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  • Best/Favorite Minor League Ballparks

    Courtesy of Ballparkdigest.com

    Auto Zone Park -- Memphis, Tennessee
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    Last edited by Elvis; 08-03-2005, 01:23 AM.

  • #2
    AutoZone Park is located in the heart of downtown Memphis and has been attracting large crowds since it opened in 2000. The team and the stadium are unique in that they are owned by a nonprofit organization, Memphis Redbirds Baseball Foundation, which is a rarity in minor-league circles and even more rare at the Class AAA level. Because the stadium is owned by a nonprofit, the $46-million construction cost came largely from the private sector. The greater Memphis community certainly responded to the Redbirds with passion: in 2002, the Redbirds drew better on a per-game basis than the Montreal Expos and the Florida Marlins, as the Redbirds average attendance was 11,025 per game.
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    • #3
      There are three seating levels to the stadium: a main seating area, a club level with 1,600 seats, and 700 suite seats in 48 luxury suites; in addition, there are two open-air party decks and a picnic deck to accommodate groups. A concourse rings the entire playing area. Finally, AutoZone Park features the largest video board in minor league baseball, a 23-by-30 foot screen. The video board can produce 16.2 million different colors and is 127 feet (or 13 stories) above the playing field. Looney Ricks Kiss Architects of Memphis was the lead architectural firm, with Kansas City-based HOK Sport working as a consultant. It was designed in a decidedly retro style, which integrates the stadium pretty well into the historic downtown Memphis area.
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      • #4
        Auto Zone Park features the largest color video board in the minors.
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        Last edited by Elvis; 08-03-2005, 01:42 AM.

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        • #5
          There are quite a few folks gathered on the left-field grassy berm. A scoreboard on the left-field wall displays game information and out-of-town PCL and Cardinals scores.
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          • #6
            If anyone needs a model for a successful urban minor-league stadium, they need look no farther than AutoZone Park, home of the Memphis Redbirds. AutoZone is renowned in minor-league baseball circles as being one of the best ballparks in use
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            • #7
              truly is a nice stadium! thanks for the pics and facts and everything it was a nice read!
              Southlake Carroll Dragons Football
              National Champs '04, '05, '06
              State Champs '88, '92, '93, '02, '04, '05, '06

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              • #8
                from ballparkidigest

                Isotopes Park - Albuquerque, New Mexico
                Attached Files
                Last edited by Elvis; 08-03-2005, 01:24 AM.

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                • #9


                  Tucson Electric Park, where the white sox and dbacks player for spring training nice stadium with great back ground!
                  Southlake Carroll Dragons Football
                  National Champs '04, '05, '06
                  State Champs '88, '92, '93, '02, '04, '05, '06

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    "Retro" architecture in baseball usually means a ballpark all decked out with steel beams and brick walls, designed to look like an old stadium from the turn of the century. And while retro been the hottest trend in ballpark design since the unveiling of Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, it's a trend that's grown more than a little tired.

                    But retro shouldn't be limited to just steel-and-brick ballparks. In many ways, Isotopes Park, the new home of the Albuquerque Isotopes, is a retro ballpark, but it's not retro in terms of brick and steel. Instead, Isotopes Park takes design cues from the 1940s and 1950s architecture found throughout Albuquerque and integrates them into a ballpark setting. Yes, it's retro in that it hearkens back to the dawn of the Nuclear Era, but it manages to evoke the era without a hint of irony or condescension -- and as a result Isotopes Park is one of the best stadiums in minor-league baseball.

                    This accomplishment is even more remarkable when you consider the history of the stadium. Technically, Isotopes Park is not a new stadium: it's a renovation of Albuquerque Sports Stadium, the former home of the Albuquerque Dodgers and the Albuquerque Dukes, the former Class AAA affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. After the loss of the Dukes to Portland in 2000, Albuquerque city officials knew they wanted to bring back pro baseball, but the issue was whether to renovate the Sports Stadium into a baseball-only facility (in its original incarnation it also hosted high-school football) or build a new downtown stadium. A public referendum settled the issue, and so the $25 million renovation the Sports Stadium began.

                    And what a renovation job it was. According to local sportswriters, the original bowl structure is still intact, as well as the general dimensions of the ballpark and some of the service areas connecting the dugouts and the clubhouses. But in look and feel, Isotopes Park is really a brand-new stadium.
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                    • #11
                      kind of looks like a bowling alley, how it says isotopes park and stuff
                      Southlake Carroll Dragons Football
                      National Champs '04, '05, '06
                      State Champs '88, '92, '93, '02, '04, '05, '06

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The tone is set by the exterior of the park. Though there are several entrances to the ballpark, a first-time visitor is advised to park next door in the football-stadium or The Pit parking lot and enter the front Broadway entrance. (It's the entrance shown in the picture above.) A new tower serves several purposes: it's a dramatic entrance to the stadium, it served as a nice design counterpoint to the horizontal orientation of the stadium, it adds a whimsical touch to the stadium (at night, the colored panels are quite striking), and it ties into other architecture found throughout Albuquerque. It's also functional: the tower contains an elevator, service areas, access to suites and the press box, and stairs.

                        Once you're in the ballpark, you're presented with a fairly standard ballpark layout. A concourse rings the entire stadium, with the majority of the concession stands located in the back of the grandstand. The stadium has a seating capacity of 12,215, but the vast majority of this seating -- 11,075 -- is theater-style seating between the foul poles (5,845 reserved seats, 4,029 box seats, 661 club seats, and 540 suite seats). There are 30 suites at the stadium, and the club level features its own bar and a cozy lounge area. Beyond the left-field fence is a spacious picnic area geared for groups of all sizes, and beyond the right-field fence there's a group of picnic tables for those who like to lounge during the game, as well as a set of terraces where kids were playing throughout the game.
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                        • #13
                          The playing field also has its own distinctive qualities. First off, the field is framed perfectly with mountains in the background, so anyone sitting the grandstand will see a gorgeous vista. There's a 127-foot-wide, four-foot-high hill in center field that does occasionally wreak havoc with outfielders; there have been at least two inside-the-park home runs because the ball has taken some odd bounces off the curved wall and the hill. (Speaking of home runs: be prepared to see a few at a 'Topes game. Because of the high altitude and the relatively short center-field curved fence, there are a fair amount of cheap home runs flying out of Isotopes Park. During my time there Gerald Williams hit one to dead center that wouldn't have made the warning track in most other stadiums, and it's no accident that Rob Stratton of the Isotopes was leading the PCL in home runs for most of the season.)

                          There are some quirks and disappointments with the stadium, however. First, the bowl and the playing field were reoriented in such a way that there's no room for players to sit in the bullpen (in fact, the edge of the bullpens are right on the foul lines), so bullpen pitchers and catchers must sit in the dugout until it's time to warm up. Secondly, the ends of the dugouts are open, and Isotopes players are not pleased about such easy access for fans, who will frequently poke their head into the dugout to ask for an autograph during the course of a game. The biggest disappointment really has nothing to do with the design, but rather with a decision made by Isotopes management. The old Sports Stadium was known for its drive-in terrace, where fans could watch a game from the comfort of their car, a la a drive-in theater. A drive-in terrace was built into the new stadium, but because of security concerns the Isotopes management never opened it up to vehicles. At the game I walked around the stadium with some local sportswriters and Ken Young, the president of the Isotopes, and he indicated that there were no plans to ever open up the terrace to vehicles and that at some point it would probably be converted to a childrens' play area.

                          This sounds like a cliche, but there are very few bad seats in the house, and the spacious nature of the stadium means that a large crowd doesn't clog concessions or restrooms. There was a crowd of almost 10,000 during my visit, but the concourse was never crammed: between the folks hanging out in the picnic areas and walking throughout the stadium, the crowd was dispersed enough to make it seem like a crowd of half the site. On a really crowded day you might be forced to buy tickets for a set of right-field seats past the foul pole, but even these seats aren't bad, as they're angled directly toward home plate.

                          In the end, Isotopes Park is an impressive accomplishment and a stadium on par with other superior Class AAA facilities. If it were located in a larger market -- say, Sacramento or Memphis -- it would be hailed as one of the best ballparks in the minor leagues. But I suspect most Isotopes fans don't really care about such comparisons: Albuquerque seems like a pretty self-contained city, and as long as the local fans are happy with such a great stadium, that's all that really matters.
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                          • #14









                            campbells field, in Camden, New Jersey
                            Southlake Carroll Dragons Football
                            National Champs '04, '05, '06
                            State Champs '88, '92, '93, '02, '04, '05, '06

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              im sorry i dont have all the facts and storys like elvis does
                              Southlake Carroll Dragons Football
                              National Champs '04, '05, '06
                              State Champs '88, '92, '93, '02, '04, '05, '06

                              Comment

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