One of the best places I’ve been to in ages is Pensacola Bayfront Stadium. I had the chance a few weeks ago to head down to the coast and check out the new stadium, and I am glad I did.
I lived just outside of Pensacola for a short time and I’ve had family in the area for over 50 years. I was able to see several Pensacola Pelicans games prior to the Blue Wahoos coming to town.
The Pelicans put on a good show. They played in the American Association during the time I lived there (they also played in the Central Baseball League and Southeastern League prior to the AA). It was always a fun time at Pelican Park, which was the University of West Florida’s field.
However, after a series of events that led to the Pelicans owner selling the team, buying another, then moving that team from North Carolina the Blue Wahoos were born. The Southern League, a Double-A affiliated league, came to town in 2012 two years after the Pelicans left town. And boy was it worth the wait.
Not only have the Blue Wahoos had some of the most exciting players in minor league baseball, heard of Billy Hamilton yet?, they built one of, if not the, nicest park in the minors.
The Pensacola Blue Wahoos play at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium built, well, on the bay. As you are watching the game, you are able to take in beautiful bay front views and enjoy a nice cool breeze if you are lucky.
The stadium is very beautiful and has a lot of amenities to offer any fan.
There is good food. I opted for the hot dog because that’s my favorite thing to eat at a game, and it was very good. But being on the water you can find some things that I’ve never seen before at a game like raw oysters or fresh caught shrimp. And they were no little popcorn shrimp. They were quite large and looked quite tasty.
There is a large scoreboard in right field which is state-of-the-art providing videos and other information for fans in attendance.
There is a large souvenir shop just behind home plate that has just about everything a fan could want, party decks in the outfield, and a great spot to bring the family behind the right field wall, Hill-Kelly Hill.
But perhaps the thing that stood out the most was the kindness of everyone at the stadium. There wasn’t one person I didn’t encounter that worked for the Blue Wahoos that wasn’t kind and polite. It was an amazing change from a lot of stadiums you go to where you can be largely ignored. Even the owner came on the scoreboard with a video message saying if there was anything we thought could be improved to let him or the staff know. He even gave a phone number to call him directly.
I actually got the feeling he was sincere and meant everything he said because of the employees that were there. And to be honest, there isn’t much that I could imagine improving.
A few other nice touches that I noticed included military personnel doing video messages asking everyone to stand for the national anthem. This was a nice touch in a city that is highly dependent on the military base there.
Also including some of the cities history and military heritage is a cannon in center field that goes off when a Blue Wahoo hits a home run and at the end of the national anthem. It’s a nice touch you don’t see in other stadiums that adds a little excitement and surprise if it’s your first time there.
I can’t speak highly enough about Pensacola Bayfront Stadium. If you are anywhere near the P-Cola area, it would be well worth your time to head on over for a game.
Here are a few shots I took at the game. I hope you enjoy them.
If you would like to see more, visit my Flickr page.