Sunday, May 11, 2008

A New Ballpark Weekend

Despite a cool and somewhat damp weekend in the northeast, I was able to get in games at two new ballparks. Here are my quick comments and a couple of photos. Full reviews and more photos will be posted on my site in the next week or so.

Nationals Park (Washington, DC) - obviously a big improvement over RFK Stadium. Despite hearing many complaints about the location, I kinda liked it. Yes, the area is under redevelopment, but when it is completed, the ballpark should fit in nicely with the surrounding community. The ballpark itself is similar to other new ones, though I found it a bit hard to navigate. There are three distinct concourse areas, but the maze of ramps, stairs, and escalators to access them all is not always intuitive. The views of the Capitol and the Anacosta River are good from certain seats, but not others. Overall a pleasant new ballpark, but one which the fans of DC have yet to embrace fully - though a poor Nationals team may be to blame for that.

Coca Cola Park (Allentown, PA) - this new ballpark for the AAA Phillies follows the standard minor league template, but is actually a bit smallish for AAA. The wraparound concourse with plenty of standing room space is a nice touch. Seats are all angled toward the infield, though all do not provide great sightlines. Concessions are well varied and prices very reasonable. As can be expected for a new ballpark, most of the fans didn't seem to care about the game. But with the Iron Pigs off to an horrendous start, who can blame them ? My only minor complaint was with the egress after the game - there was not one police officer in sight to help direct traffic. This made for a messy situation since almost all the fans had to cross the road which leads out of the park. Coca Cola Park is certainly a big improvement over Bicentennial Field, which probably 75% of the fans never knew hosted professional baseball.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Winter in Bridgeport

Took in my first Atlantic League game of the season this past Saturday night in Bridgeport. While the calendar said May 3rd, it felt more like December 3rd with wind chills easily dropping into the 30's. I'm sure coffee and hot chocolate must have been the big sellers. Surprisingly, most fans stayed until the end, probably to catch the all important post-game fireworks. I'm sure this made my top 5 coldest games that I've been to.

The Bluefish are under new management in 2008, but it doesn't appear that much has changed. The most noticeable change is that one of their mascots, LI Sounder, is now a real person who doubles as the on field DJ. While he wasn't particularly entertaining or annoying, he looks like what you would expect a sea captain to look like. One cosmetic change to the ballpark - a new outfield fence has been installed.

I'm off to DC and Allentown this weekend, so stay tuned for updates to my site !