- Note: This is part of Matt Nelson's "Ballparks of the Midwest" series.
Wyoming. Population 563,626. The least populated state in the country. Population density...5.1 people for every square mile of land in the state (49th in rank). Oh, but they do have minor league baseball in the Cowboy State, even if it's not exactly a baseball hotbed.
The Pioneer League came to Casper in 2001 from Butte, Montana. Originally known as the Casper Rockies, the team switched its name to the Ghosts prior to 2008 (they retain the Rockies affiliation). Not only did the club change names, but it added one of a kind on-field hats for its players. They glow in the dark. The result of this has been that the Ghosts hat is incredibly popular and a big seller at the Mike Lansing Field souvenir store.
As for Mike Lansing, he's a former Major League player who grew up in the Casper area. Lansing is one of just twelve people born in the state of Wyoming who've played in the big leagues. It should be noted that in the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft, the New York Mets selected Brandon Nimmo with the 13th overall pick. Wyoming does not have high school baseball, just American Legion ball, which is also played at the ballpark.
Mike Lansing Field is not big, not fancy, but is a decent place to catch a game. Reasonably priced tickets and ample seating, the club works hard to provide lively entertainment. On the night of my 2011 visit the Westwinds band played a pregame concert. Also, one thing that's a bit different, there's no Will Call window. Rather, one of the team's employees functions as the Will Call window by wearing a hat that reads as such and hands out the appropriate ducats. Visitors to the area should drive up the hill to the north of the ballpark for a nice view of Casper and Casper Mountain off to the south.
Wyoming may not have many people, may not be a baseball hotbed, and may not have an exotic ballpark, but it does have minor league baseball with friendly staff at a ballpark that's home to one of a kind hats.