Canal Park: Home of the Akron RubberDucks

Canal Park: Home of the Akron RubberDucks

Just south of Cleveland, you will find the Akron RubberDucks, homegrown talent that has high hopes of making the 40 mile journey up Interstate 77 to Progressive Field, fulfilling their life long aspiration of becoming a major leaguer. However, it's important to not overlook the gem of a ballpark that the RubberDucks call home. Canal Park offers almost everything you can ask for in a ballpark making it one of the best ballparks to be featured on The Ballpark Review so far.

Akron RubberDucks (affiliate of the Cleveland Guardians since 1989)
Established: 1989 as the Canton-Akron Indians, moved to Akron as the Aeros in 1997 before being renamed the RubberDucks before the 2014 season.
League: Eastern
Ballpark: Canal Park (opened 1997)
Championships: 2003, 2005, 2009, 2021, 2016, 2021
Notable Alumni: José Ramírez, Francisco Lindor, CC Sabathia, Victor Martinez, Grady Sizemore, Sean Casey, Cliff Lee, Carlos Santana, Corey Kluber, Shane Bieber

Location/ Scenery/ Amenities (4/5)

I was very impressed by the ballpark overall, however, there were some downsides that led to some deductions. I'll start with my favorite parts which were the views, location, and amenities. The ballpark is situated in downtown Akron and while the city doesn't have the greatest reputation for being safe, I never felt in danger in any way and the area was very clean and modern. With that being said, the location was another plus on top of the view of the Akron skyline. The amenities did not disappoint either. There was not a shortage of auxiliary spaces at Canal Park with areas such as the Tiki Terrace (tiki bar in right field, serving up signature cocktails and great views), Fowl Territory (picnic seating in the left field corner), Duck Row (premium field level picnic seats), and the Duck Club (climate controlled event space overlooking the ballpark from the right field corner with indoor seating as well as an outdoor patio area). While areas such as the Duck Club are designed for large groups, it's a nice touch to the ballpark overall and adds some pizzaz.

Now onto the negatives of Canal Park. My biggest complaint was that the ballpark seemed too small for it's capacity. The concourse was very narrow and hard to walk around and the ballpark did not have a 360 degree concourse which restricted fans to certain areas.

Food (4.5/5)

If you are looking for some quality ballpark eats, you can look no further than Canal Park. The concessions are among the best I've ever seen. The quirky and unique dishes that are served up encapsulate exactly what ballpark eats are meant to be. During my visit I ordered the Chicken & Waffle Sandwich ($15.00) which featured a double decker chicken and waffle sandwich with bacon, onion rings, pimento cheese spread, bacon habanero jam, and powdered sugar. If that wasn't enough, I also got the Not Your Routine Poutine ($13.50) which is a spinoff of the classic Canadian dish with french fries topped with gravy, cheese curds, pulled pork, green onions, and bacon bits. I thought both dishes were pretty good but I am not sure I would order the Chicken & Waffle Sandwich again. There was just too much going on between the sweet and spicy flavors combined with the savory effects of the bacon and onion rings. And that's not all, while I only got the opportunity to try these two dishes, I feel that it is my duty to report all the crazy dishes that were available at Canal Park, which include:

Three Dog Night ($14.50): Hot dog stuffed inside a brat, stuffed inside a half pound kielbasa topped with sauerkraut and mustard on a hoagie roll. Marketed as the RubberDucks version of the Turducken.

The Wone Homerocker ($14.50): Half pound, foot long hot dog covered in buffalo chicken mac and cheese with hot honey and ranch.

The Screamer ($35.00): 21 scoops of ice cream (yes, you read that right) topped with chocolate syrup, bananas, whipped cream, sprinkles, and cherries on a brownie base.

Pineapple Teriyakron Bowl ($14.00): Half of a hollowed out pineapple, filled with a mixture of white rice, grilled chicken, diced pineapple, and Thai chili sauce with a teriyaki glaze.

Nice 2 Meat U Burger ($17.00): Two pound burger with a pound and a quarter of beef, half a pound of hot dogs, and a quarter of a pound of cheese, bacon, and onions.

Emmett's Pit Boss ($28.00): A meat sundae which features a combination of pulled chicken, smoked brisket, two hot dogs, and a quarter rack of ribs with a side of coleslaw.

WAKR Hawaiian Burger ($14.00): Four ounce patty with pulled chicken, Canadian bacon, pineapple rings, and a teriyaki glaze.

As you can see, there isn't a shortage of entertaining dishes at Canal Park. My only problem with the dishes were the prices. At these price points, it is impossible to try everything in one night. Honestly, it would probably take you multiple games to be able to work your way around to everything and at that point you will have spent hundreds of dollars just at the concession stands.

Entertainment (3.6/5)

I felt that the entertainment aspect didn't disappoint either. If you read my brief overview of Parkview Field in Fort Wayne, you might recall that I dubbed their entertainment the best I've ever seen due to their quirky dance routine put on by the grounds crew. The Akron RubberDucks replicated this act at the game where the grouunds crew put on a little show in the late innings of the game. However, while I liked the effort, it wasn't as unique and exciting as Parkview Field. Beyond their dancing groundskeepers, the entertainment crew had mascot races and a 'Guess the Beer' contest where a blindfolded fan tried beers and had to guess what they were.

While all of this was fun, I felt that the entertainment was mostly targeted at kids. There was a free bouncy house as well as a pitching cage that caught the eyes of youngsters. However, there wasn't much to be offered on the adult side which I felt was a big swing and miss (pun intended).

Sam's Score: 80.6/100

As you can see, I had a great time at Canal Park. This is definitely a must-visit for baseball and ballpark lovers alike. The food is nothing short of spectacular and you are in for some quality entertainment, all in the confines of a beautiful ballpark in a great location. I've visited some great ballparks in my journey, but I hadn't found a ballpark that hit the mark in every category, until now. You see great ballparks with beautiful views but they lack in the food or entertainment aspect or vise versa. However, in this case, Canal Park exceeded my expectations by a mile in almost every category for a Double A ballpark, making it a certified gem of a ballpark.