Wuerfel Park
Traverse City, Michigan
Year Opened
2006

Current Team
Traverse City Beach Bums

Affiliate
None

League
Frontier League

Capacity
5,000

Location Map

My Grades
Stadium A- Atmosphere C+ Concessions B+

Photos taken in 2009
When you drive up to Wuerfel Park, you might have a hard time recognizing it as a baseball stadium. Featuring one of the most unique exteriors I've encountered, it is meant to resemble the summer cottages which Traverse City is well known for. Located about 6 miles south of downtown Traverse City, the setting in an open area of land gives you no indication of where you are. So its a good thing that the ballpark is distinctive. The summer cottage theme is also present in the interior of the park, especially down the left field line where the clubhouses are located. This building features front porches where players can be seen hanging out before the game. The concourse is open to the field and wraps completely around the outfield. It is mostly uncovered, though there is some covering in case of inclement weather. Seating at Wuerfel Park consists mostly of fold down chairs, which extends just past the bases down each line. Aisles and seats are both quite wide, which certainly make for a more comfortable night at the park. Other seating options include table seating (w/ 4 chairs) located along the concourse and the large grassy berms located behind the outfield fence. There are also luxury boxes here, though they don't stand out as much because there is no outside seating. I can't imagine these would be too popular as most fans it seems would want to enjoy the nice Michigan evenings, even if they are on the cool side. Sightlines are good here since the seating bowl and fences are symmetrical. The one aspect I don't like about the park itself is the artificial turf. When Wuerfel Park opened it had real grass, but a rug was installed prior to the 2008 season. I realize this allows the park to host more events, but from a baseball perspective, this ruins the atmosphere a bit for me. Speaking of atmosphere, this is another aspect that I didn't care for much here. The Beach Bums have an annoying on field DJ named “Rockin' Rob” who thinks he is a comedian, but who is not funny at all. Also, there was lots of nonsense (stuff being thrown into the crowd) before the game even started. Can we have a little peace, please ? Fortunately the music and sound effects weren't quite as annoying. Several between inning games were played including race the mascot, bowling, the dizzy bat race, and the diamond dig. The Beach Bums have too appropriately named mascots in Sunburn and Suntan. One thing that seemed to be missing here is a play area for kids. There are no inflatables (speed pitch, jump castle, slide, etc) to be found, which is quite surprising at a minor league park these days. Concessions at Wuerfel Park are well varied and of good quality. Some of the selections include pulled pork sandwiches, brats, burgers, and sloppy joes (the first time I've ever seen that at a park). There are also two ice cream “shops” located along the concourse, both of which actually have inside seating. Definitely this is another unique feature. Traverse City's location in northern Michigan is a bit off the beaten path, but is worth the drive to see a park that is certainly not a “cookie-cutter”.
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