Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ft Myers Miracle

Frolicking around the Florida State League while waiting for the majors to start back up has its advantages. First of all, it’s Florida, home of blue water, sunny skies and gray heads. And then the fact that most of the FSL teams play in MLB spring training facilities. The difference in a regular Single A ballpark and the MLB spring training parks is huge. You can’t, after all, have say Derek Jeter shagging balls while a freight train chugs by just beyond the outfield wall.

The Ft Myers Miracle play in Hammond Stadium, spring home of the Minnesota Twins. That ballpark is the first, and perhaps the only, with a space-age waterfall. The liquid marvel greets fans as they walk up the palm tree lined path from the parking lot to the front gate. The outside veneer has some of that Cape Cod style siding like they use at Dr. Pepper Park in Frisco, TX; only it works well for Hammond Stadium.

The ballpark is undergoing some renovations that will make it even more fabulous, including a walkway above the extended grandstands and replacing the bleacher sections with regular seats. And like many FSL parks, fans are often treated to a spectacular and colorful sky as the sun goes down. Unfortunately, great parks and radiant sunsets don’t pull in the fans. There is such a plethora of minor league baseball in Florida, and two MLB teams, that fans get spread thin among the competition. This night, in mourning for the loss of beloved Miami Heat player LeBron James to rival Cleveland, anyone wearing an LB James item was awarded free admission. Choice is good but attendance suffers. And sometimes...so does the dog.

Bun-one of the stalest I have had. It is very hard to recover from a stale bun.  
Taste-the National Deli frank would probably been better had it not spent an obvious long time on the roller grill.
Toppings-not bad, but not enough for top score.
Price-$3.50 isn’t bad for a dog, but again, not good enough for top score
Portability-the dog was wrapped, but with heavier gage aluminum foil, which could smash the bun...if fresh.
It Factor-not bad for a Single A club. Several versions of the regular dog and a few specialty dogs.

Location-not too far from downtown Ft. Myers, but still not downtown.
Access-I am sure there is a shuttle and/or bus but it is still a mainly a drive-to park.
GA Ticket Price-$8 for a top of the line park and a seat is not too bad, but it is still Single A and therefore a tad too expensive. However, as a military person I was granted free entry. Thank you Ft Myers Miracle.
Cleanliness-no complaints.
Fans-it was about 15% full. I explained above the issue with FSL attendance, but the stands still looked empty. They were engaged though and The Miracle gave them something to cheer about.
Ambiance-a good baseball vibe but not enough or top score. Could have been the exterior facade.

DogBallparkTotal Dog/Game
Portability4.5GA Ticket Price4.5
It Factor4Fans3

The Lohr Boys at the Ballpark
This was a special game for me since I got to attend with my brother, who lives about an hour north. I even got him to try a dog, although he nearly chipped a tooth on that bun. Despite not having perfect ballpark ambiance, the stadium is still quite nice and not to be missed if in the area. The dog is an easy fix. A fresh bun and properly cooked frank and you have a winner. Switch over to a Hebrew National frank and you flirt with top score. I’d like to revisit the Miracle when their renovations are complete. Now I have an excuse to come back….to Florida.

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment