|It is always amazing to me when a city the size of Corpus Christ goes without professional baseball for an extended period of time. But before the Hooks came to town in 2005, pro baseball had only had a few brief stints here recently and both were with independent teams. That all changed when Whataburger Field was constructed for a AA Texas League franchise. And “whata” ballpark it is ! Of all the ballparks I've visited, Whataburger Field is one of the most family friendly and interesting that I've come across. It is located near downtown Corpus Christi and offers a great view of the Harbor Bridge and various large ships that are docked nearby. The bridge doesn't compare to the Ben Franklin Bridge in Camden, but at least gives the ballpark a sense of place, something I always appreciate. The ballpark was built to resemble a cotton warehouse, which is exactly what had stood on this piece of land. In fact a few old cotton presses from the warehouse were incorporated into the outfield concourse here. The exterior is beautifully landscaped and features a huge statue of a generic baseball player. Parking ($4) is plentiful in the lot across the street, but egress after the game can be slow. Probably because of the proximity to the bay, the ballpark had to be built up, so fans must walk up a set of stairs to reach the main concourse level. The concourse area is a bit narrow in spots, but widens out where the food stands are located. One unique aspect of the concourses here is that they are two sided. The backside provides the entrances to the restrooms as well as an area for smokers to puff away. The seating consists of all green fold down chairs. Like the ballparks in Lancaster and York, the seating is angled in past the bags on each side, providing a better view of the infield for the fans sitting in those seats. Unfortunately, these angled seats also cause sightlines to be blocked for those sitting down either line. Balls that go into the outfield corner cannot be seen. In addition there are large grassy berms behind the fences in the outfield, adirondack chairs behind the left field fence, and a big picnic area in the right field corner (Kieschnick's Corner). The “family friendly” atmosphere of Whataburger Field is easy to notice just by the size of the play area. Located behind the fence in centerfield and extending into left field, it features numerous games and other distractions such as a climbing wall, a basketball court, and a jump castle. Also located in this same area is a full size Little League field, which apparently gets some use before games. In addition, a swimming pool was built behind the right field fence. There are a few too many activities to entertain the kids for my liking, though I do understand fans don't just come to the park to watch the game. Concessions are here are well varied and reasonably priced, especially considering the large portions and good quality. Of course Whataburger sandwiches are offered. In addition there is a Mexican stand and “Nolan Ryan's BBQ”, which features pulled pork and beef brisket sandwiches among other things. The team store is located at the street level in the right field corner, which seems like an odd place for it since there isn't a lot of foot traffic there. But I assume the architects wanted the store to the be accessible from the street on non-game days. The atmosphere is pretty typical of a minor league ballpark without being too over the top. There are some sound effects and music played, but it's not excessive. The team also has two mascots, Sammy the Seagull and Rusty the Hook, but they didn't seem to bother people too much. One odd thing here is that they “pass the hat” for any Hooks players that hits a home run. Now I've seen this done before at independent league parks where the players are generally not making much money, but never before at an affiliated league game. It seems odd that they would need to collect money for players, some of whom are making pretty good dough. It's obvious that the people of the Corpus Christi area have really taken to Whataburger Field, as they have drawn over 500K fans in some of their years. And it's easy to see why as it offers something for everyone in the family. Not a park that breaks any new ground, but its location and interesting quirks makes this a park that is definitely worth seeing.