|Toledo's new ballpark, Fifth Third Field, continues
the great trend of bringing parks back to the downtown area of larger cities.
The area surrounding the park (known as the Warehouse District) is
very rundown, but the old buildings add some character to the backdrop and
certainly are preferable to seeing a park built in an open landscape. The
park itself does not break any new ground, resembling the new facilities
. Still, its a fine place to take in a game. There are two levels
of seating (the lower level and the club level) and a full wrap around concourse
(which is something every new park should have). The concourse
area features numerous concessions stands with an excellent variety of food.
Prices are a bit high, but that's to be expected at a new park. Unique food options include specialty burgers and dogs, gyros, BBQ nachos, and kielbasa. Because
they had to tuck the park into the surrounding buildings, there are several
unique aspects to the park - the outfield fence varies in height and has
several odd angles, the "roost" in right field which is section of
seating wedged in between two buildings, and the gift shop which has been
built into an existing building down the right field line. There are
plenty of picnic areas in the outfield as well as a play area for kids behind
the batter's eye in center field. Most of the seats feel very close to the field, though the seating bowl is not quite as steep as I would like to see, meaning sighlines aren't the best. Fortunately the ushers are non-existent in the lower level which
makes it easy to move around. When Fifth Third Field opened, it only had one scoreboard in left field, which made it hard for fans on the third base side to follow along. Fortunately the Mud Hens rectified this flaw by adding a second video board behind the right field fence and auxiliary scoreboards in the infield. I only have a couple small complaints about
Fifth Third Field. First, the sound system was extremely muffled and anything the PA announcer was saying could hardly be heard. Secondly, parking
is a bit expensive ($4-$8) because of the downtown location. The atmosphere
here is lively as they do many on field games and have one of the best mascots
in the minors - Muddy. While Ned Skeldon Stadium was a funky, but unique
old park, Fifth Third Field is certainly a worthy replacement.