Summer of Baseball: Erie gives an intimate experience
This summer has been full of baseball, that’s for sure.
As of me writing this review, I’ve been to 50-plus games, and I’ve loved every inning of it. I don’t even want to think about how many miles I’ve been to watch these games. But it’s totally worth it.
With all the new stadiums I’ve been to, I’ve gotten behind on the reviews. On a hot summer day, finishing up the trip to Cleveland, we hit up Erie on the way home.
Jerry Uht Park is the home of the Double-A SeaWolves, an affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. In the past, I used to keep a lot of tabs on this team because of when I covered the short-season Single-A affiliate of the Tigers. In the past few years, it’s because they are in the Eastern League and I’ve attended many EL games.
Erie can now be crossed off.
This was an interesting park, that’s for sure. The park opened in 1995 is located in Erie. Originally home to a New-York Penn League (short-season A) team, the SeaWolves moved to Double A in 1999. According to the team’s website, more than 3.5 million fans have been to games since the team started in 1995.
This park is definitely right in the city. It’s tucked in nicely and we came on a Sunday afternoon game, so the attendance was sparse at best. We had called ahead and found out where there might be some shade and we ended up in the second level on the first-base line, which was named one of MiLB’s top 10 “seats” in 2008.
The park has some quirks, which makes it cool. Remember those second-level seats? Well the ones on the first-base side and third-base side are nothing alike. As I noted above, the stadium is built within a pre-existing city block, so it’s a little tight. The third-base side is more traditional with the seats leading up. Those first-base side ones, though, are stacked on top of the concourse and the back row of the lower seats. It’s a pretty cool place to watch a game from as you overlook the infield and don’t feel distant, despite being in the second level.
In left field, there’s an arena and it’s basically part of the wall for the baseball field.
Not many people were in attendance the day we were there, so we had the chance to sit back and watch. The sight lines are solid and you can walk around the field some and still see what is going on. There isn’t a full wrap-around concourse, but there’s plenty of space on the other concourses.
One thing, though, is when we were there, not all of the concession stands were open. It makes sense with the crowd they had, but we’re taking June. I can understand not having everything open if attendance is not doing well, but it seemed almost like a ghost town in parts of the stadium – including the stands. Still, people were friendly and helpful when needed.
The heat didn’t help that weekend, that’s for sure. And it was also Father’s Day, so that could put a damper on the attendance.
The team store is definitely more like a short-season A one as it’s barely something to walk into, and it has some rolled out areas and then the check out. Still, there were some good selections of items and it was easy to find the Passport stamp, which is good.
Free programs were also a positive and it seems like many teams are catching on to this idea, which is good. People don’t want to have to pay $2-$5 each game they go to for a program. Many teams sell the same program each game. In fact, one other Eastern League team sells the same program each game (no updates) and doesn’t insert stats/standings – you only get those if you are a season-ticket holder. Many teams who do the free programs make them smaller, and some even update them every home series or month, depending on the team.
The food selections seemed decent. We had already eaten that day, so I got the normal hot dog (above average) and souvenir cup soda. I didn’t try the MiLB food fight item because, honestly, I was way too full to try it. They had real ice cream that you could easily find (not just dippin’ dots), which is always good.
In the end, Jerry Uht Park was a positive experience and a stadium worth checking out. The ambiance wasn’t great, but there weren’t many people there. So I rate it a little lower in that category, but have a feeling it’s better when there are people in the stands. We parked across the street in a parking garage, but there didn’t seem to be an overabundance of parking. I wonder how this place would be on a night when they drew a good crowd. I imagine it could be tough.
It’s a good stadium worth checking out if you are close. Plus, Double-A ball is usually pretty solid to watch.
Jerry Uht Park
Home of the Erie SeaWolves (Double-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers)
Visited on: June 19, 2016
Opponent: Bowie Baysox (Double-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles)
Ratings (out of 10)
- Stadium: 8/10
- Concessions: 7/10
- Parking: 8/10
- Ambiance: 7/10
- Friendliness: 8/10
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