I went to a game at Fort Wayne’s Parkview Field for the first time Sunday, and I was impressed by the ballpark. There’s a lot to like about it, from the variety of reasonably-priced food and drinks to the “not a bad seat in the house” sightlines throughout the stadium.
I arrived at the ballpark shortly after the gates opened for the afternoon game between the hometown TinCaps and the visiting Quad Cities River Bandits. I did my usual walk around the entire ballpark, scoping out different vantage points of the field, reviewing my food options at the various stands throughout the stadium, and watching some players stretch …
… and others stand around on the field.
(If you’ve got a better caption for the above photo, please post it in the comments section.)
After the National Anthem, I bought a soda and a soft pretzel and stood at the back of the rightfield berm. Here’s the view from there:
After eating the pretzel, I walked over to the Center Field Grill, where the food for sale includes a quarter-rack of ribs and grilled chicken. I ordered the ribs because most ballparks do not offer them; of the 10 Midwest League ballparks I’ve visited, Cooley Law School Stadium (home of the Lansing Lugnuts) is the only other one where I saw ribs for sale.
A couple innings into the game, I moved to a seat on the first-base side of the field. It turns out I picked almost the perfect spot, as I came very close to getting a free T-shirt. The shirt landed in the row in front of me (where no one was sitting), but as I reached down to pick it up, a kid came out of nowhere to swat it away from me before picking it up for himself. That was too bad, considering I actually would’ve worn the T-shirt, whereas it surely is too big for the kid to wear. Oh well.
At that point — the end of the 4th inning — the game was tied 1-1 thanks to a home run by Quad Cities CF Oscar Taveras and an RBI single by Fort Wayne LF Luis Domoromo.
The top of the 5th inning meant it was time for my ballpark tour to begin. Michael Limmer, vice president of marketing and promotions for the TinCaps, took me and a family of three (the son is an aspiring sports reporter who wanted to see the press box) to various points of interest throughout the stadium.
In my opinion, the coolest thing we got to see was a behind-the-scenes look at how the various camera shots are monitored and chosen for television broadcasts. Despite being a Class A team, the TinCaps have every home game broadcast on television.
We got to see the batting and pitching cages used by players. For only $1, kids can use the same cages during the game! We also got to see The Treetops, which is an outfield party deck modeled on the rooftops across from Wrigley Field. It is located above the rightfield concourse and below the scoreboard.
I also got to meet Johnny, the TinCaps mascot. He is modeled after Johnny Appleseed, who died and is buried in Fort Wayne. The TinCaps play off the legend of Johnny Appleseed quite well, which I’ll write more about in my next post about Parkview Field.
As for the game, the TinCaps beat the River Bandits 2-1. TinCaps starting pitcher Keyvius Sampson, who pitched in this year’s Midwest League All-Star Game, allowed just one run on three hits while striking out five batters in five innings.
River Bandits starting pitcher Boone Whiting threw a good game, too, allowing just one run on five hits while striking out four batters in six innings. The TinCaps scored the winning run off the River Bandits bullpen in the 7th inning.
After the game, kids could run the bases (a Sunday tradition in the minor leagues) and fans of all ages could get autographs from TinCaps players on the field.
I’ll be back at Parkview Field for another TinCaps game tonight. As part of the Principal Financial Dreams Tour — The Principal Financial Group is a sponsor of the TinCaps — 1978 NL MVP Dave Parker will be on hand to meet fans. The game starts at 7:05 p.m. and will feature a pitching matchup between LHP Todd Privett (1-0, 2.61 ERA) for the TinCaps and LHP Anthony Ferrara (8-5, 3.08 ERA) for the River Bandits.