Archive | June, 2013

A Trip to AT&T Field in Chattanooga, Tennessee

This past weekend I had the chance to make a short little baseball trip down through Tennessee and into Georgia. My first stop along the way was Rock City on Lookout Mountain. I didn’t realize there is so much to see and do in Chattanooga, and if you are ever in the area I highly recommend checking out some of the sites.

Anyway, my only night there I headed out to AT&T Field, don’t get it confused with AT&T Park in San Fran. The stadium opened in 2000 and was formerly known as BellSouth Park until AT&T bought out BellSouth in 2007. It seats 6,362 fans, but wasn’t nearly that full the night I was there.

It is a nice park with some newer amenities, but it was lacking one thing – shade! There was virtually no relief from the sun anywhere at the park. Most of the seating is down the first base line with a large beer garden with a patio down the left field line.

Despite the heat I really enjoyed the park. It sits just a short walk away from the Tennessee River where there is a nice little river walk area for walking, picnics, biking, and even river boat rides.

Sitting at the edge of downtown, Chattanooga is a nice little town that has the feel of a bigger one. The stadium sits up atop a hill overlooking the downtown area.

As you enter the stadium, after going up an escalator to reach the top of the hill, there is a small memorial for the AT&T Field Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame consists of just two inductees, one of which is legendary Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda. I found this a bit interesting and maybe a little over the top as the Lookouts have only been a Dodger farm team for five seasons.

The other Hall of Fame member is a little more fitting. Calvin Coolidge “Cal” Ermer was a former Lookouts manager during the 1950’s.

The outside of the stadium isn’t anything special especially during the day. At night there are baseballs that light up making it a bit more pleasing. But the best part of the outside of the stadium was the sign above the entrance. I’m not a Dodger fan, but I love tradition and as you enter the stadium you pass under signs that say “Welcome to Dodgertown, Tennessee”.

As for the game there were a few things that stood out. First of all, Sean Burroughs was back in the game playing third base for the Lookouts. If you aren’t familiar with his story, I’d recommend you Google it. In short he was a huge prospect (son of former AL MVP Jeff Burroughs and a Little League World Series hero) and he just didn’t turn out to be what everyone had hoped. He eventually found himself out of baseball and into the dark drug world. But he cleaned himself up and is making a comeback. I love to see someone get their life straight and use baseball as a means of helping to do that.

The other thing that stood out was the entertainment of the day, Myron Noodleman. If any of you has seen the movie Bull Durham, and if you haven’t go rent it right now, then you might remember the “Clown Prince of Baseball” Max Patkin. Well Noodleman has taken over that role as the fifth Clown Prince.

Noodleman was very funny. He would do skits on the field with the best being his “Dueling Signals” performed with a coach to the tune of Dueling Banjos. After he performed on the field he would venture into the stands during the game play and interact with fans performing even more comedy. He was very funny and I count myself lucky having seen him in action. You can see about Myron at his website, MyronNoodleman.com.

Another plus about the stadium is the good beer on tap there. Many places have the simple Bud Light or Miller Lite, but here in Chattanooga there were some better beers on tap such as Fat Tire and Lagunitas IPA. And if you are wanting a little something sweet, you can buy one of Chattanooga’s most famous snacks, a MoonPie.

Chattanooga is a great little town. I’m anxious to get back and see more including historic Engel Stadium which was home to the Lookouts from 1930-1999.

Here are a few photos I shot while at the game. To see more, check out my Flickr page.

At&T Field - Home of the Chattanooga Lookouts

At&T Field – Home of the Chattanooga Lookouts

Entrance to AT&T Field - Home of the Chattanooga Lookouts

Entrance to AT&T Field – Home of the Chattanooga Lookouts

AT&T Field Hall of Fame - Chattanooga Lookouts

AT&T Field Hall of Fame – Chattanooga Lookouts

View of Downtown Chattanooga

View of Downtown Chattanooga

AT&T Field - Home of the Chattanooga Lookouts

AT&T Field – Home of the Chattanooga Lookouts

AT&T Field - Home of the Chattanooga Lookouts

AT&T Field – Home of the Chattanooga Lookouts

Lasorda's Landing at AT&T Field - Home of the Chattanooga Lookouts

Lasorda’s Landing at AT&T Field – Home of the Chattanooga Lookouts

AT&T Field - Home of the Chattanooga Lookouts

AT&T Field – Home of the Chattanooga Lookouts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in MiLB, Travel2 Comments

Greer Stadium in Nashville, TN – Home of the Nashville Sounds

Since I have been back in the States, I’ve tried to get out and see a few new stadiums. So one night not long ago, I headed out to see the Nashville Sounds play at Greer Stadium. I was actually excited to see the scoreboard but not much else. I’ve read a lot about Greer Stadium being one of the worst stadiums in the country, and it lived up to that.

Built in 1978, Herschel Greer Stadium leaves a lot to be desired. It is old and definitely shows its age. The seats are old with paint peeling, and not in the best shape. The concourse was small and unexciting. You can not see any of the action while purchasing a beverage or food either.

I went on Throwback Thursday which was fun in a way. The Sounds wear throwback v-neck jerseys that I really liked. They were a cool blue color and it definitely fit with the old stadium. They also had drink and food specials like $1 soda (very small cups) and $1 hot dogs (which weren’t worth a $1).

The stadium holds just over 10,000 people, but on the night I was there, and from what I hear many other nights, there weren’t nearly that many people there. Good seats were easy to find that night with such a small crowd.

Despite the lack of fans, it was a good time and there were a few very enthusiastic fans there as well. Part of the draw was the Sounds were playing the Memphis Cardinals and one of the most highly anticipated young prospects in baseball, Oscar Tavaras.

Tavaras showed in one at bat why he is such a highly touted young player. He hit a line drive back up the middle that from where I was sitting looked like it went through the pitcher and the second base umpire. It was simply smashed, and had it hit the pitcher he would have been seriously hurt.

I enjoyed my time, but more so for the baseball than for the stadium.

I was looking forward to seeing the iconic guitar scoreboard in left field. It was a cool looking scoreboard, but it too shows its age. There are no video boards in it, and it uses a simple low resolution color matrix board. The line score is shown in the neck of the guitar with some room in the headstock for the ball/strike/out count. In the body of the guitar is a small screen to show advertisements and other information about hitters/pitchers and such.

It’s a neat thing that I hope if they ever build a new stadium is moved along with it. It would need to be either upgraded or an additional scoreboard would need to be added to appease today’s fans. However, it fits right in with the Nashville scene and, maybe not as much as the bull in Durham, is one of the things the stadium is known for.

All in all, Greer Stadium is one of the worst stadiums I’ve seen in the US. I know there has been talk in the past of building a new stadium in downtown Nashville along the river. However, in this economy the money needed to partake in such a venture just hasn’t been there yet.

So with all of that said, here are a few photos I took before the game action started up. You can see more photos on my Flickr page.

Outside of Greer Stadium in Nashville, TN

Outside of Greer Stadium in Nashville, TN

Greer Stadium in Nashville, TN

Greer Stadium in Nashville, TN

Greer Stadium in Nashville, TN

Greer Stadium in Nashville, TN

Greer Stadium in Nashville, TN

Greer Stadium in Nashville, TN

Greer Stadium in Nashville, TN

Greer Stadium in Nashville, TN

Greer Stadium in Nashville, TN

Greer Stadium in Nashville, TN

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in MiLB, Travel0 Comments


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