Monday, June 16, 2014

Toledo Mud Hens

After years of fantasizing I finally made it to a Toledo Mud Hens games. In the 1970s I watched a lot of television and M*A*S*H was the Seinfeld of the times. Everybody watched it. One of the main characters, the cross-dressing Corporal Klinger, was squawking about the Mud Hens every 4 or 5 episodes. I suppose that is what planted the seed in my brain that I had to see a game there. So this road trip I found myself planted in a seat at Fifth Third (it’s a bank) Field. The cool thing about the stadium is that it is built INTO downtown. Some of the old buildings make up the outfield section and the ballpark feels right at home nestled among the old Toledo buildings.

The Mud Hens are the AAA farm club of the Detroit Tigers, a mere 90 miles north. While there are grander AAA ballparks, few have the vibe of the home of the Mud Hens (I have a hard time saying Fifth Third Field). It sports a double decker seating area as well as two jumbotron screens. Plus, in play bullpens (meaning the bullpens are not separated from the field but along the first and third base lines). It only takes a few innings to understand why Klinger kept raving about his beloved Mud Hens.

Bun-soft, steamed and delicious.
Taste-the Winter’s frank did not disappoint. It was plump and tasty.
Toppings-the Mud Hens meet the basics but could do better here. Plus the relish is in those small packets. The kind that make good people drop the F bomb.
Price-I sort of screwed up and got the one up dog from the run of the mill dog. Not on purpose. The regular dogs cost $3.75 which is a great price and what they are graded on. The dog I got was $4.72 (I don’t know why it’s 72 cents instead of 75 or 60 or 80 either).
Portability-nice sized paper wrapper keeps condiments where they belong: on the dog and off of the stadium floor.
It Factor-a good selection of specialty dogs in addition to the normal offerings.

Location-smack dab in downtown Toledo.
Access-walking, biking and it looked like there were special express buses to the outer parts of town. Great job.
Cleanliness-pretty dang clean. Klinger would be proud.
Fans-large crowd. There were fireworks afterwards so that might have been a draw (the third night in a row the Mud Hens had fireworks). They seemed a little lackluster though.
Ambiance-Mud Hens rule. Nice vibe.

DogBallparkTotal Dog/Game
Portability5GA Ticket Price5
It Factor5Fans4
The game was a yawn fest until the later innings. It ended up a Mud Hens win in 11 innings with a walk-off homer. That is exciting. The extra innings worked to the team’s advantage. It was a 6pm start. A typical game lasts 3 hours. At 9pm on a day that is close to the longest day of the year is not a good time for fireworks. In addition to the extra innings they really strung out letting the kids run the bases after the game, like many minor league teams do. I had the time, was bored so...I ran the bases too. It’s not as fun and exciting as you think. I’d rather they left the beer stand open.

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