Archive | April, 2013

Visit to Pensacola Bayfront Stadium and the Blue Wahoos

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.

Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

 

Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

A nice little amphitheater behind Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

A nice little amphitheater behind Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

View from CF at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

View from CF at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

Looking down the right field line at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

Looking down the right field line at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

View from our seats down the left field line at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

View from our seats down the left field line at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

If you would like to see more, visit my Flickr page.

Posted in MiLB, Travel0 Comments

Upcoming Baseball Stadium Trips

I’m excited about some upcoming trips to see some minor league and college baseball action.

My first stop will be in Pensacola, Florida to see the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. I lived a short time outside of Pcola and got to see a few games of the Pensacola Pelicans, the old American Association team. Since I have left the city has built a new stadium right on the water.

The stadium was named the 2012 Ballpark of the Year by BaseballParks.com. I’ve seen countless pictures of the stadium and heard so many rave about it. I can’t wait to get out and see a game there. I’ve wanted to see it since it was built but this is my first time now that I am finally back in the country. Add to it that I get to see some family, and it’s going to be a great trip.

Next week I have a nice double header planned. The Nashville Sounds play an early day game on Tuesday against the Omaha Storm Chasers. The Sounds play in historic Greer Stadium which opened in 1978.

The second part of my double header will be at Middle Tennessee State University. That night the Blue Raiders will host the Tennessee Volunteers. Neither team has had a great season so far, but it should be a heated in state rivalry.

There are a few other stadiums near by that I hope to visit in the coming weeks if I can find the time including the new stadium in Birmingham and perhaps try to make it a double header day if I can catch a day game at Rickwood Field or at least pay it a visit.

The other two spots I have in mind are a trip up to Nashville to catch Vanderbilt in action and/or head down to Huntsville to visit the Stars.

Stay tuned for pictures from my trip to Pensacola tomorrow. Although it might be delayed due to a weekend of golfing with family.

Till next time…

Posted in MiLB, Travel2 Comments

Opening Day in Toronto

Recently I got the chance to travel back to the States after two years in South Korea. My timing of my trip just happened to coincide with Opening Day in Toronto. So with a stopover in Canada, I hit up Opening Day at my third ballpark, Texas and Atlanta being the others.

First of all, Toronto seems to be a really nice city. I was only there for two nights and one of them I got in late, so I really only had a day to visit the city. I took to walking around the city on the one full day I had, and really enjoyed it.

The weather was cold and there were even some snow flurries later in the day. But that didn’t stop me from getting out to see a little bit of the city. I stayed downtown near Chinatown, but coming from Asia I had no interest checking that part of town out. Instead, I headed toward Skydome (yes I know it is called Rogers Centre, but forgive me because it will always be Skydome to me).

One of the coolest things I saw was CN Tower which sits next door to Rogers Centre, and I decided to head up early in the morning. It was a beautiful morning and walking up to the Tower I was able to snap this shot showing the blue sky.

CN Tower - Toronto

CN Tower – Toronto

The view from CN Tower is great. Not only do you get the views of the city, but you also get views of Lake Ontario. With the weather being cold, the dome was closed. But if you go on a day when the roof is open, you could look down on the field. Here are a few shots from the Tower.

Toronto, Canada

Toronto, Canada

View of Toronto from CN Tower

View of Toronto from CN Tower

View of Toronto from CN Tower

View of Toronto from CN Tower

View of Toronto from CN Tower

View of Toronto from CN Tower

Toronto from CN Tower

Toronto from CN Tower

The city was a buzz with anticipation for the Blue Jays new season. With all the new faces the team is one of the favorites to make the playoffs. Everyone was decked out in Jays gear waiting in line to enter the game early. They would face off with the Cleveland Indians on a Tuesday night.

On the hill for Toronto was the 2012 N.L. Cy Young Award winner, R.A. Dickey. However, it wasn’t a good night for Blue Jays fans as Dickey gave up four runs (three earned) in six innings taking the loss. He was out pitched by Justin Masterson.

The game for the most part, wasn’t too exciting. The fans were quick to turn on JP Arencibia after he had a few passed balls on Dickey knuckleballs.

I did enjoy the stadium though. I sat up top because it was cheaper, but the seats were still okay. I watched part of the game from the first level just standing behind the rail.

Food options in the upper levels were slim pickings as far as good food goes. They have the usual affair like hot dogs, but what I didn’t like was that they took the cap from me off of my coke bottle. I’m sorry but if you are worried about people throwing bottles don’t sell them!

There were a lot of good food options on the first level with a wide variety of things to choose from. You are able to move from level to level through the dark ramps that lead up and down. So if you are sitting up top and want to get some food from the lower levels you can.

Here are a few shots I took.

Rogers Centre - Toronto

Rogers Centre – Toronto

Rogers Centre - Toronto

Rogers Centre – Toronto

Rogers Centre - Toronto

Rogers Centre – Toronto

Rogers Centre - Toronto

Rogers Centre – Toronto

Rogers Centre - Toronto

Rogers Centre – Toronto

View from my seat at Rogers Centre

View from my seat at Rogers Centre

Opening Day Rogers Centre - Toronto

Opening Day Rogers Centre – Toronto

Opening Day Rogers Centre - Toronto

Opening Day Rogers Centre – Toronto

Geddy Lee throwing out First Pitch

Geddy Lee throwing out First Pitch

First Pitch - Opening Day - Toronto

First Pitch – Opening Day – Toronto

I really enjoyed my time in Toronto and hope to be back at some point to see more of Toronto and maybe check out a game when the roof is open at Skydome.

Posted in MLB, Travel2 Comments


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