Thursday, July 17, 2014

Palm Beach Cardinals

I was supposed to see a game at Port Charlotte yesterday. If you remember I was boasting about soaking up the sun here in the Sunshine State. The Port Charlotte game was rained out. Karma is a bitch. I decided to make amends with the the Baseball Gods and the Deities of Dietary Decadence. I burned two cans of Spam and a Cal Ripken, Jr. baseball card on the pitcher’s mound of a local high school field while chanting “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” in my best Gregorian Monk monotone voice.

It worked. Not only was I able to catch a game today, but it was a noon start and that allowed me to catch yet ANOTHER game the same day. Wait….it gets better. The second game is a DOUBLE HEADER. And, the first game I was let in for free because of my military service and at the second game I was gifted a ticket by a couple from Pennsylvania (love Pirates fans). WAIT! It’s not over yet. The second game is DOLLAR DOG NIGHT!!!! The Gods smile upon me once again.

The first game is reviewed here. Second game on a later post. I hit Roger Dean Stadium to see the Palm Beach Cardinals take on the Tampa Yankees. The ballpark really had an aura of South Beach about it. The two-toned pastel brown stucco looked really nice and had an inviting glow. Inside it was a pretty typical Single A park but it is really great when considering the use it gets. Roger Dean Stadium is the only ballpark to host two MLB teams for Spring Training (Cardinals and Marlins) and it pulls double duty as the home ballpark for the Palm Beach Cardinals and the Jupiter Hammerheads. That is a lot of baseball for one park and considering that it is rode hard and put away wet it is in fantastic shape. The concourses are just the right size and the grass is properly manicured. It isn’t as fab as the other teams spring training facilities, but not a bad venue. I was reminded to be humble. The Baseball Gods made my visit coincide with some sort of water festivities that was being put on for several summer camps, and attended by lots of kids….lots, and lots of screaming, running, less than 12 year-old kids. The seat that was given to me by the Cardinals was choice. Directly behind home plate and 3 rows back. But after a few innings with those kids just behind me the left field bleaches looked very inviting.

Bun-steamed and fresh.
Taste-a decent frank supplied by National Deli.
Toppings-a great selection. Only jalapenos keep it from getting top score.
Price-$3.00 for the size and toppings is nearly perfect.
Portability-you now know the hazards of a heavy gage aluminum foil. And it did smush my bun a bit. Think paper wrapper.
It Factor-I love the name of the “Dean Dog.” Unfortunately is only a footlong, nothing really special about it.

Location-nice clean location, but not near downtown at all.
Access-mostly a drive to park.
GA Ticket Price-nice price for the GA option. Nearly perfect. Thanks again Cards for my comp ticket.
Cleanliness-they keep it clean in Palm Beach.
Fans-this one is hard. There was a decent sized crowd. But is was mainly kids. Screaming kids. And screaming kids don’t really pay attention to the game. I am splitting the difference here.
Ambiance-not bad, but the vibe wasn’t as strong there as in some parks. Can’t really put my finger on it. Probably because it is in the middle of some sort of Disneyland like development.

DogBallparkTotal Dog/Game
Portability4.5GA Ticket Price4.5
It Factor3Fans3.5

The great thing about Roger Dean Stadium is that with two teams playing there, you can see a game nearly every night. The park was clean and the action fun. If you take out the kid factor it was nearly a perfect day game at the park (despite the sprinkles). Strongly recommended if in the area. If knocking out MLB ballparks, plan to come a day early and see a game in Palm Beach before the Marlins.

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