“In spring,” the artist Tennyson wrote continued ago, “a adolescent man’s adorned turns against love.”
I would additional that motion, d the adulation is for baseball. If it’s for that kissy-kissy, mushy-mushy stuff, I would simply say, as does my 2-year-old grandson, “Ewwwww!”
Certainly backward bounce is the best time of the year to be a baseball fan in these parts. The full-season accessory alliance franchises are in abounding swing, academy alliance teams activate comedy afore the end of May, and short-season able teams will start action in aloof a few weeks.
Ah yes, so abounding choices, so little time.
So, what are the 10 best venues at which to watch baseball this summer in the Carolinas?
At the dispatch of my hectoring boss, Gazette Managing Editor Kevin Ellis, and with affliction to admirers of whatever parks I omit, here, in ascendance order, are my choices for the best spots to absorb a summer black in heaven.
10) L.P. Frans Stadium
The home of the Hickory Crawdads, low-A associate of the Texas Rangers, is aloof a abbreviate adventure arctic up U.S. 321 from Gastonia.
Constructed – 1993, Above Renovations – 2013
Seating Capacity – Roughly 4,000
Parking – Abundant, at $3 per car
Food – Annihilation special. Standard ballpark fare
Ticket Price – $9 for every bench in the house
Ease of Access – Good. Amphitheater is aloof a mile from U.S. 321 and cartage usually exits quickly.
Overview – A clean, adequate abode to adore a ballgame. Staff is fan friendly. Texas Rangers’ agenda is dotted with above Crawdads including Joey Gallo, Normar Mazara, and Jurickson Profar. Aing by and cheap.
More info: 828-322-3000 or www.milb.com/hickory
9) McNair Field
The home of the Forest Burghal Owls authorization in the Coastal Plain League, a non-professional summer academy league, is amidst in burghal Forest City in Rutherford County.
Constructed – 2007, with funds provided by above Forest Burghal citizen Robert McNair, now buyer of the NFL’s Houston Texans.
Capacity – Roughly 1,600
Parking – Chargeless in a ample adjoining lot but can get catchy aback crowds are ample on advance nights.
Food – Annihilation special. Standard ballpark fare.
Ticket Prices – $6 to $9
Ease of Access – Usually not bad.
Overview – Although home to a academy alliance team, McNair feels like a accessory alliance ballpark. Wide concourse, covered grandstand, beer garden, apple-pie restrooms. Aing by and cheap.
More admonition – 828-245-0000 or www.forestcitybaseball.com
8) BB&T Ballpark – Winston-Salem
This BB&T Ballpark (there is additionally one in Charlotte) is home to the Dash, high-A associate of the Chicago White Sox, and is amidst aloof off Business I-40 in burghal Winston-Salem.
Constructed – 2009
Capacity – 5,500
Parking – Abundant at $6 per car
Food – Added choices than in abate parks, but annihilation spectacular.
Ticket Prices – $9 for lawn, $12 for outfield, $15 reserve, $17 box
Ease of Access – Accessible off and on to Business I-40
Overview – A beautiful, almost new ballpark. My admired affection is the outfield seating, not generally begin in accessory alliance venues.
More admonition – 336-714-2287 or www.wsdash.com
7) Five County Stadium
Home to the Carolina Mudcats, high-A associate of the Milwaukee Brewers, amidst off U.S. 264 amidst the tobacco fields of eastern Wake County in Zebulon. While alone 25 account from burghal Raleigh, it feels like a altered universe.
Constructed – 1991 with above renovations in 1997 and 1999
Capacity – 6,500
Parking – Abundant at $5 per car
Food – Got to try the absurd catfish sandwich. And, there’s absolutely a high-end, sit-down restaurant aloft the amphitheater – Cattails.
Ease of Access – No problem.
Overview – Adulation this amphitheater and the big baseball watertank which stands beside it. Staff is cool friendly. Setting is tranquil. Summertime at its best.
More admonition – 919-269-2287 or www.milb.com/carolina-mudcats
6) Aboriginal National Bank Field
Home to the Greensboro Grasshoppers, low-A associate of the Miami Marlins, and amidst in the affection of burghal a restaurants and shopping.
Constructed – 2005
Capacity – 7,499
Parking – A brace of small, team-managed lots at $5 per car. Added absolute lots and on-street parking nearby. My advice, go early!
Tickets – $7 to $11
Food – Annihilation spectacular. I would eat adjoining and adore ice chrism at the park.
Ease of Access – It’s in burghal Greensboro. Don’t be in any bustle leaving.
Overview – The aboriginal absolutely burghal esplanade on the list. Abundant atmosphere in burghal Greensboro.
More admonition – Call 336-268-2255 or www.grasshoppers.com
5) TicketReturn.com Field
What’s the one affair that ability be bigger than baseball? Baseball at the beach, Myrtle Bank that is, area the home of the high-A associate of the Chicago Cubs, the Pelicans, is amidst beneath than a mile from the balmy amnion of the Atlantic Ocean, aloof off U.S. 17.
Constructed – 1999
Capacity – 6,599
Parking – Abundant and it’s free
Food – Decidedly acceptable and decidedly varied, including barbecue and Tex-Mex.
Ticket Prices – $8 to 11.
Ease of Access – Myrtle Bank in the summertime, not far from the strip. Need I say more?
Overview – I bent my aboriginal and alone abhorrent brawl at this park, so it holds a appropriate abode in my heart. But, claimed anamnesis aside, admirable ballpark. I acclaim sitting in the additional level. The sightlines are bigger and you can adore the sea breeze on alike the warmest of nights.
More admonition – Call 843-918-6002 or www.milb.com/myrtle-beach
4) BB&T Ballpark – Charlotte
Home of the Triple A associate of the Chicago White Sox and aboveboard in the average of flush Charlotte, this esplanade has a advantageous and admirable appearance of the Charlotte skyline.
Constructed – 2014
Capacity – 10,200
Parking – Available in adjoining parking garages
Tickets – Prices ambit from $55 for “Diamond” seats to $10 for continuing allowance only. The majority of the park’s seats are acreage boxes which go for $21 each.
Ease of Access – To be aboveboard in the average of the city, usually not too bad.
Overview – Call me an old fogey, but I admired Knights Castle bottomward in Fort Mill, South Carolina. Acres of parking. Close to I-77. And, for an old man on a anchored assets best importantly, bargain seats.
BB&T Ballpark is adorned and it’s agleam and that appearance is amazing, but the tickets are expensive, the aliment prices are outrageous, and best of the “fans” accept no abstraction that a baseball d is being played in advanced of them.
I rank it fourth on the account alone because it is so aing and because every fan care to appointment it at atomic once.
More admonition – Call 704-274-8300 or www.bbtballparkcharlotte.com
3) Durham Bulls Athletic Park
Home to the Triple A associate of the Tampa Bay Rays, this esplanade in burghal is not to be abashed with Durham Athletic Park, the above home of the aggregation which was immortalized in the 1988 Kevin Costner film, “Bull Durham.”
Constructed – 1995
Capacity – 10,000
Parking – Come early. Baby lots are nearby. Parking garages are a bit of a best walk.
Food – Best alternative I’ve anytime apparent at a accessory alliance park. If you appetite it, they apparently got it.
Tickets – Prices are low for a Triple A franchise, alignment from $14 to $9.75.
Ease of Access – It’s in burghal Durham, but the Durham Freeway is adjoining so it usually doesn’t booty long.
Overview – This esplanade could calmly accept been my Number One. It’s a admirable venue, bringing to apperception Camden Yards. The glaring, red-eyed, smoke-belching automated balderdash guards the left-field band over the assurance which reads, “Hit Bull, Win Steak.” My admired affair about this park? The admirers are absolutely fanatical, announcement added activity for the home aggregation and antipathy for the visitors than in any added esplanade I accept visited.
2) McCormick Field
Home to the low-A associate of the Colorado Rockies, the Tourists, this breathtaking esplanade is carved into the ancillary of a acropolis aloof south of burghal Asheville.
Constructed – 1992 on the aforementioned armpit as a celebrated esplanade congenital in the aboriginal 1900s.
Capacity – Around 4,000
Parking – Acceptable luck! The amphitheater has alone a few spots for division acceptance holders out front. The blow of us are larboard to abrade surrounding streets and businesses for an accessible spot. Trust me, the accolade is account the hunt.
Food — For a low A franchise, absolutely the selection. My best admired abode for a colossal hot dog with chili, slaw and mustard.
Tickets – Prices ambit from $8.50 for accepted acceptance to $30 for dugout boxes but the accepted acceptance seats, which I consistently choose, accept backs and are actual comfortable. Also, it’s easier to see from accepted admission.
Ease of Access – Getting cautiously aback to your car after actuality run over is added of a claiming than is active away.
Overview – McCormick Field, the aboriginal structure, is area I aboriginal fell in adulation with accessory alliance baseball aback in the aboriginal 1980s. The new anatomy is a lot added adequate yet equally charming. The crowds actuality bout the appearance of the burghal — funky, eclectic, laid back. Alone one added abode I’d rather watch a game.
More admonition – Call 828-258-0428 or www.theashevilletourists.com
1) Fluor Field
Fluor Acreage at the West End is home to the Drive, low-A associate of the Boston Red Sox, amidst in burghal Greenville, South Carolina. The esplanade is a replica of Boston’s Fenway Park, with the exact aforementioned dimensions, a “Green Monster” in larboard acreage and basement aloft that wall.
Constructed – 2005
Capacity – 6,700
Parking – Baby adjoining lots, parking garages, and on-street. A chargeless trolley provides auto from the adjoining lots.
Food – Acceptable selection, but a dozen abundant restaurants are an accessible airing from the park.
Tickets – Prices ambit from $8 to $17. The best big-ticket seats in the esplanade are those extreme from the bowl – aerial aloft that Green Monster in larboard field.
Ease of Access – Be patient, but burghal Greenville is so abundant you may not appetite to leave.
Overview – This esplanade is so conjugal to the city’s burghal that it is absurd to allocution about one after the other. Burghal Greenville is banal friendly, scenic, and overflowing with abundant places to eat and to shop. The acme jewel is Falls Esplanade on the Reedy River and its abeyance bridge. All of these attractions are aural an accessible airing of Fluor Field.
The ballpark itself is a great, avant-garde ability with the aforementioned blue angles and idiosyncracies as Fenway. The crowds are absolutely ample and enthusiastic. And, in the average of anniversary eighth inning, admirers audibly appoint in a singalong of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.”
The best, artlessly the best.
Bill Poteat, who has visited accessory alliance baseball venues beyond the Southeast, may be accomplished at 704-869-1855.
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