Sunday, July 13, 2014

Clearwater Threshers

The book that will chronicle the fantastical road trip that this blog covers is now 40% funded via Kickstarter cloud funding. You can be part of history and help bring "Gone to the Dogs" to print by visiting my kickstarter page. At least watch the video and see how handsome I am.

I love outdoor baseball. I love daytime baseball. I love Florida. And after spending an afternoon in the Florida sun watching a Clearwater Threshers game, I am beginning to warm up to the idea of indoor or domed ballparks. Heated up is more like it. Fortunately, I was able to procure a seat in the shade at Bright House Field. I get out of the burn ward in a few days.

Despite the heat, catching a Threshers games is super fun. And with about 100 people in the stands, I had my own personal usher. It was all cool until I asked for a foot rub. Now I think I am banned for at least the season. But with a great tasting dog, very reasonably priced seats, good Florida State League action and a very nice ballpark, you should most definitely head to Clearwater for a game. It is a viable alternative to a Tampa Bay Rays game and your odds of getting a foul ball are pretty good. Actually, your odds of getting to pitch a few innings aren’t bad either. If more fans don’t show up the team may have to resort to such antics to fill the seats. And in that heat, the pitcher would be more than happy to turn the ball over to you. But their, loss is your gain. I highly recommend the Threshers.

The ballpark is simple but classy. It is the spring training facility of the Philadelphia Phillies so it is properly maintained and manicured. The stucco and block exterior don’t do much to help the ambiance but no complaints once inside the gate. It has an open concourse, a great selection of dog toppings, good seats and nary a bad view. Like many minor league parks, there isn’t a bad seat in the house.

Bun-fresh and steamed. At least I think it was steamed. It could have been the humidity.
Taste-the Hatfield’s frank was bursting with flavor.
Toppings-the Threshers excel in this category. Much better than the upper levels at Tropicana Field.
Price-for the quality of the dog and the availability of toppings, $3.00 gets top score.
Portability-the team uses aluminum foil, but not the heavy gauge type. Nearly top score. Paper wrapper would be better.
It Factor-great dog, but that is about it for choices.

Location-about 3 miles from downtown Clearwater.
Access-not bad considering the location. There is a shuttle, bus, plenty of parking and a biking or walking option that comes with a free heat stroke.
GA Ticket Price-$5 for a grass berm Nice cheap option.
Cleanliness-neat as a pin. Of course, there wasn’t anyone there to make it dirty.
Fans-9 innings was long enough to learn every fan’s name.
Ambiance-a half of a point subtracted for the exterior, but nearly top score.

DogBallparkTotal Dog/Game
Portability4.5GA Ticket Price5
It Factor2.5Fans2

Who Has Better Teeth?

Don’t let the lack of fans keep you from Bright House Field. I loved the game, it was like watching it in my living room in super, life like, 4-D. Only with the air conditioner turned off. So grab some sun screen, 6 gallons of water and head over to Clearwater to see some of the Florida State League's finest. Don’t forget to throw a dog down your throat.

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