I get to check another ballpark off of my list that I had been trying to nail down for about three years. The Charlotte Knights stadium, home of some pretty hot AAA action. The real name is BB&T Ballpark, but as you all ready know, I visited a BB&T Ballpark just a few days ago. I think this bank is attempting a monopoly on naming stadiums. This version is an extremely nice minor league venue. Despite being dwarfed by its NFL cousin a few blocks away, it seems like a enormous facility. Perhaps after Hickory, most ballparks would feel huge.
Charlotte did it right. The stadium is situated directly downtown with the city skyline dominating over the outfield wall. The food selection is excellent and the park is spotless. The catch? It's pricey. The most I have paid for a minor league ticket all year. I plunked down around $12 for a seat, plus $6 to park. I guess you can mark that under you get what you pay for, because I left impressed.
The Knights' hot dogs could use a little help. They offer a smallish Squire Dog, which I think is a kids hot dog. But like other ballparks, they were clever enough to let Franx handle their specialty dog. They have three. I ended up with a Ruben Dog because it seemed the most exotic. If it is five years before I have another hot dog with mac & cheese on it it will be too soon. Teams need to be more creative.
The Rueben Dog could have been awesome. It was reasonably priced for a specialty dog. Although no one could tell me what sort of frank was on it, it was a natural casing meat and damn tasty. It was piled high with kraut, dressing and cheese but where it failed was the bun. It is served on a pretzel bun. I am of the opinion that even a brick tastes good on a pretzel bun; but it has to be fresh. The bun on the Ruben Dog was stale. When that happens, it ruins the rest of the dog AND it splits open and most of your hot dog's inner workings fall out of the bottom. You end up with a mess you have to eat with your hands and a not so stellar concessions experience. Serve up some fresh buns and you have a winner, otherwise you have disgruntled fans.
Provided they straighten out the bun issues at BB&T in Charlotte, this is a ballpark that is not to be missed. Just bring lots of cash.