Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Going Too Far

It's understandable that minor league teams need to do promotions to draw fans in, but when these promotions change the fundamental nature of a baseball game, they have crossed the line and gone too far. And this is exactly what has happened with the new video game promotion announced by the Kansas City T-Bones of the Northern League. The team is offering two fans the chance to determine the outcome of the first two innings of a real game on July 16. That's right - they will play two innings on Xbox which will be shown on the video board at the ballpark. Then the actual teams will play the final 7 innings. Is this a serious promotion or just a publicity stunt that the team will back out of eventually ? So far it seems to be real. The league and both teams have apparently signed off on this silly gimmick. Shame on the Northern League and shame on any fans who come out to support this shameless promotion. Here's hoping someone wises up and calls off the promotion.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

New Jersey : Home of the Brattiest Kids ?

Is it just me or does New Jersey have the brattiest kids of anyplace in the country ? If last night's Somerset Patriots game was any example, the answer would have to be yes. I understand as well as anyone that minor league teams need to attract kids and cater to them. Relying on hardcore baseball fans (like myself) is not enough for a minor league team to survive. But if a team is going to invite a whole Little League to their ballpark, they had better take some responsibility for controlling the kids. Last night at Commerce Bank Ballpark, it seemed as if there were hundreds of kids running around without any supervision whatsoever. All they were doing were annoying the real fans and the ushers (who were useless in trying to control them). Please, if you're going to invite a whole league of players, ensure there are enough adults around to supervise them. The night was summed up quite well by a fan sitting behind me who said towards the end of the game, "I don't care if I never see another kid again."

Friday, June 17, 2005

A Pair of NY Stadiums

Plans were announced for two new professional ballparks in New York this week. The first one which received all the press was that of the new Yankee Stadium. Despite the public not having to foot the bill, it doesn't seem like the reaction from fans was that positive. I suppose I can understand their love of the current Yankee Stadium, but they have to realize that it was rebuilt in the mid 1970's, so in no way resembles the original ballpark. Yes, the field is the same, but that's about it. To me, having only visited the current Yankee Stadium, I never got the same sense of aura or history upon entering it as I do going to places like Wrigley Field and Fenway Park. So I really didn't care one way or another if Yankee Stadium was replaced.

The other ballpark news out of New York this week (besides a new Mets ballpark), came from upstate in Sullivan County. A NYC developer has plans to build a 3,000 seat stadium in Monticello in which a Can-Am League team would be placed. This market has been tested before (a team played in Baxter Stadium for several years in the late 1990's), but the location seems to be better this time. And with a rapidly growing population in neighboring Orange County, the time might be right for a team to succeed in this market. Newburgh is probably a more viable market, but with an older stadium and a not so great reputation, it is understandable why perspective owners have stayed away.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

A Walkoff Weekend

The weather this past weekend was certainly not conducive to sitting outside and watching a ballgame, but despite this, I took in games in Nashua (NH) and Worcester (MA). And I'm glad I did as they both ended with walkoff wins for the home team.

I had not been to Holman Stadium in Nashua since 1998, the first year of the Atlantic League. While the team that plays there is the same, the park has undergone some changes. Prior to the 2002 season, new luxury boxes were built and all new seats were installed. While it will never be a great ballpark, there is nothing inherently wrong with it either. It may not be as glossy as the new Manchester park, but it is just as functional. Some may think the Pride are a lame duck team with the Fisher Cats so close by, but it didn't appear that way on Saturday night. It wasn't close to being a sellout, but the crowd was lively and into the game. Maybe the Atlantic League won't stick around in Nashua forever, but it's hard to imagine some team not playing there. As for the game, it had a great finish. Jonathan Nathans hit a three-run walk-off homer to end it in the 10th and send everyone home happy.

On Sunday, I went to the brand new Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field in Worcester. It still feels a bit unfinished, but that's to be expected when a team only has 2 months to get it built from the ground up. Hopefully by the end of the year it will feel a lot more polished. The game featured the Tornadoes hosting the New Jersey Jackals, who jumped out to a 7-2 lead after 7 innings. But for some reason, the Jackals manager decided to try to steal an inning and save his bullpen by using his worst pitcher. The move backfired as the Tornadoes scored 4 in the 8th, one in the 9th to tie it, and one in the 10th to win it.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Welcome !

Welcome to the Baseball Parks blog, a companion to my website, Here I will post comments on various parks I visit and address ballpark news and issues. I'll try to post here on at least a weekly basis. Hope you enjoy and please send me your feedback and/or comments.