No announcement yet.

Opening night in Greensboro

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Opening night in Greensboro

    I spent the weekend in Carolina and thought I might fit in a game in Asheville or Hickory around other events, but that didn't happen. With rain across much of the South Atlantic League on Friday and Saturday, several games were postponed into doubleheaders on Sunday. I could have seen two in Hickory, but as it turned out my first live baseball of the year was Monday night in Greensboro.

    I was expecting to see Matt Dominguez, the very young Marlins prospect, at third base for the Grasshoppers, but it turns out he's on a 7-day DL for some reason. I liked Ryan Anetsberger at the position; though he didn't have the opportunity to distinguish himself with a notable play in the field, he looked like he wanted the ball hit to him. And he had two hits.

    Greensboro's ballpark isn't quite "downtown"--there's not much life on the streets immediately surrounding--but it is in the city, and on a warm summer night, you can walk to interesting places before or after the game. On this chilly Monday, many in the crowd didn't even stick around for the fireworks after the Grasshoppers went down 7-2 to visiting Hickory.

    So far, the best place I've found to watch games in this park is in the front rows of section 102, a little to the left of the third-base (home) dugout, which in the last photo are the seats right behind Crawdads manager Gary Green. Anything that happens defensively at short or third is right there in front of you. You lose sight of balls in play only in the extreme left-field corner. You have the best view of the city beyond the ballpark from here, and, of course, none of your view is obscured by the danged nets.

    I haven't found a food item at Greensboro that's worth talking about, although everything has been okay. The menu is pretty standard. There are a handful of beers to choose from.
    Last edited by Pere; 04-08-2008, 07:26 PM.

  • #2
    Interesting you should post this about Greensboro's new park, as I think it's exactly the kind of park Richmond should build to replace the Diamond. It'd be a marked improvement, no?

    The Red Oak beer is pretty good, too.
    Last edited by Rob You; 04-08-2008, 06:58 AM.
    Rob Ullman
    Atom-Bomb Bikini


    • #3
      A park like Greensboro's would be, in many respects, an improvement over Richmond's current baseball accomodations. On some points, it was an improvement over Greensboro's own previous accomodations.

      Actually, I hope (perhaps unrealistically) that Richmond will ultimately do better than that.

      * The location of "Newbridge Bank Park," while better than middle-of-nowhere, could be better still, closer to the life of downtown, or else the immediate neighborhood could be more conducive to giving rise to the life of the city. As it is, too many of the ballpark's immediate neighbors are large commercial/institutional buildings, vacant at night, or else surface parking lots. Neither of these patterns is likely to become more interesting over time. Ballpark neighborhoods work best when surrounding blocks are composed of many small buildings, with the potential to be restaurants, shops, and residences. Parking areas serve the life of the city better when they are spread out (including on-street parking), and a little further from the ballpark itself, thus forcing foot traffic before and after the games to go past all those little restaurants and shops.

      * While the use of brick for the exterior is good, parts of the outside wall, where the ballpark actually meets the sidewalk, are rather blank. It is always rather inhospitable (and a waste of sidewalk-frontage) for any city building to have blank walls at street level. In the case of the ballpark, a better design might have featured a built-in restaurant, accessible both from the public sidewalk and the interior concourse, or a similarly dual-entranced baseball-themed shop.

      * There is hardly any roof, basically just a lip out from the structure above the luxury boxes, and providing shelter only to a couple rows of seats on that level. A way should have been found to put a few sections of lower-level seats under roof.

      * The concourse does have some banners recounting Greensboro baseball history. I see baseball's sense of history and place as being significant components of the game's appeal, so I would like to see much more in this vein. Banners acknowledging championship teams are great, but the blocks of text are better used in museum-style display panels and galleries, accompanied by photos and relics.

      * Concourse amenities should extend further around the field. Presently, concessions, souvenirs and restrooms are all at the infield, and I imagine people on the grass berms don't feel entirely "in" the ballpark. I have yet to be induced to walk out there myself, as I would have if there was actually something there. There is a children's play area at the right-field corner, which I haven't evaluated because I haven't been to a game here with my little ones. I am in favor of play areas with views of the game. Beyond that, as far as I can tell, the only reason to go to the outfield concourse is to smoke in the two designated areas.

      * Please, no tennis nets atop the dugouts. They serve no purpose except to obscure the view from what would otherwise be prime seats.

      * Please, ease up on the storm of advertising, the unoriginal between-innings antics, and the almost continual, purposeless music clips. Most of all, when something dramatic happens on the field, and there's a genuine crowd reaction, like cheering, don't immediately crush it with amplified noise. Let the fans express themselves. I think it's worse in the North, and possibly on the west coast, but in my part of the country, Greensboro's game-operations crew is among the worst offenders in turning the game experience into what Gary Jarvis called "a baseball-themed pinball machine." Greensboro's ringmaster of between-innings antics is known as "Spaz," which may be all you need to know about the tone of his contribution.


      Ad Widget