|UPMC Park (originally known as Jerry Uht Park) represents a refreshing change from all the new ballparks being built nowadays. Because of its location in downtown Erie (adjacent to the Erie Insurance Arena), it had to be built in a very untraditional fashion, thus giving it a very unique feel. Originally built for the New York-Penn League, they "upgraded" to Double-A baseball in 1999 when expansion teams were needed. In 2006, $4 million in renovations were done to the ballpark - these included a new tiered picnic area in left field and a new video board. I was impressed during my first visit in 2001, but came away liking this park even more after a return visit in 2015. Great concessions, a laid back atmosphere, and a nice setting make this a great place to take in a game.
- The location in downtown Erie forced the architects of the ballpark to make it unique. The aspect I like the best is the small upper deck on the first base side. Seats here allow for great sightlines that still feel close to the action.
- The team does a great job of showing off their history. The concourse along the 3rd base side has numerous banners and photos of now major league players who came through Erie.
- The picnic areas which were added in the 2006 renovations give the park a more spacious feel as previously bleachers occupied these spaces. The multi-tiered party deck in right field is especially cool.
- The ballpark definitely has a very intimate feel to it. Anywhere you sit, you will feel close the field. The box seats almost feel too close to the action - only plan to sit in those seats if you are going to pay attention the whole time!
- The Seawolves give out free playbill style programs - always appreciated!
- A kid's play area is located if the left field corner. It features a bounce house and a large inflatable slide.
- The atmosphere is very laid back. Even on a fireworks night that I attended, the crowd was not restless and there weren't kids running anywhere. Usually crowds are different on fireworks nights, but not here.
- The lack of a wraparound concourse in a newer ballpark is something I always miss. However, here it would have been near impossible to include since the ballpark is tucked in amongst a neighborhood and an arena. In fact, the left field wall essentially IS the arena.
- Because of the downtown location, there is no parking provided by the team. There is a small lot across the street as well as a parking garage nearby - both charge $4. On street parking is also available if you can find it.
- While I prefer to have the entire concourse open to the field, here only the first base concourse has a view of the game. Though this is understandable because of the structure of the ballpark.
The city has done a beautiful job tucking this park into a downtown location and creating something different than the standard '90's template. If you are a ballpark traveler and are tired of every new ballpark looking the same, UPMC Park will definitely be a refreshing change. Tasty concessions, seats close to the action, and a wonderful atmosphere make this a great place to take in a game on a summer night.
- The Seawolves have an impressive selection of concessions, all at pretty reasonable prices.
- A burger stand behind home plate serves up several unique burgers including mushroom and swiss, beer and bacon, and fiesta. A regular cheeseburger goes for $6 while the specialty ones go for $8. I tried the regular cheeseburger and was quite impressed with the quality.
- Next to the burger stand is a "South of the Border" stand which has several Mexican offerings. Included are the walking taco ($5.75), pulled pork nachos ($7), and the helmet nachos ($15). Portions seemed to be very healthy.
- Smith's Sausage Shack is located in the LF picnic area. Here you will find various types of hot dogs and sausages, including Italian, Cajun, and bratwursts as well as their famous Ox Roast sandwich.
- The main concession stands are located behind the third base grandstand and along the first base concourse. Some of the unique food options available at these stands include the pulled pork parfait, fresh salads, pizza, and pulled pork sandwiches.
- Ice cream sundaes can be found at the concession stand on the third base side.