Hey! Where ya been!

Hello to all of our faithful readers and viewers.  Although the ‘blog’ portion of the website has been pretty silent since, well, last baseball season, fear not we’ve still been ‘out there’ collecting arenas and stadiums and racking up the ‘games seen’ totals!  We’ve recently added quite a few new pages to the stadiums section and also fixed a technical glitch that occurred with the blogs as well – hopefully all is now up and running and we will be back on track!  Thanks for visiting!

 

Lake Elsinore Diamond – Lake Elsinore, California

General Impression: It seems the stadiums we didn’t expect to see are the ones we ended up liking the most (see the Dayton Dragons game from a couple years back).  The Lake Elsinore Storm and their home at the Diamond proved to be one of those venues.  While it wasn’t entirely on a whim, it was certainly a side trip when we went to SoCal late in the 2012 season and one worthy of the drive for sure!  A single seating bowl with the concourse at the top of the seats greets fans as they walk through the main entrance.  On this night it was clear the stadium was pitched just right so that the blazing California sun didn’t have an impact on the patrons at the game.  Concessions ran along the main concourse, looking out onto the field of play.  Also, at the end of the third base line a restaurant/bar greeted fans looking for something a bit different.  The stadium did not offer a wrap around concourse, but all told it didn’t feel like it needed one.  Not a bad seat in the house, with wide aisles and comfortable fold down/chair back seats throughout.

Food and Libations: One main concession stand was present on each baseline with the usual ballpark fare.  The third base stand featured different hot dogs from across the county, so I made sure to grab up a Chicago dog!  Being that I was running a half marathon the next day we skipped the libations part of the ballgame experience on this night.

Parking: One huge lot across the street from the ballpark, $5.00 to park.

Programs/Scorecards: Handed to us for free when we walked in!

Complaints/Gripes: None.  No, really, none.  Great venue, friendly staff, good fans – more ballparks should be like this (and less like a carnival).

Yes/No/Maybe: Yep, for sure, if we ever found ourselves in this part of the world and the Storm were home.

Pictures: Pictures on Tim and Jill’s Arenas and Stadiums

This page was created on September 19, 2012

 

Baseball Season 2012 – That’s A Wrap!

As the mercury begins its gradual decline and the kids head back to school here in the northeast we close another chapter in our stadiums journey as the 2012 baseball season comes to an end.  Even though there is a month plus left in the Major League season, the likelihood of us getting to an MLB game is slim to none to non-existent, and the minor league season is now behind us.

All told in 2012 we added nine new ballparks to our overall total.  This included two new Major League parks, two new Double A parks, three Single A, one short season Single A, and one wood bat collegiate summer league park.

A game at Dodger Stadium would be our only new National League park in 2012, a game we had planned on going to from the time the schedule came out it seems.  Although the venue and team are in our eyes ‘classic’, the fans weren’t and it’s more so because of them that we won’t be rushing back there for a game.  This proved to be more of a social event for those around us than a baseball game, a big negative in our book.

Angel Stadium was a surprise on the same trip to California as the Dodger (and Storm) games, going on a whim when we had enough of Disneyland and DCA one evening.  Nice ballpark, decent fans, and a place we would return to if we had the chance (sitting in the left field seating area as it was quite comfortable for us out there).

There were no new Triple A ballparks in 2012 mostly because we’ve seen a good majority of the International League (lacking only three to complete that circuit), while none of our travel plans took us within range of a Pacific Coast League (next season maybe? **cough cough** Tacoma **cough cough**).

At the Double A level, we checked two more parks off of the Eastern League list, making a trip to Altoona in May and Portland in July.  Altoona was a ballpark we had driven by in past trips but never had the chance to see a game until this year.  Nice park, felt like a Triple A venue, but one we would return to if we happened to be local.  Portland’s ballpark was hot with little shade and lots of fans.  While we will probably go back (Jill didn’t accompany Mike and I to this game) there are others we will probably go to first before a return trip to Maine.

The third new ballpark we saw on our August/September California trip was actually our first at a California League ballpark.  The Lake Elsinore Diamond was a short 45 minute drive from Anaheim and well worth the gas money.  We enjoyed our time there and that had a lot to do with both the venue and the people working there.  Kind of off the beaten path for us, but if the chance ever presents itself again we will certainly go back.

Taking Sara and Andrew south at the beginning of August allowed us to see our first game at LewisGale Field, home of the Salem Red Sox.  LewisGale is another stadium we had been by previously but never had a chance to see a game.  We were glad the opportunity finally presented itself though as this was another nice facility and on the list for a return trip.

NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro was the second ballpark we visited on the trip, and we weren’t as enamored with it as we were LewisGale.  It was non-descript and hot, but worse than that was the on field ‘personality’ that pretty much just yelled and screamed into the mike throughout the game.  With all of the other baseball options in this part of the world, we’ll be hard pressed to make a return trip here.

Lowell, Massachusetts, home of Edwin A. LeLacheur Park, was our only SS-A game of 2012.  A small park for sure, they really pack them in here.  Couple that with the constant stomping on the metal bleachers (prompted by the scoreboard) and, well, check it off the list and don’t expect us back.  They do it right in Lowell, don’t get me wrong, drawing and selling out better than most – it just isn’t an atmosphere we like to watch baseball in.

Fraser Field in Lynn, Mass was a trip on a whim one night in July, but it proved to us once again that some of the best parks we’ve been to (see Dayton, Ohio) are ones we didn’t expect to visit in the first place.  This once Double A venue now home to collegiate summer league was a comfortable, homey place to watch a game.  That may have had a lot to do with the fact that Bill Terlecky – once GM of our Binghamton Mets – was in charge in Lynn.  We didn’t know he was there, certainly didn’t expect to see him, but had a great conversation with him while at the game and Fraser Field is still on our radar for a return visit.

Looking past the ‘new’ ballparks, our travels returned us to CitiField in Flushing to watch the New York Mets three times in 2012, PNC Park in Pittsburgh once, Fenway Park once as well (for our first MLB game there), Alliance Bank Stadium in Syracuse four times, McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket twice, MCU Park in Brooklyn twice, and Veterans Memorial Park in Little Falls and Dunn Field in Elmira one time as well.

To round it all out, and give special recognition to, we attended thirteen games across the 2012 season at our home park – NYSEG Stadium – in Binghamton.

Adding that all up, we went to a total of 32 baseball games – live – in 2012.  Doesn’t seem like a lot when you look at the total number, but there were lots of miles in between all of the new (and old) parks we went to this past season!  With the 2013 season schedules coming out for some teams our itineraries are already filling up for next season!  Have a great winter all!

 

NewBridge Bank Park – Greensboro, North Carolina

General Impression: Nice, serviceable ballpark with wide concourses.  Good sightlines, cool view of downtown Greensboro.  There was a dog that would bring the umpires baseballs and water, and occasionally pick up a bat for the teams.  And, by far, the most annoying on field personality we’ve ever seen anywhere.  There is no need, no need, to scream and yell into a microphone when doing the on field and in the stands stuff – period.  What could potentially be a good atmosphere for baseball is all but ruined with this guy.  And, if he was whipping the fans up into a frenzy that would be one thing, but it seemed as though most just ignored his antics.

Food and Libations: Usual stuff, decent beer selection.  One stand had different hot dogs from across the baseball landscape which was pretty cool, but beyond that nothing out of the ordinary here for us.

Parking: We parked in the $4.00 lot at the stadium, and there were others around the stadium that charged 4 and 5.00.

Programs/Scorecards: Free, handed to us when we walked in.

Complaints/Gripes: See above.

Yes/No/Maybe: No, not until the on field loudmouth is gone.  There are to many other baseball options in this part of the world to have to sit through all that yelling again.

Pictures: Pictures on Tim and Jill’s Arenas and Stadium’s

This page was created on August 10, 2012

 

LewisGale Field – Salem, Virginia

General Impression: Having walked and driven by this stadium a couple of times in the past we were really looking forward to finally seeing a game there.  And, we certainly weren’t disappointed!  The seating area seems to sit ‘high’ above the field, and in some ways it does, but even from the top corner the sightlines are fine.  There is a great view of the surrounding hills and mountains in the distance from up there too!  One other thing we noticed – and appreciated – although there were some on field promotions and such, neither those announcers or the game announcer were over the top.  Sometimes, to many times, announcers at the games think they need to yell and scream at the top of their lungs to make an impression – this isn’t (thankfully) the case in Salem.  Also, the other thing we noticed – these folks were here to watch a baseball game.  “Yes, Tim, what else would they be there for?”  To answer that question do this – next time you go to a minor league baseball game, sit back and take in the crowd around you.  More times than not, barely anyone is actually paying attention to the game.  I’d be willing to bet the fact that affiliated baseball has been played in Salem for 60 plus years has a lot to do with the fact that folks go to the baseball game to watch baseball.

Food and Libations: One stand behind home plate serves up the usual ballpark fare, with a pizza stand down the third base line and chicken stand down the first base line.  Each stand sold beer, as did a couple of portable carts behind homeplate as well.  To note: not sure if this is every night but the night we went to the game the concession stands started to close down around the middle of the game.  If you’re gonna eat I wouldn’t wait.  We were actually going to grab ‘dinner’ at one stand only to find it closed – in the fifth inning.

Parking: Free!  Right outside the main gate is a large parking lot.

Program/Scorecards: Free!  Handed to us as we walked into the game.  I actually got a lineup sheet from one of the ushers.  Not sure if that’s the norm or if he was just being nice.

Complaints/Gripes: The concession stands closing ‘early’ would be my only complaint.  With a game that started at 6:30 to close the stands around 8/8:30 was just foreign to us.

Yes/No/Maybe: Yeah we’d go back, without a doubt.  Great setting, nice atmosphere.  Only problem for us is that it is a 7 hour drive south (straight down 81), so unless something puts us back in the area we may not see this place again.  But, if we happened to be there and they were home we’d go back for sure.

Pictures: Pictures on Tim and Jill’s Arenas and Stadium’s Website

This page was created on August 10, 2012

 

Fraser Field – Lynn, Massachusetts

General Impression: This was a spontaneous trip for us; looking for something to do on a Tuesday night in New England we made the drive to Lynn from Woburn and, as we have done in the past (see our Dayton page on the Arenas/Stadiums site) we were pleasantly surprised by this ballpark.  Now, part of the reason we liked it so much may have had a lot to do with the fact that the GM of the team – a one Bill Terlecky – was once and for quite a while the GM of the Binghamton Mets.  Because of this, a lot of what went on inside of the stadium was very much like home to us!  One main concourse sits atop the seating bowl, with a concrete roof protecting part of said seating bowl.  There is also a large area behind the seating bowl devoted to kids games and such, as well as a building that houses the souvenir stand and bathrooms.  Good crowd on hand the night we went to the game, and most in attendance were there to watch baseball, which is always good in our book!  (instead of those ballparks where people are there for anything but).

Food and Libations: The usual ballpark stuff, hot dogs, candy, popcorn, soda, as well as a grill area that was outside of the main concourse near the kids stuff.  One beer stand had the old mainstays as well as PBR in cans (bonus!).

Parkings: It was free and a large lot on the other side of the right field wall was more than enough for the good crowd.  Even if the game was a sellout, there was enough parking options outside of the main lot to accomodate everyone.

Programs/Scorecards: Pretty sure they were a buck as you entered the ballpark.

Complaints/Gripes: Not any really.  Tickets were $6.00 to get in, which are the high end of collegiate wood bat league ball, but they are trying to build a cash base and fan base here all at the same time so I’d be willing to bet it’s quite a juggling act to find the right mix of ticket price versus affordability.  Beyond that, this is a really nice ballpark to watch a game on a lazy summer night.

Yes/No/Maybe: Although this is a bit removed from the beaten path for us as far as ballparks go, we’d go back in a heartbeat if the schedule worked out.  With Bill Terlecky at the helm, a return trip will always be possible as well.

Pictures: Pictures on Tim and Jill’s Arenas and Stadium’s Website

This page was created on July 24, 2012

 

LeLacheur Park – Lowell, Massachusetts

General Impression: The Lowell Spinners have been one of minor league baseball’s most successful franchises, with a ridiculous number of sellouts since they first started playing.  They are doing something right here, and the fans keep coming back game after game.  That being said (I wanted to preface my thoughts with those facts) we won’t be back here for a game.  The stadium felt cramped to us, more than likely because it was full (again, kudos to Lowell for making this happen game in and game out).  Then entire seating bowl has a metal frame and the Spinners take advantage of that encouraging their fans to stomp their feet at certain parts of the game.  Makes for a very loud, noisy atmosphere.  Unfortunately, the only time the fans really made any noise was when the scoreboards told them to – very conditioned, or maybe they just weren’t paying that close of attention to the game itself to actually cheer when it would be appropriate.  Anyways, as for layout, there is one entrance with a staircase that leads up to the concourse.  The concourse is open, at the top of the seating area.  Concourse runs from foul pole to foul pole (no walkaround ballpark here), with two main concession stands, one on each baseline.  There are multiple carts on the concourse as well where you can buy food and drinks as well.  As Jill said when we sat down, this place feels a lot like Hudson Valley (another park we won’t return to); both teams seem to have it figured out, and both teams have an atmosphere that doesn’t interest us (but, clearly, we’re in the minority on this one).

Food and Libations: The usual, with some added stuff.  There was a funnel cake cart on the first base side, and on the third base side a grill cart with hot dogs, sausage, and other grilled meats on buns.  The beer was Sam Adams, along with Miller Lite and Corona.  No ‘gansette here, but I don’t remember seeing Budweiser either.

Parking: There is a parking ramp adjacent to the ballpark and it’s $5.00 to park there.  We passed a couple of other lots on the way in as well, with $5.00 being the going rate there as well.

Programs/Scorecards: They sell ’em for $1.00 and beyond ads there are lineup sheets in them as well, and articles/features about the team.  I’d rather they were free, but for the info they give you a dollar isn’t bad.

Complaints/Gripes: No cover from the elements.  Cramped/crowded.  Metal ‘flooring’ throughout the seating bowl that fans love to stomp their feet on.  I’ll say it again, looking at their attendance numbers Lowell is doing it right and doing it well at the gate, this just isn’t an atmosphere we personally like to watch baseball in.

Yes/No/Maybe: Nope, this was our one and only trip to LeLacheur Park.

Pictures: Pictures on Tim and Jill’s Arenas and Stadiums Website

This page was created on July 16, 2012

 

Dunn Field – Elmira, New York

General Impression: A classic looking ballpark from the outside and on the inside as well, the main seating bowl is reminiscent of the ballpark in Reading.  Seating is mostly above a small walkway that runs the length of the seating bowl, with ‘box seats’, about four rows of them, below the walkway and the rest of the seating above.  A walkway runs the length of the stadium at the top of the seating as well.  The biggest issue isn’t with the stadium itself, but the cost to see a game.  At $7.00 a seat, this has to be one of the highest in all of the PGCBL, and rivals some affiliated ballparks.  Considering we had just watched a game two days prior in Little Falls, and did so for $3.00 a ticket, you could see why the charge in Elmira may have seemed a bit steep for us.

Food and Libations: Two concession stands, with the usual stuff, are present at Dunn Field.  One on the main concourse, and a second at the top of the seating bowl.  There is a stand for beer adjacent to the main concession stand, as well as a ‘beer garden’ at the end of the seating bowl on the first base side (although it wasn’t open on our trip there this season).

Parking: There is parking available just outside the stadiums main entrance in a large field and its free.  There were just over 2,000 fans at the game we went to, and the field area was filling up with cars.  If they had a larger crowd parking may have been ‘interesting’, with the city streets around the field serving as areas for fans to park.

Programs/Scorecards: We paid $2.00 for the program when we got into the park, and it wasn’t worth the money.  The entire program, with the exception of a couple of pages, was ads and nothing but ads.  There were pictures of the players from Elmira in the program as well, but there wasn’t even an insert with that nights lineup of both teams.  Point being, what did we spend $2.00 for?  I could care less about the ads, there were no contests tied to the program (lucky number), and there was essentially no information or articles in the book – waste of money.

Complaints/Gripes: Pretty sure I made my problems with Dunn Field apparent above.  The charge for the program was ridiculous, and $7.00 is a bit steep for this level of baseball.  It had been a few years since our last trip to Dunn Field, and it’s clear that the team is under new management – which is a good thing, because they were definitely swirling the drain on our last trip.  That being said, it’s clear there is still some ‘tweaking’ to be done.

Yes/No/Maybe: We’ll call this one a weak ‘maybe’.  If no other options exist and we really want to watch baseball, we might make the drive.

Pictures: Photos on Tim and Jill’s Arenas and Stadiums Website

This page was created on July 10, 2012

 

McCoy Stadium – Pawtucket, Rhode Island

General Impression: Now here is a ballpark we could call home. Not new, not flashy, but enough character to make this an enjoyable place to watch a game. Famous for its dugouts under the seating area where kids lower items to be autographed down on strings, the PawSox are well supported in this part of the world and I’d be willing to bet McCoy in some way has something to do with this. Entry is through the left field corner, up a set of stairs to the main (and only) concourse – which takes you right by the rather sizable team store. All seating areas are accessible from this point via tunnels and a main concourse that splits the green seats from the red and blue.

Food and Libations: The usual ballpark stuff, with a couple of beer stands independent of the main concessions. I hit up the one just as you make your way past the top of the main staircase for a few Narragansett drafts – good stuff!

Parking: Lots surround the stadium, and if you arrive there early enough its free! I saw a post on the PawSox site that said if you park at the school nearby there is a charge, but the potential exists they only use this lot when the ‘free’ ones fill up.

Programs/Scorecards: $3.00

Complaints/Gripes: Yeah, I got none. I like this place, I really do. Jill had been here for a couple of games in ’10 and had the same thing to say about it.

Pictures:Pictures on Tim and Jills Arenas and Stadiums

Page created on May 29, 2012

 

Clipper Magazine Stadium – Lancaster, Pennsylvania

General Impression: The Clip is a very similar stadium to the ‘stormers rivals right down the road in York, or should I say that the other way around as the ballpark in Lancaster opened before the one in York. This one features a walkaroud ‘concourse’ if you will, although the path is a bit narrow in a couple of spots as you make your way 360. One unique features is the bumper boats just over the wall in right field – have to say I’ve never seen this before! Along with that, there is a full out playground/romp area for kids down the left field line as well. A large, covered picnic area sits atop the right field wall and offers great views of the game. One large concession stand down each baseline serves the masses, although both are big enough that it doesn’t feel crowded. With the consistently high attendance, clearly Lancaster is doing it right in the independent baseball world.

Food and Libations: As previously mentioned, two large concession stands serve the fans at Clipper Magazine, one on each baseline. Pretty much no frills in the food choice catagory, although there is a ‘carvery’ for sandwiches if you are looking for something a bit off of the ‘regular ballpark fare’ menu. Beers are what you would expect to find as well, with Bud, Miller, and Yuengling products on tap.

Parking: There’s lots of it in parking areas that surround the stadium, and the best part about it? It’s FREE!

Programs/Scorecards: The program was handed to us for free when we walked in, and the lineup sheet was on a table near the entrance as well. Both of them? FREE! (just the way they should be!)

Complaints/Gripes: I got nothing, really. There were over 6,000 in attendance during our latest trip here, and it didn’t seem overly crowded. Stay away from the left field kids stuff and adjoining grassy berm (where all the parents were hangin’ out) and you’ll do just fine. This is a nice ballpark, and again judging by the crowds that flock to see the Barnstormers play, these guys are doin’ it right in the independent baseball world.

Yes/No/Maybe: This gets a yes, even though it’s a bit off the beaten path for us to get to. We may not go out of our way, but as the latest trip here is a testament to – if we are in the area and they’re home, we’ll be there.

Pictures: Pictures on Tim and Jill’s Arenas and Stadiums Website

Page created May 20, 2012

 
 
 

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