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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

43 Parks in a Year: April and May:
Where I went Last Year


Greenville, SC (The Drive): Field built to mirror Fenway. The Drive's poor pitcher did a good job but his fielder's weren't up to snuff yet and he got knocked out when they let a number of balls drop.

Hickory, NC (Crawdads): Like the concept of the mascot, but they didn't do it very well on the logo.

Charlotte, NC (Knights): Again like the concept of the mascot, but not way they were using it. The day I was there it was extremely hot so my outfield seating only lasted a couple innings before I walked back under the shade on the first base side and stood at a table and chatted with other people doing the same thing for the rest of the game.

Kannapolis, NC (Intimidators): A race car with "3" on it parked out front. If you are a baseball fan and NASCAR fan this might be the place for you (and, you might be a redneck). Personally, their "K" logo is my favorite from the last year. It wasn't the most well done. In fact, it is the most in-your-face, love-it-or-leave-it, openly bad logo I saw all year and I love it. This logo alone guarantees that the Kannapolis team will sell me at least one hat or jersey every year.

Cincinnati, Oh (Reds): Really good seats in the "scout" area which would have been awesome if it had just been a little bit warmer. Section had its own concourse and servers that came to your seat. I got body-checked by a rabid Cubs fan who was chasing an uncatchable foul ball. As well, the seat I was sitting in broke, but they had it fixed in about a blink of an eye.


Florence, Ky (Freedom): The first independent league baseball game I've ever been to (Frontier League). Their entire field is astroturf. We had really good seats immediately behind the dugout on the first base side, but it had rained and the drains were clogged. Consequently, there was a 6-10" puddle right where our feet were supposed to go. A couple kids came over and worked like madmen until they cleared the clog and after everything drained off we had a great experience.

Cincinnati, Ohio (Reds): I got a better seat then everybody else in my group - in the outfield, right on the wall. And then I got to the park and realized the Reds had sold me a lemon. If I actually sat back in my seat a rail entirely blocked my view of the field. Consequently, I had to sit on the front two inches of the chair, leaning forward, for the entire game.

Bowling Green, Ky (Hot Rods): It was a hot, humid Sunday afternoon and it rained up to about 10 minutes before game time. Consequently, this may have been the least attended game I went to all year. It was a good game with the Hot Rods coming back to win in the last inning.

Charleston, WV (the Power): One of my main memories is the rabid fans in a particular section who jeered the opposing team throughout the game. Another is walking on the sidewalk behind the outfield and watching a homerun clear the wall, go over the fence behind the walkway, go over the road behind the stadium and land in a parking lot. The last was leaving the stadium before the fireworks display (go to 3 minor league games and at least 2 will have fireworks). I got turned around a bit and was just driving past the well lit stadium when the stadium lights went out to almost instantly be followed by the seemingly immediate explosion of all sorts of bright fireworks. It's a miracle that I didn't smash my car into a light pole while I was blind.

Salem, Va (Red Sox):  Quite possibly the friendliest fans and staff that I've run into. And boy, did they love singing Sweet Caroline. I think everybody in the park was belting it out at the top of their lungs. I wish that I was close enough to attend regularly.

Lynchburg, Va (Hillcats):  I bought tickets for the section right behind the dugout in the boiling sun and there was almost no one in that section (locals knew to buy tickets behind the plate where there was shade).  Nonetheless, I was given the fifth degree by two separate ushers at two different times. At most stadiums after a couple innings they let the fans sneak forward into the good seats. Not Lynchburg. They guarded those seats like Fort Knox for the entire game.

Chattanooga, Tn (the Lookouts): My main impression when I first saw where the baseball stadium is located was, "OMG, there's no way this short, round body is climbing up all those stairs without having a heart attack or two." Then I saw the escalator. The stadium is on top of a very large hill / small mountain and it's impressive to look at from the outside. And, unless you are young or in really good shape you will want to use the escalator. They also have a pretty cool logo.

Kodak, Tn (The Smokies): Nice park. Nice people. So nice I went there twice (which might also be a result of them being the closest non-Rookie League team. Of course, they are a Cubs affiliate so they have an irrational fan base, but like most cubbie-types they are at least genially irrational. My main memory was of the park is hearing vuvzelas throughout a game and getting peeved because I thought a bunch of kids were being annoying. Then I walked around a bit and realized it was the senior citizens sitting on the seats right up by the concourse who were blowing the dang horns (and they were having a blast with them).

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