Saturday, March 7, 2015

Surprise Stadium

All I can say is that Surprise Stadium is full of….surprises. The best was at the beginning when I found out that it is one of the few Cactus League ballparks that does not charge for parking. The question is: why do any of them charge? The second was that it takes 800 volunteers, mostly seniors, to make the facility run each spring. And they were among the most proficient and kind workers I have ever met. Remember that the next time a senior asks you for a job.

Then came the surprises one really does not care for. I had to wait THIRTY MINUTES in line to order the jumbo dog, and the park was not close to full. Surprise! You just missed 3 innings of baseball. Then to find out that the concession stand is out of jumbo dogs, but can sell you a kiddie dog. Surprise! The other surprise was that very few workers knew which frank manufacturer supplied the meat for the dog. It is Cincinnati Red Hots or something like that, I didn’t want to write it down as I felt that they were thinking I was with the FDA or something.

The ballpark has a Class A minor league feel to it of the east coast variety. It has a smallish, bland main entrance flanked by two towers. It has a great scoreboard though. It opened in 2003 so it is in good shape and clean and one of the few if not the only Cactus League ballpark with an upper deck grandstand.

The game itself was fast, which is probably why I missed so many innings while wasting away in the kiddie hot dog line. Surprise! I also learned a lot about parenting from the lady behind me that kept correcting her small child. Normally, I would find this annoying, but I found it refreshing that in this day and age a parent actually gives a can of corn about raising their child to not be a brat.

If you get the feeling it was less than a stellar day at the ballpark, you would be wrong. It was the worst Cactus League experience so far, but there is no such thing as a bad baseball game. Unless the Yankees are playing.

Bun-the bread was fresh-5
Taste-the Cincinnati Red Hot or whatever it was was somewhat bland. A switchover to a National Hebrew frank would boost this dog’s score significantly-3.5
Toppings-only mustard and relish-2
Price-nice price of $4.75-5
Portability-the dreaded paper boat-2
It Factor-there is the jumbo dog, kiddie dog, a brat and a MONSTER DOG. I was excited thinking it would be ginormous and smothered in exotic toppings. It is a footlong version of the jumbo dog...yawn-2

Location-ballparks should be downtown. The problem here is there is no downtown Surprise, AZ. They are building it up and when it is finished the ballpark will be next to it-4
Access-mainly a drive to park. Typically a 3 but a bump up for free parking-4
Cleanliness-no complaints-5
GA Ticket Price-$8 gets top score-5
Ambiance-missed the mark-3
Fans-lively and LOTS of Kansas City fans that knew about their team-4

DogBallparkTotal Dog/Game
Portability2GA Ticket Price5
It Factor3Fans4

I can’t speak for all of the ballparks since I have not seen all of them. But at present Surprise would be last on my list of Cactus League venues. This should come as no…..surprise.

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