|First National Bank Field replaced venerable World War Memorial Stadium in 2005. The old ballpark was on the outskirts of town and despites its quirks, was not a great place to see a game. The new ballpark, built downtown, was definitely a welcome change.
- The exterior is gorgeous. Done in the familiar red brick, it features a courtyard with fountain on the right field side as well as a large covered entryway. The entryway features a large baseball mural on one side.
- Similar to other parks of the same era, there is a spacious concourse which overlooks the field and a grassy berm in left field.
- It's nice to see that the Grasshoppers didn't forget about their old park when designing the new one. The most popular feature, The Grandstand, was recreated in the same spot in the left field corner.
- The team has not forgotten about their history, as banners along the concourse tell the story of Greensboro baseball through the years.
- Since moving to the new ballpark, they have had a live dog which acts as a bat boy and fetches the bats. The original dog, Miss Babe Ruth, has retired and been replaced by Miss Lou Gehrig.
- While the Greensboro skyline isn’t spectacular, it’s always nice when a ballpark is oriented so you can see some tall buildings beyond the outfield fence.
- The team’s mascot, Guilford (named after the county which Greensboro is located), interacts with the crowd quite a bit. Also, for the kids, there is playground located in the right field corner.
- Can the atmosphere ruin a ballpark? Here, it almost does. Apparently the team isn't selling the ballpark or the baseball, but rather an over-the-top atmosphere that seems to attract a very "hip" crowd. The PA announcer along with the on-field DJ, “Spaz”, are quite obnoxious with their non-stop chatter and screaming between innings. Apparently they think the fans have come to see them.
- While I usually like the downtown setting, there doesn’t seem to be a lot around the ballpark. Surely the ballpark was supposed to spur further economic development, but for the most part that has not happened. However, in 2017 there were plans for a new building the right field corner. Also, new apartments were springing up beyond the outfield fences.
- Apparently because of the location, the designers were not able to include a full wraparound concourse. This is unfortunate as it makes the ballpark more cramped when big crowds are on hand. A 360 degree concourse is almost a must in any ballpark now. Fortunately, the concourse does extend into left-center field, where there is a grassy berm and a patio area.
- The design of the ballpark did not include enough group spaces. Currently they have many tables and chairs for groups set up in the middle of the concourse which causes unnecessary congestion.
While overall I like the design of First National Bank Field well enough, there really isn’t too much memorable about it and I found that the atmosphere detracted from the overall experience. If they could just tone it down a bit, it would be much more enjoyable. But while big crowds keep pouring in, I doubt the team will change a thing.
- There is an excellent variety of food options at an array of concession stands and portable carts. Prices are a bit on the high side, however.
- This being North Carolina, a BBQ stand is a must. Other unique options include a burger stand called "Burgertopia" and a cart selling grilled cheese sandwiches. Don’t think I’ve ever seen grilled cheese offered at a ballpark before!
- There are also Mexican options, various sausages, and gourmet hot dogs (with a variety of toppings available.