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At bat:Take a break from the glitz and take in a baseball game

For all of Sin City's famously indulgent charms, many visitors, especially those on family vacations, welcome a break from the fast-paced fun of its pulsing hotel-casinos. So a laid-back afternoon or evening watching the Las Vegas 51s -- the city's minor league baseball team -- at cozy Cashman Field can be a real home run.

Since 1983, the 51s have offered the intimate aura of throwback, family-friendly baseball against a beautiful mountain backdrop, all just 10 minutes from the glittering Las Vegas Strip.

Now in their third season as the Triple-A affiliate of Major League Baseball's New York Mets, the 51s are named for the nearby Area 51 Air Force testing range (the team's distinctive "alien" logo is a lighthearted reference to the base's rumored UFO involvement).

With single-game tickets starting at just $10 and bargain parking, the 51s make a very affordable escape from the crowds and prices of Las Vegas' casinos.

Yet there's nothing cheap about the quality of play, where ball fans can get much closer to the action than most can afford at a major league stadium. You can also spy MLB up-and-comers. 51s alumni include Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar and former Dodger Matt Kemp.

As their city's only pro team, the 51s are well-supported by locals, providing visitors a slice of Vegas life other than the usual "touristy" experiences.

Tickets are available onsite Monday to Friday from noon to 4:30 p.m. and by calling at 702.943.7200. Las Vegas 51s tickets can also be purchased through www.ticketmaster.com.

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