I know there have been a ton of pictures of the new park, so I'm going to skip those for the time being (actually, I have yet to take many pictures of the park itself, I've most;y focused on the players). However, I felt like it might be time to do a quick and dirty review of the new ball park.
I'll first start out saying that I had a true love/hate relationship with Hi Corbett. On one had, the fan access one off the charts. I could show up three hours before hand, pay absolutely nothing to park within 20 feet of the front gate, and spend a pleasant morning interacting with the players. On the other hand, the ball park it'self sucked. I spent way too many days frying on exposed bleachers, disappointed by a lack of food (hotdogs or hamburgers, nothing else), and always pissed at the lack of a berm to sit on.
With Hi Corbett firmly in our rear-view-mirror, lets review the new talking stick resort ball park. I'll break it down into the good, and needs improvements sections.
The Good (and there is a lot)
- Fan Access: I feared I would lose the ability to hug my favorite prospect or the ability to sneak orange slices from the minor leaguers. Nope, I can still do that. The clover leaf (well, sort of) minor league fields are still completely open. You can still get caught in a flock of running prospects, still chat with random coaches, and still run into guys on the inside of baseball around here. In addition, the batting cages are almost zoo like, as we watch from above as players prepare for game and fine tune bunting skills (assuming they are not sleeping in their tailor made habitats). Long story short, as a fan, I can still see just about everything.
- Staff: Wow, I can't say enough about how welcome I felt by the staff at the ball park. From the friendly ticket scanners to great concession workers to amazing greeters to the excellent venders. Everyone was just plain friendly. I can almost always tell when someone is forcing a greeting or a customer interaction. But this was different. Everyone was very sincere to me. From the guy posing in front of the hot dog menu for a picture to the vendor petting Andrew's head to ticket scanner who has greeted me every day so far, everyone had been great. Considering every game has been over capacity in attendance, I give them mad props for the service. The measure of a successful enterprise is always the people, and they surly excel.
- Aesthetics: Good god does this place look good. The clubhouses in the outfield is just amazing. They look more like mansions overlooking the field. the details around the park, and the complex are very well though out. From the walkway leading though the Rockies complex (make sure you read the walkway) to the plaques along the path in the desert, the attention to detail is just amazing. I am simply impressed.
- Sun-tan lotion stations: Whoever thought of this was a genius. Why every park doesn't have this I don't know. It's simply a damn good idea. So, if you need some SPF-30, just drop by the outfield.
- Shade!!!!!: Holy crap, what a novel concept. Spring is fun in the sun, but shade is king. 90% of the grand stand gets shade during the game. It's a true life saver.
- Food: As far as a new park is concerned, I get excited about the prospects of food. Dreams of amazing tacos, nachos, and hot dogs fill my head. unfortunately, we fall a bit short here. My hot dog was ok, but the tacos at Salty's were small and somewhat tasteless. Same with the philly cheesesteak, which lacked any spice. Pizza was closer to frozen pizza quality than fresh pizza. And don't even get me started on the strawberry and banana on a stick (to keep it PG, I won't describe what they look like). It's not the worst food, and it's served with a smile. But, I am disappointed considering they had the chance to make it special.
- Water fountains: Only one's I have found are by parking lot and one random one in the desert by one of the minor league field. None are located in the main ball park. This is not good. I really don't want to pay 5 bucks for life sustaining water. Thats just crazy. Please set up a few water fountains for us.
- P.A. Announcer and Scoreboard. I like the scoreboard. It's nice to get replays for once, and actually have a line up. But the lineup is squished in there. Who the hell is SSTulowitsk. I don't know. And the P.A. Announcer probably needs to pay attention. No, The Rockies 2nd best prospect is not Logan Forsythe. Nor is UNKOWN an acceptable payers name. And no, Brad Hewlp is not Brad Hawpe. At least it was somewhat funny.
- This park is already the best in spring training, in either league. And it is one of the best designed facilities in all sports. It just needs some fine tuning. All in all, I am more than happy with this place. It will serve us well for many years to come.