could easily make their way into the show in a few years. Their current third baseman, Miguel Sano, was listed as the Twins' best prospect by Baseball America.

The crew at Pohlman Field tries their best to make up for the lackluster setting as well, especially Snappy, their lovable mascot.

The underwhelming stadium, however, is a lot to overcome. The concourses look old and often empty, and the uncomfortable metal seating is more reminiscent of a high school field than a major league affiliate. Even the field's placement, tucked into Telfer Park amidst a hockey rink and skateboard park, makes it feel more cheap than quaintly small town.

Even before my dad and I started our baseball trips, we thought Pohlman Field was a bit rusty. However, now that we've seen more minor league parks and stadiums, it's become glaringly obvious that it's one of the few fields that are stuck back in time.

That fact became very clear Monday, when my dad and I caught two games, one at the Kane County Cougars' Fifth Third Bank Ballpark and the other at O'Brien Field, the home of the Peoria Chiefs (who just happened to be playing the Snappers that night). Both stadiums were gorgeous, featuring beautiful concourses, numerous food options, great seats and modern scoreboards that kept the audience knowledgeable and in the game.

It's hard to imagine the Snappers, as well as their loyal fans, not finding a trip to one of these two stadiums more comfortable and pleasing than a game at home.

Considering how often minor league teams change affiliations and locations, it would be a great loss to see the Snappers leave Beloit. Despite the sub-par stadium, the team puts on a great show, and there's considerable history with the team that would be a shame to lose, as both a Wisconsinite and a fan of baseball.

There's been considerable talk recently of a new field for the team. In 2010, there was hope that a new park could've been built in time for the 2012 season, but the plans fell through. Despite team chairman Dennis Conerton's optimism, very little progress has been made since.

Unfortunately, until a new, adequate stadium is built, the Snappers organization will continue playing from behind. Hopefully, the city of Beloit and the team can get it done, for Snappy's sake.

Trip notes: Both games ended with a 5-3 score. The Kane County Cougars ended up on the winning end of their game, while the Peoria Chiefs walked away with a loss to the Snappers. Both games were close and well played, though the Chiefs game was littered with some questionable calls by the umpire.

Perhaps the best moment of the day came during the Cougars game. After losing a race around the bases to a 3-year-old boy, Ozzie, the Cougars' mascot, shoved the tot's head into his fluffy mouth. The boy emerged very displeased. Hopefully the prize for winning the race was worth it.

Total hot dogs eaten: 4.