Friday, June 12, 2009

Take me out to the ballgame

The Columbus Clippers opened a new ballpark this spring and in doing so moved from its west side home since 1932 to downtown. (Here's my entry about going to Cooper Stadium for the last time.) With free tickets in hand, I made my way to the new stadium last night and hoped the threatening clouds would hold onto their rain.

The weather cooperated, mostly, and I lucked into seeing the AAA affiliate of my favorite team visiting the hometown Clippers, who are now tied to the Major League team in northeast Ohio. For me minor league games aren't about having a rooting interest but simply enjoying what's happening on the field. That said, I did take some pleasure in the Reds' farmhands beating Cleveland's, even if it meant going against the local nine.

The brownstone Huntington Park is an attractive building with some interesting features. I like that there are bars in the right field fence that allow spectators outside the stadium to get a free peek at the action. There's a section in left field that functions like the bleacher seats constructed atop apartment buildings across from Wrigley Field. (These are in the park, though.) The concourse is more open and easy to get around. And of course, there's not a bad seat in the place.

There are, of course, better seats. My vantage point along the right field line was not an ideal spot for viewing the scoreboard, but you get what you pay for, right?

I'm usually loathe to buy much, if anything, in the way of concessions, but I was tempted to try the funnel fries. After all, who can turn down fried dough topped with powdered sugar? Essentially this was a less messy way of consuming a funnel cake, although I think the preparers overdid it, as my funnel fries were more brown than golden brown, and, uh, underdid it, as they needed more powdered sugar.

The stadium is next door to an indoor/outdoor concert venue, so I could hear O.A.R. playing relatively clearly while attending the game. It will be interesting to see if any conflicts arise when bands with objectionable lyrics are performing at the same time as a game is going on.

The game I saw was kind of a snoozer. The pitchers worked deliberately, and most of the scoring occurred in the first inning. Still, for an inexpensive night at a ballgame, it's a nice option to have in town, and the new stadium may entice me down there more than old place.

(On a photographic note, since I didn't want to risk getting my digital camera soaked, all pictures were taken with my cell phone. Shooting with it is inexact at best. Next time I go I'll try to do a better job of documentation.)

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