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Submitted Reviews

Burlington Athletic Stadium - Burlington, NC

This is truly baseball in the raw, perhaps more so than any other park in the Appalachian League. The ballpark itself is unique in that Burlington transported it by train from Danville Virginia, rather than attempt to build a new ballpark, they purchased Danville's old ballpark. It is easily one of the most uncomfortable parks. The main grandstand(covered) has aluminum, backless, bleacher type seats that of course are a serious distraction to enjoying the game. Along the first and third baselines are high school type bleacher seats that are recommended for their easy access to the bullpen areas. The dugouts look more like foxholes, as the players sit on the top step rather than sit down in them. Like most parks in the lowest levels of the minors, doubleheaders are a treat as ballplayers mingle with the crowd at the refreshment stand. The snack fare is nothing to special and totally digestible. Despite having an Indians affiliation, attendance seems consistently low (200-300 weeknights). Current Cleveland players who have played at Burligton include Manny Ramirez and Bartolo Colon. (Submitted by GYMdandy88@aol.com )
 

Memorial Park - Quakertown, PA

After playing their first season in Newburg, New York and their second entirely on the road, the Lehigh Valley Black Diamonds of the independent Atlantic League finally have a home field, although temporary. Billed as "beautiful and historic" on their website, Memorial Park in Quakertown, PA is nothing more than a small green wooden gradstand with benches whcih seats about seven hundred. There is no concession or souvenir stand which means there is no program or scorcard and that you have to bring your own food. Admission is $4.00 for an individual and $7.00 for a family but when I arrived there was nobody selling tickets. The field itself appears to be in good shape and is used on a regular basis for American Legion and Atalntic Collegiate Baseball League games (The Quakertown Blazers). The Diamonds have third choice of playing times and have to play many of their games at twelve noon. Attendance is very poor. I counted twenty-nine fans. Also, there are no banners or signs letting you know that a minor league team plays here. There is a very basic American Legion type scorboard and an announcer who announces each batter over a very basic PA system. I've been to approximately thirty-five minor league ballparks and this is the worst. There is nothing professsional about it. The highlight was watching the ducks from a nearby stream run around right field. Hopefully, the Black Diamonds will have the opportunity to move into their new stadium which was being built just off of Rt. 78 in Easton. I say was because the team has gone bankrupt and all construction has stopped. Quite a bit of work has been done and if ever finished it looks like it will be a beautiful place to see a game. (Submitted by dposwenc@rvcc.raritanval.edu )

Autozone Park - Memphis, Tennessee

Autozone Park, the new (2000) home of the Memphis Redbirds, AAA affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, is a 12,000 seat (reserved) baseball-only facility located in downtown Memphis. Modeled after Camden Yards, it has an open concourse which wraps around the entire field, 48 luxury suites, club seating and lawn seating on a left field 'bluff' for an additional 2000 or so. The atmosphere is great although Friday and saturday night crowds contain a high percentage of the 'Wrigley Factor' (young singles scoping out members of the opposite sex). The surrounding area is very dynamic with Beale Street 2 blocks away and the historic Peabody Hotel across the street as well as numerous other restaurants & nightclubs. A beautiful baseball facility in a great location. It sure beats the Redbirds' former home, Tim McCarver stadium, a functional but nondescript park with no personality or character. (Submitted by mkjpottscamp@yahoo.com )

Yankee Stadium - Bronx, New York

Yankees Stadium, sure it's foundation been around since '24 but it was largely re-worked in the late 70's and it shows it. The house that Ruth built has been basically covered over with concrete, it's intricate wooden lace scrapped and re-worked in vinyl-covered steel, but still the mystique of this ballpark hangs over the field. The stadium itself is not so important to Yanks fans and that is good because it is pretty dreary, but the field remains sacred. In the renovation of the stadium three decades ago designers made many regrettable changes including adding concrete ovoid ramps similar to Three Rivers and several other bad ballparks built in the 60's. Altered as well were many dimensional aspects of the outfield walls, but that is too contentious to get into here. The concourses are dark, dirty and eerily similar to nearby subway stations, don't get me wrong-I'm not New York bashing, I live here and ride the subway everyday but I expect more of my Baseball experience. The experience here by far happens on the diamond, and NY'ers are rabid enough fans to not really care about what a shoddy facility the Yanks play in, but there is a growing disdain. The exterior has been completely re-worked in classic/horrid 1970's urban mall style, with the concrete ribs at the top and giant, plastic "Yankee Stadium" letters looking like they belong at an old, suburban office park in New Jersey.  The surrounding neighborhood has far more history intact than the stadium, so the site remains ideal for the Yankees. The #4 elevated train station, Monument Park, and all the delis and pizza joints are true NYC and many have been there for the duration of the Bombers life and are part of their history, but it is time for a new stadium. Views in the current one are not bad unless you end
up too high in the left or right upper tier or down in the "bleacher creature" section behind left field, but the seat angles around the field are far from optimal, and the rise of the upper deck is ridiculously steep, I had a drunk guy fall on me my last outing from six rows up! Available within the stadium is beer, beer, hotdogs and beer. Surprisingly in this expensive city the prices are not too outrageous, it's the selection which suffers and is why most of us load up on food before we enter. You can get a wide variety of team souvenirs down in the dingy, concrete concourses but I warn you that the bathrooms, by the sixth inning are more daunting
than the ones at Penn Station especially with a sell out crowd. So the Yanks need a new home and it should have some thought put into it rather than just millions of strikingly red-bricks, it's a chance to build something different. It should not be built on the West Side in Manhattan, as Rudy Guiliani proposed a couple of years ago in an apparent state of psychosis. Rudy, a lifelong Yankees fan recently came to his senses and agrees with most fans that a new Chez-Ruth should be built around the current lot and diamond. The field and other historically intact sections could be covered and protected while "The Frankenstein that Steinbrenner built" is demolished. I don't think there would be many complaints. Erected in it's place should be something glorious, something unique and a new Bronx legend cradling the fans while all the history remains on the playing field. The mystique here is the team, Yankees Stadium does not really refer to the structure itself, just the geographic co-ordinates of the Yanks Lot. Stadium: C-, Concessions: C+, Experience: Priceless. (Submitted by enzox@bway.net )

Let me presage my review with the following statement: I am a Red Sox fan.  I have been a Red Sox fan all my life.  Well alright, there was a period back in the early 80's when I liked the Astros.  But throughout my formative years I've been a Red Sox fan.  I HATE the Yankees.  I hate them so much.  Flames on the sides of my heads.  Heaving breaths, heaving, heaving... That having been said...Yankee Stadium (from what I've seen of early photos of it) was once a gorgeous park.  The pickett facade on the upper deck, the Longines Clock topping the main scoreboard, the glorious neo-classical edifice all made it one of the truly great ballparks.  Then George Steinbrenner arrived in New York and changed everything.  The facade was put in the outfield and replaced with beautification lights (the tracks that hold the lights instead of light stands), Time by Longines was replaced by Timex, the scoreboard was replaced with an electronic sound machine, and the edifice...well...we won't discuss that.  It's funny, but you can really trace the origins of the rivalry back to the time when Yankee Stadium was renovated.  It could be that the Red Sox and their fans started hating
the Yankees when it was realized that tradition had been replaced by conformity, beauty had been replaced by functionality, and good sense had been replaced by George in New York.  It could be, but probably not.  Today, the surfeit of sound effects, graphics, cartoons, and really bad music drown out the experience of the Sox and the Yanks in a summertime battle for AL East supremecy.  That's a shame because, let's face it, with the exception of the Zoo and the Botanical Gardens, there's nothing else to do in the Bronx.  The concessions are among the worst in the Bigs.  You think you've had bad pizza? Until you eat Yankee Stadium pizza, every nasty slice of soggy cheese, cold tomato sauce, and brittle crust you've ever had was a
gourmet feast.  I don't know if it's possible, but I think even the cotton candy is worse at the Stadium.  Let's talk about the upper deck.  I like to think I'm a funny guy and that I developed a quick wit at an early age.  But when I made my first trip to the Stadium to see the Battle of the East, I quipped, "Do these come with seatbelts?"  I impressed myself with that one.  While it's true that you get accustomed to the slope, it's pretty unsettling at first.  Fortunately, the Sox won that battle in a never-ending war.  When you walk through most ballparks, you ask, "Ahhh, you smell that?"  When you walk through Yankee Stadium, you ask, "Phew, you smell that?"  Out of regard for whomever reads this I won't mention the grounds' crew.  In short, Yankee Stadium was the House That Ruth Built.  Now, it's the House That George Violated.  It has all of the shortcomings and inconveniences of an old ballpark and none of the charm.  (Submitted by David Sullivan, khannooniensingh@hotmail.com )

While Yankee Stadium may be considered a "classic" like Fenway Park or Wrigley Field, it does not contain the friendly aspect that these parks are famous for.  Ticket prices weren't expensive, as bleacher seats were $8, but I didn't realize that these seats were cut off from everything else in the park.  I was literally allowed to walk around three sections of the stadium.  By mistake, I did happen to wander into the children's section in center field, past a guard who I guess was supposed to be keeping people out (I had no idea passage wasn't allowed) when another guard informed of the rules.  As I walked back, the first guard
told me I was lying by saying I entered past him, although I was able to quote what he was saying to another man as I walked by.  Remembering I was in New York (and dealing with New Yorkers) I calmed myself down and walked away.  Food prices at the Stadium were reasonable, but the choice of food was very poor and the peanuts were unsalted.  Security of course is very high at Yankee Stadium, partially because it's New York but mostly because of fan problems in the past (beer isn't even sold in the bleachers anymore).  Everyone is frisked upon entry to the Stadium, all pockets are squeezed and even the belt loop is touched to make sure fans aren't carrying guns.  All of the security and rules (No "suck" shirts allowed?) made me feel uncomfortable, as if I was in prison and not at a baseball game.  It's hard for me to discuss the amenities available at the ballpark since I had no access to them, but I don't know if I'll make the same mistake of sitting in the bleachers the next time I go.  This stadium should be checked out at some point by baseball fans, but I know I left with a newfound appreciation for Friendly Fenway.  Grade- B+
  (Submitted by Andrew Sullivan, sulli1983@hotmail.com )

Sec Taylor Stadium - Des Moines, Iowa
Sec Taylor Stadium is the home of the AAA Iowa Cubs.  It was built in 1992 and seats around 10,000 people.  What I like about it, and I know that many parks lack this quality, is the fact that this is the Cubs park.  The seats are red and blue, and the I-Cubs emblem can be found all over the place.  They have left no doubt that Sec Taylor is the home of the Cubs.  Another great thing is the fans.  I-Cubs fans have to be some of the best in the minors.  Even when they lose, they fill the Stadium half-way, and rarely do you ever hear a "booo."  The last thing is the view.  Beyond center field is the Iowa Capital Building, widely considered to be the most beautiful such buiding in the United States.  Who can blame them with the gold-leaf covered dome.  But this stadium also has its cons.  Like so many parks, it is riddled with ads in the outfield, taking some of the character away.  There are also too many skyboxes.  They even have some beyond the left-field wall.  I think that giving fans the opportunity to catch a home-run by placing regular seats out there would have been more suitable, but I guess money is the game these days.  Finally, what happened to good old fashioned organ music?  I know that old Sec Taylor had a real organ, but now they play cheap recordings that are supposed to sound like an organ.  Again, its the money.  Overall, Sec Taylor 
is a great place to watch baseball, but caters too much to the rich and has too many cheap substitutions.  My rating would be 8 out of 10. (Submitted by Egle20893@aol.com )

Holman Stadium - Nashua, New Hampshire
Billed as “Historic Holman Stadium” by the Nashua Pride, New Hampshire’s entry in the Atlantic League, the 4000 seat stadium doesn’t offer much in the way of atmosphere and is by no means an incredible ballpark.  The main seating areas are chairs that aren’t very comfortable, and the general admission bleachers down the left field line are even less so.  None of the seating at the park is covered, so spectators should bring rain gear if there is any hint of bad weather in the forecast.  However, even though the park is not special in any way structurally, I always seem to enjoy going to Pride games immensely.  This may have to do with how close fans can get to players before, during and after games.  Fans are allowed to stand along a fence down the right field line where many Pride players tend to hang out, and the bullpen staff is nearby as well.  Often times the players will converse with fans while the game is going on, which is something I’ve never seen in any kind of professional baseball.  While players may enjoy this intimacy with the fans, they certainly do not like the amenities of Holman, especially the locker room.  In talking to a visiting Lehigh Valley player, he said that the locker rooms “suck” and they are probably the worst in the 
league, since the other parks are at most three years old.  Another described them as a “closet”.  On this day, it had been very hot, and the air conditioner in the visitors’ locker room had broken down.  To access 
these rooms also required walking through areas where fans were milling around, which was good for me since I always go for autographs but a pain for players.  While this park has many problems that cause players to have strong feelings against playing at Holman, the stadium will once again be renovated in between the 2001 and 2002 seasons, when better locker rooms, more seating, bigger and better food services, and a permanent home to the gift shop will be added.  Once this project is complete, Holman Stadium may a park that both players and fans can enjoy.  Prices for tickets are not expensive at all here, especially by buying a FlexTix package, where 10 undated general admission tickets go for $30.  It may not be top of the line, but it’s definitely a good experience for the price.Stadium- B-  Hot Dogs- B+ (grade gets a boost because it was 2 for 1 weiner night) (Submitted by Andrew Sullivan, sulli1983@hotmail.com )

Hadlock Field - Portland, Maine
The home of the Portland Sea Dogs of the Eastern League, Hadlock Field seems to sacrifice some of the comforts of many other minor league ballparks for the purpose of bringing in more fans and revenue.  With the exception of a small fenced-off area where players frequently sign autographs, it is almost impossible to directly access the Sea Dogs.  The stands themselves are built above the playing field so the familiarity of the players is diminished.  The visiting team’s dugout is more accessible, but it is still not all that fan-friendly. The seating in the park is chair back for all reserved seats, but general admission fans find only metal bleachers.  While there are numbers on these seats, they aren’t really necessary because none of the seats are assigned.  Fans were encouraged to sit tightly packed so that more people could fit in each row.  One interesting aspect of Hadlock Field is the loudness of the metal bleachers when pounded.  Here, the concourse is 
located underneath, so people underneath feel like a subway train is coming whenever the Sea Dogs make a good play.  All that can be seen beyond the outfield fences is trees, so not much is added for atmosphere.  The Sea Dogs have a fairly good souvenir shop, although it is pricey.  Everything but the tickets seems expensive here, from the $4 nachos to the parking.  Overall, a decent park, but the prices and the feeling that the players aren’t close or accessible decreases the feeling that fans are in a minor league park.
Grade- C+ Hot Dogs- A- (Submitted by Andrew Sullivan, sulli1983@hotmail.com )

Lelacheur Park - Lowell, Massachusetts
Home to the Lowell Spinners of the New York-Penn League, Lelacheur Park is impressive in many areas.  It is only a few years old, so the exterior of the building is impressive when viewed from the outside.  When inside, fans must go up a few flights of stairs to actually reach the seating area.  The concourse is located above all seating, but fans can’t watch the game while buying food.  There probably isn’t a bad seat in the house there because all seating is angled and most is located around the infield anyway.  In fact, the Spinners sell out Lelacheur Park for the entire season very quickly.  However, many fans buy season tickets and don’t show up to all the games, so others can buy standing room tickets and not have difficulty finding seats.  I bought standing room tickets at $3.50 each and sat in the front row for both games of a doubleheader.  In fact, all tickets at Lelacheur are affordable.  Parking in lots outside the stadium costs $3, but it is possible to park on streets for free.  There is a giveaway to fans almost every night, and players are very accessible for autographs before and sometimes after games.  A lot of the stadium is constructed out of metal, making it not the safest place in a thunderstorm, but the team uses their scoreboard to prompt young fans to pound their feet and make lots of noise.  With all of the games played between half innings, the feel at Lelacheur is geared toward children, but this is a nice touch because it shows that baseball can be fun for everyone.
Grade- B+ Hot Dogs- A  (Submitted by Andrew Sullivan, sulli1983@hotmail.com )

McCoy Stadium - Pawtucket, Rhode Island
McCoy Stadium is the home of the Pawtucket Red Sox, the Boston Red Sox AAA affiliate.  This ballpark seems much more professional than most others, possibly because of its large size or just because it is AAA baseball.  While the stadium officially has a capacity of around 10000, there are rarely sellouts because the team sells standing room tickets.  It is never all that hard to find seats because not everyone who buys tickets (season ticket holders) shows up for every game.  With a general admission ticket, I was able to sit in the third row behind the PawSox dugout.  This came in handy for autograph seeking, which is always done at McCoy with “fishing lines.”  Fans lower a container holding a ball and pen below the first row of seating because the dugouts are underneath the stands.  When a player signs, the tug feels like fishing.  While I enjoy this very creative system of autograph hunting, I was not pleased by the way ushers acted toward fans 
trying to get players to sign.  Some ushers were rude and demanded that groups disperse although the players were very willing to continue signing.  One usher in particular pushed me away from where a player was signing and yelled at me, which didn’t bother me because I’m eighteen years old.  However, this same usher started yelling at children who seemed to be around age ten.  I found that display very offensive because so many of Pawtucket’s fans are just kids.  After demanding to see their tickets, he stopped yelling.  This is the first time I’ve ever dealt with a rude usher at a minor league game.  The only atmosphere at the park is the park, which was renovated nicely.  It seems so much different from past memories of no 
outfield seating.  Despite being higher than the field, the views from almost all seating is good, even in the outfield.  Prices for food is pretty cheap, but you get what you pay for.  Parking is free, but we got there 
almost an hour early and we couldn’t find any available.  We had to park at a warehouse for $2.  Still affordable, but very frustrating.  In total, a good park and a nice atmosphere for a game, but minor flaws can ruin the experience.  Hopefully, that usher was a one-time problem and McCoy keeps its reputation as being fan friendly.  Grade- B  Hot Dogs- B+  (Submitted by Andrew Sullivan, sulli1983@hotmail.com )

Centennial Field - Burlington, Vermont
Located on the campus of the University of Vermont, Centennial Field is the home of UVM’s team as well as the Vermont Expos, the A affiliate of the Montreal Expos.  This park is incredibly unique, which is noticeable as soon as a fan buys tickets.  To start, the concourse is underneath the stands but is also outside.  I only saw one concession stand, but there didn’t seem to be any problems with lines.  The capacity of the park is not very large so all seats are good, but not necessarily comfortable.  The reserved seating is under a roof but the actual seats are made of old wood.  Unfortunately for fans, this is the best there is.  The general admission seating is just concrete.  Many people brought cushions to sit on, as nine innings on concrete could cause some serious injury.  Two lucky fans get reclining chairs to sit on during the game, but everyone else just has to tough it out.  The field itself has a ton of foul territory and lots of room behind the plate.  All of the reserved seating is protected by a net that runs from dugout to dugout.  A complaint about the park is that there is no scoreboard that posts the current batter’s name.  It is hard to follow announcements alone.  Players from both teams were accessible before the game, as the road 
team’s locker room is a building in left field and the Expos dressed in a room by the general admission seating on the first base side.  There is nothing around the park except trees, which is no real surprise considering the area it is in.  Food at the park is pretty good, and prices are affordable.  This team seems to be in it for the fans as opposed to just making money.  This is a park and experience that is worth it if fans want to see minor league baseball done the right way, at a reasonable price and in an environment that preserves the baseball experience.  Grade- B  Hot Dogs- B+  (Submitted by Andrew Sullivan, sulli1983@hotmail.com )

New Britain Stadium - New Britain, Connecticut
NB Stadium, as it is sometimes known, is the home of the New Britain Rock Cats, the Minnesota Twins’ entry in the AA Eastern League.  Upon arrival to the park, I noticed that the parking lot was very large, definitely enough to fit as many cars as necessary.  Parking cost $2, and scorecards were handed at no additional charge to us as soon as we paid to park.  This seemed very generous of the team to do.  While we got to the park early, people were already waiting, and gates didn’t open until less than an hour before the game.  Once they did, not enough were open to accommodate the number of people trying to get in, which was important since it was incredibly hot out.  In fact, the clock-thermometer in right-center field showed that the temperature on the field hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the game.  Luckily, we were under a small overhang behind home plate.  While the park was new and comfortable, it didn’t seem to have an incredible amount of character.  The seats were designed in a very strange way, as I felt like I was sitting in a cereal bowl.  One plus to the park was the souvenir shop.  Not only did it carry Rock Cats and Twins merchandise, but also Red Sox, Yankees and Mets apparel.  In addition, souvenir baseballs of any team in the Eastern League could be bought.  Most importantly, this souvenir shop was accessible from the concourse and was air conditioned.  It was a welcome relief from the sweltering heat to step in and look around for a few brief moments.  The atmosphere at the park that particular day was different because the San Diego Chicken was performing, so the spotlight was taken off the Rock Cats’ normal mascot.  He seemed like a weirdo anyway.  There isn’t much around the park but trees, and there aren’t any really interesting features of the park to describe.  The field is perfectly symmetrical, almost reminding me of the old National League park design in the 1960s and 1970s.  New Britain Stadium is a nice place to see good baseball at a reasonable price, but it may not be the most special experience a fan could have.Park- B Hot Dogs- B (Submitted by Andrew Sullivan, sulli1983@hotmail.com )

Pac Bell Park - San Francisco, California
Most people take public transit to the game (me included).  MUNI streetcars (trolleys) stop right in front of the park, and it's within walking distance of several BART (subway) stations.  And yes, those large lots are game parking. Concessions are EXPENSIVE.  But you can get almost anything from Crab salad sandwiches and clam chowder to cajun to sushi to Mexican to Krispy Kreme Donuts to hotdogs and peanuts.  Garlic Fries are hella good.  I still like the food at the Coliseum across the bay a lot more though.  Less expensive, and just better baseball food.  The only thing I don't like about concessions at the bell is the beer selection.  You're basically limited to several kinds of bud and Gordon Biersch.  While the Coliseum has tons of stuff including Sierra Nevada.  They even have Smirnoff Ice there now. The big coke bottle in left field contains a children's slide and flashes it's lights when the Giants win.  Right next to that is a small children's whiffle ball field, a test the speed of your pitch thing etc.  There are several large fountains on the right field wall where your camera is pointing, those shoot jets of water into the air when the Giants hit a homer. There's a Sega Sports pavilion under the left field bleachers also.  There's a sign on the right field wall that says "Slash Hits."  It's a counter for how many homers have been hit into the bay. I've sat everywhere from the right field wall (known as the arcade section) to View reserved, field level, and bleachers.  There are no really bad seats in the park.  And you're unbelievably close to the field even in the upper level and bleachers.  Although I have to say it was kinda hard to see the OF's when they were next to the right field wall when I was in Arcade.  Oh, and that area below the right field wall where you can look in is called the "porthole."  If it's filled with people you can watch the game for free for one inning, if it's not, just stay for the game.  (Submitted by MjvDesertRat@aol.com )

My take on Pac Bell Park is that it easily ranks in my top five as one the best Major League Baseball experience, with the background ranked very near or top #1 - excellent view on a clear day of San Francisco Bay and the East Bay including the Oakland skyline. Two drawbacks are that there are no beer vendors, and in fact they are banned in California at all events, and it can get quite cool on a typical June, July and August in event the wind blows in from the Pacific Ocean, but it's nowhere near as uncomfortable as it was when the Giants had to put up playing games at Candlestick Park, from 1960 to 1999. What a huge mistake for the Giants franchise to abandom Seals Stadium, wasn't it ? I have to disagree with you on the accessibility issue between Pac Bell and Candlestick. There might not be as many parking spaces available walking distance from Pac Bell (about a 10 minute walk), but watching tens of games from the view level seating area, I can't remember a time in which the parking lots - visible from behind and to the right of right field, have been full. But unlike Candlestick Park, Pac Bell Park is accessible by both BART and Cal Train. The latter goes between San Francisco and San Jose, so from where I live, there's absolutely no reason for me to drive to the new home of the Giants, as I can take Cal Train to the San Francisco station, and it's only about a 5-minute walk to that ballpark. Bottom line here is that Pac Bell Park's accessibility is far better than Candlestick. In fact on days it rains in the Bay Area in the fall and winter, many parking lots outside of Candlestick are flooded out and therefore not available for parking. Plus, one year I drove to the Giants game at Candlestick and there was a post-game fireworks show before over 50,000-plus fans, and I wasn't able to completely drive out of that park and onto the U.S. 101 freeway until a good hour after the fireworks show had completed. It was an awful experience for me. (Review submitted by Paul, PGL262@aol.com)

Wahconah Park - Pittsfield, Massachusetts
Wahconah Park has been the home of many minor league teams, the most recent being the Pittsfield Astros of the New York-Penn League.  While the park is definitely showing its age, very few complaints can be made about watching a game there.  Seating is so close to the field that fans sometimes feel afraid of balls or bats flying through the air at them.  One aspect I noticed that was fairly unique about Wahconah was the security there.  I crossed the field repeatedly in going from the first base side to the third base side, and no one really cared.  I was in both team’s dugouts getting autographs, and no one said anything.  It could have been because it was the last game there for the Astros (they move to Troy, NY next season) or maybe it was just the way it usually is.  In either case, it was very pleasant.  The box seats at Wahconah are old metal fold-up chairs with Pittsfield Astros seat cushions on them.  However, fans were invited by the team to 
keep their seat cushions as a memento of the last game.  We ended up with four of them.  These metal chairs also had bumper stickers on them where season-ticket holders had their names written so the seat would be reserved. Since it was the last time those stickers would be used, we decided to write our names on the stickers at our seats.  Behind us were wooden bleachers that looked very uncomfortable, but at least they were under an overhang like we were.  Further down the lines, it was almost the same type of seating, only no overhangs for fans in case of inclement weather.  I could see gaps in the fence behind home plate, and every once in a while a squirrel would come out and run around, probably in an attempt to find food. 
In fact, the wooden fences around the park seemed really old and in need of some serious work.  Although not the newest fences, they were charming in a strange way, almost a reminder of baseball’s past.  Another nice touch is the owls hanging from the roof in front of every section.  I hear this is to keep birds away, but it’s not a very common thing to see in present-day parks.  The only thing I can complain about at Wahconah is what everyone can complain about- the sun.  It sets in the outfield, which is very uncomfortable to look at while trying to watch the game.  Sometimes they have sun delays on bad days, but in any case bring sunglasses because it can be rough.  This park is a must-see because it may be gone sometime in the near future, and it is one of the last links around to baseball in earlier days.  Hopefully, they get a team again because this place shouldn’t go to waste.Grade- A- Hot Dogs- A- (Submitted by Andrew Sullivan, sulli1983@hotmail.com )

Wrigley Field - Chicago, Illinois
First, I was born in Chicago, but moved away 50 years ago. I've anxiously awaited my first visit to Wrigley. Second, I consider myself a baseball traditionalist, not one easily impressed with recent bells and whistles. So it was with great anticipation that I finally arrived at Wrigley for the first time a few weeks ago. I had been led to expect a baseball shrine of sorts...a baseball "mecca" which would inspire awe and wonderful memories. What I found instead was a disappointing, neglected dump. Sorry, but I know no other way to describe the place...and I have three rolls of photos to prove it.  Where shall I begin? Aisles, seating, and concession areas were all cramped. Lines were very long, though the stadium was less than half full. We could find restrooms only on the bottom level. The stadium is in disrepair, both inside and out. The undersides of roofs and beams are rusting. Ceilings are covered with mold, if not actually collapsing from water damage. Cracked concrete can be seen all over the place. The smell of very, very old garbage wafts through the stadium, masking the classic aromas that I had been told to expect...freshly-mowed grass, hot dogs, etc. They should bring back cigar-smoking in their stadium, if only to mask the odor. The sideline bullpens are so bush-league...trashy and dangerous. Bird droppings cover entire rows of seats. And thousands upon thousands of seats (perhaps one-third of the total?) have obstructed views! There was no jumbotron video, although I can live without that amenity. But from where I sat, I couldn't see first base, and I had to turn around and look behind me for the only visible board showing balls and strikes! The ivy was nice, but it's even nicer when viewed on TV. The outfield seating isn't even symmetrical...the hitter's background is off-center. And somehow this place is considered "classic"? "Cheap" is a word that comes to mind. "Junk" is another. This organization is clearly milking its cash cow to death, and spending little if anything to keep her in shape. I found a boring game and very boring fans. Why would anyone want to play for the Cubs?  A few words about the parking...there was none. But at least we were prepared for that inconvenience. We paid to park 15 miles away, then paid to take a train into the city, and then paid to take a bus the final two miles to Wrigley. Reverse the sequence on the way home. Lest this critique is considered unreasonably harsh, let me add that Wrigleyville is a great atmosphere in the middle of an urban area. We found wonderful shops, sports bars, and restaurants surrounding the ballpark. As post-game nightlife goes, Wrigleyville is truly special. Oh, yes...and the city skyline is great and gave this fan a welcomed distraction from the crummy baseball being played at a crummy stadium.
Wrigley Field - C
Maintenance - F
Concessions - C
Atmosphere - C
Parking - F
Overall Impact (on this fan) - D
(Review submitted by Brian Hauck, birdbrain@neok.com )

As a diehard Cubs fan, it is easy to understand why I hold Wrigley Field in such high regard. However, most baseball fans become enthralled with the beauty, simplicity and aura of Chicago's jewel and place the house that chewing gum built in similar high regard. Often a color best describes an even or location. In respect to Wrigley Field, the color that captures the entire area is green. Green represents the ivy that adorns the brick walls surrounding the outfield, the seats and bleachers that are filled each summer despite the yearly finishes in the celler of the National League and, as Karen Kinsella and Terrance Mann explained to Ray in Field of Dreams, the money that is handed over each glorious summer day as people of all ages file into the classic ballyard on the corner of Clark and Addison. The concourses are cramped, the food is often warmed over and bland and the bathrooms will make you hold your bladder a little longer than you ever anticipated. However, once you are in view of the field, there is no place on earth that is better. Everything is picturesque in Wrigley, the giant hand-operated scoreboard, the bricks and ivy and the rooftops filled across on Waveland and Sheffield Avenues. While this review had remained romantic, rather than informative, it represents all that Wrigley Field has become associated with. Wrigley remainds a place to watch a baseball game without Jumbotrons, sushi and carnival games. It remains a place where the beauty of the game, and the beauty of the tanning college co-eds in right field, are the focus. Grades: Ballpark A+ Atmosphere A+ Food B- (Review submitted by Brian Bennett, bennebr1@earlham.edu)

Wrigley Field is basically an old-school baseball experience. No Jumbotron, very few ads, no on-field promotions, organ music--and trough urinals in the bathrooms, but don't judge the ballpark on that. Anyway, there is no other ballpark quite like it, from the ivy on the walls to the rooftop bleachers to Wrigleyville. Almost every game is sold out or close to sold out. The atmosphere is pretty good, although maybe slipping a little lately. But the fans are still better than almost any that you'll find. Only a few teams' fans don't need the P.A. system to tell them when to cheer, and the Cubs are one of those teams. But Wrigley manages to compare OK with the newer parks in amenities without sacrificing what makes it special. There may not be a wide variety in concessions, but what they do have is pretty good. The pizza is usually hot and tasty, at least for ballpark pizza. Wrigley may not have an open concourse, but the narrow walkway behind the 200 level seats gets wider behind home plate, and is a nice place to watch the game for a couple innings, with a good view of most of the action. Your view of the beautiful manual scoreboard is blocked because of the overhang of the upper deck and luxury boxes, but you can keep track of balls and strikes by looking at the auxiliary scoreboard hanging from the bottom of the upper deck. Speaking of the upper deck, it is one of the lowest in the major leagues, and even the highest seats in the ballpark have a good view. The worst seats in the house here are barely even higher than the club seats at most new ballparks. The problem with having such an intimate upper deck is that the poles supporting the upper deck obstruct the view, but it's worth it because of how close all of the seats are to the field. An insider tip: if you want to see the more interesting (read: drunk) fans, go to a night game. If you want a more authentic Wrigley experience, with better baseball fans, go to a day game. Ballpark: A+ Atmosphere: A Concessions: A- (Review submitted by Conrad Gordon, go6676891@yahoo.com)

Campanelli Stadium - Brockton, Massachusetts
Campanelli Stadium (Brockton, MA)- The home of the Brockton Rox of the independent Northern League, this brand-new (as of 2002) stadium seems to be built with its own design, but it's not necessarily a good one.  It is mostly made of metal, but the seating is all individual chairs instead of bleachers.  As is customary in all new stadiums, luxury boxes were built into the stadium, but they look strange because they resemble portable buildings.  It bothered me that certain parts of the stadium were inaccessible to to the field, like right near the Rox dugout.  That area has a seemingly pointless patio that restricts fan access to the players before
the game.  There are several interesting things done in the park to make fun of the baseball establishment, which is entertaining in small doses.  One such thing is the signage above food stands, which normally says,
"Concessions" but one sign says "Confessions".  They run somewhat common games during breaks in play, but they have slight variations, like an employee dressed as Rocky Marciano delivering flowers to "the sweetheart of the game."  The merchandise stands didn't seem up to par to me, as regular logo baseballs weren't available and team mini-bats look a little weird.  The parking situation around the stadium seems a little weird, as what appears to be the main parking lot is actually reserved for VIPs.  Even still, affordable parking is available close to the stadium.  For a new stadium, I was hoping for better, but Campanelli Stadium isn't a bad place to take in a game.  It seems that after only one year, attendance is struggling so they can use all the help they can get.  Grade- B
(Submitted by Andrew Sullivan, sulli1983@hotmail.com )

Olympic Stadium - Montreal Quebec
The home of the Montreal Expos of the National League (perhaps for a limited time) is not much of a baseball park to appreciate.  Built for the 1976 Summer Olympics, it is designed like any of the other cookie-cutter stadiums that have since been replaced by parks with their own character.  It was supposed to be an innovative stadium with a retractable roof, but it is now a closed dome stadium with AstroTurf on the field.  There isn't much good to stay about the place- it has no character, no atmosphere, and no fans.  It is located on the east side of Montreal, where there is nothing going on.  It is believed that if it was downtown, people would probably show up to games, much like fans started to do at Jacobs Field in Cleveland.  The seats inside the stadium are half blue and half yellow, with the yellow seats looking like high school desks with only one armrest.  As of the 2002 season, the upper deck, which holds probably 10,000 or more seats, has been closed off to fans because the team doesn't want to staff the concession stands up there.  Prices at the stadium for concessions and tickets aren't bad, which isn't surprising because they'll do anything to bring in fans.  In a city where hockey is clearly the number one sport, it is hard for the Expos to compete and maintain a strong fanbase.  It might be better for Montreal to have an upper-level minor league franchise that could play in a smaller stadium closer to the center of the city, as is the case in Buffalo.  Certainly to succeed, any professional baseball team needs to get out of this subpar stadium.  However, this venue is a must-see for true fans of the game who don't need a pretty park and want to have the chance to see major league baseball played in Montreal while they still can.   Stadium- D+ (Submitted by Andrew Sullivan, sulli1983@hotmail.com )

LaGrave Field - Fort Worth, Texas
Built in 2002 on the site of the original LaGrave Field (which was home to an old Brooklyn Dodgers affiliate--and several other clubs--from early 1900s through 1965). Original Cats team folded in 1965 when Dallas and Fort Worth baseball clubs merged and moved into Turnpike Stadium, which would eventually be expanded and called Arlington Stadium, home of the Texas Rangers 6 years later). LaGrave is a no-frills but nice ballpark located (hidden is a better word) in an industrial area about 6 blocks north of downtown in the vicinity of the Fort Worth Stockyards, a booming historic tourist area. Enter at top of park, with open concession areas providing great views of the field. Box seats with great sightlines run dugout to dugout, bleachers (not sloped enough in my opinion) run from dugout to foul pole on each side and there's also a big covered seating section in right field. An additional bleacher-type seating area in center field is open for bigger crowds. Big grassy berm down first baseline bullpen area and Trinity River levee provide good views as well. Small video screen in center field along with a manually operated scoreboard. Plenty of parking around park. Best part is the spectacular view of downtown Fort Worth at sunset behind the right field foul pole area--the sun really produces an intense orange glow off of the historic courthouse and skyscrapers for about an hour each night. They are currently adding a covered roof to shade the infield seats and planning to make other improvements that didn't get finished in time for the start of the 2002 stadium. With crowds consistently at over 3000 a game, team is talking of increasing seating capacity in next year or two. Capacity: 4000. Home of the Fort Worth Cats (unaffiliated, Central Baseball League). Grade: A- (Submitted by R. Hancock, utamav91@yahoo.com)

Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville - Jacksonville, Florida
As much as I liked the old park (Wolfson Park) they did a great job on this new facility. The baseball grounds of Jacksonville opened in April 2003 and has had large crowds ever since. The stadium is all brick and will match the exterior of the new convention center built across the street. Every seat is a good one. It also has bleacher seats in right field. Down the left field line and behind the left field fence you are allowed to bring your own chair and sit on tiered concrete ledges for $5.50. Plenty of foul balls and close to the action. Concession are on the second level behind the seats. When you are standing in line you can still watch the game. I rented a skydeck which is seating next to the suites. 20 seats for $459 which included beer and food. The downside to the stadium is they have alot of bugs to work out with accommodating large crowds. They are not used to the numbers they are getting. Wolfson drew avg. of 1500 a game this place is getting avg of 6000+++ a game. The only other problem I found is that I enjoyed the old park and the fans it attracted. When you get a new stadium you get a different crowd to the game. This is a great park but I would take Wolfson Park back in a minute. Stadium- A Concessions- B Atmosphere- B (Submitted by Scott Ward, scottwa62@yahoo.com)

Great American Ballpark - Cincinnati, Ohio
I saw Cinergy Field (Riverfront Stadium) in its final year and became increasingly excited with the prospects of returning to the Queen City and seeing the new ballpark that I had heard great things about. Having already attended games at one of the newest MLB stadiums in the Midwest (Miller Park) and having spent many summer nights in the finest Minor League stadium around (Victory Field in Indianapolis), I was sure that I had seen all of the bells and whistles associated with the new wave of ballyards. However, Great American Ballpark pleasantly surprised me by being simple, yet absolutely stunningly beatiful ballpark. There are plenty of parking garages and spaces along the Riverfront, which also houses a professional football stadium and an arena for college basketball and minor league hockey. The ballpark stands out above all with the words "Rounding third and heading for home..." (famous words from the mouth of long-time Red pitcher and broadcaster Joe Nuxhall) gracing the third-base side of the outside of the stadium. The ticket offices stand at the main entrance to the stadium in an area called Crosley Terrace. The terrace is not finished yet with plans for a museum and gift shop to be completed around the beginning of next season. Once inside the ballpark, a view of the Ohio River greets specators (something that Riverfront Stadium never did have). The stadium has great sightlines in all three levels of main concourse seating. Also, a two-tiered set of bleachers (think Tiger Stadium and Ballpark at Arlington) sit in left field beneath a giant scoreboard and video screen. A grassy berm and batters' eye (which actually houses a party area behind some very dark glass) sits in center field. Two smoke stacks which pour out smoke and fireworks following Reds' homers and/or wins sit in right center field. A sun deck, like the Reds' old home Crosley Field, sit in right field. Murals of the Big Red Machine and the first Cincinnati ball club greet visitors in the concourse, along with a myriad of concession selections (Sky Line Chili Dogs remain my favorites). One complaint, the seats in the lower level are sloped very gently, taking away precious leg room and making it much harder for short people (my girlfriend being one) to see. Grades: Ballpark A+ Atmosphere A- Food A (Review submitted by Brian Bennett, bennebr1@earlham.edu)

Municipal Stadium - San Jose, California
Given that I've been a native of the Silicon Valley for nearly 40 years, and been a die-hard baseball fan for 32 or since I was 9 years of age, I've attended pro baseball games the most at Municipal Stadium - averaging 15 games there per season since San Jose because an official affiliate of the San Francisco Giants 12 years ago, and while the stadium itself maybe below average compared to other minor league ballparks I've attended, both the contests and the quality of largely barbeque food there are first rate - contests including the California Lottery (grabbing the) Beachball Bonanza, Baseball Bingo, Lucky Number drawing from the $1 scorecards, lawn mower races, run around the bases race involving a pair of pre-teens, bagel tossing, bubble gum blowing and Smash For Cash involving three of the San Jose Giants players, with the object being smashing the headlights on the field of a business truck, the same size one sees of Fed Ex. Plus of all of food I've eaten at pro baseball parks, Municipal Stadium is by far the best, featuring barbeque hot dogs, chicken, hamburger, garden burger, veggieburger and garlic bread, to name just a few. If you love barbeque food, Municipal Stadium is the place to be. (Review submitted by Paul, PGL262@aol.com)

Dell Diamond - Round Rock, Texas
I attended my first-ever Texas League (AA) game at Dell Diamond, home of the Round Rock Express, in June of 2002, and the real negative was it was a good 5 miles east of the town, with no sports bars or other businesses surrounding it for fans to hang out before and after the games and during rain delays. Otherwise, the food I ordered and ate at the Hooters' kiosk located above right field was excellent, the view from all over the park was very good, though the background from the home plate area was not as good of course as minor league ballparks located walking distance from downtown, including Victory Field in Indianapolis, Grizzlies Stadium in Fresno, and Raley Field in Sacramento and one the best natural backgrounds in the minors: Franklin Quest Field in Salt Lake City, featuring the Wasatch Mountains. In addition, I checked out their gift shop and bought media guides on the Round Rock Express and the Texas League, while I was there. (Review submitted by Paul, PGL262@aol.com)

Rickwood Field - Birmingham, Alabama
My takes on the former home of Birmingham Barons, the oldest ballpark in the minor leagues, is that they shouldn't have moved away from Rickwood Field until after the retro ballpark fad started with the grand opening of Camden Yards in 1992. Had they waited that long instead of moving to a ballpark a good 15-20 minutes by car in 1988 that is no where as attractive field and background wise as Rickwood Field, Hoover Metropolitan Stadium, I'm sure that the AA team in which the best player in NBA Basketball history, Michael Jordan, once played for would be playing at a ballpark in downtown Birmingham today, and you and I would have gotten it rave reviews, just like you did for Victory Park in Indianapolis. I did take a guided tour of Rickwood Field with the Jay Buckley's Baseball Tours group in 1999 just before attending the Barons' AA baseball game at Hoover Metro, where the guide was very friendly, the entrances and walkways were first-rate and so was the background from home plate featuring the manual scoreboard and the turn-back-the-clock ads on the outfield walls. I was very impressed with the covered grandstand from the 3rd base to the right field corner, defintely needed to protect fans from being soaked from the spring and summertime thunderstorms. (Review submitted by Paul, PGL262@aol.com)

Victory Field - Indianapolis, Indiana
attended a AAA International League minor league game at Indy: at the home of the Indianapolis Indians, in 1999, and Victory Park rates, in my opinion, easily in the top-ranked minor league ballparks I've attended games at. Grades are definitely A or A- in my observation of it, all around. One negative about the background from the general seating area, however: the RCA Dome has a dome on top. It would be attractive if the top was dynamited and that the Indianapolis Colts can play NFL football outdoors. There's no reason to have the Colts play indoors, as while Indianapolis is known for bitterly cold winters, surely it's not as cold as Minnesota or Wisconsin or the rest of the Upper Midwest. You didn't mention it in your review, but while I was there, there was a scoreboard attached to the left center field wall, and it flashed not only scores from other AAA International League ballgames but of Major League Baseball games as well. And also, I took a picture of that first-rate ballpark on a hill from a few feet away from the entrance to the RCA Dome. (Review submitted by Paul, PGL262@aol.com)

Raley Field - Sacramento, California
Raley Field, located in West Sacramento, viewing distance going due eastward to downtown Sacramento and only about a mile from the entrance to California's state capital and only about a 10-minute walk to that city's main tourist attraction featuring an old western feel: Old Sacramento, is the home of the Oakland A's AAA affiliate of the Pacific Coast League's Sacramento River Cats, and for the first four years of that ballpark's existence, the Cats have led the minor leagues each season in total attendance and broke the all-time minor league attendance record in both 2000 and 2001. And why not? Raley Field rates as one of the best ballparks I've attended minor league baseball games at. The background of the draw bridge crossing the Sacramento River into downtown and the tall buildings that park's main seating area, is sight to see, through the background of Victory Park in Indy ranks, by a slight margin, as better - still ranks as one of the best, however. And there is a grass area above both left field and from above right center field on to above right field for fans to sit. As for food, they have a great variety of them, and there is a barbeque picnic area in the left hand corner of the 14,611-seat ballpark, featuring chicken, beans and salad, but no hot dogs or hamburgers - a drawback. Bottom line here is that Raley Field is Must See Minor League Baseball, one of the best ballparks to take in minor league baseball games in the country. (Review submitted by Paul, PGL262@aol.com)

Grizzlies Stadium - Fresno, California
Grizzlies Stadium is home of the Pacific Coast League (AAA) team affilated with the S.F. Giants, Fresno Grizzlies, and is located in downtown Fresno, across from the Greyhound bus station looking northwest. It opened in late May of 2002. The background of that ballpark is one of the best in the minor leagues, with the skycrapers downtown being perhaps the closest to a minor league ballpark anywhere - an excellent view of it, especially looking towards the northeast. There are businesses on the side street straight across from the ballpark behind the bleachers on the left side, and I swear to God it is posssible for home run balls to be hit well enough to land on a couple of businesses there - sort of have a Wrigley Field/Waveland Ave. look. As far as the food is concerned, there is no barbeque food available at Grizzlies home games, but I ordered chicken strips and corn dogs from the concession stands the two games I've attended there, and they were awesome. Like Raley Field, they do have a state-of-the-art scoreboard above center field, with sort of a Camden Yards look to it, but unlike Raley Field, Grizzlies Stadium has a manual scoreboard above right field. Like Victory Field and Raley Field, Grizzlies Stadium is Much See Baseball. I highly recommend you check it out the next time you tour California. (Review submitted by Paul, PGL262@aol.com)

Cashman Field - Las Vegas, NV
My first and only time I've attended a baseball game in Las Vegas was in late July of 1992, at Cashman Field, which was home of the Stars of the Pacific Coast League (AAA) under the affiliate of the San Diego Padres. Today, that ballpark is still there, still has a Pacific Coast League team, but the nickname and Major League Baseball affiliate have changed: to the 51s and of the Los Angeles Dodgers, respectively. Cashman Field first opened in 1983, and its seating capacity is 9,334, with most of those seats being open to the elements. It's located about a 10-15 minute walk east-northeast to the ballpark from downtown Las Vegas: from attractions like the Union Plaza Hotel, the Fremont Street Experience and the Amtrak/Greyhound transit area. The background from the seating area is first-rate, with a desert mountain range visible to the northeast, though the natural background of the home of the Pacific Coast League's (AAA) Salt Lake City Stingers is the best I've ever experienced at a minor league game. (Review submitted by Paul, PGL262@aol.com)

Franklin Covey Field - Salt Lake City, UT
Franklin Covey Field, the home of the Pacific Coast League AAA affiliate of the Anaheim Angels: the Salt Lake Stingers (formerly the Buzz), is definitely the place to take in a ballgame if you like to see the Wasatch Mountains in the background from the seating area on a clear day - the best natural background of all of the minor league parks I've seen. It first opened in 1994, and it's located about 2 miles straight due south of downtown Salt Lake City. I happened to attend my first ever baseball game at that very same Franklin Covey Field on the very same day the city of Salt Lake City learned that it would be the host to the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, and there was a party and local bands playing in front of city hall that night in celebration before at least 1,000 very enthusiastic people sponsored by, oddly enough,:....Coca Cola, a caffeinated drink, like other drinks containing caffeine, that's strongly not encouraged among the Mormon religion. Also while I was at the ballgame, Frank Layden, a former Utah Jazz head coach and general manager and whom he made people laugh with one-liners in talking to the media, took over the Buzz P.A. sound system during the seventh inning stretch and sang "Take Me Out To The Ballgame," as he did on a regular basis at Salt Lake Buzz home games. He did a Grade A job, the exact opposite grade of Ozzy Osbourne and his pitfiful version behind the Wrigley Field P.A. system at a Cubs home game last year. Remember that debacle by Ozzy? If you like ballparks with the best natural background from the seating area you've ever seen, Franklin Covey Field is the one, with the Wasatch Mountains normally covered with snow the first couple of months of the PCL season. But there was still plenty of snow on the higher peaks when I attended a ballgame there the middle of June, the same year Salt Lake officially got the 2002 Winter Olympic games. (Review submitted by Paul, PGL262@aol.com)

Applebee's Park - Lexington,KY
Applebee’s Park in Lexington, Kentucky is perhaps one of the best parks in the Low-A South Atlantic League. Like most other minor league parks, nearly every seat in the ballpark is good including the left field bleachers. However, the Pepsi Party Deck in right field does not provide a good experience. You are nearly blinded by the glare of the sun coming off of the roof covering about the top four rows in the main seating bowl. Everybody gets confused and may be looking for a seat on the third base side and be all the way of at the Budweiser Stables on the first base side. If people would just read signs a lot of this could be avoided. Ticket prices are reasonable with $4 Bleachers, $7 Box, $9 Field Box, $13 Club seats, and $15 dollar Super Club seats. There are also 50 $1 Bleacher seats that are available on game day. While there may be a lot of ushers in the ballpark, many of them don’t care where you sit. Most ushers will let you sit about wherever you want after about the third inning. You can also enter the park for free after the fifth inning like at most other ballparks. In 2005, the Legends team was bought by Fun Entertainment who also own the South West Michigan Devil Rays. I have noticed a slight rise in the price of food since the new ownership took over. A large soda will cost you four dollars. However, Fun Entertainment plans on making some improvements to the ballpark in the next several years. They have already added a home run celebration on top of the scoreboard in right center field. Every time a Legend hits a home run or the Legends win a game. There are 2 flames that shoot from the top of the scoreboard. (Review submitted by grover@kywirelesscollc.com)

Potter County Memorial Stadium - Amarillo, TX
This park is a really old place. Not much to see when visiting out here, the concourse's are really dark at night games. The announcer is very annoying at some times with his trademark "They're goes another, MRL foul ball". You can see the players when they walk to there dressing rooms. They are located at the end of each concourse. There is no access to the locker rooms from the dugout so they must walk into the stadium to get there. They've tried they're shots at renovating the place but it got the former Dillas into more and more debt. They gave up after making a run for the championship title of the CBL. They played Jackson in the finals and in they're homestand they only attracted and average of 801 fans. Not usual for Amarillo Baseball seeing the 5,500 they used to pull in. The rotting boards behing homeplate didn't help much. The nets that protected the fans had holes in them too. Also weird things happened to me and my friend there. If we stood in one spot which led into the stadium- water would fall in that spot once we moved, it's kind of weird. Anyways, this park just needs to be torn down beacuse it is too old to keep up with the newly renovated Dick Bivins Stadium and Amarillo National Center. The games are not advertised well at all. I only heard about the "Ace" beacuse the newspaper was commenting on they're victory in a game. Apparently it's all college kids trying to make a few bucks for spending money. It's a semi-pro league and it's not very well known. The Red River League is it's name. The odd thing about this park is that they're is way too much parking but it's an ok thing that it's free. All i'm saying is that we need to tear this park down, re-finance a baseball club, build a nice park, and ace a franchise in the Texas League seeing half it's teams moved to the Pacific League. It's an old, run down park that needs to be torn down, end of discussion. (Review submitted by Frosty, hockeymonkey1@sbcglobal.net)

Frawley Stadium - Wilmington, DE
Frawley Stadium, home of the Wilmington Blue Rocks, opened in 1993 and has hosted Advanced Single-A baseball ever since. In 2001, it went under an extensive renovation as the Blue Rocks added two picnic areas, new box seats, moved the general admission from the first base to the third base side, and added a new concession stand on the first base side. Overall, Frawley Stadium has a great feel to it. Ticket prices are good for Single-A ball ($2 to $8) and the concession stands also sell cheap items. However, the Blue Moose Grille (the new concession stand) is more expensive for food that is the same quality as the old ones. All Frawley Stadium concession stands serve traditional ballpark food. Capacity is currently 7,000+ and attendance is normally 1st or 2nd in the Carolina League. Frawley Stadium has a great setting on the Wilmington Riverfront and provides great views of I-95 and Browntown over the left field wall and the city skyline over the right field. Also, an old building that was boarded up when Frawley Stadium was built was recently renovated to house offices. It's located in right field foul territory. But the best addition has to be Mr. Celery, a celery stalk who dances around home plate every times the Blue Rocks score a run. Frawley Stadium is definitely one of my favorite places to see a game. (Review submitted by Matthew McCann, mcmosmt10@comcast.net)

Tucson Electric Park - Tucson, AZ
Tucson Electric Park the spring training park for the Chicago White Sox's and the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Park also hosts the Tucson Sidewinders Triple A affiliate of the Diamondbacks. TEP as it is called is a really ball park fro the fans and there is not a bad seat in the park. The tickets are very affordable with the most expensive being $9 for box seats and $6 dollars for the the general admission seats and the lawn seats in the outfield. The playing surface however is not in good shape and the tarp has leaks which during Arizona Monsoon season leads to a lot of rain outs. The Concessions serve a lot of good food including Mexican Food which is a huge hit in Arizona and the concessions are at located well through out the park. The only complaints I have heard about the concessions at TEP is there is no lids or straws. Other than that is all of the complaints I have heard about TEP. Ball Park = A- Concessions = A- Atmosphere = A- (Review submitted by Tom Babbage, tombabbage@yahoo.com)

Security Service Field - Colorado Springs, CO
Built in 1988 they just completed a renovation last year. Basically the renovation was ripping up the old field, a new entrance (seen in the first picture) and they added the Coors Light Pavilion down beyond the first base side (second picture). Possibly new box seats were added, but I can't remember since it had been about 5 years since my last visit. A new scoreboard is much needed as this one seems to wig out all the time. When the Sky Sox score the mountains above the board light up which is a fun add in. It should be added this field is higher in elevation than Coors Field so come prepared to see some Home Runs. This stadium is a serviceable stadium, but nothing really makes it specially. There really is no view since the stadium was aligned to face east away from the mountains and since the airport is nearby planes are coming and going beyond the outfield wall. The team seems to draw a pretty good crowd and appear to get into the game more and more as it draws on. The concessions offer nothing really out of the ordinary, but descent prices and good quality. Luckily the stadium itself is not the main draw to Colorado Springs which is about an hour south of Denver on I-25. What makes coming to the area a good place to visit is Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods, Rodeo Museum and of course the Air Force Academy is nearby and is defiantly worth a visit if you can catch it when the National Security level is appropriate. Back to baseball related interests would be B's Ballpark Museum located in Englewood a suburb of Denver. However my recent visit was spoiled due to a recent flood, but was assured that none of the artifacts were damaged and he would be back up and running shortly. Stadium C+ Atmosphere B Concessions B. (Review submitted by Jeff Nix, Jeff.Nix@merastar.com)

Ogren Park - Missoula, MT
Ogren Park is a classic example of building a baseball stadium a little at a time. The city of Missoula, Montana ran out of money when they were constructing the field so several areas of the complex are unfinished despite being about three years old, most notably the bleachers which have a cement shell, but no bleachers, the press box, and the parking lot. The city is trying to raise another one million to complete the field, which is the Rookie League affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Pioneer League. Still, the field is pretty nice, and has some charm that most newer fields don't have. Great views beyond the fences of the hills and a river that runs behind the stadium. Ticket prices are reasonable and you can sit on a grass berm beyond CF (just in front of the river) for free. It was actually designed into the layout of the stadium so anyone can watch the game for free, which is a great idea. The real star here are the people of Missoula. One of the nicest groups on our Northwest trip, our section even sang "Happy Birthday" to my 9 year old son. Great seats with good sightlines, the food is pretty basic, and not real cheap for the Pioneer League. I will be excited to come back here when the field is complete. A real gem in the making. (Review submitted by Stuart Prince, sprince@fwps.org)

Cobb Field - Billings, MT
Located just west of downtown Billings, Cobb Field is the home of the Pioneer League Billings Mustangs, the Rookie League affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. The setting of the park is spectacular with red rock hills just beyond the outfield fences. Sitting along the 1st base line, you have a stunning view of the sunset with purple and red clouds. The ballpark is not in the best of conditions and it seems more like a city park than a professional stadium. Now, that means that parking is free, but it also means that not much money has been put into the stadium. Buying reserved seats is a waste of money; they only have about four rows and they are all folding chairs. The GA seats are just as good (though no backs) and a little more comfortable, though they are wood. The sightlines are very good and even the front row of GA is only about 30 feet from the field. Check out the souvenir shop, it is about 8 feet wide and 20 feet deep and looks more like an attic, but it has some real charm. The food is pretty basic, but I did enjoy the Philly Cheese steak sandwich. I found that the prices was lower than most other stadiums (Cheese steak sandwich, curly fries in souvenir helmet and a bottle of water just $6.50). Billings is pushing for a new stadiums and it looks like their will be a vote in the fall of 2006. They plan to demolish the current stadium and move it rebuild it on the same location. Since this park was built in the 1940s, you might only have another year or two to see this one. (Review submitted by Stuart Prince, sprince@fwps.org)

Jack Critchfield Park - Slippery Rock, PA
A visit to Jack Critchfield Park, home of the Frontier League's Slippery Rock Sliders, is a rare treat in more ways than one. An interim franchise operated jointly by the league and host Slippery Rock State University, the team plays just one-third of its 96-game schedule at home. And with fans filling only about one-third of the 1,500-seat jewel, who knows where the Sliders will light next year. On the campus outskirts in this village of about 7,500, one of the smallest in all the minors, Jack Critchfield Park betrays hardly a day of its five-year age. It looks brand-new, a 1,500-seat grandstand extending barely bunting distance up the first and third-base lines. Beyond the fences - 315 down the lines, 400 to dead center - lie rolling hills, foliage and a handful of pavilions and college buildings, all blended in. Emerald green predominates, including some 400 chairbacks up the first five rows. Early arrivals may seize the row right beneath the pressbox with two tables for scouts' notebooks. Scouts rarely visit the Frontier League so these tables are heaven sent to the scorebook-obsessed. Beneath the grandstand, concessions pickings are slim but superb. The sausage sandwich with fresh peppers and onions ($3) is a sumptious meal in itself, and a good thing, as they tend to run out by the fifth inning. Beer is a trip; due to some quirk in Keystone State law, suds-seekers must purchase, for $5, a one-day membership in the Sliders Booster Club. Benefits of membership include two cans of beer (Coors or Coors Light), a scorecard and a few discounts from local merchants. Repeat - ballpark beer, two cans for $5, but you have to wear a wristband. We are not making this up. Parking is easy and sometimes costs $2 if the staff has shown up. In late August, when school resumes, it may be a little more difficult. Slippery Rock and Grove City College (seven miles to the north) provide most of the staffing; in general, they're not terribly knowledgeable about the game but try hard to please. For a small-town baseball experience, the Sliders deserve big props. B-plus, at least. (Review submitted by Doug Smith, pollyndoug@hotmail.com)

Sal Maglie Stadium - Niagara Falls, NY
The Barber's Ballpark Gets a Trim In Niagara Falls, NY, Sal Maglie Stadium has gotten a facelift. Not all the Botox works but the current layout is far more fan-friendly than the cold slab of concrete abandoned by the New York-Pennsylvania League in 1993. Reconfigured Sal Maglie has seats for more than 4,000 fans in 15 rows of uncovered metal bleachers. In right field they stretch a few yards past first base. In left, they stretch almost to infinity, into the area of the old configuration. The pressbox seats about 10 (bring your own chair), and overlooks some 250 plastic chairbacks which the current tenants, the New York Collegiate League's Niagara Power, dubs "The Electric Chairs." About a dozen have restricted sightlines. Parking is easy. Entranceways are trimmed in pastels which would have given "The Barber" the vapors. Gone is the barber chair by which the city remembered its native son, the fiery Maglie, a supporting player in two of the World Series' greatest drama. He lost to Don Larsen's perfect game, lining out to Mickey Mantle in the sixth, and got a no-decision five years earlier, taken off the hook by Bobby Thomson's "Shot Heard Round the World." The metal bleachers rattle mightily as youngsters stampede for foul balls. Like most of its ilk, it tends to hold dust, and its bumpy infield produces more errors than any other stadium in the league. Fences are spaciously symmetrical, 408 to center, 325 down the lines. Concessions are simple but succulent. A local caterer grills every burger and frank to order. No beer; the school board owns the land. Despite the reconfiguration, the centerfield flag remains in place. Imagine the old field being given a quarter turn counterclockwise,, then shoved some 400 feet down the rightfield line. The result is a utilitarian ballpark in a pastoral setting (a city park lies beyond the fences) with frequent flyovers from a nearby military airbase. Besides the Power, "The Mag" plays host to Niagara University and assorted high school. It's worth a see, and a C-plus. (Review submitted by Doug Smith, pollyndoug@hotmail.com)

Caesar Uyesaka Stadium - Goleta, CA
In Goleta, California, Caesar Uyesaka Stadium has its ups and downs, literally. Fans can climb a dozen unwieldy stairs up to the metal grandstand, then another eight for a place beneath the cherished canopies, or they can go straight ahead and sit UNDER the grandstand and watch at umpire level while absorbing the aromas of the concessions. Either vantage provides a nearly unique view. The grandstand, which doesn’t even extend quite to the bases, seems unusually elevated; foul territory is at a minimum, so you’re truly “right on top of the play.” The “underworld” seats, meantime, give the impression of watching the game on the ultimate TV in a room with your 300 best friends. Uyesaka is the home of the summer-ball Santa Barbara Foresters, who play a home-biased schedule, at least 35 games in June and July. The Division I California/Santa Barbara Gauchos saddle up in the spring. Parking is free and easy and while $3 seems a little rich for a hot dog at this level, it’s at least eight inches long with the circumference of a golf ball and spicy, too. Throw in a view of the Santa Barbara Mountains (when they’re not on fire) and rabid fans who pounce mercilessly on cell-phone abusers and you have an atmosphere and enthusiasm that would be the envy of many a minor-league mogul. Built in 1994, Caesar Uyesaka memorializes a sports pioneer who was among those Japanese-Americans interned during World War II. It’s perfectly symmetrical – 335 down the lines, 385 to the power alleys, 400 to dead center, where free-loading youngsters perch atop a little green toolshed. The Santa Barbara area has had no pro ball since 1967 and probably doesn’t need it. Grade: B. – (Submitted by Doug Smith, Grand Island, New York. pollyndoug@hotmail.com)

Seaman Stadium - Okotoks, Alberta, Canada
Seaman Stadium, in Okotoks, Alberta is home to the Okotoks Dawgs of the Western Major Baseball League. The WMBL is a Collegiate Summer league that operates in western Canada in 12 markets throughout Alberta and Saskatchewan. Although Seaman Stadium is only 2 years old, the Dawgs organization goes back much further. They have operated high school aged teams since the mid 90’s and the college team played in nearby Foothills Stadium in Calgary, former home of the “AAA” Calgary Cannons from 2003-2005, before moving to Okotoks for the 2007 season. While not a huge ballpark, it is the town that makes this park special. The Dawgs in each of their first two seasons in Okotoks, a town of about 20,000 population, drew 1700 fans per game, while league home games in 2008 were probly higher because some four exhibition games drew poorly. The Dawgs play a schedule of 21 WMBL home games and playoffs are three rounds of 5 games. Did I mention playoffs? Another aspect to this feel-good story is the Dawgs have won the WMBL Championship both years in Okotoks…both times right at Seaman Stadium. Both championship clinching games were listed at 2700 fans in the box score. Through 2 seasons including playoffs I estimate the Dawgs are approaching 100,000 fans through the gates, as they have been in the ballpark of 50,000 each year. The Dawgs rival the Lethbridge Bulls were 2nd in the league in attendance drawing about 500 per game. Seaman Stadium is a retro style ballpark. While some get tired of these, I love what they have done in Okotoks. Brick pattern buildings, 1600 green stadium seats, and a green overhanging roof that covers an open concourse at the top of the stands. Outside is a unique touch with various plants, and grasses and such, that make up the exterior architecture. A grass berm that extends down the left field line can seat up to about 1000 and 2 patios add some variety. Another aspect of Seaman Stadium not usually seen in many summer leagues is the large scoreboard in right field. This scoreboard displays player profiles and various animations throughout the game. Concessions are good here especially considering it is collegiate summer. The concessions have the usual ballpark food, but the popular item is Willy’s BBQ on the 3rd base patio selling Spolumbo’s sausages; a local item that are brilliant! Another local favorite is the Dawgs own super fan. He is simply known as Spencer, but he shows up in uniform with a new face paint design every day, and leads the whole crowd in different chants all season long. While Seaman Stadium is not overly large, it is a first class facility for college summer baseball. A beautiful facility and when it is packed out with passionate fans every single day, it makes it special. Okotoks and Seaman Stadium combines the small town fun feel, with the stadium and fan support that makes it feel professional. If you are anywhere near here, get to a game, you’ll be glad you did. Stadium A Atmosphere A+ Concessions B. (Submitted by Jonathan Hodgson - jonathanball2@hotmail.com)

Alliant Energy Field - Clinton, IA
We’ve been going for an annual visit to see the Clinton (Iowa) Lumberkings for many years, and watched the renovation of the old Riverview Stadium to the newer Alliant Energy Field take place over the last few years. The newer facility is an excellent blend of the old charm of the 1937 WPA-built ballpark and the features one now comes to expect in today’s minor league parks. The main reason we come back every year is the incredible atmosphere one senses at this old ballpark by the Mississippi River. The grandstand is completely covered by a wooden roof that extends down both the left and right field lines. It is supported by upright steel beams that provide classic obstructed view seating. The Lumberkings of the Midwest League have a relatively small but loyal fan base that comes out for the games. There are plenty of open seats and you can move around the park and pretty much sit wherever you want. There are several rows of plastic box seats ($7 each) close to the field that ring the entire stadium. General admission tickets were $6 and for that you get a metal bleacher seat, with only the section directly behind home plate having seat backs. We enjoy sitting in the box seats behind home plate and chatting with the half dozen or so pro scouts that are usually at the game. The concession stands are plentiful for the small number of fans, and there is good variety with nightly specials and prices that are very reasonable – hot dogs and pizza slices were only $2 each. The PA announcer is good and doesn’t overdo it – they play a few special sound effects for foul balls, etc. There is an on field announcer who runs several between innings games, but they are relatively unobtrusive yet entertaining for the kids. All in all, a visit to Alliant Energy is a relaxing, fun, and inexpensive journey into what baseball must have been like in the small towns of America of 50-60 years ago.(Submitted by Jack Weafer - sportsfanmvp@yahoo.com)

Maple City Park - Hornell, NY
Maple City Park is a diamond-shaped peg in a rectangular hole, with some of the oddest dimensions this side of the old Polo Grounds. It’s a very suspect 305 to left (it looks a lot less), where the foul pole appears attached to a route sign (36 North); 348 to dead center, providing a real close-up to porch-sitters across the street and an equally suspect 305 in right (it looks a lot more). But that leftfield fence goes straight out, then makes a 90 degree turn toward center, running straight across, so that each of the power alleys has, as one wag wrote it, “its own ZIP Code.” Maple City’s grandstand is equally unique, 22 concrete rows, each seating about 80 straight across. It’s a 10-stair climb even to the first row. Many fans of the current Hornell Dodgers of the New York Collegiate League prefer to set up their own lawn chairs along the leftfield line, some bringing their dogs (talk about foul territory). Built about 1960, it’s sturdy enough to have survived with minimal maintenance, crumbling and uncomfortable, unrelentingly historic. Concessions are modest in both variety and price but the best deal is the iced tea, fresh-brewed, 50 cents a cup. An earlier Maple City Park (1942-1960), with similar dimensions, was home to a Dodger farm club which produced the likes of Maury Wills and Don Zimmer and to old-timers around this once-steaming railroad center, Maple City Stadium is still Dodger country. You wouldn’t want to be here for a season, but you’ve got to be here for a game. B-minus. (Submitted by Doug Smith, pollyndoug@hotmail.com)

Rangers Ballpark - Arlington, TX
I remember when the ballpark was known as “The Ballpark in Arlington” but regardless of the name changes, the structure and architecture has a timeless look that epitomizes what a baseball stadium should look like. There are so many features that are perfectly incorporated in to the layout of the park from the grassy hitter's eye berm in center to the LED ribbons that encircle the first deck, there are few features that do not catch the eye. One of my favorite features of the park has always been the advertising in center field. These signs have to be at least 50 feet tall and are some of the one of the most sought after advertising signs in Arlington. They have rotated over the years but have always been a main focus of the ballpark. The video board in left field replaced the manual scoreboard a few years back. I was disappointed in this because the manual scoreboard is one of the features that I always like in ballparks.The updates to the ballpark have been minor tweaks here and there over the years but they are always integrated so flawlessly, it's tough to pick out what was added. All of the LED upgrades enhance the experience of the game and update the look of the park. One of the best things about Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is the food choices. I highly recommend the giant turkey leg and a cold brew. I would partake in this turkey leg before the game so you can sit and enjoy the game. During the game, I recommend the garlic fries. Delicious. (Submitted by Kyle Michael, kyle@seota.com)

Pullman Park - Butler, PA
Butler’s Pullman Field opened its doors in 1935, backed by the builders of “the berths of the nation” in this scenic Southwestern Pennsylvania city. As railroad passenger traffic spiraled downward, so did Pullman Field, and a decade ago the place where Whitey Ford went 13-4 in 1947 seemed ready for beddy-bye. But Butler forces found the funds to put Pullman back on the rails and for two years the Blue Sox of the Prospect Collegiate League have bunked here. The night I went the atmosphere was electric, a near SRO of 1,463. The only “bad” seats in the park are the highest priced ($7), the first couple rows, fans passing endlessly by. Still, no complaints: It put us close to Pullman’s unique fan, a chap of 31 with an apparent development disability who sets up a blackboard behind the screen and chalks in every pitch. The park is deliciously asymmetrical – 347 to left, 325 to right, 425 to dead center, cast against a hilly backdrop beyond the industrial area. The distance between home plate and the backstop is softball-sized, barely 15 feet; the infield is artificial turf, the outfield natural grass. The scoreboard is clear and precise, the announcements crisp and audible. With tricky (but free) parking and routine concessions, Pullman pulls its weight. All aboard! (Rating: B+). (Submitted by Doug Smith, pollyndoug@hotmail.com)

Haggerty Aggregate Field - Boonville, NY
It’s not the end of the world, but you can see it from the precipice of the Party Plateau, one of the many nearly unique joys of this ballpark so old-fashioned that the players ought to be sporting handlebar mustaches. Haggerty Aggregate on the Smith Athletic Complex plays host to the collegiate-league Adirondack Trailblazers and it’s probably most remindful of the former Catskill Cougars’ park downstate in Mountaindale. One thing about “The Hag,” everybody in Boonville (population, 2,050) knows where it is, although it took four stops to pinpoint it. Bottom line: Route 12, turn next to the Subway, that’s the sandwich shop, not the underground. First thing that hit me was the parking fee: $5. Wow, that’s a high-minors price, but it includes admission, sort of like carload night at the drive-in. For those who don’t tailgate at the Party Plateau, seating options include park benches (one heavily shaded, much favored by white-hairs), berms and tin bleachers for 300 or so. As for the field, it’s heaven-sent to lefty power hitters, a mere 338 to the right-center alley, 320 down both lines, about 375 to dead center. Concessions are terrific – the woman pulled a fresh steak from the fridge, grilled it and brought it to my seat, heaped with cheese, peppers and onions, $4 plus a permission slip from my cardiologist. And the Blazer Burger? Don’t even ask. Mascot Adirondack Jack greets visitors and regulars with equal affection and outfield signage includes two different funeral homes, one at each foul pole. Boonville may be small but nobody can call it a one-hearse town. Specifically, it's about 20 miles north of Rome, or 55-some miles northeast of Syracuse. (Submitted by Doug Smith, pollyndoug@hotmail.com)

Regions Field - Birmingham, AL
Birmingham, Alabama is in the unique position of having both the oldest (Rickwood) and newest (Regions Field) professional ballparks in the country. Regions Field opened in 2013 as the Barons left their drab suburban home in Hoover and returned to their original city. The park is located in the Railroad Park district of the city, which is between downtown and south side. Regions Field features a 360 degree open concourse, 8,500 seats, good sightlines, and the name of the city (BIRMINGHAM) on the outside of the ballpark on the first base side, which is visible from the interstate. In addition, while the park has its share of red brick, it also has battleship grey siding as a tribute to the City’s steel industry. More unique, however, is the raised roof on the first base side of the grandstand, which resembles the roof of an iron casting shed at nearby Sloss furnaces. The green seats in the park appear to be a hat tip to the club’s former home at Rickwood Field, which is about 5 miles away.

Regions Field features 3 grassy general admission areas, right-field bleachers and roomy seats throughout the park. Bleacher seats are reasonable at $7, but fans can pretty much sit anywhere in the lower bowl after the first few innings, unless the park is full. From the first base grandstand, fans get a view of Birmingham’s skyline as a backdrop. From home plate and the third base grandstand, fans get a view of Children’s Hospital, Red Mountain, and the Vulcan. There are upper deck seats and (unsurprisingly) luxury boxes, which was the likely lure for the Barons. Construction is actually incomplete and the Barons expect to add a Negro League museum when the project is finally completed.

Food choices are fairly typical for a minor league ballpark, although the lines were painfully slow during the first few nights the park opened. Hopefully, that situation will be worked out as the staff learns to handle crowds. The Barons have introduced the “Magic City Dog”, a Dreamland sausage with BBQ sauce as the signature treat; it is quite good, although at $7 it ought to be good. Also, during opening week at the park, the Barons allowed a different local food truck each night to pull into a slot in right field. Thus, fans could enjoy food not commonly served at minor league parks. Whether this will continue at each game (or only on weekends) is presently unknown. The park features craft beers from 4 local breweries as well as mass marketed beer. In fact, the Good People Brewery is next to the park and the tap room is quite popular on game days.

The team shop is fairly unremarkable and has numerous Barons-related items. The team also features miserable between-innings promotions and overly loud theme music before each home batter’s plate appearance, which is to be expected at any minor league park. However, it is also nice to hear Eric Clapton’s guitar solo from Cream’s “White Room” play after every Barons victory.

Although there is no parking lot adjacent to the park, as there was at their former home in Hoover, the parking situation isn’t bad, as there are a number of lots within easy walking distance. Additionally, there are enough free parking spots within 2 to 3 blocks of the ballpark – even when the crowds are large – that parking isn’t really an issue. A constant complaint about the parking lot in Hoover was that, after the game, traffic was congested leaving the park through a single exit. This problem doesn’t exist at Regions Field.

The Barons left a classic old ballpark after the 1987 season and followed the trend of many teams moving to the suburbs until 2012. While the Hoover Met was a functional minor-league ballpark, and even still hosts the SEC baseball tournament, the park was a bit outdated and its location was a tad remote. Fans will be pleased with Regions Field and the park drew 100,000 fans in only 19 games, which was the fastest the team got to 100,000 fans since Michael Jordan played for the Barons in 1994. Riverwalk in Montgomery, Alabama helped the development of its downtown; Birmingham officials obviously hope Regions Field will do the same for Birmingham. At a final price tag of $64 million (853 times the $75,000 it took to construct Rickwood), Regions Park is certainly a well designed facility and should serve the Barons for many years to come. REVIEWER GRADES STADIUM: A ATMOSPHERE: A- CONCESSIONS: B+ (Submitted by Jeb Stewart, jeb.stewart.tmo@gmail.com)



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