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.